Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When I first started this blog, it was a place to share sketches and tips with fellow artists.  However, the time has come to consolidate and organize my works in progress, articles and tips/techniques into one central spot.

I have decided to retire this blog and merge the articles posted here to my main blog:  I encourage you to sign-up and subscribe and/or follow the Diane Wright Art Journal blog as this one will no longer be active and will eventually disabled in the next few months.

I am in the process of organizing my articles and posting a new Page Tab with a Table of Contents. 
I hope you take this opportunity to revisit some of my work and musings in the republishing of these posts. I plan on expanding drawing topics and continuing to add new articles ranging from drawing basics to more advanced artistic techniques.

I look forward to your comments and contributions.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

There's an app for that....the iPad for the fine artist.

Many of you know that I am an IT Manager in my day job. My world involves computers designed for corporate security, programming, stagnant software and conformity. Now imagine introducing an iPad to my other life as a fine artist!

The freedom of the iPad is refreshing, invigorating and inspiring. The flexibility and mobility lends itself well to be my personal assistant to keep track of my ideas, map out projects and explore themes. It can take photos, edit and dissect them to satisfy my creative exploration. I can jot down notes, organize them, write articles, tutorials and ebooks. At it's most inspiring level, I can doodle, sketch or paint to create digital artwork.

There are now millions of apps available (both good and bad). The apps are usually small and focused to specific tasks. Instead of the software dictating what you can do, you determine what you need. This allows you to customize a unique set of apps that will work just for you and your work flow. Whether you are an engineer, writer or an artist....there is an app for that! I have spent the past month exploring a variety of apps and have discovered a handful of apps that really suite my needs as a fine artist. I'd like to share my "favorites" list for my fellow artists.

No USB Port?

The first thing I had to figure out was how to get my work on and off the iPad. Since there is no USB port, the old fashioned "sneaker net" method is not an option.

DropBox - Using a combination of DropBox on my desktop computer and iPad let's me seamlessly upload and download documents and images.

Google Docs - I have used Google Docs for a number of years, so it also works well.

Email - Some apps do not work with DropBox or Google Docs, so emailing the final product to myself is the third option.

Wireless printer - I love the new technologies! The iPad instantly found my wireless printer. No installation of drivers or additional software.


 Microsoft Office Suites in the corporate world is the extent of my writing software knowledge. Less than ten percent of it's functionality is actually used in the majority of writing, so I'm delighted to find easy, simple software for this function.

Pages - Meets the needs of my writing.....I'm using this software as I type this article. Add an iPad bluetooth keyboard to give the desktop feel to your experience.

Office HD - Great for those MS Word users (like me!)

Note Taking

These are the apps that are at the heart of my love of the iPad. They provide instantaneous recording of fleeting thoughts, ideas, doodles, lists in non-conforming, flexible apps. Here are my favorites:

Penultimate - The simplest of all can be the best. If I have a random thought, it goes here. It's great for doodling too (one my favorite pastimes). No more wasted paper. Handwriting with a stylus in it's free-est form.

Notes Plus - This app is the coolest and definitely my absolute favorite app. To get the fullest appreciation of this one, I recommend watching an uTube videos.  Turn your handwritten notes to text with the 'convert to text' feature. There is a hand shield if you tend to drag your hand on the screen while writing. Want to record a lecture? No problem. Open a .pdf file, annotate and save. Import images, annotate on them, write notes on composition changes, etc.

Note Taker HD - A bit more complex than I like, but it is also very feature rich.

Novel/Book Writing

The novelist or book writer will love to explore all the different kinds of apps used to organize their chapters, story lines and plots. Here's a few that have caught my attention.

Index Card - I used index cards in college to write research notes, sort and compose term papers. This app has the same "comfortable feel" as physical index cards. Once you have them organized, save it as a text document.

Writer's Studio - I think this app is a great introductory to writing children's books. Music, text and illustrations can be easily blended together.

Photo Editing

Top Camera - Tops my list of photo editing. Take a photo with iPad and instantly edit it, or open one from your camera roll. Lots of the most commonly used editing tools, easy to apply.

PS Express - Photoshop version for the iPad. I'm a bit disappointed in this app. as the features are minimal. I'll stick to using my desktop Photoshop Elements.

Color Effect - This is a fun app. Turn your photo to black and white and bring the original color back to objects you want.

Draw Pad - This app is a great transition tool from photo to outline. Open a photo and use the opague setting to make the photo semi-transparent. Then use the stylus to outline the subject matter. You can study the outline/photo, manipulate it, add more subject matter. A wonderful tool to help you explore and dissect your subject matter before you draw.

Digital Artwork

Up to now, all the apps I have discussed are to assist me in my creative endeavors. This last category includes apps that can actually be the means to the end. Creating digital artwork.

