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daily sketching drawing ink and watercolor nature plein air painting sketchbook Jul 13, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020

I want to thank the multitude of friends and artists who subscribed to this blog during the last few days following the announcement that I was leaving the Facebook platform.  Thank you!

I have so many thoughts, experiments and projects to share with everyone and I enjoy blogging far more than I do posting on social media.  For those of you who might be wondering, I'm still on Instagram, though I post sporadically.  

Along with my daily routine changing, my Morning Scribbles are also going through a transformation.  The point of posting my scribbles has been to inspire and encourage artists to draw every day even if it's just a scribble.  Morning Scribbles aren't about fine lines, careful rendering, amazing compositions and dramatic design work.  They are simply reinforcing the action of your eyes opening, looking, seeing and interpreting what you see by making marks on a piece of paper in a shorthand style of one kind or another.  Scribbles provide an opportunity to use tools and materials you either haven't used before or haven't used for a long time.  Scribbles also provide an opportunity to break habits and begin to form new ones.

Saturday morning's scribble of the poppy seed pod (video above) had a totally different purpose from the poppy illustration in my Perpetual Plant Journal (image below). 

Saturday's poppy sketch was an experiment to see if it might be helpful as an intro exercise when learning to create Dala Art designs.  My Morning Scribbler sketchbook is one of my many "think pads". The sketchbook is made from recycled manilla file folders ... great for drawing with fountain pen and sturdy enough to use watercolor if I don't get carried away with wet in wet techniques.


Some sketchbooks are think pads, some are illustrated journals, some are theme based or a collection of travel experiences.  Sketchbooks are as unique as the artists who make them and use them.

a few of the sketchbooks I've filled over the years

Some of my sketchbooks are made from quality paper, others are made from file folders, grocery bags or student grade drawing papers.  I find it difficult to let myself experiment with total abandon when I'm faced with making marks on expensive, quality paper whether it be drawing paper or watercolor paper. I intentionally make many of my sketchbooks using less expensive papers so that I always have a "think pad" within reach.  This brings me to the point of this post. I would love for you to experiment with the "Segmentation of Reality" technique. I, too, will be playing with it during the next two weeks in my Morning Scribbles.

Experiment: (For those of you who have not taken one of my online courses, I prefer to refer to these activities as experiments rather than exercises.  The word exercise sounds to me like something that I really don't want to do but think I should do because it's good for me. (I love walking, hiking, swimming, skiing ... I don't think of them as exercise.)

1. Begin by drawing a flowing line on your page that overlaps in several places; think of it as a thread. 

2. Draw a boundary box (I call it a cell) that creates closed shapes by touching the thread at various points.

3. Chose an object you are looking at, a three dimensional object, not an object in a photograph.

4. Draw parts of the object in each of the closed shapes created by the overlapping thread and the cell (or cells, if you've chosen to draw more than one cell).

You don't need to complete this in one sitting.  You can add to it each day, perhaps drawing in one shape each morning.  Try different techniques if you wish.  For this experiment stay with one object and see how many characteristics you can discover about it.

5. Add grayscale value to your scribble if you wish.

6.  Let me know what your experience is.

Why is this experiment valuable?

I find that it's often difficult for artists to move away from reality, to alter it, bend it, eliminate parts and add parts that will strengthen the painting.  An exhilarating aspect of visual creativity is using reality only as a reference and inspiration upon which to build a new experience, your own version of the reality.

(Keep reading to see another approach to the same experiment.)

This approach to sketching is very similar to my approach when I create Dala Art.  I'm bending reality, choosing to draw only what I find inspiring and only specific parts of what inspires me. The parts of reality become the whole of my image.


Another Approach:

On Sunday morning I started another "Segmentation of Reality" for my morning scribble.  This time I decided to illustrate the ingredients I used in a recipe I made the night before, Herbed French Lentil Salad.

I started by drawing my thread line.  Then I continued both ends of the thread line to create closed shapes that are somewhat like cells. (See the link below to a short demo video.) I retrieved my jar of lentils from the pantry and chose two closed shapes where I drew parts of the jar.  I didn't "bend" the jar in any way, I simply drew two fragments of it.  I will draw the remaining ingredients in the remaining fives closed shapes. I may or may not bend some of the shapes.  I may also draw some of the fresh herbs peeking out from behind the cells.  I might draw only one ingredient each day.

The remaining ingredients are Ume plum vinegar, olive oil, garlic clove, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs from my garden: summer savory; sage; Thai Basil; basil; tarragon.

 Link to short drawing demo video:

 Thank you for reading my blog.

Chris Carter


Thinking about taking an online art courses?  I offer bite-sized classes on Skillshare as well as more comprehensive classes here on

If you aren't already a premium member on Skillshare, please check it out.  You receive a two month trial period totally free when you click on my link:

Most popular Skillshare classes are the Pulling the Puddle watercolor technique (Series of four classes) the four-part Color Wheel Mandala class and the new Fun Flexagon class.

Most popular classes on Explore are The Color Scheme Game and the Creating Dala Art and the Drawing Alternative I courses.




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