I taught dinosaur drawing at the Smithsonian!

I taught dinosaur drawing at the Smithsonian!

Some of you may know I’m visiting my family on the east coast. My mom has been very very sick, and I’ve extended my stay to be with her longer. But that doesn’t mean I’m shirking my work here with my art! 

I took a day last week, before Easter, when I could get away by myself to do something I love – sketching. And since I was in Washington DC, I took advantage of the free admission at the Smithsonian’s National History Museum to see the dinosaurs I “grew up” with! We had many a field trip to that place, and I wanted to see if it was as magical as I remembered.


For today’s video I’ve got some simpler toes to share, along with some museum footage that’s pretty fun!

 

Tutorial: I taught dinosaur drawing at the #Smithsonian!!

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Wooly Mammoth

The first fossil i visited was right inside the entrance of Fossil Hall – a wooly mammoth! There wasn’t anywhere to sit, which encourages FAST drawing – I was balancing my sketchbook while tucked in a corner, trying to stay out of everyone’s way. 

T-Rex and Triceratops

Next was the enormus Tyrannosaurus Rex munching down on a Triceratops. Oh all those BONES! I skimped on detail on the Triceratops because it was getting crowded in the area I was standing.

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Sauropod Diplodocus

For this dino I was looking straight up at his head, and his body was further back and facing me straight on – that’s called foreshortening.

Brown Bear

By the time I left Fossil Hall I was a bit tired from all the standing. I found a spot in front of the bear that was PERFECT! That’s when more kids started gathering around me and watching. I showed them how I looked at the bear’s shapes – haunches, legs, back, and ears. When I started the hatching, if the group was small enough I’d let each one make a few of the hatch marks for me in the darkest areas. (That way I could tie them in more easily to the rest of my line work). A lot of the kids said they’d go try it at home, too!

African Elephant

As I was at the end of my day I saw an empty bench in the entry hallway – a large round space with an enormous elephant! So much fun to have more kids hanging around. I even had one mom ask if I’d keep her boys there while she took her daughter to the restroom – I must look trustworthy!?

Dinosaur Toes!

If you’d like to try your hand at dino toes, now’s your chance! For the video I opted for these simple bones, since I’m limited in my tech available for making videos.  Feel free to download the reference photo and create your own toe drawing!

Update 

For those following along on my journey with my family: Mom is struggling. It won’t be long now, but she’s 94 and has lived a long and full life. I’ve had the blesssing of walking through this last number of days of her journey on this earth; especially close moments were when I brought my computer to her bedside and we prayed the Stations of the Cross together and celebrated Easter mass with her church’s livestream and some donuts and Ensure as communion. 🙂 Please continue to pray that the coming days are peaceful and pain-free for her.

I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I do hope to contunie creating art to share here. As I said in the video, I’m quite limited in equipment, so I don’t promise a lot, but – if you could, please do play the video through. I’m in need of figuring out how to pay for this extended and unexpected trip, and need to keep up with my business.

If you’d like to assist…

  1. you can do so for free by just putting on one of my playlists and letting it run!
  2. purchase an art course
  3. purchase original art 
  4. join my Patreon for $1 or more a month

Every little bit helps, and makes it possible for me to create free videos and training like I do on this blog and YouTube.

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Pentallic sketchbook
  2. Micron Pens  BLICKAMZ 
  3. Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencil
  4. Faber Castell Kneaded Eraser

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Sketching Outside (PowellsWood Gardens, Snoqualmie Falls)

Sketching Outside (PowellsWood Gardens, Snoqualmie Falls)

With the advent of these lovely first days of early spring – it’s time to get outside and sketch! I did so twice recently and you’ll see some of both; the main one that I have the most footage from is going to PowellsWood Gardens again (yes the same one in the class!) this past week to celebrate the spring equinox. The other is older from a few weeks back, a little jaunt to Snoqualmie Falls in a sketch session that ended up a soaking wet disaster!

Tutorial: Sketching Outside (PowellsWood Gardens, Snoqualmie Falls)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Gouache

As an opaque watercolor, gouache can be easily layered as you saw in the video. Darker colors first, lighter on top. You can also go back in with more darks or midtones, but dark to light most often works out best. Bigger brushes at the start, then smaller ones as you reach details. And I love a good Pentallic sketchbook – excellent surface for gouache, in any size.

