Posts Tagged ‘watercolor journal’

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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In an attempt to learn more about how watercolor paint works, I did a quick sketch of one of my favorite places from a photo. I allowed myself 15 minutes to complete the image. The goal here was to work as fast as possible without detail. This was difficult for me. I am more comfortable creating art that is more literal or realistic in nature. Splashing down something quick and being able to let it go is not my favorite thing. I guess once I am more comfortable with the medium and can predict more accurately what will happen with the paint, I will be happier with my results.

Quick Watercolor Sketch of the River Banks at Jekyll Island.

Quick Watercolor Sketch of the River Banks at Jekyll Island.

The illustration was done in a pocket sized Moleskine Watercolor Journal. The small size limited the detail I was able to produce, which was helpful to my goal of working quickly. I can’t say enough good things about the Moleskine Watercolor Journal. It is a great tool for quick renderings and studies and is perfect for creating simple work when you don’t want to commit to a large scale project.

I would love to hear from those of you who have had a lot of experience with watercolor. Any hints, tips or suggestions are most welcome.

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