Category Archives: Drawing

Sketchbook, March 2019

My March 2019 sketchbook is a different size than February’s book. Due to travel, I worked in a smaller sketchbook that I could carry in my bag.

Join me below for a sketchbook page turner!

Represented in these pages are drawings made in several locations. Dinner guests in Eugene, Oregon. Railroad museum in Portland, Oregon. Lunch in Arcata, California. And I even stopped in the Redwood National Forest in Del Norte California to draw elk in the wild.

Interested in more sketchbook pages? Please visit my blog (and use the search feature to find sketchbooks). You may prefer to visit my YouTube Channel. When and if you do, please hit like or subscribe to follow the work as I make it, thanks.

February 2019, Art-O-Mat Project

Every few months I create art for Art-O-Mat. Why? Because the art is sold for a mere $5! This allows people who would normally not purchase original art a chance to own an original Suzanne Gibbs piece. And for those that do often purchase original art, a bargain piece for their collection.

Here is a look into my process for making 50 art blocks.

An insiders look at the process I use to create art blocks for the Art-O-Mat project.

This project is also known as Artists In Cellophane. This time I created 50 blocks with drawings on both sides.

For more on this project view these previous posts here and here.

Deepening Your Visual Voice

Artists become more successful when they tightly focus their work and visual voice. I am currently exploring ways to deepen my visual voice.

Let me tell you, this is NOT easy!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Character from a collection of 50 blocks for Art-O-Mat Artists in Cellophane.

While I work on my work I also find myself helping other artists.

I love this work. To help fellow artists with the work of deepening their personal visual voice and message—such joy. This seems to come naturally to me, especially when I visit artists in person in their studio space.

But… seeing my own work with an objective eye has been ever so much more difficult!

I’ll keep working on being more me, I know it will be worth it in the end!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Character from a collection of 50 blocks for Art-O-Mat Artists in Cellophane.

I also adore talking to artists about getting unstuck when their work begins to feel stale or uninteresting. I could talk about studio habits for a long time. I have all sorts of ideas for encouraging the nagging inner voice that wants to squash ideas. Allowing the personal voice to emerge, when our earthly existence wants to resist, is the work of a creative.

Resistance is real, folks!

Resistance can derail a great project before it even gets a grip, roots, or a body. Resistance can leave a seed of an idea bereft and dead. Steven Pressfield calls this work the war, the battle, that thing that needs to be wrung or beaten into submission.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be kinder and gentler to myself.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Character from a collection of 50 blocks for Art-O-Mat Artists in Cellophane.

For me kindness = asking questions and remaining curious.

My curiosity has led me down many wonderful paths. I’ve written books, produced art and drawings, and worked as a graphic designer. My kindness and refusal to go to battle with my creativity has made my work better. I appreciate the gentle generosity in myself that has led me to wonderful relationships and a sweet life.

My visual voice is emerging from me with continued practice, not fight.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2019, Character from a collection of 50 blocks for Art-O-Mat Artists in Cellophane.

I can attest to the fact that as a human I am more and more content these days with who I am and where my art belongs. The space I take physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the world seems just right.

I practice self care along with studio practice, do you?

Reinvigorating My Art Blog

This year marks the 10th year since I began blogging about my art. At a decade — I thought why not reevaluate and reinvigorate?

A tiny bit of history. In 2016 I stopped automatically sharing my blog content to email subscribers. Life got in the way of regular posting. Then, in 2018, I began a regular monthly newsletter that contained links to my blog.

Since I am always excited to share new work and because I miss the immediacy of blogging and people commenting I have decided to breathe new life into my blog.

In case you’re curious, my beginner blogs can be seen here, here, and here. My current blog (this one) can be found here.

On the current blog, you’ll see images of my work, video, and progress in the studio… all my art processes, specifically, drawings, paintings, and books. Same as always, but I like to think my work is a bit more polished—with a decade of practice under my belt.

My hope is that my trusted readers will enjoy this journey of watching me dive into projects while I continue to further develop my visual voice.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Character 18 for Art-O-Mat. 50 ink drawings on paper adhered to wood blocks.

This blog post is to let you know that you can now view my blog in your in-box almost as fast as I am writing them!

How can you do this?

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Each time I post a new drawing, video, or other art you’ll see the work in your email box (never ever more than 3 times per week).

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Character 13 for Art-O-Mat. 50 ink drawings on paper adhered to wood blocks.

My newsletter will continue to arrive once a month towards the end of the month and is a condensed version of the work I am sharing on my blog.

Of course, you may choose to be an ALL IN fan and have both the newsletter and the blog come to you. The ALL IN subscription will be the default if you choose to do nothing.

Doodle Characters Under Development

For those of you who have followed my work you’ll have already noticed that I have been drawing whimsical characters for a long time. Mostly, these drawings have remained in my sketchbooks, for years. They have also landed on any paper surface that happens to be under my pen and even on sidewalks with chalk when my children were small. This effort is what I call doodle characters under development.

Repetition and focused effort is the key to improvement.

To see a few of my past character drawings go here. Recently, I’ve been told that these characters need to lose the name: Doodle.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Character 12 for Art-O-Mat. 50 ink drawings on paper adhered to wood blocks.

Doodling has the connotation of being scribbled absentminded work.

I do not fully agree with this definition for my work. Because of this I am forced to reconsider the meaning of my doodle characters and my continued use of the word doodle. Through making the characters I give them life. Once they exist, they have a visual voice.

Suzanne Gibbs ©2019, Character 15 for Art-O-Mat. 50 ink drawings on paper adhered to wood blocks.

