Friday, November 28, 2008

Stippling With Pen and Ink

In one of my previous “Teaching Tuesday” art lessons I showed you the stippling technique of drawing and shading. It’s a collection of dots placed in just the right places and in just the right sizes. Since I am so busy with this holiday season I have to say I did not draw this cat but I am happy to show you the work of Adam Todd. He drew this with a rapidograph for the Koh-i-noor company. A rapidograph is an inking tool used by artists and draftmen. It comes in different sized points and draws a very smooth line or dots without clogging up or blotting.

This drawing is made of dots…just dots…no lines! Isn’t it amazing?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lesson #6 Grid Method For Drawing the Face of Keira Knightley

Are you ready to draw a face using the grid method? I thought we'd start with this picture of Keira Knightley featured on the cover of Glamour Magazine. Women are usually easier to draw than men, especially when they are pretty. You can choose any picture you want from a magazine or photograph (wouldn’t a portrait of a family member or friend make a nice present?).

Tape the picture at each corner to a table or desk so it doesn’t move. Using a ruler, measure and make little marks ¼” apart across the bottom of the picture. You may use your pencil right on the magazine or make a copy on your printer and use that to draw on.

Now make little marks ¼” apart across the left side.

Do the same on the top and on the right side. Make sure they line up evenly with each other. A good way to do this is to start with a line across the bottom of your picture and a line down on the left side of your picture.

Now connect the marks by drawing lines across and down, covering the whole picture as I’ve shown here.

Now number the spaces across the top and left side like this.

Next take a big sheet of paper (at least twice the size of the magazine picture) and tape each corner right next to it on your table. With a ruler Make the same number of little marks, only this time make them ½” apart across the sides, top, and bottom of your paper.

Connect the marks with lines across and down to make a grid on the big paper as shown here.

Now Number the squares starting from the top and left just like you did on your magazine picture.

Now start with your finger and find the first little square that has something in it to draw. Look at the numbers across the top and side so you don’t loose your place. Proceed square by square and draw what you see (If you need to review lesson #5, go ahead).

This can take quite a long time. But it teaches your eye how to see. With practice you will eventually be able to draw without a grid. This method is really helpful when drawing pictures with a lot of stuff in them! And it’s good for quick-sketching things in the right position.

Next week we will continue and I will add shading. The shading is what will make it look like Keira Knightley!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Balboa Park Watercolor Painting

In this watercolor painting of Balboa Park, I show San Diego...even in the winter!

1,400 acres of lush grounds and botanical gardens are located in the center of San Diego, California. With an international flare, Balboa Park showcases beautiful old Spanish-Moorish buildings constructed for the 1915-1916 Panama-California International Exposition, to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal. The park is alive with museums of art, science, and technology; food; and cultural entertainment.

21” x 17” original
Gicle’e prints 24” x 18” image size (28’ x 22” paper size) $260 150 S/N

Friday, November 21, 2008

Door Decorating with leaves for the Thanksgiving Season in Watercolor

5" x 7" orignial sold

Dear God, I am thankful for your grace, your divine influence upon our hearts and lives.

Eternal “Amazing Grace”

John Newton was at sea by the age of eleven. By age 18 he was forced to enlist on a British man-of-war. Recaptured after desertion, the disgraced sailor was exchanged to the crew of a slave ship bound for Africa.

Tribal chiefs would deliver to the Europeans stockades full of men and women, captured in raids and wars against other tribes. Buyers would select the finest specimens, which would be bartered for weapons, ammunition, metal, liquor, trinkets, and cloth. Then the captives would be loaded aboard, packed for sailing. They were chained below decks to prevent suicides, laid side by side to save space, row after row, one after another, until the vessel was laden with as many as 600 units of human cargo.

John Newton transported more than a few shiploads of the 6 million African slaves brought to the Americas in the 18th century.

