Today’s portrait is not a Sktchy face. This is Danny Gregory, founder of Sketchbook Skool and all round art guru who is celebrating his birthday today. I owe Danny a lot. He is the person who got me drawing for the first time since childhood when I was in the depths of major depressive illness after a serious breakdown some years ago. It’s no exaggeration to say that drawing, and by extension Danny, was one of the things that helped to save my life.
Since that time chronic mental and physical illness has become a part of my life and daily drawing is part of my toolkit for maintaining my wellbeing. Sketchbook Skool and Sktchy, and the online communities that surround these, have become an integral part of my life and crucial to my mental and physical health. I’m hugely grateful to the people who make up these communities for their ongoing friendship and support and to Danny, Koosje Koene and Jordan Melnick for their foresight and hard work in creating and sustaining them.
Those of you who follow this blog regularly will know that a few months ago I became a teacher for Sketchbook Skool. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to go from student to teacher. The very least I can do is draw Danny on his birthday and wish him a very happy birthday!
Every week Sketchbook Skool founder Danny Gregory House Draw With Me session on YouTube. Anyone can attend and draw along with Danny. Each session has a different theme and after the session people post their drawings on social media (although this isn’t obligatory).
During this week’s s Draw With Me session we drew a 19-year-old Vincent van Gogh. I did a simple sketch in ballpoint pen. But many other people did wonderfully colourful drawings in true Van Gogh style and when I saw them posted online I decided I had to have a go. So I uploaded my sketch to my iPad and started playing around in Procreate with a TrueGrit TextureTown brush and the Liquefy function. This is what I ended up with. I love it.
You can see my process on YouTube here. If you’d like to watch a previous or attend a future Draw With Me session ￼( they’re absolutely free and open to anyone worldwide) you’ll find them here – make sure you subscribe if you want to receive a reminder of future sessions.
Every Thursday at 5pm BST Sketchbook Skool’s Danny Gregory hosts a one hour Draw With Me session on YouTube. Anyone can attend and it’s free. People attend from all around the world and, for about 45 minutes, we draw along with Danny while he chats about what he’s drawing, the nature of drawing, and anything else that comes up. It’s a very sociable occasion, with people commenting and chatting in the online chat, which is also hosted by Sketchbook Skool.
What we draw each week is usually a surprise. This week’s session was on Bastille Day so we drew Louis XVI. Obviously I love it when the sessions feature a portrait because I get to draw another face. I try to finish my drawings in the session because I love the challenge of trying to work much faster than usual, so I drew this portrait in 45-50 minutes (I did add the gold in just a few minutes after the session).
If you like to draw then why not join a session one Thursday? If the time doesn’t suit you then they are recorded so you can watch the recorded sessions at a time that fits with your schedule (but it’s more fun to join live if you can because you can participate in the chat). The entire back catalogue is available on Sketchbook Skool’s YouTube channel here. If you want to see some of the work created during sessions head over to Instagram and search for #SBSDrawWithMe.
This is Anna from the Museum by Sktchy app. I’m teaching a pop-up class on alcohol markers for the Spark programme at Sketchbook Skool later this afternoon and I want to talk about a range of markers, not just Copics, so I’ve been breaking out some of the other markers I’ve got in my supplies that I haven’t used for a while. So for Anna’s portrait I used the Spectrum Classique fair skin pack for all the skin tones. They did a nice job, though they’re a little darker than I would usually use for fair skin.
I also did an interview recently with Danny Gregory, the founder of Sketchbook Skool, about my sketchbook practice. He posted this on the Sketchbook Skool YouTube channel last Friday and if you’d like to take a look you can watch it at https://youtu.be/29P_Cqdp4rQ