Friday, February 26, 2010

Sketching and Watercolor: Journal Style. A mini-lesson

the subject
1. Using a pencil, I carefully draw the pumpkin. Drawing is all about really looking. As my eye follows along the edge of the pumpkin, I draw that shape on my paper. I try to look at the object I'm drawing about 80% of the time, and the paper 20% of the time. Go slowing. Sketch lightly. You can always erase. Just draw the basic shapes you see, don't think about what it is or how is 'should' look.

permanent pen over the pencil line
2. Using a black waterproof pen, I trace the pencil lines I've just drawn. Erase the pencil lines. 
first stage of watercolor
3. With watercolor (a child's PRANG set works great!), using plenty of water, mix the paint in the top of the palette (or on a white plate). I've started with the color that I see the most of in the pumpkin. A medium yellow orange. Important, leave some of the white of the page. It adds sparkle.

the stem
4. Again, mixing your color in the top of the palette, mix blue and brown to create a greyish brown. (Look carefully at the color of your subject and just play with mixing colors on the palette, until you get the closest one.) Paint the stem, leaving some white, this time portraying the texture of the stem.

a pumpkin
5. I finished by adding darker values (colors) to the pumpkin. the darker shades of orange, and the darker shades of brown in the stem. See what a difference the white of the paper makes?

a border
6. A border or frame for you journal pages really completes the page. In pencil, I doodled a border, partially enclosing the pumpkin and creating a space for text. Then I filled in the doodle with ink, and erased the pencil lines.
a finished journal page.
(5x7" in my Moleskine Watercolor Journal)
7. Fill the space with brilliant, witty words...or just write about your day.

I hope this mini-lesson inspires you to give "Sketching and Watercolor: Journal Style" a try. When I teach workshops,  my hope is that my students will fall in love with drawing, just like I have, and will be inspired to keep a sketchbook. For me, it’s the act of drawing and painting that I love so much. Drawing from life helps you become more aware of your surroundings, whether at home or away. Drawing reveals what otherwise may be missed. Sitting still allows you to be more aware the sounds and smells and really see the random detail that makes up life.  

24 comments:

  1. fabulous tutorial Jane, love that little pumpkin!

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  2. That border looks like a zentangle to me. And what a good use for them.

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  3. Good tutorial, and what a creative way to remember your year. I saw some rainbow chard at the store the other day, and think I should bring some home to sketch. Thanks!

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  4. Jane, I'm going to tweet this mini-lesson -- it's very cool.

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  5. Wow! Were you reading my mind this afternoon? I have admired your work from afar, and wondered about your process. Thank you so much for this tutorial. Cheers.

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  6. Jane, thank you so much...you make it look easy, but I think with this tutorial even I may be successful...

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  7. Thank you Jane for this easy to follow tutorial, I needed that!!!

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  8. Excellent tutorial! I completely agree with leaving a little white to give your painting some depth and working light to dark to build up layers with your watercolors.

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  9. This lesson came at exactly the right time. Must be some cosmic thing. Thank you so much. I am printing it out to put in my sketchbook to remind me NOT to fill in the whole piece with paint. Thank you,

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  10. Wonderful lesson, Jane! Thanks for sharing that. The little pumpkin just jumps off the page!

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  11. Wow! What great instructions...... I've been taking drawing lessons and proving to myself the benefit of sketching often/daily/whenever. I've been working in colored pencils, and I have one of these precious pumpkins on my table and will use it as a subject THIS A.M. Thanks, Jane!

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  12. Thank you, Jane!!! My dream is to take a watercolor sketching class from you. In the meantime I will cherish this tutorial!!!

    Carol C.

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  13. Thanks Jane;) Just what my ADD needs!

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  14. Thank you for a great lite lesson. We can all use a little nudge in the right direction, and you made it seem so easy.

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  15. Jane,
    You make me want to go get my paper and pencil. I've been wanting to get back to watercolors and your little tutorial is so sweet and enticing. Pat Bishop
    http://www.patbishop.com

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  16. Art class in school made an end to any thought I might have had that I could draw. It hunted me for years! I just didn`t want to try because it was no use, the teacher had clearly told me that I was useless.

    When I discovered felting and needle felting it opened up a whole new world for me. Now I draw and paint with wool and all my old hang ups just went away....Now I even draw with pen and paper from time to time!

    Thanks for the lovely mini lesson!
    Jeanette

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  17. Great little tutorial, Jane. Thank you! I really liked the suggestion of starting with the color you see most when adding watercolor. Then the border was great tool I just added the border to my latest scribble and really liked it. You are the best

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  18. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm going to follow your steps and try not to labor too much in the process!!

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  19. Jane, Thank-you so for this. When you want to learn this sketchbook journaling after seeing your wonderful pages and your far away to get to you this is wonderful. You have made my day and were snowed in again.
    Have a great day more more,
    Linda

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  20. Thanks Jane - I have not watercolored for a long time and your work has stirred the old urge in me. This little tutorial has started something. I will have to try to get into your class in August! Twyla Marti

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  21. Thanks for the tutorial Jane! Really looking seems to be the key. I look forward to your fusion class at the CREATE Retreat!

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  22. My daughter and I had a wonderful time doing this in our nature journals. Thank you so much, we will remember our notes for years to come.

    Here is a link to my blog with our pictures http://michellan-michele.blogspot.com/2012/10/nature-journal-pumpkinsmixed-media.html

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  23. Funny thing. It's January and I still have a little pumpkin from Thanksgiving that I just can't seem to part with. But now I've been inspired! Before taking it out to the Grand Veggie Graveyard: the compost bin, I am going to make a little sketch and paint it a la Jane LaFazio. Thank you!

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