Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blog / Website: Under Construction

Please forgive the dust! I'm still alive, but I'm currently in the process of updating my blog and website.

I post more frequently on Twitter: @careybowdenart

Please feel free to say hello!

In the meantime, be well!

Friday, February 12, 2016

I'm BACK (for the time being)


Thank you to anyone and everyone who has been supporting me in my art as I hobble along. I know there were several art-related goals I set late last year, but once the holidays hit, I admittedly did not meet these goals.

(If you don't want to scroll back and find the goals, they were 1. Order business cards by the end of November, and 2. Post here every Thursday.)

Well, time to get back on the horse. Or should I say turtle?

No, do not say turtle, say tortoise.

Anyway, I have been drawing a lot more since my last post (some doodles n' such I post to twitter) and it helps immensely that my current job (since October) pays for me to paint.

SVS Learn has also been a HUGE help. I've started watching parts of classes over breakfast, and it really kick-starts my art day. (SVS should make a cereal with a clever art-name.)


I got the pentel pocket brush pen! Whoo-hoo! It is awesome, I have two other brush pens (both Faber-Castell) but the tips are felt, and just don't have the point I'm looking for, or the "springy" brush action of actual bristles.

I've been practicing!

Brush Pen: Dino Head and Alligator Snapper! (apologies to those of you who saw these on twittah already, but welcome! Thanks for visiting the blog.)

Also also...

I will try to keep up with my art, really! I'm looking a full-time not-really-art-related job squarely in the eyes, and between that and my art-related painting job, things might slow down here (again). If anyone has words of wisdom, I'm all ears, and any encouragement is always very welcome!

In honor of my possible office work, here's Office Rex:

And here's something else, Bob: I ate eight different bosses...

(I'm sorry...)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sketching Seals

I admit, I really didn't do a whole lot of sketching this week. In fact, I think today was the first day I sat down and took some time for my art. 

I'm in the process of adding digital to my artistic toolbox, and realizing how much computers frustrate me. Hiking up the learning curve...

Anyway, here's a couple sketches! The first one is an idea for examples/product for my nursery art line, and the second one will hopefully be robin's egg blue for this week's Color Collective. 

"S" is for baby walrus.

An example of unnecessary clothing

I'm not sure why they're both seals, but for some reason, they had to be seals.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving! I will try to get a post scheduled to go up on its own, since I don't think I will have internet service in the Northern Woods Land. But we shall see.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just Keep Swimming...

So, my Life Schedule has been pretty wacky lately. It's finally sunk in that each work week is different, and it makes it hard to plan ahead for Art Time.

In his latest video, Will Terry said something pretty great: "even professional artists don't make a perfect picture each time, and sometimes they need help." (horrible paraphrase)

Anyway, I've been in a bit of a "progress valley" this week. Here's my really good polished illustration of what I mean:

This graph brought to you by: a broken tablet.

The dreaded valley hits both the Beginner and the Awesome-Good alike. It can be more emotionally based than skill-based (you don't like anything you do... until you come back to it a week later) or it can really be that what you did last week was consistently better than what you're managing (despite great effort) this week.

But that's another great thing Will Terry said: "if you get upset, that's a good thing, because it shows that you care." (another horrible paraphrase. Just watch the video.)

So it's good to get upset and it's normal to hit valleys. As with any skill (again, Will Terry) we must work and strive for improvement. The struggles of art echo the struggles of life in general. We can't run to a magical place where there are no frustrating days, where success is guaranteed, predictable, or easy. If we give up on art when it gets hard, whatever other goals/jobs we replace it with will also eventually challenge us and require both perseverance and skill.

I do this blog to keep myself accountable. My goal last week was "find a regular time to do SVS classes." Well, I did spend some time there, but I didn't really establish a set time. I would like to do that, but until I do, I will report here that I made it over to SVS to continue my education.

Since this is my sloppy sketchblog, here's some results of the valley. But I have to keep going and work through it!

I was very frustrated by my attempts at a Nemo-style fish character

Dec's 3rd Thurs: "Santa's reindeer were too sick to fly, so instead he used..."
(Gary Larson inspired. Not really going to use this one.) :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Need for Speed


That's the sound I want my art abilities to make, zooming into ever higher skies of awesomeness.

