Tag Archives: drawing

Playing in My Art Journal: A Self-Portrait

I completed a few new entries in my art journal last week, and one of them was a self-portrait.  I started it during my lunch hour – just working with my journal and a black pen.  I finished the page that night, when I had access to my watercolor pencils, a paintbrush, and a bit more time.

This organic form is representational of me, and yes – that’s a pumpkin head!  The words near the leaves’ tendrils are things I associate with myself – they’re either some of my qualities and traits, or things that are important to me.

I find it very relaxing to doodle/draw, fill in the spaces with color, and then blend the colors with brush and water.  I don’t have any illusions of being skilled at drawing, but I do have fun playing – and that’s the whole point.  :]


Black and white…


Colored in but not blended…


Color blended with water and brush…


Up close…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at one of my latest art journal pages, dear readers.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Warm regards,

Posted in art, art journaling, art supplies, self-portrait | Also tagged 8 Comments

Adventures in Sketching


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: drawing is not my strong suit.  I’m decent when I practice regularly (which, prior to this, was only for a few quarters in college), but I’m not a natural.  I’m not a whiz. And I’m definitely not a prodigy.  But I am an eternal student.  I want to continue to learn, grow, and progress until I draw my last breath, so I recently enrolled in an online class focused on sketching.

Please don’t laugh, but this is my first online class.  I thought taking the class might help keep me focused on the positive and help keep me occupied after the surgery on my left hand since my right hand was pretty functional by then, and I’m glad I signed up.  The combination of video instruction, photos, and text works very well for me, and I’ll definitely sign up for more online classes in the future.

Alisa Burke’s Sketchbook Delight workshop really has been a delight, and has inspired me to take time to look, play, and practice.  And while I may never be amazingly fantastic when it comes to drawing and sketching, I will be better.  I’ll likely be able to do enough to satisfy me artistically, and to expand my creative output and options.  And that’s enough.  It’s worth the time spent and the uncertainty that comes along with embarking on an adventure in sketching.

Here are four of my sketch pages from the last month, in chronological order…





I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my sketchbook/art journal.  Have you taken any online classes that you’d recommend?  Please share…

Warm regards,

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Another Look: Art

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is Art!  Just click on the name of the post to link over…


Collage Basics: Less is More!


Drawing a Blank? Prompts for Writers & Artists

My Art Journals

Still Drawing a Blank? More Prompts for Writers & Artists


New (Heart) Art!

From collage and photography to art journals, my work includes a variety of media and materials.  Which artistic mediums and materials (including those not shared on my blog) are your favorite?

Warm regards,

Posted in art, art journaling, art supplies, inspiration | Also tagged , , , 4 Comments

My Art Journals


Art journaling – also known as visual journaling – is a combination of written word and visual art.  It’s a creative marriage made in heaven as far as I’m concerned.  After all, it combines two of my favorite things in the world: art and writing.  And though there are guidelines and suggestions for this practice, there aren’t any rules.  Everyone one seems to do it a little differently, which is part of the magic: it’s exactly what you want it and need it to be.

Not only is art journaling an incredible form of self-expression, it’s also a snapshot of your life that develops one page at a time.  It’s a great creative exercise, and also a respite – a safe, constructive way to process feelings and experiences in an often-chaotic world.

I talk about my art journaling classes for at-risk children fairly often, but haven’t shared my own journals yet – this post is a bit overdue! Here’s a peek at some of what I do with my journals – both inside and out. Some of the journal customizations are similar to those I make to my travel journals, and some are unique to my regular art journals.

My Journaling History & Influences

I’ve been keeping diaries and journals since I was a young girl, but my first “official” art journal was created in college for one of my art classes.  I picked up art journaling again in 2002 when I accepted a job in the art and craft publishing industry.  Surrounded by massive amounts of incredible practices, techniques, and artwork I quickly adopted some as my own.  Art journaling and collage soon became two of my creative staples, and I’ve created/completed 13 art journals since 2002.

