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Archive for the ‘Past Work’ Category

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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The soft colors and appearence was a welcome deviation from my normal style.

The soft colors and appearance was a welcome deviation from my normal style.

My life has been chaotic lately and I haven’t had much time to journal or play with art the way I would like to. With limited time and no reasonable idea in mind, I sat down with a Moleskine Watercolor Journal and my watercolors without a clue of what to do. I decided to just go with the flow and just do whatever feels right.

I was drawn to the blues and greens and laid these down in with a mop brush in large areas on the page in horizontal lines. It was odd for me to use such soft colors, but I didn’t want to judge it and continued on. A thin, dark line of green seemed right after the background dried and I softened the edges with water intending to keep everything soft. I was left with a page with two large blocks of color that needed something more.

With a quick glance around the studio I spotted some skeletonized leaves that I have been holding onto. The color was a natural buff and wouldn’t be enough contrast to the background, but his wasn’t a problem. I pressed them into a metallic white ink pad to lighten them and add a little sparkle. Once dry, I used a spray adhesive to affix the leaves to the paper.

The result is a soft, calm image which is quite a deviation from my normal style. A small peaceful spot amid the chaos of my life. It was just what I needed at the time.

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I love Moleskine’s Pocket Watercolor Journal. It is perfect for toting around in your back pocket and just the right size for capturing small details or thumbnail sketches of future projects.

This watercolor was created in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal a couple of year’s back. It was inspired by an old marker illustration I did in the 1980’s of a Clown Fish I bumped into on a dive trip in the Pacific. At the time, I wanted to create large 3-D sculptures of undersea images and this illustration was a study of one of the fishes I intended to do. I never got around to creating the sculpture I had envisioned, but thanks to sketches in this journal, I can always revisit the idea later.

Watercolor of a Clown Fish done in a pocket sized, Moleskine Watercolor Journal.

Watercolor of a Clown Fish done in a pocket sized, Moleskine Watercolor Journal.

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I have water lilies blooming in my backyard pond and I love them. They are the perfect subject for a watercolor illustration and they offer me another opportunity to play around with my art supplies. It’s time to break out the Moleskine watercolor Journal!

I chose the Moleskine Watercolor Journal because I love the way the paper handles ink, watercolor, marker etc, and I planned on using all of these mediums. It is also a convenient size and can be carried around in a purse or large pocket and the cover gives me a hard surface for sketching on.

I chose the Watercolor Journal from Moleskine becasue of the versatility of the paper.

I chose the Watercolor Journal from Moleskine because of the versatility of the paper.

My favorite part of a lily pond is the shiny edges where the lilies meet the water. Because of surface tension, this area is highly reflective and appears white to the eye. I made sure to leave these edges white as well as the area around the small rings created by a tiny bug that landed on the water’s surface.

I wanted to use bright, fresh colors for this illustration. In most cases, when water comes in contact with green plants, the result is bright yellow-green. So I used Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Aquarelles for the greens and blues to make the color pop.

Aquarelles are heavily pigmented sticks that look like crayons. The color goes on like pastels, but when you add water, they blend like watercolors. The color is slightly opaque and is similar to thinned tempra paint, but it is translucent enough to give a watercolor effect. The colors are intense and are brighter than my watercolors so I like using them when I want to make a bold statement. These are great to use outdoors if you want a watercolor effect but don’t want to carry brushes and water. Color the image while on site using the sticks like pastels and blend in the water later in your your studio or home.

Caran dAche Neocolor II Pastels are watersoluable and blen like watercolors.

Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Pastels are water soluble and blend like watercolors.

My set of Aquarelles are close to 20 years old and the colors are still intense. The packaging has changed since I purchased them, but they are still available online and in some art supply stores.

My set of Aquarelles are close to 20 years old and the colors are still intense and the blends are still smooth. The packaging has changed since I purchased them, but they are available online and may be in your local art supply stores.

The outlines were done using my favorite Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen. I wanted the edges to appear sharp and in my opinion, the Tombow roll pens are the best. The ink is waterproof so it won’t bleed or smudge when wet color is applied and the black is really rich. Because the pen is refillable, I can choose from a variety of point sizes and colors as my needs change.

If you have had experiences using the Aquarelles, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to post your comments!

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I wanted to take advantge of the Moleskine Squared Notebooks gridded format, so I created this illustration of my daughter running on the beach using Prismacolor colored pencils.

I wanted to take advantage of the Moleskine Squared Notebook's gridded format, so I created this illustration of my daughter running on the beach using colored pencils.

