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!


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.


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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  1. Phyllis J Wendt

    Prayers for you and your family. This is a difficult time..

  2. Brenda K Markert

    May God bless you, your mother, and your sisters, as you travel this difficult path together. I travelled this same path 15 years ago. You will be changed and it will be good. God has promised that He will never leave or forsake us. God always keeps his promises.Praying for all of you

  3. creatingincolors

    Sandy, you are such an inspiration in all you do. Prayers for your mom, you, and your sisters.

    P.S. Going to the museum, sketching, and involving children who happened to be there at the same time – awesome.

    • Sandy Miller

      Keeping your Mom in my thoughts and prayers. Sandy

  4. Linda Bloomfield

    Praying your Mom will be comfortable. You will never regret leaving your home to spend this time with her. Thanks for sharing with us….we care.

  5. Carol Schamerloh

    I have been in your place and it is hard. We will be praying for you all. So thankful that you had such quality time together the past few weeks. Those memories will be such a blessing going forward. It sounds like you are Christians so just knowing you will see her again is a comfort. May our God hold you in His arms and give you His perfect peace in the days/months ahead.


    You and your Mom are in my prayers. So wonderful that you got to spend this time with her and your sisters.
    Love, Polly

  7. Cris Walton

    Am praying for your Mom, you and your family. Such a blessing to be able to be with her❤️. Loved the video, I can only imagine the delight of the children that got to spend time with you and sketch a bit. So inspiring!!!

  8. Lynne Phelps

    I took FMLA when we got Mom’s stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis and never regretted it for a moment though my savings were gone at the end. I’m so glad you are taking the time to enjoy this precious, dwindling time. Prayers for a pain-free peaceful passage for your mom and comfort for those who morn as God has promised.

  9. Paula Spagnuolo

    Praying for your mom and your family in this difficult time Sandy.


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