Hello friends, artists, creatives, journal keepers and small business owners. This post I'm sharing is focused on art supplies and specifically on sketchbooks. But before I get into the specifics with my recent experience, I wanted to share with you my sketchbook story.
I've been hearing for years that every artist should have a sketchbook. And I have often seen sketches as examples from those given where I have run into this subject matter. I have never done much sketching, the type of drawing that is rough, with no erasing, etc. That approach, to me, has always felt awkward and pointless, like, what am I going to do with this now that I've sketched it?
Of course, as I have grown as an Artist and have seen work over the years, I understand that sketching is like studying for the Artist. It helps the artist become familiar with the subject matter they are working with. Going from finding the subject, to experimenting with different compositions, and then planning the colors, medium and approach for a final work of art.
This has not been my experience until recently. Up to that point, I always replicated from images with my pencil, colored pencil and other mediums I've learned and worked with. Then, once I discovered watercolor, my approach has always been intuitive, rather than planning the composition ahead of time. This intuitive process requires a lot of trust in my own instincts and being willing to take risks when feeling uncertain.
In my recent Artistic work, I have had several focal points and mediums I've tapped into: fashion illustration, hand lettering and illustration, and creating designs based on subject matter important to me.
So, I have come to appreciate the essence and purpose of a sketchbook as I tap into different possibilities with fashion sketching, determining the subject matter in a new design that I'm now sketching to see where the different parts will fit together, as well as making decisions about what type of lettering to use when crafting a header for my blog or creating a new design for a new series in my art store.
Sketching has become a more primary focal point for me as an Artist and Designer to help me work out the essence of what I want to create as well as the specifics of how I want my design to look aesthetically.
In my recent Artistic journey, I completed a previous sketchbook that I've used for a couple of years, filled with headers and hand lettered artwork that I have used and continue to use on my website/blog, in my marketing on social media representing my products and services plus the JOY Design Series that are now available in my Art Store. (I now offer that same service to small business owners with Dawn's Dynamic Designs: Hand Lettering and Illustration.)
Since I completed the sketchbook recently (see image on the right below), I decided to pull out the next sketchbook that I had stocked in my studio. I sketched out my 2nd design in my Lyric Line Series and began to fill it with color. But unfortunately, the quality of the paper in this other sketchbook was thinner and did not produce the smooth look once the color was applied. Of course, since this design would be scanned, I tested it out and I wasn't pleased with the result. So, what to do?
Should I look for another sketchbook that would match the quality of the previous one or try something totally different? I decided to look for the UPC code on the sketchbook I had filled and found it on Amazon. Yay! I ordered another one right away. But I also ventured out to an art supply store and picked up a set of marker paper from Strathmore (my favorite brand for creating watercolor paintings), since it was markers I've been working with to create my Hand Lettering and Illustration.
This past week, after getting the marker paper and ordering a new sketchbook identical to the one I just filled, I decided to start with the marker paper for my next Lyric Line design (a series of art I'm creating based on lyrics I've written over the past few months).
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I'm excited to try this new product of marker paper to see what the difference is with the medium I use to create Hand Lettering and Illustration, whether the color is more vibrant, how smooth the application is, and if I'm pleased with the final result, as much if not more so, than previously. (I also decided that the other sketchbook will work great for writing and pencil work.)
It sometimes takes experimentation to determine what works for us as Artists of our Lives. When something doesn't work, we can appreciate even more what does work and relish the qualities of what we love as we determine our next steps, our steps toward creativity and JOY.
Have you experienced using one product, switching to something else and then deciding to get the original product again since you liked it so much? Detail this experience, comparing the two, and relish your appreciation for what does work for you.
Art Journal Prompt:
Create a spread showcasing the aesthetic of something you really love that you use all the time. Try to get below the surface and tap into how it makes you feel.
Using your favorite writing implement, doodle the words that describe why you love this item so much and why you keep using it.
If you would like to read previous blog posts:
Catch the replay of Andrea Lewis interviewing me for Heal Past Wounds and Get JOY Back
Book Review on JOYFul by Ingrid Fetell Lee
Please note: The links on this page may be affiliate links for products I use.
Copyright 2019 text and header by Dawn Herring
I can't believe it's that time again: My year in review with 2017! Where did this year go?? I have no idea. Time stands still for no one, as my Mom used to say. Now I clearly see why she said that. And then some.
Of course when you have responsibilities and others to care for and connect with plus staying busy with creating and finding joy, time sure does fly by!