Sketching outside with gouache, for me, is most easily done with my sketchbook attached to an L shaped Sketch Easel – got mine on Etsy from True’s Hard Goods. It’s got a little connector on the bottom that hooks up to any standard tripod. I like to sit on a folding stool (mine is a hunting one, one day I need to replace the fabric in the seat to something more creative than camo!) with the book on the top of the easel, paints and water resting on the flat part.

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DIY sketchbook

You can make your own sketchbook out of your favorite paper! Drawing, painting, whatever you create on, have at it. In the video below, seen in the free pre-class lesson of the Travel Sketches 2 class, you can see how I made the one that got dunked in the river! (The rest is about supplies for class.)

Thank you

To all who  have sent me such lovely messages this week, my heartfelt thanks goes out to you! Sometimes when you fall into a spiral, the best thing to do is just….well….talk it out. At least for me. It may not be the most pleasant – and it has its downsides, as I found out in posting publicly about it. 

But even with that, I received messages from several artists who were glad that SOMEONE finally said out loud what we all go through. When you’re an independent artist, life’s hard. So I now have a new tribe of people to message with privately when things get overwhelming, and that’s a lovely benefit from what this week has wrought.

So thank you for being kind and loving, I appreciate you more than you know!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

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Acrylic Ink Doodle on Black

Acrylic Ink Doodle on Black

I’m a noob to acrylic inks and….I may be hooked.

Previously I had avoided them. If I couldn’t put it IN a pen, what would I want to get a bunch of opaque inks for? I’d have to figure out dip pens, and since I hadn’t had a lot of success with the cheapo dip pens I had bought over the years, new inks would mean new pens and well – who’s got money for all that?

Well I only bought ONE new pen. A new cheap glass pen (not used here because it didn’t do bupkus with the acrylic ink) – and for the rest I used some of the nibs and the pen holder that I’d already had. So at least that’s solved – even if now I just have one color to play with. Ha! Anyone got a lottery ticket I can use for more new inks?? heehee!

Tutorial: Acrylic Ink Doodle on Black

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Ultra Marina

This one is the Ultra Marina acrylic ink – waterproof! Do NOT put it in a pen, unless you like gumming up a fountain pen. If you end up with dried ink, isopropyl alcohol is supposed to clean that off – soaking it if needed. No reaction with water or bleach after dry so it won’t lift.

Unfettered Flight

A duochrome light blue with what they call a pink/gold shimmer (looks more bronzey to me? Maybe that’s all the same!) is Unfettered Flight. Shake it well so you mix that shimmer around in it. And use enough to get that shimmer on the paper; a super light wash is just the pretty blue. Lifts well with bleach.

That crazy nib

When digging through my box of pen nibs I found this wide one that I bought quite a number of years ago. I looked for the UK company I bought it from and couldn’t locate them, but did find some others and ordered a few nibs – the ones on the way are significantly cheaper than this one, as I remember it being pricey. Once all that comes in I’ll post another video with some recommendations if those nibs work well – this one seems to have some layers that it doesn’t look like the others have and I don’t know if that’ll be good or bad.

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Other nibs

Since I’m only just starting out with dip pens and the nib sets I had bought also a very long time ago, I don’t know what they all do and what marks they make, so I just played around and tested some out. The fancy “handle” I have needs some repair – the metal neck keeps falling off the stick part. LOL.

And then a brush

The handle of my dip pen also doesn’t fit down into the small bottle neck, so I decided to try out a brush instead – a Script Liner brush that I never use for anything else. Worked pretty nicely not only to stir up the duochrome but then to make doodled lines!

Update!

I’ll be turning the garden drawing into a class, it appears about a dozen folks on YouTube said they’d be interested. And given that my mortgage company needs me to pay them for some reason, I’ll take a dozen  🙂 I’m also in progress on two ink and wash courses, so hang tight for those too – they’ve been waiting for my voice to return!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Ferris Wheel Press:
    1. Ultra Marina Acrylic Ink 
    2. Unfettered Flight Ink 
    3. Unfettered Flight Fountain Pen 
  2. StonehengeBlack Watercolor Paper 
  3. Silver Black Velvet script liner brush 
  4. I don’t have brand/size info on other pens used
Tri-Color Ink Painting (Ferris Wheel Press)

Tri-Color Ink Painting (Ferris Wheel Press)

Hello there, and welcome to the second post in my Ferris Wheel inks pair! At the end of this post is a special request so I’d appreciate it if you scroll through to the end 🙂

If you missed my last post – let me reprise:

I’m so excited to bring a new partner into my world: Ferris Wheel Press! You may know how much I love pen and ink – not only drawing with it but painting too. And inks that have spectacular properties like many of FWP’s? Oh baby!

