Friday, April 27, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

Happy Birthday Casey ...

Welcome to The Art of a Sketchbook.
Because I am writing this on Monday, April 23rd and today is my cats 15th birthday I thought I'd share with you some of my many sketches of Casey.

Casey Sleeping, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom
I'm not sure if its because I am so fond of him or because he's so handsome or more than likely because he's always right here by my side when I'm looking for a subject, but I have sketched him many, many times throughout the years.  In the sketches above I used a regular #2 pencil. Although I don't' always date my sketches, I did on these, January 5th, 2001.

Casey Portrait, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

From the same sketchbook ... not made for watercolor, I attempted to splash some color on a pencil sketch I did of Casey.  The pages wrinkle a lot, but I don't mind, after all its just a sketchbook. I think I had previously sketched a cartoony looking cat in ink on this page but just went over it like it wasn't there.

Casey Contour Drawing, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

Above I used a whole page in one of my spiral bound sketchbooks to do a few contour drawings of Casey in ink.
Casey Napping, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom
Here's the big boy sleeping on my lap as I sketched him using a common #2 pencil.  January 12th, 2006

Cats Paw ~Casey, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

On another page of the same book as above it looks like I first sketched the paws then outlined in ink and added a touch of watercolor.  Outlining the two paws together like this helped make them more of a statement.

Ears of the Cat, Casey, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

Same sketchbook as the last two photo's, I guess this was a study of Casey's ears.  I think cats ears are so interesting don't you? I used my fine tip Lamy fountain pen for this one.  I love sketching with it because of being able to get such fine lines, and no, I don't worry about mistakes.  I never erase when I sketch ... its a rule !
Casey, Cat Nap, sketchbook,© Nancy Van Blaricom

And last but certainly not least is Casey laying on a cushion that was placed on an ice chest. This sketchbook is unlike most of my sketchbooks.  Its made of recycled paper that looks like brown paper sack.  In this book I usually use charcoal to draw then add some color with pastel chalk, once in a while I will use my Lamy fountain pen to outline, but not as a rule.

Thats it for the sketches this week ... I hope you enjoyed seeing them.

Before closing off this blog post on sketching I wanted to share with you an interesting article I read in the (free) weekly on-line subscription of Outdoor Painter newsletter. The article is about  Katharine Norris, written by Steve Doherty. Sign up for the free newsletter while you are there visiting this article.

Heres to sketching.


  1. You know I really should sketch my pets. I have no idea why I haven't. Love the last one on the colored paper.

  2. I love seeing your sketches, Nancy! The watercolor piece is especially nice and Casey's eyes are compelling. The sketch at the bottom on brown paper with charcoal is delicate and lovely. What a great subject Casey is and he provides a variety of poses, too. Sounds like a good deal for everyone! Do you tip him in catnip?

  3. Love seeing your sketchbooks! Casey makes a great model. I especially like the sketch in watercolor. I read the article about Katherine Norris and this article and your post I am inspired to pull out my sketchbook and watercolors. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Hi Nancy - Love seeing your sketchbooks. I have never been able to keep up with doing those, so I admire someone who can! It is an important skill.

    I especially liked the watercolor portrait and the last one on the brown paper.

  5. I enjoy seeing your sketchbooks. I have never been able to keep up with one, so I admire that you can! It is an important skill.

    I especially loved the watercolor portrait and the one on the brown paper.

  6. So nice to know that you have a special cat too. My boy is the HeartBeat of the house. I've written Haiku about him but never tried to sketch him.

  7. It's good to see such skill...many self proclaimed artists can't draw worth a damn. Cracks me up!
    .......Your cat is a beauty! My favorite is the colorful watercolor version. This is a fun post.

  8. I love seeing your sketches also! It inspires me to sketch more. I like your explanation...hope to see more!!!

  9. Lovely sketches and the watercolor is wonderful. Too bad about the wrinkles!

  10. I never, ever grow tired of looking upon good cat drawings - and yours are wonderful. Casey is a beauty - deserving of being an artist's muse.