And this year has been eventful, and I have lots to share. So I Shall. Ready?
Where shall I begin? Usually, Journaling comes to mind first. So I'll start there.
I am an avid written journal keeper and have been for many a year (30? I'm not sure; I think I lost count, as well as with how many filled journals I have. *wink*)
This year I continued my daily written journal entries. Up until September, I was doing a.m. and p.m. entries. Once the new school year started up and I had an earlier wake up time, I found myself forgetting to write in my journal since my a.m. responsibilities side tracked me. I was shocked I had let it slip! So I took a closer look at my practice, and after engaging with a live journaling event hosted by another avid journal keeper, I determined to ONLY JOURNAL in the a.m. if I really want to, like if I have something I want to say.
One thing I learned in taking a closer look at my a.m. journaling practice was my redundancy (which I spoke about during our JournalChat Live in November). I found myself repeating things from the night before that weren't necessary. Why do this? I asked myself. So I gave myself permission to let go of the a.m. entry unless I felt drawn to write. And so far, I've only indulged once or twice in the a.m. and most times, it's been on the weekend, when I'm relaxed and not in a hurry. Lesson: let go of what is extraneous or what isn't working. No need to feel obligated! (This is HUGE for me as a journal keeper.)
I do continue to create evening doodles every day to honor my day's experience and still find it engaging, fun, and relaxing, giving myself space to play with design, color and texture with my watercolor markers and artist pens. You can view many of my doodles on my Instagram account and here.
Also, I created my own designed Planner Pages to change things up with my journaling practice, but I found that printing them out, hole punching them and using them became more of a chore rather than a JOY. OY. So, I continue to write in my blank journals as always and plan to get more. My goal is to always have a quality white blank paper to create my doodles on; that's one of my reasons for loyalty to the empty sketchbook as my primary journaling tool for entries.
As for JournalChat Live for all things journaling of which I host on Social Media, I decided to change things up and go LIVE ON VIDEO in our JournalChat Live Facebook Group which went from Public to Private this year! Yes! We had a delightful time in November as we talked about How to Keep Things Fresh with our Journaling Practice; I also provided special prompts for us to play with during our time together, which made it even more special and fun! I plan to host JournalChat Live in this group in the coming year of 2018! Do join us if you haven't already!
Speaking of going LIVE on social media, Next up I will share with you something New I started on Facebook called JOYFest, where we gather together to share our JOYS with one another, thus making the World a Better Place. We had our Christmas Edition on 12/7 and had a blast sharing our Greatest JOYS of 2017! You can catch the replay here.
Our next JOYFest will take place in our new Private JOYFest Facebook Group! I decided it would be fun and organized to hold and host LIVE VIDEO events in private Group Settings to create a comfortable and affirming place to share our JOYS together! I so look forward to having YOU join us to share Your Joys in 2018!
To backtrack just a bit, I wanted to share with you the new focus I created with my website and message here at Refresh with Dawn Herring. I realized that most of the engagement I experience that refreshes me brings me JOY as I get refreshed. So...in January, I went live with a completely new website with JOY as my focus, and I have had so much fun since! So now my brand reads, Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Finding JOY Takes Center Stage! I do hope you enjoy perusing all the JOY focused content and navigation as I share my JOY with you. And you can create your Own Path to JOY, which is my greatest aim for you!
Which leads me right into some new offerings here at Refresh with Dawn Herring...ready?
First up, Dawn's Life Directives and Affirmations Coloring Pages with Prompts! YAY!
Since I am an avid doodler and have so much fun creating doodles and coloring them in, I thought it would be fun to Create Doodles for YOU to color in! Using the tenants that I hold to and look to live by, such as Appreciate Your Self for Who You Are, Recognize Your Value and other self care initiating directives, I created Coloring Pages, with a word from me about each tenant and prompts for your journaling, art journaling and doodle practices...and if you don't already practice, this is a perfect place to start! :)
And if you're looking for even more prompts with a self care focus, plus some video and audio from me along the way, then my new course, 7 Steps to Creative Clarity, is perfect for you! If you ever feel blocked, bored or uninspired or maybe you don't know where to start in building a thriving, fun Creative Practice, this is why I created this course, so you can find the JOY of creating!
So this year of 2017 has been an important year for me as Creative Visionary and Guide for those who need some encouragement and feel they could use a little bit of permission to create!