It was a book he found on board--Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ--which sowed the seeds for him to know God. When a ship nearly foundered in a storm, he gave his life to Christ, turned from his ways…

…and wrote Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

I pray that you will have a thankful heart, not just for the good things, but for a creator who loves us and wants to have a relationship with us personally, to help us through this confusing life and bring justice and peace to us into eternity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lesson #5 Blending, Crosshatching, & the Grid

In our last lesson I introduced you to drawing using a grid, and shading by stippling and pencil-stroke shading. This week we will learn two more types of shading and continue with the grid.

Here we have an example of finger-blending and crosshatching.

For finger-blending use the side of your pencil and pencil-stroke some shading. Now rub and smudge it with your finger.

For crosshatching use the point of your pencil or a pen and draw little lines that cross over each other in different directions. Vary the stroke by making some of them close together and others farther apart so you get the darkness or lightness you prefer.

Now let’s take a small picture of an elephant (pretend you see it in a magazine) and with a pencil draw 5 evenly spaced vertical lines (up and down) right onto the picture. Next draw 4 evenly spaced horizontal lines (crosswise) on the picture.

Next go get a big sheet of paper and draw 5 big evenly spaced vertical lines on the paper and 4 big evenly spaced horizontal lines on your paper. Just like on the small picture, only bigger! And draw an outside border around the area on your big piece of paper.

Review my previous lesson (#4) and draw your elephant (just like you learned last week when we drew the ice cream cone and gorilla) onto your piece of paper. The only difference is that you are drawing bigger.

Now try it all again with a picture of a football!

Now erase the pencil lines on your big drawing and shade the elephant with finger-blending and shade the football with crosshatching. And add a shadow on the ground like one of the examples above (review lesson #4).

Here’s an extra picture of a cowboy boot you can practice on. Maybe shade it with stippling or pencil strokes like you learned last week.

*Remember you can click and drag these pictures onto your destktop and print them.

Next week we will begin to learn how to draw a human face. See you next Tuesday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Watercolor Painting of Frolicking Horses

This watercolor painting is of a couple horses from that same ranch near Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center, California that I told you about in an earlier post. They were trotting, running, nipping, and just generally teasing each other!

12” x 9” original sold

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Watercolor Painting of a Cute Little Duck

This watercolor painting depicts a cute little duck that swims with all the rest of the mallards, Wigeons, and Pintails in the lake near our house. It's bill has a slight down-turn, which is kind of unique, but I don't know what kind it is!
12" x 10" original

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lesson #4 Shading, light source, & Grid Drawing

I will now introduce you to shading, your light source, and grid drawing.
Last week I left you with these images and asked you to guess what they are.

Now I have added lines to make shapes.

Here I have added shading to the shapes and shadows on the ground.

And look what happens when I lower the shadows down so they do not touch the shapes. It looks like the shapes are floating in the air above the ground.

Do you notice there is a yellow dot in these previous two illustrations? That is the sun! Notice on the items that the shadows are on the opposite side of where the sun is shining from.

Notice the Shadows are the same shape as the contour shapes we started with – only smashed flat!

Remember stippleing? Now I’ll introduce you to pencil stroke-shading.

Stippled fish. Pencil-stroke shaded ball.

Now we will begin learning to draw. And I will continue to add more and more about shading and shadows as we progress.

See the ice cream cone in the box with squares numbered from 1 to 16? Do you also see the box to the right with squares numbered from 1 to 16? But it has no ice cream cone, does it?

Now I want you to draw an ice cream cone in the other big box, and this is how: Look at the first big box in square #1. Is it empty? Then go to the second big box to square #1 and leave it empty. Now go back to the first big box in square #2, do you see a curved line in the bottom right-hand corner of square #2? Go to the second big box and draw that curved line in square #2. Notice where your lines start and stop at the edges of each square. Is it the same as in the other big box? Now go back to the first big box and notice what’s in square #3 and draw that curved line in the second big box in square #3.

Continue on like this until all the squares are just like those in the first big box.

Then do the same thing with the gorilla if you would like. It’s a little harder because of all the hair!

