REVIEW – Sketching Stuff Activity Book: Food


This is the second book in Charlie O’Shields Sketching Stuff Activity books. The theme for the first book was Nature and this time out the theme is Food. Gather up some snacks, because you’ll be hungry by the time you’re through with the book, lol.

Before I forget, there is a Sketching Stuff Facebook Group for people to share their work from the Sketching Stuff Activity books!

Specs

  • Series: Sketching Stuff Activity Books (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Doodlewash (March 20, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0960021949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0960021949
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces

Who is this Book for?

Anyone who likes to do puzzle activities. In the first half of the book, you’ll find activities similar to many found in puzzle books, such as Spot the Difference and Drawing in a Grid. You’ll also find drawing activities that will tie into the puzzle types.

Anyone who wants to draw better but for fun. The book uses time-honored techniques for improving your drawing, but disguises them as fun activities!

Anyone who wants to learn more about using color. In the second half of the book, Charlie shows you photographs along with his painting of them, and tells you the colors he used. This part of the book is more like a how-to, but it ties into what you’ve learned in the first part of the book.

What Tools Do You Need?

You could do the whole thing with crayons if you wished!

But you’ll have more fun with pencil, eraser, pen, colored pencils, watercolor paints, palette, brush, watercolor paper, a cup of water and your imagination.

Not all of these items are needed. The exercises in the second half of the book do require that you have your own paper. Charlie uses watercolor, but the exercises can be done with any color medium.

Look and Feel

Walkthrough Video

If the video does not work for you here, you can find it on my YouTube Channel.

Look and Feel

The book is published through Kindle Direct, so it is a softcover with glued binding. I’ve never had pages come loose accidentally from a Kindle Direct book, but I’ve found that I can fold the book back, press along the inside edge, and easily tear pages out, if I wish.

The glued binding means the book doesn’t lie flat, but the slope didn’t cause me any problem with drawing or coloring. I did remove pages so I could scan them more easily.

The paper isn’t really formulated for artwork. That said, it handles pen, pencil, colored pencil and marker quite well. While I wouldn’t recommend it for watercolor, you can use it. I’ll discuss the paper further in the Performance section.

The Activities

I’ve listed the contents down below, so I’m only going to discuss the types of activities here.

The book starts out with extremely simple exercises, such as this scribble art exercise. These are easy for any age group. Advanced artists may find them too simple, although I enjoyed going back to the basics, and used them as a warm-up before doing something more complex.

This first section trains you to look for shapes and details. Trust me – this is THE first ability you need when drawing. Charlie’s scribble, doodle and spot the difference exercises will help you learn it.

Then the activities have you exploring techniques that will help you draw those shapes and details, such as using a grid.

Up to this point, there are pages in the book meant for you to do your art. In the last part of the book, you need to work on other paper. Watercolor paper is recommended if you are going to use paints.

I’ll go into more detail on this in the Examples section.

Examples

The paper in this book is better than you would get in a Crossword puzzle book, and not as good as you would get in a glossy print book.

But you can get some surprisingly nice results.

My favorite medium to use is technical pen and colored pencils. In this activity, you’re asked to look for the shapes in a photo. I looked for ALL the shapes, even the teeny, tiny ones and then I colored the heck out of them with my mechanical colored pencils!

The colors don’t come out bright, but you can get many layers and depth.

For this grid drawing exercise, I used marker pen.

There was some bleed-through on the back of the page, as you can see above. The amount you would get will depend on how juicy the markers are, and how much ink you put down. If you aren’t sure, I recommend testing your markers (and pens etc.) on the last page of the book, before using them for an activity.

Watercolor isn’t the best medium for this book. The paint absorbs quickly and doesn’t move at all, so you have to keep picking up more paint after each stroke. The paper dimples and the more water you use the more dimpling. I didn’t have any bleed-through, but I know that I would have if I’d used more water.

So, it isn’t the best medium to use in this book, but if you do, you can get decent results.

This is one of the exercises from the latter part of the book, done on watercolor paper (not done in the book itself).

Charlie doesn’t specify brand names and specific colors for his paintings, just saying blue, or light red, etc. That means it would be very easy to follow his instructions using another *medium. If fact, you could do the same exercise more than once using a different medium each time.

*medium – the tool you use to draw, color or paint with. Watercolor is one medium, colored pencils would be another and so forth.

