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New Tools and Tricks Workshop

1st Annual Top Drawers Workshop, Eugene, OR

We started the new year out with a lot of enthusiasm, new sketchbooks and blank pages to do pre-sketching preparation (which was new to a lot of us). What sketches will come of this?

   Sketchers eagerly gathered around tables to explore tools and techniques – blocks of watercolor wash, rubber stamping for borders, airbrush colored backgrounds, and spray using stencils. We had SO much fun, we decided it should be an annual event.

      Barb So started with a watercolor wash on a blank page, Marsha used tape to form a edge for hers, and Tricia snuck a stamp into her watercolor sketch of our feet!

      Daisy got us right into using rubber stamps to form page borders and to title our sketchbooks. Lealan loved the stamp variety.

      Lona and Marnie used a  stamp repeatedly to form a pattern, and Jane used a torn stick-it note stencil to spray her first page & added a stamp, then wrote the number of this sketchbook (35!).

      And speaking of using sprays, here are examples using a stencil, and using stick-it notes to create white spaces.  Another effect was created by re-spritzing. Hugh stencil was so juicy he used it to stamp it onto another page.

      Ken was the master teacher in how to use the airbrush setup with Copic Markers to give background to the page, and then do a sketch on top of it (even if you hadn’t planned what you were going to do).

       He had a very attentive group who were then eager to try it out.

      OK, here goes! Penny did airbrush on top of rubber stamps, Sandy made a border with hers much to Ken’s approval.

     Airbrush on top of rubber stamp, using a stencil, and finally using watercolor on top of the airbrushed background. Zow.

We had a blast!

It’s All in How You See It

Mes Amis Cafe, Eugene, OR

It was the day after Christmas, but 11 of us showed up anyway to sketch at this delightful little coffee shop: Daisy, Bev, Lona, BarbS, Erik, Marsha, Ken, Hugh, Sandy, (Jane with camera, Lealan later).

        Daisy was sitting directly across from this charming snowman display, but she wasn’t the only one to sketch it!

        Bev saw it at nearly the same angle, but she added some designs of her own and went on to sketch what was outside the south window.

   And speaking of windows, here’s Erik’s beginning sketch of a window in his mind’s eye. More to come with this one!

     Lona was preoccupied with sketching a favorite cup from a photo, but did it with her signature colorful background.

          Barb So had her back to the snowman display, so she sketch what was in front of her – a lovely little bouquet, and Bev’s cookie!

    Daisy’s friend Lynda came to see what we did when we got together, and was intrigued by the different sketching styles, including Hugh’s.

     Hugh seems to be enjoying the contrast of sketching on black paper, as well as on white with his markers & vibrant wax crayons.

       Marsha is really immersing herself in color, doing a study where she utilized a quilting pattern for background texture, and color chart.

               Jane was at the end of the table, and this is the angle she saw of the snowman display, with all the detail she just couldn’t omit.

      Sandy was seated further around the end of the table, and this was her perspective on the snowman display.

    Lealan sat next to Hugh, so her chosen sketch view was of the condos out the north windows – love that color block & line sketch.

      Then Sandy started sketching a painting on the wall – what a cutie! We really enjoyed being here, and look forward to coming back.

What a little tone and color will do!

Allan Bros. Beanery, 5th St., Eugene, OR

We really spread out all over the place today! Nearly all of us can be seen here starting left: Barb So (with Barb Sh beyond her), Daisy, Sandy, Marnie, Helga, Lona, Katie, Hugh, Erik, Bev & Ken.

      Sandy, Barb So, Satoko, Barb Sh, Daisy, Marnie; Helga, Lona, Katie, Hugh, Erik; Satoko, Bev, Ken.

        Barb So starts her sketch with an inked line drawing, Sandy with a new sketchbook and inspirational sticker, and Erik reminisces.

       Barb Sh explains about her signature style, ink then watercolor brush to bring out the tones, and proceeds to demonstrate.

     Daisy adds more detail before she will go on to add color.

      Marnie wondered how to fix some perspective issues – more ink, add color! Wow, did that ever do the job! Nice work.

   Jane was sitting across from Marnie, looking through the windows of the store next door. One light led to another, then color & tone.

        Helga started with a simple plant, then moved on to add the challenging architecture, then added tones & shadow. That did it!

      Lona must be the queen of color – she made this sketch sing!

      Katie wondered why she picked the building architecture to do, but see how adding the shadow tones made it all come together!

      Hugh started out with white jelly roll pen, added the wax oil crayons, and look how that sketch of arches pops! He says it’s Erik’s fault.

      Bev dove right into the interesting angles of the beams, then couldn’t resist sketching the bear in it’s charming pose.


Satoko’s attention was captured by the ceiling fans and lights framed by the windows. The hatch marks bring depth and perspective.

Drawing from many sources

Allan Bros. Beanery, 5th St., Eugene, Oregon

What a great turnout! Marsha, Katie, Ken, Erik, Hugh, Sandy, Penny, Barb Sh. So many came we had to add an upper floor annex: Bev, Barb So, & Lealan (with Jane behind the camera, of course). 

