Scraps from the Studio Floor + extra sweet RAK

Yesterday's post - and my own self-issued challenge to share something small every day - came about in this way: I had bought Show Your Work a few days earlier to prepare for the author's visit to my local bookshop. The talk Austin Kleon gave was funny and insightful, and I loved how he didn't have all the answers....just knew where you could probably look.

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One of my questions was this: if I am the kind of artist who has more than one interest or project going on, how will people follow the narrative thread? 

Answer: Watch Pulp Fiction to study disjointed narratives. But more so, that I am the thread that commnects everything I do. A woman in line offered this addition; that I show how the work I did yesterday influences today. How did I apply something I learn painted to how I do my calligraphy, etc. This feels like an amazing idea, and I can't wait to start exploring the interdependent existence of my handful of projects and growing list of interests. 

I got into the studio a bit late today, but found this note on my table of drying paintings: 

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Tell me that wouldn't make your day more awesome (especially since she's one of my admired artists!). We got together to chat and brainstorm and work out the plan for the next few months...which all sounds amazing, btw. I have a new class coming out, a video series, and I'll be getting over my fears and teaching in person again! 

After we chatted the day away, I was only able to do a couple of things. One is that I wanted to find easy and cheap solutions to paint with since not everyone can get the Catalyst tools I use most. This is a first idea, made from a stick, Solo cup, and some packing tape. 

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It actually works really well, and I'm super excited to hit the dollar store, then start constructing my own tools to paint with. I get to play inventor for a day! 

Since I didn't get to painting, I thought I'd just share random bits from my work area, like my collage pile and WIP pieces. All the "scraps from the studio floor."  

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So that's what I was up to....collaboration, some of the Work, and sharing. What did you create today? Feel free to email me or tag your pics as #jgdailycreative so I can pop in and see you! And don't forget to follow me on Instagram, as I usually post there first!

PS. There's open studio today, Saturaday April 18th, from 10am-4pm. Comment with your email address if you want to come, or grab me on IG where more details are posted. Should be an awesome fun day of art journaling!

 

showing my work + loving the process

I think seeing the finished product -- whether it's a journal page or painting -- is great and inspiring, I've been obsessed with documenting my process. 

Earlier this week, I picked up Austin Kleon's new book, Show Your Work. To think it took a book to help me figure out how to show my process seems a little silly, but Kleon's a master at distilling complex ideas into simple chapters that become a roadmap to invigorating creativity. 

By doing a little, every single day, your work quickly adds up. I draw and write every day in my Red Storybook, and have already filled an entire sketchbook with my quiet truths and vulnerability laid out on the page. The sketches may be complicated or terrible, but doing one every day has helped me nurture that side of me -- the side that wants to draw illustrations and paint with gouache. 

Anyway, in an effort to not only track my own progress and create a searchable diary as I grow as an artist, but to share the behind-the-scenes workings of an artist, I'll be blogging every day, except Sundays. Less tutorials, and more inspiration, influences, process, and techniques I've discovered or created. I don't want to show you how to copy what I do, rather, I want to inspire you to go out and do art that is true to your own heart. 

You can sign up to get my blog entries via email over on the sidebar. And I'll soon be linking up my Tumblr to use as a digital scrapbook of art and photography and comics and whatnot that I'm finding awesome at the moment (I know a lot of people use Pinterest, but I've found a great community on Tumblr, and cover the intersection of disability & art a bit more there). 

So here it goes! 

 

I recently stumbled upon the artwork & creations of Kimberly Hodges, aka Goldfish Marmalade

I love exploring new color palettes in my art journal as I work, and was captivated by her combinations of yellows, olives, and oranges, along with delicate pink flowers and aqua whales. I'd reblogged these placemats last week, and pulled them up yesterday when I went in to do a little painting. 

Delicious, right? 

I tried to follow her colors, but had to alter them a little bit, since I'm not a huge fan of yellow, in general. The dark green/teal, however, has been a new color to fall in love with, & I've been using it on a lot of journal pages lately. 

First, I had to prep my surfaces. 

I usually just put on some bouncy, upbeat music and start gluing down collage material, stamping with my hand-carved stamps, and randomly making marks with paint markers. 

I did something a little different this time, though. Instead of thinking up poses on my own, I grabbed a fashion magazine and flipped through until I found images I liked. I wanted to show you, also, that you don't have to perfectly copy a reference image....interpret them through YOUR style and allow them to influence shape and form. Are these amazing drawings? No. But they're how I like to draw, lately (with the thought that I'll fill in the facial features at some later point, except find that they're incredibly expressive as is). 

