Monday, October 13, 2014

My Sketchbook, How I do it.







































So, I'm in the 10th month of my sketchbook project. This project has become one
of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Really. I mean my husband and son
are really the lifelong part of me that is truly #1 but starting a sketchbook project has
made me a happier person and truer to my real self.
I've met so many wonderful people and have been told so many times that I'm
inspiring them, I feel so special and happy because of that.
Many, many people ask me all the time about how I do this and what supplies I use
and any trick that gets me going... So here it is.






































I use this very basic notebook from MUJI. It's approx 5.5x7.5"  It's only $4.50! The paper
quality is not that different from a moleskin notebook in weight but its a little bit smoother,
less of a tooth. It really isn't meant for detailed watercolor, the paper doesn't absorb it well,
and you won't get subtlety.






































I mainly use Windsor Newton gouache, but I'll add in Acryla Gouache or even just acrylic
paint. I'll use gel pens or sharpies sometimes. I try to do the 30 minute painting first thing
in the morning, I feel fresh and it helps motivate me for the day. I sometimes know just
what I want to paint.But many times I sit down and am completely flummoxed. I just sit
and think for a few minutes. I may pick up a vintage book of birds, old photos from my
collection. I may see something lying around and it just feels like the thing. I use flower
bouquets that I buy, or a new mug I may have gotten, I take lots of iphone pictures when
I'm out so that gives me ideas too.
I put in earphones, sometimes classical, other times current, maybe something that
makes me sing along. I'm pretty happy while I'm painting. I do a quick pencil sketch,
up to 5 minutes tops, very loosely, I decide the color palette and squeeze out the paint.
Then I put the timer on for 30 minutes
and go. I many times finish in 20 minutes or so but if the timer goes off, wherever I am,
I stop. I spray fixative on them when I'm done. I didn't the first 2 months or so and they
got very distressed looking, the paint rubbed off  the pages onto each other.













































































Sometimes the paint bleeds through to the other side. It doesn't bother me,
I just paint right over it the next day. I may paint the page a solid color and then
paint or use gel pens to draw over that but I'll also just use the colors that show in
the new painting. Most of it gets covered up anyway...
The whole idea for me is to experiment, have a good time and have a discipline.
The benefits are that I have gotten jobs from this, I have hundreds of pages of
personal reference material, I have tons of new friends, my
confidence has grown and I'm happier. I hope this helps answer some questions.
Please ask more in the comments and I'll answer them all!
you can follow all my daily paintings on instagram @augustwren and see them
on my website here.  Love, Jennifer

42 comments:

rachael said...

I *just* learned of your sketchbook project, so i am late to this party but wowowow, i love it! i've been doing some daily ink drawing for 'inktober' and have gotten freakishly attached to it...I think once October is over, I'll carry on with a sketchbook project...thanks for the inspiration!

Jan said...

I've been following you on IG for a while. How generous of you to share all the details of your practice! Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement.

Allyn Howard said...

I've been following you on Instagram and FB and like so many others have said, you're an inspiration! I was starting to get too caught up in making work look "clean" "finished", my idea of "perfect"... basically tightening up and losing that charming quality that shines through in all of your paintings. I love your color sense, too! I'm also a painter and I think I was becoming influenced by digital or vector based work, maybe bc a lot of surface pattern design seems to be done that way. I'm not sure. Now I notice your influence on other artists, including myself. The sketch/painting a day is such a great activity,keeping it casual has obviously allowed you to make some very lovely pieces. Thanks! Keep up the great work :)

Melissa said...

I love your sketchbooks so much (as you already know!) Thanks for this wonderful post sharing your process. I passed by a Muji store in SoHo on Friday morning and thought of you. :) But it was unfortunately closed (they don't open until 11)... I'll have to check it out next time. The Moleskins are almost three times as much!

I like that you do yours in the am. I am always so rushed, I don't do it then. Usually it's in the later afternoon or at night after dinner.

it really is a great practice. Thank you again so much for the inspiration!!

Lynda said...

You inspired me to start a sketchbook practice. I love the Strathmore mixed media journals. They are spiral bound and lie nice and flat. The small ones are about $5 too. Your IG feed is one of my favs! Keep creating because you are giving us all so much. Thanks for sharing your process.

Tracey said...

It is really a lovely thing, you make everyone want to do a sketchbook challenge! I think we all look forward to seeing what you do each day.xx

Faith said...

Any chance you might make video of yourself doing one of the pages? I'm just starting to use gouache and am really interested in your process. No pressure ;-) Love your work!

Anna said...

Hi! Thank you for sharing, love your sketchsbooks project and your style. Everytime I see it I wan´t to paint and make a sketchbook. It looks so nice to have it all in one place, I tend to be allover and have hundreds of papers laying around. All the best to you!

Petra Hämmerleinova said...

Dear Jennifer, every day when I open your IG page with a new sketchbook painting I feel happy. It makes me smile and often I´m wondering how you create this beauty in only 30 minutes. You are a truely inspiration for so many artists, for me. Thank you.
xo Petra

CanvasPics {Interior HeART still life} said...

How have I missed this and you? I "know" you from class but I mean your sketch practice...it sounds like a great idea and maybe I should add it to my "new" morning practice routine. Since you gave a great tip/idea I just heard of "The Morning Miracle" book and it might be of interest to you :) (per suggestion of Mati Rose)...have a great day!

jennifer said...

