Catching up and raves about Sketchbook Skool
I've been gone from this blog for SO long! Mostly because the blog doesn't play as well with my iPhone and iPad, but not because I haven't been making lots of drawings and paintings. In fact, I've been highly motivated and doing sketching at least once daily and getting more out of it than ever.
The biggest factor in all that? Sketchbook Skool!
I can't recommend it highly enough, both for people who insist that they "can't draw" and for people who have been practicing drawing and painting for a long time. I love their ethos of "Art for All".
Essentially, it's a $99 online course that goes for six weeks with six different instructors. They give you insight into their sketching process and assign you lessons to help you with various aspects of making art: everything from silencing the inner critic to what kind of colored pencils or ballpoint pens can be good to use for what kinds of drawing or deciding what kind of sketchbook you really want to create and why.
The brainchild of Danny Gregory, the brilliant and grounded author of Everyday Matters, the Sketchbook Skool has attracted an especially fascinating and positive group of artists as students. This means that the online community (both in the learning system and in the private Facebook group) has been at least 70% (for me) of the immense value of this thing. I've made new friends, connected with them offline and online both, and been newly fired up to keep sketching and sharing my work.
Below is an album of just a few of the sketches I did during the first "semester" of Sketchbook Skool. We just started the second semester and it's just as genius. You can find me now-a-days sketching on my BART commute, waiting in line at IKEA, on my lunch break in downtown San Francisco, in the middle of a dog walk in Point Richmond, at the car repair shop - basically anywhere that I have about 15 minutes free.
The teachers in the first semester of Sketchbook Skool were amazing:
1. Danny Gregory
2. Koosje Koene
3. Jane LaFazio
4. Prashant Miranda
5. Roz Stendahl
6. Tommy Kane
Additionally, all the daily sketching did something special for my oil painting. I had actually been avoiding my oil painting stuff, feeling like it was not really working for me somehow. But after 7 weeks of daily sketching (actually totally obsessive sketching of probably more like 3 or 4 sketches a day), I went into the studio to do a commission I'd sold to a long-time friend. I was quite reluctant but he'd paid me already, so in I went. Well, something about the neural pathways I've been creating with the drawing made the painting experience so delightful and more successful than ever. There was that "flow" moment you always hope to encounter. And when I stepped back after being happily engrossed in it all, I was in love with the result. It seems so obvious in retrospect, but it surprised me! I wish I could share that painting with you here, but it's a surprise for someone and hasn't been shown to them yet.
This Saturday, I'm going to be taking part in a monthly "pop up" type community event called "Point to Point Richmond." (Here is how they describe the project: Connect the dots to rediscover and reimagine Point Richmond in this family-friendly community experience. Local enterprises and neighbors are invited to participate both as explorers and exhibitors in this new and ever-evolving monthly event. )
Since this event isn't about selling things but is about connecting community, I'm going to be offering free sketches of anything people bring me as long as it's smaller than a breadbox. A fellow artist (also stationed at the local Community Center with me) will be doing free portraits of people. I'm excited to see how this works out!