Series of 100 Sketches: A Fun Way to Strengthen Art Skills | Chris Carter | Skillshare

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Series of 100 Sketches: A Fun Way to Strengthen Art Skills

teacher avatar Chris Carter, artist, illustrator and explorer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Materials, Sketchbooks, History and Why


    • 3.

      Broken Trumpet Parts


    • 4.

      Family Treasures


    • 5.

      Glass Inkwells


    • 6.

      Fountain Pens & Dip Pens


    • 7.

      Hickory Nut Husks


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Food & Kitchen Stuff


    • 10.

      Cafés, Pubs & Restaurants


    • 11.



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About This Class


Working in a series of 100 sketches gives you the freedom to experiment with your tools and your techniques without wasting time thinking about "what you're going to sketch today".  In fact, you may find that it forces you to experiment because after sketching the same object twenty times you're tired with your old way of looking at and thinking about your object.  It forces you ask yourself what another way of sketching it might be.  By trying new methods and various tools, your drawing skills become stronger.  Your design skills and your techniques will also become stronger.  

I've created this class with the intent of inspiring you to create your own series of 100 sketches and paintings. Setting a goal to create 100 works of art inspired by one object, subject or theme is a fun way to hone your skills, develop your personal style and explore new techniques, tools and color schemes.  

In the first video of examples I share the series of Broken Trumpet Parts created between April 11, 2011 and June 17, 2012.  The series was inspired by a box of broken trumpet parts purchased at a yard sale for $10. Over a period of fourteen months I explored various techniques: squiggle drawing; rendering using parallel lines; drawing with ink using a fountain pen, dip pen and/or brush; watercolor; oil paint; markers.  I used canvas, loose paper and sketchbooks.


In the next video I share many of the sketches and paintings from the series Family Treasures.  These were inspired by the objects my siblings and I found while clearing out the family home, built in 1952 by my mother and father.


The third video shows sketches and paintings from the series of Glass Inkwells. Several months after purchasing the box of broken trumpet parts I bought a box of blue-tinted glass inkwells of various shapes that I found at a local flea market.


The fourth .....

The videos illustrate many different drawing and painting techniques. Explore the different marks you can make with your tools.  Explore the world of color and value.  Your skills will become well honed while having fun!  I'm not saying this is an easy project to take on ... I'm saying it's a worthwhile project to make a commitment to.  Just because something is difficult doesn't mean that it isn't enjoyable. Becoming a master at your craft is enjoyable.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Chris Carter

artist, illustrator and explorer


Welcome to Skillshare. I'm Chris Carter.

I love exploring the world with pen and brush whether it be by land, sea or air! Here on Skillshare, in tiny bites, I present tips and techniques I've learned over a lifetime of sketching, drawing and painting. My classes are designed with two purposes in mind: to present tips and techniques that help you learn new skills and master current skills; and as quick reference for those of you who have attended one of my live workshops.

I create large, abstract watercolors and oil paintings in my studio.  When traveling, which I do for more than half the year, I work realistically, mostly in sketchbooks.  I sketch from reality daily to keep my eye, hand and brain coordination well-honed.See full profile

