Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Avalon Rising

Really looking forward to hearing Avalon Rising in concert tomorrow night at BayCon. I drew this little sketch many years ago, as they sang Kristoph's song 'The Merry Old Inn', based on one of J.R.R. Tolkein's songs in Lord of the Rings. (Correct me if I've got the details wrong, Kristoph!). You can hear this song and many other music samples on their discography page.
The Merry Old Inn
Avalon Rising will be releasing their long awaited new album at BayCon this weekend! In addition to all of her musical abilities, Margaret does amazing calligraphy and beautiful art as well as doing all of the graphic design for their various bands. The new cover here is by Peter Overstreet.They'll have t-shirts at the con...
Even if you're not able to come rock out at their concert, you can listen to their music on their site and I highly recommend their albums. It'll be so good to see them this weekend!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sketching on my iPad: "Bunny With A Book"

Did this on my iPad using the Sketchbook Pro app and a Pogo Sketch Stylus:

Bunny with a book (drawn on my iPad)

Beckett and I had a great phone call today, and we both agreed that we're going to start posting some of our doodles. Our blog IS called "Sketcharound," after all. :-)

-- Debbie

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chasing America- by Beckett

The Utata Photography group that I enjoy acts as a very informative group mind, spreading news on interesting things occurring in the world, many related to photography. They led me to this fellow, who went chasing one of the American Dreams, and photographed what he found..
On The Road.
David Michael Kennedy decided to rediscover his life and America in an old fashioned way: by traveling around the country with his girlfriend and his dog in a 1959 Airstream trailer. He photographed what grabbed his fancy with a handmade 4x5 camera, using film he developed himself in his homemade darkroom inside the trailer, using the antique platinum palladium process used by such photographers as Ansel Adams.

This NPR article interviews him and he talks about what started the idea, the sorts of places they went and how wrong turns along the way led to new discoveries.
Upon doing very little digging I found (to my shame at my own ignorance) that David Michael Kennedy is a famous photographer who has had a long, successful and thriving career as a photographer, a feat that's rare and difficult to achieve these days.
Muddy Waters
He talks on his website about how he managed to get into doing photography for album covers among other commercial work; it's well worth a read just to see how a real professional navigates around the usual barriers to getting regular clients and establishing long term working relationships as the photographer who gets called as first choice.
Bob Dylan
Kennedy offers workshops and has an active and thriving gallery presence. He lives in a small town in New Mexico and has been doing more personal and less commercial work, documenting people with environmental portraits, using his abilities and experience to support causes he believes in. His workshops sound wonderful; check out his video of his workshop, the development process and his house for a taste of what he does these days.
Seems like he's found a pretty good American Dream to me.

(All photographs are copyright David Michael Kennedy, please don't use without permission.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Casey's Mother's Day Flowers

Casey is guest blogging with a fun flower that you can make quickly and easily for your Mom, even if you forgot to get her flowers!

You start off with a piece of paper, some scissors, a ruler and some tape.
Take the paper and fold it in half so it is very long and thin.
1/2 inch from one of the edges of the paper, take the ruler and measure 3 inches up from the fold. Then take the scissors and cut  three inches up starting at the fold and cutting up. Scoot over 1/2 inch from where you cut, then do the same thing again.
Keep on going all the way across the length of the paper, making many strips.
Then, roll up the paper around a pencil all the way across the bottom strip.
Then take a piece of tape and tape around the bottom edge to hold it shut. You should have something looking like a flower.
Take the petals and open them up to make it look very fancy.
You can cut your strips smaller with more strips to make it more flouncy if you want. You can use colored paper and add flowers with glue if you want, too.
You can even put your flower in a little pot and paint it too.
Then you can give it to your mom and make her very happy. Riley says that if you don't have your mom around to give it to you can still make it and think about her, but don't cry, think of happy things about her.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Keeping the spark alive- by Beckett

I've been doing some research, looking at what's out there in the world of on-line sketch journals and blogs. Let's just say there are an infinite number of them, and a lot of them are really, really good, fun to read with great, fun drawings. I find my taste in illustrated blogs is different than I would have expected; the serious, fine art style blogs that have lots of well drafted travel sketches just don't hold my interest as well as ones with lots of color, funny, quirky ideas, a mixture of photography and drawing, lots of ideas to go along with the drawings. I crave some writing along with their drawings to give glimpses into the artist's life and viewpoints, though some of the sketchblogs can keep my interest pretty well with regular sketch pages of things going on in their lives. I guess I crave that personal touch.
Location sketch in oil pastel; Union Square
One result of surfing around looking at other people's art is that they can really inspire me, make me want to try new things (in my copious spare time, yeah, hahah). To be honest  though, more often blog surfing can quickly make me rather depressed at my own mundane or meager art efforts. I suspect the sketchbook blog surfing is something best done in moderation lest I start thinking too closely about pitching my computer and my sketchbooks all out the window.
That comparison game is always a dangerous way to go, though, regardless of what medium you work in; there's such a fine balancing point between looking at the work of artists who are way better than you are; you can learn a ton from it, but let's get honest here: it can also plunge you deep into the depths of despair over your own abilities. It's hard to see your own work with clear vision, whether you're overly self-critical or whether you're too emotionally attached or whatnot. So do you go look in moderation, try to learn and be inspired, and then try to pull up, pull up, before it's too late and you go into a nose dive?

So I got to thinking about what things I do to try to stay productive and keep going. Debbie and I were doing a regular sketchbook for awhile (until my schedule got too crazy and I dropped the ball). That's actually great since it keeps you honest; having a buddy who's checking on whether you're going to do it is great incentive.
I used to do a lot more regular drawing, now with my crazy schedule and all the other projects I have going on I find that more difficult to keep up on. But other things seem to fill in the gap; photography has stepped in as a quick and immediate medium of creative vision, certainly. I'm addicted to my camera and what I can capture with it. It's a different sort of creativity, certainly, but very satisfying. I'd never want to give up either drawing or photography, actually, since they feed different aspects of that craving to create.
Then of course there's the crafting, making books and sewing, knitting and other goodies. Those all fill other creative cravings and which ones I want to work on changes frequently. They all feed my soul, to use that old cliche.
My point here is to explore and try new things, go and look at other people's creative efforts, but try to avoid comparing yourself with others. Seeing others' work is such an important tool for getting knowledge and new ideas, but at some point you need to just go and create for yourself and let go of thinking about what anyone else will think. Just let go and enjoy yourself. And I guess if you choose to share it on your blog, have fun with it and don't be too serious, which is advice I am giving to myself. ;)