Sketchbook Roundup & Sketchbook Classes!



{A recent spread from my MESSY SKETCHBOOK, which is basically an old book that I use as my place to get loose and messy}

Recently I was traveling for a book tour for my latest book, The Joy of Swimming. At my Creative Mornings Talk in Minneapolis, one woman asked me during the Q&A: “How do you make time for personal work?” I paused for what seemed like a long time. I was about to say, “I don’t!” And then I remembered that I spend at least a few hours each week (sometimes several) drawing and painting in my various sketchbooks. Lately, while my day-to-day illustration and writing career has kept me busy during workdays with little time for personal work, I manage to sneak it in at night while I’m watching TV or on the weekends out at my painting table — in my sketchbooks! I’ve been chronicling my sketchbook spreads on Instagram and here on my blog for many moons. Here are some of the most recent.



I find drawing and painting in my sketchbooks enormously relaxing. For one, what I make here is not for sale or for a client or for any one but me. Here, I get to play with shapes and colors, markings and materials. Sometimes the result is beautiful. Sometimes it’s a hot mess. But it’s mostly always really relaxing and fun for me. In fact, I can’t wait to dig into my sketchbooks this weekend.



Part of how I approach my sketchbooks is with the idea of using the space to create an all-over design or pattern. This approach is extremely meditative! If this sounds like fun to you but you aren’t sure how you’d get started, I teach two classes over on Creativebug where I teach the process of starting this kind of sketchbook practice. The first is called Sketchbook Explorations. The second is called More Sketchbook Explorations. There is no requirement to take the first before the second! If you are interested in getting some drawing practice, I also teach Basic Line Drawing and offer a 31 Day Drawing Challenge. You can purchase a subscription to Creativebug for less than $5 USD a month and view all of my classes (and many more).




As you can see, there are so many ways to approach a sketchbook. And when you are finished, you have a book filled with your markings.




Wondering about materials? I wrote a post with links here.

Have a great weekend, friends!


Seattle Book Event May 24!


seattle image


Seattle, I’m coming your way on Tuesday, May 24 for an event at University Books. I’ll be sitting down with local Seattle journalist & personality Tracey Conway for a conversation about swimming and the creative process, followed by an audience Q&A and book signing for my latest book The Joy of Swimming. The event starts at 7 pm. Get there early — seats are limited!

More info here!

This is the FINAL stop on my book tour & I’d love to see you there!


Portland Book Signing May 17!



Hello to my hometown of PORTLAND! Join me this coming TUESDAY, May 17 at Broadway Books for a book signing for my latest book The Joy of Swimming (and any of my books they have in stock)! I’d love to see you there. Event goes from 7-8 pm. Broadway Books is located at 1714 NE Broadway. Come say hello! Kids welcome! Hugs! High fives!

Optional RSVP here. Event is free and open to the public. You can check out all of my book tour events here.


Minneapolis Creative Mornings Talk!



Friends, I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be in Minneapolis on Friday, May 13 giving at Creative Mornings Talk (theme: REALITY!) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art at 8:30 am, followed by a signing for my latest book, The Joy of Swimming. You can learn more about the event here, including how to reserve a ticket.

Hope to see you there!!


Design, Carve, Print Ecourse is Back!



Friends, I am so excited to let you know that my dear friend Jen Hewett is teaching her online block printing course: Design, Carve, Print: Block Printing on Fabric!

Have you ever wanted to learn to print your own fabric? Block printing is a fantastic and easy way to create your own designs. And Jen is an absolutely wonderful teacher.

Design, Carve, Print: Block Printing on Fabric is an online class by printmaker and textile artist Jen Hewett. The course guides students through the process of creating print-worthy designs, carving blocks, and printing repeat patterns on fabric. The lessons use a mix of videos, photos, and text, and students have the chance to connect with other, as well as receive feedback on their work, through a private Facebook group.

The next session of Design, Carve, Print will be June 11 – July 19. The class videos and lessons will be released over a weekend – June 11 and 12 – and will remain available in their entirety until July 19.

Registration opens on May 2. Good news: if you register by May 18, you’ll pay the Early Bird registration price of $119! After the 18th, the price will increase to $149, so get your deal now!

I took one of Jen’s classes and made this piece of fabric. Here I am holding the result. It was so fun! It’s amazing what you can do!


Here are some projects from some of her former students too:


Clockwise, starting from the top left: Andie Hanna, Yuko Miki, Barbara Rehbehn, Sarah Golden.

Register today!