Sharpie Drawings

The other day I found a book on Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs. A small hex sign hung on the wall of my room growing up, and it was one of my most favorite things. In the book, there was even a little “how to make your own” section, which involved lots of compass drawing. Inspired, I started doodling on a piece of grid paper.

marker sketch

I drew the center part first, and added the frame because it seemed to want some structure. When using the grid to add the lines of the frame, I realized how un-geometric the circular part was. Although I like the final sketch, it felt a little unsatisfying for it to not quite line up properly, so I decided to use a compass to draw one of the basic motifs used in hex signs.


I really liked the geometric feel of the frame from the first sketch and was particularly intrigued by the overlapping areas, so I had an idea to combine the compass work with an overlapping triangle texture.

round geometric

I like the result here, but the overlapping didn’t seem as clear as I wanted, so I tried a simpler style of two overlapping circles.

circles & triangles

I’m very happy with the way this one turned out. I love how the colors work together, and I achieved what I wanted in terms of overlap. I flipped the paper over to protect the surface, and I noticed the back of the paper. It’s very much the same, but the colors are a bit more subtle, and there’s a different feel to the piece.

circles & triangles back

For the next drawing, I wanted to eliminate the marker outline, and see if I could achieve a distinct edge by only filling in the parts of the grid that were within the circle.

overlapping geometry

I think it worked pretty well, especially for the edge of the circle. I’m not sure that the half-circle lines I drew within the circle are as distinct, but overall I like the colors & texture of the pattern.

overlapping geometry, back

If all goes well, I should get my shipment of colored pencils today. I have plans to continue this series with graphite & colored pencil. I think the sharpies look great, but sometimes an overlapping color would completely obscure the color behind it, so I’m thinking color pencils will be a great way to control the intensity.

Do you have a favorite image from the bunch?

Evolution of Swoops

In my last post about my recent gouache paintings, I mentioned that I painted the “swoops” painting after a sketch I’d recently drawn, but as I thought about it, I realized that the idea for the painting has evolved over time. I took a little walk down memory lane on my flickr stream, and I made connections that step back to a sketch I did back in early 2009.

I thought it might be fun to share the images that I keyed into to see if you can see the connection that became evident to me on my little journey.

Swirled Flowers

Flutter Bloom Clear

Violet & Transparent

For Cut Outs

Sprinkled on White

Hairband as a Compass

Heart Flowers with Clouds

Mesh Pattern, Original Drawing

Horizontal Pattern, Original Drawing





I took a renewed interest in this direction of overlapping, swooping lines during the Sketchbook Project, when I worked with Lines & Grids. I drew the above composition and the lines reminded me of loose threads. I really liked the delicate flowing quality of the lines, and wondered if I could continue exploring movement with thread-like lines, so I drew the following drawing, incorporating the swooping motif.


The next drawings unfolded less deliberately, but continued the overall trend.





ordered swoops


Tada! There you have it! I really enjoy the delicate thread-like quality of these recent drawings. In a round about way they remind me of tapestries and the fringe at the edge of carpets, which oddly enough fascinated me when I was little. In my mind there is a link through all these drawings/paintings, even if it’s not exactly a direct link in all instances. In any case it was fun to look through and find that common “thread” (hehe), if you will. I hope you enjoyed it too!

Also, I wrote a similar post on my old blog that you can check out if you are interested. It includes a few of the same images as this one, but also some different ones and has a different focus with more explanation and detail.