I’m not as good at leaving white space as Charlie, so I used a white gel pen to add highlights. My goal for this book is use his instructions to get better at leaving my whites showing!

Contents

  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Let’s Sketch Food
  • Sketching Stuff – What You’ll Need
  • How I Sketch Stuff
  • Coloring Fun!
  • Scribble, Doodle, Color
  • Let’s Scribble!
  • Scribble Art!
  • Scribble Lines!
  • Scribble Shapes!
  • Scribble Plate! 1-2
  • Seeing Clearly
  • Spot the Difference! 1 – 4
  • Find and Scribble the Shapes 1 – 3
  • Doodle Bowl!
  • Doodle Table!
  • Doodle Dessert!
  • Doodle Grids! 1 – 3
  • Doodle From Life!
  • Doodle With Just One Line!
  • Doodle From Imagination!
  • Complementary Colors
  • Analagous Colors
  • Let’s Color With Crayons!
  • Let’s Color With Colored Pencils!
  • Coloring With Watercolor
  • My Coloring Set
  • What Color is Whipped Cream?
  • Let’s Make a Cupcake!
  • Bananas
  • Ice Cream Cone
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Submarine Sandwich
  • Colorful Donuts
  • Watermelon
  • Waffles & Fruit
  • Broccoli
  • Shiny Spoons
  • Painting Glass
  • Ice Cold Lemonade
  • A Shiny Dessert
  • Sketch Something Delicious
  • 60 Things To Sketch
  • Photo Credits
  • Answers to Spot the Difference
  • About the Author

Tools

Sketching Stuff Activity Book: Food

Zebra Pen:

Daniel Smith Watercolor

Disclaimer: I bought my own copy of Sketching Stuff Activity Book: Food and I received no considerations for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Golden Opportunity


Artwork: Zebra Pen Technical Pen and Finetec Watercolor in Sketching Stuff Activity book.

If you are looking for the Life Imitates Doodles Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #17 , you can find it here.

The prompt at Doodlewash today is Golden Opportunity. You may be thinking ‘Where’s the Gold?’

Well, this seemed like a golden opportunity for me to show you another of the exercises from Charlie O’Shields The Sketching Stuff Activity book and for me to try out the Finetec Transparent watercolor set that I got for my birthday.

The watercolors are a student grade. You get 24 colors for about $26 dollars. For the price, they are good. The colors are bright – I suspect a dye rather than actual watercolor pigment. It would be a great set for art journaling, or a beginner on a budget that wants something decent, but doesn’t expect professional results.

This exercise was in looking for detail. Charlie drew part of the bird, and your challenge is to add the important detail.

Once again, I drew the shapes in my Hahnemühle black book. In fact, I drew them twice to create two birds. You can’t practice finding shapes enough!

I think I added more detail than I needed too, but that’s okay. Finding them was the point of the exercise.

Coloring the page wasn’t part of the planned exercise, but it’s fun! This paper is NOT formatted for watercolor and I knew I was taking a chance, but I wanted to try out my new watercolors! I was very careful to use just enough water to make the colors spread and it worked fairly well.

The paper did wrinkle a bit and the paper is absorbent so it soaked up fast, limiting how far you can spread it. There was no bleed-through or show-through on the back.

I don’t actually recommend using watercolor on these pages unless you are good at controlling your water flow and making sure none of the colors are too dark (or you don’t mind having the color bleed through to the back of the page).

It was fun, though and I like the results.

You can find my review of the Sketching Stuff Activity book here.

Did you know that there is a Sketching Stuff Facebook Group for people to share their work from the book?

Wanna buy some of these cool toys?

The Sketching Stuff Activity book by Charlie O’Shields

Hahnemühle Black book – Rochester Art Supply FineArtStore

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Zebra Zensations Fineliner Pen 0.8mm Assorted 24Pk

Charlie O’Shields is the founder and admin of Facebook’s ‘World Watercolor Group’, World Watercolor Month, and the Doodlewash Community. For more then 1400 consecutive days, he’s delighted his readers by sharing his watercolor art and a rambling essay about life, his interests, and the importance of staying young at heart.

Blue-plate Special


If you are looking for the Life Imitates Doodles Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #16 , you can find it here.

Artwork: Zebra Pen Technical Pen and Fineliners in Sketching Stuff Activity book.

