Tag Archives: illustrated journal

Sketchbook Skool

sketch of blue mocassins

“Moccasins”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

I am taking an online course by Danny Gregory called Sketchbook Skool, and the above piece was the first assignment.  The idea was to use NO pencils for a first quick outline, but to draw directly with ink.  Then to write on the sketch, and to draw something that I feel strongly about –  it was fun!  It’s also just a bit overwhelming because at last count there were over 600 students taking the course.  This means that there are over 600 very talented and fascinating folks all over the world posting their sketches and sharing their lives and commenting back and forth, and it also means that I am not going to get the housework done this weekend like I had planned.  Oh dear… hee-hee!

Technique Notes:  Danny suggested doing a watercolor background wash (actually doing a bunch of pages in advance with random colors just so you don’t have to spend as much time waiting for paint to dry), then doing a filled shape of your subject (still no pencils!) in Gouache.  Of which I have none, so I improvised with a bit of acrylic thinned with water.  It worked nicely, but I would do it a bit lighter shade of blue next time.  Then do just the edge of the shape in ink, then off you go with whatever detail you want to add.

The Watching of the Water

Accessible Deck

Yukwah Big Leaf Maple, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Summer in Oregon starts at 6:00 a.m. and lingers until after 9:30 p.m.  It’s easy to convince yourself that it will last forever.  But I am old enough to know better.  It’s here one minute, gone the next, so we’ve been doing our best to seize the season and enjoy the bounty.  The sketch above was made on the 4th of July weekend at the end of our Iron Mountain trek, a day trip from Corvallis.  Iron Mountain (33 miles east of Sweet Home on Highway 20 in the Willamette National Forest) is renowned for wildflowers (sketches in the next post I hope,) but to me, the picnic/wading stop at Yukwah afterwards is even more beautiful than the blooming meadows at their peak. 

Yukwah Campground – the name sounds weird, yeah? – is on the South Santiam River, 20 miles east of Sweet Home, and it is Awesome in the old-school sense of the word.  The community of Sweet Home, veterans,  and several volunteer groups built a wheelchair-accessible fishing deck on the banks of one of the most beautiful spots in the world (and I’ve seen some of the world).  If you can’t see the fairies in the ferns, then you are beyond hope.  When we arrived, the campground actaully had space available (gasp! on the 4th of July weekend?!!) and there was no one on the deck.  We sat there, just the two of us, with our picnic for several hours and simply watched the chartreuse waters slip past the rounded lavender boulders and fluffy clumps of grass across the river.  The old Big Leaf Maples are festooned with moss, and the sun illuminates emerald greens, lime greens, fir greens, deep greens, sparkling greens…  If I were a fisherman I would be there often – I have no idea what the fishing there is actually like, but my father taught me that it is the Watching of the Water that truly matters.  And if I were a trout or a salmon, I would be there often, in one of those dark eddies, enjoying the vivid greens and the crystal waters.  Zen, ferns, fairies, fish… name your fantasy.  It’s there, you just need to watch long enough.  Go.