Sketchbook Thursday: drawing the puppy and how to do memory sketches


The last hurrah.

A quick disclaimer: You know, Gentle Reader, how some days go sooo fast that at the end of the day, you realize that the very top thing at your list didn’t get done, at all? That’s how my yesterday (which was Thursday) went. So I’m publishing this Sketchbook Thursday on a Friday, with full disclosure, hoping that you all will be kind enough not to notice it. Thanks, guys!

We got our hard freeze last night. We started school again several weeks ago and finally we are in the swing of things, I think. I’m actually doing a little sitting again. On my seat. At the dining room table, with Mack across the table from me, and Scout lying obediently and adoringly close by. (Amalia is a senior in our home school, so does 90% of her work independently now.)

Except. That little bit about Scout isn’t true. She is so excited to see Mack and me sitting down and within reach, that she nips at Mack and dashes away—it’s her game! She nips and dashes, nips and dashes, all while he is yelling “No, Scout! No!” and that might actually do the trick of getting her to settle down, except for the fact that he starts to giggle and then it’s all over, baby. She takes the giggles for the go-ahead, and she starts to jump on him and try to get him to rassle with her. Oh, boy.

Scout is still such a puppy, though she is now a good teen-aged size dog. When she was a puppy, jumping up on Mack and nibbling at him to play with her was cute, as so many immature behaviors are.

But now it’s not so cute.

We started puppy obedience classes this week with the dear ornery thing, and I’m looking forward to them very much indeed. I thought it was a good idea to put Mack in charge of this process, and the Kennel Club lady agreed with me. Scout is so focused on Mack. They are best friends. They both have an excess of energy. *sigh*

So lucky me, I can just sit (again–more sitting!!) and watch and take pictures and knit and giggle at all those dogs. It’s enormously entertaining. I’m taking my sketchbook next week, since I’m enjoying drawing dogs so much right now.


First night of obedience class! Mack hangs onto Scout, as she meets and greets Claire. These two are already fast friends. 🙂

Learning to draw dogs has become very important to me.

So, back to school. Mack and I start every morning with Bible study, prayer, reading and drawing together (we just came to the end of The Hobbit and are going to start next on Roverandom, both by J.R.R. Tolkien.) We take turns reading because--hey!–Mom likes to draw, too. My goal is to start all this fun by 8:00 a.m, chores already done, animals all fed and cared for, and steaming cups of hot tea in hand. It’s nice. I’m blessed.

I’ve read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy several times, but have never read this! Have you?

We are forever squabbling for drawing pencils and drawing time (“Read two more pages, please, Mack, I haven’t finished this drawing yet—-!”) because (cough) Mack is a dyed-in-the-wool, strong-willed squabbler. I expect VERY BIG THINGS of him, eventually. Amazing things. Astounding things. He’s going to change the world. Please, God, for the better!

For all his obviously excellent qualities, my son is a miserable sharp-pencil-nabber. I desire greatly to draw only with a very very sharp pencil. So, before I sit down to draw, I go to my studio, where I have a pencil sharpener that I use. He–who never remembers to go sharpen his pencil–knows that once we start (teachers? you get this) it’s too late to leave the room, to right this wrong. He spots my pencil–sharpened to a dangerous point–and compares it to his own carelessly-sharpened (that is to say, dull) pencil. He is suddenly filled with An Aching Void (as my Dad would say) and nothing but my excellently honed pencil will fill it. As I read, he slips his weaselly hand across the table and snatches it! Then, of course, by the time I notice that he has my pencil, he has worn down that excellent point to a sad dullness, the likes of which I cannot stand.

Sheesh. *pout* kids!

The other day, it struck me, as brilliant solutions often do, after I’ve struggled with a problem for too long. There’s a better way. I decided to order a nice pencil set, for the two of us to share over drawing time. Check this one out: a nice variety of good drawing pencils (in my favorite color, turquoise!) a sharpener, a sanding board (for those of us that like the sharpest point possible!) a little hand sharpener, and a couple of erasers. I decided that, for the price, it is an excellent set and will stop many of our little drawing-time squabbles. The sharpener is right there in the box, so there should be no more squabbling over sharp pencils.

I love this.

Also. I am within a few pages of filling up my sketchbook. I am really excited about having a new one to fill. I’ve mentioned my favorite sketchbook before, but I’ll mention it again. I’ve used lots of types of sketchbooks, but for my uses, this one is the best one. The tough spiral binding doesn’t allow the pages to tear away; the paper is thick enough to take repeated watercolor washes; the tooth on the page is not too rough and not too slick. My absolute favorite, and it comes in lots of sizes, too.

My favorite size is 9 x 12. Big enough to draw plenty on each page, but small enough to be portable (affiliate link).

I’ve given these as gifts many times. I’m ordering a new one for myself this week (with the above pencils!) and will probably draw my first drawings in it by early next week. Huzzah! What is more fun than a new sketchbook?

Hooray for fall; hooray for new sketchbooks and pencils. Hooray for new school shoes and comp books and for the first freeze, which changes the feel of everything around here. There’s still a lot to do, in the yard and gardens and so forth, but we are looking forward to next year’s garden now.

Here are a few drawings of quick sketches I’ve done of Scout lately. It’s easiest, of course, to sketch her when she settles down and sleeps. But sketching her as she moves about is really great practice for memory sketching, too.


Here’s how I do a memory sketch: I look up at Scout and take a picture of her in my mind, just as if I had clicked a shutter release on a camera. Then I look down at my sketchbook, picture still in my head, and sketch it out as quickly as possible. Of course by the time I look up again, Scout has changed position. (Probably twenty or thirty times!) This kind of exercise is excellent for developing your memory. Imagine just being able to sit down and draw anything that’s in your head. I’m not so good at this, but am getting better. Some people find it quite easy to do. You can definitely improve with practice. (Mack read this over my shoulder and said matter-of-factly “I’m really good at that.” I believe him.)


It’s nearly school time at our house, so I’m going to draw this post to a close (snort). Are you a daily sketcher? A sketchbook journaler? I have written much more about my drawing habit in the posts below. Even just fifteen or twenty minutes a day is a joy to me. You might want to pick up a pencil (a nicely-sharpened one!) and try it, too!








3 thoughts on “Sketchbook Thursday: drawing the puppy and how to do memory sketches

  1. Chef William Chaney

    Great reminder of all the things past. I started to sketch again last year when you wrote about it, but alas, it got away from me as I turned to my leather craft. Which by the way is going just as slowly as I work on low carb recipes to both enjoy and share on my blog. If I could sketch well enough I would add that to my recipes but I am afraid the world is not ready for that just yet.

  2. Kay

    I may not sketch but this will be the year I get back into quilting!! (PS I spy a pig puppy toy similar to our grand-puppy’s. It has a startling sound!)

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Hi Kay! Winter is such a blessing for us farmer-types, isn’t it? We can do fun things like sketch and make quilts and knit. We are busy and productive, like we want to be, but of a different persuasion than raising corn and pulling weeds! 🙂

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