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1. Introduction: I'm Chris Carter, and I'm thrilled to be able to offer you now the updated version of my sketch series online course. In the original course, I presented three series, the series of Broken Trumpet Parts, Glass, Inkwells. I'm family Treasures. In this updated course, I am including additional series such as the hickory Nut Husks, fountain Pens, cafes, Pubs and Restaurants, and plants. The series that you make, you may have already started. You might go through your Sketchbooks. What was it that you drew? Lot of. What was it that you enjoyed drawing the most? You might already have 2030 sketches of bottles. Let's say. You could have that the beginning of your series. That's perfectly okay. And as your project, if you want to post three of those that you've already created, That's fine with me. It's recognizing that you have a series going and then moving forward to it, committing, committing to that hundred sketches. So in each of the videos that I'm presenting in this course, I narrate the videos pointing out different aspects of how you can benefit from your series approaches to your series. Choices for what you're series may be. I'll talk about how choosing one topic or object or place, you can focus on other things like techniques, design, your style, color mixing, color schemes, grayscale values. You'll see a great variety of techniques and styles in the examples that I'm showing you, I think you'll enjoy this class. I'm giving you permission to make up your own set of rules around your series. And that can change partway through, doesn't matter how long it takes you to complete the series, through your series and through reviewing your series, which is an important part of learning from your series. From that, you learn a lot about who you are as an artist and where are you may want to be going. It could be a direction that's completely different from what you imagine. And allow yourself to go in that direction, at least in your sketchbook. Give yourself a little nudge to find out what else you can do. You might be surprised. I'm Chris Carter. Welcome to the course. 3. Broken Trumpet Parts: This is the box of broken trumpet parts that I found at a garage sale. This is a drawing I did first and ink I followed with watercolor. This is a squiggle drawing. To create a squiggle drawing, I use a very fine nib fountain pen. I move around and around and around and around in circle and build up the values. It reminds me of working in a dark room when you see the values, the darks come to life. This is another sketch where I drew it first in a fountain pen using a contour line drawing of sorts. And then I painted it in with watercolor. Now for these two, I used a combination of fountain pen, and I used ink using a brush. I used a dip pen and purple ink. I followed by putting in the values using marker. Here was just ink contour line. When exploring color, I decided that I really wanted to understand the natural value of different colors. So I would take a photograph of the sketch and turn it into black and white and I really learned a lot. The image on the left is an oil painting. I wanted to try something different with my Trumpet Parts, and I was in the middle of working on a large oil painting. So I took a break and I made this sketch. The one on the right is a combination of ink, watercolor and gouache. This trumpet is painted with an ink brush pen. Here I used the ink brush pen and added Watercolor. The one on the left is a combination of watercolor, ink and splattered gouache. The image on the right is another technique that I love to use when I'm working with a fountain pen. And I wanted to put in values, I'll often use parallel lines to create the values. Here you can see that I've started to add other elements to the trumpet parts after a while. And you get a little bit tired of drawing the same parts. You can always add plants to your sketches. You can see I'm a bit more playful here, looser with the ink drawing and dabbing on the watercolor. Another element entered into a lot of my series was the little brass animals that I found at a flea market. In this case, it's the little lizard. This is one where I experienced a great deal of frustration. I did two versions, didn't like either one. So I ripped them both up and made a collage out of them. So that's what you see on the right. It's the collage of the previous two sketches. Both of these are ink and marker. This case, I'm using a water soluble ink. I often will use either the new dollars black or the Platinum Carbon ink and those will not bleed. I also enjoy using ink that bleeds because it gives us very evocative expressive mark. In February, there aren't very many plants blooming outside in New Jersey. So I turned to my oxalic plants that are my favorite plant. And I used them a lot in my drawings. Here we have two very different approaches are both ink and watercolor, but you can see that the one on the left is very loosely applied. The watercolor that is, and some experimental colors for the shadows. The one on the right is not handled this loosely with the Watercolor. Notice that I play with the shadows and the color of the shadows. At this point, I'm really enjoying exploring color schemes, limiting myself to certain colors, which means that I'm not working with reality at all. I'm being playful with my color. And what Fun shapes you can find when you play with shadows. This is another pretty messy one. The one on the left, you can see different variations of values. I have changed the value of the chair in the back. I thought it was just far too chaotic. I still think it's far too chaotic, but it was kinda