Video - Art Journal Flip One

I'm back this week with another video! This time it is a flip through of my first ever art journal, which you may have seen photos of in this post. I love listening to people talk about their sketchbooks though, so I thought I would update that post with a video. 

Do you like watching sketchbook or art journal flip videos? I could watch them all day long, so I hope that you enjoyed this one. Let me know if you have any questions about this particular art journal or something you'd like to see in a future video let me know! I'm having a blast making these.

Let's Talk About Sketchbooks Volume 8

It has been so long since I've had a sketchbook to share. 

I have really gotten away from art journaling in the past year when I started to work on loose sheets of paper or tearing out pages from my sketchbook to scan. This shift is mostly great because it means that I'm focusing more on making work that I can sell and developing my digital skills with scanned-in work. But I really miss making art that lives in a book and the more personal work that comes out when I'm art journaling is so valuable to me. I made a point of getting back into it in the last month or so and it has been great. 

sketchbook 8 cover

So here's the book. It's a Moleskine cahier that I started in August 2016. When I was almost finished I painted the cover white (covering up a pink paint job that I did not like, which you can kind of see showing through) and added this rad Nefertiti sticker from Salad Days Pins.

I started this book as a place to use up extra acrylic paint but dropped that plan almost immediately when I decided to use it as an art journal instead. These first two pages reflect that original purpose, plus some extra doodling.

The pages in this book are actually very thin, so in many places I stuck pages together or added mixed media paper on top of the page to give it some more heft. The drawing on the left (of Joan of Arc, naturally) is on mixed media paper that I glued into the book.

Because I was working on so many projects on loose paper I tried to use the book as a place to keep some samples of what I was working on at the time. The painting on the left is one of a series of watercolors that I pasted in. The page on the right is heavily inspired by Katie Licht's Cut and Paste class at Studio Calico, which I was taking at the time. I am such a fan of Katie's work, so getting to learn about her process was amazing.

This is a completely unfinished page. I tried out a few ideas and didn't feel the need to continue with either of them, so I just left them that way.

On the left is another Cut and Paste inspired page, using papers that I painted. On the right is another collage using paper that I drew patterns on myself (the eyes are a rubber stamp that I carved years ago - you can see it in use in a different journal here).

More Cut and Paste inspired pages, this time with a more minimal approach.

I had intended on journaling on this whole spread, but I never did. Now, I like it the way it is.

I liked the way that these 3 pages worked as a spread. I cut holes into the blue page on the right so that the polka dots on the page behind it show through.

More collages, using papers that I painted myself. This blue, green, and yellow color scheme is different for me, but I love how it looks.

More examples of what I was working on. I was scraping layers of paint onto paper using a credit card, and then painting over it so that the layers show through in the negaative space.

More collages that didn't work out so well and a pattern that I love in pink.

More examples of current work that I glued in. This was an early study for what would become a series of abstract watercolors that are now in my shop

One of the drawings from my Draw a Lady Daily project. I did most of them in other notebooks, but one day this was the only one I had with me. When I closed the book, some of the paint marker rubbed off on the opposite page, so I covered it with a pattern.

Trying to get back to journaling like I used to, with lots of bold lettering. And another scraped paint background on the right.

I have loved incorporating photos into my journals and doodling on them. What I tried on this photo turned out looking more like stink lines though. The stickers say "blurry & happy" because that's what I am in this photo. I'm trying to remember that I can be happy even when things are blurry.

Practicing mixing acrylic colors. And some minimalist collage.


More color mixing practice, paint pen doodling, and the Mary Oliver quote that I want everywhere.

The evolution of a pattern. I doodled the big eye when I didn't know what to draw and then decided to make it into a pattern.

More paint pen patterns.

Thanks for checking out my sketchbook! If you share your sketchbook or art journal on your blog or Instagram or wherever, let me know, I love peeking inside other people's sketchbooks. Hopefully it won't be so long before I have another sketchbook to post.

Let's Talk About Sketchbooks (and Art Journals) Volume 7

It has been a little while, but today I'm back with another post in my sketchbook series! The little book that I'm talking about today is something that I would definitely not call a sketchbook, it is entirely an art journal.

