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Posts Tagged ‘watercolor journal’

Are you interested in participating in a collaborative Sketchbook Project? Check out this post by Mari over at CreateWriteNow.com for details of an exciting opportunity for creative journalers.

Attention all creative journalers! Your art journals, travelogues, memoirs, to-do lists, short stories and other masterpieces are wanted to join a traveling exhibit with the Brooklyn Art Library.

The Sketchbook Project , created by Brooklyn-based company Art House, is a global collaborative art project that encourages anyone – writers, artists, accountants, mechanics, chefs, children, you! – to take a blank sketchbook, fill it with personal thoughts, designs and emotions, then return it by January 15 to be included in a traveling exhibition and permanent collection. Talk about journaling on a global scale!

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Anyone, anywhere in the world can participate (“This project is for anyone who craves an outlet for that undeniable creative bug.”). Thousands of people participate each year, and every sketchbook is a unique piece of art.
  2. It costs $25 to join the Sketchbook Project (and $30 more to digitize your book and make it available to anyone around the world – books receive half a million viewers each year), which includes a custom-designed 5×7, 32-page sketchbook made in Portland, Oregon.
  3. To participate in the 2013 exhibition, you need to send your completed sketchbook back by January 15, 2013. It will then go on tour, hitting cities across North America, including San Francisco, Austin, Toronto, Chicago and Atlanta. Your book will keep in touch from the road, sending you an email or text message updating you on its journey.
  4. Your sketchbook will then take up residence in the Brooklyn Art Library’s permanent collection and play an important part in journaling history.

Interested in participating in the Sketchbook Project this year or in the future? What kind of journal would you create? Share your thoughts in the comments, and read more about the project

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CraftyKatePalmer recently reviewed the Fiorentina Amalfi Leather journal on Youtube. If you want a closer look at this beautiful journal, be sure to check it out.

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One of the journals in the worldwide journal swap I participated in was filled with nature inspired illustrations.  My entries were of leaves, created with 2 types of markers, Copic Sketch Markers and Tombow Dual Brush Pens. Color blends were used in both images, but the Copic markers produced blends that were more translucent and ethereal in appearance, while the Tombow markers seemed bolder. Part of the difference may be due to the more graphic appearance of the first illustration, or maybe it is because the Tombow markers are water-based and the Copic markers are alcohol-based. Whatever the reason, the Tombow markers seem to produce bolder, sharper looking color.

This illustration was rendered using Tombow Dual Brush Markers. I added water drops to the surface of the paper using a glossy gel medium in small blobs.

The leaves were created using Copic Sketch Markers. The center of the paper was crimped to cover the spiral binding, the left and right sides of the paper was glued to the journal pages. The left side of the leaf in the center was cut out of the watercolor paper so it would pop up when the pages are opened.

Both markers are high quality, professional grade products but you may prefer one over the other depending on your project. The water-based Tombow markers are appropriate for use on paper-based surfaces and can be thinned with water like water colors. The ink is not permanent and will not bleed through your paper’s surface unless you you saturate the paper with too much ink. The permanent, alcohol-based Copic markers can be used on a variety of surfaces including paper, ceramic, glass, fabrics, metal, leather, plastic and more. Unless you are using Copic’s special marker paper, the Copic markers will bleed through most papers, however.

Copic markers are available in a variety of different sets and color combinations in both Ciao and Sketch marker styles in sets of 12, 24, 36 and 72.

Tombow Dual Brush Markers are available in sets of 6, 10 and 96. Primary, secondary, landscape, portrait and other color sets are designed to fit the needs of individual artists.

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Copic markers are now available at JournalingArts.com.

Copic markers are now available at JournalingArts.com.

For those of you who love top-of-the-line art supplies, you’ll be glad to know that Copic Sketch and Ciao Markers are now available at Journalingarts.com. Copic Markers are alcohol-based permanent markers which are non-toxic, acid-free and blend smoothly on paper. They were used for decades exclusively by professionals around the world including architects, illustrators and designers, and now they have become popular among the hobby industry for scrapbooking, card-making, models, ceramics and other artistic projects.

I couldn’t resist experimenting with a set of Sketch Markers in my Moleskine Watercolor Journal along with some watercolors and water-soluble pastels. Since water-based and alcohol-based inks do not smear or alter each other, I was able to use the Sketch markers on top of the watercolors without smearing or altering the first layer of color. Because the Sketch Markers are permanent, they do bleed through most uncoated papers, so I primed the page first with gesso to prevent bleedthrough.

Copic Sketch Markers were used with watercolors and Aquarelle water-soluable pastels in this mixed media piece.

Copic Sketch Markers were used with watercolors and Aquarelle water-soluble pastels in this mixed media piece.

Copic Ciao Markers

Copic Ciao Markers set 72A

Copic Sketch Markers Papercrafting 72 A

Copic Sketch Markers Papercrafting Colors Set 72 A

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Finshed page in my affirmation journal.

The first page in my affirmation journal created with a laser printer transfer, marker and watercolor.

I have been wanting to experiment with transferring a laser printer image into a journal using solvents for a while. Since the weather is warmer, and I am able to work outside, I decided to start my newest journal creation, an affirmation journal, using this technique. The Ecosystem sketchbook paper seemed appropriate for this method with its bright white paper. Even though it is not as thick as the paper in a Moleskine sketchbook, it has a more porous surface and I thought it might take a transfer well.

On the first page of this journal I wanted to include a message that would express the overall theme of the journal and I wanted to create it primarily with text. Since my handwriting is awful, I created an illustration in my drawing program that would fit the page. Once I had a design I was happy with, I printed it out backwards, as a mirror image, so the transfer would read correctly when complete. Once I had my laser print out, all I would need to do is place it face down on the journal page and apply a solvent to the back of the print out to dissolve the laser ink so it would print on the journal page.

Laser Printer Transfer in an Ecosystem Sketchbook

In order for the transfer to read properly on the page, I had to print my image out backwards on my laser printer. I placed this image face-down on the journal page to make the transfer.

I used  lacquer thinner to make the transfer. It is pretty nasty stuff and should only be used outdoors or in a well ventilated area. This substance is not for everyone and if you are chemically sensitive, I would recommend that you avoid this technique.

Laser printer transer

I blotted the solvent on the backside of the laser print until I could clearly see the image below. I used a fair amount of pressure to be sure I was making good contact with the journal page. In some areas, I burnished the image while the paper was still damp for a stronger transfer. Once the solvent dries, the wet areas disappear.

Laser printer transfer in a journal

To check my progress, I carefully lifted the paper to see how the transfer was being applied. I was careful to hold the paper in place to keep it lined up with the image.

When making the transfer, I applied the solvent using a paper towel and blotted the back of the paper until I could see the image clearly through the back. I found that burnishing the image while the solvent was still damp improved the depth of color. I did this slowly and checked my work frequently by lifting the laser print to see how well the transfer was being applied.

Laser printer transfer being embellished with marker and watercolor.

I added watercolor and marker to the transfer to complete the image.

Once the transfer was complete, I added a watercolor silhouette of my hand to relate to the hand on the cover and provide a subtle transition to the interior pages. This caused the paper to buckle a bit, but I did expect this since the paper is sketch paper and not watercolor paper. You can see the cover image I created in an earlier post here. To complete the illustration, I darkened the color of the large letters to add color and contrast to the image.

Final touches on the laser printer transfer.

I added marker to the large letters for additonal color and contrast.

Final transfers using this method will be somewhat fuzzy and will never look as clear as the original. But this can be used to create images that look stamped or aged and adds an interesting effect to your art. It can be combined with other elements to give your designs a unique and professional look, and is worth experimenting with if you are looking for new ways to create art.

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I reviewed the Fiorentina Journal refill a few weeks ago using pen and ink, but at the same time, I also did a quick test of the most basic art mediums in the journal and wanted to share the results.

Fiorentina Journal Refill Color Test

I tested some of my favorite artist mediums in a lined Fiorentina Journal Refill. The results were better than I expected for a writing journal.

I used the lined journal for the test rather than the sketchbook because there are times when you want to incorporate art into a written journal and it is good to know how well the journal will perform. Also, I plan on doing a review of the sketchbook refill at a future date, so this way I can explore both.

The most basic art supplies were used for the test, including those that are the most portable, to give you an idea of what can be done while you are traveling with your journal. I tested a few others, too, but wanted to focus on those that are easy to carry.

The mediums I tested:

  • Watercolor Paint
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Tombow Dual Brush Water-Based Markers
  • Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers
  • Pen and Ink
  • Ink Wash
  • Prismacolor Colored Pencils
  • Aquarelles Water-Soluable Pastels
  • Rubber Stamps & StazOn Solvent-Based Ink

Top Performing Mediums

The best performers were the Tombow Dual Brush pens, pen & ink, Sharpie Fine Point Permanent markers and the Prismacolor colored pencils. Each of these mediums went down smoothly without bleed through, show through or paper curl. The colors were clean and clear and the edges were sharp.

Fiorentina Journal Refill Artist Medium test.

Most of the mediums performed well and did not bleed thorugh the back side of the page. The wettest paints caused some bubbling of the paper which is visible in the photo above.

Good Performers

The paints were overall good performers with only one issue; paper curl and/or bubbling. There was no bleedthrough or showthrough on any of the paints. Watercolor and ink wash caused the most paper distortion, but not nearly as much as I expected. Only the wettest  areas bubbled and warped. The acrylic paint caused minor buckling when the color was applied thickly, but this disappeared as the paint dried. The water-soluble Aquarelles did not cause any paper distortion until water was added.

Fiorentina Journal Refill Artist Medium Test

Only the ink from the StazOn ink pad bled through the backside of the paper. This is not surprising since this ink is designed to be used on non-porous surfaces.

Poor Performers

The only medium that performed poorly was the ink from the StazOn solvent-based ink pad. The ink impressed on the page using the ink pad directly as well as from the rubber stamps did bleed through the page. This ink is designed to use on surfaces including plastic, metal, glass, ceramic and leather, so the fact that it bled through paper is no surprise. I would not recommend it for use on paper of any kind unless the bleed though effect is desired.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the lined Fiorentina Journal refill works fine for artist mediums with some limitations. If you limit your mediums to pen and ink, colored pencil, pencil, marker and light paint washes, it will be more than satisfactory. It would not be the best choice for use with wet paints if buckling paper bothers you.

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I have heard from many of you who are uncomfortable starting an art journal who are worried that your ideas and first sketches are ugly or unattractive. If you experience this, don’t worry! They all start out that way. An art journal is all about the process and not every page in your journal is destined to be a work of fine art. If you focus on the process and forget about the final result, you will enjoy art journaling more and your journals will be filled with unique and interesting art that is meaningful and thought-provoking.

I thought it would be interesting to show the steps I take when illustrating a page in my art journal so you could see the process. This 2-page spread is from a journal on abundance I am in the process of working on. If you compare it to the final illustration at the end of the post, you will find it is only a rough representation of the final image.

Art Journaling Abundance in Moleskine Watercolor Journal

This is the rough, pencil sketch for the abundance concept. Notice the images and text is loose and incomplete, only there to indicate position. This sketch will be painted over or erased during the process of journaling. It is only a guide that can be changed as the illustration progresses.

Many beautiful journal pages start as dirty-looking, gray scratchings on the page. In my journal, I started with rough pencil sketches. Notice that these are not perfect little drawings, just basic images and indications of what I see in my head.

Art Journaling Abundance

I used more precise pencil lines as a guide to cut the shape of the reflections from the tape. The lines were dark enough to be visible through the tape.

Once the rough sketch was in place, I started to make the pencil lines more detailed. Since I wanted to create glare on the water that would be white in the final piece, I had to find a way to make these areas white. Since I didn’t want to add white paint, I decided to use masking tape to mask the areas I wanted to be white. This protected the paper from paint, creating white areas wherever tape was used. Using the pencil lines as a guide, I cut the tape and removed the tape on areas that were to be painted. Once these areas were taped, I could paint background colors that had a continuous flow, giving a more uniform appearance.

Art Journaling Abundance

You need to exercise care when cutting masking tape that has been place on your paper. If you cut too deep, you could go through the paper or paint might collect in the small cut you made. If you are new to this, you might want to practice on a scrap piece of paper to see how much pressure you will need to cut to the correct depth.

Removing the tape requires some patience and care. If you are hasty, the surface of the paper will be removed. If this happens, don’t worry, it can be concealed if it causes a problem. In many cases, it is simply not visible in the final product.

Art Journaling Abundance masking

Use care when removing the tape. If you pull too hard or too fast, you may remove the surface of the paper. The pencil marks can be erased once the tape is removed so they don't show through the paint washes.

Once the reflections had been masked, I filled in the background with a blue wash with varied tones. To make it more interesting, I made the lower left corner much darker. This would draw the eye from the lower left into the center of the image where is was much brighter.

After the background was dry, I carefully removed the masking tape to reveal the white reflections.

Art Journalng Abundance watercolor

I painted the background while the masking tape was in place for a smooth, consistent look. Once the tape was removed, the background and fishes contrast with the white reflections. Although I tried to be careful removing the tape, I did manage to pull some of the paper up, but the watercolor paint covered my mistake without a problem, so you really don't notice it. If you right-click the image and choose View Image, you can see a larger version of the image.

I used a metallic pen to write the text I had roughed out on the original pencil sketch. I chose metallic pen to simulate the reflections on the water and to give the piece a little bit of flash. I used a cursive text to mimic the shape of the reflections. By doing this, your eye is tricked and it is not obvious at first glance that this is writing.

Art Journaling Metallic Pen

I used metallic pen to simulate the reflections in the water. I didn't want the words to be obvious at first. The cursive style was used to mimic the shape of the reflections.

The final art, while far from detailed or visually accurate, communicates the graphic, figurative image I wanted.

Art Journaling "Reflections of Abundance" in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal.

The final illustration is titled Reflections of Abundance and is just another set of pages in my abundance journal. I like the upward movement and the flow of golden fishes and it encourages me to continue the journey on the next page.

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A month or so ago, I started a personal art journal. I didn’t have a plan, I thought I would just start drawing, go with the flow and see what happened. The result was the beginnings of an abundance journal.

The first pages in my personal abundance journal was done in pen and ink, acrylic paint, and rubber stamps impressed into thick layers of gel medium.

I started with a pen and ink illustration of curly, swirling, lines as the base image. In the photo, it is just barely visible through the sun’s rays and golden paint. This image was the inspiration for the entire journal, but the process of discovering this unfolded slowly. The organic shape of the lines reminded me of a flowing river and the circular shape of the curls reminded me of coins. I kept these images in mind as I layered on the paints and gel medium.

Because water was used to thin the acrylic paint, the color is translucent and the original line drawing of the swirls is visible. The coins were created by pressing a rubber stamp of a coin image into wet gel medium. Once the gel medium dried, diluted ink was rubbed into the depressions left by the stamp and the raised areas were wiped clean. This resulted in an antique look on the coins and surrounding area. The sun's rays were created with water-soluble pastels applied after the background was finished and then the entire spread was sprayed with a protective coat of acrylic spray.

