Six weeks that changed my world

DOG portrait by SBS student, Annika Sylte

We just finished the first semester of Sketchbook Skool.  It has been phenomenal and beyond my wildest imaginings. One student captured it so well:

“The last six weeks have been a roller coaster ride.

When I was debating whether to sign up for SBS or not, I wondered if the course was really for me. I’m not a beginner but I do know there’s always something new to learn. And as for “Beginnings” – well I have had a number of those in my life: when I opened a retail shop after training as a teacher; when I started over as a single person after divorce; and when I immigrated to Australia three and a half years ago to earn my living as an artist and teacher. (Yep crazy I know!)

And I figured, the blurb said “Beginning” not “Beginner” so what did I have to lose. Then when I listened to Danny talk about creativity and repression and starting the practise of daily drawing, I knew why I signed up. I wanted to draw every day. I wanted to draw my life.

The course has been fast paced. The warm up – an admonishment from Danny to use only pen, Koosje’s urging to draw outside and to try coloured pencils (still not my best) Then enjoying Prashant’s lyrical approach to journals and his dreamy watercolours had many struggling with the medium — more due to incorrect choice of paper than any lack of ability. Jane’s approach to page layout and the freedom to pick up a pencil again made many sigh with relief. By the time Roz Stendhal wowed us with her journals and her ever generous comments and links to reviews, we were all addicted to SBS. she showed us that drawing animals and birds isn’t as scary as it seems. Her compilation of answers at the end of the week is almost a book. I have only scratched the surface of information it contains.

As more and more of us escaped the klass room and hung out in the playground, we discovered that this wasn’t just a Skool with boring lessons and strict teachers but a very kool place filled with funny talented friends. We found kindred spirits to lift us when we felt down, to support our efforts to lock the monkeys in the cupboard, to praise our drawings and most of all to share a laugh.

Then, this last week and Tommy Kane, the Kross-hatch King set us an assignment that had many running for cover. Slowly the results of hours and hours of careful, painstaking drawing started to go up on the FB page. What an amazing assortment of wonderful drawings! And how appreciative we all were when Tommy congratulated us on our efforts. Like kids we jumped up and down with joy because our teacher liked our work!! Yay! Certainly there are no more “Beginners” in this klassroom.

Thank you for the best six weeks. Ever. I can’t wait for the next semester.

           — Carol Lee Beckx, Brisbane, Australia

If you’d like to experience what Carol and thousands others have, join us for the next semester of Sketchbook Skool, starting July 4th.


21 thoughts on “Six weeks that changed my world”

    1. I’m with you Jamie Gregory! Excited about upcoming Semester 2!
      I highly recommend semester 1!

      I consider myself a slightly advanced beginner with lots to learn and appreciative of what the classes had to offer! Teachers and students alike were incredibly generous on so many levels, that Sketchbook Skool became a community of helpful information, feedback, support, camaraderie unlike anything I’ve experienced anywhere in a group situation, educative or otherwise! Bravo and deep thanks to its brain children who decided to open these doors!


  1. I am having a great time with this and have already signed up for the next semester. Bring it on!


  2. This has opened my world to several different ways of putting pen and ink to paper. I have loved sharing this Skool with my talented daughter, Kate Merriman. She challenges me to try things that I think are too hard and so do all of the rest of this great community.


  3. Signing up for the first semester was a no-brainer. Love Danny’s books and his friends so I said “why not?”. It was even better than I expected. I too have signed up for the next session. While I am excited to see what that has to offer, I also want to bask in the after glow of semester 1. I made a list of notes in my Skoolbook about the things I want to remember from each instructor and the subjects, techniques and strategies I want to try out. There are so many I had to make a list so I wouldn’t forget. I also love the community this creates and look forward to seeing my classmates work again in July.


  4. Sketchbook Skool rocks!!! I have learned so much these last six weeks, and can’t wait for the second semester to begin! Danny and Koosje and all the other teachers who made this so amazing, thank you!! You’ve given me permission to be a beginner, permission to draw without feeling embarrassed that I’m even trying, soooo many new tools and techniques to experiment with….but most of all, you’ve encouraged me to draw each day, just for the sheer joy of it. I’m happy, happy, happy!


