Monday 15 October 2018

Looking back to the beginning of Sketchbook Skool

Yesterday I listened to the podcast Art for All hosted by Danny Gregory. The episode looked back to the start of Sketchbook Skool in April 2014. I had followed Danny’s blog since I moved to Australia at the end of 2010 (Wow that was eight years ago!) so I heard the first announcements of this new online course. 

When he talked about starting this online course aimed at encouraging people to get and sketch more I realised this was what I needed. I had always sketched, but mostly only when I was away on holiday when I had time on my hands, before but now I wanted to make drawing a daily routine. 


I loved that first course as did many others. We didn’t care that it was a little rough and ready.(Truth be told I don’t think many of us knew that it could have been more polished)  The enthusiastic and supportive community that quickly grew was, I think, the main reason for its success. Membership of the Facebook Group today has grown to a whopping 17,655 people from maybe 1,500 at the start.

I wrote a letter to Danny - The six weeks that changed my world about my experiences doing Beginning. All that I said there still applies today. 
You can find this in a separate Page here.
I did my homework religiously. Here's mine for Tommy Kane - first my living room and then I went to my local cafe to record EVERY detail!

My local Cafe...

I created an album on Flickr for these sketches for the first Semester and another for the second, Seeing.

I like many others painted Tommy Kane and many other tutors. Click this link to see them.

I went on to complete Seeing and Storytelling, as well as Bootcamp for those who had completed the first three courses. Some time later Urban Sketching came along with a mixture of old and new material.

Then I took a break. 

I was interested to hear  on the podcast that about the time that I took a break, Danny and Koosje were pondering the future of Sketchbook Skool. 

The courses that followed didn’t ‘speak’ to me, I didn't really want to make cards or maps or play with lettering. 

Painting and Teaching

Painting in oils was my main focus and I was exhibiting in local exhibitions. By this time too, my Studio where I teach art to small classes was quite well established. Since much of my time is focused on teaching I’m always looking for ways to enhance and grow my teaching skills. I try to read widely; look at a lot of art; listen to podcasts and take an online course here and there.

Watercolor Rules

I had just finished writing a book called Colour - A Practical Approach published by Blurb, when I saw the promos for Watercolour Rules. (You can read about my book here.)

Since there was a short holiday coming up I could devote time to a course . When I saw that Ian Sidaway was a tutor I decided to enrol. I’ve followed and admired his work for some time. His demonstrations did not disappoint. 

While these techniques were not new to me, as a teacher I learned a lot. He has a clear approach to explaining concepts and  demonstrating watercolour. August Wren and Inma Serrano have different styles and techniques which are also giving me fresh ideas and inspiration. I’m so pleased that I signed up because there's always something new to learn.

Now they are getting ready to host the first Sketchkon in November! 

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