(Shooom! Whoooosh - zzzOOOooom!)

Back to earth.

It takes time. Not just practicing, but even completing a single careful piece can take... a long time. I want to go fast, improve at a much quicker rate, but... it takes time.

Will Terry said in one of his videos that you want it to take a long time. There is value in something that requires work, effort. We invest ourselves in our craft, and the more we invest, the more we take out.

A recent thread on the SVS Forum related to copying other artists. Instructor Lee White said "I am a HUGE fan of doing copy work as a way to get better. It allows you to step into other peoples shoes and see how they draw something. It's the quickest way to getting good in my opinion." (emphasis mine)

The quickest way! So earlier this week I picked up a big pile of children's books from the library, Shaun Tan's and Ben Hatke's this round, to copy.

In the introduction to The Bird King, Tan cites a metaphor from Paul Klee: "the artist as a tree, drawing from the rich compost of experience -- things seen, read, told, and dreamt -- in order to grow leaves, flowers, and fruit. Art... can only make something out of something else; artists do not create so much as transform."  

And a lot of time and practice can transform into mastery.

Here's some sketches from this week. I didn't want to fill this post with copy-sketches, but see if you can spot the few copies I left in:

Related to a WIP, might also use it for my business cards. 

Sketch, sketch, sketch...

Qilin - Chinese unicorn - possibly appearing in my WIP

The Under-the-Bed monster, now Not-Under-the-Bed

Goal for next week: establish a regular day/time for SVS classes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sticking With It

It's Thursday.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I wanted to begin posting here weekly. I mentioned Thursday, and Thursday it is, so here we are.

Let's review my current goals:

-Update blog once a week (CHECK)
-Reach out to other artists online (specifically at SVS and on Twitter) (CHECK)

I haven't made it back over to SVS this week, but I have been preparing some things to share on the forums. I try to tweet every day, and it's so awesome when I hear back from people! Jill Loraine Turpin was one such tweet-er who I "met" on twitter. I recently came across her great comic which chronicles the life of homeschooling her kids and shares her other art/illustrations as well. Check it out!

An upcoming goal is for me to have ordered my business cards by the end of November. Here's what I'm considering putting as the image:

I know what you're thinking: "this is the same owl you use everywhere!" Ah, but it's not. The one I've been using is a heavily edited old and bad photograph. Something about it - either due to it being from five years ago or the Photoshop touch-ups - bothered me, so I decided to re-do him. I'm not so sure I like how it turned out, I think I'll put a couple different card designs up for voting/advice in the near future.

(for my earlier post on business cards go here)

I also finished THIS!

Baby Capricorn-Goldfish!

An old Sketch Dailies prompt that I combined with Inktober.

I was so so nice to just spend a day with my paints. I've been using acrylic a lot for work, so it was good to go back to watercolor.

Ok, that's all for this Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Don't let "Perfect" Ruin

It's been a while.

While I've been away from Ye Olde Blog, things have been good and bad, crazy and calm. And, I've done some thinking.

I need to get back to more regular updates. I began doing Inktober because I knew I needed to get back into drawing every day.

The good news: I really have started drawing/arting daily. I might even have started a couple projects...

The bad news: I did not stick with Inktober. For the beginning of it, I was even on the road, out of cell service, etc. and I did better then! As it went on, I fell into the perfectionist trap of over-complicating and over-thinking each drawing, landing myself squarely in Disappointment. I just couldn't "measure up" to my unrealistic expectation of what I could do in an hour of inking.

(Now, I know we should always strive to do better, but we can also take some pride in what we are currently accomplishing!)

Long ago, I had an art teacher say "Don't let perfect ruin good." And, as a student at SVS Learn, one of my current instructors also says "Finished, not perfect."

I have a lot to learn. Not just art-wise, but everything that goes along with promoting yourself, website, social media, business cards, ect. ect.

I just have to start somewhere.

So, like I said, I've been doing some thinking. I'll start with "regular updates:" that doesn't mean every day. That may mean every Thursday. It's possible my non-art work schedule will increase its demands on my time, so I'll start with once a week and work up from there.