       The stuffed bear on a metal rack caught the attention of Bev & Jane (above), as well as Barb So. & Penny. That bear was so loveable!    

Barb Sh. came with a “map” of a recent trip, and proceeded to continue filling in her colorful response to the events.    

    Hugh took on the challenge of sketching some beauty berries encased in ice on his black paper – those wax crayons do it!

   Hugh started in on a sunflower after that, while his wife Sandy took on one of her favorite subject, another bird – the best twitter.

      Erik continued to build on a sketch he started last time – wowza!

     Like Erik, Ken doesn’t need to see an object to draw what’s in his mind’s eye. I suspect that tree will continue to evolve – check back!

      Katie started out with a page of calligraphied words capturing memories of a Thanksgiving outing, then a lighthouse sketch came.

      Marsha was determined to get to know her Inktense watercolor pencils, and started laying out a grid, then water brush, and on.

    Lona used the page she prepared last week to do a study of people, following tips from a book she brought along. Very effective.

       Meanwhile, Bev sketches the group from her viewpoint in the upper “annex” platform.

       Lealan recounted how fascinated she was with the crows in the bare branched trees that she saw on her walk – look how they came alive!

Variety is the Sketching Spice

5th St. Market, Eugene, OR

Here they are, up for the sketching challenge: Ken, Lona, Daisy, Helga, Bev, Barb So (& Jane behind the camera). Bring it on!

        Bev captures the scene out the door to Mindy’s shop, then moves on to the poinsettia under the tree, & a nice motto, too!

        Helga started with a single poinsettia, then let her artistic license take over with added context, and even the store lettering – wow!

       Daisy’s sketch of the scene at Mindy’s was selective, with just enough detail and color to make it a compelling portrait. Nice!

     Jane’s getting good at a quick food sketch so she can also quickly demolish the model. Then back to a favorite topic – a flower.

      Barb So had time to let her poinsettia sketch develop and try doing a sketch of Lona sitting across from her. Yay for trying something new!

      Lona’s love of vibrant color is an inspiration – she finishes one sketch and moves on to do a background for another (note brush size).

        Ken’s sketch built on a quick wash he’d put down before, and didn’t it work out well for capturing the scene before him!

        Lona was frustrated in drawing the round tables outside, & Ken asked her if she wanted some help – yes! The table is only round if you see it from a bird’s perspective – see how the circle collapses into a skinny oval from our perspective? And here’s the result!

Never to Busy to Sketch in the Holidays

Nov. 28, 2017 – 5th St. Market, Eugene, OR

   We really liked being able to spread ourselves out here. Helga, Katie, Hugh, Bev, Daisy, & Barb Sh on the left; Lona, Sandy, Barb So, & Ken on the right (with Jane behind the camera, and a few more to come!).

       Helga had a squash sketch from home, then started sketching the scene across from us – look at all those tiles! Next she’s trying color.

        Katie had some lovely sketches to show us, then started in with what was in front of her, saying why did it turn out so small! (& delightful)

      Hugh was smugly pleased with his sketch of Jane’s panna cotta, then moved on to a sketch of bleeding hearts. This guy is getting good!

       Marsha joined us for a quick sketch of colorful pot on the counter, and across from her in a flash appearance was Penny!

        Bev really got going on the poinsettias on the table – lovely as usual!

      Daisy took on the traditional challenge of sketch before you eat, and managed to get a poinsettia sketch done in the corner of the page!

      Barb Sh was pleased with her page of her daughter’s dogs, then took her favorite pen to draw the poinsettia – look at the watercolor, too!

       Lona started off with a pencil sketch, had to do a design on the next page while she was waiting for watercolor to dry before layering!

      Barb So had Marsha’s tool display across the table from her, a perfect subject for sketching!

      Sandy walked off this morning without a sketch book, so hubby Hugh volunteered his “emergency sketchbook” and Ken volunteered his eye study for a subject. She put that book to use!

      Ken was adding to his “landscapitos” from a recent trip, then adding to previously started pages, one with interesting color shapes.

      Jane abandoned her ink sketch of her plum panna cotta so she could eat it, and then sketched an outside decorated lantern (in pencil!).

      Lealan came by just in time to show her sketch from a family visit, then quickly got down to sketching three of the group! Nice start.

Lots of Things Going on with this Group!

16 Tons Café, Eugene, OR

    You have to keep your eye on the musical chairs! Left: Barb So, Penny, Bev, Marsha; right: Daisy, Barb So, Helga, Bev, Marsha.

       And in this corner, Lona and Erik, soon joined by Satoko!

      Barb So doesn’t need a musical chair game to keep moving – here’s a persimmon done at home, a quick tree and a person  sketch, too!

      Bev is on a roll with preparing her pages ahead of time with stamped patterns, and then look how she incorporates them in the sketch.

