Skip to main content

30 Dogs 30 Days - Red

I wish I had some of my early teenaged drawings, the ones I voraciously did while copying book illustrations.

When I was a teenager (cue the sad violin music), there was no internet. Or easily accessible quality photo imagery, for that matter - film cameras were expensive, and photos were sealed under plastic in albums. There were no museums or art galleries in my town. Art was only available in books, and those came from the library.

When I was deemed old enough, I could stay after school and walk to our local library, where I would hang out in the stacks for hours. Books were read, yes, but I would also study the artwork and draw from them.

Jim Kjergaard's books were some of my favorites - heartwarming stories with beautiful covers (I wish I knew who this artist is, but I don't have this particular copy anymore). I can't tell you how many times I drew Red, in pencil, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylics. It got to the point where I could do him from memory.

I didn't know it at the time, but copying others' artwork is a fantastic learning tool, one that artists have used for centuries. All the critical decisions have already been made, and it's a matter of learning to wield our tools like they did, all the while refining our own drawing skills. The hours I spent freehand drawing copies were actually excellent training for when I started creating pet portraits decades later.

To this day, one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon is in the Detroit Institute of Art digitally sketching (with my iPad) in the galleries. I often ask my students to actively practice copying the work of their favorites too. Mixing the same colors, matching up brush marks, it helps you to get into the same mindset as the original creator. Studying that sort of decision making helps integrate that artists' thinking into your own work.

(Please note that copying others' artwork to learn is entirely different than copying others' artwork for profit. Copied artwork is for learning purposes only and should not be exhibited or used for self promotion. Copied artwork for profit is illegal and punishable by law.)

I challenge today's readers to pick up a pencil and see what they can do with Red here. I might just do the same, for old time's sake.

Warmly, Kim


Popular posts from this blog

Make Create Express 2020 Giveaway

I am so excited to share with you the lessons I've created exclusively for this year's Make Create Express event. The first one features butterflies and will be part of the free Creative Retreat Weekend July 11-12th. The butterfly lesson will only be available, entirely for free, during this weekend event. However BOTH lessons, the butterfly and a wonderful rabbit painting workshop, are part of the year long Make Create Express. And I'm just one of 25 other artists who have made extraordinary content. Want in? Of course you do! We are less than 3 weeks out from the Creative Retreat Weekend , and to celebrate we are having a Blog Hop Giveaway. I get to give away 1 place in the Make Create Express year long workshop. This is a $120 value - think of the art supplies you can buy with that sort of savings!! To enter just share this particular blog post on Facebook and be sure to tell me that you have done so (shared this) by commenting here on the blog by 8pm on June 25th.  I

Lashes and Corkscrews, Buckskin Horse

"Lashes and Corkscrews," 5" x 8", buckskin tobiano curly horse portrait, acrylic on board, $289 to the first taker. Do I see any hands? Inquires to . I really DID intend to paint today, but things got out of hand quickly. I think it was the Snickers bar breakfast that me going in the wrong direction right off the bat. Then the mid-morning helping of caramel corn followed by a Kit-Kat lunch.... straight downhill from there. For the last hour I have had my palette open and the brushes out, but trick-or-treaters are coming thick and heavy, and it's becoming very clear that I will NOT be finishing the sheltie paintings tonight (so sorry JB - they are coming, though!!). Instead I'll share with you a piece I did last week for an art competition. I won't find out about the juror's decision until December, but in the meanwhile, please enjoy Percy, my friend's new gelding. Isn't he a dear?! Be sure to make some time


"Dove 3," 11" x 14", acrylics and pencil on stonehenge paper, small white margin on edges (not pictured), $399 plus s&h to the first asking nicely. Inquiries may always come   to me . In between working on commissions, I am continuing my own learning via mentoring sessions with   Anne Siems . I'm also taking   an online workshop with Stanka Kordic.   This piece was a eureka sort of painting in that it begins to meld what I am trying to learn from both these extraordinary women. Someone asked me recently why I study with other artists. It's because I'm never fully satisfied with what I know how to do. There's always people better than me at something or another, and I want to try to peek inside their brain to figure out how they weave their magic. Then I can adapt that to my own goals and style. It would be boring to paint the same way, every day, for eternity. I want to evolve and grow. Always. (and if you feel the same way, maybe you want to   v