Today I thought it might be fun to let you watch over my shoulder – and maybe even draw WITH me – and give you some sketching tips while I do one of my daily drawings! I missed going to my Life Drawing group last week – so decided to make my rubber duckies pose for me….

If you’re wondering about the French girl reference, remember Titanic? Rose tells Jack, “draw me like one of your French girls”, referring to the nude portraits he’s sketched of Parisian women in brothels. So there’s that. LOL!

Tutorial: If Rubber Duckies were Art Models

Grab a piece of paper or a sketchbook, and a pencil – and draw a “French girl” duckie along with me!

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!

If you want more time…

Here’s a photo of the ducks so you can spend some time with it….and suggest some names for them too. Family name, individual first names, I’d love your suggestions!

Sketch along

Grab a piece of paper and a number two pencil – that’s all you need. As a matter of fact you can draw on lined notebook paper! Anything you’ve got. I used a Gamma sketchbook by Stillman and Birn – great surface for pencils, and I used a lead holder with a 2B lead, and a 9B Grafwood for the darks. The small sharpener for this pencil is this one. 

Size and shape relationships

Pay attention to the connection between shapes – where does the head of one duck meet up with the tail of another? How far down on the head are the eyes when looking at this angle?

Shadows and highlights are a fun thing to add to a quick sketch like this too. But that’s from this overachiever…if a line drawing is what you have time to muster up, that’s awesome too!

Don’t know what to draw?

There’s plenty of resources out there!

Draw what’s right in front of you

Pick up any object in your house, and draw that! Try the kitchen and garage, there are lots of very interesting objects in both.

Silly Holidays

If you’re stuck for what to draw, see what the goofy holiday is for the day! Last week I painted an easy card with tortilla chips for National Tortilla Chip of several sites is here  to see what day it is today!


Charlie posts daily challenges at Doodlewashed every month – so if you don’t know what to draw, see what he’s got for the month and use those ideas!

Urban Sketchers

Sometimes it’s motivating to join your local chapter of Urban Sketchers – you’ll have lots of local folks to learn from, as well as someone else planning a day and time to go out, and they’ll point you at an interesting subject.

Plein Air Groups

Do a search in your area for plein air painting groups. Some have a presence on Facebook, others have websites.


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  1. Candy Miller

    This was a great lesson with your sweet duckies, Sandy! I didn’t understand your reference to Titanic when I saw your Story on IG — you are a funny girl! I would have never thought to rub the cotton ball with graphite on the paper first to make the paper less white. It did cause a small problem when I needed (yes, needed) to erase part of my initial sketch to get it more accurate. The eraser took away the graphite in those erases areas and then left parts of the paper stark white. That just made me play more with the blending stump and cotton ball which was really good practice. It’s crazy how much the blending stump helps blend and smooth out the graphite and give dimension to the piece! I need to remember to get these tools out more often! I hadn’t used the kneaded eraser this much either…such a neat tool! Thank you for the wonderful sketching help. Rest assured, your tips are always appreciated!

  2. Win Noren

    It was interesting watching you work with the blending stump. I’m off to make “animals happier” (from the 30 Days to More Confident Sketching class) and might pull out my blending stump to help with the shading.


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