Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

The art in my sketchbooks are assorted. I fill them with a variety of information. This week I'll share some pages in my sketchbooks that I used for testing colors, products and different mediums that I may want to use at another time.

Sketchbook, Matt Medium & Tissue Sample © Nancy Van Blaricom

This was a really fun test.  I had purchased some Matt Medium and had heard a lot of things you could do with this impressive  product.  Here I had laid a piece of face tissue on my sketchbook, brushed it with the medium and let it  dry.  Once dry I watercolor  a pear and added color to the back ground.  The tissue had dried with some raised areas and I then added some gold highlights to those ridges. I never used this product again in this manner, but, I really liked the results it produced.

Sketchbook, Pear Stamp © Nancy Van Blaricom

I'm not into stamps but had this one and some gold ink, (the ink doesn't show up here as gold) I tested it on the edge of my sketchbook.   I have seen some wonderful watercolors that used watercolor on the stamp and incorporated it in a still life as a background of wallpaper ... I don't remember ever using it either. 

Sketchbook, Pastel Swatches © Nancy Van Blaricom

Here I was sampling some pastels I had bought.  I'm not a pastel artist but thought they deserved a try. I had used some pastel paper for these color swatches then cut out the square shape and glued them into the sketchbook.

Sketchbook, Funny Brush © Nancy Van Blaricom

This page of my sketchbook I tested three Funny Brushes I had purchased.  A small, medium and a larger brush. It had some thin (medium & larger) rubber strings in the end of the three short straw type brushes,  It was advertised to use with watercolor & help make grass or bushes in your paintings.  I wasn't impressed and never used them.

Sketchbook, Color Samples © Nancy Van Blaricom

Here are some watercolor samples.  I've been thick headed about "warm" colors and "cool" colors.  Reading in my sketchbook I think I was putting some colors down then trying to see if I could tell what was "warm"  & "cool" next to a similar color (?).

Sketchbook, Making black and gray © Nancy Van Blaricom

I loved this sample when I first put it in my sketchbook ... It was the perfect gray and the perfect black. As a rule I never have gone back to my sketchbooks to see what pigments I mixed to make this or that color but before I had made this color combo a habit I went back to this sketchbook many times.  Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine blue.

Until next Friday ... keep on sketching.


  1. I love cobalt and burnt umber, myself!
    I'm enjoying this sketchbook series! I'm always afraid to show mine to anyone.

  2. Great experiments and lots of information. I see I am not using my sketchbooks to their fullest potential! Can't wait to read more.

  3. another good post with cool photos of your sketchbook. I am impressed by how tidy it is! I always wondered about those "funny"! Do you still have them?

  4. Isn't it fun to go back and look at your own books? A trip down memory lane. And easier to store than old paintings.