15 in one day – Humpback Whales

15in1day-hwhale-h1

I haven’t been drawing much this year which is a really bad strategy since I really would like to get better at drawing.

Thursday evening I was looking at drawings on the internet – instead of drawing myself – and I came across the cartoonist Will Terrell who got himself out of a drawing funk by filling a sketchbook in 24 hours. I grabbed an empty sketchbook but immediately realised that with my drawing speed and 44 sheets of paper it was doomed to fail.

But on another great site (Marc Taro Holmes) I had seen how to make an accordian sketchbook from a large sheet of paper. So, I folded and cut an A2 sheet of brown/grey kraft paper giving me 16 A6 pages. A cover page and 15 drawings. Perfect!

As for a theme for my little sketch book I picked humpback whales. I’ve had an idea for a drawing that included a whale in an odd pose, but I can’t draw it. The plan was that if I drew a big pile of whale drawings I should end up being able to draw one from memory and pose it the way I want to. I don’t really like drawing from photos, but since humpback whales are in really short supply around here, photos it was. And luckily I had a folder full of reference photos from another evening surfing the net instead of drawing…

I did it, it was a great Friday project. I’m really happy with the result and I learned a lot from it.


I used Fine Liners for the hatching and also a Copic Multiliner Brush Pen in the beginning. I didn’t find the Copic felt tip flexible enough and it was very difficult making really fine lines with it. I slowly swapped the Copic pen for my Pentel pocket brush pen. That Pentel pen is really growing on me. Its fantastic, but I think it will take a lot of practice to master it. I had also planned to use a white pencil for highlights hence the toned paper but to save time, I stayed in black only.

I really liked the little accordion sketchbook format. I will be making more of these for sure. Great for small projects and bringing a few extra paper options in the holiday drawing kit. Have a look at Marc Taro Holmes “How to make an accordion sketchbook” on his site. If you like urban sketching – or drawing in general – his site is definitely worth a visit in any case.

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