I also roughed in their hair with some Distress Stains. I've found that, with the backgrounds being random and the colors I add being SO fragmented, that the shapes of the girls can get lost. So I figured this may help them remain strong silhouettes. 

Of course, I work at the same time on canvases. The journal pages are supposed to catch extra paint, but end up being focused on just as much as the paintings! 

And there is before and after! A LOT of stuff gets covered up as I work. Sometimes, I let background elements show through, and sometimes, I keep adding layers until I fall in love with the canvas. I adore this little 8"x8" painting (which is available as part of my garden series!). 

And here's how the journal pages turned out! If you could see me, you'd see me swooning! I just...I can't believe how much I love what I'm painting lately....I've never been this in love & excited before!

...but not everything works out. I kept layering on this canvas and just couldn't get into the right flow. The colors weren't working, the shapes weren't helping, and I started getting frustrated. And that's okay! I know that I can come back later and start painting and still create something wonderful. Just scrape off any wet paint and leave it for another day....

Here's my worktop with drying paintings & a couple of finished ones. And of course, my giant journal catching leftover paint!

I don't do this much every day -- maybe twice or three times a week if I'm lucky, but it fuels everything else I do. This picture makes me happy....I finally am falling into my own style and colors and it's so effortless and hard to do at the same time. 

This post got a little long, but I hope it showed you something inspiring! It'll take me a couple of weeks of showing my work to get the hang of it...and I hope you stick with me!

The thrill of a challenge...daily drawing = awesome!

 

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For the past 22 days, I've been drawing based on a list of prompts I wrote for 30 Days of Friendly Faces. 

I can't say they're all marvelous; there's no pressure like knowing you're supposed to be drawing an example for others to learn from. But I've always been the type of person thrilled by a challenge, and this is no exception.  

Because no one draws perfect or good every time. We all have off days. I know I do. Some of these were drawn at 11pm after a long day of errands or painting or being sick. In fact, I was really sick for five days and all I could do was one little drawing in between sleep and watching movies from the couch.  

That's the lovely thing about a challenge, and being accountable. Even when you don't want to, when you feel like giving up, you push through and surprise yourself. My little red storybook may have quick doodles, but it has 68 days of words and secrets and lessons learned and instead of trying to catch up and paint in all those days, I can paint today's, and tomorrow's, and keep going forward.  

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 (You can always join us! Start on your schedule and begin illustrating your life!)

Finding the Right Sumi/Brush-Script Brush...!

 

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I didn't know there was a wrong Sumi brush to be writing with!

You see, years ago, when I first saw art Journalers writing with Sumi brushes, I hit my local art supply shop to grab one. The ones I found had brushes about an inch long and cost about $3-5. But when I got home and started working with it, I found it hard to work with because the brush didn't really maintain the tip after the first wide swirl of a letter. I thought I just needed more practice, and have been doing so ever since. 

And have been for ages. Practicing, that is. But I'd still get frustrated. That is, until today.  

You see, I saw a few pictures of some artists working, or just their supplies, and wondered why my brushes were shorter (both the brush and the handle) and didn't have a little loop at the end. So I took to the internet and soon found out there was a whole world of Sumi brushes I'd never researched!  

I found one on Amazon that wasn't too expensive (and had a great review) and bought it during a bout of insomnia gift card shopping. This is the one I bought.  

The difference is night and day! 

This one keeps its shape after you do a deep, thick curve. It is easy to write with. I got great results after my first try and ended up spending a little more time than I budgeted for experimenting today. 

I used India Ink since I didn't want to mix up any gouache, and worked on cardstock and newsprint. A bunch didn't work out (I would run out of room on the paper or just write words too big). I usually work by loading the brush and writing the WHOLE thing first, and then go over each word/letter slowly. This works great for me and my shaky hands! 

I'm super excited to dive into my new work now that I have a proper brush! I already sold one of the pieces I shared on Monday! Woohoo! 

The one on the far left was the first I did, which is why 'you're' is so much bigger than the other words!

The one on the far left was the first I did, which is why 'you're' is so much bigger than the other words!

I made B&W crops of the two quotes from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I've been connecting with a lot of spoonies on Tumblr and wanted to make pretty things for them! And if you haven't read that book, DO. One of the best books I've ever read...and the movie comes out soon!

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