Angie Allen Photography » Lovin' life behind the lens

Drawing Lab

***Linkup Details are at the bottom of this post – I hope you’ll join the fun!

I’m starting a new weekly blog series that’s all about hand drawn illustrations. Three generations of my family, my mom, myself and my five year old daughter, Kate, will pick up our pencils to connect, create and learn together.

The idea was inspired by Carla Sonheim‘s book Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists. In the book, she offers “52 creative exercises to make drawing fun“. We will do one a week for the next year. Each week I will post our results. Some weeks you will see drawings from all three of us. Other weeks there may be just one or two of us. My only caveat is I don’t want to pressure my little one. She’s a natural born artist and I would never want to make her creative time anything but fun and rewarding.

My mom discovered the book. The more she talked about it, the more I knew I had to have it. Turns out, I may have been living under a rock. When I started researching I realized it’s a hot book. Etsy even had a How-Tuesday with Carla demonstrating how to make the cutest paper dolls you will ever see.

There are several reasons this book spoke to me. I often feel my artistic self is lost among the other aspects of my job. There is marketing (meh), bookkeeping (ick) and hours and hours spent behind the computer creating layouts, typesetting and communicating with clients (fun). Often I’m left with little time for raw creativity. I find myself going to my Wacom tablet or drawing directly in Adobe Illustrator instead of picking up a pencil and drawing.

On the first page of the book, Carla writes:

Drawing is scary. You feel comfortable with collage or acrylic paint, but not with a pen or pencil. You might have tried to learn to draw from traditional drawing books or classes and felt frustrated, or worse, bored. Perhaps you’ve tried learning to draw on your own, but are critical of your efforts. (Note: this is not fun). And yet… something inside is telling you to put more of your own hand into your work.

Yes! Something inside me has been telling me to put my “own hand” into my work. Last year, I had the same feeling about photography. I put my mind to it and I not only learned technique, but I also learned to foster my personal style. I hope to do the same here. Luckily drawing is more familiar to me than photography was when I began.

When I shared the book with Kate, she opened to page 94, saw the zebra above and immediately asked me to sketch it for her. I did, not really paying attention. She immediately built upon my pencil sketch to create the piece above. It is truly a multi media illustration. She used card stock, copy paper, watercolor, Sharpie, and glue stick. While her drawing had nothing to do with the actual assignment on page 94, the creativity that poured out of her from a simple prompt is the motivation I need to take on this new challenge.

Have you read Drawing Lab? Have the assignments inspired you or motivated you to draw? I’d love to hear your experiences. If you’d like to play along, let me know. It would be fun to create a weekly link up. If there’s interest, I’m happy to include everyone.

For more from Carla Sonheim: WebsiteBlogBuy the Book | Drawing Lab Flickr Group


UPDATE and LINKUP Details:

We will kickoff next Thursday, March 31 with Unit 1 Lab 1: Draw Cats in Bed. I purchased my book at my local bookstore. You can purchase it online here. If you won’t receive the book in time for the first lab, I can email you a photocopy of the assignment. I’ll only do this for Lab 1 – we want to make sure Carla is compensated for writing such an motivating book! And of course, late comers are always welcome!

Each Thursday, I’ll post my family’s drawings and a link up on my blog. Along with your drawing, I’d love to hear a brief recap of your process, positive or negative, and if you chose to take your drawing to the “next level” as Kate did in the sample above. You can post your work on your blog or on Flickr. After posting, be sure to visit everyone’s blog to see their interpretation of the assignment and share your experiences.

Please remember, this is raw creativity. Our drawings won’t be perfect or gallery ready, instead they will be an organic starting place for the artist inside each of us.

  • Cyn - Me and the boys will be hopping on this book and doing some of the assignments. Can’t wait to see your multi-generational illustrations!ReplyCancel

  • candyglendening - Angie, this is gonna be so awesome!How awesome that creativity runs vertically AND horizontally in your family!ReplyCancel

  • sarah s.- redlinedesign - This looks cool angle…Emmy and I would love to play along…we are still painting with acrylics and have some pretty cool pieces, I am off to get this book!ReplyCancel

  • Drawing Lab | One | Angie Allen - […] organic starting place for the artist inside each of us. For more about this series, check out my kickoff post. Happy drawing! […]ReplyCancel

  • Drawing Lab :: One | | - […] friend, Angie, is having a link-up for the book, Drawing Lab on her blog. She’s going to attempt the weekly assignments with the three generations of her family and […]ReplyCancel

  • Drawing Lab 1 | Cats in Bed | Candied Fabrics - […] thing to do like I need a hole in my head! Angie Allen is starting up this totally awesome meetup, the details are here, but basically, she’s working through the exercises in the book “Drawing Lab for Mixed […]ReplyCancel

  • Nicole : Three By Sea - Ok, I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to get involved with this, but I bought this book a few months ago because of its awesomeness, started it, and have let it fall to the wayside with other projects.
    I don’t want to let this book go to waste!!
    So, in that spirit, I’ll be posting my assignments on my “Today I Created…” blog so I can get back in the habit of doing these assignments. So glad you’re spearheading this, Angie!ReplyCancel

    • Angie - Nicole – I’m so excited you’re going to join us. Sometimes I need a little peer pressure to do a project like this. I’m looking forward to sharing your journey!ReplyCancel

  • 30 Cats - […] did it. I decided to join Angie Allen’s “Drawing Lab” group based on Carla Sonheim’s, Drawing Lab, a book which I mentioned a few months […]ReplyCancel

  • Patti - Hi Angie!
    By pure coincidence I purchased this book last week and noted it on facebook… Cyn told me about your weekly Drawing Lab link-up and so I’m gonna join in the fun! (um, I guess that makes me a “late comer” as you state above. 😉 )

    So excited to have fun with drawing!!!

    Thank you for putting this out there.

  • Blind Contour Giraffes-Drawing Lab 2 - […] if you do buy the book and have a blog, I’d love to see you join Angie Allen’s meetup, where folks link to their weekly drawing labs. If you want to see some other blind contour giraffe […]ReplyCancel

  • Charcoal Dogs- Drawing Lab 3 - […] I’m particiapating in Angie Allen’s Drawing Lab linkup. Here’s Drawing Lab 3 from Carla Sonheim’s Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media […]ReplyCancel

  • Carla SONHEIM - This is SO WONDERFUL. Wow.


  • Drawing Lab 4 and 5 - […] I finally caught up on my Drawing Lab assignments! (Recap- Angie Allen’s Drawing Lab Weekly Meetup/Carla Sonheim’s book, Drawing Lab/spending time getting comfy drawing- any of this ringing a […]ReplyCancel

  • Drawing Lab 6 - […] soooo behind on the Drawing Lab meetup that Angie is hosting. Ever since I started Carla Sonheim’s “The Art of Silliness […]ReplyCancel

  • Drawing Lab :: One | Cyn Thomas Journal - […] friend, Angie, is having a link-up for the book, Drawing Lab on her blog. She’s going to attempt the weekly assignments with the three generations of her family and […]ReplyCancel

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