The elder of my two sons is heading off to college this Fall, so he and I
made a visit to Western Washington University for "Summer Start," their
version of incoming orientation. While the vast majority of our time
was taken up by attending info and advising sessions, I did manage to
sketch a bit - the best way I know of getting a feel for a place. It's a
small but very beautiful campus, and the people were uniformly
welcoming and helpful. I know that the visit helped my son feel much
better about his decision - if only because he could finally inhabit the
place he'd been considering for some time. And the visit had a similar
effect on me. It's difficult to grasp the fact that one of my kids is
already going off to school, so becoming familiar with what will be his
new home-away-from-home helped put my mind at ease. Here's hoping that
my son achieves great things at WWU, and I look forward to additional
visits in the future!
I finally got myself a "smartphone," after many years of using the most
basic and inexpensive phone I could find. Funny thing is, the
pay-as-you-go plan for the new phone is actually cheaper than it was for
the old phone. (It's sneaky tricks like this that they use to get you
hooked, I think.) Anyway, I figured I would try to join the rest of the
sketchers I encounter at symposiums and other events and drag myself
into the 21st Century - if only so I can streamline the process of
photographing and sharing sketches in something like real time. So the
drawing and sharing this morning from Bucer's here in Moscow was for the
express purpose of testing this workflow. I realize that this is old
hat to most of you, dear readers, and that there's really nothing
complicated or extraordinary about taking a photo and immediately
sharing it. But for me, it was a bit of a leap.
one thing I will continue to do is actually photograph my drawings
later on, when I have access to a real camera and some decent lighting,
because I think it makes a big difference to anyone who might want to
look more closely at the work. While it's nice to get a glimpse of the
drawing "in situ," with some indication of what was being sketched, I
always like to see the drawing itself, reproduced at least reasonably
well. I'll keep trying to make this happen with the new phone, but so
far my experiments haven't been very successful. Please let me know if
you have strategies for using your phone to get good reproductions of
your sketches in the comments below. Thanks!
It already seems like a while ago that I was in Denver filming my new course on "Sketching Essentials," probably because I've been so wrapped up developing drawings for my next book. But the course is attracting a lot of folks, and it's been fun answering their questions and discussing their work. The platform that Craftsy has created for administering courses is really nice - you can watch the video segments whenever you like, and as many times as you like, and there are easy-to-use tools for asking questions, uploading your sketches, and participating in discussions.
The course was created with all levels of sketchers in mind. It's probably most clearly directed at people who are just beginning to learn, but I firmly believe that you never get "too good" to focus on the fundamentals of any skill. To the contrary, the people I admire most - in just about any field - are those who have made the fundamentals of their craft central to what they do. I hope that, in some small way, this course helps all kinds of sketchers to develop their abilities.
So if you or someone you know is interested, please click the link here and watch the overview video to get a taste of what the course is all about. Then join up, and start sketching!
One of my new books just arrived! It's being printed by three different publishers - Barron's Educational here in the US, and Search Press as well as New Burlington Books in the UK - and each one is apparently producing its own version, with a different title and a different format. They're all really nice, high-quality books ... though, if I had to pick a format I like best, I'd go with the Search Press version, which has cover flaps with a couple of my watercolors on them. But really, I'm thrilled about all three. I'll have to update this post, or create a new one, when I know where
these will be available online. I think Barron's has a pre-order page up
on Amazon already, saying it will be available March 1, but I'm not
sure about the other publishers.
I teach architecture at the University of Idaho - design studios, architectural graphics courses, and a professional practice course. One of my passions outside of teaching ... and music, and plants, and mycology, and ... is observing and understanding the world through sketching with various media, such as pencil, pen, charcoal and watercolor. Passing along the same skill and interest to students is a goal I've pursued through my teaching here in Moscow, Idaho, and through an 8-week study-abroad program in Rome each summer.