A little while ago I came across a class over at Creative Bug that really inspired me to get back into playing in my sketchbook! I was looking for a fun art project that my daughter and I could work on together and discovered Lisa Congdon’s wonderful Sketchbook Explorations courses. They have really inspired both of us to start playing in our sketchbooks, in fact my daughter has nearly filled hers with doodles, patterns and drawings over the past month!
It has been really freeing for me to just play with colour and pattern and shapes, without feeling that I need to make something finished (something I always struggled with when at college!) or make something to turn into a product for my shop. I had got out of the habit of using a sketchbook just to explore ideas and I am really happy to have been inspired to take it up again!
As a result, I’m making sure that I make time each week to devote to just playing about with colour and shape and relaxing with my pens, paints and sketchbooks!
I’ve also been inspired by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s approach to her Art Journal Everyday project, where she encourages setting aside small amounts of time every day to create. I’ve been enjoying grabbing ten minutes here and there to work in my sketchbooks, maybe laying down some watercolour circles one day and then coming back to it later in the week to ink over. I’m thinking of my sketchbooks almost as an art journal project – it’s more about the process of playing with ideas and materials than the finished result!
If you are interested in drawing, surface pattern design or just spending some time relaxing and getting arty with a handful of basic materials I would strongly recommend taking a look at these classes: Sketchbook Explorations and More Sketchbook Explorations. If you are interested in seeing more of my art journal experiments, you can follow along with my sketchbook spreads over on Instagram!
I used various pens and markers that were lying around my studio for this project, for me it was more about experimenting with colour and line and following Lisa’s prompts than using any particular products. Having said that, I always enjoy discovering what materials other artists have used so here’s a quick list of what I used for this project:*
Paint and brushes:
- Windsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours: I have the Studio Set that includes a handy fold-out palette for mixing Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Pentel Aqua-Brush: my to-go brushes for quick and easy watercolour washes! (ideal for travel too!) Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Daler Rowney Graduate brushes: good quality affordable paint brushes that are great for experimenting with paint techniques Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook: really thick, smooth paper that will take lots and lots of paint and ink! – 270 gsm white paper Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Moleskine Sketchbook: smooth paper, lay flat sketchbook (portait) – 165 gsm off-white paper Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook: lightly textured watercolour paper sketchbook (horizontal) – 200 gsm white paper Amazon UK | Amazon UK
- Posca Paint pens: opaque paint pens that I don’t get the chance to use very often in my day-to-day work but that I LOVE to play with! Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Koi Brush pens: water-based pens that give a lovely textured colour Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Promarker pens: my go-to markers for my design work, great for creating both flat washes of colour and textured / layered effects Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Staedtler Triplus fineliners: great for adding tiny bits of detail here and there over other layers of colour Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Letraset Aquamarkers: water-soluble markers with a bullet and fine tip nib Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Sakura Gelly Roll gel pens: my favourite gel pens! I have a mixture of the classics, glaze, moonlight and metallic versions Amazon UK | Amazon USA
Black and white pens:
- Sakura Gelly Roll medium gel pen (white) Amazon UK | Amazon – USA
- Uni-ball Signo pen (white) Amazon UK | Amazon USA
- Pigma Micron fine liners (black) Amazon – UK | Amazon – USA
- Uni-Pin fineliners (black) Amazon – UK | Amazon – USA
- Rotring ArtPen (black) Amazon – UK | Amazon USA
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