Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Art Classes, Maine College of Art | 1 comment

I’m kinda the Johnny Appleseed for sketching, I throw seeds for sketchers everywhere I go. Why? Sketching is an activity for everyone, a tool, a means to an end, a process, document, a story. The more you sketch, the better you will see and understand your world while your drawing becomes an ever more fluent visual language that can be read by anyone, anywhere.

Currently, the Portland Museum of Art is exhibiting Fine Lines, American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum. I’ve stopped in twice and still need more time to take in all the wonders of this show. MECA colleague and amazing artist Daniel Minter hosted an Artist Intervention in the First Floor Gallery recently, inviting visitors to sketch with him from a cast of characters.


Daniel drew quickly, tossing his drawings into a pile on the floor.


Artist Karen Lybrand drew Daniel here:


I drew another sketcher:


And a model:


On the way home, I ran into fellow Peaks Islander, Elena Murdock, daughter of the Monhegan painter, Yolanda Fusco. Elena grew up amongst artists, but never made art herself. Now enrolled in a Maine College of Art Continuing Studies course, Drawing for the Complete and Utter Beginner, she proudly showed me her sketchbook.


Way to go, Elena! As a busy mother and Deputy Director of Finance and Operations at the PMA, she realized she could squeeze in some drawing time during ferry trips to and from Peaks. She’s filled her pocket-sized sketchbook with drawings of unsuspecting ferry riders, rows of seats, views from her vacation, and her own feet and shoes. She’s a perfect example of the more you look, the more you see. Drawing anything from observation sharpens the mind and the pencil.

It spurred me to draw on some recent ferry trips, too. This is neighbor, Bill Hall, engrossed in a book.


Anne Whitman’s cap caught my attention one chilly morning as we passed Bug Light.


I recently led a workshop “Sketch-a-thon” at Maine College of Art’s Open House for admitted students. I shared a presentation about the merits of sketching that included preliminary sketches for illustration projects, including this one by colleague Mary Anne Lloyd.


It’s important for students to understand where illustrations begin; at the raw sketch stage anything is possible. It’s like thinking out loud, and it’s all good.

I invited them to sketch ideas for a Maine mascot. These two tickled my fancy, using humor and cliche to advantage.



I showed this short view of what happens to illustration majors, as they become seriously immersed in metaphor.

I left them with my advice for everyone: get a sketchbook! Draw in it! It beats scrolling through Facebook to kill time, trust me.And if you’d like to sketch by the sea, check out the Peaks Island: Sketchbooks Workshop that Judy Labrasca and I will lead this July. We had a blast last year, you can read about it here.



One Comment

  1. Yeah! for Jamie, the Johnneyella Appleseed of the sketch-world. Jamie gave me a sketch book for Christmas and I have it half filled now with odd little sketches of boat-life and Crema Cafe life. It’s fun to whip out and doodle away. Sometimes a certain line drawn a particular way on a blank page can lead you down an unexpected road much like a random word or image can reveal a story you did not know was there.

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