The prompt at Doodlewash today is Blue-plate Special, and I think this illustration would make a special plate. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

The drawing is an exercise from The Sketching Stuff Activity book by Charlie O’Shields. Several of the activities focus on recognizing the simple shapes in a scene. This is surprisingly difficult to do without practice. I decided to draw just the shapes on black paper.

When you draw on black paper, you are forced to think in the negative. I felt that would help me see just the simple shapes. I decided to just draw the more important leaves.

Then I drew the bird in the activity book with a technical pen.

This time I drew the leaf clusters in more detail.

I finished by coloring the drawing with fineliner pens.

If you missed my video walk-thru of Charlie’s book, here it is again. You can find the full review here.

Did you know that there is a Sketching Stuff Facebook Group for people to share their work from the book?

Wanna buy some of these cool toys?

The Sketching Stuff Activity book by Charlie O’Shields

Hahnemühle Black book – Rochester Art Supply FineArtStore

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Zebra Zensations Fineliner Pen 0.8mm Assorted 24Pk

Charlie O’Shields is the founder and admin of Facebook’s ‘World Watercolor Group’, World Watercolor Month, and the Doodlewash Community. For more then 1400 consecutive days, he’s delighted his readers by sharing his watercolor art and a rambling essay about life, his interests, and the importance of staying young at heart.

Review-Sketching Stuff Activity Book: Nature by Charlie O’Shields


The Sketching Stuff Activity book by Charlie O’Shields has a wide range of activities.

The themes of this book are fun and nature. It is written to appeal to a child, both the actual youth, and the inner child we all carry within us.

Charlie puts emphasis on approaching art like a child, but don’t kid yourself. You’ll have fun, but you’ll also learn techniques for observing, drawing and painting.

Breaking News! Charlie has started a new Sketching Stuff Facebook Group for people to share their work from the book!

Specs:

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Doodlewash Books (April 21, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0960021930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0960021932
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces 

Video Preview

Look and Feel

None of the exercises in Sketching Stuff are difficult Many are very simple with a brief explanation, an example, and room to try it yourself. Others require more reading, more thought, and for you to supply your own paper.

You’re taken from scribbling to seek and finds, and grid methods, and more All of it is approached as a fun exercise, and most of the time you won’t even know you are learning. The illustrations are beautiful and lively, as is the writing.

The directions are clear and easy to follow, throughout.

You’re given a peek at Charlie’s just DO, yet mellow approach to art and life. His methods of painting will help you paint quick little masterpieces. Okay. They might not all be masterpieces, but if you follow his advice, you won’t care. You’ll be having too much fun to worry about it.

At 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches, and 72 pages, this book won’t fit into most purses or pockets, but it is light enough for easy carry.  It is a softcover with cardstock covers, and the usual paper that you get with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

The book has a glued binding so it doesn’t lie totally flat. The slope isn’t bad. Average for any coloring book with 72 pages.

This is standard for an activity or coloring book in this price range. That’s why it costs $8 – $13 instead of the $30-$40 that you would pay for premium paper.

The day I received my copy of the book, I immediately did the first two exercises, which centered on scribbling. Right up my alley!

In the first, Charlie invites us to scribble like a child while thinking about items from nature. I think I got more involved than he intended. I can’t help myself! That’s okay though, since Charlie also emphasizes embracing our own style.

In the second exercise you make a large scribble and then look for objects. You can tell I had fun.

I knew what to expect from the paper, since I’ve purchased activity books from Kindle Direct Publishing before. Colored pencil works very well on this paper. Markers and pens do well as long as the ink is not too wet. You might get some show-through on the back of the paper or even bleed through if you layer pen or marker color. Anything too wet will bleed-through.

I made an example for you in the exercise on scribbling shapes.

I used technical pens to draw the shapes, and colored in my drawing with colored pencil and markers.

Water-soluble marker was used for all the green and yellow. The pansy that is toward the center of the page was also done with these markers. I went over the pansy with a wet brush to spread the color. Now look at the back of the page.

Neither the technical pen or colored pencil show at all. The marker in green shows as a shadow and faint dots here and there. Where I wet the pansy, there is bleed through.

There are a couple of blank pages at the back of the book, and I suggest trying out any pen or marker that you want to use. Color a small area, and check the back. If there is not bleed through, then color over the same area and check again. This will show you if you can layer with that pen or marker.

You’ll need some basic art supplies – pencil, pen, crayon, colored pencils, watercolors and watercolor paper are suggested. But, if you don’t have all of those, you can still do the exercises, as long as you have something to draw and color with.