The story behind it is this: As I've mentioned many, many times, at the beginning of July I moved from DC to LA. In the months leading up to this big change I was leaving my job, packing up my apartment, and trying to figure out how to move to the opposite coast (where I'd lived for my entire life and where the vast, vast majority of my family and friends were) and I was having a lot of feelings about it. I wanted a place to work out those feelings, and, of course, making things always helps me with that, so I started a daily art journaling project for myself.

The idea was to make at least one page for the book each day. Not to just decorate a page, but to completely create it - background, writing, etc, all on that day. I then punched holes in each page, and bound them together with book rings, adding a new page or two each day. I'm not exactly sure why I decided to do it this way, I think I thought it would make a cool project and a nice creative challenge. And this way, I could end the book whenever I felt like it. With a pre-bound book I could end up with several blank pages that I didn't feel like filling, or I could fill all of the pages and still want to add more. 

Emotionally, my goal with this book was to get really honest about what I was feeling and thinking. I think a lot of the time I'm not really honest with what I write in journals and sketchbooks. I gloss over or downplay or write something vague. I don't think this is because I'm afraid of someone else reading what I've written (let's be real, no one cares what I write about in the many many journals I keep), but more that I'm afraid that writing something down makes it real, or I'm afraid to admit something. But I feel like it is also important for me to get that stuff out. This project also makes a good time capsule of my last days in DC and of my state of mind at a very specific and important time, so hopefully I will like looking back on it one day.

Phew, sorry that was such a long introduction. This project is unique so it needed some explanation. Now, onto some of the pages.

I haven't made covers for the book. I just started with page one. I love how simple but impactful this one is. I wastercolored a lot of the backgrounds in this book because I was working on my 100 Days of Watercolor Without Reference project at the time. Using the date stamp became something I did every day, and I used my stapler a lot too.

I included some quotes about change that felt relevant. I also played around with different shapes and sizes of pages. The largest pages are 4x6", but you can see a narrower page on the right with 2 other pages peeking out from behind. I just love layered pages like that.

Hoarded paper from Japan on the left, and a photo transfer using a Chartpack pen on the right.

Made the day after my roommate moved out of our apartment, kicking off a few months of living alone. Rifle Paper Co. paper on the left, and another photo transfer on the right (with a book page peeking out from behind).

One of my first geometric collages! I actually made my first ever ones as 4x6" to go into the book and kind of fell in love with the size. I painted and wrote on a book page on the right (using what I had around my desk).

I took a lot of Instax photos in those days. A lot of them ended up in the book, either on pages, or in envelopes/bags.

One of those bags is on the left. It was just packaging for something that I recycled, punched holes in, and decorated with Sharpie drawings. Behind it is a page made from security lining of an envelope. On the right, I wrote out a text that I sent to my roommate. I included some kind of writing every day in one form or another - long, short, whatever. 

On this day I felt awful and like I had no creative energy. So, I made the page by layering on tons of stickers as a kind of mindless activity. The one on the left page summed up my feelings. Now, this page cheers me up.

Keeping it simple with watercolors on the left. On the right, I made an envelope out of really delicate newsprint paper to hold journaling that I didn't want anyone to be able to see and read easily. I didn't really think that one through - it took a lot of finagling to make it so the newsprint wouldn't completely tear apart when I opened and closed the envelope, but its pretty.

While making the book I took a trip to visit family in Boston. I didn't bring any pre-made pages with me - just my stapler, hole punch, date stamp, and pens. All of the pages from that time were made on paper that I procured when I was there. On the left are a piece of a shopping bag and greeting card, and on the left is the envelope the greeting card came in (with more Instax photos inside).

The penultimate pages. Opposites. Very indicative of how all over the place my feelings were at the time.

I stopped adding to the book 2 days before I drove out of DC. I had envisioned working on the book at least until the move and maybe on my road trip out to LA, but ultimately, I felt like the project was finished and that adding to it would become more of an obligation than the emotional and creative outlet that it had been up until then. So I stopped.

I highly recommend trying out this type of project. Working on it really did make me feel better and more in control of my emotions. And it is pretty cool how something can come together with just a little bit of work every day. I was super busy when I made these pages, but I got a pretty chunky little book after about a month of working on it. If you're interested in this idea and would like to know more, let me know!  I'd love to share more, or maybe even make it into a class...

