Let’s Make a Map!

I just love maps — looking at them and making them too.  I started making them as a kid, and my journals (especially the travel ones) are full of maps. They’re a great way to tell a story graphically, even the ones I made up out of my imagination. And they have so many uses, from giving directions to a house guest, to recording my personal history, to recreating memories, to recording a trip to charting the geography of a novel, to figuring out the most efficient way to tackle my list of chores.

Recently, I worked with my friend Nate Padavick, one of the world’s great map makers, on Let’s Make a Map!, a great new kourse at SketchBook Skool.

We filmed it in his gorgeous studio and all around the Mission district of San Francisco and we even used a drone (an SBS first!). Nate is a great teacher and he breaks down the process of making a map into simple fun steps, then gives oodles of inspiration. It’s a short kourse, just a week long, and it’s affordably priced ($29), and by the end, you’ll have made your first map and be eager to make loads more.

Nate is a lovely man, a great illustrator, and he knows SO much about maps. He’s also the curator of two great web site: They Draw and Travel and They Draw and Cook. You must check them out…. after you sign up for Let’s Make  A Map.


Study Hall: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

I love this week’s klass in Exploring with one of my idols, Felix Scheinberger. I made a bit of a mess with my homework but then was inspired by an old spaghetti Western. I hope you had fun with your assignment.

Department of Redundancy Dept.

I had a great time drawing my top 32 favorite pens. Sadly, I had to leave the other 749 out.

My homework for Andrea Joseph‘s magnificent klass at Sketchbook Skool. If you don’t know her work, your life, like my pen collection, is incomplete.

How I draw a selfie.

Call me a nerd if you must but I loved doing homework. In this video, I do my assignment for Week Two in Seeing, a Sketchbook Skool klass on drawing self-portraits, taught by my partner, Koosje Koene.

It’s not too late to join Seeing! Click here to learn more.

Something new from me

I’m pretty jazzed to be launching a brand, spanking new kourse at Sketchbook Skool in a few weeks.

It’s been a year since I taught a regular klass, one that’s just focussed on stuff I find interesting (and hope others do too).  I’ve been thinking a lot about how creativity works (and doesn’t) over the past year and was looking for a way to communicate those thoughts through a special kind of video technique.  I also wanted to explore a technical aspect of drawing, how to capture tone and light with black ink lines on white paper.

Beyond getting to teach, I love working on new klasses with new teachers. And we’ve managed to land several of the leviathans of illustrated journaling and urban sketching, luminaries who our students have been requesting for years.

One of my watercoloring mentors, Felix Scheinberger, is back to talk about watercoloring and composition. I pour over his books regularly and always come away with a new idea or two each time.

My partner, Koosje shot a klass with Nina Johansson who was a contributor to my book, An Illustrated Journey. Her watercolors of cityscapes are really breathtaking and it’s a treat to finally get to see how she makes them. Koosje also shot a klass with illustrator Lynn Chapman in England, another rock star of Urban Sketching. She’s incredibly peppy and generous with her ideas and techniques. Watching her paint was another revelation.

And, finally, we also have a brand-new teacher from Miami, a street artist who I shot recently in Los Angeles as he painted a 30-foot mural. Brian Butler is one of the most productive sketchbook artists I’ve ever met and, by dedicating his life to drawing, he has had incredible experiences all over the world. I’ve long wanted to explore street art at SBS and this was my first chance. We spent two days shooting Brian as he painted a wall on a busy intersection of Downtown LA — and it was amazing. This sort of epic production with an artists who I admire is one of the chief reasons I love working at Sketchbook Skool.

Anyway, check out the video to get a taste of what this kourse will be like. I can’t wait for it to start!

Find out more on our website.

A Drawing a Day

One of the hardest things about starting something new is developing a habit that will help you carry on. Even though I’ve been drawing for quite a while now, I occasionally need some sort of kick in the butt to get back on track.

Here’s what works for me: a reason to be consistent. It could be a absorbing project I devise that keeps me engaged — so I am eager to keep working at it. It could be a collaboration with other people who I don’t want to let down — so I keep showing up and making stuff.

We’re about to kick off a new undertaking that combines both. It’s called A Drawing A Day. The first phase of it is a Sketchbook Skool kourse, taught by a teacher I admire enormously: Veronica Lawlor. (If you took our kourse, Storytelling, you remember her amazing, epic demo in which she made over 100 drawings of a pair of dancers.)

We’re beginning this kourse on the first Monday of the January so the year starts off right. Every day Ronnie will do a demo for us and each Friday we’ll go on a virtual field trip. We’ll get encouraging emails every day to keep you on track and engaged. Like all of our new kourses, this will initially be a “Community” kourse, meaning we’re all going to do it together in January, supporting and encouraging each other to keep going.

I think it’s gonna be great. We put a lot of work in to producing this kourse and it’s gorgeous, exciting, smart and fun. Kinda like Ronnie.

That’s not all, though. We’re also launching a year-long project to really make this new habit stick. A year of prompts, interviews, demos and ideas. We’ll be sharing encouragement through a special Facebook group and on other forms of social media. It’ll be a great adjunct to the kourse.

As I said, the kourse begins on January 2nd, but 1) you can sign up now and 2) we will make the kourse available again after January so you can sign up whenever you want and take the kourse immediately.

A Drawing a Day is gonna make 2017 a beautiful, creative year. I can’t wait.

Wanna join me and Ronnie and the rest of Sketchbook Skool? Click here.