Friday, March 31, 2017

Fears of Messing Up in Your Journals

Do you ever find yourself staring at a white sheet of paper not knowing what to do........or worse yet, you know what you might want to do but fear messing the paper up so you hesitate or avoid starting?  Single sheets  might not be quite as terrifying because it's just a piece of paper.  But what about working in a sketch/journal book?

For many it can be terrifying working in a sketchbook or "journal."  Let's say you've spent hours on creating a hand sewn journal and then feel it being so precious, you don't want to make any mistakes or messing any of the pages up.  Same if you've spent good money on a nice manufactured journal.

I've been there and still find myself on occasions feeling that way.  I'm a perfectionist at heart and it's taking a lot for me to learn to relax and enjoy the process rather than being too focused on results.  If I can focus on enjoying what I'm doing, I'm often surprised with results I actually like.  When I stress over making mistakes........I normally don't like the outcome because they normally turn out over-worked or worse.

Your journal IS precious but it's OK if every page is not perfect.  No one else has to see it if you so choose not to share with anyone.

For me the journal is a visual diary of my life.  My likes, my dislikes, what I'm feeling, places I've been, art supplies I like or use, color charts, and exercises to include those subjects I'm not real comfortable doing.  It's still a part of who I am...........flaws and all.  I'm not perfect so I remind myself my journals don't have to be either ;-)

I treasure even the mishaps and I never throw anything away nor do I tear out pages in my books.  They are lessons learned I can refer back to.  And on those less than desirable pages, I will write notes pointing out what I feel went wrong and possible reasons.  Maybe I just wasn't in the proper mood or frame of mind to do any art that day.  Maybe it was just an off day.

The following are tips that help me from time to time..........some of which I've picked up by other people and some that I have thought of on my own and personally use.

1)  One of the biggest and most helpful tips I've read from another artist is............just jump in.  Plain and simple.   Don't sit there and stress over making mistakes or messing up a page.  Just do something even if nothing more than making pencil/pen/paint brush strokes on the page.  By doing that, it helps remove that fear that's keeping you from using your journal.  Your journal is no longer that 24 k gold treasure you handle with knit gloves or keep tucked away for special occasions because you are terrified will get damaged.  Instead it becomes a 10 k gold treasure that is usable on a day to day basis with the occasional bump and scratch that comes with age and usage.  At least this is how I compare


2)  Use a page just scribbling and then go back at some point and see if you can find interesting shapes you can color in.  (Haven't tried this one)

3)  Play with blind contour sketches.  I always laugh at the results I end up with and that helps me to relax and make my journaling fun.  Any page I work after something like this look great to my eyes........mistakes and all.  :-)

3)  Use a page here and there to make your own color charts you can refer back to.  Line charts like hatching and crosshatching if you draw in pencil or pen.  Comparison charts with different pencil grades or even pen nibs sizes or points.

4)  When staring at a white blank page, play with color.  Draw some simple outline shapes of any subject you like (people, animals, buildings, etc.) and just play wet in wet within the shapes and let the colors mingle.  Play with techniques like sprinkling salt or drops of water or alcohol for various neat effects.

This was drawing a simple outline and lightly using a pencil segmenting as you see here.  Then using different colors and techniques in each created segment.

5)  Many suggest painting an entire page with any color just to cover the white and then go back and draw on them.  (Not something I've tried yet)

6)  Use a pencil lightly knowing you can erase if you're not happy with how things are going.  If using ink or paint, you can always work on a separate sheet and glue over top of a page you just can't stand to look at.  Maybe only a section is messed up........just redo that section on another sheet of paper and glue over the specific area you don't care for.  Me personally........I chalk it up to an experience and lesson learned and maybe do it again on another page.

7)  Some artists have shared that they always have a "junk" journal where they feel free to play and not worry at all about the results.  A warm up in a sense before working in another journal they hope contains more presentable illustrations and paintings.  (Me personally...........I just keep it all together.  Some pages may end up with nice results and some may end up as junk)

8)  Use the back page of the journal as a scrap page for testing brush with color before taking it to the paint sketch you may be working on.

I'm sure there are several other suggestions artists would share but these are the ones that come to mind for me to use when needed.

The most important .............. learn to have fun and enjoy what you are doing regardless of results.  Learn to be accepting of the less than desirable results that happen to everyone including the professional artists out there.  Use those boo boos as experiences and lessons and move on.  No matter what, your journal will be something that is meaningful and a true treasure to be proud of.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sketchcrawl Venetian Gardens

Yesterday our sketching group had a planned outing at Venetian Gardens.  Talk about a gorgeous day to be out at the park!!!

Not sure just how many showed up to sketch and paint as it's a very large area and everyone kind of set up scattered in various locations.

Venetian Gardens borders one of our area lakes.  You stand one way and you look out over the lake.  There's a marina off to one side and as you turn to the right looking out over the lake, the park extends around where there is a housing community.  With back turned to the lake, there are streams or channels where many like to fish.  There's also a public swimming pool.

