Category Archives: Drawings

Pen and Ink sketch, Oil Pastel sketch

I’m totally cheating on the faces thing, but I figure I am doing 29 faces, just not within the 29 days, so I’ll categorize them that way to make them easy to find.

I decided to experiment with my Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels and do a face yesterday.  I enjoyed using them!  I can’t believe how great they are for the price.  They’re very creamy, and even though they only make 24 colors, they’re great ones and make for a very versatile palette, in my opinion.  They would work for portrait, landscape, and bright abstract or graphic stuff.  I liked being able to work and re-work a bit, and I loved blending and softening with water and paintbrush.  I should have done her in my Sketchbook, but I forgot and put her in my Faces journal.  Oh well.  Here she is:



Then today I decided to get brave again and sketch my own son.  I used my Tradio Fountain Pen for the first time.  It works great, having a new style of flat, hard, fiber nib.  It gives a bit rougher line than the Sensei Mangas, though.  I think I prefer the Senseis for sketching.  But the Tradio will be great for writing.  This took about 10 – 15 minutes, and I did remember to do this one in the Sketchbook.  He’s playing one of his fave video games, “Tales of Symphonia,” so that’s what I call it:



Happy March!  I’m ready for a very exciting month, and we even have partly sunny skies today.  🙂


Filed under 29 Faces in 29 Days, Drawings, Pastels, The Sketchbook Project

Face # 14 done on the Scribbler

Face # 14 was just done on a free drawing app called Scribbler that I learned about from my artist friend, Melisa, who did a drawing for the 29 Faces project on it on her blog today.  Here’s the thing though.  Two months ago, I couldn’t use a touchpad to click a button.  I was a total mouse-addict and couldn’t imagine life any other way.  Then I got a little netbook I call “Herman,” and I had to learn, if I was going to enjoy the lazy pleasures of computing from the couch.

Fastforward two months later, and I just did a drawing with my touchpad!  I learned from my awesome son, Chazz, who is going to design video games for a living, how to hold the bar with one hand and move the cursor with the other, and I did a drawing.  Then the program, Scribbler, scribbled around my lines and gave it contour.  It’s so cool!

Here she is:

It makes me want to try something like that on paper with pens or pencils or charcoal or…

Oh, and here is Herman, looking jaunty in his paint-pen embellished best, because explain to me why laptops have to be so ugly:

Herman is charmingly gender-flexible in his fashion choices, non?


Filed under 29 Faces in 29 Days, Drawings

Face #12 and why they don’t smile.

I think some of you wonder why most of my faces don’t smile.  It’s not because I’m not happy or enjoying myself.  In fact, if you see fake smiles in my art, I’m probably sad or depressed or trying to make someone else happy.  I have been drawing faces forever.  I taught myself to draw faces when I was a very little girl, to be like my grandma whose favorite thing to doodle was the “Blondie” face from comics.  I honed my face and figure drawing by reading Archie comic books.  My drawings were, as you can imagine, all cartoonized and at least attempting to be the pretty, perfect feminine ideal Barbie doll figure.  I did thousands of these drawings.  I did them all day.  I made paper dolls of them and designed clothing for them.  I once entered a set of them, complete with fashions, in a high school art show and won.

But I could never quite get the hang of doing more realistic work.  I would draw from life again and again and it would never look like the model.  Others liked my work but I knew there was something wrong that I just couldn’t ‘get’.  Even during my two years of commercial art school, I was trapped by my cartoonish drawings.

Then I stopped doing art, for reasons I will explain in another post because I don’t want this to go on forever, until about a year ago.  And I realized why my face and figure work had never gone where I wanted it to and had always stayed cartoonish.  I was drawing what I wanted to see (and be) and not what I saw (and was.)  And the thing that pushed me to this realization was seeing ALL the pretty, perfect, doe-eyed, stem-necked, smiling dolly faces in the mixed media world.

Oh how I came to LOATHE them.  They hurt me.  I don’t look like that.  Can’t look like that.  No one can.  And yet, they are nearly the only portrayal of beauty you can find in the mixed media world.  THIS is pretty.  THIS is how you make your art pretty, your pages pretty.  This is what is taught to new mixed media artists and women learning how to make art journals.  Whimsy faces.  Dolly faces.  Pretty girls.  Not ugly girls, girls that look like your daughters and students and nieces and neighbors and YOU.  And not women.  Pretty girls.

It hurts me when someone hurts girls and women.  When women hurt themselves and each other.  And who is drawing and painting these dolly faces over and over ad infinitum?  Women artists.  Middle-aged, chubby, unsmiling women artists.  Artists who want their work to be pretty and so would never think of putting their faces and bodies in it.  The pain was too much for me to ignore any longer.

So I rebelled.  Bigtime.  As is my nature.  I grabbed my journal and a red Sharpie and scratched a sketch into the page.  Something so daring, scary, brash, and shocking that I almost couldn’t believe I’d drawn it.  I did it from imagination, and I did it angry and super fast.  Then I did something even scarier.  I posted it on my Facebook.  In front of friends and family alike.