This exercise teaches your eyes to notice things and is very important in learning how to draw. It’s called drawing with a grid. Eventually you will learn to measure what you see without using a grid

*(note: Some computers will allow you to click and drag these illustrations to your desktop, enlarge them a bit, and print them from your computer.)

See you back here next Tuesday! (If you have missed a lesson just scroll down and you will find it on a previous posting.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Illustrating Dusty’s Beary Tales in Watercolor

This is a painting I did for the cover of a children’s book called Dusty’s Beary Tales published back in 1996. When illustrating a children’s book it is customary to read the manuscript first and then do the illustrations. I painted over 100 original illustrations for this whole project, and not all of them were used in the book, which has 8 chapters.

I had 9 weeks to complete all 100+ illustrations. I was given the first 3 chapters to illustrate in the first 7 weeks and the last 5 chapters to illustrate in the last 2 weeks. So I worked ‘round the clock with a nap here and there! Our kids were very little at the time so you can imagine…and we couldn’t afford a babysitter!

Each illustration had to be sketched first, and then approved by the publisher before I could begin painting, which was especially challenging with so many chapters in the last 2 weeks! As I finished each chapter’s main painting, I boxed it and shipped it individually because of the tight deadline. I grouped the smaller illustrations and shipped them in bunches. Each painting is done double (16” x 20”) the size of the finished book.

But…sketching and painting isn’t all that goes into illustrating…there’s research! And the internet was just beginning back then! So I spent a lot of daylight hours at the library looking for pictures of log cabins, furniture, foliage, pine trees, bee hives, wagons, lanterns, vintage stoves, costumes, musical instruments, toys, little forest creatures… etc!

It’s long, hard work! But fun work (after it’s over)!

My talented sister-in-law, Ruthann Winans co-authored this book. She is an amazingly creative writer and idea person who has written several books. Check her blog out on at

16” x 20” original painting
8" x 10" approx. finished book size

Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning To Fly In Watercolor

This is a portrait of my brother and the plane he flew when he was getting his pilot’s license. It’s a Champ that was probably built in 1958 by Champion. It originally was a Tri-Champ with tricycle gear (little wheel in front) but was converted to conventional gear (little wheel in back) in the field. The plane’s home was in Arizona at that time, then it was sold to someone in Texas, and then sold to a man who restored it near Denver, Colorado. My brother happened to notice it several years ago parked at the airport where he keeps his Citabria. The tail number was indistinguishable; but the horrible paint scheme was a dead give-away, as it was unimaginable that there could be more than one airplane with those awful colors. He was able to share some laughs with the owner, about learning to fly in his bird.

I had fun painting this portrait even though I didn't know very much about painting skin tones. I have learned a little more since then!

24” x 32” Original

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lesson #3 Shading and Dots

Guess what these images are (Yes, another guessing game!). Next week I will add lines, shading, and shadow. Shading will show you how drawings take shape. Shadow will show where the shapes are positioned in your drawing – interesting! I hate to keep you in suspense, but trust me, it’s for a purpose…so check back next Tuesday for the “reveal”!

Meanwhile, here are some dots. Big, little, round, varied. Some are positioned close together and some are far apart. Some overlap and some are different colors. Did you know there were so many kinds of dots?

This Greyhound dog is drawn with ink in nothing but dots! No lines, or shading. This technique is called stippling. A stipple here, a stipple there, everywhere stipples! And if you stipple in just the right places you soon have a picture! Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to do that later!

These are basics. You will learn more and more basics to make great, drawings and paintings! Meet you back here next Tuesday!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yellow Watercolor Rose

10 x 16  watercolor
A little experiment here of a traditional Yellow Rose watercolor painting with a look of contemporary-style framing! Because of the detail this painting of roses took me about a week to paint after I decided on my composition, color design, and finished the pencil sketch. There are usually a couple weeks involved in preparation before I actually stretch the paper, let it dry, and actually begin painting. During the preparation time I usually work on other projects simultaneously.