The acrylic paints were thinned with water to keep the color translucent. By applying multiple thin layers the color was constructed slowly, adding depth and dimension to the background while allowing the pen and ink illustration to show through. In the golden-orange areas, thin layers of metallic gold acrylic were applied to add some shine that would relate to the coins I imagined earlier. Multiple washes of the metallic paint created a luminous effect that is soft and beautiful. More layers of gold made the paint more reflective, but by adding subtle, watery layers of the metallic paint over other areas of color added subtle movement to these areas.

Moleskine Watercolor Art Journal

The red background was created using watercolor. I avoided adding too much yellow to the red because I wanted it to contrast with the gold tones. The coins were created with a rubber stamp and black and red inks. Kanji character was stamped using black ink and the light areas near the top of the character were filled in using ink and a brush to define the edges.

In the left corner, the red background was created with multiple layers of red watercolor paint along with black to add some much-needed intensity and contrast to the image. I resisted the urge to add too much yellow to the red because I wanted it to contrast with the golds and make it pop. Shading was done with purples and blacks to enhance the dark areas. The coin images you see on this part of the illustration were done by using a rubber stamp with black and red inks. The Kanji character was done with a rubber stamp and black ink the light areas near the top of the character were filled in with a brush to define it.

At this point, the background was finished but it needed a focal point. A sun seemed to be the perfect choice and reinforced the circular imagery in the line illustration and coins. Because I wanted the sun to be opaque to cover the intense background, I chose vivid, water-soluble pastels. The bright color struck a nice balance to the background and the swirling rays added the concept of swirling water that I was looking for.

Once I felt the illustration was finished, I sealed it using a clear acrylic spray to protect it an to give the entire image an even sheen.

Material Used

  • Red and yellow acrylic paint
  • Metallic gold and silver metallic acrylic paint
  • Watercolor paint
  • Pen and ink
  • Rubber stamp of coin
  • Red and black ink pad
  • Gel medium
  • Water soluble pastels
  • Acrylic sealant

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I am in the beginning stages of a new journal. I started it with no intent or theme, but as it has progressed, the journal has become one about the eternal flow of abundance. While some of the artwork has been more abstract this one manifested as a gently flowing stream.

Flowing stream illustrated in a Moleskine Watercolor notebookfor an art journal on abundance.

Flowing stream illustrated in a Moleskine Watercolor notebookfor an art journal on abundance.

I used a Moleskine Watercolor journal because the wide format seemed appropriate for the subject matter. The elongated shape is more interesting than a traditional rectangle and it inspired me to see things differently than usual.

This illustration is on the reverse side of a page with acrylic paints and sealant, so I had little, if any issues with buckling. I was so pleased with how the paper performed on the page that backed up to the page with acrylics, that I am considering painting every other 2-page spread with acrylic so my watercolor pages stay flat.

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I sat down with my Moleskine Watercolor Journal and my fountain pen when I the pen started to run dry. With no available ink to refresh my pen, I realized that I would not be able to draw much before my pen stop working. In the spirit of going with the flow, I decided to use the fountain pen and dilute the remaining ink. This would give me a line that would initially be dark but would gradually lighten as I used it more. This inspired me to draw a tree that would be darker near the trunk and lighter towards the branch tips.

The tree illustration was created using a fountain pen that had diluted ink. The ink faded as I used it creating branch tips that were lighter in tone than the heavier parts of the tree.

The tree illustration was created using a fountain pen that had diluted ink. The ink faded as I drew creating branch tips that were lighter in tone than the heavier parts of the tree.

At first, the ink was very dark and I quickly drew the trunk and thick branches saving the highlighted areas for later. As the ink got lighter, I worked my way towards the ends of the branches and I filled in the highlights on the trees. The fading pen was a delight to work with and it was very satisfying to draw lines that continually lightened. When I was finished with the tree, I was disappointed that the line work was over because I enjoyed this process so much.

I still had some dried watercolors left in my palette from a previous illustration that I was able to reconstitute for the background. The blues and greens were just what I needed.

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