Rough Draft: Love Story During World War 1

Throughout 1914, we are honoring those who served during World War 1 and their families. Let’s not forget the many beautiful stories of love that emerged from the ashes of this heinous war.

My grandmother (from Somerset, England) served as a nurse (a sister) in a military hospital during this war. A soldier named Louis Sparkes from Newfoundland (then a British colony) was admitted to her hospital. He had been shot in the chest and leg, and had spent several days tangled in barbed wire in a muddy trench. During his long recovery, he fell in love with one of the nurses.

Louis Sparks and Amy Richards were later married. As a war bride, she left her home and family in Somerset, England to become a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother in the small fishing community of Lower Island Cove in Newfoundland.


Protect Yourself when Drawing!

Many years ago, I almost lost the use of my right hand – my drawing hand! Subsequent to surgery and several months of physiotherapy, I regained full use of this hand. Needless to say, I have been very careful ever since.

You can prevent similar repetitive movement injuries by paying attention to how you hold your arm and hand as you draw.

Try to move only your lower and upper arm when drawing – drawing is more like conducting an orchestra than writing a shopping list. When you do need to move your fingers and/or wrist, relax your hand and bend your wrist back slightly to keep the carpal tunnel open.

To prevent your back from getting tired or cramped, remember to place your feet flat on the floor or on a footstool when drawing in a seated position.


Create Winged Lightning!

A few months after being struck by lightning,  my amazing daughter asked me to design a tattoo for her that represented her survival. Even though her spine was badly injured, she has since resumed many of the activities she enjoyed before the strike.

To create a similar design, refer to the directions below.


Colored pencils are an amazing medium for designing tattoos. Just remember that the final canvas for the design is human skin – so keep your colors very bright.

1. Lightly sketch one wing and the lightning bolt.

2. Choose a palette of colors and shade your design.

3. You then have two options to complete the design:

Option 1:  Draw and shade the second wing and outline the entire design with a sharpened black colored pencil. If you need help, refer to 1.2.A3 Shortcut for Drawing with Symmetry in the Pro lessons (free until June 16).

Option 2: Scan the wing and lightning bolt and bring it into Photoshop or similar software. Use a thin brush tool to outline the shapes. To add the second wing:

  • Widen the canvas enough to add the second wing.
  • Select the lasso tool and copy the wing.
  • Flip the design horizontally, paste it, and move it into place.
  • Trim the edges with eraser tools.
  • Flatten the layers and flip the design again (optional).

Symmetrical, Patterned, and Free!

The shiny, patterned surface of this bowl was rendered with contour hatching, blending, burnishing, and erasing (to add the pattern).

Try your hand at these invaluable shading techniques. This lesson is free until June 12!

Lesson 3.2.A19 Shade a Symmetrical Bowl (Module 3 – Topic 2)

Browse through the modules to download several other free lessons marked with a green “Free” sign.


Paint with Colored Pencils!

An inexpensive, tidy, and highly-portable “painting” medium!

Colored pencils were originally developed for commercial artists and illustrators. Over the past few decades, “painting” with colored pencils has gained a new respect as a medium for fine art. They beautifully capture delicate drawings such as portraits and flowers, and also work very well for subjects that need a bolder, more colorful approach.

Dry mixing and burnishing helped create this painting of a white Calla Lily on a white background.


A background added in Photoshop enhances the flower.


This wonderful medium comes in a wide variety of qualities, from student to professional. The permanency rating of the pigment used in the mixture helps determine the ultimate quality of the pencils. During the manufacturing process, various synthetic and/or organic pigments are added to binding agents (such as clay or chalk) and wax.

Please do not use photos you find on the Internet as references for drawing without a license, or the permission of the photographer. This drawing is based on a photo by Viperagp that was licensed from

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