I was so thrilled to receive a message from Ferris Wheel a few weeks ago, inviting me to partner with them. I’ve been off the shopping train for a while now, so receiving their new releases is going to be such a treat. And I’ll receive a small commission when you make a purchase – at no extra cost to you.

But this partnership is not just good for me. It’s good for YOU!  

Use ALLNOCK at checkout and you’ll get 10% off your purchase at Ferris Wheel Press!

 

See my previous post for the swatching of these three newly-released colors:

 

The Sherry Sonata

Knitted Nettle

Aurorealis

Tutorial: Tri-Color Ink Painting

I challenged myself to create a painting using all three inks – and not just sandwiching them together, but to find a nice way to do it. What do you think of my flamingo?

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Soft pink

I wanted to see JUST how soft I could turn that pink – so I mixed ink and water in a little bowl, and also wet the paper thoroughly first.

Warmer when dark!

Inks do such different things compared to watercolor – the brick-like color of Sherry Sonata is a soft, cool pink when applied lightly as in the previous photo. But when more ink is applied it gets darker and more brown. Mixed with some purple in the Auroreolis, it made for an insteresting swirling blend in the beak.

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Recovery mode

After realizing too late that I hadn’t dried the paper completely – I had a bloop! But making the entire Knitted Nettle background darker worked nicely, and I used water from the plunger inside of my water bottle to create some light bokeh texture.

Pink feathers

Managing the amount of water vs ink in the mix was a challenge – more water in the areas nearest the highlight, then a more dense ink mixture for shadows within shadows, while keeping the color still very light so I don’t lose the pink hue.

What I love about ink painting

While it’s stressful – I love that ink “does its thing” faster than watercolor. Not that I love panicking when ink starts to run, but it causes me to stay in the moment. I can’t “plan” the outcome as well as I can with watercolor! I think more ink painting will likely make me a better watercolorist too—I’m looking forward to this journey with Ferris Wheel Press!

Special request

I have a small request for you: can you help me with the YouTube algorithm? They changed something in the last month or so, and I’m hearing it’s not just me, lots of artists had a sudden drastic drop in views. More than a 50% drop!

I’d like to ask you to do something that I do for channels I like:

Go to the YT channel, click on the “videos” tab, and hit play, and let it run. I do this in a background tab while I’m doing other things on my computer, muting YT if needed so I can do my other tasks, and rack up views for my favorite artists. Even if they’re only videos I occasionally want to see, I can support them and help their channel by letting the videos play and tapping a thumbs up on a bunch of them.

It’s not a huge effort, but can mean a ton to a channel. You see, far from YouTubers getting rich, my own payments each month average about $150-$200. And with 2 videos a week, 4 weeks a month…I’m spending the majority of my time every month creating free content for… about $200. It’s not sustainable when I’m struggling to pay basic bills, and I am finally seriously entertaining how to move forward if things keep going backwards on YT with the new algorithm settings they’ve employed.

I would be so grateful if you’d just let the videos play – of course watching and getting inspired would be great too, but at this point….I’ll be happy for whatever you can do.

Thank you for the support of my work!

PS If you’re interested in doing more to support my work, you can also join Patreon, take a class, purchase an original….all the usuals!)

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Ferris Wheel Press The Sherry Sonata (red-pink) 
  2. Ferris Wheel Press Knitted Nettle (turquoise) 
  3. Ferris Wheel Press Aurorealis (purple) 
  4. Arches Cold Press sheets

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Unboxing & Swatch-Testing Inks (Ferris Wheel Press)

Unboxing & Swatch-Testing Inks (Ferris Wheel Press)

I’m so excited to bring a new partner into my world: Ferris Wheel Press! You may know how much I love pen and ink – not only drawing with it but painting too. And inks that have spectacular properties like many of FWP’s? Oh baby!

I was so thrilled to receive a message from Ferris Wheel a few weeks ago, inviting me to partner with them. I’ve been off the shopping train for a while now, so receiving their new releases is going to be such a treat. And I’ll receive a small commission when you make a purchase – at no extra cost to you.

