Saturday, May 4, 2013


This is a doodling challenge for artists, writers, teachers, parents, children of all ages, friends, and friends of friends. I post a drawing prompt each day on my blog but you DON'T HAVE TO USE IT - it is for those who stare at a blank page and have a panic attack or those who just want to try something new. A doodle can take 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes or even up to an hour but seriously, if you are spending an hour or more - it is not a doodle, it is a masterpiece and you are overthinking it or trying too hard. Put your pencil to the paper and see where your arm goes - this is a stress free doodle zone. Enjoy!

Now for information about today's drawing prompt...

I often take pictures of my kids when they are making weird faces. I think I can use that look on an illustration someday. Ha. Sometimes it is to just capture the moment like when Erin was sure that someone had drawn the "front stoop on (her) forehead." If she tilted in her eyebrows, there was an angled line above her brow - that was the shape of a keystone. She kept frowning at us to show us and I could hardly contain bursting into hysterical laughter. Introducing my co-creator of the Doodle Day May challenge:

Your drawing prompt for today is to Make a Face.

You can grab a friend (to use as a model) or a mirror or your child and make some faces.

In your doodle, try to show in a few simple lines how the eyes change, the mouth shape changes, where the eyebrows go when you smile or frown or look surprised or angry or frightened, worried, etc...

The basic face can be a circle, oval, teardrop, square, rectangle, egg shape, ...

Draw one face.

Don't panic. I'm talking quick here - no shading and figure drawing training necessary just a mirror or a friend to make a face at you. Stick figure, cartoony, realistic - whatever you want that will be quick and easy for you.


If you are new to the challenge, here are some helpful links:
Facebook Group
Intro to the Challenge
Doodle Day May - Day 1
Doodle Day May - Day 2
Doodle Day May - Day 3

Have fun!

Friday, May 3, 2013


I am really glad that I invited you all to do this challenge with Erin and I. The doodles getting shared in the Facebook group page are so much fun. I can tell that you are enjoying the challenge and not letting themselves worry about the drawing. It is a doodle, after all.

When I do school presentations, I always talk to the groups about the first drafts or "sloppy copy" coming out terribly. The books in the library are fabulous because they have been revised and rewritten a over and over and over until they are final copies. I continue to explain that drawing the illustrations in a book is the same way. I even show on the giant screen that my drawings begin as doodles - pretty sloppy ones - before they get cleaned up. Kids love seeing my messy sketchbook images. I tell them that if you enjoy drawing - do it. I am telling you grown-ups the same thing. If you enjoy drawing, doodling, sketching, painting, carving, weaving, crafting, sculpting - do it. Nobody is out to judge you. Go read ISH by Peter H Reynolds and don't let anyone squish your ish.

Now, today's prompt is about circles. Yes, the simple shape of a circle.

You have 2 choices:

1. Grab a circle template, a mug, a glass, a can of soda and trace a circle or two on your page. If you can draw a circle without a template - go for it. It doesn't have to be perfect. Now see what you can turn a circle into. 
You can think circular things like a basketball, a penny, a donut, pizza, etc... or you can think outside the box and turn them into things that are not typically circles - animal, chair, car, etc...

2. Finish this picture and turn it into a scene. Just try not to make the circle into a ball rolling. You can definitely come up with something more creative than that.

Look at the circle, what do you see. You probably did this type of exercise in Kindergarten - let's get back there - to pure rich creativity at its core. Go ahead and try something different but if you need to draw an apple or a donut, nobody will think any less of you. : )

Have fun and try to think outside the circle. What could it be?

Thursday, May 2, 2013


There were a lot of doodles posted on the Facebook Group page yesterday for DOODLE DAY MAY - Day 1. Great job! Yesterday's prompt was about Zentangles so if you didn't try it, you are welcome to go back to it (or any drawing prompt) on any day. If you missed the first post about this new challenge - click HERE to learn and consider joining us on a doodling adventure for May. These prompts are only to give some inspiration to those who want or need it.