Fun to do. I learned a lot from the one on the right is the same colors just handled bit differently. Notice that the position of the trumpet parts is the same. There you see my little brass lizard again, my favorite trumpet part and a bit of plants, eucalyptus, here's my favorite little guy. I took him everywhere with me when I traveled so that I could do sketches as I went. Another example of a very tight approach on the left and a loose approach on the right. The color just gets more and more exciting as I went through this series and doing this pretty much on a daily basis, I learned so much about color and I just expanded it more and more and more. And it really helped when I was getting a little bit bored with my subject. You can get pretty bored at about 30 and then you have to start experimenting more and more. You play with color. And the next day, you look forward to it again. You can see my little trumpet part again, I didn't get around to painting this in It wasn't a very thin paper notebook. Daffodil, trumpet and my little brass lizard. Here we add a little closer to spring. So I'm bringing my rosemary and I love drawing plants and it made it a little bit easier to get through the series. This is a real play with the cells. I really encourage you to try this technique of drawing in rectangles. First rectangle squares overlapping each other, and then placing your subject inside of them. Zoom in on it, zoom out on, it's very Fun. Look at how striking the shadow is on the one on the right, the shadow is as much a shape as the object itself. And the patterns on the left are made even livelier with the intensity of the color. The looseness in the background on the left was really Fun. The one on the right is delightfully loose. Now this one, I used a dip pen, I scribbled it out in a burgundy ink and plot some watercolor on it. And it really like it. I was in a much better mood after I finished it. Here we have the line drawing before I added the color and then the color, a very loose dip pen and watercolor. Here's my little lizard again, very simple and basic. And there's my little guy, my Trumpet guy. At this point, I was playing with geometry and patterns and buildings. I decided to present my Trumpet Part as an architectural rendering of sorts. I began playing with see-through images. And on the right are fantastic salt and pepper shakers where I had a lot of time. I just worked very slowly creating those lines. Another landscape in Maryland with my little trumpet guy, and there's a salt and pepper shaker. And color It's laminated wood, all different colors, food laminated together and then carved into this pepper grinder. I hear you can see that graduation in a pulled puddle wash, where I'm changing the color within the shape and the trumpet part in the front, the yellow, it goes from yellow to oranges. And in the back it goes from yellows into blue, greens and blues. And then the ink, which is a green ink, is bleeding through all of it and I really do like it. You can see the bleeds from blue into lavender in this also, I let the blue ink bleed into it's a turquoise ink and it really made nice color with the lavender paint. I was adding Another careful drawing, and then I added a beautiful green shadow to it and I love it. The trumpet parts or a little camouflaged and getting to be spring peas were coming up. I loved playing with the shapes and the negative space, leaving the P shapes white. I'm using my series to explore the rest of the world to Fun colors with rosemary and trumpet parts. I was commissioned to do drawings of dice, and they were still out on the table when I did my sketch that day, some Fun colors and patterns. That's the cap. And there's my very last drawing. When it was all done, I donated the box of trumpet parts to a local prop shop. 4. Family Treasures: Of all the series I've done, my family Treasures series is my favorite. It's an ongoing series. I realized after I was only a little way through, add that to create sketches that can replace stuff is very valuable. I wanted to create these sketches, not just the stuff from my own childhood, but also from stuff from my children's childhood. There. Thanks for my own children's childhood that I would love to keep because I like to see them. I remember those times that we had the funny ventures that we had together. As a result, my house getting to be just overrun with stuff, stuff that should be thrown out to create these drawings that bring back the memories just as well as the stuff is lot better if an idea, I think the idea of compressing a household of stuff into 123, maybe four volumes of Sketchbooks. Think is marvelous. In addition, you can make copies of those drawings and paintings and print them out or make other books. It's an ideal way to share memories with your family and your loved ones. We found a box that had tiny little animals in it that had been my mother's her collection when she was a child. My dad's tools were always an inspiration to me. Were the kitchen, the kitchen thermometer. Every winter when we made popcorn balls, we use that thermometer. Memory after memory after memory. Look around your house and find the things that bring back the best stories. And maybe start with those 5. Glass Inkwells: The Glass Inkwells are another find from the local flea market. There 12 of these really wonderful, thick blue off blue, very pale blue glass Inkwells. So I started another series of 100 sketches with the Inkwells and I played the color scheme game quite a bit with these here we have the analogous with one complement, the dominant being the orange, yellow. And I would draw it in first with a fountain pen and ink and then lay the washes down. This