Things you’ll like.

photo 3
An Excuse to Draw: Tommy Kane Sketches the World.

I want to share a few experiences I’ve had recently which you might enjoy too.

An Excuse to Draw: I mentioned Tommy Kane’s book a while ago, but it’s a pleasure I’ve re-experienced over and again since then and it has filled me with so many emotions. photo 2

One is enormous pride in my friend who is such an extraordinary and hard-working artist. I have always loved the things that Tom makes but seeing them all in one place, takes my breath away. The enormous variations of things he draws, the intense detail and perfection of each image, the wit, the beauty — they ricochet me about. And seeing them all hardbound and being shared with the world, well, that’s the fate he always deserved and I’m immensely glad he is finally getting his due. photo 1

Another is admiration at his tenacity. Tommy is such a perfectionist, to the point of obsessiveness, filling each page edge to edge, never forsaking a drawing if it starts to go awry, always riding it out to the end, which is never bitter. Each page is a grand battle, Tom vs. Tommy, slugging it out until Nirvana is reached. The sheer volume of time, sweat and ink that went into tis book would loop around the world many times I admire his balls and wish I had that perseverance.

Third, is the pleasure in seeing the drawings I’ve watched him make and all the ones that he made on the other side of the world — all together. This book is as big and complex as the planet, so many details one every page, so many pages, so many pages within pages, all laced with jokes, and stories, and observations. Poring over it reminds me of how I used to read books when I was a kid, studying every picture, looking for faces in the windows, scrutinizing each detail and fantasizing about going to every place. It’s an adventure.

If you haven’t ordered a copy of Tommy’s book yet, start saving up. It will educate you, entertain you, and blow you away.

Oh, and if you want to see how he does it all first-hand, I hope you enrolled in “Beginnings” at Sketchbook Skool. His klass is the final one in the kourse.

Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger
Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger

Urban Watercolor Sketching: Another friend and collaborator on An Illustrated Journey has a new book out too. It’s actually not brand-new except in its English translation. Felix Scheinberger is a great illustrator, teacher and author.

photo 3-1This book (which I think is kinda misnamed as it doesn’t actually just focus on Urban Sketching but is about all things watercolor) is a treasure trove because it has so many witty, loose, energetic, gorgeous watercolors by Felix that are inspiring me over and again but also contains so much deep technical information, all presented in such a useful and accessible manner. photo 2-1Reading Felix’s book has re-whetted my appetite and rewetted my palette too. I am chomping at the bit to get out there and paint. I think it may have a similar effect on you too.  Now if I can only convince him to teach a klass for us!

Pocket Palette:

Pans labyrinth.

IMG_1693And speaking of my palette, Maria Coryell-Martin just sent me a credit card-sized metal palette with a magnetic base into which you can swap pans of watercolor.  There are two sizes of pans and they all snap into place in this sleek little package. I just filled it up with my favorite tube paints and am ready to try it out. I am curious about how the mixing surface will work. Maria is an expeditionary artist who has painted in some amazing places and this invention seems quite genius. If you’d like one of your own, visit her shop.

My current favorite colors

Until now, my palette situation has become less than optimal. I have my Winsor-Newton portable set which I just replenished, two teeny palettes which Roz sent me, and a big metal palette with too many paints in it.

Teeny weeny kiddy paintbox

They are all a little dirty and muddy so sitting down and laying out my palette from scratch was a great feeling.  Now to pack up my gear and head out.

I just need to locate my favorite brush which seems to have strayed.  Heeeere, brusy-brushy!

22 thoughts on “Things you’ll like.”

  1. Yum! Lots of things I like. I’m seeing your Sketch Skool influence on blogs and facebook posts. Nice to see so many getting so much inspiration and skill from your skool. Thanks for helping so many get on with their creativity.


  2. Danny, I know that Tommy’s book is out there being purchased but Amazon says they are not releasing it until August 15, 2014. Do you know why that is? Thanks, Kay


      1. It’s sold out I guess. They have a place for your email addy to notify you when it’s available. BTW, how much is the book?


  3. It is already available at the Book Depository. Half of us at Sketchbook Skool seem to have ordered it, many have received it already 🙂


  4. I LOVE my copy of Excuse to Draw by Tommy Kane! I already feel like I know him, he’s been so vocal at Sketchbook Skool way before his class is even scheduled to start! That little magnetic palette looks like a good one for travel too, you think? I’ll look for the water colonists book next!!!

