2022 Sketchbook Highlights

2022 was a great year of exploring and learning. I present a buffet of visual interest (mostly) from the pages of my sketchbooks. Bon appétit!

“You don’t know what cannot be done.” – Gregg Toland

Self-portrait, Graphite, November 2022

Drawabox Exercises

Assorted Pieces

A Few More

Creature Exploration, Crayon, August 2022
Queen of Joy and Sorrow, Graphite, February 2022
Exploratory Self-portrait, Ink, August 2022
Thanks for stopping by!

Followed by a Leaf Is Published!

My labour of love, Followed by a Leaf, is finally published and in book form; it is the first title released by Parkinson Publishing. The book is ideal for children ages 4-9, but ages 1-12 may also enjoy the colourful pictures and playful story.


The book is currently selling for $11 CAD and is only available locally within a small part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) of Ontario, Canada, for now (shipping is not available due to the high cost). Availability is quite limited; so if you’re interested, please let me know ASAP and we can work out the details. I will handle orders on a first-come-first-serve basis; once they’re gone I may begin taking orders for another print run, but I don’t know how soon that might be.

Since printing in August I have been fulfilling pre-orders, but now that those are finalized I have opened up orders to the rest of world . . . or at least to those in my small corner.

I’ll try to update the following section of the blog post to reflect the ongoing status of my inventory:

Status: In Stock


The binding is saddle-stitch (triple-stapled); the book is 8×7 inches (landscape) and has high-quality, full-page colour images. There are 28 pages total (not including the cover).


“Everyone Is a Genius . . .” – Einstein?

Though it is disputed who first made this exact statement, I think it was marvelously said:

“Everyone is a genius; but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Though, I believe an important distinction should be made: if you judge the fish unwisely, then you (not necessarily the fish) will believe the lie; only if the fish judges himself by erroneous standards will he believe himself to be incompetent. When we judge ourselves according to truth, we can have great confidence (with humility) despite the dismissive nature of others.

This also reminds me of a quote by Mark Twain, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I believe God has made each person uniquely special; there’s not another person exactly like you; so try lots of things till you find what you were made for and as Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Read more wise & witty sayings.

Updated December 3, 2022

“You Don’t Know What Cannot Be Done.” – Toland

In an interview of Orson Welles by Dick Cavett, Welles recounts the following situation early in his career. While beginning to make his first film, Citizen Kane, he was approached by cameraman Gregg Toland.

[Toland enters Welles’ office . . .]
Toland: I want to work in your picture; my name is Toland.
Welles: Why do you, Mr. Toland?
Toland: Because you’ve never made a picture, and you don’t know what cannot be done.

Leading up to his description of that brief conversation, Welles makes the following statement: “. . . Ignorance – there’s no authority in the world like it.” Welles’ and Toland’s statements really caught my attention. I’ve seen a similar saying by Shunryu Suzuki: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few”; that brings a couple more to mind: “It always seems impossible until it’s done” (Nelson Mandela), and, “They did not know it was impossible so they did it” (Mark Twain).

Inexperience is both a blessing and curse. Being blind to what is and is not possible, you may be willing to take risks more-experienced people would not; you’ll bring a fresh perspective and perhaps even attempt to do what others know “cannot be done”; that means you’ll probably fail quite a bit, but in challenging assumptions you will discover which ones are true and which are false. Young blood can really shake up an industry.

I greatly appreciate the wisdom of Solomon to “Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life” (Proverbs 4:13); listening to the counsel of wiser people is vital to our growth; but I also see value in respectfully, humbly challenging the presuppositions of those who came before us and proving the truth for ourselves. As another wise man once said, “Just because something seems impossible, doesn’t mean it isn’t easy” (Parkinson’s Law #21, T. S. Parkinson).

Citizen Kane went on to be enormously successful; though, I’ve not seen the film in a while, so I don’t necessarily recommend it, but rather the philosophy described by Welles and the others I’ve mentioned. Though experience is certainly desirable, your being a novice doesn’t have to be a negative.

Read more wise & witty sayings.

The Singing Whale

While visiting your loving, elderly grandparent, they give you an item very dear to them: a small, beautifully-crafted whistle on a chain which they received as a child from a mysterious, but kind, lady in their village. When wet, the whistle calls the nearest whales. In their more-active days as a marine wildlife expert, your grandparent used this whistle to call and tame the beasts of the sea; now they bestow this treasure into your hands for safe-keeping and prudent use.

The Singing Whale by Nathan Parkinson, Brushpen & Prismacolor, April 2022

Standing on the shore of the ocean you gaze at the whistle. When dry, the whistle sounds only of rushing air; when wet, but on land, the whistle sounds of rushing water; but when the whistle is wet and you’re in the water, the whistle sings an ancient and beautiful melody, though seemingly blowing a single tone.

Drawing Prompt: Taming the Sea

I’ve participated in a couple drawing promptathons myself now and have had a great time. Drawing prompts are a great opportunity to grow in your creativity and productivity. Now, I present my own drawing prompt for anyone interested.

Design a whale/water-based whistle that one could use to tame some creature(s) of the sea. The focus here would be on the appearance of the whistle. You can also base your whistle on an oceanic element other than a whale.

I’d love to see what you come up with; so please do leave a comment with a link to your artwork if you’d like to share it.

Promptathon Day 7: Carl’s Cryo Cream

Drawabox’s 2022 Summer Promptathon has come and gone! This is the 7th of 7 days of drawing prompts.

The prompt for day 7 is Fantasy Ice Cream Cart. You can see the full prompt on the prompt page. Below is my submission for this day’s prompt.

Carl’s Cryo Cream

As you leave the ring toss pavilion feeling regretful, you are cheered by the call of a wandering vendor: “Get your ice-cold cryo cream! Carl does it best!” The refrain is repeated often as a tinny-sounding music box sings playful tunes among the crowds.

Carl’s Cryo Cream by Nathan Parkinson, Ballpoint, June 2022

For Drawabox’s 2022 Summer PromptathonDay 7: Fantasy Ice Cream Cart

Promptathon Day 6: Friendly Fire

Drawabox’s 2022 Summer Promptathon is here! This is the 6th of 7 days of drawing prompts.

The prompt for day 6 is Family Life. You can see the full prompt on the prompt page. Below is my submission for this day’s prompt.

Friendly Fire

Tony: Let’s turn up the heat on this stirfry! Yeah!
Extinguisher Bot: Nope . . .

Friendly Fire by Nathan Parkinson, Prismacolor, June 2022

For Drawabox’s 2022 Summer PromptathonDay 6: Family Life

Promptathon Day 5: Fleeing Iron Mouse

Drawabox’s 2022 Summer Promptathon is here! This is the 5th of 7 days of drawing prompts.

The prompt for day 5 is Lost in the Multiverse. You can see the full prompt on the prompt page. Below is my submission for this day’s prompt.

Fleeing Iron Mouse

[exploding vases / utter chaos]
Run, Tom! Run! Iron Mouse is hot on your tail!

Fleeing Iron Mouse by Nathan Parkinson, Ink, June 2022

For Drawabox’s 2022 Summer PromptathonDay 5: Lost in the Multiverse

Promptathon Day 1: Faucet Falcon

Drawabox’s 2022 Summer Promptathon is here! This is the 1st of 7 days of drawing prompts.

The prompt for day 1 is Bathroom Spacecraft. You can see the full prompt on the prompt page. Below is my submission for this day’s prompt.

Faucet Falcon

Captain Weldon: Prepare for intergalactic departure!
First Mate: The energy faucet is at full power, Sir.
Captain Weldon: To the stars . . .

Faucet Falcon by Nathan Parkinson, Brushpen & Prismacolor, June 2022

For Drawabox’s 2022 Summer PromptathonDay 1: Bathroom Spacecraft

Lotus Corniculatus (Bird’s-foot Trefoil)

I love the weeds wild flowers that grow in my area of Ontario, Canada. This little jewel — the Bird’s-foot Trefoil — is just one of my favourites.

Lotus Corniculatus by Nathan Parkinson, Ballpoint & Prismacolour, June 2022

Here’s a glimpse of the real thing.

Lotus Corniculatus, Flower
Lotus Corniculatus, Whole Plant

They tend to grow in bright little patches by roads or in open fields. A brilliant display of God’s handiwork. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these jewels of the field (Matthew 6:28, 29; Luke 12:27). As an artist I rejoice and praise The Artist for His gifts of such fine beauty!

Here’s a couple quick links to learn more about the plant and see more pictures if you’re interested:

I’d love to hear if you’ve seen these little treasures growing in your area — wherever you are in the world.