Today's drawing prompt is inspired by a sculpture lesson that I taught to my 6th grade students when I was a middle school art teacher in Colorado. The assignment for the students was to create a sculpture of a monster - it had to have a body, two arms or wings, legs and feet. In addition, it had to have 3 or more other parts built on such as ears, horns, tail, hands, nose, fangs, ... This assignment was pretty open but I never graded on artistic talent, merely on an ability to follow directions. This was my example - my students called him the Hertz Monster and he became the mascot for my classroom.

So today's prompt is MONSTERS. They can be cute and fluffy or prickly and scary - it is up to you. It can be a group of monsters or just one. It can be peaking out from under a bed or inside a closet or just snuggling up with its favorite human. There are no requirements here. If you need ideas for awesome monsters, look up Tara Lazar's book the Monstore or look at the trailer for the new movie coming out this June - the sequel to Monsters, Inc.

How to draw a monster? Ack! Don't know where to begin? My advice is the same for my students when creating a sculpture. Begin with the body. Use a circle, an oval, a square, rectangle, triangle or some wackier shape. Then add some legs, do you want them to be long or short, wide or thin? Add some feet - is your monster wearing shoes or does he/she have big hairy toes? Maybe little dainty feet? Decide if your monster(s) have wings or arms or both. Horns or ears or both. Teeth or toothless? A big slobbery tongue? Perhaps your monster enjoys a hat? It is always fun to look at a photo of a human and turn them into a cuddly monster. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask, "What would I look like as a monster?" Does your monster have a head or is his body and his head all one piece? Are the eyeballs dangling off? Are those eyes giant or tiny, even or uneven? Spikes? Bumps? Hobbit feet? Scales? The possibilities are endless.

I will post my examples in a couple of hours - until then, I have some mommy duties. Have fun!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Welcome to DOODLE DAY MAY!

If you have no idea what I am writing about, click HERE to learn about this new NO STRESS challenge for the month of May.

Grab a pencil, pen, colored pencil, crayon, marker, chalk, craypas, or even a bottle of chocolate syrup and start doodling! If you don't have a sketchbook or a computer program with a tablet, use a notebook, post-it note, scrap paper, the back of your child's homework from last week, copy paper or whatever you can get your hands on.

Your doodle each day can take you 2 minutes (or less) or up to an hour or more. Honestly, though, if you are spending more than an hour on a doodle, you are trying too hard and worrying too much. That is a drawing, an illustration, a masterpiece - this challenge is simply asking for a doodle.

If you are looking at your blank piece of paper and thinking, Oh no! What are I supposed to draw? or you even thinking I can't draw. I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler! Well, the good thing is, there is no ruler required for this challenge - no straight lines necessary.

For those who want to learn something new (although you might be familiar with this style) or need a little inspiration, here we go...

Drawing Prompt/Lesson #1. Zentangles

I challenge you to create a Zentangle of your name. If you have never heard of a Zentangle, and you are thinking, What is she talking about?? Help! Don't worry. Here are two different examples and I will share the step by step directions to creating something really great - anyone can do it.

This style of drawing is called Zentangle. It is a method of creating images from repetitive patterns. When I was little, I was taught that "there are no mistakes in art." For example: If you sneeze while drawing a sun in the corner of your drawing and the line gets all wobbly, change it into a cloud and add a sun to the other side of the page. Go with the flow. Try drawing with a pen - without using a pencil first. Just see where the lines take you.
Here are the step by step directions to creating a Zentangle of your name. First, write your name (or any other word you would like to use) in bubble letters, block letters, funky letters, or whatever kind of letters you can think up. Just make sure they are hollow so you can fill in some patterns in a few minutes.
In example #1 above for ERIN, I created BIG letters and used a single outline to join them all together after they were drawn. Then I filled each letter with a different pattern.
In example #2 above for ALISON, I made the letters small but still open for patterns inside and then I added wavy lines around the page to create sections that I could fill with more patterns.
I used a Sharpie Pen for these - once the pen hits the paper, there is no going back, no erasing, no fix. Just go with it. If you want to try a new pattern on a piece of scratch paper before adding it, go ahead but remember this is a DOODLE so don't worry about it.
Example of the Steps above:

