On Being a Student

For the past month or so I’ve given myself free reign to try out new things, practice skills, take online courses and enjoy a new kind of online art comradery. This has been encouraged by the proliferation of art courses taught by teachers in the comfortable hominess of their studios, often with no videographer, just their computer and a cell phone hooked onto a simple arm over their art table. You can watch and participate either on Zoom with student-teacher interaction or stream them on Youtube live or on demand. Many are of course free and others available for a nominal price. A veritable candy store of delights for the lifelong learner!

My student works have been piling up lately unseen, but I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve learned or simply found as a kind of preschooler delighting in making art. I’ve stumbled onto things I’m good at and others that I suck at and need practice with. My hope is you might find something you want to try, and then tell me about it!

Art Before Breakfast: Movie Characters with DAnny Gregory

One of the themes I’ve been exploring with many teachers is quick capture sketching. It helped that I told myself I wouldn’t have to show these to anyone. Haha! This was from an hour long Spark event with Danny Gregory. Five minutes to sketch each movie star while listening to Danny’s coaching. The challenge was to immediately zero in on what makes that character uniquely recognizable and leave out the rest.

Drawing with continuous fountain pen line and swooping in with ink and brush for the last minute.

This one of Golum scared even me!

By the last one I was warmed up and could have gone on all day. That frothy delight in the act of drawing.

Art Before Breakfast with Danny Gregory: New Years selfie (with Posca pens of course)

Maybe I should have warned you that not all of these pieces are easy on the eyes! Once again, time with the gentle coaching, challenging, encouragement from  the author of The Creative License, Danny Gregory. [You have this book, right?] This is another one I wasn’t planning to show anyone, but shoot, it’s a great illustration of getting out of the comfort zone. Who knows, it may may be a statement of how it felt to start the year with a lurking Omicron.

Art Before Breakfast: Fast and Slow with Danny Gregory – fountain pen, Prismacolor pens, Posca Pens

And today I enjoyed another Art Before Breakfast session. Using Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting as reference to do a 1 min drawing in light pen (barely visible now) and then a 30 minute more detailed drawing over it to see what could be learned in the process. Meanwhile we were encouraged to imagine what it was like for the painter to set up his easel on the dark street in the town where he lives. Van Gogh, an urban sketcher!

I admit I added about 10 minutes to the time so I could play with my Posca Pens, but stopped way short of “finish”. After all, that’s what sketching on location is like. Quick and lively.

I’ll be sharing more student work from Sketchbook Skool’s Spark program. It’s a rich diet of art making, with skills building in a large variety of media, a lively community of great teachers, coaches and fellow students. It’s enough to keep you busy and engaged in art all day, so don’t sign up until you have a month with some open time!

I’ve also been enjoying online demos and classes on Etchr Studios. You might want to just jump right in and try it out yourself! and let me know what you like.



    1. Hi Kathy. I love Instagram and every day tell myself I should post more. But then I reach my tolerance level for social media and go back to painting instead. Maybe there’s a way to make it easier so I get Instagram posts done. I’ll put it on my list of resolutions!


      1. I’ve very recently started using Planoly which lets you schedule posts so you can do that part all ahead of time and together, which makes it easier. Of course interacting with other people takes ages too. But I know what you mean about tolerance for Soc.media. I go in waves actually.

        Liked by 1 person

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