Cindy Briggs

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How to start a travel journal or paint journal or sketch journal

Before I started painting in a journal, I was intimidated about painting something that didn’t turn out, feeling that since it was a permanent page it my journal it better be good. Once I let go of this fear and just saw it as a place to experiment and capture my journey then it started to come together.   To make it easy – minimize your supplies so it’s easy to bring them along. I can fit my supplies into a ziplock bag. Also, a smaller sketchbook can be easier to fill than a big sketchbook. 7 x 10 size Arches Sketchbook is a favorite for my personal trips and I tend to go larger when I’m teaching.   One thing I do when starting a journaling workshop is have my students put some random colors on about 4 pages. This initiates the journal and now you’ve got color on the page. You can sketch and or paint on top of this underpainting and create something incredibly unique.   travel journal,watercolor journal, How to start a travel journal or paint journal or sketch journal   Another thing I do is share one of my journals which includes paintings glued in on pages (on top of paintings I don’t like), collage or stencil on top of paintings that needed some help (you can do anything in your journal), pages with spot color, and unfinished paintings. This helps my students let go of perfection and just have fun knowing that anything goes.   IMG 6014 In a watercolor journal it helps to start with simple projects rather than super complicated. A window or small vignette is much easier than an entire hilltop village. I like using a permanent fine point pen to just get me going with lines I can’t erase. Then I add watercolor and it quickly comes together as a quick sketch watercolor. Linework with spot color is fun too. Try to connect your shapes for flowing lines and flowing colors.   IMG 8270   IMG 2474 In a watercolor journal it helps to start with simple projects rather than super complicated. A window or small vignette is much easier than an entire hilltop village. I like using a permanent fine point pen to just get me going with lines I can’t erase. Then I add watercolor and it quickly comes together as a quick sketch watercolor. Linework with spot color is fun too. Try to connect your shapes for flowing lines and flowing colors. The best tip is to just start. It’s a sketchbook just for you, and as you fill the pages you’ll treasure the experience and the memories you create.   IMG 3339 I prefer a watercolor journal with 140# cold press watercolor paper. The Faber-Castell Artist’s Pitt Pen in Fine is an awesome pen for drawing in your sketchbook or use a .7 mechanical pencil with a kneaded eraser. I use a Dynasty Black Gold 311 Quill Brush size 4 available at www.TheBrushGuys.com. For a list of my favorite watercolors, click here.      
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