Free Sketching

“You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”
-John Singer Sargent

Experiencing a dry spell of creativity or trying to work out an idea? If you are a writer, you may be familiar with a prewriting technique called free writing. For a set period of time you continuously write without regard to the topic, and it could end up being the words, “I don’t know what to write.” over and over again on the page. Think of it as exercising your brain, and you can also use this technique with sketching. 

A sketchbook becomes a booklet of possibilities that you keep by your side. Don’t be afraid to make random marks, doodles, patterns, or spread color around. Express your ideas using lines or words! Sketching is a great way to become more familiar with mediums you haven’t used before. Or doodle what you see in the world while you are on a lunch break. You don’t even have to “finish” a drawing. Paint a color and leave the page to draw something else. There is no rule that says you can’t go back to the painted page.

“Sketchbooks should be the one place without rules.”
-Marilyn Patrizio

A Page from College Sketchbook

Admittedly, I have never been an artist who regularly sketches, but it does help me work out the ideas rattling around in my head. Knowing I was going to be teaching a pottery painting class at Beavercreek’s Decoy Art Studio on Wednesday, October 28th, I broke out some paper and thought about what a 21-year-old & up group would want to paint for a “Fall To-Go Mug.” 

Fall To-Go Mug Sketches

Without worrying about making perfect drawings, I used my pen, Crayola watercolor set, Sharpies, and drawing pencil to figure out a possible design. Wanting to include at least one of the specialty glazes from the studio, I drew out a few ideas but ultimately was drawn to the complementary color (meaning any two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel) combination of blue and orange. 

The final piece gives a nod to the fall theme without hitting you over the head with it. People will enjoy carrying this mug whether the season has passed or not. If you would love to learn how to create this wonderful mug on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015, please sign up for the Wednesday Workshop at Decoy Art Studio in Beavercreek, Ohio! The price is $30 per person and this includes the instruction, your mug, and use of the glazes.

You have three options to sign up:
1. Call the studio at (937) 431-4838
2. Surf their website at
3. Visit the studio at 1561 Grange Hall Rd., Beavercreek, Ohio

Final Fall To-Go Mug

Hope to see you at the studio!


WIP: Art Journal Pages

Thought I would post up a few of my art journal pages that are still in progress. The first page is appropriate for the month of February. I could possibly consider this a finished page, but I have this feeling it isn’t complete. Not sure where I will take it from here though. Thinking about some delicate linework within the hearts.

This next page has taken a while because I only work on it a little bit at a time. I really love a lot of the sections. At first, I thought it was almost complete except for the lower left hand corner, but I may go back in and darken up some blocks to pop out certain areas.

I wanted to create another page using straight lines that I would break up and use organic lines within. I used a white page this time, and I may do a paint splatter look. It hasn’t told me exactly what it needs yet. LOL. Even though the page above inspired it, it turned out very different. Actually, this reminds me of shattered glass.

Art Journal: Chrysanthemum Doodles

Doodling helps me decompress and I decided to do one that was simple but take a lot of time. I drew out circles and half circles to create doodled Chrysanthemum flowers. I also experimented with thickening some of the lines to draw your eye around the art journal page. The page had been painted a while ago, and I had not decided what to do with it until recently. Now it is one of my favorites!

Great lesson for artists who can get frustrated  with their work. It isn’t bad if you need to step away from it and work on something else. “Good things come to those who wait.” 😉

Vintage Post: Artist Journals & Cat Character

This post was written during my last semester of college while I was taking an Illustration course and just starting to get into art journaling on the side. I absolutely loved the Illustration class but looking back at the cat character I chose, I wish I had done one of the other sketches. Oh well! It was a learning experience since I was not comfortable creating illustration work on the computer.

