Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Sense of Place, Part 8 (The Final Workshop)

Log Cabin Village -- the perfect venue for an advanced sketching workshop

Or alternately this post could be titled, "Tools of the Trade #3.2 - Toned Paper (The Workshop)."

Last week I revisited the subject of toned paper as a support for sketching and journaling. Yesterday I met with a group of sketching enthusiasts for the forth, and final, workshop in the series sponsored by the Fort Worth Central Library's "Worth Reading" Program. Our host venue was (for the second time in this series) the Log Cabin Village... and our medium was black and white Prismacolor pencil on toned paper.

show and tell (looking at a few examples of toned paper sketches in the school house)

After a brief session in the one-room school house to distribute new Strathmore Softbound Toned art journals to each participant, and to discuss the process of working on toned paper (and how to avoid overworking toned paper sketches) the group members went off to explore the Village's flora, fauna and architecture to sketch.

"find your bliss" (sketching near the tipi)

Temperatures were quite mild and the overcast sky was just thick enough to guard against glare and sunburn issues. And, while the humidity was much higher than normal for north Texas, the toned paper of the Strathmore journals held up admirably -- allowing both excellent tone and line control, and easy erasure.

using horizontal and vertical cross-referencing to sketch the gris mill

Most of the students were working on toned paper for the first time and were pleasantly surprised to discover just how much faster a tonal drawing on toned paper progresses compared to the white papers they have usually worked on.

some worked outdoors...

The quicker working time translated into more time for observing and recording the detailed nature of their subjects, or more completed drawings in a given period of time. (Participants were able to complete several fully developed sketches in the two hours we met as a group. And several opted to stay on and explore the medium further after the workshop concluded.)

...while others chose to sketch in

The folks at the Village very kindly opened up several of the interpretive cabins so members of our group could sketch the interiors.

some were attracted to the artifacts (in this case a farmer's milk can)

discussing toned paper/color pencil technique...

The Village is also small enough that I easily managed to visit with each student, answering their technical questions, offer options and advise for further exploration of toned paper, and sharing the occasional humorous anecdote. 

...and having FUN

everyone (except our early departures) showing off their new 

Among the many "dividends" of teaching sketching and journaling workshops -- the smiles that everyone seem to be wearing by the end of our time together.

presenting Diane with her Sakura Pigma Micron pen and pen case set...

...and Lynn Dee with her Sakura Koi watercolor Pocket Field Sketch Box

Many thanks to Julia Stafford and the folks at Fort Worth Central Library for sponsoring the workshop series, to the folks at the FW Botanical Gardens and Log Cabin Village for so kindly allowing us to use their sites as workshop venues, to John Wittmann at Strathmore Artists Paper for turning me on to the new 400 Series Softbound Toned art journal series, to the folks at Sakura of America for generously donating the "door prizes" for our two lucky winners, and most of all to the workshop participants; it was a delight working with each and every one of you.

Happy sketching!


  1. Thank you Earnest! Your teaching style is really helpful. Just a few pointers to get one started, "start with an outline, highlight, and then put in the dark tones" was immensely helpful for me to get over the anxiety I always have when starting with a blank page. I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops and I hope you will do more with the library!

    1. Hi Alison. I'm so glad you enjoyed the workshop and that you found my tips and suggestions useful. It was delightful working with you and I hope to see you in a future workshop. Cheers!

  2. I wish I could have attended one of your workshops. I hope you will have more workshops in the DFW area again soon!

    1. GA, if you don't live in FW you might check with your municipal library and see if they might be interested in sponsoring one of more workshops. (These are offered free to the public.) If so, you could steer them to my website or the FW Central Library workshop page and we could take it from there. And you can also expect to see some private (i.e., fee based) workshops in the area next spring (if those might be of interest.)

  3. I wish I lived in Texas! Too far from Upstate NY :( Your workshops look like a lot of fun!

    1. Well Cindy, I'm always up for a little travel adventure (if your local library, botanical garden, or nature center would care to sponsor a workshop.) Or, alternately, you might check with the folks over at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (that's the RTP of Peterson's Field Guide fame) in Jamestown, NY, regarding their excellent nature journaling workshops.

  4. That is a little closer! About 4 hours from me. I am in a suburb of Rochester. I'm going to make some inquiries and see what I can find out.