Happy New Kourse!

One of the many fun parts of my job is that I get to meet cool people and work with them on films about their art. We have long in-depth conversations, I’m allowed into their studios, hear their ideas and histories, and watch them make beautiful things. Today, after several months of traveling and filming, I get to share those experiences with you and all the other people who enroll in Sketchbook Skool.

The real idea behind SBS is that each week’s klasses are an opportunity to share that experience of hanging out with fascinating creative people for a day. Each Friday, you watch a dozen or so films that capture all the aspects of this experience. The result is that you learn some new techniques and tools but also that you are inspired to make art of your own by rubbing up against other great creative spirits.

The new kourse we are launching today is called “Expressing.” It’s about how art conveys not just pretty pictures but deep feelings, information, experiences and sentiments that can’t be captured just in words.

Here’s a little taste of what the kourse will be like. I hope you’ll join me in the audience for six weeks of art, inspiration, wisdom and fun. Roll film!

Click here for more information about Expressing

Here are some of the wonderful people who Koosje and I have brought to join the fakulty:

There’s Felix Scheinberger who I first met several years ago when I was working on An Illustrated Journey. Felix is one of Germany’s top illustrators and an art professor in Berlin. He’s the author of one the most inspiring watercolor books in my library with the deceptively prosaic title, Urban Watercolor Sketching. His work is witty, expressive, a little grotesque, and watching him work makes you itch to grab a brush and join in. I recorded a great conversation with Felix a while ago and you can watch it here.

I have known Michael Nobbs for even longer. I think we first start corresponding more than ten years ago when he was first starting to draw and joined the Everyday Matters group on Yahoo!. Michael has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but, in spite of that, he has a strong creative habit and has published a lovely book on drawing and created a daily podcast and a special, subscription based creative community, called sustainablycreative.com. He is an inspiring and lovely fellow and shares my passion for tea drinking.

Penelope Dullaghan is another of my old pals and I featured her work in An Illustrated Life. I met Penny when she was getting ready to quit her career in advertising and step out as in independent illustrator. I love her work, her bravery, and her long-term creative community project, Illustration Friday. Her weekly creative assignments have encouraged thousands to draw regularly and many of them have gone on to become professional illustrators too. I think she’ll be equally inspiring to the folks at SBS.

I met Jill Weber when she illustrated several books written by my old friend, Julie Salamon. The Christmas Tree was a huge international bestseller, then they went on to write Cat in the City (which includes a character based on my late wife, Patti) and their newest, A Mutt’s Promise. Jill grew up in a creative family, then went to RISD, worked in the New York publishing world and lived in Bohemian SoHo in the ’70’s, then moved to a self-sustaining farm in New Hampshire. She is full of wisdom and stories and talents and we captured many of them in our films.

Sabine Wisman is Dutch, a writer who started to draw and soon became a full-time illustrator. I love the way she combines simple line work with witty text. She packs a lot of meaning and feeling into light whimsy. I look forward to learning how I can make my own work more effortless, clear and direct.

And the final teacher is my partner and pal, Koosje Koene. KK is going to focus on lettering and how to make it a part of your journal pages. I think this is a crucial lesson — I see all too many beautiful drawings and watercolors in peoples’s sketchbooks that are marred by hasty captions that seem like afterthoughts. I love the way drawings and calligraphy reverberate off each other and Koosje is a master.

Anyway, this is a long, round-about way of telling you that our new kourse is finally ready for you. You can sign up right now and the first lessons begins on Jan 15.

Happy New Year! See you in klass.