Ever since I first saw the squared pages in the Large Moleskine Squared Reporter Notebook, I wanted to play with the grid and create a pixelated abstract of sorts. The little squares beg to be colored in. I decided to do this with my new Prismalcolor Colored pencils because I haven’t used them all that much and I thought the large range of colors would would be better than a small set of markers.

I used my Prismacolor colored pencils becasue of the large range of colors.

I used my Prismacolor colored pencils because of the large range of colors.

The image I wanted to duplicate, is one on a photo I have of my daughter when she was about 10 years old,  trotting along the beach near Jekyll Island. To help me with this illustration, I scanned the photo into Photoshop and I reduced the resolution to about 5 pixels per inch, which would give me a similar grid as the Moleskine squared Notebook. I used this scan to give me a range of colors for the illustration. I was surprised by how many variations of like colors this would require and I was glad to be using the colored pencils. I had a much larger choice of colors than I would if I had used markers which would have turned to mud and would have required lots of layering.

This was harder than it looked. Even though I had lots of color choices, none of the pencils matched the flesh tones I needed and I found that I had to blend all of the colors to some degree. The waxiness of the color made this a bit difficult at times, mostly due to the small area I had to work with on each color. In most cases, I started each pixel with the closest color and layered from there, using the lightest color last to smooth everything out.

To keep things stratight in my minds eye, I had to color one horizontal line of squares at a time.

I worked in a linear direction to keep the patter clear in my mind.

To keep things straight, I had to work horizontally, one line at a time square by square. Again, this was challenging because the colors were so similar and I found myself frequently getting lost.

Detail of the colored squares. Getting the colors smooth was almost impossible using the colored pencils. I think I would have liked the more intense look of markers, but there were too many color variations to make if feasible.

Detail of the colored squares. Getting the colors smooth was almost impossible using the colored pencils. I think I would have liked the more intense look of markers, but there were too many color variations to make if feasible.

In the end, I am glad I used the colored pencils, even though the colors didn’t blend as smoothly as I would have liked. The image took on a waxy gloss which feels lovely to touch and gives a softer appearance than another medium would have. I think there are lots of interesting things that could be done on squared paper and I am looking forward to trying more illustrations which push the concept even farther. If you have some art you’d like to share that you created in your Moleskine or other squared notebook, email me at Cynthia@journalingarts.com. I would love to see it!

Final abstract of my daughter done with colored pencil in a Moleskine Squared Reporter Notebook.

Final abstract of my daughter done with colored pencil in a Moleskine Squared Reporter Notebook. By squinting, you can see that it resembles the original photograph.

To keep things stratight in my minds eye, I had to color one horizontal line of squares at a time.

To keep things stratight in my mind's eye, I had to color one horizontal line of squares at a time.

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Just 2 colors of watercolor were used to create this illustration,

Just 2 colors of watercolor were used to create this illustration, Alizarin Crimson and Thalo Blue

I have been in the midst of a creative drought lately and haven’t had much time to create art. I was inspired by July’s dessert theme at www.skineart.com and I couldn’t resist creating a few raspberries, one of my favorite summer treats.

I used watercolor for this illustration in an effort to sharpen my skills. I am new to this medium and I have a lot to learn. I used a different approach on this piece in that I painted the darkest areas first and layered the lightest colors last. It was difficult to do with the tiny cells of the raspberries, and I found that I lost some of the sharpness of the dark areas as I progressed, so I ended up adding in a few dark areas at the end. The more I worked, the muddier it got, so I decided to quit while there was still some brightness to the image, even though I was not thrilled with the end result.

In an effort to learn more about how watercolors blend, I limited the color palette to 2 colors, Alizarin Crimson and Thalo Blue. I was thrilled with the range of colors I was able to achieve with just these 2 colors. I am looking forward to experimenting more with this.

This was  my first illustration in the new A4 sized Moleskine Watercolor Journal and I was quite pleased with the paper. It performed just like the smaller versions with one exception, the paper seemed to buckle a little bit more. I think this is more an issue of physics than a change in paper quality. The larger paper is the same thickness as the paper in the smaller journal, but because of it’s size, it feels less stiff. There was no more buckling than you would find with traditional watercolor paper, so I don’t consider it a problem.

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I came home from a big box office supply store the other day with a few goodies. The most exciting was a huge set of 120 colored pencils by Prismacolor. I had not used this brand of colored pencils before and they were on clearance, so needless to say I had to have them.

I’ve been inspired by my dog Frosti lately, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do a quick sketch of him using my new colored pencils. I am in the process of finishing a mini album of him using a Moleskine Japanese Album, so this is where I would do my first drawing with the Prismacolor pencils. I won’t do a full review in this post, but will do one sometime in the near future using a few different notebooks with the pencils.