Many of the creative elements I’ve incorporated into my journals were learned from the late Janice Lowry, artist and journalist extraordinaire.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to take classes from wonderful teachers like Kelly Kilmer, Juliana Coles, and Quinn McDonald.  I’m a lucky girl!

My Favorite “F Word” – Frugal

One of the best things about art journaling, aside from it being very portable and easy to do, is that it’s a low-cost option.  Art can be pricey, but art journaling is an affordable option for nearly everyone.  If you have a simple journal, a writing implement and a glue stick you’re good to go.


Sure, there are many other things you can use to add visual interest and excitement, but those are all icing on the cake.  And while scissors are certainly recommended, even those are optional if you’re open to tearing paper.

The more of a scavenger you are, the more interesting your journal will be.  Candy wrappers, fortune cookie “fortunes”, aluminum foil, and paper doilies from the bakery can all be repurposed and re-used in your journal.

The Journal Itself

I prefer to work in a large hardcover journal with unlined white pages.  Because everyone is different it may take some experimentation to find the size and type of journal you like best.


Though I’ve tried fancier, decorative journals, I generally opt to cover the entire front and back of a plain journal with my own decorative elements instead.  Most often I collage a variety of things onto the cover, and then seal it all in with multiple coats of water-soluble Polycrylic.


Some of my journals have a rectangular piece of fabric on the book’s spine.  Sealed in with the polycrylic, the fabric is both decorative and functional since the fabric adds extra stability to a book that’s frequently handled.


It’s important to include your name and phone number on the inside cover, just in case you misplace your journal.  (Hopefully a good Samaritan will return it if it’s found!)  I also usually glue an envelope on the right side of the inside cover.  I tuck movie tickets, fortune cookie “fortunes” and other tidbits in the envelope.


Another practice that’s just for fun is including the start and finish date of the journal on the inside flap.  It’s interesting to see (at a glance) how long it took me to complete a particular journal.

Because I do a fair amount of collage or gluing of memorabilia in my journal I remove some of the blank pages before starting to work in the book.  This allows the book to close properly even though materials are added.  I usually remove every third or fourth page. I save the blank pages I remove for later – they make great scratch paper!



Materials – The Bits and Pieces of your Life

When it comes to the materials that can be used, I like to keep my options wide open.  Traditional art supplies are used along side candy wrappers, pieces of aged newspaper I’ve picked up off the ground, pictures cut from magazines, emails and news stories I’ve printed, and more.  If it appeals to me, or is somehow relevant to my entry, it’s fair game.  I do try to keep my materials as “thin” as possible, so my journals close and lie flat, but I don’t shy away from layering.


As for actual journal entries, the sky’s the limit!  You can write a typical “Dear Diary” type of entry, draw, doodle, write a list of things that make you happy, write about something that pisses you off, create a collage page from pages ripped out of old magazines, do a bullet point list of your daily activities while on vacation, create a self-portrait, set goals, sketch out/list ideas for an upcoming project, and more.  Whatever you find fun, helpful, cathartic, and inspiring – that’s what your journal should include.


India ink doodles on top of a loose grid of masking tape.

Self-Portrait materials include a photo-copied photograph, paper, wire, thread, printed ribbon, staples, glassine envelope, foreign postage stamp, label, gold paper frame, and a lock of hair.


A magazine images, black gesso, and silver pen.


Caran d’ache water-soluble crayons, black ink pen, cork stamp, black ink pad, metallic gel pens.


Magazine images, black gesso, gold wings, feather, copper foil tape, copper pen.


Watercolor paper, black marker, caran d’ache water-soluble crayons, black writing pen.


Pencil, black pen, gray card stock, pastels.


Watercolors, black pen.

Magazine images, decorative paper, black pen.


Black pen


Metallic gray textured paint, color copy of  first self-portrait’s heart, Sharpie marker, sunflower images, silver gel pen.

Questions?  Comments?

Do you art journal?  Are you interested in taking it up?  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments – I’d love to hear from you…

Warm regards,

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Posted in art, art journaling, art supplies, baking, inspiration, life in general, writing | Also tagged , , 4 Comments