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In Contest—Paper Comparisons

Note: Oops, that’s embarrassing, a typo in the post’s title. “In Context.” To change it now will mess up the permalink. If you are testing papers to see whether you like working on them then it is important that you test all your usual techniques to ensure that the paper will respond in ways that […]

Pentel Brush Pen and gouache sketch on a pre-painting background. (Hand•Book Watercolor Journal.)

Textures 2018 Class Registration Closes February 3: Why Use Textures?

I am offering my “Textures: Backgrounds for Visual Journaling and Mixed Media” online again this year. The 2018 class begins on February 3. There are 6 weeks of lessons in which students work through the process of creating backgrounds for their artwork. I share my favorite materials and approaches and provide detailed information on on […]

A 4 x 7 inch watercolor painting on leftover book board that has been prepared with gesso.

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. […]

Using the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush pen in FB on the smooth Zeta paper. The lines are crisp, the pen is a bit draggy on this surface.

Part Two: Working in the Smooth Zeta Soft-bound Journal from Stillman & Birn

This is part two of a multi-part review of the Stillman & Birn (SB) Smooth Zeta Soft-bound journal. You can see part one here. Today I wanted to look at two approaches for which the smooth heavyweight Zeta is suited. Mixed Media Because of its weight the paper is particularly suited to collage and mixed […]

Pentel Brush Pen sketch on pre-painted Folio paper, with Schmincke Horadam Gouache. Handmade journal, approx. 8 inches square, turned on side so gutter runs horizontally.

Maintaining Momentum and Fun in Our Daily Practice

If we want to create a daily practice, whether it’s exercise, diet, thought, or art related, we need to make sure that we contain elements of fun in that practice. It’s those elements of fun which keep us coming back to the practice. And ultimately it’s the fun that we bring into our work that […]

Water-soluble ink brush pen sketches from "Search Party," on a page spread in an 8.27 x 11.69 inch (A4) size Hahnemühle Nostalie Journal. (Pre-painted background texture.)

Some Television Recommendations

There are so many television shows I’ve been watching lately—it’s hard to know where to start. I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible. “Search Party” came to my awareness through a review in the New Yorker. The season was already over (fall 2016) and when I tried to watch the on-demand free episodes I […]

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Relaxing and Sketching My Favorite TV Dog

Above: A Pentel Brush Pen of Swatch on Project Runway. Background texture—metallic stamp ink and stenciling. 8.25 x 11.75 inch Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook. Click on the image to view an enlargement—and look closely at the top eye, you can see Swatch looking. After avoiding Dick’s cold germs for about 10 days they caught up with […]

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Why I Love Gouache

Above: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen sketch in a Japanese Lined Journal. This sketch was made on a spread first covered with Montana Acrylic Marker and washi tape. I then painted with gouache, just the areas of the portrait that I wanted to paint, using the paint opaquely when I wanted to obscure the lines and background color, […]

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A Look at the Kilimanjaro Sketchbook from Cheap Joe’s

Readers of the blog will know that I did not take a Kilimanjaro Journal to the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. I finished using my tester journal at the end of 2015 and will repeat what I said in that initial post on the sketchbook—if you like cold press watercolor paper the Kilimanjaro paper is delightful. […]

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Beard Drawing Withdrawal

Above: Pentel fine-tipped pigment ink brush pen on Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper; background pre-painted with acrylics, rubberstamp ink, and washi tape. Two weeks ago I went into serious beard drawing withdrawal. Things have been crazy here. I've had weird computer problems and several long visits from the computer tech. He's great, but he […]

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