And people loved it.  I could NOT believe it.  And it touched me and changed me so deeply I cannot find words.

In loving this sketch, they were loving ME.  Because it looks like me.  I have long hair now, but other than that, it’s pretty similar to my body type and face shape, etc.  And they thought it was beautiful.

It blew my mind.  And I realized what had been missing.  I wasn’t drawing what I SAW because it wasn’t what I wanted to SEE.  And in not drawing what I SAW, I was discounting its real beauty.  So one year ago (check the date on the photo) I began to draw what I see.  The wrinkles, the stretchmarks, the shadows under the eyes, the asymmetrical faces, the dimples and rolls.  The weird shapes and lines and colors that don’t look like people at all.

The real beauty.

And I began to like my art again.  I felt inspired to make it.

And so, the smiles.  Or lack thereof.

People don’t walk around smiling.  They smile when they talk to each other, but that’s often fake, and if they’re alone, they don’t.  Go to a store and look around.  Most people aren’t smiling, they’re just ‘being’.  People in old photos don’t smile.  Photographers back then hadn’t decided that they didn’t want to look at someone unless they were smiling, I guess.  They just wanted to capture the way people actually looked.  And yes, it took forever to take a photo and no one can fake it that long.

My beloved looks sad when she is just reading or writing or thinking.  She has a little downturn to her mouth that appears when she relaxes.  She’s not sad.  She’s actually one of those people who is naturally happy and loves the world, good and bad, and radiates a light that brings everyone up.  She also has an absolutely radiant smile.  And she’s beautiful both ways.  She has a fake smile, too, that most people find beautiful.  That smile makes me sad.

I can tell the real smiles from the fake every time. Probably because of my intuitive gifts, I see the energy, the truth, straight through the lying smile.  Fake smiles hurt my heart.  If you want to learn about REAL smiles, hang with my autistic daughter. She doesn’t know how to smile a fake smile. Just can’t. So when she smiles, it’s pure joy demanding to be made manifest on her face. And it’s transformational to all around her.

I want to draw and paint smiles, but they must be real smiles, with mixed emotions and meanings and secrets, not placating smiles put on a face to make people comfortable.  I don’t smile those smiles and I don’t want to smile them on paper or canvas.  And genuine smiles are NOT easy to get ‘right’.  It’s capturing the nonphysical truth and making it physical.  That’s a challenge I want to face (ha!), but right now, I’m finding it easier and more rewarding to paint and draw the unsmiling face.  It is important and meaningful to me to find beauty in the unhappy and in the just not-smiling-happy.

Okay.  So, all that said, this face is meant to be creepy.  Because I’ve never done one like that and thought it would be fun and interesting.  And I think it is.

And I’m smiling.  🙂


Filed under 29 Faces in 29 Days, Art Journal Pages, Drawings, Watercolor

10 Second Scribble Sketches

This is so fun!  It’s an exercise from Carla Sonheim’s book, “Drawing Lab:  52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun!”  And they do!  In this one, you take a pen and make a quick, 1-second scribble.  Then you look at it to see what you see in it, then you add as few lines and marks as necessary to bring out your picture, then you add color!  For this one, I had Shan do the scribbles and I did the drawing.

Here is the before:

(Click on images to see it bigger)

And here is the after:

And here is our favorite of all of them:

“Snake in an apron with coffee”

And here is our second favorite, which is upside down in the image above:


I’m low energy, low motivation today after doing my morning face, so this was a great way to keep my pen moving on the paper.  I’ll definitely do some of these in my Sketchbook, and I thought it might be fun for you to see them, too.  🙂


Filed under Drawings

Face #5

This is done in my Stonehenge Faces journal with Prismacolor colored pencil.  This is the first time I’ve tried my new set and I LOVE them.  I need more colors though because all I bought was the portrait set!  I think someone still owes me a birthday present…  😀

And because…I don’t know.  I just wanted to do it.  Here he is with our view in the background.  It’s not even a sunny day like yesterday…I just wanted to go out there and take a pic.  🙂


Filed under 29 Faces in 29 Days, Drawings

6 Sketches

Brushing up (haha!  Oh wait, I didn’t use a brush.) on my sketching to get ready for my Sketchbook Project.  Each sketch took me around 10 minutes, though I didn’t use a timer.

Sakura Identi-pen (which I am sorry to say I do not recommend) on sketch paper.  The pen can’t handle fast strokes and goes dry, at least on the extra fine end, since it’s dual-ended.


Filed under Drawings, The Sketchbook Project

Face #4 (My Shan)

Face #4 is my beloved doing what she does all day, her homework on her computer.  This one took me about 30 minutes and is from a photo I took of her.

Here is the sketch:

It’s done in 03 Sensei Manga on Stonehenge paper in my Faces journal.

I was so scared to try and sketch her because I care so much about getting it right, and I’m happy with the result.  🙂


Filed under 29 Faces in 29 Days, Drawings