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In Context: The Trouble with Double Vision

Page spread in an 8 inch square, hand-bound journal made with the OLD Gutenberg paper (which is not the same as the currently available Gutenberg paper which I do not recommend for visual journaling). The text on the page explains everything, oh, with one “writo” as I like to call them. In the second paragraph […]

Here's a close up view to show some of the color pencil lines.

When Is It a Good Time to Sketch in Pencil?

Usually I answer the question “When is it a good time to sketch in pencil?” simply by saying “Never.” I reside in the camp of, sketch in ink, live with the odd-off strokes, the pentimento. Use it all to train your eye. But sometimes you want really smooth lines, or don’t want to risk missing […]

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Another Hat

I found some more hats from the hat project in 2018.   I was working in an 8 inch square hand bound journal I’d made using the OLD Gutenberg paper from Hahnemühle. (Remember I don’t recommend the new version of Gutenberg now being sold. It still binds up great, but it doesn’t work with wet […]

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More: Tools Really Do Change the Way You Draw

This is part two of the current series on tools changing the way that you draw. Specifically pens! You can see part one here. Today I’ve putting up three sketches of musician and artist John Lurie. He has had a series on HBO about his life on a Caribbean island. It’s a show where he […]

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Thinking about White Hair on Toned Paper

There’s nothing finished in this study of a man with white hair and a beard. It’s me noodling around experimenting with how to get the values of white hair on toned paper. I’m working in a handbound journal made with Zerkall Nideggen (it has a lovely fiber fleck of texture throughout). I guess paper nostalgia […]

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Breathing Room on the Page (or Page Spread)

One of the most important compositional tools you have in a visual journal or sketchbook is the breathing space on the page (or page spread).  The negative space around an image helps define the image through silhouette, and shape recognition. The space will help you correct angles and proportions when you go off—or— if you […]

Detail of the painting so you can see the brush pen sketch lines and the thickness of the watercolor I was using in an opaque manner.

Sketching on Any Old Paper You Have At Hand

Sometimes we can get into our heads. We can spend time telling ourselves all the reasons we can’t take time right now and paint.  As a teacher for over 30 years I think I’ve heard every excuse there is: no space to set up, don’t have the materials I want to work with; I don’t […]

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Another Sort of Selfie—The Doodle Selfie

  This is a late-night doodle, which is also a selfie… It’s on Fabriano Hot Press watercolor paper that I made into a hand-bound book. After midnight my spelling is questionable, though at least I still usually question it.

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Journal Practice Hiccups?

  I always tell people any day is a great day to start a journal practice. Start.  But I know that many people think it important to have a milestone day like the first of the year for a starting point. If it gets them to start then I’m all for that. As a new […]

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Less Is Often More

So the other day I was writing about being fussy. Sometimes I’m the exact opposite and do as little as possible. Today’s image is an example of that. There can be something very satisfying in not delving into layers of details, and in coming up with pigment choices that leave much of the surface unpainted. […]

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