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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 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 […]

"Scan" from my day planner which sits at my side on my computer desk. I used "Scannable" which is an app on my iPad. Years ago someone came over to use my art scanner and put a wire bound book down on it before I could stop him. It scratched the glass and led to all sorts of retouching work before I could get the glass replaced. I've been looking at options for "scanning" wire bound items. Scannable is OK for text documents but it doesn't have the ability to get crisp detail and it provides a scan, with image that can look a little burnt out. It's great though for text and if you have to send a document quickly—or if you want to protect your scanner. (I only scan wire bindings on my printer scanner and always cover the wire with tape and place it right to the edge of the glass.)

In Context—I’ll Sketch On Any Bit of Paper

I suppose you could call it a doodle, but I think of it as a sketch. It isn’t in my journal, it’s in my day planner, which sits beside me on the computer table. One of my students alerted me to a new Peregrine nest cam and I turned it on. I grabbed what was […]


In Context: Warm-Ups Matter

The rest of this month and through the first weeks of August I’ll be working with bookbinding students so I’ve got some short “summer reading” posts coming up. Later I’ll have some product reviews, tips posts, and of course some Minnesota State Fair Prep! SaveSaveSaveSave SaveSave SaveSave

Day 1: Rituals

Wrapping Up My 2017 International Fake Journal

Today I’ve got a gallery of images created in April for 2017 International Fake Journal Month. (Don’t know what IFJM is? Or what fake journal is? Click on the link.) This year’s journal was a loose sheet journal. All the sketch pages were 6-3/16 x 9.25 inches. In keeping with my goal of using what I […]

Mixed media sketch (8.5 x 11 approx. on Nostalgie) using brush pen and green Uni Posca marker, followed by acrylic paint markers, watercolor, and color pencil. There's a little bit of pink gel pen in some areas, but it wasn't showing up so I went in search of other tools; oh, and a bit of red-china marker.

How Do We Pick The Subjects For Our Art?

  My childhood was spent in many places, amidst many cultures. Something I always found, wherever I was—birds. It didn’t matter if we were in Switzerland and it was pigeons on the city window sill, in a Fijian village where chickens were scratching for survival, or an animal sanctuary where Emus had perfected the ninja […]


Minnesota State Fair Journal Update

Left: This year at the Fair, at least on a few days, there were some birds. A big change from last year when bird flu hit and birds were banned from the Fair. The sad news is that the pigeon fancy took a huge hit. We were down from hundreds of entries to less than […]


Gouache In the Hahnemühle Nostalgie

Above: In the 8.27 x 11.69 inch (A4) size Hahnemühle Nostalie Journal I sketched this finch from pet store photos. I used a Faber-Castell Pitt Calligraphy pen and then painted with gouache. I played with different layers and reworked areas, specifically in the background because I wanted to push the paper—it was so fun to put paint […]


Hahnemühle’s Nostalgie Paper Is Now In Elegant Sketchbooks!

Above: First sketch in my new Large A4 Nostalgie Sketchbook with Pentel Brush Pen (pigment, squeezy handle). In August I received an email from Hahnemühle announcing their new sketchbook line containing Nostalgie paper. (Nostalgia is a 190 gsm natural white paper that has a smooth surface and is acid free.) I adore Nostalgie. I've been sketching […]


How I’d Like To Paint All the Time

Left: 9 x 12 inch mixed media sketch of a rooster on 9 x 12 inch watercolor board (Canson). Sketch made with extra bold Uni Posca Pen (orange), then Sakura Pigma Fine Brush Pen (solid felt tip). Next painted with gouache, Montana Acrylic marker (background which was then painted over with darker blue gouache), white gouache, […]

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