January: On my way to Artzona

So glad to have a nice trip to Arizona to look forward to. This year I’m attending Artzona, a weekend gathering of artists from my mail art trading sites, ATCs for All and Illustrated ATCs. We’ll hang out, make and trade art, and make a lot of racket. A great way to escape the winter doldrums.

I’ve been making ATCs to trade over weekend. Here’s one I made last night.

drawing of a young Buster Keaton.   2.5" X 3.5" ink
drawing of a young Buster Keaton.
2.5″ X 3.5″ ink

I have friend who likes Buster Keaton, so I’m sure this card will have a great new home.

Ballpoint Pen Sketch: Something Serious

Something Serious

pen and paper, 5 x7 inches

Instead of filling requests for portraits, I’ve been filling up my sketchbook with ballpoint pen drawings.  Here’s one I thought came out quite well.  As always, Michael is my ever-patient model.  He looks like he’s thinking about something pretty serious, but I think he’s just asleep.

Graphite Sketch: An Impossible Angle

sketch of man relaxing
© 2011 Mellanie Collins

graphite on paper, 5 x 8 inches

On the first sunny and warm day this spring,  Michael and I went to the park.  Michael basked, and I sketched.   At first I was frustrated.  I had chosen an impossible angle and as it was such a glorious, lazy, summery afternoon I just couldn’t bear to get technical and try to do a “proper drawing.”

I had to mentally thumb my nose at my inner critic as she badgered me to consider the proportions or to “slow down and try do some proper hatching for god’s sake!”  I just kept marking, smudging and scribbling on pages.  I had such a great time.

Looks like I’m finally learning to just give myself a break and enjoy myself.

It’s about time.

Sketching on the Bus

EDM #255 Draw a person near you on train

A few weeks ago it was snowing and I had an errand I had to run so I rode the bus downtown.   I thought it would be a great opportunity to do some sketching .  I found myself a seat behind this kid and I just had to draw his hair.   Luckily he didn’t move much and he sat there for my whole ride. I was glad that I had my cool and warm gray Pitt brush pens with me.   Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do the hair justice, but it was great fun!  I like to imagine that he knew I was sketching away behind him and was secretly pleased.

Back to the Sketchbook


It’s been a long time since I’ve just played around in my sketchbook.   I forgot how fun it is to just scribble and hack away without any real attachment to the outcome.   I had spent some time working on an ATC for a self-portrait swap.  It just wasn’t working .  The drawing was okay, but I didn’t capture myself at all.   I  was suddenly just so fed up!   I needed to relax and loosen up.  There was nothing left to do but grab a few pens and my book and just cut loose on the page.  The results were surprising–and pleasing.

Every Day in May: Day 30 – Gardening Sketches

4"x6" graphite
4"x6" graphite

Saturday I did a lot of gesture sketches and tried capturing Michael as he worked in our yard.

4" x 6"
4" x 6" pen and ink

Here are the best of the sketches, at least they look human.  Michael was able to recognize himself, which was a good sign.  I love this kind of sketching where you focus on what you are seeing and not bothering about the result.

Every Day in May: Day 28 – Just Sketchin’

sketchbook page - graphite
sketchbook page - graphite

For Day 28 I sketched some mastiffs for some ATCs I’m making for a friend.   Wow, can’t believe that May is almost over.

Are any of you avoiding certain projects because it is May.  I know that I am.  A friend of mine gave me a starter set of OPEN acrylics, those new slower-drying paints.  I’ve been wanting to experiment with them, but I didn’t want to mess with my drawing schedule for May.  I had already projected how awful my little paintings would be and I didn’t want to feel obligated to post them.  I can be so silly…