Tag Archives: art journals

Sketch Pack / Water Color Kit Tutorial

In my last post I included rough notes on how I made my water color kit. Here’s more detail on a simplified version, with illustrations. Hope you find this helpful! The dimensions are the same, but I didn’t cover the canvas or bind the edges. I’m using this one for my nature journal!

Water Color Kit for Half-fold Sketch Book

This kit will accommodate one or two half-fold sketch books, a small water color palette, and multiple pens and brushes.

¼ yard of canvas or denim
1 old t-shirt
10” piece of ¼” elastic
24” of ¾” satin ribbon, or a couple of old shoelaces
a ball point needle for your sewing machine (optional, but will work better on the t-shirt fabric)
safety pin for threading elastic

You may wish to rip the canvas fabric rather than cutting it for a softer edge.
All seams are ¼”.

Cut (or tear for canvas)
E – main piece: 9 ¾” x 14 ¾”
B – left pocket: 9 ¾” x 6 ½”
A – palette pocket: 10” x 6 ½”

T-shirt (see cutting layout):
C – pocket for pens: 7 ½” x 6” so that one 7 1/2” side is hemmed
D – right pocket: 6 ½” x 10 ¾” so that one 10 ¾” side is hemmed

1. Fold A/palette pocket with 6 ½” edges together. With fold at bottom, stitch along the left edge. (see figure 1).
2. Pin safety pin to one end of elastic. Thread elastic thru the hemmed edge of D/right pocket and tack or pin both ends.
3. Lay C/pocket for pens on top of B/left pocket, aligning left, bottom and right edges. Tuck along bottom of C/Pocket for pens as needed. Stitch around left, bottom, and right edges. Make additional lines of stitching from hemmed edge to bottom of C to form pockets for pens. (see figure 2).
4. Layer B/left pocket on left side of E/main piece; D/right pocket on right of E/main piece. Tuck along right edge of D/right pocket as needed. Pin in place matching outside edges. Lay A/palette pocket on top of B/left pocket with stitched side to left, a ¼” from left edge, and fold toward bottom; pin. Cut ribbon into two 12” pieces. Slip end of one between E/main piece and B/left pocket at middle of left edge; pin. Slip end of other piece of ribbon between D/right pocket and E/main piece at middle of right edge; pin. Stitch around outside edges, being careful not to catch left edge of A/palette pocket. Stitch around outside edges a second time. (see figure 3).

Sketch Book Kit

I saw a pocket water color kit by Maria Coryell-Martin on the Artist Journal Workshop facebook page and was fascinated. Her kit is scaled for a small moleskin watercolor sketch book, but I was looking for something to fit my half-fold homemade journal.  I ordered her credit-card sized palette, and made my own kit!  I’ve very happy with it so far.  It has room for two journals, or a journal and pack of additional pens as shown in the photos.

I’ve included rough directions for any of you who may wish to make your own. If you do, and have questions, send me a note for clarification.

I started with canvas as the base to give it some stiffness, then covered that with one of my favorite fabrics.  The pockets are made from t-shirt scraps for the extra give.  The large pocket on the right has narrow elastic threaded thru the left hand side to more firmly tuck in the journal.  Happy sketching!!

Spring at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

I stopped by Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens earlier this week to check out the nature journaling exhibit in their library. As always, I found so much more! I taught a nature journaling class in February with a friend at Covenant Woods, and her notebook pages are included in the exhibit. I hadn’t realized that some of my water colors are also in the video accompanying the exhibit! That was a fun surprise. In the corridor outside the library is an exhibit of recent crocheted/nature pieces by Hillary Waters.  I’ve included above my favorite piece. See her website for a portfolio of more works.

As I wondered thru the gardens, I discovered a bicycle sculpture, topped by a small pedal airplane! The mania for the UCI Road World Championships in September has started!

Flowers are beginning to bloom – dwarf irises, daffodils, crocus! Spring is here?!

Daily Art Journal Sketches

January is slipping away! I’m of two minds about that – I’d like to slow time a bit, but I’m eager for Spring, and by the end of January I’ll have 31 days of journal sketches! Here’s a few of the better ones. I particularly like the Patterson Depot that my grandmother ran for 40 years, and the birdnest that the house finches built over our porchlight last spring! I found as the month went on, I became more apt to add color to my sketches. Maybe because I’ve also been working this month on five beach themed watercolors for our local art association. I’m pleased with those pieces and perhaps will post them after I’ve shared them with the group in early February. I’m  looking forward to later in February team teaching a Nature Journaling class at Covenant Woods with a fellow CoWo family member. More on that later. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, hope your winter hasn’t been too harsh so far. Stay warm!

Slot and Tab Journaling

I’ve joined a Facebook group that I’m really enjoying: Artist’s Journal Workshop. The group favors the watercolor/sketch type of art journal that I prefer and includes many excellent artists.  One of the members, Palma Rea, has posted a daily sketch challenge for January that I’m following – see photos above.  Here’s a link for her daily prompts, if you’d like to give it a try!

In Interweave’s Pages magazine, winter 2015 issue, there’s an article on making a journal without glue, tape, or thread, called a slot and tab book.  Here’s a link with an even clearer description than what’s in the magazine. I followed the directions, and it’s very simple and quick – so I made a couple! On the second one, which I’m using for the January sketch challenge, I did reinforce the paper folds with scotch tape that are slotted and tabbed.

Paper Bag Journal

Don’t you love it when ideas come together?!  I saw on Pinterest a tutorial for a twist on making journals out of paper bags. It’s dated 2007, so you may have already tried it. The part that appealed to me was wetting the bags, then drying them to add texture.

A few days latter I was at Michaels for art supplies, and on their $1 rack found lovely embossed brown gift bags, one with an Eiffel Tower design. I’ve been fixed on that image for the past week or so, as my sister’s off in two days for a European Tour! Not me, oh well. But anyway, hmmmm…

Yesterday I tried using one of them, and a bunch of saved paper produce bags, for journals!  I just did one signature, and hand stitched to bind. I’m pleased with how they came out – main journal, and two small ones for experimenting with various media.

South to Spring – A Travel Journal

Early in April I traveled with some of my fellow retirees to Savannah, Beaufort, and Charleston for an early taste of Spring!  Trees were leafing out, azaleas were blooming and the marshes and Spanish moss added nostalgic atmosphere!

How to save the memories?  In anticipation of the trip, I put together a journal with maps and various papers – graph paper for notes, water color paper, drawing paper, plus a pocket in the back.  It worked very well for notes during the trip.  Once I got home I added photos, some water color sketches from my photographs, and tipped in more maps and brochures. I’m pleased with how it came out.  It’s been a handy tool for remembering all that we did, and for sharing the details with friends and family.