  5. I did not find SBS to be a good fit for me. There were nice and helpful students and teachers, but I just did not groove on it. May be because I was a total beginner. It still seems like a foreign language. Probably because I was starting from zero knowledge.


  6. Ditto from me!! I am inspred to draw every day and to kill that.monkey. This has been an incredible ride and I can’t wait for class. Thank you so much, all the teachers!!!


  7. Hope we can relish the lessons for a while more, I am not done! The main reason: I am savoring each video, really don’t want to go faster or skip assignments… The experience has been world changing for me too so far. Definitely up for the next semester.


  8. Danny, this has been the best! Carol has summed it up so eloquently, Theres little more to add other than not only has my sketching improved, but my confidence in standing out on a street and just drawing has grown. The energy in klass is buzzing and I have made new friends that I look forward to hearing from. We have shared the ordinary details of our lives and seen the beauty in one another’s pages. Every tiny detail of my world has become fascinating as I think – how would I draw that. You have fired up a revolution of the mighty pen! My satchel is packed and Im booked in on semester 2. Thanks to all the teachers!


  9. Danny, I guess I’ve said it all above but I want to add a special thank you – you’ve enriched my life.


    1. Carol voiced perfectly what so many of the SS members feel too. I was hesitant to sign up initially but I am SO glad I did. Danny, I have loved all your books so I knew it had to be something good and it turned out to be the most amazing experience! I’m looking forward to Semester 2 but, in the interim, I plan to go over all the lessons from Semester 1….what fun! 🙂


  10. I have enjoyed it so much. I am just going to view the videos one more time! I am definitely Tommy’s teacher’s pet (if only he knew) – when he says “….draw sloooow” that is exactly what I do, every time! Being a klass online really worked for me. Cheers and see you all next term if not before.


  11. Yes, I think Carol’s tribute voiced what we all felt about this semester of Sketchbook Skool. This last six weeks have been the most fun I’ve had in years! Since retiring from sculpting a couple years ago, I’ve been rather lost, having a lot of trouble redefining myself. Danny, Koosje, your brilliant idea to get folks involved in sketching and journaling their daily lives has given me back my groove, and made each day worth getting up for. Thank you and each of the other teachers that have graced our computer screens this last semester and the ones to come!


  12. Reading the comments has made me teary. I’m definitely a beginner who decided to begin. My great age isn’t leaving me a lot of hesitating time. lol I’m behind but I am committed and happy to keep on beginning. I’m tempted to rip but then I need to remember what I learned because each page is the beginning of better. sniff! Life looks different. I feel different. I think the skool and staff have met their objectives. THANK YOU! Bless you all!


  13. Carol pretty much nailed how I’ve felt about the past six weeks, too. What a phenomenal experience. Thank you Danny, Koosje, Prashant, Jane, Roz, and Tommy for sharing so much and for your collective generosity of spirit!


  14. I feel so privileged to be part of the generous, heartwarming and inspirational environment that Sketchbook Skool is! After reading ‘The creative licence’ (if you haven’t read this book by Danny, go and do, It’s by far the best and most wonderful book about drawing your life I’ve ever read and re-read so many times)! my creative drawing life started but in the back of my head there was always that little voice that kept making me afraid of every new white page. The lessons from Danny, Koosje, Jane, Roz, Prashant and Tommy in Sketchbook Skool in combination with the lively community of the Skool changed my life. I’ve been drawing every single day since Skool started and enjoying it immensely. Drawing makes me calm, happy, content, grateful and more attentive. Hope this will be the start of a life long new happy habit :^)


  15. Great experience all ’round! The thing that is hard for people to believe about drawing is that it is so easily improved by simply doing it every day—even for 15 minutes. You teach yourself how to do it in your own way if that is the plan. This is the method that allows students to find themselves, instead of becoming a ‘ mini-me’ of some instructor. This course presents a great approach with so many confidence building moments. I would recommend it to everybody!


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