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Having Fun With Book Board Scraps

  In December I wrote, “Five Things To Do When You’ve Got Paper That’s Just Too Bad To Work With.”   In that post I wrote about gessoing over paper that you don’t enjoy working on so that you can still use the paper, but not feel limited by the paper in its manufactured state. […]

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Five Things To Do When You’ve Got Paper That’s Just Too Bad To Work With

My recent series on Zeta paper in the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks generated a lot of mail about paper. I know a lot of people get part way into a journal, find they aren’t enjoying the paper and feel constrained about wasting the paper by simply jumping to a new journal. I think to stay […]

Cover of "The Essence of Watercolor," by artist and author Hazel Soan.

The Essence of Watercolour: A Book by Hazel Soan

Near the end of this past summer I received a note from Batsford asking if I would like to review a the Hazel Soan book: “The Essence of Watercolor.”  (I provided the above link to Amazon so you can read more about the book and see a flip through one reader has put up. I’m not […]

Sketching two pumpkins that I was given last year. I love all the knobby bits and the stems, and don't mid that I go off the page! Brush pen on the new Folio paper in a handmade book. (The tab at the spine was inserted at the binding to make room for collage throughout the book.)

In Context—Pumpkins

I really enjoy the fall because there are so many pumpkins around to sketch. I love playing with angle of where I’m sitting and how the pumpkin is turned because it can look so different.  Mostly pumpkins give me an excuse to move the brush pen across the page. If you don’t have much time […]

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Making A Color Chart To Test My 2017 Fall Watercolor Box

Recently I purchased the new fall Schmincke Pan Watercolor Set at Wet Paint. This contains different colors than the one I purchased in the spring, added colors to, and then took to the Minnesota State Fair. While recovering from bronchitis I had some time on my hands so I decided to make a color chart […]

Diners at one of my favorite restaurants—while I wait for my take-out order to be ready. (In the smallest Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal with a .1 Staedtler Pigment Liner.

Drawing Practice: Two Things to Try When You’re Sick

We all catch a cold, come down with the flu, sprain a muscle or two, even break a bone now and then. But it’s still important to keep up with your drawing habit. I had a particularly rough time keeping up my daily practice the past few weeks. A cold went to bronchitis and my […]

The completed case. I stamped the date on the spine of the case so it can sit on my bookshelf.

A Slip Case for My 2017 International Fake Journal Month Journal

This year for the April 2017 International Fake Journal Month celebration I created a journal of 30 loose card sheets. Each sheet contained the sketch from one day in the month.  To contain these sketches I decided that I would make a simple slip case using pre-painted watercolor paper. I decided to use a case […]

8 x 10 inch pen and watercolor sketch on Fluid 100 140 Hot Press watercolor paper using the Molotow masking pen. You can see areas where I applied mask in the bandana, beard, and shirt. I was using the 4mm tip (I couldn't find the finer tip) and working loosely. If you want finer lines you can  purchase a refilled and use a toothpick, brush, or other tool, to apply this liquid mask.

Useful Tools: The Molotow Grafx Art Masking Liquid Pump Marker

If you paint in watercolor, inks, or acrylics, chances are at some point you’ve tried to mask something off so that you could retain the white of your paper, or an earlier color that you had laid down.  Artists use lots of products for masking—tape is the obvious one, especially if you want to create […]

A full spread sketch in the largest Hahnemühle Nostalgie sketchbook. I used a Bienfang Magenta watercolor brush pend to start and did the comb and wattles and area around the eye. A little different approach for me because I usually start with the eye. Then I decided to paint some of the features, add color to the background, and also add some stenciling detail to the background.

When Do You Stop? When Is A Drawing Finished

I think the number one question I get from students is: “When do I know my drawing is finished?” Most people aren’t going to like the answer. You’ll know after you’ve taken a ton of sketches past the point of no return. Here’s the thing, you’re asking a question that involves choices both stylistic choices […]

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Using Photoshop to Quickly Change Background Colors in a Scan

Sometimes you finish a sketch and you wonder, what would happen if I did “this” or “that.” But maybe you don’t want to try “this” or “that” because you don’t want to lose what you already have. I tend not to use Photoshop to change my sketches just because I prefer to work with natural […]

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