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  • You are never too old to set another.…(C.S. Lewis)

You are never too old to set another.…(C.S. Lewis)

Drawing Time: 20min Daily:)

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

- C.S. Lewis

Keep it Simple

Simple sketch of a woman with hanging strands of hair

Simple sketch of a man with ‘man bun’

Keep it Interesting

Inks sketch of a young woman with dyed hair

Graphite sketch of young man with beard


Concept art illustration of outdoorsman

Photo Portrait

Photo portrait of brunette woman

Photo portrait of salt and pepper bearded man


Grayscale value image of a waterfall


Watercolor illustration of a girl with flowers

Painterly image of graybeard in cap


The references provided in the newsletter span a range of skill levels. The idea is no matter where you are on your journey you’ll find something that inspires you to pull out your sketchbook.

But growth, improved skills, comes down to stretching. Ideally about 4% more than your current skill level. This is my personal goal based on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi research on flow state. It’s a good stretch goal with out being unreasonably unattainable.

The following are some of my daily sketches based on some of the ‘digitally perfect’ references provided in past issues of the newsletter. I’ll talk about methods and materials but the main point is even if we don’t hit the mark perfectly every time, are we stretching and improving…?

My material for this one were a brush pen, fineliner pen, and graphite pencils (from my MstrSktch Kit of course:)

I scribed the circle from a glass bottom with a pencil, but everything else I sketched direct with a fineliner pen. I do this because it forces me to mentally focus and carefully measure each stroke. When its so easy to ruin all your hard work (no eraser), you have no choice but to bring your A game.

After the fineliner pen work and brush pen I used graphite (HB & 4H) to add some value. This breaks some ‘medium purity’ rules. But in my humble opinion, purity is for water and not for art:) So I use whatever tools give me the results I’m looking for.

Again I worked straight onto the page with a fineliner pen. I zoomed out the size of the reference with my iphone to match the size I wanted on the page. I then did a screen shot to lock in the zoom ratio. This typically cuts off some of the reference, but once I have some main details anchored in the drawing, I can go back to the original image without all the details cut off and not loose my proportions.

The reference, even though it looks two tone, actually includes some value variation. My goal is just a quick sketch and not a highly rendered drawing, but even so I would like to reflect 80% or so the reference in my sketch with out goin all out.

Enter again my trusty HB pencil. Simply smearing some graphite on the darker, denser fineliner scribbles goes a long way toward unifying values and softening some edges while still keeping the time commitment to a minimum.

Much the same as the previous sketch, I just went with some fineliner scribbles. I did differentiate some values by pairing a cross hatching technique with a more scribbly line that matched the curly hair better.

A valuable skill to learn when using a pen to achieve value is simple an even, straight and parallel strokes. Long lines become difficult, but with a little practice you’ll find that you can pull of a short series of even parallel lines relatively easy.

This interpretation was all graphite. I very deliberately drew the dark (5B graphite) shapes. I used a blending stump to smooth out the values but not to blend between values. This meant clear shapes and very little value gradations. Which meant I took some liberties from the reference (which is the way art works:)

I also used HB and 4H graphite for additional values, and of course, the white of the paper which I was careful to leave untouched.

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