is Reeves PFK printmaking paper. You can see on this one that I also allowed for the bottles to be outside of the cell. Same with this, I plan to head. In fact, what I may have done is I may have drawn the Inkwells first and then drew the cell around them. I did do that on occasion. This looks like I used a dip pen instead of a fountain pen. More Glass Inkwells, analogous with one complement I was playing the color scheme game. Series are fantastic for playing the color scheme game. And really learning about color value and color combinations. In the series of Glass Inkwells, I was looser with my line. I was looser with the dip pen, the fountain pen. And I was also a bit looser and a little more free with the way that I used watercolor. My focus in this series was more on playing with color schemes and also Composition design. I played with the shapes of the lights and the shapes of the darks. I also explored the ink brush, pen a little bit more, trying it on different surfaces paper. One of the focuses of my other work was on clarifying values, making good use of lights and darks. I ended up doing quite a few monochromatic studies and my Inkwells. One little oil paint sketch slipped in more Glass Inkwells. And this started another new approach to the series and to just change things out a little bit. I hid the Glass Inkwells back there. And the last sketch in this sketchbook is the Inkwells. Totally hidden. We see just the shadow. So I play around with these things. It's been, I'm learning something along the way. I learned about design and learn about composition, color, and just playfulness. I hope that the examples I've shared with you in the Trumpet series, Family Treasures and the Glass Inkwells will inspire you to look around your house and find your own special objects to turn into a series 6. Fountain Pens & Dip Pens: Often I end up with a series when I didn't intend to create it as the series. Always sifting through files, looking for examples that I can use and workshops and on online courses, how will find that? I've created enormous amount of sketches on, for example, insects or scissors, or in this case, fountain pens. I put these together because they are a series and I'm astounded at how many sketches I've done of a certain items and how many different ways I've approached it and used it. Now the fountain pen is something that creeps into so many of my sketches because I'm normally using a fountain pen. So maybe it's just the cap that ends up in a sketch because it's next to the glass. When I'm sitting in a cafe and I'm sketching the glass, and I end up sketching the fountain pen cap to. I've also included Dip Pens in this series. This drawing, I'm using a water brush. Here is a pencil sketch. You'll see there just so many ways that it can end up in a sketch. In this collection of Sketches, you'll also recognize that I'm playing with color schemes. Perhaps you'll start to recognize that some of the color schemes I use, playing with color schemes design where I'm using my cells to create different shapes to draw into. And once again, I'm showing examples of how I bend the world into my dollar Art. Sometimes I just play with my fountain Pens 7. Hickory Nut Husks: The hickory Nut Husks series, I originally called Walmart Husks. I thought they were from our black walnut tree. I really do know the difference between walnuts and hickory nuts, but I don't have a hickory Nut Tree. And when I found all of these Nut Husks in the woodshed, I immediately thought, oh, wow, they're there, the wall Nut Husks. And of course they weren't. They were from my neighbors, hickory Nut Tree that the squirrels had brought into the woodshed. I've renamed this the hickory Nut Husks series. This was specifically a series just on the Husks. This was created for the 100-day project that I participated in online. And in many ways, this was one of my most challenging challenges because it was one simple thing. Yes, I had a pile of these Husks and they all had slight differences to them. I still found myself wondering how I was going to come up with 100 different ways to look at these Husks. And what I did was I really took advantage of the opportunity to work in One sketch book which I created myself. It's a Coptic bound sketchbook that I made from old recycled file folders and pen to flex folders. So it's a nice surface to work in with ink and watercolor and also with Posca pen and Craig paw and markers and all kinds of things. So I just let myself run free with what I could do with different media. I just would get super loose on some and super tight on others. I dug through my supplies to pull out tools that I had not used for years. Also paints I hadn't used for years, inks. During this time, I started making my own inks because they'd been making dyes for fabric from forage plants. And I decide, well, I'm going to use those also to make dyes and make my watercolors. So those are also in this series. And I went back to playing with the viva watercolor pages. And those are pieces of paper have intense pigment on them. And you just, just see, you either use a regular brush dipped into water or a water brush, and just pick up the pigment from the piece of paper. I also forced myself to play more with a portable ink brush. I went back to using gouache, which I absolutely love and had been meaning to get back to and really hadn't. So I dug out all my old gouache and that was really Fun. I always loved doing squiggle drawings. I went back to that. I hadn't done them in a long time. Crackpot is another medium that I loved in the distant past. And I dug those out and had a good time with them. Silver point was something that I picked up, hadn't played with