Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Last Black Page

I filled the last page of my Stillman & Birn Nova sketchbook a few days ago with the 60th hand sketch on black paper (of a total of 132 to that point). Learning to draw white on black was a thoroughly enjoyable challenge that, at first, was much harder than I expected it to be. To stay motivated, I pulled out every white and near-white drawing material in my arsenal – mostly colored pencils, but also a few grease, pastel, chalk and “white charcoal” (huh?) pencils. Like anything, it got easier over time, but it never stopped being challenging.

Nearing the end of that book, I bought a second black Nova, in case I wanted to keep going. Certainly there’s more to learn by focusing on white on black, but it’s time for a change. Those of you who follow me on social media already know what I’m up to. I’ll report back here in a few days with the change-up.

Meanwhile, Governor Inslee has clamped down on restrictions in most Washington counties as we are “on the path to runaway transmission rates of COVID-19,” according to state health officials. With restaurants and bars reopening a couple of months ago for restricted indoor service, it’s no surprise that infections are up. None of the changes makes any difference to us; we’re still behaving the same as we have since mid-March. (My brave and daring foray to Starbucks a couple of weeks ago was a momentary distraction, just to see if I could feel normal again.) Looks like I have plenty more hand sketches to do.


  1. I have seen your new sketching surface and I think it will take a few sketches for me to become used to seeing the hands appear there. I sort of felt that about the black but I really grew to love the variations of shading on each and loved hunting for the bits of color. You gave me something fun to look for each day.

    1. Thank you! I hope you like the next series, too! I'm working myself up to full color someday!


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