Any “critter” art course $40


Yay! It’s a $40 weekend flash sale through Sunday, Nov. 12 on any of my five “critter” art courses:

  • Birds in Watercolor and Beyond
  • Birds in Colored Pencil
  • Draw Dogs and Cats
  • Draw Horses and Ponies
  • Draw Owls: Designed for Darkness

Each course includes a full year of access, unlimited instructor feedback, lots of illustrated printable pages and high-quality video lessons. All levels of art experience (or none at all) welcome! Start anytime you like, work at your own pace.

Click on the ONLINE COURSES link at the top of this page, or the nest icon on the left, for more information. (Gift certificates are available, too!)


Jewels on the side of the road


Wildflower sketch – gouache and ink

This time of year, the fall wildflowers fill our roadside ditches and paint vacant lots with yellow (beggarticks and narrow-leaf sunflowers), red (turkish lanterns), orange (native lantana) and purple (trillium and mist flowers). Stubborn and opportunistic, they don’t need a gardener’s help. All they require is a patch of dirt underneath, the bright autumn sun above, and the blessing of occasional rain.


Drawing autumn in Alabama

Bits and pieces of autumn, painted in watercolor and colored pencil

The signs of fall are very subtle here, in our subtropical climate zone. But if you look carefully, you will see them everywhere: the tiny flame in the Japanese maple leaf, the freckled yellow of dying foxgrape vines. Littering the ground, the leaves of the water oak are latte-colored. Thorny pyracantha spills over the tops of backyard fences to offer a treat to birds. In south Alabama, fall tiptoes gradually into view.

Some groovy gardening vibrations

Some people hope for an afterlife where they can stroll along streets paved with gold, happily humming along with the celestial choirs. Personally, I’m hoping for a used bookstore.

That’s my idea of a pleasant way to spend eternity: poking around tall bookcases crammed with interesting old volumes. There would be a creaky wooden floor and some classical music softly playing on an unseen radio. Behind the counter, St. Peter would be hunched over his favorite mystery novel. The atmosphere would be rich with the slightly musty aroma of well-aged literature.

I had the unexpected good fortune to spend a few minutes in that sort of bookstore today (excluding the part about St. Pete). Downtown to take a reference photo for a commercial illustration job, I stopped briefly at Bienville Books and bought Plantcraft, an amazingly cool 1973 gardening book published by a small San Francisco press.


It’s 92 pages of pure urban flower child delight: magical line art by the amazing Chinese-American designer Win Ng, who went on to have a distinguished career as co-founder of designer houseware company Taylor & Ng. A 45-rpm record album, designed to soothe your houseplants into abundant growth, fits into the back cover. Gardening advice that includes such tidbits as, “The chances are excellent that the music which pleases people will also please their plants.” And the whole thing looks as if it was printed on brown paper grocery bags. Fun! I love these little psychadelic snails on the Table of Contents page:


Here’s an image from the chapter on container gardening. Looking at it, I am filled with an overwhelming desire to put on a Joni Mitchell cd and do some macrame…


But here’s my favorite image from the book. It’s not just any illustrator who can cook up something this wildly imaginative for a chapter on plant diseases…


Hmmm? Plants looking a bit lackluster? Just serve your neighbor, the bird-headed girl, a nice glass of wine on the chest of a nude man. There! That’s much better.


Buy one course – get a 2nd course free

grey owl

For the month of October, buy any online course (full year access) and get a second course free to keep or give as a gift. Your holiday shopping just got much easier!

Each course includes a collection of video lessons and beautifully illustrated printable pages, plus unlimited instructor guidance and feedback anytime you wish.

I will email you a printable gift certificate for any course you want to use as a gift.

13 topics to choose from – each is a full-length course!

  • Draw Owls: Designed for the Dark
  • Heirloom Garden in Colored Pencil
  • Draw and Paint Six Culinary Herbs
  • Birds in Watercolor and Beyond
  • Birds in Colored Pencil
  • Draw Dogs and Cats
  • Draw Horses
  • Drawing Children
  • Botanical Sketchbook Painting
  • Eight Flowers Eight Ways
  • Drawn & Decorated Watercolor Lettering
  • Draw and Paint Fairies in Nature
  • Fairies II: Draw and Paint the Enchanted World


Live video (well, sort of…)

While doing a little laptop housekeeping this morning, I found a link to a forgotten video. It’s a taped segment from a two-day live workshop, Essential Birds and Flowers in Watercolor, hosted a couple of years back at the Mobile Museum of Art. The video quality is rough in spots — it was mostly recorded as a form of digital note-taking. But there’s a good demo on painting a heron using watercolor brushstrokes. I thought you might like it:


New: weekly free printables


Have you noticed the new icon — the one with the sketch of a flying eagle — in the sidebar? That’s the page where you can get illustrated printables each week. Tips on drawing dogs, painting wildflowers, sketching horses in pen and ink… the possibilities are limitless!

This week, it’s a tutorial on drawing frogs. Help yourself, and please pass the word along to anyone else who might like free art tutorials. Happy Drawing!

Click the flying eagle icon on the left side of the screen, OR this link: