Posts Tagged ‘Moleskine Watercolor Journal’

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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I have had a series of images floating around in my mind involving the beautiful environment that I live in. Inspired by this, my daughter and drove through the local countryside with our cameras, capturing anything that caught our eyes. We took a lot of photos, most of which we didn’t like, but looking through my images, I noticed a trend. Nearly every photo I took was included vivid blues and greens.

I decided to create a quick  illustration to sum up my  experience using oil pastels in my trusty Moleskine A4 Watercolor journal and this was the result.

I used oil pastels in the Moleskine Watercolor journal to capture the vivid colors on my photo shoot.

Oil Pasts in Moleksine Watercolor Journal

I underpainted the illustration using purple watercolor so it would show through the blue. I like this effect better than effect of white showing through.

The final result is not an exact duplication of the photos I took, but a simple expression of my view of the experience. To give you an idea of what the illustration is based on, I have included a few photos from my outing.

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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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Primary Watercolor Abstract in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal

Primary Watercolor Abstract in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal was created without a plan or concept. I used the colors that had dried in my palette left over from a previous painting.

I enjoyed creating the Peace of Mind meditative image so much, that I wanted to try this method again to see where it would take me. With so little time to paint these days, these quick, meditative explorations are a great way to keep the art flowing without the demands of a larger, more elaborate piece. My breaks from work each day consist of 10-15 minutes twice a day which is just enough time to get in a wet layer of paint before I return to work.

On this particular piece, I started with a rich, wet red wash that dripped down the page. I hadn’t planned the drip, it just happened, so in the spirit of going with the flow, I just let it be. I added a lighter wash to the right of the drip, and pulled the darker paint into the lighter area while it was still wet to create some movement. A a pale red wash to the bottom right of the page before I set it aside to dry.

On my next break I added the deep blue wash, keeping the entire area wet while I worked. Once that was completed, I added a light wash of blue in red area to soften the contrast between the colors and to help the colors relate to each other. This took only a few minutes and I was able to put it aside and enjoy a cup of coffee before I had to return to work. On my following break from work I took a look at the piece and I felt like it needed something vibrant. Yellow was added at the intersection of color to add some much needed pop.

In the end, I ended up with an abstract of primary colors which I would never have chosen in well-planned, intentional illustration. While it is not my normal way of working, it does allow me to fit painting into my busy schedule and it keeps the creative juices flowing. It also provides me with an opportunity to clear my head and return to work refreshed.

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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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