that much. And I went back and experimented with that. Some of these methods are really fast and some of them are slow. I mixed a lot of media. I played with ink bleeds, just adding clear water to the ink lines, allowing the ink to either bleed into water puddles or to bring water puddles up against a line to make it bleed. I experimented with mixing a little bit of white gouache in with my inks and watching how the variation in viscosity caused a different kind of bleed and movement of the ink and gouache. Now some of the inks and paints that I make are not light fast. That to me, it doesn't matter when I'm working in a sketch book. I still learn so much about handling materials and what the results are. Some experiments I thought were successful and others certainly weren't. I learned a lot from both the successful ones, the ones I didn't like very much. A course, my drawing skills continued to be honed and design. How wet or dry a surface needs to be. How does the paint or ink respond when added into a very wet area of paint or a dry area of paint. And at what point do you want to add it? Do you want to let the surface dry a bit more or do you want to drop something into it while it's still very wet? I'm very happy that I made notes of what tools I used and what media I used in each of the drawings because I definitely would not have remembered and I would not have been able to tell from some of the sketches what I'd used. One of the big surprises was that with the black ink that I made myself, I believe I had used a bit of iron mordant that I made from rusty nails. When the ink dried, it ended up to appear a little metallic. There was bit of a glittery effect to it, which I really liked. And I noticed that in some of my other inks to after they sat of while and maybe try to while. That's something that I'm now exploring further in how to add that to some of the paints. Not for a lot of sparkle, but just a hint. It's really beautiful. Makes such a difference whether you pull into the puddle or you pull out of the puddle. Whether you go right up to an edge or if you cross over an edge. And if you draw into a puddle. There are a lot of Pens I hadn't used for a long time with different kinds of nibs. And I played with those again. By the time I got to day 40, I was beginning to really tire of the Husks. And I started to play with collage and I started to be a bit more abstract. Of course I returned to drawing other ways to, you'll see some dollar Art where I played the color scheme game. The sketches for created on raves, PFK printmaking paper. They're not in the sketch book created from the file folders and folders 8. Plants: Nature provides the opportunity to explore shapes, colors, patterns, color combinations, movement, symmetry, asymmetry. It includes information for an artist to hone every possible skill necessary in your practice. I take advantage of drawing plants because I can play with color. I can observe how color changes as the quality of the light of the sun changes, as the color of the sky changes. And that informs me, it informs me about how I want to choose Color when I'm working on planner painting or studio painting, or meditative painting, I experimented with value. Lights against darks, darks against lights. I experimented a lot with temperature of color. Warm greens. Against cool greens. I'm able to investigate how a plant grows. What I've sketched a plant, I learn what the shape of the leaves are. I learn the pattern growth of the plant. And if I need a leaf in a certain place, because the composition and design, would it be improved because of that, I can invent a leaf that looks like it belongs on that plan. And that's a really, really valuable lesson to learn because you can apply that in all other aspects of your work. You'll also notice that I experiment with design. I've learned so much about designing shapes within a square, within a rectangle, within a page. And I can play with that design just by adding a leaf wherever I wanted her a stem that will be appropriate to that plant. I learned how empty space works with cluttered space and how an empty space can balance an area of intense patterning. You'll also notice in the plant series that I'm experimenting with charging the puddle. And I refer to the puddle and other courses when I make a beautiful transition from, let's say, a blue into a green on a leaf. And the transition is seamless. You'll see a lot of that practice. Look at the individual leaves and you'll see what I've done there. If I were to choose only one series to work on for the rest of my life, it would be plants. Fortunately, I don't have to live with myself. 9. Food & Kitchen Stuff: In this series, I focused on examples of food and Kitchen Stuff. This grouping can also be narrowed down. You might focus on just food or just Kitchen ions, maybe just appliances, or perhaps only silverware that can be broken down. Maybe you just want to focus on spoons. Forks. You might focus on the ingredients for food. You'll see that I also focused on exploring color schemes by playing the color scheme thing. And also after having played color scheme game and I just focused on color schemes without dictating to myself what color scheme I was going to use. I try different techniques. I sketched over abandoned paintings. I sketch during all times of the day and all times of the night. I sketched in different states of wakefulness and different states of sleeplessness. I experimented with drawing fast and drawing slowly, as well as Painting fast and painting slowly. I honed my skills on other techniques like pulling the puddle, contour, line drawing, stippling. I used a lot of different tools. I used fountain pen, dip