And for those who like to LISTEN and be inspired, I launched my Refresh Daily with Dawn Herring Podcast! Yay! So far I've created one episode that you can listen to or watch, whatever your preference, both here on my website and on YouTube. I plan to create more episodes next year (including some interviews with others who share about their creative practice!) My purpose in creating a podcast is for those who are looking for tips and inspiration toward building an authentic Creative Practice that brings them great JOY.
Also, this year, I launched my new newsletter called The JOY Finder! I share tips and inspiring stories about how I am Finding More JOY so you can too, plus I keep you up to date on what's happening here at Refresh with Dawn Herring, including when I'll be hosting Live Events you don't want to miss. You can subscribe here and receive a gift from me, 10 Steps into JOY!
To conclude this 2017 Year in Review, I thought I would share a bit of what I've been doing in my art studio. I did take some time off this past summer, breaking the creative mold I had been in with painting with watercolor every day for three years. Once I got back into studio space, I decided to try some new things (with more new stuff planned for 2018...). I did my first fashion gouache and pen rendering of a gorgeous faux fur jacket which you can view here. Plus I did some drawings in a sketchbook of some of my jewelry. (There is one post on my Instagram in the early part of 2017 you can view.) I plan to indulge a bit more in this type of art since I enJOY it so much. I continue to paint with watercolor, working on watercolor paper at this time. Plus playing with designers gouache as well.
So there you have it! It's been a busy and exciting year for me at Refresh with Dawn Herring, and of course, it would not have been the same without YOU, my dear readers and friends. Thanks so much for joining me during my Live events and sharing your journaling and creative lives with me. It brings me true JOY in sharing with you.
I wish you the greatest and most JOY-Filled New Year of 2018; and I look forward to having Fun and Engaging with YOU in all of our creative energy together in community, thus making the World a Better Place!
May Joy Find YOU in the Most Unexpected Places!
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring for Art Header
As an artist and creative, I’m always looking to stretch myself and try new things, sort of change things up to keep me on my creative toes but not so much that I feel strained or burdened.
JOY is what drives me to pursue different paths. My curiosity gets initiated and then I eventually just MUST make space to try out what’s been in my heart and desire to do.
One of the issues I face as a artist is putting myself in a creative box, one I invent for myself, sometimes, without even realizing it. Then I begin to feel the confinement of that box, like something doesn’t feel quite right. Like my creative freedom is being minimized somehow.
We all put ourselves in boxes of one sort or another, don’t we? And often, we have no idea that we have done so.
We just start to feel restless, like something has to change, or we might just get a little annoyed!
As a painter, for the past several years, I’m delved into intuitive transparent watercolor, both on canvas and on watercolor paper.
I built myself a portfolio, both for public viewing as well as some personal paintings I have tucked away.
But, alas, I have still felt other artistic urgings begging for attention, and I think they were starting to feel forlorn that I hadn’t done something about it already!
Well, it was just a matter of time before I broke out of my transparent watercolor box and decided to try some mixed media, often a combination of transparent watercolor and gouache paint (which is more opaque in nature), as well as adding pen work with india ink.
Plus the subject matter that has been pining after me has been fashion focused whether garments, jewelry, or handbags and shoes, etc.
In the past year, I did do several pen renderings of my own jewelry and then I added a bit of watercolor marker for a colorful flair.
But recently, I decided to make space for a fashion rendering of a colorful fur jacket that I’ve had pinned to my inspiration wall for some time now.
Out came my gouache paints and my sketchbook, and I finally went to town with a paintbrush. I didn’t do any sketching ahead of time for structure or for figure work. I just started applying paint and ran with it.
After the initial gouache groundwork, the next day I used my Winsor Newton watercolor markers and Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pens for added depth and texture.
So this is basically my first attempt at rendering a fashion piece with paint and pen after many years of sketching/drawing fashions with pencil in my youth.
I was quite delighted with the result.
No, it isn’t perfect and I see my flaws. But it was a complicated piece and I’m satisfied with how it came together.
I’m sharing this with you, dear reader and friend, to show you the importance of making space for what is calling to you. Whatever it may be.
I know we all have busy lives. And we all fall into our ruts of sorts that we just naturally follow, until we feel that pining inside and finally decide to do something about it.
I’m glad I did. Yes, it took me a while from the time I pinned that image. But timing is everything.
And I did this rendering on the heels of another painting I just completed, that is a combination of transparent watercolor, gouache, and collage with card stock, which is another creative goal I have met.
Yes, in a sense, I feel like I'm on a roll with breaking out of the boxes I was in for a long time and really making space for the new.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to donate all of my time to those new ventures. I like dabbling. And I still have my go-to stippled watercolor painting I so love to do and have from the beginning of my watercolor journey that started almost 7 years ago.
