Recently, some drawing students were flipping through my sketchbook and they spotted a page with some watercolor lettering. “Hey,” one of them said. “When are you going to teach this?” Well, inspired by that student (and by emails from wonderful people all over the world who asked the same question) I put together my first online class… Drawn & Decorated Watercolor Lettering. The first course launched this summer, and a second session began in November. It is now drawing to a close with students all over the world. It has been a happy journey.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been receiving emails from folks who missed the earlier sessions. The requests are piling up, and so I have decided to repeat the course — which is work-at-your-own-speed with a roomy four-month window for completion. (You could take off an entire month and still have plenty of extra time to finish the classes without ever feeling rushed.)
Absolutely no previous experience is necessary. In 10 lessons, you’ll learn tips, tricks and techniques for creating beautiful letters. We’ll be drawing and decorating letters with user-friendly materials including watercolor, Pigma Micron pens, pencils and a brush. The supply list is short and simple (you probably already have some of it) and the list will be sent to you upon registration.
Our adventure in hand-lettering will include:
- Easy (and lovely) methods for making decorative and illuminated initials
- Surprisingly simple techniques for Celtic knotwork
- How to use “quickhand” to make your art journals or notebooks more beautiful
- Colorful, whimsical letters based on rustic medieval alphabets: how to draw them, how to use them
- Creative page design that combines lettering and other images
- Vines and flourishes – watercolor letters inspired by Art Nouveau
- Guidelines for designing your own unique personal alphabet
- Combining color, form and attitude to make your letters sing
- And more…
Lessons appear weekly on a private, password-protected website, beginning March 19. They remain there until July 19. You have access to them anytime you wish to work on them. They include:
- My video demo with step-by-step guidance for each technique
- A warm-up lettering exercise for each lesson
- My printable illustrated pdf instruction pages
- Examples for each lesson, created to guide and inspire you
- Personal help when needed, and feedback when each lesson is completed
- Access to a private online discussion forum where you can communicate with other students taking the course and post images if you wish (participation in the forum is optional)
There are four very basic tools you will need to get the greatest benefit from this course:
- A computer, or access to one
- An email account to receive assignments and send your work in for help or guidance
- A way to print out your warm-up exercises and illustrated instruction pages
- A way to send images of your completed projects to me for feedback. You can use either a scanner or a digital camera to create an image, then email it or upload it to my web page.
Complete each lesson at your convenience; you may take up to four months to finish all 10. Scan or upload a photo of your work and email it to me for personal feedback after each lesson. Before you know it, you’ll be creating beautiful watercolor lettering! It’s as simple as that.
Consider inviting a friend or family member to take the course along with you, and make it a time for you to be creative together.
The cost of the entire course is $50, which is payable by personal check, money order or through PayPal. (To use PayPal, let me know you want to join the class and I will send you an invoice with a “Pay Now” button.) Email me to sign up, or if you need any additional information. Happy lettering!
I’m delighted to offer a new workshop at 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center:
Aquatic Plants in Watercolor Pencil Saturday, September 8 from 10am to 3pm 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center (on the Causeway) Spanish Fort, AL No experience necessary! The Mobile-Tensaw Delta, considered the best remaining delta ecosystem of its kind in the United States, is home to 500 species of plants. We'll focus on some favorites including lotus and pitcher plants, sketching from specimens and reference material and then creating color studies in watercolor pencil. Step-by-step guidance will be provided -- all levels of art experience (or none at all) welcome. Bring your lunch and a small set of watercolor pencils, and all other supplies will be provided. My botanical drawing workshops fill up fast -- your registration must be received to hold your place. The cost of the workshop is $50. Email to sign up: email@example.com
My online class in Watercolor Lettering has kept me very busy for the past several weeks, but on Saturday I had the pleasure of teaching a small workshop in a beautiful riverfront hideaway near Moss Point, Mississippi. The trees overhanging the water were full of trumpet vine, and we put them to use as the subject of gouache resist paintings. I love gouache resist, which is the art equivalent of opening a mysterious present on Christmas morning. You don’t know what you have until the wrappings are torn away to reveal the surprise beneath. In my method, I begin with a quick pencil sketch on heavy watercolor paper. Next I create the painting with a very thick (we’re talking peanut-butter-thick here) layer of gouache. After allowing it the dry completely, the painting is covered in a layer of waterproof India ink — I use a two-inch housepainting brush for this step. That has to dry, as well, before the fun begins: I take the piece outside and put it under a stream of water from the garden hose, scrubbing the ink away with the aforementioned house painting brush. Under that layer of inky blackness is a jewel-toned image, and everywhere the paper remained blank are lines of India ink. Old clothes are highly recommended for this adventure!
