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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 3 Patterns

This is Part Three of a five-part series on simple approaches to backgrounds in the visual journal and paintings. See Part One here. Today I wanted to look at pattern—it’s something that you can use to quickly fill up the background space around a subject. I’ve written about some of my favorite approaches numerous times […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 2 Multi-color Backgrounds

This is Part Two 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. One of the simplest, yet most interesting approaches to a background, especially for a portrait, is to have broken color. This means that one or more […]

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New Winsor & Newton Watercolor Paper Part 2: Classic Cold Press

Before doing my watercolor demo at Wet Paint on April 7, 2018 I had to test the “Classic” cold press sample I’d been given. I feel that “Classic” is a bit confusing as names go. To me that sounds like “traditional,” or “original.” While I don’t drink Coca Cola, it sounds like Coke Classic and […]

Uniball Vision pen with green-black ink sketch and watercolor, paint pens, and acrylic marker on Stonehenge Aqua hot press watercolor paper.

Mixed Media—Working Loose When Your Ink Runs

It can easily happen to anyone at any time—you do a really cool ink sketch, get the watercolors (or other water-based medium) out, start to paint, and watch as the ink color dissolves from the line and spreads into your paint. This bothers a lot of my students. I’ve even heard them gasp, cry out, […]

Brush pen and watercolor sketch made from a Sktchy muse—a young woman wearing a fake beard. (I like to draw beards, what can I say.) The finished page has a Montana Acrylic Marker background applied after the sketch was finished.

Just Try It: Pushing a Drawing Beyond Finished

How do we make decisions, fast decisions, when sketching out in the field? By making decisions during practice, and comparing results. Some people can hold two versions of a piece in their mind and weigh what the future work will look like.  For artists just starting out there might seem to be too many possibilities.  […]

I have a small clearer's caddy—the type of handled open-topped case that people who clean efficiently (professionals and other efficient folks) use to carry their cleaning products and tools from one room to the next. These are available in hardware and home stores, as well as online. This one cost about US$ 8. I cut stiff cardboard dividers to insert into the two main wells. These are held in place with tape on both sides so that they don't move. (See the side of the white pen area.) By keeping similar colors together I can reach quickly for a new pen as needed. Because the caddy is a caddy it has a handle (center piece as you look down). I can pick it up and move from room to room with my markers and use them anywhere I want. (Center partition on the topside contains masking and washi tapes for a project I was working on.)

Storing My Montana Acrylic Markers

I am frequently asked how I store my Montana Acrylic Markers. As you can see from the photo I use a cleaner’s caddy.  I cut stiff cardboard dividers to insert into the two main wells. These dividers are held in place with tape on both sides so that they don’t move. (See the side of […]

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Hahnemühle Watercolor Sketchbook Review: Part 2

This is part two of a three part series on the Hahnemühle Watercolor sketchbook. Please click on this link to read part 1. Today I am going to look at two aspects of paper response in this watercolor sketchbook. These techniques are important to me and therefore I select books containing paper which can handle […]

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Another Look at the Handbook Watercolor Journal

Things change over time. It’s a fact when you use art materials. Papers may be made for 400 years at a mill, but over your lifetime any paper you change will have subtle if not significant changes. The same is true for paints, and brushes. Some ingredients for paints might become scarce or no longer […]

The large, about 9 x 11 inch Japanese Lined Journal that I love to sketch in with the Pentel Brush Pen and Acrylic Markers. Carl Too is standing around watching the paper dry.

What’s on the Table?—The Curl of the Paper

I just love working in my favorite Japanese Lined Journals from APICA. The paper loves the Pentel Brush Pen. Sometimes I work in gouache on this paper, but sometimes I leave the sketch as is and turn the page. Other times I put in an acrylic marker background. I used an orange 15mm wide Montana […]

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