REALLY Easy Art Journal Color . . .

coneflower1 Been trying to loosen and lighten up in my art journal/sketchbook because I have run into a problem.

Since switching to the Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook with the wonderful cold press watercolor paper, and getting my magnetic watercolor kits set up, I find that I am not journaling – I am PAINTING.

This is not a bad thing, but it is very time consuming, and gets in the way of the idea of recording my little life moments.

I found my water soluble markers. They can be used as a “palette” for watercolor sketching.

I had never considered that possibility for several reasons. I used them for rough sketches in the graphic design business, but never liked their lack of blendability when applied to a page.

In my fine art, I never even thought of them because they are not lightfast. I only had them around for that huffing thing rubber stampers do, and I’ve got more important things to get huffy about. (My server was down all day yesterday. That was a huff. Hail hit my garden Friday – during the only two hours I had the protective netting off the plants in the last THREE weeks. That was a huff and a half!)

I have to have control of my looseness, of course (yes, I know that is very peculiar) but I could do something with this idea.

And I work in books now, so lightfast is not an issue, because the pages get very little light.

I got out a small piece of Sheer Heaven to use as a palette – as I do with watercolor pencils.

But, so much of the marker color sunk into the Sheer Heaven that not enough color could be picked back up with the water brush. The colored pencils sit on top of the tooth, which is why they work so much better this way.

So, I turned the Sheer Heaven over, scribbled with the marker on the slick “wrong” side, and picked the color up with the water brush.

It worked GREAT and the best part is that this is a way to re-use your Sheer Heaven pieces left over from transfers, because you are using the backside. AND, when you are done painting, you wash the Sheer Heaven off under a running faucet, dry it with a paper towel, and it is fresh and clean for the next round. I LOVED this. Now, could I make a decent illustration this way? coneflowerpage I first sketched a fantasy Cone Flower from memory – and did not remember the petals are pointed. Oh well.

Then I got out the beautiful pink Cone Flower I bought at Lowes the day before and sketched it – a blossom and a leaf and bud. Love the name of this hybrid – “Butterfly Kisses”.pink-coneflower2 Isn’t this beautiful? Lowes had red ones too. I might have to get one.

The markers don’t have to be expensive. I have a set of 50 made by Crayola, that cost me $6.99 after coupon at Hobby Lobby. Sargent is another cheapo brand.

Expensive is not necessarily better in this case. LePlume, and Tombow, have much more pigment, but they don’t flow so well with this technique.

I have a set of 100 Fibracolor markers I like best that cost only $22. watermarkers I used a combo on my Cone Flower page.

Triplus markers by Staedtler are great and I wish they came in more than 20 colors – but you can mix extra colors right on the Sheer Heaven.  They also don’t seem to be available anymore.

All you need for this journaling experience is a pencil (and eraser), Pitt Pen, Water Brush, a piece of used Sheer Heaven, and a few markers. Plus your journal, of course.

If you don’t have these markers around, your kids or grandkids do. And I know you’ve got some used Sheer Heaven to recycle. Give this a try. I think you’ll like it.


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12 thoughts on “REALLY Easy Art Journal Color . . .

  1. Elaine Gongora

    I have this beautiful set and never used them, like for years. I bought them because the packaging was so great. Guess it’s time to start journaling with them.

  2. Bonnie

    Jessica, Where did you get yours? At Dick Blick and Jet pens the have the fine tip .03.
    Is this what you are using?

    Thanks. I love your blog so much! I am a regular viewer.

  3. Barbara

    Tim Holtz Distress Markers are really nice watercolor markers. There are 49 colors now and they are softer colors than most markers. You can buy different size sets or one at a time.

  4. jessica

    That is good to know. I was not aware that they were water soluble. I LOVE those subtle colors!

  5. jessica Post author

    This is weird – I think they discontinued the brush tip (1.0 meter). The Fineliner with the .3 tip, which is available all over, would be the same ink but you would have to scribble more.

  6. Diana in Texas

    How creative. What’s old is new again! I love watercoloring and must try this. Thanks for all the comments as well.

  7. Bonnie

    I just tried ‘watercolors’ on Sheer Heaven and it is sooo lovely. I think that is all I am going to use from now on!! Looks so velvety. I used a cheapish pan of Pelikan paints and the skin tone was flawless. NOW I will be actually using this fabulous paper (?) instead of hoarding it. Can one call this stuff paper? I also found that it dried really quickly and one can also use a heat gun if you are antsy pantsy like I am.
    Jessica, I love this stuff!!!!

  8. jessica Post author

    I think you will love it, Diana.

    The funny thing is, using watercolor on Sheer Heaven was the second reason for its existence, After making the “underwear for my luminarias in the 90′s, I next wanted to dump the “outerwear” of handmade paper and paint right on the Sheer Heaven with my watercolors. It was that process that woke me up to the possibilities of ALL media on the “paper” (we may as well call it paper, right?)
    The Sheer Heavenly world was all about that until that transfer discovery by Ann Lloyd!

  9. Nan Daly

    HI, Jessica, Just a note in response to your “drawer with the not thought about stuff.”I’m sure we all have one. I took an online class with Jane Davies where she had us drag out every single mark making tool we could find in our studios and then make sample sheets with notes about each. What an archeological dig! I found all sorts of things I had forgotten about for 20 years, and, like you, had never realized their potential. Now I will add “marker painting” to my sample sheets so I won’t forget!

  10. Jeanne

    Another great posting! Got to see beautiful photos and watercolors, and I learned a lot about different brands of watercolor markers. AND I learned yet something else about using Sheer Heaven!

    jessica, as a subject for Whatever…Whenever, would you post the whole story of Sheer Heaven? I am fascinated about the material and the bits and pieces you have shared, but I want to know more. You may have done this before, but I haven’t seen it. I’m sure I’m not alone with this request!

  11. jessica Post author

    OMG Nan – if I had to make a sample page of every marking tool. I don’t think anyone would ever hear from me again!

    I just might tell the story of Sheer Heaven one of these days, Jeanne. It has certainly been a long and interesting road.

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