Friday, June 27, 2014

Sketch Diary Explorations: An Online Summer Camp

Summertime for my nine-year old is a time of expansive play.  Days of wide open play are punctuated with bursts of discovery, exploration, and creativity harvested from day and week-long summer camps.  I admit to being envious of her adventures.  Then I realized: I can craft my own summer camp!

For myself, summer can be a frustrating mixture of fantasies and hopes dashed upon the rocks of reality.  It can be too busy!  What I have learned is rather than limiting my aspirations, it is best to simplify.  Much depth can be found in the simple.

That is my guiding principle for Sketch Diary Explorations.  Keep it simple, make it adaptable to a chaotic and changeable summer schedule, but make it happen.

For the past six months I have been creating a sketch a-day in my art journal.  I didn't set out to do this practice, it just happened.  The pleasure and ease of my daily sketching had me reaching for my journal day after day.  When I realized it had become a practice, I was inspired to see the possibilities for depth and connection my sketch diary held for me.

It marks the quiet, but important transitions in my life ...

It allows me the space and time to relax into my day ...

Slowing down ...

And notice the tiny but miraculous details that I might otherwise overlook ...

In times when I felt lost or overwhelmed, my sketch diary gave me a finger-hold upon my life ...

As I transition, so too my sketch diary expands to hold that new vision ...

As summer is a time for adventure and play, I am excited to see where my sketch diary will take me!  I want to share this practice and see what discoveries it opens up for others.  Sound like a good plan?

What: Sketch Diary Explorations: an online art camp

When: Go at your own pace. Original camp ran in August of 2014 but I have had requests for the materials and can set up a 6 week delivery plan or send you all the lessons at once. If you are interested, contact me at: Lishofmann88(at)gmail(dot)com. I will then send you a paypal invoice and make arrangements for how you would like to receive the content.

How: Once a week email newsletter with written content and links to videos (so you can go at your own pace, the material is yours to keep!)

So six lesson ideas (delivered to your inbox on Monday) and the rest of the week to practice and play, adapt and change.

Hidden page on my blog to share my daily sketch diary explorations (and any pages you wish to share!)

Content will include practical and technical tips along with support for establishing and maintaining a regular practice.  No fuss, no musts involved.  Make your practice work for you!

Guest sketch-bookers  may make an appearance to share their practices. By no means limited to how I sketch (I make no claims to be an expert drawer; just a passionate one!) 

price: $44 $35 for Summer 2015!

Keep it simple, make it doable, immerse yourself in the details of your life, your dreams.

Frequently asked Questions:  

 I love this idea ... but I can't draw!  How is this for me?
Absolutely this is for you - and everyone! If you can't draw - or rather, you think you can't draw - this is the perfect place to begin fresh and new.  While we will be practicing sketching/drawing, the main focus of this offering is slowing down, turning off the thinking mind, shifting into the creative side of the mind and strengthening our ability to really see what is before us. The action of sketching allows us to engage more intimately with our world while allowing a natural pause in the rhythm of our day.  Consider it to be a form of meditation utilizing vision as a resting place for the always busy mind.

I share a little bit more on this topic HERE.

The dates don't work for me; I will be out of town - I have other obligations at this time - I'm not sure I will be available for all six weeks.  Can I go at my own pace? Or will I miss out?
I will be sending out the content in 6 installments spaced a week apart to allow time to really engage with the material.  How and when you choose to work with the lessons is totally up to you!  You will have the emailed lessons to keep and the video files will be available indefinitely, so you can return to the material again and again.  You may spent six weeks playing with the ideas from lesson one before moving on.  This is a go-at-your-own-pace offering and you can begin at any time.

I want to do this with my child/friend/partner.  Is sharing okay?
Having a partner is a great way to strengthen commitment to a new practice and a fun way to experience the material as we each bring our own flavor to the practice. My daughter will be joining me in camp this summer!  So yes, I would love to imagine groups gathering to view the videos and spending time together sketching and sharing experiences and insights.  While I welcome community, I do ask that you do not forward the email lessons or video links to others.  It is fine to share together, but I ask that the content stay with the paying participants.  I am a self-employed artist and depend upon this income to support my work.

What if I need support or want feedback?  Will you be available?
I love this work.  Love, love, LOVE it.  However I can support or assist you, I am here and available through email.  I would be happy to arrange a one-time skype session gratis if you would like feedback on your practice or ideas to tailor this practice for you. 

Sorry ... camp is over!  I am hopping to create a single PDF self-study version. If you are interested, please leave me a comment here and I will get back to you!

for more examples from my sketch diary (which by no means is to limit how you will choose to work in yours) visit HERE


  1. Fun! Oh, you are so creative and inspirational! xoxo

  2. I would love to do this! My grandkids are here and I have no time! How do you make the time? I can't even post to my blog :(

    1. Ah, I see you are also a knitting and yogini as well as a grandmother! The best way for me to find space and time for my creative practice is to start small, establishing a set time of day or day of the week for practice and then do it! Honestly, being strict with myself about showing up but then gentle with myself when it comes to what happens in practice. So some days, it is really only a few minutes grabbed while I wait for the tea kettle to boil or while dinner is cooking (and yes, sometimes dinner does get burned in the sacrifice to my art!) Involving my daughter helps as she is one of my main distractions! A little bit, but done regularly, can reap incredible rewards. If 5 -10 minutes seems like all you can manage, make that your practice. But then do it! It is about showing up for yourself and letting others know you need this pocket of time to center and regroup ... then you will be able to attend to them with your cup full rather than depleted. If it helps ... it is a whole lot easier to grab my journal and pen and sketch for 15 minutes then to log into my blog, upload photos and write coherent text! Would love to have you and the grandkids come along for the camp!

  3. Hi Lis, I love this idea and your beautiful drawings! I was visiting with a friend about an article I recently read about drawing/sketching as a way of slowing down, being more present and attuned to and observant of the world around me, opening up creative pathways, etc. I am inspired to give it a try, though I have no artistic background whatsoever. In a fun bit of synchronicity, my friend participated in your summer camp last year and directed me to this post. I am a little late for summer camp 2014, but I wonder if you might have available the self-study PDF that you mention above?

    1. Hi Terri! Thank you for your interest and for reminding me of this project (the PDF) which fell through the cracks as the rest of the year was intense for me due to the unexpected loss of my mother. While I have not created the PDF, I do have the 6 lessons in their original email/newsletter format which I could still send out weekly, or all 6 in one go? If you are interested, email me directly at: Lishofmann88(at)gmail(dot)com. The price for this would be $35. My sketch diary has been my life line this past year!

    2. Hi Lis, I emailed you yesterday afternoon, then discovered I mis-typed your e-mail address, so forwarded to the correct address. Wanted to let you know in case my forwarded message is diverted to is from tkjensen(at)bresnan(dot)net. Thank you :).