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Breathing Room on the Page (or Page Spread)

One of the most important compositional tools you have in a visual journal or sketchbook is the breathing space on the page (or page spread).  The negative space around an image helps define the image through silhouette, and shape recognition. The space will help you correct angles and proportions when you go off—or— if you […]

Detail of the painting so you can see the brush pen sketch lines and the thickness of the watercolor I was using in an opaque manner.

Sketching on Any Old Paper You Have At Hand

Sometimes we can get into our heads. We can spend time telling ourselves all the reasons we can’t take time right now and paint.  As a teacher for over 30 years I think I’ve heard every excuse there is: no space to set up, don’t have the materials I want to work with; I don’t […]

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Another Sort of Selfie—The Doodle Selfie

  This is a late-night doodle, which is also a selfie… It’s on Fabriano Hot Press watercolor paper that I made into a hand-bound book. After midnight my spelling is questionable, though at least I still usually question it.

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Journal Practice Hiccups?

  I always tell people any day is a great day to start a journal practice. Start.  But I know that many people think it important to have a milestone day like the first of the year for a starting point. If it gets them to start then I’m all for that. As a new […]

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The Case for Not Finishing a Sketch

I’m the first person to encourage people to finish what they start. In fact I encourage people to push past the point where they think they have finished, because until you “break” a few sketches you don’t really know where that point of finish resides. But I also wanted to put a word in today […]

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Annals of Downsizing: Why Not Fold Some Paper?

I’ve got 10,000 things to do, but why not fold 800 sheets of paper? While clearing out my storage room I found a box of pre-cut 17 x 11 inch paper with the grain running with the 11 inch side. I had it cut years ago to use for printing some zines I was making. […]

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In Context—Hair Volume and a Note

Volume in hair is always such a glorious surprise. It can float right off the page. (This is a page spread from December 2018. I’m not sure why I didn’t have a date and time on this sketch—I usually write that information automatically on each sketch or page when completed. This book has been archived, […]

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Using More Than One Type of Pen

The mood we want to achieve in a finished illustration influences what type of pen we choose to work with—what type of line we want to express. It’s obvious when I started to sketch this I was pulled by interest in the facial hair and short hair on the head, as well as the height […]

Examples of Sewn on the Spine Journals.

A Page Can’t Contain Your Sketches and Collage? Learn This Book Structure

If you constantly find that your visual journaling needs more space to capture your ideas, consider making a book which is happy holding fold outs, ups, downs, you name it. The sewn-on-the-spine journal holds signatures on the spine with decorative stitching. This allows you to decorate the outside of book through your choice of stitch […]

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Recipes Always Have a Place in a Visual Journal

I love to make new soups. I take things I have on hand and work out what would taste good together.  Keeping track of these improvised recipes in my visual journal means that I’ll be able to remake them and enjoy them again on another day. (Or be able to fix things that didn’t turn […]

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