The voice I wish for them to portray is to invite curiosity through whimsy. The characters are non-judgemental, full of life, emotional, and as much as possible I make them while being very present in the present moment. They may at first appear childish—but always contain deeper adult meanings.

I am wildly excited to share this new/old work in new ways! Especially since I have mentally re-framed what my doodle work has meant to me over the years.

While I make them and redraw them and paint them and collage them I think about how I will share their voice—which is ultimately, my voice. I have considered making t-shirts, cards, patterns, and yes, even fine art with them in the central role. All these avenues for showing the work can and will happen in the future. Still, I wonder, how will I complete the loop of the conversation that my art can and does ask for if viewers do not have access to the work in real life, right now?

This blog post is to let you know that you can view these characters almost as fast as I am making them!

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Join my blog using the form above. Each time I post a new drawing, video of my sketchbooks, or studio progress images, you’ll automatically see the work in your email box. Never more than 3 per week, I promise. I need time to make the work too!

March Madness

March seems to be a month where I GO ALL OUT!

Five years ago, in 2014 I had a month-long art sale. I called it March Madness. Nearly 100 pieces of my work went all over the USA—including Alaska and the east coast. This was the year post-graduate school and I have tons of art needing homes. Gratefully, many people where excited to own the work.

Encaustic, string, buttons, men’s shirt pieces, medallion on panel, 6.5 x 7.5 SOLD

Four years ago, in 2015 I made postcards for 30 people in 30 days in March.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2015, Fixie Bike, watercolor on postcard, Card shipped to Boston.

Three years ago, in 2016 I did the postcards gig a second time, and generated many more takers than the first year. 45 original art cards made and mailed.

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2016, Spring Peeper, watercolor on postcard, Card shipped to Hopewell, NJ

Two years ago, in 2017 I was working for another artist making huge sculptures out of marine debris in an artists residency that lasted a year instead of a month.

Working with garbage necessitated a mask! Behind me is a huge whale tail in process.

Last year, in 2018 I published my second book at the end of February and shipped all the copies I printed in March.

Image of the cover of My Year of Separation, I have a few copies left for sale.

What will March 2019 bring? I am totally unsure! There will be a March Madness game to watch on TV, and as always, I will be making more art.

January 2019 Sketchbook, with a little December and February too!

I am once again showing the pages and the thinking behind keeping a daily sketchbook. The following pages encompass December 2018, January 2019 and a bit of February 2019 sketchbook. I always like a laugh, hear me know—it’s a page turner!

Honestly, if I could help one other person to enjoy the journey of personal sketching and journal pages, I’d be happy! Comment if I have made a difference for your thinking about sketchbook keeping after you have watched the video.

Suzanne Gibbs, December + January + February 2019 Sketchbook

Once in a while the pages of my sketchbook land me a commission fine art sale. This sketchbook was instrumental in one of these types of relationships. I took an idea from the pages of my sketchbook and remade the art on fine art watercolor paper. I am grateful for the work and most especially the ability to bring joy to a client!

While my goal for my sketchbooks are not sales, when I do get a sale from the effort the extra bonus is sweet and keeps me motivated to keep on learning through an exploration of ideas, materials, and musings. I keep the work purposefully playful and messy! The joy is in the making.

Reason To Draw

Do you need a reason to draw?

Have you set in motion a resolution to draw more, make more art, write more, get better at painting or some other creative journey?

We are in the time of year for resolutions.

For some the resolution is loose weight, or make more money, or find a new job. In the circles I travel in, many people want to up their art practice, they want to draw better, or build on a skill that could make a difference in the art they make. This is all great. But I am also noticing that some people feel like there is a noose around their neck forcing them to think that they must draw and create or else they are not an artist. Or worse, not a worthy human being.

The best reason to draw is because you want to. You have something to say that is best expressed in ink and paint.

Still, you’re stuck. I can relate. Even if I used all my art supplies all year long, I might still have some supplies left over in 2020. Except sketchbooks!

Suzanne Gibbs ©2018, Face Detail, sketchbook page.

Last year when this happened to me—feeling stuck, blue, wanting to give up my creative practice—I simply decided to fill one sketchbook as messy as possible in one month. An anything goes mess. Some days I did nothing. Other days I furiously filled many pages. Then, at some point I began to draw over and even paint over previous days work. Essentially censoring myself or obliterating whatever it was I had to say.

Interestingly when I shared the work on-line the comments I got were that I am not at all messy! This was not what I expected, at all.

What I learned from the experience (I did several months in a row like this) was that I had some pent up emotions that needed a place to land. I used a lot of Stabilo woody crayons (child-like), collage (cutting up and putting things back together), and black or blue paint (moody).

The point is: I showed up as me to fill the pages.

I did not get all hung up in my head about who I think I should be as an artist. I did not project the idea of perfection in my voice. That monkey brain tried to tell me that I was wasting my time. I was simply keeping a promise to myself: fill a sketchbook as messy as possible in one month.

Of course some days I felt like I was wasting my time, I did the work anyway.

Now my sketchbooks are getting more “pretty” again. More focused and more drawing practice. Fine, this is good for now. And I will be OK with that time when I need to get moody and messy on the page again.

Give yourself permission to scribble like a child would, it is ok!

And if I haven’t sparked your desire to draw, maybe this article will!

Suzanne Gibbs, ©2018, Grid Face Fancy Hat, mixed media, 4 x 6 inches.

Thanks for reading, and please share your work with me! Anytime, anywhere.