Western Washington University

The elder of my two sons is heading off to college this Fall, so he and I made a visit to Western Washington University for "Summer Start," their version of incoming orientation. While the vast majority of our time was taken up by attending info and advising sessions, I did manage to sketch a bit - the best way I know of getting a feel for a place. It's a small but very beautiful campus, and the people were uniformly welcoming and helpful. I know that the visit helped my son feel much better about his decision - if only because he could finally inhabit the place he'd been considering for some time. And the visit had a similar effect on me. It's difficult to grasp the fact that one of my kids is already going off to school, so becoming familiar with what will be his new home-away-from-home helped put my mind at ease. Here's hoping that my son achieves great things at WWU, and I look forward to additional visits in the future!


Trying to Join the 21st Century in a Coffeeshop

I finally got myself a "smartphone," after many years of using the most basic and inexpensive phone I could find. Funny thing is, the pay-as-you-go plan for the new phone is actually cheaper than it was for the old phone. (It's sneaky tricks like this that they use to get you hooked, I think.) Anyway, I figured I would try to join the rest of the sketchers I encounter at symposiums and other events and drag myself into the 21st Century - if only so I can streamline the process of photographing and sharing sketches in something like real time. So the drawing and sharing this morning from Bucer's here in Moscow was for the express purpose of testing this workflow. I realize that this is old hat to most of you, dear readers, and that there's really nothing complicated or extraordinary about taking a photo and immediately sharing it. But for me, it was a bit of a leap.
However, one thing I will continue to do is actually photograph my drawings later on, when I have access to a real camera and some decent lighting, because I think it makes a big difference to anyone who might want to look more closely at the work. While it's nice to get a glimpse of the drawing "in situ," with some indication of what was being sketched, I always like to see the drawing itself, reproduced at least reasonably well. I'll keep trying to make this happen with the new phone, but so far my experiments haven't been very successful. Please let me know if you have strategies for using your phone to get good reproductions of your sketches in the comments below. Thanks!


Sketching Essentials in Graphite

 It already seems like a while ago that I was in Denver filming my new course on "Sketching Essentials," probably because I've been so wrapped up developing drawings for my next book. But the course is attracting a lot of folks, and it's been fun answering their questions and discussing their work. The platform that Craftsy has created for administering courses is really nice - you can watch the video segments whenever you like, and as many times as you like, and there are easy-to-use tools for asking questions, uploading your sketches, and participating in discussions.
The course was created with all levels of sketchers in mind. It's probably most clearly directed at people who are just beginning to learn, but I firmly believe that you never get "too good" to focus on the fundamentals of any skill. To the contrary, the people I admire most - in just about any field - are those who have made the fundamentals of their craft central to what they do. I hope that, in some small way, this course helps all kinds of sketchers to develop their abilities.
So if you or someone you know is interested, please click the link here and watch the overview video to get a taste of what the course is all about. Then join up, and start sketching!


New Book!

One of my new books just arrived! It's being printed by three different publishers - Barron's Educational here in the US, and Search Press as well as New Burlington Books in the UK - and each one is apparently producing its own version, with a different title and a different format. They're all really nice, high-quality books ... though, if I had to pick a format I like best, I'd go with the Search Press version, which has cover flaps with a couple of my watercolors on them. But really, I'm thrilled about all three. I'll have to update this post, or create a new one, when I know where these will be available online. I think Barron's has a pre-order page up on Amazon already, saying it will be available March 1, but I'm not sure about the other publishers.

It's great to have this one done, as it was a LOT of work over the past several months. My most sincere thanks go to all the fantastic artists who contributed their work: A.Rmyth, Florian Afflerbach, Eduardo Bajzek, Shari Blaukopf, Marianne Campolongo, Daniel Castro Alonso, Cristina Curto, Elena Elisseeva, Arno Hartmann, Miguel Herranz, Omar Jaramillo, Richard Johnson, Stuart Kerr, Lapin, Gerard Michel, Hans Muerkins, Brenda Murray, Keith Nevens, Olgysha, Ana Rojo, Maarten Ruijters, Luis Ruiz, Pete Scully, Sharon Smart, Pat Southern-Pearce, Liz Steel, Christian Tribastone, Alexandre Veron, Nathan Walsh, Lis Watkins, John Woodcock, and extra special thanks to Thomas Thorspecken for his invaluable contribution to the workbook portion. THANK YOU ALL!

Now it's back to work on my next book. No rest for the weary, as they say.
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