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When Your Pen Leaks Make It a Feature

Here’s a sketch from 2018 when I was doing some experiments to find my favorite toned paper for mixed media. I was testing a bunch of different chipboards. They soak up watercolor and gouache but you can use acrylic markers on them. Most I found were too expensive (when you locate them and pay postage) […]

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Upgrading Your Paper Choices for Sketchbooks, Visual Journals, and Art

  To get the best results when sketching and painting it makes sense to use the best quality materials that you can afford. Then upgrade those materials as your budget allows. Recently a blog reader wrote in saying that she had upgraded her art supplies to artist level watercolors (mostly Daniel Smith), purchased some quality […]

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Ways Your Journal Reflects Your Life—Unfinished Tests, Unfinished Sketches

      I hear from a lot of blog readers and students that they work on their journal sketches later, if they can’t finish them when they first set out to sketch. I believe a journal needs to reflect your life. That puts me in the “move on” camp if a page isn’t finished […]

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Different Watercolor Papers Take Paint Differently

Different watercolor papers take paint differently. The higher the quality of the paper the better the fibers and sizing used to make it will interact with your paints (which need also to be quality artist paints). If you’re having an issue, like the one I was on this spread (read my handwritten comments), and on […]

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Sketching in Family Situations: Creating New Family Contracts

If you desire to sketch at family gatherings and visits but it seems impossible this post is for you. If you already have sketching integrated into your life I suggest you stop reading and go sketch. Recently a blog reader wrote the following to me I love your posts and your portraits! How do you […]

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Don’t Sweat Ink Blots

  Look if you’re making an illustration for a client or inking a piece to hang on the wall, an ink blot can be unfortunate. But if you’re working quickly in your journal and you get a blot—laugh, smile, take a big breath, wonder at the unique shape that the ink made as it fell […]

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A Little Bit of Bright Color in a Portrait

You already know how I feel about the paper in the Arteza Watercolor Book—pretty ambivalent at best; but there is nothing like a bit of bright color to make you smile. And if you are working loosely with a flat brush, you might just start giggling because you’re having so much fun. Get out your […]

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Keeping Your Mind in the Present Moment

Seems like you can’t turn around these days without someone telling you to keep your mind in the present moment. I tell my students that all the time. I have told students for 30 years that being able to keep your mind in the present moment is one of the main benefits of journaling. I’m […]

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Print Always Means a Tight Edit…

Last week the Minneapolis Star Tribune posted a pop-up interview with me in their Currents section. It’s a way to pose a couple questions to people who are in someway connected with the outdoors—to find out what is catching their interest and focus now. I’m not sure why the editor asked me, except that we’d […]

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In Context: Whacky Sketching Mistakes

Sometimes the hand zigs when you want it to zag and something odd, like a dictator’s stare, seems like an intentional message from our subconscious.

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