Another thought: I have seen a lot of great work by some super artists on SVS Learn and Twitter. I am somewhat shy (more so online than in person, though!) but I need to really reach out and say hello to some of my colleagues in the art world.

I will be sure to post any updates/adventures here. This blog is really my tool/workstation to keep me accountable. This is not where the "finished stuff" goes. So don't expect Perfection. (Are you listening, me?)

Calming breaths.

If you made it this far, here's a piece of a larger project I finished earlier last month:

Breath. Breath!

 Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Getting Out of a Rut

It's been a while! (20 days since my last post here! Sorry!)

I'm still adjusting to my New Job, and still seeking some Further Employment, as well as juggling hubby's constant travel. (Or my travel. I'm going home next week. Yay!)

But I really do need to post here (or just post... in general) more frequently/regularly, and Inktober is a perfect time to start doing that!

What is Inktober? Check it out!

I also participated in last month's 3rd Thrusday. As much as I like October's prompt, I'm not sure I'll be able to fit it in with everything else...

Here's what I submitted for the contest:

"As Charly walked deeper into the forest he heard singing and dancing. He peeked out from behind a huge tree and saw..."

I just wanted to learn and add to my portfolio. The journey continues!

Speaking of journeys,  I hit a bit of a rut today, artistically speaking. It took a hedgehog, a dinosaur, and a robot-wasp to get me out of it:

Squee. Rrrr. Buzz.

Happy Friday!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Whale and Sail


Just a quick update: things are still pretty crazy here, but I'm determined to enjoy this weekend, and by "enjoy" I mean "draw and paint as much as possible."


Please enjoy this surreal sketch: Interrupted Journey:

Hello. I am a whale.

This was a warm-up for more painting (to come!)

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Every Gray Cloud

...has a giraffe in it.

I just wanted to stop by and show that I am still alive. Things have been pretty crazy, with hubby's erratic, life-consuming travel, and with my New Job. (More on that later, I'm sure.)

I finished the giraffe! Here it is:

Rain got you down? Just punch it. With your face.

My idea is that he could be some sort of greeting card, but I'm still working out the specifics (how it would fold to show one part and then the other, etc.)

And I also finished Otter Waiter!

Oh yes, our fish is extremely fresh.

Since this is my blog and I can complain, I'm none too happy about the scan quality on the giraffe, or on my paint quality on the otter. Any and all tips appreciated, this is the second time I've scanned/merged the giraffe piece.

I'm also entering another SVS 3rd Thrusday contest. I've been taking their classes nearly every day, it's been absolutely fantastic.

The prompt is: "As Charly walked deeper into the forest he heard singing and dancing. He peeked out from behind a huge tree and saw..."

Here's my value-study, the good folks on the SVS forums have been a great help and encouragement, and I hope to post this soon, once I can figure out what's wrong with my login. :-)

"For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because..."

Thanks for stopping by!

(Ten points if you recognized that quote.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Let's Face It

And other terrible puns:

Bear with me


Anyway, here is what I worked on yesterday. And by worked on, I mean worked on. I really need to practice faces, so they are still difficult for me.

I found these around the interwebs, just type "faces for drawing practice" in an image search.

Don't look too closely

Do you see that "Day 1" up at the top? Yeah, I'm working to make it to "Day 50."

Today the rotation is "figures." I'll post any results here.

Thanks for stopping by!

EDIT: I did do figure drawing today, but it's not post-worthy. Lots of practice from SVS Posing Characters class, and image searches. When they're better looking, I'll share them. Figures, Day 1.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tattoos and Hands

Today, I had nearly made up my mind to begin another bootcamp. It would be called "50 days of 5" in which I would need to:

-Rise at 5AM
-Draw a rotating drill list Monday - Friday: hands, faces, figures, props, and choice.
-Log each day here
-Repeat for 50 days (not including weekends)

The reason I decided not to start this bootcamp yet is because I have a deluge of schedule changes coming up, and I want to be consistent. That doesn't mean I can't start adapting part of my goals into my day now, I just won't have to be so post-y about it yet.

So, here are some hands I did today!

In other news, I got a tattoo.


