My "Fun" journals

I spoke in the last post about my primary sketchbook, the journal of my day-to-day quilting work.  But I keep other journals, just as important to me as my sketchbook.  In them I sketch, paint, glue paper collages,  and make impressions of the stamps I carve.  I try to add something to at least one of them every morning, a small creative "warm up" to my day.

My favorite journal at the moment is my little sketch/watercolor journal.  I sometimes stop and sketch when I'm out on my morning walk.  And sometimes I add a little watercolor paint.  It's rather hard to show you these.  My fiber art is very abstract, and these of course are not.  They are outside of my comfort zone, which is why I think they are very good for me.  And I enjoy doing them immensely.  This is from one of my walks this week:
I sketch and paint using a Strathmore Visual Journal with 140 pound watercolor paper.

I keep one journal of painted paper collages.  I love to play with shapes and lines, and have found the exercise very helpful when working out quilt designs.   This piece is black paper on white card stock:
This is a group in brown and orange.  Must have been football season (the Cleveland Browns are my hometown team, after all):
I paint semi transparent paper with acrylic gouache in tons of colors.  After it is dry, I cut it into lines and shapes and create a design on white card stock.  I have a huge inventory of painted paper, since I only cut a bit off of each piece as I work.  I store the completed collages in a portfolio with plastic page protectors:
I turned the collage on the left into an quilt.  I plan to turn the one on the right into a piece someday.  When I feel ambitious.  It's pretty complicated.  But that is the joy of the paper collages.  I play with composition and don't worry about how I would sew it together.  I'm just composing.  It's very freeing.

I love to carve stamps out of linoleum blocks or even large rubber erasers.  When I finish, I always make a few impressions in my sketchbook with black ink or acrylic paint to check them out.  I use the stamps I carve, at least some of them, to stamp fabric dye onto the fabrics I use for my quilts.  I love subtle texture and pattern on my fabric:
I also make Notans, a Japanese pattern exercise.  Notan means "dark/light", and they are traditionally cut out of black paper and pasted on a white background.  They are quick warm-up compositions:
I hate to waste space, so there are a few stamps mixed in.  The stamps and Notans are in a mixed media journal.  Slightly thicker paper than normal, but not as thick as watercolor paper.

The hardest ones to share with you are the ones I enjoy doing the most.  For years I have done small watercolor sketches while traveling.  I have several sketchbooks filled with my paintings:
 When on vacation, I also make notes about the places we've been and the things I've seen:
 I love to sit on a rock or a bench, pull out my pens and watercolors and make a quick sketch:
And one bonus is that I sometimes have a guest artist (like my friend Elena, who was very young when she made this sketch) in my sketchbook:
My first few travel sketchbooks were on multi-use paper.  I now make sure that I use books with watercolor paper.  It works much better.

Sketchbooks and journals are a useful tool, and a great deal of fun to use.   Give it a try!


Julierose said…
Love your sketchbook/journal. I have kept a journal for years and do some watercoloring of backgrounds and then cut and pasting also..I love Tomoe River paper and make a lot of my ow books for sketching...thanks for sharing hugs, Julierose
Vera Holmgren said…
Really enjoy this post!
Yvonne Kervinen said…
Tanks for sharing Heather
Carol Trice said…
Heather, I also keep a sketchbook of my attempts at drawing with the occasional water color. In fact, January I am challenging myself to sketch in it everyday to strengthen that skill. What intimidates me is drawing people or animals. Most of these January sketches are of my dog since she won’t be offended if it isn’t a good likeness:)