My aim is to follow my intuitive heart wherever it may lead and indulge in what brings me the most creative JOY for my path.
What will your Creative Path pine for next?
Make a list of 10 ideas you want to follow. Which one is pining most for your attention right now? Start making plans to open up space for one or two ideas that you feel the most drawn to. Remember to keep it simple so it’s do-able and brings the most JOY.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Break out of your art journaling “box” and try a new approach to a spread that you’ve been wanting to try but simply haven’t made time for. See what this new approach opens up for you!
Draw a box and items in the box that that have been your go-tos, things you’ve been doing for a long time or using that you want to put aside for now.
Draw another box with the items that you are pining for or that are pining for your attention!
Subscribe to The JOY Finder here!
Get Creative with Dawn's Directives and Life Affirmations Coloring Pages with Prompts here!
Copyright 2017 Art Rendering by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2017 Blog Text by Dawn Herring
Note: The image to the left is from Elle magazine and is copyright to them. Thanks for the inspiration, Elle!
In this video I host what I am now calling my JOYFest on Facebook Live, where we can share our JOY together in community and creative conversation. I share some news here at Refresh with Dawn Herring as well as what is currently giving me JOY. I share samples of my new Dawn's Life Directives and Affirmations Coloring Pages with Prompts, as well as a peek into a new painting I'm working on with watercolor, gouache and collage. Plus more.
You are welcome to leave a comment below about what is bringing YOU JOY. I'd love to hear from you, dear creative person.
Subscribe to the JOY Finder here.
Listen to my Podcast, Refresh Daily, on SoundCloud here.
Purchase Dawn's Life Directives and Affirmations Coloring Pages with Prompts here.
I so enjoyed a Facebook Live today as we shared what is creatively inspiring us! I share about my creative practice, my painting, my music, plus news! I trust you will be inspired, and you're welcome to leave a comment on what is creatively inspiring you right now!
May JOY Find You in the Most Unexpected Places.
Dawn's Facebook Live from April 26, 2017: What is Creatively Inspiring You and Me?
I am excited to share with you my Facebook Live video recorded on April 26, 2017. I am joined by several Facebook Friends as we share what is creatively inspiring us. I talk about my FB Groups, Pages, my 21 Day Refresh Intensive Course, and I show my new painting, Phases, as well as some art supplies I use for my doodles, plus more! Thank you for watching; I hope you get inspired in your Creative Practice, whatever that looks like for you!
Here are some links for things I mentioned on the video broadcast:
21 Day Refresh Intensive Course
Dawn Herring Collection Art Gallery Fine Art Page
Your Refreshment Connection that provides links to my FB Pages/Groups and IG
My Dawn's Life Directives blog post with Audio
May JOY Find You in the Most Unexpected Places.
Hello dear Refresh Daily friends! This is my first post of 2017 after the relaunch of my new website.
Today I did my first Facebook Live video (after working with Periscope late 2015 and early 2016.) What is Creatively Inspiring You and Me? was our topic and we had a wonderful time sharing on both sides! I talk several times about our new Private Facebook Group, Your Path to Joy, plus other specific things that I've been excited about in my creative life.
The original video in it's entirety can be viewed on my Facebook profile as well.
I hope you get inspired to initiate more JOY in your life as a result of tuning in.
What is creatively inspiring you right now? Has this been repeated or is it something new? Write an entry to whatever it is, telling it what you love about it and why you want to do it again.
Art Journaling/Doodling prompt:
Use Creative Inspiration as your word prompt for an art journal spread or doodle the name of what is creatively inspiring you right now using the colors that bring you the most joy!
May JOY Find You in the Most Unexpected Places!
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring
The doodles I feature here at Refresh Daily are ones taken directly from my personal journal that I record in daily. I do a doodle every evening to honor my daily experience. I choose a word or phrase that encapsulates my day and then design a doodle to showcase it with fun, fabulous color and design, which I greatly enjoy doing.
For this doodle, Totally Unexpected, I determined the words themselves based on what came into my path that day. Most of what I experienced I didn't see coming, both negative and positive. I was challenged with some situations and yet pleasantly surprised with others at the same time. You know how life can be truly dichomatic, where on one hand, you're totally excited about one thing and on the other, you feel thrown off your feet due to circumstances not in your control.
That day was one of those days. And you know what's amazing? As I realized how tough and yet successful my day was, I was thankful to be sitting and doodling, having made my way through!