Now, just keep filling in patterns. If you want to go with patterns around the word like example number 2 then add like to the drawing and fill them in with patterns:
Have fun! If you want to share, post your doodles on the DOODLE DAY MAY facebook page or post a comment with a link to your blog there or here so others can check out what you are doodling.
If you enjoy Zentangles (I find them very relaxing), you can Google it and see a ton of more pattrns and designs or take a class at Will Terry's FolioAcademy on Zentangles.


Monday, April 29, 2013


Self Portrait created by my daughter - age 5
It is in the last page of her sketchbook - when I asked her why she jumped to the last page, she said because "authors and artists always have their photos on the last page." : )
I have been creating a Daily Doodle everyday for the past several weeks and off and on since last summer. In November 2012, I participated in SkADaMo - Sketch a Day Month and it was soo much fun. I didn't spend more than an hour from start to finish on any drawing and some of those sketches found their way into my portfolio for a SCBWI conference a few months ago and they were the ones that the art directors enjoyed the most! I could hardly believe it. They said that they were "light and fun." As a former professional Toy Designer - when drawing became a chore and no fun at all. I vowed after SkADaMo that 2013 was my year to make drawing fun again. I have been doodling a ton and posting many of them on my Facebook page - see HERE. You can also see more of my drawings on my website.

This morning, my 5 year old - who LOVES to draw in her sketchbook and paints every day - told me that she would like to do a "Doodle a Day", too, so together we came up with a NEW CHALLENGE for artists, writers, parents, teachers, children, friends, friends of friends and anybody else who is ready to let their creativity shine.

So here is it in a nutshell. From May 1 to May 31, create 1 or more Doodles everyday. These can take up to 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 mintutes or even an hour from start to finish but if you are spending more than an hour on a doodle, you are trying too hard. Don't overthink it. May 1-7 is also NaPiBoWriWee and this will coincide with that perfectly if you are also participating in that challenge. Come up with your story for Picture Book Writing Week, write it and create a doodle of a character, a scene, the title or any other element of the story concept. Easy. For those of you who tell everyone that you are "not an artist" or "can't draw", I say BUNK! It is a doodle! It can be a squiggle, a tree, a flower, a rainbow, a person, a pet, a pancake or anything else you can think of. No one is grading you. No one is judging you. I have created a FACEBOOK GROUP called DOODLE DAY MAY so join the challenge and the group.
Now, I know that all of you parents have a crazy hectic month starting - for my kids, school ends at the end of May and we have six zillion events happening between now and then and as an involved parent, I have volunteered for many of them. Don't let that make you think that you can't create a Doodle each day of the month of May. If you need the help, I will post a drawing prompt on the Facebook Group page for each day for those who need a little push. As an experienced art teacher, I remember those students who would stare at the paper during free draw time at the end of class and have this blank look with no clue what to put on the page. A brilliant author/illustrator Peter H Reynolds wrote a picture book about that exact problem - THE DOT. As the book says, "Make a dot and see where it takes you."
Parents, get your kids involved in this one. Doodle together. Take a picture with your camera or your phone and post the pic on the FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE that I will created. Leave a comment to let me know you are jumping in with me and join the Facebook Page. Know this - if you do not create a doodle every day, nobody is knocking on your door about it. NO STRESS is the key to this challenge. Write a word in funky lettering or create an abstract picture of shapes and squiggles if you can't think of something to draw. You can use pencil, pen, marker, crayon, paint, or anything else you like to draw with.