sketchbook tour | August 2022

by | Aug 23, 2022 | Art, Artistic Endeavors, Creative Play, sketches | 9 comments

The purpose of drawing and painting in a sketchbook is for practice, exploration, and experimentation.  It’s really not meant for public consumption, but it is a personal endeavor.  But, I admit that I find studying the sketchbooks of others to be more beneficial and interesting than studying the finished works.  The sketches show the thought process, the approach, and how a highly refined painting starts with the roughest of ideas.  It makes fine art, good art, feel more attainable.  For this reason, I like sharing a sketchbook tour each time I complete one.

There has been a lull between my last sketchbook tour for a few reasons.  Of course, the move, being sick, breaking my foot, travel, and lots of other things which ate into the time I might steal away to complete a page or two.  But, I ended up having more time on my hands when the first leg of the move was finished and I was told to completely stay off my foot.  I had an excuse to sit and take art classes and play with my paints and pencils.  And it felt good.  It was restorative and a retreat in a season of waiting and upheaval.

I have also loved studying master works from artists I have admired for a long time and from those who are new to me or a departure from my style.  It’s pushed me and, even though there are plenty of pages that make me cringe, I can see ways that I’m learning and growing as an artist.  And that’s the entire point of a sketchbook.

At the bottom of this post, there is a video tour of the sketchbook in addition to a video of the final pencil study I rendered to complete the book.

Whenever I start a sketchbook, I think, “This one is just going to be for graphite or portraits or landscape or acrylics.”  I like the idea of uniformity and looking through a sketchbook filled with one theme.  Buuuuut, as is true of my personality and interests, my sketchbooks end up all over the place.  I work on different subjects, with different mediums, and it’s a total amalgamation of my interests at the time.  In a way, that is more honest than confining myself, although creativity often thrives in boundaries, so I do need to try that at least once at stick to it.

The theme of this sketchbook tour, if there is one, is study.    Master studies, studying different mediums, studying composition, and studying profiles, which is something that has always been a struggle!

Here are a few of the finished pages from my June – August 2022 sketchbook…

To start off, THIS is the sketchbook I am using.  It has great paper, comes in a variety of sizes, and is inexpensive so I don’t feel like I have to be too careful with the pages.  The bonding isn’t the best quality, but I like the blue fabric cover and I swapped out the cheap red marker with a blue checked one.  You can see how easy that is in THIS tutorial.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

A JD Fergusson study, which I ended up loving!  It’s not my style, but it forced me to play with color and simplified shapes and I enjoyed the challenge and result.  This was a part of the online art class Ten Days of Art.   I wanted to study Fergusson’s work further, so I purchased THIS book.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

I did a lot of pen & ink studies, which I enjoy because I can’t erase.  It forces me to embrace mistakes and just keep making marks.  Sometimes it’s more successful than other times, but I just have to keep going.  THIS is my favorite fountain pen and I use Noodlers Ink in Bulletproof Black.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

I’m also learning that I love drawing and painting period clothing.  The details on those dresses are so good to practice form, draping, and details.  The dress below is a study from the book Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

One my of focuses in this sketchbook was to practice drawing profiles.  They are so tough!  Give me a straight-on face any day, but when they are at a profile, I really struggle.  I worked on it, though, and already feel a bit more confident.  There is still a long way to go, but practice makes better.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

I also enjoyed studying Picasso.  I sort of wrote him off because I’m not into cubism and all of the strange, abstract work that he is most famous for.  But, I learned that I love his earlier works and even seeing the progression from traditional works to his own unique style.  It makes me appreciate his creativity even more.  I mostly worked out of this book – Picasso: The Early Years.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

Also, in this sketchbook tour, you’ll see I started playing with sanguine oil and chalk leads.  They produce this lovely classic look that I am particularly fond of.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

Even though this was a quick, simple sketch, this might be one of my favorites in the entire sketchbook.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

I did a few acrylic portraits and it made me miss oils!  But, it’s nice to work in acrylics so I have to focus more on putting the paint down and leaving it.  I can’t rely on oil’s ability to slide throughout the entire painting session.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

I even worked on some branding sketches.  I have a separate notebook for fabric, pattern, and branding sketches and ideas, but I didn’t have that one on hand, so I just worked in this one.

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

June - August 2022 Sketchbook Tour | miss mustard seed

And here is the sketchbook tour video if you would like to see all of the pages (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and learn more about my process…

You can find previous sketchbook tours HERE and 15 creative ways to fill your own sketchbook HERE.


  1. Irene Kelly

    Beautiful sketches. Marian, you have come such a long way in a very short time ! By sketching in a book you have a keepsake to review at anytime ! Very nice ! Still waiting to see where you land or maybe you will bunk in with both your parents and home school the boys ?Certainly a good option ?

  2. Katherine

    so lovely to see your work and the variety, The portrait after Picasso (7.22) is amazing – there is a wonderful intensity and introspection in that face ! And that young man in Regency dress – surely what Jane Austen had in mind for Mr Darcy. Thank you for sharing-

  3. Martha Bradford

    Thank you go to his post and the video. As a very very beginner I esspecially appreciate your gracious generosity.

    I have completed exactly ONE sketchbook and I agonized over the very page… doing samples on scrap paper before committing the sketch to the “ real” book! You’ve taught me
    not to do that with the next one.

    One supply question, what holder do you use for the leads you are using? And (well, this makes 2 questions) what is the pencil you used for the sketch you demonstrated sketching at the end of your sketch book?

    Thanks again,

  4. Tanya

    I loved your video showing every page. As usual, you’re inspiring me to spend more time practicing. The sanguine oils and chalk sketches are my favorites. And Jeanne Oliver’s tempera tube paints are so pretty! I have some tempera paints that I dabbled with for a bit. I loved mixing with a fresh egg yolk, but Husband wasn’t thrilled when I told him we need to keep chickens again ?

  5. Lorraine

    Hi Marian.
    Very happy to see you walking again! I am looking for watercolor painting classes for my grands. Do you know of any? Thanks

    • Carrie

      Hi Lorraine. You might want to check our Emily Lex, who has a number of interesting watercolour workbooks geared to children.
      She’s on Instagram too.

  6. Rita

    This waiting time has become a nice break from the normal (even with the foot and other inconveniences). You have been able to focus on taking care of you and spend time with your art. How are the boys adjusting with school? What is Jeff doing during this time of waiting as well? God is certainly in the tomorrow so he has already directed your path today

    • Marian Parsons

      It has been nice in some ways and has given me some nice extra time. Thanks for asking about Jeff and the boys. The boys are starting school today and they are, of course, nervous about starting at a new school. Jeff has been candidating for a senior pastor position, which includes filling the pulpit/preaching, meetings with members of the church and leadership, and he’s been trying to have some down time by doing some fishing and hiking.

  7. Karen B.

    Your talents continue to grow, and your creations are all wonderful. I love your sketches. Thank you for sharing this with us. I could see your sketch of a pattern of flowers as a quilt top or pillows for a room.
    Karen B.


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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