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In Context: Handling the Page

Sometimes our brain just clicks on an automatic timer. That happened the other day when thoughts of my last Alaskan Malamute Dottie bubbled into my mind exactly on the day 16 years after she had died.  How you handle an image or text, or both, on a page or page spread is going to be […]

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Project Friday—Let’s Collage

In this post I’ll walk you through a recent collage I made. This isn’t something that I preplanned. It’s simply something that I worked on with the materials at hand, moving from one thought to the next.  I’ve turned the step-by-step into a Project Friday because I hope you’ll get up from the computer, make […]

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Do You Stop Or Keep Pushing?

One of the things I’m asked most frequently by students is, “When do I know I’m finished with my [painting/sketch]?” I’ve heard many people give the flip response, “When you realize that you’ve gone to far, then you know you should have stopped.” It’s actually more simple and more complex than that. First, yes, if […]

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Testing Elements through Doodling

One of the best times to test design elements is when you are warming up. Take a couple moments to make a decorative frame around your warm up sketch. Use more than one approach. Don’t worry about cohesiveness—it’s a warm up sketch. Consider the following: • Make a long enough or large enough area of […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 5 Lifting Off Color

This is Part Five of a five-part series on executing simple backgrounds in your journal or other artwork. Part One of this series can be found at this link. I’m going to end this series with the simplest approach to background texture—color lift off. To do this you need a paper with sufficient surface sizing […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 4 Fold Outs

This is Part Four of a five-part series on simple approaches to backgrounds in the visual journal and paintings. See Part One here. Last December I was buried beneath the latest of the blog transfer issues. I didn’t get to post a number of images and posts I’d worked up. Today’s image falls well into discussion […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 1

I was organizing my images for blog posts and noticed that I had a lot of common themes, some not as obvious.  What do the images in today’s post and those referenced (linked) all have in common? Well all but one have backgrounds painted AFTER the sketch is made (and typically even after the sketch […]

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By Design: Sign Up Anytime

Above: A page spread from one of my visual journals. During my By Design Class I address not only the component parts of a page, but the rationale behind making design decisions to create impact and organize your text and illustrations.   Since the beginning of September 2016 my By Design: Creating the Intentional Page […]

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Family, Memory Loss, Design, and Fall Cycling

Above: Quick sketch of Phyllis sitting, Sensei Pen and Montana Acrylic Marker on Arches Text Wove (Velin) in a 7 x 5 inch handmade book. (Look over on the left and head and tail of the book so you can see the fun decorative paper I made with gold sparkles.) It has been a long […]

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The Evolution of a Page—It’s Not Always about Design

Above: The last page spread of sketches for Day One of the Eighth Great Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out. I'm working in a 7.75 x 9.75 inch soft-covered Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media journal. I used a Sakura Pigma solid felt-tipped brush pen in fine for most of the page, but it was running out […]

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