Always Learning – Blog V

(My ongoing progress, or… the difficulties of coming up with ways to inspire others towards sustainable living while learning how to use technologies which I am unfamiliar, such as a graphics tablet.)

Space & Time

Space. Although I partially make my living helping children and adults develop their artistic skills on a daily basis outside the classroom (e.g., keeping a sketchbook), I have found taking my own advice to be difficult. In working to create illustrations for the little heavily illustrated booklet, I have learned that I do my best work away from distractions at home, such as laundry to be done, … or, “I hear you Mister Turkey, gobbling in the distance. You’re making me want to wander off and try to experience your world.”.

There is something to be said about working on a real desk versus sitting cross-legged at a park. Or being at a PC rather than trying to draw or brainstorm ideas at a coffee shop where conversations pull your attention to a man sitting uncomfortably in silence while two women gush about wedding plans. I have been grateful for the working space which Paul Martin has provided as well as the tasty snacks and hearty sustenance. (Thank you Paul & Betsy for feeding me!)

Time. Twenty years ago, I would not have been able to get as much information about trouble-shooting or learning how to navigate through a graphic computer pad without the internet, Google, and YouTube.  Living in the information age has been wonderful through helping me catch up on some of the latest graphic techniques. One of my favorite discoveries so far has been to create custom brushes on Adobe Illustrator. I had been blissfully unaware of using a digital pen and did not realize its full potential. During the eight-month time period of this internship, I learned how to utilize its pressure feature to create tapering lines. It makes for a more graceful and airy imagery. (Note the images I posted of “Before” and “After” discovery of brush creation.)

The experience in working with graphic design tools and programs has made me go from a nervous novice to a more confident, “Hey, I can do this!” -newbie. I am now investigating professional scanners and printers to do more graphic imagery using the water coloring and ink drawings which I have started creating in late 2018.  I did not expect to move towards 2-D art making but have enjoyed learning more about it.  As a ceramist and fiber-art-geared tactile person, I don’t think I would have considered such a move had it not been for this internship. I will be looking at more collaboration for book illustrations and perhaps even consider developing children’s books. I am very excited about the possibilities!

The perspective from being an art educator and having been a former student of Paul Martin’s has benefitted me in that I have continued to learn so much just being around Paul. This experience has made me try to become a better writer and has set the example of making me aware of how integrated one must be in their community to try to create a global change.

The flip side has been that Paul has learned very much from me as well. We have discussed and shared ideas about engaging with children while teaching them about their local and global environment using art activities.  I hope to see more results come from this internship once all the drawings have been completed and refined. This will be an ongoing work in progress that when completed, we hope that it helps promote environmental awareness and responsibility.



One page out of the applied ecology booklet. Note the heavy eyelashes? Yikes!



Refinement took place after discovering how to create custom brushes on Adobe Illustrator.


I am enjoying the process of sketching out ideas in pencil before translating them onto my Wacom tablet.

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