The sketchy and inconsistent blog of Bethie Engstrom...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Arctic prayer

Medium: watercolors

Finally pulled out the paints after a three month break (this being the second one I've done, the first is hardly noticeable - nothing in it holds any value but I might post it sometimes - learning by mistakes is the best way to move forward!) - I'm still using student quality watercolors (except for one tube of Danial Smith Brunt Sienna that I use in the blanket) so trying to get the look I want is a challenge - but a interesting one as well, I feel myself growing with each new breakthrough that I encounter. =P

Feel free to critique this - I want feed back and even though all of your wonderful comments of how you like what I've done is great and all that (makes me smile) I would also love it if you had something to share, either the way you work your way through something or if you have something that could help me along.

Merry Sunday!

Merry Sundays to you all!

Zoo Sketches - Study in animals (2/6/2012)

Medium: 2B pencil

While at the zoo last week with my mom and youngest sibs, I was able to pull away to watch the polar bears at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. It was so amazing, there were two of them, and they were for sure the most active animals I've seen in the zoo in a long time. They were swimming (there was a underwater viewing point) and wrestling (as well as a ground level point) - and later on I got to see them being fed.

All in all it was a good day (warmish - high 50'sF - and sunny) if not for the only low point these two being the only showable pieces.

Blessings friends!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Medium: Fine point sharpie

Make a point of telling those you love that you do appreciated them and all they do. Much love to all of my followers - you've all made my day many times over.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Pre-valentines day short comic

Medium: fine point sharpie

For all of the odd valentine couples out there  -  this is for you. =)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Study in movement 2/8/2012 and Sunday Sketch

Medium: HB and 2B pencils

As most are beginning to realize about me - I use my little sibs quite a bit in my sketching and inspiration, as well as random modeling for me. This little sketch was first started when I glanced out of my window to see Abs playing in the empty garden just like above - but then, to my disappointment as I feverishly tried to put her features on paper, she jumped up and came inside (it was a very blustery day and the strong winds scared her). I looked down at what I put down.... not enough for me to get that realistic movement that I've been striving for.  So, I dragged her in to my room with promises of treats and toys (maw-ha-ha - trickery is my game!) and was able to get this down. It's only a sketch but I want to redo it in a larger size soon.
(Thanks so much Sophia for hosting Sunday Sketches!)
Much love everyone - happy sketching!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pencil Grades

“Drawing is the true test of art.” Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

Drawing pencils come in a range of grades, from H for hard to B for soft. The hardness of the lead is determined by the relative proportions of graphite and clay used: the more graphite, the softer the pencil.
Typically, hard pencils range from 9h (the hardest) to H, and soft pencils range from 9B (the softest) to B. Grades HB and F are midway between the two. A very soft lead will produce rich, black marks, and it is an excellent choice for rapid sketches and expressive line-and-tone drawings, especially on textured paper. Hard leads make gray, rather than black marks. They are suitable for precise lines and details because they can be sharpened to a fine point. Although a single pencil of grade HB or 2B gives you considerable scope for expression, many artist use several grades of pencil in one piece of work, creating rich interplay of line and tone.
“Equally capable of producing a quick sketch or a finely worked drawing, the pencil is the most immediate, versatile, and sensitive of the drawing media. It can be used, on one hand, for great subtlety and delicacy, and, on the other, for sticking boldness and vigor; you can produce a soft, velvety quality or a crisp sharpness. One of the pencil’s most attractive characteristics is the ease with which line and tone can be combined in one drawing.”
(Notes and quotes from Simon Jennings book –The New Artist’s Manual ((2005)) Chapter two” Drawing Media” Copyrighted to Simon Jennings & HarperCollins Pub.)

So saying, I could never say I have a favorite grade of pencil – even though I enjoy much the 2B for it’s flexibility and shades – but without all the other grades I couldn’t get the desired look I want for each sketch. And lots of times it’s not the drawing that makes “it”, but rather the mediums you use to acquire that desired look in the first place. The paper and utensils are very commonly forgotten as being the most important thing in all of art. The emotional (feeling) of the subject next.

I very much recommend the book mentioned above - superb and amazing facts. I love everything that I am learning.

Be Outrageous!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Trails sketch pages

Medium: 2B pencil

Just some ideas for a new blog makeover that will be happening soon. More later.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Medium all: Sharpie

I've recently started a quote book, it's a journal I found at my local thrift store that only had one or two pages written in. It's thick and has a red cover with Chinese characters all over it. It's a poem, that reads:
I wake and moonbeams play around my bed
Glittering like hoarfrosts to my wandering eyes
Upwards the glorious moon I raise my head
Then lay me down and thoughts of home arise
  --Night Thoughts by Li Bai of the Tang Dynasty

With it I've filled in already about twenty-plus pages with many words.
  Words are amazing things, and I am, thankfully, always learning more of them or about them. Take hoarfrost - never heard or read it before this poem.

Hoarfrost :::
noun -- origin: 1250–1300; Middle English hor-frost.
Also called: white frost a deposit of needle-like ice crystals formed on the ground by direct condensation at temperatures below freezing point

 Interesting huh? I thought it'd be more than that but it's still a awesome word to say, more fun then icy... =).

I'm sorry about not posting, after getting power back on after five days because of the snow and ice storms, there was much clean up and things to get done before play. I am also house sitting for some friends who have two small dogs that need lots of people love (but can't come here because my dogs would eat them up in a second) and I don't have internet there.
So bear with me - more sketches coming soon. I want to still do some more daily drawings, just don't know when I'll have a week to do it soon. Stay tuned.

Be Outrageous.