All along the park are benches to sit, a few pavilions, and little bridges you cross over the streams.  Really pretty park and a lot of folks will come to this area during their lunch breaks either sitting in their vehicles or out under the trees.

I chose to head over towards the streams or channels where several were fishing.  Later several others from the group joined me :-)

Stillman & Birn Beta / Lamy Safari / Lexington Gray ink

This first sketch was all done sitting on location.  I even brought out my watercolors and painted rather than waiting until I returned home.  For me it's a big change trying to paint away from my desk where I have more mixing room, no bugs, and no wind............or worry of birds flying over my   I add that last bit because of one lady in the group had one bird drop her a gift.

This second sketch is from photos I took and worked this morning

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Surprise Gift in the Mail

Monday I received a package from a friend through Facebook that took me totally by surprise.  After several days of not sketching, I decided to record this in a fresh Stillman & Birn square Beta journal.

With this sketch I wanted try try out a new marker pen I received today........Derwent Graphik Line Maker markers in 01, 03, and 05 points.  Color of these three is "graphite" which is a nice gray for subtle outlining.

Sketch was initially worked using the 03 marker pen and then I went over a few areas with the Platinum Carbon desk pen with Lexy Gray ink for more emphasis.

A warm and BIG thank you to Kate who sent this necklace to me along with earrings to match the beads in the necklace.

Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils - Complete Set

I haven't done a great deal in days except these color charts.  I've put this off for sometime and it took me three days to complete (a little each day).

Scanning doesn't quite show them correctly (especially the real light tints) so I also took photos.  Unfortunately my photography skills leaves a great deal to be  In any event, I've included both.


Photographed using Ipad

Thursday, March 16, 2017

House in Leesburg Across from the Mote Morris House

This house caught my attention due to the various roof lines.  I'm not 100% positive but I believe this is a funeral home.  It sits across from the Mote Morris House in Leesburg, FL.

Final page in my first hand sewn journal made of Fabriano Artistico 140 lb Cold Press watercolor paper.  Used my Pilot Falcon for the main part of the sketch and the Lamy Safari for finer lines like the suggested shingles.  Both with Lexington Gray ink.

Steps scanned working with pencil first, putting in the main ink lines, going back in adding smaller details, and finally the watercolor.

Visiting Great White Egret

For my husband and I, this is the first time we've seen this large species of bird in our neighborhood.  Normally we we the smaller flock of white birds (I think are also egrets) and the Sandhill Cranes.

This guy showed up in our neighbors yard across the street slowly making his way along the fence line and foliage as if looking for food.  Loved the various poses as he moved along.  How one minute his neck was shaped like an "S" and other times stretched out straight.

The most captivating part for me was the green around his eyes.  Another thing I noticed was how the eyeball itself looks like a fish eye.

Hand Sewn Journal / Fabriano / Lamy Safari / Lexy Gray Ink

Monday, March 13, 2017

Saturday's Outing Continued

Here are the two additional sketches I started on Saturday while out on location.  All were basically completed in pencil on location with my inking and adding watercolor at home.

Both worked in the Hand Sewn Journal with Fabriano and pens used were the Lamy Safari and the Platinum Carbon fountain pens.  Lexington Gray and Platinum Carbon Black inks

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Saturday's Outing in The Villages

Yesterday a dear friend and I drove around in a golf cart to find areas that stood out we might want to sketch.  We first went over to an area with two Churches sitting side by side.  When services were soon to begin and people coming in to park, we headed towards Sumter Landing area.  First stopped quickly at the Square and then back-tracked to the Sumter Landing Bridge.

This is one of three sketches I managed......first sketching in pencil and then working the ink and watercolor at home.

Stillman & Birn Beta 5.5 x 3.5 / Platinum Carbon pen / Carbon Black ink

Top is a lady who was working in the shrubs right in front of the Church entrance.  Bottom is the top of that particular Church........Hope Lutheran Church, The Villages

Church Steeple - Leesburg, FL

Weeks ago the sketch group met up at the Mote Morris House (sketching and painted weeks ago) and while there I took pictures of the surrounding area.  Off in the distance you could see this Church Steeple a few streets over.  I'm always captivated by toppers (what ever one calls them) to buildings and Church Steeples.

Stillman & Birn 5.5 x 3.5 Beta / Lamy Safari / Lexy Gray Ink

Guard House - Europe

A good friend of mine (like a sister) lives in the UK.  She sends me photos now and then she thinks I might be interested in sketching and painting.

One particular photo received recently was of this guard house structure.  I liked the simplicity of the structure and the surrounding landscape.

Handsewn Journal / Fabriano / Lamy Safari / Lexy Gray ink / TWSBI for added ink detailing.

