Friday, August 29, 2014

Doodles in the journal

My current journal (which I'll introduce officially in my next post) is quite big. This means that when I do one of my colourful doodle pages they take even longer than they took in previous journals to finish. But...what fun they are to do!

Here's two doodle pages with some close ups. The first is drawn with a felt tip pen and then coloured in with coloured pencils. In the second I did a background with shapes in gouache and then doodled over them with a felt tip pen.

I like how these two different approaches can both lead to interesting results.

Do you have a preferred way of doodling? Tell me about it in the comments and...have a good weekend all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Let's go walking!

Let's go walking!

We'll go among the trees and through the dunes and cross over to the beach.
We'll take in the sights and the little details, some left behind by other walkers before us.
We'll enjoy the cloudy sunny weather in between the bouts of rain and feel lucky that we picked just the right time to go outside.

And we'll take pictures of course, 'cause that is how we roll after all...

After we come home we will fix ourselves a vanilla latte and put our feet up. And maybe...just maybe...a cat will come and join us!

Any day with a good walk and a nosy cat is a good day, I'm sure you agree.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

From the Pattern Book

During the warm days of summer my Pattern Book was a steady companion to take with me when going outside or just sitting downstairs. A few markers and a moleskine sketchbook can make for quite a pleasant time when the studio is too warm to work in.

For about ten days now the weather has changed considerably and it seems almost as if fall is here already! Lots of rain and wind, but with plenty of dry spells to go for pleasant walks again without having to get out of the house before 7 am.

The studio is still a bit warm from time to time (the warmth seems to linger there), but I have been back at my work table a few times already, so things are looking up in that department as well.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2014


On a walk the other day I came across the cutest little birdie. A fledgling fresh out of the nest, not sure about how to fly yet and too innocent to be afraid of a huge passing woman with a smartphone pointing at it. That's how I could take this picture of it:

When I was home I was still all 'oooh' and 'aaaah', so I just had to draw it in my journal to confirm to myself I had really seen this little sweetie up close:

I hope the little fellow is doing okay and that it will grow up to be a strong and brave bird. I felt a bit sorry for it sitting there all by itself, but then again, that's nature. We're all fledglings at one point or another.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The last of the Book of Luck

It's hard to believe but true: I finished another journal! The Book of Luck is all filled up.

Last year I pretty much only worked in one journal, the White Book and boy was that book a struggle sometimes. But his year so far I have already finished four! And that's without counting the Fake Journal, which was more of an experiment (and not really finished in any traditional sense of the word).

Anyway, it seems this year I have a preference for journals I can actually end within two months. The Book of Luck took me about six weeks and here are some of its last pages:

This really was a fantastic journal to work in, strangely enough because it was actually not suitable for art at all. The paper was only good for writing. But the size was wonderful and portable and I liked adding pieces of sketching paper for the actual art and just sticking in all kinds of random stuff. It also reaquainted me with my love for collage.

If you are new to journaling I think it would be a really good idea to get a book like this, one that is not so pristine and perfect, but just a regular notebook. It takes a lot of pressure off the whole thing.

Meanwhile I have of course already started yet another journal (a very different one again, since I thrive on variety), but that's for another post. For now I am just happy to add another favorite to my stash of finished journals.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Covering the Real Journal

I finished the Real Journal last June, that is to say I finished the insides. On the outside it was still an ordinary black sketchbook. I had been working on a cover for it for a while already, but after I filled it, it was like the incentive to work on it was gone. This is a good lesson for the future: make sure the journal is completely finished on the outside before you start working in it!;-)

Anyway, all I still had to do was add some beads to the cover piece of cloth, so last weekend I kicked myself in the butt, got my little bowl of supplies together and set up shop on the couch.

These plastic bowls that I once bought and used for painting small pieces of fabric and paper towels are actually also quite handy to transport some supplies for a small fabric project!

In the end it didn't even take all that long to attach the beads to the surface. It was just a matter of finally doing it. When the piece was ready it looked like this:

The fabric already has that patchwork/quilty print, so I didn't do that, but I did add the yarn stiches to the squares and then attached the leather circles with more yarn. The leather was a gift from a friend and this was a nice way to use some of it. The beads are simple plastic children's beads that I got at a discount store, nothing fancy there.

Now it was time to put the whole cover together under the sewing machine. The outside fabric has a pink backing which you can't really see, but it does make the whole cover look nicer (no open edges). And on the inside cover I used a matching flower fabric:

And here's how the Real Journal looks now:

I'm very happy with how it turned out! What I like most about things like this is how I work out an idea in theory in a sketchbook and then sort of make it a reality by putting it together. Most of my art is more of the let's see what happens kind, but with this I really have to think ahead. I like how I actually designed this and then made it happen. :-)

Oh...and one more thing: Am I crazy or is the backside of the outside cover kind of cool all by itself?

I just had to take a picture of it, before it was covered by the backing fabric. I like how you can see the work that went into this piece.

I will definitely be making more handstitched covers or maybe just separate fabric pieces. I'm just having way too much fun with them.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Coloured pencil portrait

If there is one medium that I find both beautiful and extremely challenging it's coloured pencil. From time to time I dabble in mastering them a little more. While working on the collages in the previous posts I used some coloured pencil for the background and it reminded me how much I like the feel of them in my hand.

I think when it comes to actual coloured pencil art what is most intimidating to me is the type of artist that does coloured pencil paintings, where he or she uses layer upon layer, and often solvents too, to achieve a very realistic result. Obviously that is not my thing. It just takes way to much time (and way to much skill too, haha) and in the end I'm more the kind of person who likes to colour in stuff. Stuff like my own line drawings.

That doesn't mean I don't want a little depth in those drawings. And that requires practice, especially in a medium like this. In the past weekend I decided to practice by doing a portrait after a photograph in a magazine. I made a line drawing first. It started with a mechanical pencil and when I was happy I redid the thing with a black felt tip pen.

In the above picture I had already started on the first colour layer on the face, but it gives you a bit of an impression of how the drawing looked before I coloured it in. I actually really liked it. That of course made it even more scary to colour it in, one migh after all totally ruin it, haha.

But with a bit of patience I think I did okay... see:

I should say that the contrast in these pictures is a bit higher than in real life. The actual drawing is a bit more subtle, which I like better, but I still think it looks pretty good. I really liked the process of this portrait, taking my time with things and really working at it to get it right enough to my liking.

Here's the portrait next to the original photo:

I really like how I managed to get the light in the hair by using an eraser on some parts of it. For a very realistic drawing I would have to add about a gazillion more layers, but I must say I kind of like the fact that you can still see it's coloured pencil and not paint or anything. I like that you can see the lines.

I think I must do more of these to really get a bit of skill with coloured pencils. I'd like to be more confident with them and the only way is (as always) practice, practice, practice! ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!