Urban Sketching: Berlin, MD

I recently went on a little road trip, snarfing my way across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. One of my stops was Berlin. This town is absolutely precious. I stopped by Rayne’s Reef for lunch, and sketched the display window of Town Center Antiques across the street (which I also enjoyed browsing – it’s huge!).

I’d like to note that this was my first time sketching in public with no other artists around. I’d joined in sketchcrawls before, and I’d drawn in public with no one else around, but this time I was the only one drawing among a bunch of strangers going about their day. And you know what? It was fine. Nobody bothered me or rushed me or commented on my drawing. I felt comfortable and confident.

And I may just do it again sometime.

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Sketchbook Peek: The Studio

There’s a chance I might have mentioned, once or twice, that my dear husband is a musician. His studio is packed to the gills with equipment and toys and art, and I picked only a tiny part of it to draw. Pictured here: one of his many guitars, an amp, a tape deck, a reel-to-reel, a cabasa, a keyboard (in the foreground), and a record player, among other smaller items. It’s a study in black because 99% of modern musical equipment is black.

One day I hope to get back in there to sketch some more, but it’s not easy because he’s usually either working in there (in which case I’d be in the way), or we’re hanging out together (and it’d be a touch rude to run off). But that’s okay. It’s not going anywhere, and I imagine it’ll only get more packed with interesting things as time goes on.

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Sketchbook Peek: I hate trees

Okay, I really only hate drawing trees. Now I understand why so many urban sketchers stick to buildings – they’re easier. Anyway, I decided to take advantage of the morning light to draw the view out the kitchen door onto the deck. We have a gorgeous crape myrtle that blooms bright pink late into the summer, but of course it’s currently January, so it’s nothing more than sticks and some dried out berries. The deck railing is in desperate need of a good cleaning, which will also be waiting for warmer weather. But this was a bit of a fun experiment with my new pens of varying widths.

While we’re focusing on the mundane, here’s a little sketch I did of the kitchen counter as seen from the living room couch, drawn while my husband was cooking dinner.

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Diary Comic: Moon

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Try Sketchbook Skool for Free!

I took a couple of Sketchbook Skool “Kourses” this year and found them invaluable. They were full of inspiration, instruction, and encouragement. I’ve just found out that you can take a sample klass for free. It includes bits from all the kourses, so even I, as a two-time alum, got something new out of it. I highly recommend you give it a try. What do you have to lose? It’s free!

Click here to sign up!

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Year-End Book Wrap-Up 2014

Books Read in 2014:
1. Obstacles by Chris Reardon
2. The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol
3. The Conspiracy Kid by E.P. Rose
4. The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey
5. Noodles by Michael Zulli
6. The Law of Superheroes by James Daily and Ryan Davidson
7. The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
8. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
9. A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
10. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
11. The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
12. Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg
13. Lexicon by Max Barry
14. Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
15. Tokyo Fiancee by Amelie Nothomb
16. Doctor Who: The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards
17. Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer
18. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
19. The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett
20. A Gazillion Little Bits by Claudia Brevis
21. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
22. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
23. World War Z by Max Brooks
24. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
25. The Infernals by John Connolly
26. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
27. Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
28. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
29. Lies Across America by James W. Loewen
30. 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth and Other Useful Guides by Matthew Inman
31. Doctor Who: The Monsters Inside by Stephen Cole
32. City of Illusions by Ursula K. LeGuin
33. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
34. You Have to F*****g Eat by Adam Mansbach
35. How I Paid for College by Marc Acito
36. Attack of the Theater People by Marc Acito

Books Listened to in 2014:
1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
2. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
3. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
4. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
5. Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant
6. Reckless by Cornelia Funke
7. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
8. Don’t Know Much about Geography by Kenneth C. Davis
9. The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
10. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
11. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins
12. First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
13. Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross
14. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
15. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
16. Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy by Peter Carlson
17. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (abridged)
18. The Hit by Melvin Burgess
19. Dreamwood by Heather Mackley
20. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
21. The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O’Melveny
22. The Gates by John Connolly
23. Fearless by Cornelia Funke
24. Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein
25. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
26. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
27. Dark of the Moon by John Sandford
28. The Children Act by Ian McEwan
29. Life Beyond Measure by Sidney Poitier
30. Bossypants by Tina Fey
31. Vampirates: Tide of Terror by Justin Somper
32. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
33. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon

Only 69 this year, fewer than usual but not half bad. My car died, so I had a few weeks of listening to nothing until I got a new one, which explains some of it. But mostly I just wasn’t spending as much time reading. No long plane rides and very little solo travel. I also did not keep track of the books I started but didn’t finish, but there were a bunch of those, for various reasons.

A coworker introduced me to Ben Aaronovich and Marc Acito by lending me their books. Acito is fantastic but unfortunately has only written those two books. I gave the Sookie Stackhouse and Outlander series (serieses? seriesss?) a go but decided they weren’t my thing. I rediscovered my love for Erik Larson and Connie Willis, and was delighted by just how excellent 11/22/63 by Stephen King turned out to be.

All in all, a pretty good year, literatarily. (Oh come on, that’s a great word.) Here’s to the next!

Previous years: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | Review Archive

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Diary Comic: Happy Holidays

Echo isn’t quite this huge, but she’s still significantly larger than the kittens. Happy holidays, everybody.

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Diary Comic: Rope

With apologies to my trainer, Josh Brown, who is actually far beefier than he appears in this comic.

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Cat Comic: Doors

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Sketchbook Peek: Kitchen

The final week of Sketchbook Skool: Beginnings was taught by Tommy Kane. He taught me patience and persistence. He believes in capturing every detail, taking ages to finish a sketch, and finishing every drawing he starts. I drew my kitchen, which took me 90 minutes and far longer than I’d ever taken for any other drawing of that size.

I’m pleased with how this turned out, but it also taught me that even though I thought I was slowing down and taking in every detail, I definitely rushed over some parts. That’s okay; this probably won’t be the last drawing I do of my kitchen.

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