When I finished working this, there was something about it that just didn't sit right with me.  First off I failed to bring the rocks down in the foreground.....curving a bit to the left.  I also didn't care for the structure me looked too squared off for being round or cylindrical.

I was able to lift color where the foreground rocks sit and the bottom structure of the building to help curve it a bit.  I also toned down the brightness of the structure as to me it was just too bright for being a cloudy day. Maybe I should have left it alone as I may have gone overboard and maybe I curved the bottom of the guard house a bit too much; but, overall I "think" I'm a bit happier with the results.  In any event, I've called it done and moving on.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Homosassa Wildlife Park - Florida

After taking a break yesterday from doing any kind of sketching, I worked this playing with the grid method.

Stillman & Birn Beta / Lamy Safari / Lexington Gray ink
White is using a white Signo Broad pen

Using the grid method is definitely time least for me considering I'm not used to using that method.  But it definitely helps with accuracy.  In ways it's relaxing taking one's time working one little square at a time only having to concentrate on a very small section at a time.  All you have to worry about with relationships between one part to the next are the few lines that go through each box.

For me it was like working a puzzle (which is another of my favorite past times) piecing together until it was all done and and then admiring the finished picture.  Not something I would do on a regular basis but after that challenge I was working, I was in desperate need of something totally different and thought this would be perfect.

Photo reference is from our trip to the wildlife park in Homosassa, FL this past Saturday.  Glorious day and a wonderful place to spend several hours!!!!

First I took the photo and cropped it to the same size as my journal page which is 5.5 x 3.5".  Then I removed the color using Photoshop Elements and a few other steps to achieve the look you see (to help with contrast separating the bird from background and seeing the posts better).  Then created the grid over top of the photo using a 1" scale.

Taking ruler, I lightly created the grid on my journal page using an HB pencil.....same scale

Proceeded to sketch in the bird and surrounding logs/stumps with pencil and then went over with pen and ink using my Extra Fine Nib Lamy Safari.

Once I was sure the ink was dry, I went back and erased all pencil lines and filled in any missing areas with pen and ink I noticed.

Finally, took watercolor to finish the page.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sketching People Challenge

Day before yesterday started a social networking challenge called OneWeek100People2017 challenge.  One week being five days and not seven.  

I know me with most challenges so I decided not to participate.  But then several people asked if I was going to join in.  One day I'd think, NO and then the next day I'd think, YES.  I just kept going back and forth so when Monday rolled around, I was on the YES and began this challenge.

Two days in and I was done with wanting to sketch people.  In fact I woke up this morning hoping I'd feel refreshed jumping in to work more and just looking at the sketchbook and pen sitting on my desk just wasn't appealing in any way.  So I've decided not to force myself to do something I'm truly not enjoying at this point.  Repetition of a single subject just isn't for me (unless within reason).  This is why anyone following my blog will see I jump around with subject all the time.  

I'm one who prefers to sketch what jumps out at me at any moment's notice.  Trying to force myself to do something that's not calling my name just ends up leaving me feeling frustrated and less than enthusiastic about sketching or painting.

But here are three more pages I worked yesterday giving me a total of 50 people in two days.  I at least gave it a try but I'm done with least for the time being.  It will have to be on my own terms.........when I feel like practicing people.

Generic Sketchbook

Monday, March 6, 2017

Steven Reddy's Course on Craftsy

This was a personal exercise after viewing Steven Reddy's craftsy course on Sketching Interiors.

It always amazes me that people can successfully create sketches from chaotic............very detailed Steven Reddy, Paul Heaston, and several others I follow.

I've been wanting to try this but would look at all the STUFF around me and talk myself right back out of it saying no way!!  This is why I decided to take the course.   My goal is to get past that hurdle I feel is holding me back from doing more out on location........particularly inside restaurants or the likes.

I didn't follow directions (no surprise for some who know working a general light pencil guideline of basic shapes only for general placement, nor did I use the three layers of painting ink values to create form and shadow.

My primary goal was to work through the chaos in front of item at a time and just break the ice getting lines down and not stressing over if I goofed with how something looked.  I wanted to stick with the whimsical or cartoon-like approach as Steven mentions several times in his course.

Corner of our Sun Room where I spend most of my time......

People Practice

Trying to catch up where I've fallen behind posting to my blog...........

Generic Sketchbook

Worked this morning as part of a five day challenge going on called OneWeek100People2017 promoted by Marc Holmes and Liz Steel

The object of this challenge is to not necessarily be concerned with capturing likeness of people but to capture people quickly onto paper.  To build your skills and quickly sketch people coming and going.

Although the challenge is centered around going out and capturing live people in motion, I've chosen to do what I feel most comfortable with...........relaxing at home sketching from photos but still working very quickly.

From Photos Taken with Ipad

Worked several days ago...........pen and ink no pencil with a bit of watercolor.  Worked these as a warm up practice to the five day challenge that started today.  Although worked quickly (by my standards), I still took care in trying to achieve likeness of the people I was sketching.


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