But this partnership is not just good for me. It’s good for YOU!  

Use ALLNOCK at checkout and you’ll get 10% off your purchase at Ferris Wheel Press!

Let me introduce you to their newest three ink colors – I’ll show you how I swatch inks and test them to see what they can do!

Tutorial: Unboxing and Swatch-Testing Inks

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

The Sherry Sonata

This pretty brick-colored ink fades out to a soft pink with water. But it’s rich enough in full strength to draw or write with too! On Saturday I’ll hopefully have a line drawing here to share.

Knitted Nettle

A turquoise that’s so lovely – lifts slightly with water, and has a little bit of shimmery sparkle when used in enough quantity. I’ll see about getting better pics of it as I play with it this week, come back Saturday for more!

Aurorealis

A pretty purple that turns pale bright blue with bleach! It’s got a bit of gold sparkle to it that’s lovely. The  bleach may have been what caused the dulling of it, I’ll be playing with it more this week to see what it takes to get it to shimmer!

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My Rorschach (ish) Test

Seeing the blue show up on the Aurorealis swatch made me want to play more! On the swatch it was liquid bleach on dry paper – when I added it wet in wet, it was an explosion of bright blue in a sea of purple! 

What else should I paint with these colors?

I’d love your ideas, I’ll be playing with them this week!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Use coupon code ALLNOCK at Ferris Wheel Press
    1. The Sherry Sonata (red-pink) 
    2. Knitted Nettle (turquoise) 
    3. Aurorealis (purple) 
  2. Arches Cold Press sheets

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Art confidence vs competence + “Lets Draw Together”

Art confidence vs competence + “Lets Draw Together”

Is becoming confident at art as important as competence? Or is competence more critical?

I’ve got a little story to share that’ll hopefully help make sense of the difference between them, and how we move forward from one to the other!

Even though I figured out on Monday while writing my Tuesday blog post that Letter Writing Week is actually next week, I’m still celebrating! And the party will continue into Tuesday’s so….I’m just sprawling all over January, eh?

Tutorial: Art confidence vs competence

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Let’s draw together!

I’m launching a little initiative for 2024! After seeing a rather large contingent of artists taking the 30 Days watercolor class together during World Watercolor Month last year, I wanted to make that a more normal “thing” for us all. So I’m going to be challenging more people to do art together.

That starts with ME. I’m used to creating a class then just moving on to the next class I’d like to share. But instead, I’ll be “taking” my own classes – WITH YOU – and we’ll all post our homework together in Artventure,. We’ll share our challenges, our delights, our aha moments. I’ll  be putting a new “spin” on some lessons and provide extra tips in the classrooms as I do, so if the class we do is one you’ve already taken, you’ll get to stretch your skills!

I hope that will help us to lift each other up when we think we can’t do another lesson. When life gets us down we know the group is excited to see us finish our piece and post it. Social media isn’t anxiously awaiting our next post, but our buddies? They are!

 I’ve chosen the first two classes to start things off.

January 22-31

Whimsical Sketching class – I can’t wait to see how my style changed from back when I created those drawings. I’ll post photos of my results in the classroom and tips on how I did it there, but….come join in at Artventure and work on the assignments along with the community! Whether going through class a second time, or just signing up now, it’s more fun doing art together.

January 27

Our January “Open Studio” session at Artventure is scheduled, and I might just be working on one of my Whimsical Sketching pieces. You can work on anything during these freeform Zoom calls, but join in especially if you have class questions!

February 1 – March 2

Next begins the 30 Days to More Confident Sketching class! I hope to gather those who want to re-take the class or go through it the first time. We’ll post our work, ask questions, encourage each other, and maybe we’ll even get to the finish line together!

If these have good participation, I’ll pick various classes in different mediums throughout the year so we can make our art together!

PS: These courses are on sale! Just tap on the image to go shop.

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Bookish printable – and coloring

Next week I’ll include a snippet that I shot coloring a book in my watercolor video…and give you a tip to make that easier. In the meantime when  you pick up the Bookish Printable, you’ll get the JPG you can resize, but also a full letter-size image PDF with the full black line, a no-line rendition, and the colored pencil one you got a peek at in the video! Tap on either image to go shop for the books!

What should I do with all those letters?

I’d love your input. Would they be of interest as a physically printed pack of printed and colorable pieces?

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

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