The word, Totally, was drawn with letters compressed together, with arrows aiming toward the center, to emphasize the contraction of experience. The word, unexpected, also has letters that overlap, as if to present one thing after the other, and the sense of responsibility that comes with taking care of business.
The emphasizing marks in yellow and red show the excitement of something good that I didn't see coming at all and was very glad for it.
I filled the letters in with watercolor markers, with base color and several colors for shading to give the letter space dimension.
I really like using arrows for emphasis and often fill them with stippled, colored dots for fun visual interest.
Have you ever had a day that seems totally overwhelming from unexpected responsibility and yet you had a totally surprising experience that you didn't see coming that made you elated at the same time? Describe this dichotomy in detail and perhaps, share anything you would have done differently and what you would do the same. Congratulate yourself for having successfully dealt with the challenges and for your wins too!
Art Journal Prompt:
Using Dichotomy or Totally Unexpected, as word prompts, create a spread that honors how you handle difficulty and showcase your successes at the same time.
I've been wanting to share with you something I've been experiencing in my creative practice that has given me some serious food for thought.
My Creative Practice consists of journaling, art journaling, doodling, intuitive watercolor painting, walks, and reading inspiring books as well as a deep spiritual practice that directly impacts all the other elements.
I've been keeping an art journal for five years (since 2011). I started with collage elements and watercolor, moved into stamping and a bit of stenciling, a dabble in transfers, then mostly just layering with watercolor and bit of collage to create fun, vibrant pages that speak directly to my heart.
In January of 2014, I started doodling a word or phrase that summarized my day in my evening journal entry and in November of that year, I started filling my doodles with watercolor markers.
I'm still trying to determine a shift I have felt in the frequency of my art journal time versus my daily doodling. I've tried to figure out if the energy I put in to my night doodles is "taking away" from my time at my art journal table.
I have noticed that my art journal spreads have been taking a lot longer to come together. Sometimes I'm simply not sure what the next step is or I don't have the energy/time to sit and do. I do still love to art journal, but I have noted this change in the frequency of my spreads. But another thought also occurred to me that the change I'm noticing in my art journal practice may simply be a reflection of how I am Processing what I am learning As I Create and that's why I'm not doing it as quickly. Some of my spreads have taken 3-6 weeks to complete, which has really surprised me. I still find my art journaling practice enjoyable and a great way to listen to my heart, so that's not the issue. But why the spread in time frames and lack of frequency?
So that's why I started looking at my daily doodle in the evening and how I've been making that a priority rather than my art journal practice being in its usual prominent space.
I have wondered and pondered about this for the past several months, have journaled about my thoughts on this matter, and thought I would share was seems like an apparent shift taking place in my creative practice.
So, it has given me some food for thought about the possible Shifts that can take place in our creative practice without our even realizing it at first. And how we might respond to such changes. Do we question it? Do we wonder, is this not working for me as well as it used to? Am I overloading myself? Expecting too much of myself? What's the deal?
Yes, I have asked all of these questions. And I think I've determined that it doesn't really matter how frequently I do any of my creative practices. (Although I did create a goal to paint with watercolor daily.) As long as I'm honoring Who I Am creatively every day, I'd doing good. As long as I'm listening to my heart, I'm on the right track.
These shifts may even reflect changes deep down on the inside of us, in the core of our being, showing us how we are growing and what is working for us. And that IT'S OKAY to let something we've been doing for a while not be as prominent as it once was while something else we are enjoying takes more center stage.
It's funny: I actually thought about my art journaling and my doodling competing with each other and vying for my attention. So, I suppose that's why it was sort of bothering me once I saw the change taking place. But, again, I realized, IT'S OKAY.
Our creative practice will have shifts that we create simply by following what interests us the most and what is speaking to our heart Right Now. And as we go deeper with what we are experiencing as we activate our creative center, we will notice growth and change naturally.
So, if you experience a shift in how you choose to be creative, simply see it as a reflection of Who You Are right now and just enjoy every minute of creating.
Have you ever experienced a creative shift and saw yourself doing less of one thing and more of another? How did that shift feel to you? Did it disturb or were you simply delighted with how you were spending your time? Why do you think this change took place, and were you happy with the shift?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the words, Creative Shift, create a visual that shows any changes you have experienced in your creative practice and honor those stages to show what they have meant to you over time. You can also make a spread that showcases your favorite creative practice element right now and why you love it so much.
Copyright 2016 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2016 Header by Dawn Herring
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.
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