     Marsha does an inked line drawing and then does she ever get into color! Who needs three hands when you have so many fingers.

     Daisy was fascinating with the paintings on the wall at the café, and imagined one of them on her coffee cup!

            Helga zeroed in on one of the paintings (see middle photo), too, then let whimsy take over the rest of her sketch. What fun.

        Lona used a photograph as inspiration for her signature style – so vivid and full of life.

     Erik (remember him in the corner?) was kept busy doing color value studies.

      Satoko said, “This is what you do when you make a mistake (in ink).” What used to be the beginning of a person, becomes a structure!

         And meanwhile, Jane was playing with two different water soluble ink pens. Bev tried the Elegant Writer – yes, it’s juicy!

Sketch what you eat!

16 Tons Cafe, Eugene, OR

          We like this cozy cafe, where we can spread out – Hugh, Erik, Sandy, Bev; Ken, Marsha, Danita, Daisy, Lealan; Danita, Barb Sh, Katie.

       Hugh was really cranking them out – a new coversheet for a new sketchbook, and he was off! Nice black on white sketch, too.

     Erik tempted Sandy with the whipped cream on his lemon curd crepes, but it didn’t slow down her sketching of mini portraits.

        Here’s how Erik’s sketch evolved – love those colors!

        Bev got a lot of sketches done (including one of Erik in the middle).

       Jane’s sketches were of her new favorite dish – avocado on toast!

        Marsha chose the same topic, but used colored pencils instead – what a lovely rendition!

       Ken’s sketchbooks are never “done” – he keeps going back and adding new depth, a new study, a new use of a previously done wash.

      Daisy almost forgot to sketch her food before she ate it all, but managed to do her all time scope of sketching anyway.

      It’s so interesting to see how Lealan’s sketches evolve – wow!

      Danita looks at Barb Sh’s finished sketch page done at her toy store, and then Barb Sh is off on a new page spread sketch.

        Danita worked on adding layers to a previously started sketch, and then shared a sketch she’d done recently at a performance.

        Katie faced the dilemma of what to do first – sketch or eat? And she solved it by taking a photo of the food. Ha!

Sketchers Revert to Childhood with Great Joy!

The Dancing Weasel Toy Shop, Eugene, OR

        Danita invited us to sketch in her toy store – here she is showing a recent watercolor sketch, and chortling at Ken immediately at work.

          Ken said he only brought a yellow marker, so his sketch choice was dictated by something yellow – a fun choice, as it turned out!

We fit right into the space – in front are Sandy, Hugh, & Ken.

        Ken checks with the group in back – Barb Sh, Barb So, Danita & Bev; & Hugh welcomed Erik to the event – where to begin to sketch!

   Sandy & Barb A enjoyed the scones Danita provided for us, then Barb A chose a gorilla costume arm for her sketching subject.

      Sandy focused in on two darling little dolls – turned out well!

      Hugh’s enjoying the drama of white on black for his sketches.

     Erik found a little doll house scene to sketch.

        Barb Sh was intrigued by the articulated wooden dragon.

    Jane sketched a smaller dragon, then tried some new metallic pencils with a sketch of some of the large lego blocks on the table.

        Barb So found the little alligator to her liking – nice sketch!

        Bev, never one to shirk a challenge, took on the hanging wall display, and did it ever turn out well.

        Lealan saw the little cookstove, and that was all it took to get going.

      Daisy couldn’t just do one item, they were all too tempting!

      Finally Danita gave herself a break from hostessing to sketch the row of large stuffed toys – she wanted to do the pineapple, she said.

And did I mention music? The wheels on the bus go round and round. The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout. OK, so we sang along!

Sketching and Sharing – things we do well!

Café Yumm, 18th St., Eugene, OR

     Marsha, Lona, Daisy, Penny, Erik, Bev, Hugh, Katy, Barb Sh, Ken; Katy, Ken, Marsha, Lona, Penny, Erik, Bev.

     Erik, Bev, Hugh; Katy, Ke, Barb Sh, Barb So, Marsha, Lona.

Then Annie and Judith stopped by on their world travels to say “Hi!”

      Bev came in costume! The Barbs show each other their sketches.

Barb Sh finished her sketch of a recent concert at the mausoleum.

    Penny quickly did an inside sketch, and Bev sketched the outside of the cafe. Nice!

     Daisy sketched the counter, and a pig toy in a nearby store window.

       Erik was working on a moonlight picture, while Hugh captured the new planting box outside the cafe.

     Sandy was working on a loose watercolor sketch of birds on a rail.

     Katy was baffled about how to finish her page – Ken suggested she add some words, and so she did!

    Marsha started working on a colored pencil drawing – see what she did in a recent class. What a wonderful autumn leaf rendition!

       Lona used her pencil lid to get some straight lines, and Tricia continued her exploration of loose watercolor.

         And what Jane did was share an interesting sketch done by Urban Sketcher Tarek Souissi from Tunisia. Here are the tools he used.