    If any of your followers are still ambivalent about going to “Skool” I have to shout out how much fun the first five teachers and their lessons have been and we still have Tommy coming up as the icing on the cake! And if you think experiencing six teachers in six weeks isn’t enough bang for your buck (IT IS) you get the added pleasure of interacting with all the other students on our closed group Facebook page where we share our art, share tips, learn from each other, get encouragement and inspiration and non stop feedback on our art posts! The only scary part is finding yourself drawing in more free minutes that you didn’t even know you had in a day, and oh yeah, not doing as much house work as you used to do! But who cares about that? You can just draw the dust bunnies during Roz’ week!


  5. I love the magnetic palette for sketching away from home! Plenty of paint for several hours, compact and lightweight. Just wipe off the mixing area, or use very compatible colors.

    Felix’s book is over the top fabulous. This should be the first book anyone buys regarding watercolor. The title is totally wrong…it is about watercolors!


  6. Thanks, Danny. Used the link and Book Depository says it is currently unavailable. I am so happy that his book is selling so well- will try again later. Hope you are having a great weekend.


  7. Oh thanks for the overviews. I have Tommy’s divine book but will want Felix’s as well. You may be able to use a bit of sandpaper on the mixing part of the palette if you suspect it may be too smooth.
    Sketchbook Skool has been outstanding.


  8. Hi Danny – Thanks for all this great information. Like many others, I am dying to get Tommy’s book and will check out the Urban Watercolor Sketching book as well. I learned about the watercolor palette you mention when I took your workshop in NYC on April 5th. A classmate had one and I thought it looked fantastic. I was not disappointed; it holds so much but fits into your pocket. Finally, I just want you to know how much I am enjoying Sketchbook Skool’s first semester. I have learned so much from each instructor and have definitely started drawing subjects I stayed away from – like animals. I already signed up for the 2nd semester! I am so pleased that it is going well for you and Koosje. Warm regards from Hoboken!


  9. Just went to the site, and it’s once again, “unavailable” – 😦 So I’m on the wait-list, to be notified. Aren’t you happy, Tommy Kane?!?! Why didn’t I simply buy the book when I watched your first funny ad?!?!


  10. Hi Danny, I am another super pleased Sketchbook Skool semester 1 student and can’t wait for Tommy Kane’s klass. Unfortunately book depository are out of stock and unable to give any information about future stock;( I am also trying to find out how to sign up for 2nd semester when I saw the fab teachers listed. Unfortunately, I can only seem to find a repeat of Semester 1 sign up next month. Any clues would be much appreciated.


    1. Sandra, I’m so glad you are enjoying SBS. We have sent out several emails to students of the first kourse inviting them to be early birds in signing up for the next kourse. That’s because we wanted to get alumni in first before opening the doors to new students. Check your email box or trash for those emails. If you are in the Skool already, we sent them to you. We will do a bigger announcement about the kourse to the rest of the world soon.


      1. Hi Danny,
        I am really enjoying SBS. I haven’t received the invitation email yet. Is it going out in batches? I sure would like to take the second course. Thanks. Leah


      2. Hi Danny, I checked emails and trash (no luck) it may have gone to spam, which gets deleted within 48hrs. I noticed info on the SBS blog so will try to register on the 8 May when it opens. Hopefully will be able to get in before the rush. Cheers


  11. Thanks for the reviews! I have two of Scheinberger’s books, and I love them. It seems to me that with the English translation, they just wanted to jump on the “urban sketching” bandwagon, as it’s becoming so popular. In German, it’s called “Wasserfarbe für Gestalter” (“Watercolour for designers/illustrators/artists”, something like that). His first book (as far as I know) is actually much more in the “urban sketching” line – “Mut zum Skizzenbuch: Zeichnen und Skizzieren unterwegs” (hard to translate, but something like “Courage to sketchbook keeping: drawing and sketching outside/away”). He just has a new book out – “Illustration: 100 Wege einen Vogel zu malen” – “Illustration: 100 ways to paint a bird”. I haven’t got it, but I’m sure it’s equally brilliant as the other two. It would really be cool to have him teach at SBS!


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