Creating this book was such a labor of love.
I was first introduced to traditional watercolor practice in September 1986 and quickly fell in love with the thrilling roller-coaster ride of direct watercolor, with minimal or no pencil under-drawing to guide me along.
Fast forward to 2014, twenty-eight years later, and I (like so many others) came across the playful, exploratory, pen-and-ink-and-watercolor adventure called urban sketching, as well as the generous international community of Sketchbook Skool, led by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene.
Three years later, I approached my local art school and talked them into letting me concoct a radically different sort of art class, where pleasure was ranked over perfection, where humor was more important than technique. By keeping the same trajectory of art-skill improvement, but with a gentler velocity, students found they actually progressed faster and with far less discomfort. At least some of them did. The challenge was that I never had quite enough time with them. A three-hour class, or even a series of three classes, just didn’t give them a chance to really catch the playful bug I was trying to instill in them.
In January 2020 I stopped teaching for a series of reasons. Three months later the planet began experiencing the pandemic and subsequent isolation. A few months after that, it crossed my mind that those art school lesson plans could be fleshed-out and turned into a book that would educate and entertain people for far longer than three hours, at a fraction of the cost of a single in-person class.
“Look at That!” was conceived July first 2020, but was far from birthed. Having no idea how to self-publish, I simply started with what I knew: the lesson plans. They were a mere outline though, so little by little I added the stories and instruction I had improvised in those wonderful classes. When I got as far as I could get, I went looking for publishing helpers, and found them.
“Look at That!” will be available on Amazon as an ebook and a paperback as of November 22nd 2020 if all goes to plan. (FYI: I prefer the paperback because facing pages stay where they belong, as do the illustrations, but that may be just me!)
In the world of art instruction books, I saw a real need for a user-friendly, unintimidating volume, a place where readers would not get lost in a deluge of details. “Look at That!” is a 72-page step-by-step book with 36 illustrations, to guide and entertain you as you enter this wonderful world of seeing-and-sketching. It is small but powerful–it contains plenty of instruction and inspiration to keep you going for a very long time.
The link will be here as soon as it is available. It is my deepest hope that this book will be the missing link for many of you, so that you too can become a happily instinctive sketcher. I welcome your feedback, as always!
PS- If you would like a quick peek at one of the exercises found on page 40, click on the link here . There you can sign up to instantly receive a downloadable PDF to start practicing right away!