The Top 5 Free Art Instruction Resources

This is a top five list of free art instruction resources according to well me. While I am no art expert I am a novice and as such, I have spent a great deal of time searching for free art instruction.  You like me may lack the time and money for formal instruction. But, there is plenty in the wide world that will only cost you your time.

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Inktober Week One

Greetings, here is what I have done so far during the Inktober challenge.

What is Inktober?

The Inktober initiative was started by Artist Jake Parker in 2009 to help him develop “positive drawing habits”. The idea is to pledge to do a daily ink drawing for the 31 days of October. Inktober participates share their work via social media like DeviantArt, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the tags #inktober and #inktober2017. This is a great way to renew or generate a daily art practice. To work toward improving and challenging ourselves. We can push ourselves by participating in the daily prompt which may force us to draw topics we don’t normally explore.

Day One: Swift

This is an illustration representing a quote from Watershipdown by Richard Adams. The rabbits of the book have their own mythology. The passage contains what the rabbits of the novel believe was said by the Creator to the rabbit hero El-ahrairah the Prince with a Thousand Enemies. The rabbit uses his speed and cunning to avoid the wolf but the Black Rabbit of Inlé (death) still waits for him as it does for all of us. “All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.” India ink, white ink, and marker on cold press watercolor paper


Day Two: Divided

Ink and marker on cold press watercolor paper.


Day Three: Poison

Achlys, the personification of misery and goddess of poison. Based on Champagne advertisement design by Mucha in 1896. The Greek author Hesiod describes her as quite repulsive but I am on a Mucha obsession currently. Painted with this month’s Artsnacks box. Ink and marker on drawing paper.


Day Four: Underwater

A little octopus.

Technical pen, deep turquoise ink, and watercolor on cold press paper.

octopus 124

Day Five: Long

Marshmallows and a Friend.

India Ink, metallic ink, watercolor, and markers on cold press paper.


Day Six: Sword

Bury Me with My Sword: The Grave of Lagertha

Based on… and the Ragnar Saga. Lagertha was Ragnar’s first wife whom he divorced. She still showed up in his hour of need and routed the enemy army. She later murdered her second husband (possibly because she disapproved of his loss in battle) and took control of his estates. She disappears from the sagas at this point. I imagine she died an old woman after years of peaceful rule. If she had died in battle it would probably have been saga worthy. If you have seen the TV show Vikings Lagertha’s death is one of the liberties the show’s producers took with the original stories Aslsug and Ivar the Boneless never had a conflict with Lagertha. Lagertha and Ragnar’s divorce was amicable.


Day Seven: Shy

Blupee forest spirit from Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild game.


Happy Art Journey,


Finding Insperation Where You Are

It is easy to get lost in a Pinterest board of exotic landscapes, animals, or cultures. I do like to paint things I have never seen in person or have had little close contact with. Often what is new entices the eye and can catch one’s interest in a way the familiar cannot. Especially things on the other side of the Solar System or Galaxy at least for me anyway.

But, don’t underestimate what you interact with every day. We grow our skills when we create based on what we see around us. Even the most mundane things in our world. There is beauty everywhere. The humble blade of grass holds the loveliest translucent shade of emerald green. An ant can be an amazingly complex being to study and recreate. My backyard is full of wonders. Accuracy in art is based on the close study of a subject. We are in a stronger position if we study what is near us already.

Reference Images I Took in My Backyard Today for Future Work:

Below are some small bug studies that were inspired by my backyard. For the bee and Firefly, I did have to fall back on stock images (the little guys just don’t hold still long enough) but seeing them in my backyard inspired me to draw them.

Little Bug Studies in Color Pencil and Watercolor:


I have many lovely friends living in my backyard from hummingbirds to squirrels. Squirrels are really something I should start drawing as I see them every day.  For now, I have a few bird paintings to share with you that I have done recently. My watercolor work is not as strong as I would like it to be but I know if I keep painting the things around me I will improve. Art is not raw talent it is persistence.

Hummingbird Art Journal Entries:


I also have a family of Goldfinches living in my yard. The male loves sunflower seeds he will snap them out of seed heads while they are still mostly green. Growing sunflowers are a great way to attract birds to your yard. Below is a composite of a sunflower field not far from my home and the little seed raider in my backyard.

The Sunflower Thief  in Oil Pastel on Watercolor Ground

20170817_130824 (2)

Happy Art Journey,


Exploring Ursa as a Subject

Over the last few weeks, I have created a series of images dealing with Ursa Major and Minor.

Simple monoline graphic

Ursa Major or the “Great She Bear” is a constellation that has been recognized as a bear across cultures and time.  In Roman mythology,  Jupiter hides his infidelity from his wife Juno by transforming his lover Callisto into a bear. Their son is Ursa Minor. My work has focused on the she-bear and cub relationship. Many North American tribes saw a Bear in the same grouping of stars. In Iroquois folklore, the Great Bear is chased by three hunters across the night sky. The Finish also saw a bear while many Asian cultures grouped the same set of stars but saw lost mariners.

Ursa Major
Source Wikipedia

A component of the constellation is one of the first star groupings most of us learn as children the Big Dipper.

If you can find the big dipper you can always find North via Polaris or the North Star. Although the Big Dipper travels across the sky the top corner of the ladle always aligns to Polaris. Polaris makes the end of the handle for the Little Dipper also known as Ursa Minor.


If you would like to learn more about Polaris, Ursa Major, and Minor. Check out the site Earth Sky News.

Happy Art Journey,