A Sketchbook Tour – Part One

Most sketchbook tours I’ve seen are videos, and the artist will talk about their work while flipping through it. A sort of retrospective of their recent work… But, if you know me personally, you know my voice is like a weird blend of Gilbert Gottfried and Elmo. In consideration, I’ll spare you all, and present a photo tour of a sketchbook I’m working through (and am by no means finished with — hence, part one).

If you don’t love reading, I’m sorry. But really, it’s better this way, I assure you. (And I won’t judge if you just skim and look at the pictures!)


So for this sketchbook, I wanted to keep it semi-focused. It’s a fancy Strathmore mixed-media sketchbook. Normally I would just fill it with random doodles, scribbles, and the occasional notes from a voicemail. But I wanted to keep this one neat.

It’s mostly for practicing with ink and watercolor colored pencils, which I obviously love now (see last month’s blog). I added in quotes because I love quotes, and words, and just wanted to play with lettering. Nothing crazy; this sketchbook is just about enjoying the process and getting in good practice…

“Talent is pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do.” – Bob Ross

This page was just me learning how the colored pencils work. I saw in a video that you could dip the pencils in water and draw with them that way for a fun technique — and that if you were just going to apply water with a brush you “might as well just use traditional watercolors.” Well, I tried that method, and it’s AWFUL. I hate the thick texture and it was destroying the pencil. Right off the bat, I was convinced I had ruined this sketchbook’s pristine first page and my new art supplies…

But there was no going back, so I threw a quote on it, and voila! All better…shrugs…

“We’ll make friends with wind and sky and sun, and bring home the spring in our hearts.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery

I love Anne of Green Gables. Whatever. Don’t judge. It’s so good… This page was me learning the BETTER way of using watercolor colored pencils: treating them like traditional watercolors!! …I love this page. It just makes me happy.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

So, my husband bought lemons. I saw a lemon, thought “I could probably draw a lemon?” and then did. I added the avocado and lime for fun. I’m actually really pleased with the avocado because I can’t remember the last time we had one in the house and I didn’t use a photo reference, and I’d say it doesn’t look to bad from memory. So I am very proud of that avocado. More than I probably should be. But there you go.

I picked the quote because it says “food”, and I love Lord of the Rings.

“You are the home for your spirit and you are sacred.” – Maia Toll

I secretly aspire to be a hippie and Maia Toll’s The Illustrated Herbiary is one of my favorite books. These things inspired this sketch. It’s actually not my favorite drawing, I think the line work was too heavy, but still… good practice!

“In the warmth of love, the soul can be itself.” – John O’Donahue

I decided that I wanted to include a quote from John O’Donahue, but a lot of his writing needs context to really make sense. This one, however, was cozy enough to work with this super cool teapot.

“Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

Okay, first – I only recently learned about Mary Oliver and her poetry has changed my life.

Second, drawing fire is really really hard.

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” – Terry Prachett

This page makes me smile. I drew the cat toy because it’s been sitting on our living room floor FOREVER and I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I googled “cat quotes” saw this one by Prachett and thought it was perfect.

“Give me books, french wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” – John Keats

This page is a mess. The fruit should be called a “appleberry” because I accidentally put the coloring of an apple on a strawberry. I also did the color first and forgot to account for the green leafy top covering the front of the strawberry as it would in real life, which is why it looks sooo weird. Oh well. I still kinda like it.

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” – Benjamin Franklin

We finally got a Switch. I bought it before a snow storm so we could play it all weekend (which we did). I know people are worried about bread and milk before a blizzard, but I had other priorities. I just didn’t think we’d have so many more snow storms after that… ugh.

This part of the sketchbook was laying rather flat on it’s own. I find that kind of rare in bound sketchbooks like these, so I took full advantage of it and did a two-page drawing.

I love landscapes but don’t usually feel comfortable tackling them when I’m working in ink or pencils (so, hardly at all…). But since this sketchbook is about practicing, I felt like I had to at least try. And I really like the way it turned out. I will definitely be including more landscapes moving forward!

So, yay practice!


Well, I hope you enjoyed this little sketchbook tour! I guess I’m focusing a lot on sharing the behind-the-scenes stuff this year… Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

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