Sketchy Selfies

The Sketchbook Skool Bootkamp course included several selfie assignments. These assignments were challenging & caused me to ponder the role of self portraits in art history, the modern selfie phenomenon, & the differences between sketched selfies & ones snapped in a jiffy with a cell phone.

Some selfie tidbits:

“Although self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid-15th century that artists can be frequently identified depicting themselves as either the main subject, or as important characters in their work.” (Wikipedia)

“Your model for self portraits is the most patient one ever, and won’t be offended by the results. Unless you have a split personality, but that’s a whole different problem.” (Koosje Koene from Sketchbook Skool Seeing Lesson 2.4)

“Rather than dismissing the trend as a side effect of digital culture or a sad form of exhibitionism, maybe we’re better off seeing selfies for what they are at their best — a kind of visual diary, a way to mark our short existence and hold it up to others as proof that we were here. The rest, of course, is open to interpretation.”  (Jenna Wortham, The New York Times)

Personally, having done both, I think drawn selfies are much more enlightening than photographed selfies.

Fast & Slow Selfie

Assignment: Paint a selfie with watercolor in 60 seconds, then sketch over it with pen slowly to add details (30 mins).

Selfie of Fast & Slow Selfie

Taking a selfie of my fast & slow selfie.

Continual line selfie

Assignment: Draw a continual line selfie (AKA – Don’t pick up your pen).

Memory & Imagination Selfies

Left: Selfie drawn from memory (no mirrors or photos allowed). First sketch with my Sheaffer fountain pen!

Right: Used my reflection in the mirror as a reference & added the buttons for the imaginative element since my dad always told me that I had a little button nose & a little button chin.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about selfies!


“Study of Hands”

Have you ever looked at some of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical sketches? They’re amazing! When we were given the assignment in Sketchbook Skool to draw a loose sketch of a famous piece of art & document our observations, I opted for da Vinci’s “Study of Hands”.

Study of Hands

Share some interesting observations you’ve made about a drawing or painting.


Yes, believe it or not, that title stands for “Thank God its Monday”. It was a long emotional week last week & I was reluctant to make this post out of fear of being a “Debbie Downer”. But, here goes…

Reflection about dad 1-27-15

Reflecting about my dad.

Zimmer Soccer Teams

This was an assignment for Sketchbook Skool (, we had to draw our personal history. I decided to compare two family soccer team photos taken about 6 years apart. The photo on the top was my older sister Kara’s team coached by my parents when they were still married. The bittersweet photo on the bottom was my team coached by my divorced parents together for the last time I believe. I decided to keep the emphasis on my parents, my sister, & myself & let the other children fade into the background.

Do you ever use sketching for emotional healing? The next post will be a happy one, promise!

Sketchbooks! Get Your Sketchbooks!

I’m excited to share that I’m now selling hand-cut, hand-stitched, hand-illustrated sketchbooks/notebooks/journals/whatever-you-want-them-to-be-books in my Etsy shop!

Here are the nitty, gritty, details:

Size: 5.5 in. by 8 in.
Page count: 30 two-page spreads or 60 pages.
Cover: Sturdy chipboard.
Paper: Mixed media; 98 lb; Acid-free. (Suitable for acrylic, watercolor, pen, & pencil)
Spine: Hand-stitched & covered with Washi tape.

Here’s what they look like (there’s a cheaper blank one that you can decorate yourself):

IMG_1311 IMG_1313 IMG_1315 IMG_1320 IMG_1341

So, check them out here…if you want to…it would make my day!

Art Thief

Sketchbook Skool Bootkamp assignment number four required us to “steal”, or replicate, another artist’s style. This was a challenging assignment but I really enjoyed it & I hope to “steal” from other artists in the future.

After some deliberation, I decided to duplicate a sketch from Richard Piers Rayner who illustrated the graphic novel “Road to Perdition”. I’m usually not great at sketching cars so I’m really pleased with the result. I think my eyes went cross-eyed from all of the crosshatching though! I’m going to add more “Road to Perdition” sketches to this page when I have time.

Road to Perdition #1

Which artist’s style would you like to steal?

Materials used:

  • New sketchbook I got for Christmas from my mom 🙂 (Artist’s Loft brand 6in x 8in)
  • Faber-Castell PITT artist pens (XS & S)
  • LYRA graphite pencils

Big Hug Mug

Our third assignment for Sketchbook Skool Bootkamp challenged us to lay down a bright watercolor wash & then add a colored pencil sketch on top of it. I decided to sketch my favorite coffee mug which I’ve had for about 22 years! It was given to me as a gift from my hospital nurses to calm my nerves during an overnight stay when I was about 7 years old.

Big Hug Mug

What’s the story behind your favorite coffee mug?

Materials used:

  • New sketchbook I got for Christmas from my mom 🙂 (Artist’s Loft brand 6in x 8in)
  • Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (S)
  • Winsor & Newton watercolors
  • Prismacolor colored pencils

Dinero, Dough, Moolah, Bucks…

Sketchbook Skool Bootkampers are “making it rain” this week with their money still life sketches! Here’s mine:


For a long scary moment I stared at Mr. Lincoln’s face & contemplated sketching the front side of the bill, but ultimately decided I wasn’t up for it. So, I flipped it over & sketched the back instead. As I spent nearly two hours doing the pen sketch I was amazed by all of the tiny details I had never noticed on the bill. Can you spot the tiny #70?

Materials used:

  • New sketchbook I got for Christmas from my mom 🙂 (Artist’s Loft brand 6in x 8in)
  • Faber-Castell PITT artist pens (S & XS)
  • Winsor & Newton watercolors
  • Pentel waterbrush pens