Rule of thumb: Pencil and color pencil work best in this book. Some pens are great, others might not be. Markers can work, but should be tested in the back first.

Overall: This book is fun, with something for everyone. If you are a beginner, the exercises are easy enough that you can do them, and learn new techniques. If you are more experienced, the exercises are great practice, and you can build on them as I have done with my examples.

Charlie has a unique technique and I think even very experienced artists will pick up some ideas on painting smart, not hard.

Contents

  • Copyright Page
  • Let’s Sketch Nature
  • What You’ll Need
  • How I Sketch Stuff
  • Coloring Fun
  • Scribble, Doodle, Color
  • Let’s Scribble
  • Scribble Art
  • Scribble Lines
  • Scribble Shapes
  • Scribble Nature
  • Seeing Clearly
  • Spot the Difference 1
  • Spot the Difference 2
  • Spot the Difference 3
  • Find and Scribble the Shapes 1
  • Find and Scribble the Shapes 2
  • Find and Scribble the Shapes 3
  • Doodle Textures
  • Doodle This
  • Doodle Grids
  • Doodle Flip
  • Lots of References
  • Doodle Stuff from Life
  • Doodle with just One Line
  • Doodle without Peeking
  • Doodle from Imagination
  • The Color Wheel
  • Let’s Color with Crayons
  • Let’s Color with Colored Pencils
  • Embrace Your Style
  • Coloring with Watercolor
  • My Coloring Set
  • Let’s Make More Colors
  • How I Like to Color
  • Let’s Color a Flower
  • More Ways to Play
  • Hide and Seek
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Scribble, Doodle, Color
  • Colorful Birds
  • A Barn Owl
  • A Bird with Flowers
  • Flowers in a Vase
  • A Bird in a Blue Sky
  • Strut your Stuff
  • 60 Things to Sketch
  • Photo Credits/ Solutions to Spot the Difference & Hide and Seek
  • About the Author

You can buy the Sketching Stuff Activity Book at Amazon.

Charlie O’Shields is the founder and admin of Facebook’s ‘World Watercolor Group’, World Watercolor Month, and the Doodlewash Community. For more then 1400 consecutive days, he’s delighted his readers by sharing his watercolor art and a rambling essay about life, his interests, and the importance of staying young at heart.

Giveaway (closed) & Review-Hahnemühle Report & Art Sketchbook


Today my review of the Hahnemühle Report & Art Sketchbook is up on Doodlewash. As well as sending me a copy of the sketchbook for review, Hahnemühle sent a copy for this giveaway, and a sampler pack of mixed media Bamboo paper. I threw in a 6-pack of Zebra Zensations pens.

Last week’s winner, Chris Zar, already has a copy of Alice Hendon’s book ‘Tangle Starts: Into the Future’, so she generously asked me to add my giveaway copy to this week’s giveaway. THANK YOU, Chris! (If you missed my review of the book last week, you can find it here.)

To Enter:

Leave a comment here telling me whether you’re enjoying winter or if you can’t wait for Spring.

One Winner will receive this Prize Package

  • Alice’s ‘Tangle Starts Planner, Into the Future
  • one A6 Hahnemühle Report & Art Sketchbook
  • one sampler pack of Hahnemühle Mixed Media Bamboo paper
  • a 6-pack of Zebra Zensations Technical Pens 

Open Internationally.

To Enter (Giveaway is over – no longer accepting entries)

Leave a comment telling me if you are enjoying Winter or if you can’t wait for Spring.

This Giveaway Ends

Saturday February 09, 2019 at 11:59 PM PST.  I’ll announce the winner here at this blog on Sunday February 10 .  The winner will have until Tuesday, February 12 at 11:59 PM PST to respond with mailing information.

There is a giveaway here each Wednesday. You don’t have to follow my blog to enter, but it will help you to remember to do it!

Want to buy some of this stuff RIGHT now?

‘Tangle Starts Planner, Into the Future’

Hahnemühle Report & Art books

The mixed media Bamboo sampler packs can’t be bought, but the paper comes in many pad sizes. You can find them at:

(You may need to ask customer service for Hahnemühle if shopping online at these stores)

If you are interested in Hahenmuhle full-size sheets check out

Need some of those ever-so handy technical pens?