Let's Talk About Sketchbooks Volume 6

It's been quite a while, but I'm finally back with another post in my sketchbook series! Today I'm sharing my most recently completed sketchbook, which I started in at the end of 2015/the beginning of 2016. 

At the time, I was feeling like spreading out on a big surface, so I got this big Moleskine sketchbook. and started working in it (even though I was already working in a few other sketchbooks/journals at the time). I decorated the cover with lots of stickers, including some from BabevibesFeminist Sticker ClubBuried DiamondTuesday Bassen, and a pizza of my own design.

On one of the first pages I made a list of things I wanted to do in 2016. I've accomplished quite a few of them by now. I also ripped out the first page.  In this case, I ripped out my original strawberry painting to frame, but I tend to rip out the first pages of my sketchbooks often. Usually, I'll start a book but I won't stick with it, or I'll decide to use it for something else, so I'll rip out the used pages when I first start a book. I think of it as getting comfy with a sketchbook until I find the right time or the right use for it.

I think that this is the most "traditional" sketchbook I've ever kept. I used it to work out ideas and practice and didn't make very many "finished" pieces in this book. Some ideas worked (like the clouds), and some didn't (those weird lumpy shapes). 

Practicing painting portraits of European queens.

I can't keep a sketchbook without using up a full page for writing, but at least this time I wrote with a paintbrush.

Sketchbook randomness, which is what I think sketchbooks are for. More portraits, lettering, gratitude lists, and songs stuck in my head.

sketchbook floral

Flowers and color palettes

Notes and mock-ups of other projects.

I love both of these pages and have used them digitally as backgrounds for other work. The galaxy is watercolor with pen on top and the colorful page was made while playing with oil pastels.

More gratitude lists with little illustrations. Also, the first iteration of my collaged gems. I tested out the random idea with some scrap paper on this page and developed it later.

Like on this page, where I created a composition of several gems cut from watercolored paper.

Still life practice at the Hillyer Art Space in DC.

Pattern practice. And more chaos, always.

Pulling color palettes from Disney's Alice in Wonderland picture books.

Possibly the most sketchy part of this sketchbook.  Working on ideas for the logo for my Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast, Hot Chicks with Superpowers. The middle drawing on the left page became part of our logo, but I can't wait until I get to draw that axe again.

When I want to practice but I don't know what to draw, I tend to look around the room and draw what I see.  These pages were drawn in my friend Ashely's apartment.

Towards the end of this sketchbook I got new sets of watercolor and gouache, so I spent a lot of time playing around with and getting used to the new paints.

I catalogued all of the watercolors in my new set, which looks pretty and comes in handy when trying to find the right color.


Practicing layering with gouache. I was never really one for abstract painting, but I started to fall in love starting with this sketchbook spread.

Working out handlettering, which I digitally combined with the previous galaxy page to make this piece.

Using up excess paint and loving abstract painting even more.

sketchbook test page

I always use the back page of a sketchbook to test different writing implements/paints to see how they work on the paper or if they bleed through. And doodle song lyrics.

I finished this sketchbook in May, and since then I have mostly been working on loose paper, or working in a sketchbook but ripping pages out to scan. I'm starting to feel the sketchbook itch again, so I'll probably start another one soon.

Let's Talk About Sketchbooks Volume 5

This week's sketchbook is actually one that is still in use (kind of). I got this book just under a year ago on a trip back to Massachusetts. I was in a little bit of a journal slump (I had started my 2015 daily drawing project and was spending most of my art time working on those drawings, first on white loose-leaf paper and then in a 100% boring sketchbook (not included in this series because all of the drawings in it are already on my Instagram page as part of that project)). After I finished my last journal I didn't pick up a new one for a while.

Then, I saw this journal in Paper Source and it was love at first sight. I loved the exposed binding and the pages of color swatches at the start and end of the book.  I loved how chunky it was. I loved the green cover, even though green isn't usually my jam.  So, I bought it and started dreaming about how quickly I was going to fill it up with tons of drawings and artwork. Almost a year later I still haven't filled it up, but this journal contains some of my favorite work (I think I say that about all of them) and got me out of a journal-keeping slump, so I think it did it's job.

This journal is made by Plum Goods and has a really cool exposed coptic binding made with pink thread that I am super into (although paint does leak into the binding). I customized the cover very simply by taping down a cut-out of my name and by letting it get super beat up. 

