PERFECTLY IMPERFECT-I may not be the best at what I do, but Nobody has MORE fun trying than I do! :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quirky Art Journal Sketches/Technique

I had some interest in how I do the quirky journal sketches, and I finally got time to post it. First, let me say that I learned the technique from Judi Russell, whose link I followed from Megan's post on links that she had discovered on Just Be Connected a few months ago.

Judi had a page teaching her technique on her website. She has recently taken it down, but she has a gallery of her paintings and journal entries (drawings and writings), which is very interesting. Some of her paintings derived from her art journal drawings. Visit here to check out her journal pages.

I don't have permission to write her version here, so I'll show you what I learned and took from her page. I appreciate so much her sharing the technique, because it has been so much fun for me, plus it's really helped me to loosen up and enjoy drawing. You don't have to worry about everything being "correct". Just go with it and have fun if you decide to try it.

Judi does three pages of stream of consciousness writing first to clear her mind and prepare her heart before she starts drawing the shapes, which would really be helpful, but I tend not to do that because of time. It would make it more meditative.

Okay, here goes: (my version)

Step 1:
Close your eyes, try not to think about what you're hand is doing, and with a pencil start drawing shapes, lines, etc. very lightly on your paper (dark enough to see, but not dark enough to be confusing). I've found that smooth paper, like sketchbook or journal paper, works best for me for these sketches. I tried them on watercolor and textured paper and the doodle lines were much harder to see, thus making it harder to pull an image out. All of my quirky sketches start out like the example above, just shapes jumbled together.

Step 2:
When you're finished open your eyes and look at your shapes until you see an image emerge that means something to you. Turn the page around if you need to. Sometimes an image will jump right out at you yelling, "Here I Am!" and sometimes they play hide and seek, taking a little longer to emerge.

When you find the image go over the lines and make them darker with your pencil. You can enhance the image by adding a face, feet, legs, whatever. If a line suggests something that you think it needs, draw it. I tend to leave as many original lines or shapes as I can, just like I find them.

Step 3:
Once you have the drawing like you want it, go over the lines with an ultra fine black sharpie. Write down any words, phrases, titles as they come to you while you work on it. These can be added to the sketch.

Step 4: "Magicians and Levitation" (colors are better in person)
Use watercolor pencils to color it in. Then take a DAMP brush and go over the colors to make them pop. You can use the sketch for ideas and you have a pattern to transfer to wc paper, canvas, etc. to do a finished painting if you want.

Step 5:
Write about what the image means to you or what message you get from it.

This is kind of a condensed version, but these are the steps.

Some of the images are more realistic, some of them are cartoon like, some are magical, fantasy, or whimsical, but they've all been a lot of fun. Kind of like Forest Gump's chocolates. You never know what you're going to find. :)

Sometimes I leave all the lines in so it looks like patchwork or stained glass kind of and sometimes I don't, which is why in the ones I've shared here and in previous posts you can see the pencil lines both in the image and background. Since they are journal sketches, and not finished paintings, I feel free to do that.

It's kind of like solving a puzzle and winding up with your own original coloring book. Plus it's gotten me into the habit of doing at least one drawing daily, thus exercising my imagination and drawing skills, and I'm much more relaxed with wc than I was. The added bonus is a ton of ideas for canvas paintings and short stories. :)

I hope you will try it at least once. If you do, let me know. I'd love to see what you come up with. I warn you though. It's kind of addictive once you get started. :)

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