Category Archives: Sketch Book

Iditarod 2018: Vet Book

The 46th running of the Iditarod kicked off in earnest on Sunday with its 2:00 pm restart in Willow, AK yesterday (3/4/2018). Above is a spread lifted from my Iditarod journal. It shows the “Vet Book” that all mushers are required to carry from checkpoint to checkpoint. The bright yellow covers make these little, waterproof notebooks easy to spot in the pocket of a sled when the head checkpoint vet needs to sign off on the mandatory vet checks.


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Journal Entry 06/16/2017: Quick Sketch in the badlands

Just got back from a couple days in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North dakota. Above is a gif of a sketch I did overlaying a photo of the scene I sketched. I used a 9B pencil with a paper stump for blending. The wind was blowing 40 mph—oh the challenges of sketching on site in the elements.

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Filed under Photography, Sketch Book, Travel Journal

Journal Entry 11/30/2016: After the Storm


Finally after a three day snow storm and digging out (18 inches of new snow), I took a minute to sip coffee and capture this scene from the comfort of my living room. Pen/Ink/Watercolor.

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Morning Doodle


At below freezing on the thermometer this morning, this slipper should be on my foot, but not before I sketch it on the back of an envelope.

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Journal Entry 9/14/16: Viking Cafe


If you ever find yourself in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, make sure the Viking Cafe is on your list of places to hit while you’re there. I was so impressed by the meal I got there last time that I had to illustrate it (above). This was the Roast Turkey Special for @ $8.50 (coffee extra). As I say in my notes this was a true cornucopia of food: Slabs of turkey (white & dark), mashed potatoes and dressing smothered with gravy and peas (from the can) scattered on top, a roll with butter, two little cups of cranberry relish (surprisingly good) and a custard dessert with whip cream and nuts. If you get coffee it is adequate and fresh, because they make it by the gallons, no matter how many people are in the cafe (always full) your cup will never drop below half. Once you experience coffee at the Viking your outlook on life will always be “the cup is half full and please no more coffee.”


Not the most attractive building on the outside, a victim of downtown renewal attempts in the 70s and 80s, but don’t let the outside facade fool you. On the inside the cafe is full of wooden booths where the holes for the old nickelodeons are still visible. There is some gratuitous viking decorations on the wall but the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. If all the seats are taken, which happens often, wait patiently at the front by the till for the next available booth. God (or should I say Odin) I love this place.


Fergus Falls is located 50 miles SE of Fargo, ND and 180 miles NW of the Twin Cities on I-94. The cafe is on main street on the south side. Parking in the back. There has been a Viking Cafe long before there ever was a professional football team called the Minnesota Vikings.

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Filed under Illustrations, Sketch Book, Travel Journal, Watercolor painting

Journal Entry 9/12/16: Watercolor Palette


Been a long time since I’ve done anything for myself. Hopefully this will be the beginning of some creative blog entries. Quick sketch (pen and ink, watercolor) of a watercolor palette I made from an Altoids tin. Here is a link to a post I did on how to make this handy little travel kit.  Since it’s creation I’ve taken it everywhere. It easily fits in a shirt pocket for all you hipsters with untucked plaid shirts and skinny jeans that are too tight even for  this tiny master kit of art to fit  in the back pocket.

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Filed under Painting, Sketch Book, Watercolor painting

Art Challenge: Day One—The Sketch

A small sample of the sketchbooks I've filled over the years

A small sample of the sketchbooks I’ve filled over the years.

I was challenged by one of my art peers, Kathleen Fettig, to post three pieces (minimum) of artwork per day over the next five days. For day one I would like to start at the very beginning of my creative process—the sketch.  For me art doesn’t just happen. I have to capture it, toy with it and let it simmer, sometimes for years. Sketch books can be found all over the house and I have folder upon folder filled with loose sketches.

I randomly opened some of these sketch books to show you a glimpse of my artistic soul.

I randomly opened some of these sketch books to give you a glimpse into my artistic soul.

The first thing new designers and artists need to learn is that the sketch and sketch book are essential equipment for creativity and that no one has to see these nuggets of inspiration, unless you want them to.

Close up showing a graphic concept and thumbnails for a publication I was working on.

Close up showing a graphic concept and thumbnails for a publication I was working on.

Over the years these books have become a graphic timeline of my life and growth as an artist.

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Filed under Illustrations, Sketch Book