Frosti rendered in Prismacolor colored pencils in a Moleskine Japanese Album

Frosti rendered in Prismacolor colored pencils in a Moleskine Japanese Album

The Japanese album has a smooth, thick paper, not ideal for colored pencils, but acceptable. Paper with a bit more tooth would be preferable because the pencils are somewhat waxy and would blend better on a paper with more texture. The areas where I used a lot of pressure ended up appearing somewhat shiny and have a burnished look. This is not usually how I like my pencils drawings to look, but it could be interesting in the right situation. I also noticed some tiny off-white specks, similar to the ones I discovered on the paper in the Moleskine Sketchbook. These specks do not take color very well and I am assuming that they are the result of a coating on the paper and have nothing to do with the pencils.

I was pleased with the selection of grays in the set. A good variety of both warm and cool grays in both light and dark tones would be perfect to render my furry, white dog.  There were a lot of interesting colors in the set including some metallics and fluorescent colors. While not much use for this illustration I can see using them in some other illustrations down the line. I found myself using the darker pencils first, getting lighter as I went along. I was able to blend the darker colors and smooth them out by using pressure with a light gray or white pencil. This created a nice softening effect and was easy to do with the smooth surface of the paper. Maybe this smooth paper wasn’t so bad after all.

If you look closely in the dark area of the eyes, you can see small specks of off-white where the color was not accepted. This is something in the paper and is not a problem with the colored pencils.

If you look closely in the dark area of the eyes, you can see small specks of off-white where the color was not accepted. This is something in the paper and is not a problem with the colored pencils.

By the time I had finsihed the illustration, I was comfortable using this combination. I can’t wait to do a few more of these in some other notebooks.

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Frosti was sleeping next to me while I was watching a movie. He looked so cute while he was sleeping that I just had to capture it on paper. I started with a pencil sketch, which eventually turned into a pen & ink rendering.

Frosti in his normal state, sleeping at my side.
Frosti in his normal state, sleeping at my side.

I decided to sketch in an unfinished Moleskine Japanese Album I started years ago. The paper is ivory in color which I thought would be a nice backdrop for crisp black line. No surprises with the paper, it was smooth and accepted the ink well without feathering or bleed through. Even though the paper is similar to the paper in the Moleskine Sketchbook, it does not have the same coating as the sketchbook. The paper is more porous making it a better choice for washes or watercolors.

I sketched the illustration in a Moleskine Japanese Album that I had started years ago.

I sketched the illustration in a Moleskine Japanese Album that I had started years ago.

The plain black cover of the Japanese Album lends itself perfectly for customizing. I pasted a photgraph of Frosti on the cover to illustrate the albums contents.

The plain black cover of the Japanese Album lends itself perfectly for customizing. I pasted a photograph of Frosti on the cover to illustrate the album's contents.

The format of the Moleskine Japanese Album is unique. It consists of 60 zig zag pages that allow you to create long visual stories or extra wide landscape illustrations. In this case, I am using it as a small photo, memory album of Frosti. I would like to explore this more in the future as the backdrop for a panoramic illustration or even an animation sequence. More on that later.

The zig zag pages in the Moleskine Japanese Album are great for creating a continuous photo or art story.

The zig zag pages in the Moleskine Japanese Album are great for creating a continuous photo or art story.

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Not much inspires me more than my devoted companion, Frosti. I couldn’t resist painting him in my Moleskine Watercolor journal. While this doesn’t look exactly like him, it does capture his sweet essence. The portrait was created using basic watercolor paint and a pigment marker for the eyes, nose and mouth.

My dog Frosti was painted in my Moleskine Watercolor Journal using watercolor and a pigment liner.

My dog Frosti was painted in my Moleskine Watercolor Journal using watercolor and a pigment liner.

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Markers and a Pigment Liner Were Used in the Moleskine Sketchbook.
Markers and a Pigment Liner Were Used in the Moleskine Sketchbook.

Finally, I am done with “Z”. The bright colors are indicative of how good I felt about finishing this one. Most of the textures were inspired by everyday things but a couple were inspired by poetry.

I was able to use the markers without causing the paper to buckle or disintegrate by using multiple, light layers and allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. The black pigment liner was used to outline things after I was finished with the color. The crisp black line does a great job of hiding the imperfections and making the color pop.

My approach on this letter was more illustrative and less literal than some of the letters in this series. I like the playful, quilted-look and I am planning on doing more of these in the future.

q
By using the pigment liner when I was finished with the colored areas, I was able to cover small imperfections and make the images look crisp.

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