Original Post from March 19, 2009

Found another appealing book at the library called Art Journals & Creative Healing by Sharon Soneff! It has a different take on the idea of the art journal. The artist described her book the best in her introduction:

“Journals serve many worthy purposes-to document major events, capture fleeting moments, develop raw ideas, even to chronicle what you dreamed last night. But has it ever occurred to you that a journal could be used to assist with, and promote, health and healing?…Art Journals & Creative Healing explores the combination of these two therapeutic exercises-the written expression with the artistic one-resulting in a venue for pushing beyond difficult human experiences to a place of newfound wisdom, peace, comfort, joy, health, and healing.”

The examples inside are not necessarily done by artists who know how to draw, but there are definitely more crafty people who have done these journals. I believe anyone could do these types of journals. They don’t have to look perfect, and they don’t have to be seen by anyone other than yourself. Even if you may not want to make your journal therapeutic for yourself, it still contains some great ideas or possibilities for any kind of journal.

Some great suggestions I grabbed from the book (I embellished some of them) are:

1. Maybe you want to tear up sheets of paper that you find and instead of gluing them in, tape them! Give your pages that edgy look!

2. Recycle an old day planner by altering it. You can use artist’s Gesso to coat the pages so you can have a blank sheet, and it will help stiffen the paper and ready it for either paint, pastels, pencils, etc.

3. Another way to attach pieces of paper to the page is to literally sew it on! Adding some stitching will give the page texture.

4. Write down your favorite quotes!

5. Plus, don’t feel like you have to do one page at a time. You can revisit a page after you have painted a background.

6. Finally, a journal does not have to be bound! You can use loose sheets of random paper you find or index cards. Then keep them together in a special box or folder. Just have fun with it!

Animorphic Cat Character

This week, I have been working on this character for Illustration class. Thought I would post it up! It is NOT complete yet. It is just the B&W tonal version of it so our professor could see what direction we would take the character.

Art Journal: Floral Doodles

Seemed like these next two pages were so hard to photograph because of how bright and rich the reds were on the page. The light kept bouncing off of them and showing a light flare.

In my art journal, I like to paint some of the pages with acrylic and then move on to something else within the sketchbook. There are several things started but not very many are complete. I think it is important to know that you don’t HAVE to get a page done in one night. It could be better for your sanity to move from one spread to another to keep yourself fresh. Especially if you are struggling and are beginning to dislike what you are working on.

I had a lot of fun on this first page even though it is a bit hard to see the Chrysanthemum-like flowers. I had contemplated whether I should go back and darken up some of the lines, but it could make a spectacular background for maybe some digital artwork. Otherwise, I was getting a kick out of drawing the half circles all over the page.


This second page did not turn out the way I wanted it to, but I was trying to treat the page differently. My mind kept thinking about Dr. Seuss and what flowers in the garden of his mind might look like. Even though I am not happy with it, I am going to leave it alone for now. 🙂

The Sketchbook Project 2011 pt. 4

More spreads from The Sketchbook Project 2011 that is currently traveling.

Another quote page. I thought the lettering turned out great on this spread!

Final look to the spread. Another red head! 🙂 Imagine that. Think of me as the female Klimt. LOL!

Another drawing I had scanned, printed, pasted into the moleskin, and added additional ballpoint doodles to make it a part of the spread. The contrast of a mostly white page next to a filled page looks attractive to me.

Finished spread:

The Sketchbook Project 2011 pt. 3

Here are more photos of the progress and final image of my sketchbook that is traveling in The Sketchbook Project 2011 show currently.

I dove right in on this spread! Picked up my Sharpie and began to doodle and love it so much that I didn’t want to paint over top of it or cover it with any drawings. I hope you agree that it was a good move! 🙂


Thought I would keep a spread fairly simple but dynamic with color. Printed out an enlarged version of  a ballpoint pen drawing I had created. I pasted it into the Moleskin and used a ballpoint to extend the strands of hair across the spread.

Ended up pleased with the final painted piece. One of my favorite color combinations on the girls I drew in my sketchbook really.