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The Freedom of Quick, Loose Sketches for Your Drawing Skills

Over the last 35 years and hundreds of students have confessed to me that they “don’t have time to sketch,” or that they “were physically too ill to sketch.” I always respond that you can always find time, and even if ill you can get something down on paper that will be useful to you […]

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Color Pencil Loves Watercolor

  Color pencil loves watercolor (and gouache) because they dry to a surface that still allows the application of color pencil. And when you use the color pencil with light pressure on top of dry watercolor passages on a slightly textured paper you get a lovely broken color effect. (You can see that in the […]

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Take More Than One Look

When you’re sketching someone, whether it’s a month-long project like last year’s #MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth, or just someone you see on the street (if they stick around long enough) take more than one look. Here’s a page spread from a hand-bound journal I made with Fabriano Artistico 90 lb. hot press watercolor paper. (8 x 8 inches […]

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Just Doodling Around

  Just me doodling around on that unknown smooth but fiber-flecked paper I found in a Japanese stab binding that I pulled apart. (A teaching sample I no longer needed.) I really wish I could find a note on what type of paper it was. I know it was commercial printing paper so I’ll just […]

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In Context: Everything Included on a Journal Page—How Do I Find It?

In my last two posts I wrote about just getting stuff down on the page. There’s one drawback to this approach if you have a noisy internal critic who likes to interrupt you and tell you what a mess of things you’re making. If you have 10 things on a page, many of which might […]

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In Context: Productivity Matters in Visual Journaling

Productivity matters. I believe it matters more than pretty pages in visual journaling. I say this after keeping a journal almost daily for over 62 years. (I started very, very early because it was important to me to note down what I saw, and because my mother liked that I was occupied.) In my last […]

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In Context: What Goes on the Journal Page?

There are a lot of ways to work out what needs to go down on your journal page. The most obvious way is to think about the overall design and layout of the page or page spread. I see a lot of visual journaling students tie themselves in knots as they compose a page—thinking where […]

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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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A Different Sort of Wizard—Special Circumstances

  Today seemed a good day to share another one of my wizard paintings because, well next month (April) on my Patreon blog I’m going to be sharing the full, realtime version of this sketch as a secondary demo. (You can already see the sketch silent and sped up to only 3 minutes long on […]

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