Zebra Zensations Technical Pens

Disclaimer: Hahnemühle_USA sent me both copies of the Report & Art book for purposes of the review and this giveaway. Chris Zar donated the copy of ‘Alice Hendon’s Tangle Starts: Into the Future’. I purchased the 6-pack of Zebra pens. I received no other consideration for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Review-Tangle Starts Planner, Into the Future by Alice Hendon. Giveaway closed.


Today my review of Alice Hendon’s latest book is up on Doodlewash. She sent me a copy for this review, and I bought a copy to give to one of you! As you can see from the photo, I’ve added some other goodies too!N

The winner of this giveaway was Chris Zar

One Winner will receive this Prize Package

  • Alice’s ‘Tangle Starts Planner, Into the Future
  • a tin of ARTEZA Colored Pencils, Professional Set of 48 Colors 
  • a 3-pack of Zebra Zensations Technical Pens 
  • a tin of Hahnemühle YouTangle tiles

Open Internationally.

~CLOSED~

To Enter

Leave a comment here telling me why you must have Alice’s book. 

This Giveaway Ends

… Saturday February 02, 2019 at 11:59 PM PST.  I’ll announce the winner on Sunday February 03 .  The winner will have 72 hours to respond or the prize package will be given away in a later giveaway.

I’ll be having a giveaway here each Wednesday. You don’t have to follow my blog to enter, but it will help you to remember to enter!

Want to buy some of this stuff right now?

‘Tangle Starts Planner, Into the Future’

Hahnemühle YouTangle Tiles (you can find my review here).

Zebra Zensations Technical Pens 

ARTEZA Colored Pencils, Professional Set of 48 Colors

Disclaimer: Alice sent me a copy of ‘Tangle Starts Planner, Into the Future’ to review. I bought the copy for this giveaway as well as the Zebra Zensations Pens and Arteza Colored Pencils. The tin of YouTangle tiles was provided by Hahnemühle_USA. I received no other consideration for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review-‘Sketching Stuff: Stories Sketched From Life


‘Sketching Stuff: Stories Sketched from Life’ is a book with 282 pages of smiles!

It is available in hardbackpaperback and Kindle. and other ebook readers. I chose to purchase and review the paperback version because I have Charlie’s cookbook in that format and I like having them match.

As many of you know, for over three years Charlie has issued daily prompts at Doodlewash.com, and every day he’s published an illustration and essay based on the prompt.  No matter the prompt, Charlie weaves in stories of his life, his philosophies and the importance of staying young at heart. 

This book is a collection of those essays and illustrations, and there are some new ones, as well! All the essays are light-hearted, encouraging and intended to make you smile. In the section ‘Sketching All the Way’, he explains how he started sketching and the steps he took to make it a daily habit, as well as how he continues to show up every day with these ‘doodlewashes’ and essays.

If you’ve been reading Charlie’s daily essays, you know what to expect from the book.  His ‘rambles’ are laced with humor.  Although, I have several years on Charlie, when he reminisces about his childhood, much of it is nostalgic for me.  While many readers might not be familiar with a specific toy, or have celebrated the kind of event he describes, the feelings and emotions are universal.  

There are 180 illustrations.  While, the art is better viewed in full color, it translates well to black and white, and that keeps the price of the book down, which is always a good thing.  The ebook version does have full color so I may have to buy that version as well.

Many of the illustrations are very small, used to head or end an essay, but there are also half-page and full-page doodlewashes salted through the book.

The book is fairly thick at 282 pages, with a glued binding.  The paper is white and the text is clear and easy to read. 

The stories are organized into a series of themes: The Journey Begins; Days to Celebrate; Cabinet of Curiosities; Childhood Favorites; When the Music Plays; Those Furry Friends; Laughing When It Hurts; When We Were Kids; Little Life Lessons; Halloween Hijinks; Sketching All the Way; For the Love of Family; and Happy Holiday Moments. There are five to seven essays for each theme.

Sketching Stuff is the kind of book that you can poke at – start at the beginning and read to the end, or just pick up, open at random and start reading. If you don’t have much time to read, you can easily finish an essay while on break, riding the bus or during those rare times when you find yourself with nothing to do.  It would make a great coffee table book for a guest room.

I joined Doodlewash about a year and a half ago, and have long meant to read all of these essays.  It’s also part of my nightly ritual to read for about half an hour before going to bed, so I love having them collected in a book.  I can sign off from the electronics (highly recommended for helping you to sleep), read a ramble or two and head for bed, feeling relaxed and smiling.