This journal was designed by Linda Geary who did a project with a bunch of color swatches, which are featured at the front and back of the book. They would probably make really cool backgrounds for pages, but I just let them sandwich my own artwork and serve as inspiration.

The first page references the fact that I had gone for a while without an art journal to dump my thoughts/feelings/artwork into. The idea that journals make me feel better that I keep coming back to. 

I started incorporating my daily drawings into the journal, instead of making them as their own separate project. I drew the anatomical heart out of a book about cardiovascular health that I found at my grandparents' house, photographed it for my project, and then added the writing later.

On the left I painted over a random pen drawing that I didn't like. I won a zine from Natalie Mutrux and in my package she included an envelope of ephemera. I made a contour portrait of the guy in the bottom photo and the photo in beside it on the right page. That black watercolor rubs off onto the facing page when the journal is closed. I try not to let it bother me.

I took myself out on a self-love date and went clothes shopping, to the art supply store, the book store and to sit and draw in coffee shops (where a lot of the drawings on the surrounding pages were made). Over the next few days I drew the things I bought for my daily drawings, including a bunch of Dr. P H Martin's watercolors, which I swatched on the paint bottle drawings.

More playing around with new watercolors.

As you can probably tell from the previous pages, I was doing a lot of life drawing at the time, hugely inspired by Danny Gregory. I bought all of his books that I could find right away and this was a favorite quote from The Creative License, painted with watercolor onto vellum and then pasted into the journal.

I took a bunch of notes while reading Amy Poheler's Yes Please and taped them in waterfall-style.

I think this was from a podcast? I should have written down my source, but I think I heard it when I was walking home and it just stuck in my head. Also, that pink is watercolor bleed-through from the previous page and it is so good.

Ugly and unfinished pages are all over this journal. 

Playing with stamps when I couldn't sleep (because of the coffee). Stamps are by Kelly Purkey.

Another example of incorporating my daily drawings into the journal. I drew the tiger and painted it teal and added the speech bubble with song lyrics later (lyrics are to Nanny Nanny Boo Boo by Le Tigre, obvs).

I went through an animals phase with my daily drawings and this is one of my favorites. 

In my last sketchbook post I wrote about covering up artwork I didn't like with lettering. It also works for angsty journaling too!

I fell in love with blind contour self portraits while working in this journal. 

I always felt like the space to the side of that lamp would be an excellent place to put something, but I never did...

When working with liquid watercolor I will sometimes use wax paper taped to cardboard as an impromptu palette (I know, I'm so professional). I love the way the wax paper looks after it has been used a few times, so I will often tape it into my journal (and, of course, more blind contours).

A lot of pages include my daily drawings and nothing else - also I worked on these pages completely out of order - the one on the right is from late June when I was preparing to move apartments, and the one on the left is from mid-July.

Lipstick swatches, because why not.

I really like the look of this page.

Travel journaling! This is from a trip to Montreal with a million delays. I don't really like the look of this at all, buy I collected a bunch of business cards and stuck them in and it was fun.

Mopping up excess paint.

Playing with patterns. Absolutely love the way this one looks with the pink thread used for the binding.

Even though I always intend to keep them art-y I always end up jotting down random things like packing lists in my journal - this one is for Portland!

Of course, the journal then came with me to Portland. I'm really into those polka dot letters.

Again, a lot of the pages in this journal have random one-off drawings in them. If I don't particularly like them or want to build a page around them I will just write directly over them.  It adds visual interest to a page with a floating drawing and gives me an spot to write stuff down (mostly just venting that I don't worry about being super legible).

Playing with drawing and watercolors on vellum. I painted the title of this piece - the moon-faced girl on the page behind the transparent vellum. Doesn't she look like those old depictions of the man-in-the-moon?

I still have quite a few pages left in this sketchbook (you can kind of see the block that is not as wrinkly/colorful in the above photo), but my work on it has kind of slowed.  When I started working in this book I was really excited about how chunky it is and had grand plans to finish it as quickly as possible.  Over a year later that has definitely not happened, and I'm less motivated to pull it out because I feel like the body of work inside isn't as reflective of where I am now. I'm not sure if I'll finish it off someday or just call it done. I guess that means I'm it is still in progress...