I live in a place where it’s not unusual to hear the ”who-cooks-for-you?” call of barred owls, especially just before dawn. Eerily beautiful with their pale faces and dark eyes (they are the only brown-eyed owl in the eastern US) they thrive in neighborhoods. Despite the fears of my neighbors who are convinced that the owl roosting in their oak tree wants to make a meal of their chihuahua, barred owls are usually after rodents… and older neighborhoods, like the one where I live, provide a steady supply. They are large creatures, with wings spanning three feet. Twice, while walking at night, I have seen barred owls soar past just a few feet above my head like silent ghosts, gliding fast, suddenly materializing out of the dark. It is a sight that will stop you in your tracks.
We drew barred owls (along with a number of other owls, and some hawks, eagles and osprey) during a recent workshop at 5 Rivers. By popular demand, I’m going to lead the “Drawing Birds of Prey” workshop once more on Saturday, July 14, from 10am until 3pm. No art experience is necessary, and all art supplies are provided. There are a few spots left at this time… registration is $60 and must be received to hold your spot. Email me for info.
I love coneflowers… and my very favorite is Echinacea purpurea. I grow it in my garden, draw it, paint it and carve it into clay tiles. This one was painted in gouache, allowed to dry thoroughly, then brushed with a coat of waterproof India ink and scrubbed under running water. The final step was to add a bit of ink detail on the leaves and petals with an 01 Pigma Micron drawing pen. I like the final effect; it reminds me of vintage illustration. As soon as my busy studio schedule slows a tiny bit, I will post a step-by-step tutorial, so you can try it out for yourself.
I was late planting sunflowers this spring, so while the cut-flower fields at the edge of town are already resplendent with buttery yellow blooms, mine are still all stalks and leaves on the ascent. I always try to include my favorite, Evening Sun (Helianthus annuus) in the garden patch mix. Velvety red petals with a touch of yellow - and dense centers the color of bittersweet chocolate – make them wonderful to draw. This one is painted in gouache and India ink on heavy watercolor paper.
(I’m painting some samples for a June 30 workshop, “Draw and Paint Six Culinary Herbs,” to be offered in Birmingham, Alabama. Join me for a day of creative botanical fun… no previous experience required, and all supplies are provided. Best of all, you get to take home six organically grown potted herb plants at the end of the day!)
I love to draw mice. This little fellow, created with just two Derwent watercolor pencils, was the demo for my Thursday night art class. The pencil colors were Raw Sienna and Chocolate (burnt umber). I sketched him with Raw Sienna, shaded his darker areas and eyes with Chocolate, then loaded up a #10 round brush with clean water and went over him to create a wash. To finish him up, I came back with Chocolate and added whiskers, ear and paw details. Squeak!
Not too long ago, a commissioned colored pencil piece gave me the opportunity to indulge in some exuberant bird-and-mouse fun. The finished artwork was a gift for a little girl, so I wove a pale pink ribbon through the dancing critters:
Meanwhile, I’m working on materials for an upcoming herb-painting workshop. Lavender, mint, oregano, chives, rosemary… now I just need to choose one final herb to occupy the empty space near the top of the watercolor. Suggestions?