pen. I use permanent ink. I used ink that would bleed. I used ink with the dip pen, and I used ink with a brush. I played with design. I experimented with bending my world into $1 design. That dollar is the circular shape that I used, that I've divided into smaller shapes using a swooping line in a similar way to make them tangles. Now granted, this is not a, a quick morning scribble. I've already spent about 15 min as it was closer to 15 min doing the drawing, which is why I like doing these in the morning. And now my brain has kicked in and I have expectations of this because I want this Fun experience again. So instead of it being a surprise, it's an expectation and we'll see what happens with that. This is where daily practice comes in because you have to go through all of these stages of happy accidents. Oh, I like that. I wanna do that again. To apprehension over will it be Fun Again? Will it work again? And then you get to the point for your relaxed, it becomes part of your habit, becomes part of your intuitive mark-making. And then you proceed from there and you end up with another happy accident. It all starts all over again. 10. Cafés, Pubs & Restaurants: A series can be based on places you go. Could be museums, libraries, diners, parks, train stations, coffee shops, hairdressers, parking lots, schoolyards, any number of places. And it can be places that you frequent often. For example, I can be specific museums or a specific coffee shops it might be looking in, are looking out. And what I've done in this series is I'm presenting some sketches that I've done in cafes, Pubs, and Restaurants. I traveled quite often. Most often, I'm eating alone. I have a lot of time to sketch. I'm also waiting for my meal, or just enjoying my meal or enjoying a glass of wine. I have a table in front of me. So it's very easy to take that opportunity to either be in a spot where I can look out through a window and sketch what's going on outside over Cafe. Or especially in Pubs. It's really Fun to sketch what's going on inside of the pub. You have so many choices. You can break down your series and be far more specific. It could be sketches from eating places or it could also be from a specific, from a favorite restaurant. Only looking out onto the street or into a park or whatever the view is, or out onto the beach or the ocean waves. And it could be also from sitting on a bench outside of the location. With that location in your sketch somehow. But maybe for the people passing by or how the seasons change around the landscaping, for example, a park. It could be from a specific bench or could be from numerous benches are standing up or different areas. It's up to you. Think of the places that you go most often, or that you like to go or that you want to go. Think of the places that you go on a regular basis where you're having to wait. Maybe a doctor's office, dentist's office or hospital, a school yard where you're going to pick up your children. If that's the case, then every time you go the cars around, you're gonna be different. The people may be the same that come in and out of the doors, but they're gonna be in different arrangements wearing different clothing. Again, different seasons. You don't have to draw the whole scene. You can draw what you see through the back window of the car parked in front of you. Or you can sketch what's inside of your own car. Some of your cars may be really messy and you've got all kinds of things to sketch from inside of your car that could be a totally different series to, I'm just suggesting that you already have endless possibilities for a series based on place. And there are many ways to develop that series in any way that seems appropriate to you. To focus that series on something that would be Fun for you to explore. You will be amazed at how quickly you hone your drawing skills, how you expand the way you look at things, and how you start experimenting with different media. Just around sketch 30, 40, 50. If you're getting a little bit bored, force yourself to go all the way through 100, even if it takes you a year or two years, it doesn't matter. Just get back to it at some point, look at what you've done and move forward. This is not an assignment, this is a suggestion. This is a nudge for you to use the tools you already have to experiment with them and to just use some of that time that you wouldn't be sitting there anyway. There are multiple opportunities throughout your day when you think you don't have time to sketch, you absolutely do. Have Fun with it. And I hope you've enjoyed the samples that I've shared with you in this short video. 11. Conclusion: Now you've seen examples of several of my series of 100 sketches. You've seen broken trumpet parts, Glass, Inkwells, Family Treasures, hickory Nut Husks, cafes sketches, fountain Pens, sketches of food and Kitchen items, and sketches of play. I hope that these are giving you an idea of what you might do with your series. You see there really are no rules. You can use any kind of techniques, any kind of materials. And you can change it out as long as you have one subject or one theme, one set of objects, and then adapt them to the world around. You. Have Fun with this. When you've completed three, please post them in the project section of this class, you may continue to add images of your series to the project page as you go along. And there's no time limit. It took me 14 months to complete the Trumpet series. So don't rush, enjoy it and expand your horizons. I promised you at the end of 100 paintings and sketches, you will have honed some of your skills. Thank you for watching and check out some of my other classes on Skillshare. I'm Chris Carter