Draw Cast - Multi-layer application that can create very detailed and subtle effects. Good variety of brushes and palette.

Art Studio - Includes how-to lessons on drawing faces, 3-d objects and animals in the digital world.

Wasabi Paint - A painter's dream! I can mix my palette on the screen to create impressionistic or abstract paintings. Pretty cool.

Sketchbook Pro and Brushes are two more apps worth exploring.

Honorable Mention

Walter Foster's app "Learn to Draw" is on my honorable mention list. This app provides just a hint of what the future holds and what ebooks are all about. It is an interactive app that talks as well as displays to the young artist the steps of drawing. I give credit to Walter Foster for stepping into the digital world and creating this app. This is really the reason why I purchased an iPad. I think it is an incredible tool that supports and encourages creating thinking; something our school systems have fallen short of in the past few decades.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blackwing Sketchbooks

I am delighted to introduce a new Blackwing Sketchbook series created by

This is so exciting to be featured on the cover of such a high quality product. Visit to discover all the excellent products offered by California Cedar Products Company.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Drawing Techniques Packet

Drawing Techniques Packet

by Diane Wright

Derived from Drawing Techniques Workshops conducted by Diane Wright, this packet includes simple, easy instructions, lots of hands-on exercises and a spattering of drawing samples for guidance. Artists of any level, beginner to advanced, will find lots of valuable tips and technique specific to landscapes. It's a perfect companion to Diane's book, “Drawing Made Easy: Beautiful Landscapes” and her on-line tutorials.

The best way to learn is to actually draw. That is what this packet is uniquely designed to do. The reference photos and exercises are printed on card stock that is smooth, durable and perfect to draw on. Extra drawing sheets and a transparency grid are included.

Techniques include:
  • Shading and Erasing 
  • Pencil Strokes 
  • Light and Shadows 
  • Contour Drawing 
  • Important of Sketching 
  • Value Drawing 
  • Negative Drawing 
  • Blending 
  • Textures
  • Good Drawing Techniques 
  • Drawing Tools and On-line Resources  
For an additional benefit, purchase the email assistance plan. This gives you the opportunity for one-on-one email support with Diane. Email her questions and scanned exercises for her advice and assistance on any technique included in the packet.

“It's like attending one of Diane's workshops without the costly travel expenses!”

For more information: visit or click here
 Written, designed and published by Diane Wright

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I received an email from a young artist studying art and design in the UK. He asked me a question that challenged me to put in writing what I have been mulling around in my head for quite some time. I’d like to thank Lewis Treleaven for posing the following question and wish him the best in his studies.

What inspired you to base most of your art around natural beauty and the wonders of the natural world?

I started drawing again in 2002 after a 20+ year lapse. Life seemed to get in the way and my career path went in a different direction from my art. But I finally picked up my pencil again, rediscovered my love of graphite and also found a form of meditation. Drawing is relaxing and releases a lot of tensions and stress from my day job and life in general. The subject matter of nature enhances this meditative process. The following is what I have discovered while studying nature:

Nature holds the key to revitalizing our spirit and restoring balance into our lives. It’s as simple as taking a walk in the woods and open your senses to what surrounds you. Listen to the leaves rustling in the autumn breeze or watch the diamond crystals as the sun dances on the surface of the water. Time slows down to let us catch our breath from the craziness of our daily hustle.

Each drawing that I create is a snapshot of the simplicity and splendor that surrounds us. It’s the simple things that are often the most awe inspiring. It’s the serenity and strength of nature that I want to capture. This is the footprint I want to share for others to experience.

My motto from my website:
~live life with a quiet passion~
~seeing beauty in the simplest scenes~
~that is what makes life so rich~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shaded Darkness

I've been working on adding mood to my sketches.  This is a sketch capturing the mood of shady darkness under a tree - respite from the stark sunshine.  The composition is playing with contrast of sharp and diffused edges and placement of sky holes.    There are impression of roots amongst the textured grass by bold lines.   

Sketches can release artistic freedom to self expression and experimentation.  Sometimes they hold the key to unlock creative avenues and glimpses of future possibilities.   This sketch is bold in many ways that is new and exciting.  The energy needs to be harnessed and nurtured. 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Drawing from Line to Life by Mike Sibley

This is THE Drawing Bible. There is not any other book available that covers drawing as completely as Mike's book. It reads like a novel, as each chapter builds upon the next, but it also is a great reference tool. AND it is a piece of artwork itself - beautifully illustrated. Mike is not only a talented artist but an excellent writer. He writes as though he is personally talking to you. I guarantee you will be inspired and captivated after the first chapter. (yes, it's that good...)

For a limited time, Mike is offering free shipping!!  Don't miss out on this incredible offer and order your copy today:  Are you sure one copy is enough?  I just bought a second copy today so I can share one with my drawing classes while preserving my original copy.