Just kidding.

But I told my friend I had, just to hear what she thought I would get. Here is her answer and the sketch it inspired:

"I totally believed you got a tattoo. It's not so far-fetched. I can clearly imagine you with a fat animal--probably a goat--trying to jump over a fence and failing tattooed on your upper arm."

The End.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jeff's Dinosaur

I've been taking a couple classes over at the fantastic School of Visual Storytelling. In the Creative Compositions class, one of the illustration prompts for thumbnail practice was

"Jeff's dinosaur grew so fast, he didn't know how he would get it out of the house."

I paused the video and doodled a couple thumbnails:

(The house one was from the video)

And then, I had this idea:

I know diplocaulus did not get that big. Comics are magic.

That is all.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

SIP... Stuff In Progress

Here's what I'm working on tonight, hopefully I'll get them painted before bed.

And I have put this guy on to be painted next. It's been too long, Otter-Butler...

Oh! And heeerreee's why I assaulted the internet with Shakespurr last time. He was a practice for a nursery commission, which went as follows:

-Animal: Kitten
-Colors: pink, purple, and light blue
-Action: Acting/playing dress up

I sent M several sketches, (one of which was unpainted Shakespurr)

When she chose the middle one, I sent her the drawing:

Which resulted in this final product!

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in commissions! Right now, I am really only taking on nursery art. You tell me the animal, the colors (up to three), and any notes on props or actions. I will make an "order form" on my website soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 13, 2015



It's both strange and refreshing not finishing a painting just to post it every day. It's been nearly two weeks since my last boot-camp, so let's review...

-Paint for 20 minutes (at least) each weekday
-For 20 days
-Post the results here

How did I do?
-Paint for 20 minutes... Yes! A+! But therin lies the problem... I would often paint for an hour, and so Paint Day really ate up my day... hmm, good thing or bad thing?
-For 20 days - Yup! Paint Day 1 through Paint Day 20 are all accounted for.
-Post the results here - see links. :-)

I have still been painting! I have a nursery piece that I will post soon, and another SVS 3rd Thursday contest entry that is almost done! This month's prompt: "Astrid cautiously stepped out of the craft onto soft spongy turf. Though she didn't see anything she had a deep sense that she wasn't alone."

Here's mine so far, I think I'm almost done:

Can't go wrong with mushrooms.

Remember this? Now it makes sense.

The camera made it murky, but I will scan the final piece. I'm really glad I did this one, I had the line art sitting on my desk for a little over a week, and I was feeling really intimidated by the two light-sources. But luckily, because I am also taking classes at SVS, which taught me to do a valuable value study first:

Yay, I can "use Photoshop!"

I might darken the watercolor. We'll see. It's due next Thursday!

And now the title character of this post:

Shakespeare-Cat. Joined today by Ghost Mandolin.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Some Doodles!

I'm still here! Since I finished my painting boot camp, I took a couple days off the internet scene, to relax cookover50freezermeals.

I've been working on a couple different projects, and today I took some time to just doodle. Here they are:

An unbeatable team, McCoy and Flipskip set off on another pursuit of justice...

Peter always wanted to fly, and Darla was glad to contribute her natural abilities.

Oswald knew he would certainly be adopted today, since he had eaten all the other options.

The dragon writhed across the sky, unaware of how much he looked like a giant noodle.

It all started when he tasted his first boot...

And that's all! Happy Friday!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Paint Day 17: Splattery Elephant

This week is a bit different: my friend from back home is coming to visit! It will not be possible for me to take time for Paint Days 19 and 20. So, should I just skip those days and do them later?

Nope. I will do them ahead of time!

I'll upload them here as usual, but the paintings will have been done earlier this week.

Here's (part of) what I worked on today:

Well, I remembered what I said yesterday about messing up, and... here we are. I don't really know how I feel about this one, but I would want to keep trying that wonderful splattery style that watercolor can do. (And next time I'll use watercolor paper...)

I was inspired by this, but I just totally cut loose after realizing I should have worked from a reference from the beginning.

Inspired by this photo.

Check out Kovács Anna Brigitta's art - absolutely stunning!

Thanks for stopping by!