Zen pencils: a quick look at drawing pencils

Choosing the right pencil for drawing and shading

Let me start by saying that I am not an authority on pencils. I like to roughly sketch in a drawing and then go in with paints. But when I was starting out, I did quite a lot of research on pencils and grades, and I remember that some of this information was really hard to find. A lot of this information has been sitting in a note on my phone; I hope you find it of use.Continue reading

Yummy color stories

No artist’s toolbox can be complete without a talk about color. But this isn’t your regular post on color theory – for that, read my post on Decoding Color Theory. Today, we will talk about using color stories, i.e., story telling through the medium of color.

Storytelling through color

yummy color stories color associations

Have you heard of color psychology? According to studies, it has been found that different colors have the ability to determine human behavior. For example, red and orange pills are generally used as stimulants – explains why we get such colorful drug capsules, doesn’t it? Color psychology is also used extensively in marketing and branding, in designing window displays, shop fronts and even hotels foyers. The combination of colors can change the energy and mood of a space, and even have an impact on your mood. Hence, the importance of color stories.Continue reading

The Xciting world of watercolours

Watercolours are available in a variety of forms – there are the popular pan and tubes, as well as watercolour pencils and crayons, and watercolour brush pens.

Watercolours have a beautiful, ephemeral quality, which also makes them somewhat hard to master. For the beginner, the best way to approach watercolours is to give up the desire to control the exact outcome – watercolours do wonderful, magical things on paper. Give in to that magic, and things can be fun!Continue reading

Whimsical art: Let your imagination run riot

Alice par John Tenniel 30Rainbow colored animals, bright happy colors, make believe world, fairies and mermaids, gnomes and elves, monsters and angels – that in a nutshell is whimsical art. Most whimsical artists produce light, airy, happy pieces of art that are meant to fill the viewer up with joy.

But it isn’t all glitter and fairy dust in whimsical land. There are also dark, brooding monsters and sinister characters – like the Corpse Bride and Tim Burton’s more gothic whimsical style.

Whimsical artists play firmly in the field of imagination – flowers with a human face, unicorns, phoenix girls, centaurs – it’s all about the quirky. Continue reading

Vanishing lines: let’s talk about lightfastness

When you start to research artist supplies, one of the conversations you soon run into is that of the longevity of the piece of art you’re creating. One of the things that determines the longevity is the lightfastness of the materials that you’re using to create art.

What is lightfastness?

It’s a measure of how resistant a pigment is to change when it is exposed to light.Continue reading

Understanding layers: why I hide collage below layers of paint

For a long time, I simply did not understand the importance of building up layers in art journals. I looked at mixed media artists with astonishment. Why would they do that, I’d wonder, as they put down beautiful scrapbook paper on the page, only to hide it under gesso and layers of paint. Or I’d watch in utter fascination as they laid down beautiful doodles and stamps and stencils, and then again hid it under layers and layers of paint.

But why? Those looked like complete paintings too!Continue reading

Take 10: How to create stunning art journal pages in 10 minutes a day

I hear ya – you’re busy, what with work, home, socializing, blogging…all the other roles, responsibilities, and activities that make up your day. Where and how will you find the time to make art, you wonder?

What if I told you to take out just 10 minutes a day? You know you can do it – after all, we spend a lot more than that mindlessly scrolling through our Twitter and Facebook timelines!

But can you really create an art journal page in 10 minutes a day?Continue reading

Sgraffito and scumbling to create texture and interest

Recently, I found myself in a bit of a rut. I started feeling like all the backgrounds in my art journals were the same – some drips, a bit of stenciling and gesso. Ho-hum! To try and switch things up a bit, I’ve been researching some techniques, including those that haven’t necessarily been used exclusively by painters. Two that really piqued my interest are sgraffito and scumbling.


This technique, which is widely used for wall decor, involves the application of layers of plaster in different tints or colors that is then scratched to reveal the underlying color. A similar technique is used in pottery and stain glass. Sgraffito on walls and as murals or frescos was especially popular during the Italian Renaissance; Raphael, Polidoro da Caravaggio and Maturino da Firenze were particularly sought after to paint palace facades in Rome.Continue reading

Release your fear: create art with wild abandon

release fear comparison create wild abandon

Fear of paint, of art, of creativity is something I’ve come across over and over again. People constantly say they can’t paint, or they can’t draw. But I say that everyone can paint. Yes, everyone.

Think back to your childhood – chances are that painting and drawing were your favorite pastimes. But as you grew older, you suddenly started thinking that you cannot paint.

Why?Continue reading

Quest for the process: Process art and using the philosophy in an art journal spread

While researching the various art movements through the centuries, I came upon the concept of process art.

“Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art (work of art/found object), is not the principal focus. The ‘process’ in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings. Process art is concerned with the actual doing and how actions can be defined as an actual work of art; seeing the art as pure human expression. Process art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product.” Wikipedia

Continue reading