Thank you Rachael! I'm loving inktober too, I hope you start your sketchbook after that, it's worth the effort!

jennifer said...

Thanks for following my journey!! It's so special to me that you are interested and it motivates me!

jennifer said...

I agree about the vector work, I have that problem too. Using a sketchbook that isn't precious and beautiful also helps keep me less worried about perfection. Thank you very much!

jennifer said...

I know, last time I stopped in the store, same one in soho I bought about 4 of them, I use others for scribbling and notes and 1 is ready to take over when this one is full in a month from now. I get so tired by the end of the day I don't know if I could do it then.. Thanks Melissa for following along!

jennifer said...

Thanks Lynda! Mine doesn't lay flat, that is true.. For some reason when I picked it up last year it felt like the right one for me. It's so important to use what's comfortable for you. Good luck and have fun with your practice!

jennifer said...

Thank you Tracey! I really appreciate all the support you've given me all along!

jennifer said...

Thanks Anna! It's pretty cool to have this chunky malformed book now. I use it for color reference and ideas for other work now. It's really special.

jennifer said...

Good idea. I was thinking about that.. I have to figure out how... I haven't done it before but I will, thanks!!

jennifer said...

Thank you so much lovely Petra! I have gotten more adept at it over the last 10 months. 30 minutes is longer than you think when you take away the worries, and just put your thoughts on the paper. I'd say just start a little bit everyday it's quite addicting!

jennifer said...

Thank you! I will check out that book. I forgot to put the link to my work in the post, I will add it if you want to go see.. I hope you do start your journal, it's worth it!!!

bethania said...

I have been following the results almost daily in FB. Love them all and think you have a smashing style. Inspirational, yes, but, most of all, very authentic. It´s fressh and gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the process.

Anna said...

when the paint bleeds through the page, you say you just paint over the other side of it but won't that just make the paint bleed through the other side too? Or does the fixative prevent that? I hope I'm making sense. I love your sketchbook. It makes me want to start painting too!

Cindy said...

I had just started taking Mary Ann Moss's sketchbookery class and then I found you on Instagram. Between the two of you gals, my inspiration soared. I'm still not to the point of where I would like to be, but happy I made some progress this summer on such a lovely project. Thanks for sharing the details of what you use. Glad to know I'm not the only one that sits and stares at the blank page, not knowing what to paint. But when it happens, I LOVE the process and watching the paint, glide onto the paper. Pure happiness. Thanks again for sharing!!!!!!

jennifer said...

That makes sense.. My paintings are mostly full coverage but if a bit of the other painting shows I don't worry about it. I'm not trying to make perfect pieces. Maybe the fixative helps too...you should start, it's a fun journey!

jennifer said...

Thank you Cindy, I will have to check out Mary Ann Moss. It is a wonderful feeling when the paint glides on the paper. It's hard for everyday to be perfect but it's just showing up that counts.

emily b said...

This is so wonderful, Jennifer! I love seeing your sketchbook pages every day. It is amazing what you can accomplish in 30 minutes! What a treasure your book must be. Thanks for sharing your art with us. xo

Terry said...

Jennifer, Thank You so much for sharing in such detail your sketchbook life. I enjoy seeing your work on IG it is so un-self-conscious and that is just one aspect of your work's delightfulness. I am a painter and I have found, like you, the more consist I am in the practice of painting and drawing the happier I am. Your sketchbook project has inspired me to paint everyday if possible, to share my work with others, and to be true to what I like to paint. Thank you for sharing this beautiful part of your life. Terry Lou

Jill Howarth said...

I can't believe how small a book you are using! I would have guessed a lot closer to 8x10 or thereabout. I don't think you have any idea how influential your little project has become. I have no where near the discipline that you have (or the painting skills, lol) but over the summer, per your lead, I painted most days with my teenage daughter and we both loved it! Keep up all the great work and inspiration! best, Jill

jennifer said...

Thank you so much Emily! 30 minutes ends up being a good amount of time surprisingly!

jennifer said...

Thank you so much Bethiana! What a nice comment, it's my goal to stay true to myself!

jennifer said...

Oh, thanks Terry! All those things are so true! It's such a great discipline to do it everyday, even the bad days..

jennifer said...

Jill, you do amazing work! I'm glad you painted this summer, it's so different than using the computer and really a fun change. Hope you keep it up! Thank you so much!!

Amanda Dilworth said...

It's great to see you so inspired Jennifer. I love the more relaxed, free and loose style.

jennifer said...

Thank you so much Amanda! I think doing my sketch painting a day has really had a great positive impact on my work! Nice to connect again!

Autumn Hathaway said...

Yes, Jennifer.....you have inspired me thoroughly! Bravo girl, thanks so much for sharing.

Andreja Hotko Pavic said...

Thank you so much. <3

suzi poland said...

Thanks again for this inspiring post. :)

Victoria Zlotkowski said...

So kind to let us follow your artistic process. Love all your work! So refreshing and spontaneous.

Tara Flynn Bonner said...

The link for your sketchbook takes me to the locations of the stores. Do you have a current link where you find your sketchbooks? Thank you!!! Tara~

Farida Zaman said...

I just love your sketchbook art, in fact love all your work. I can tell it comes from the heart. You are super talented and such an inspiration!!
:))

jennifer said...

Hi Tara, I will write an updated post towards the end of the year. My blog is now on my website augustwren.com
Thanks!!!!

jennifer said...

Thank you so much Farida. You are so sweet to comment and say tha, I appreciate it!!