Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sketch Journal 1

I thought you might enjoy a quick peek into my gouache sketch journal. I love seeing other artist's sketches!

I'm working in a Handbook journal that's 5.5"x3.5". With the border the painting sizes are actually about 4.5" x 2.5" in size. I'm using the plain vanilla drawing journal, not watercolor paper. I do a very light pencil sketch, then paint in gouache, as always, and add some Sharpie marker lines to finish. The idea is to stay loose and fresh.

Periodically I plan share a batch for you to see. Here's the first, painted from photos, a lot of them near home:

1. My house.

2. San Francisco.

3. We call this THE tree.

4. Where we walk near the Rio Grande.

5. A two-track in the mountains.

6. Near the escarpment behind our house.

7. My next door neighbor's front door.

8. My front door.

9. A soutwesternized version of a European photo from WetCanvas.

Honestly, they are all the same size, all are relatively squared off in shape, and all on the same color paper! It's just that at different times I shoot in different light, so things come out a bit varied. These aren't for sale, so I don't have to be as careful.

People often assume sketches are made as plans for finished paintings, but I look at these as simply a way to keep my brushes wet in a much more casual and quick way.

I hope to spend a bit of the fall painting outdoors, so I decided to use much more limited colors and experiment with an Alvin Water Color Palette I've had on hand that I think will work outside. I wanted to become familiar with using it inside first, to get some of the bugs out. I want to get a water brush soon, and I need to work out carrying water so I'll be looking for the right cup.

Speaking of bugs, I'm NOT using my beloved M. Graham gouache here, because the honey component draws bees! So the colors you see here are either L&B Linel, or Winsor-Newton gouache. (And yes, the bottom left-hand well has "white" in it. In theory.)

You see a few of my favorite brushes. I mostly use a 1/2" flat, a 3/8" angled shader, and my little #0 round for small details in color. The pens are ultra-fine point Sharpie markers.

I've realized I'm so "left-eyed" that I like having the photo or the view I'm painting off to my left. Oddly, my left eye is weaker. Maybe it's because with this eye I see shapes more than details. I'm not sure, but it works for me.

Let me know if you have any questions!



  1. What a wonderful set Deborah. I love the bright colours and the linework.


  2. Thanks, Doug. I appreciate your commenting!

  3. Love your blog, could you recommend some gouache to start with? M Graham, but what choices? thanks!!

  4. Thanks, Cathy. I love the M. Graham Gouache, of course, and I'd suggest a good range of primaries and secondaries. I'd start with Cadmium Yellow 060, Cadmium Orange 038, Ultramarine Blue 190, Hooker’s Green 108, Naphthol Red 120, Dioxazine Purple 100, Titanium White 180, and then add Cerulean Blue 080, Sap Green 174, Payne’s Gray 128, Burnt Umber 030, and Yellow Ochre 200 as you have funds. Get a BIG tube of white (or two of them), as you need to use it a lot. The Titanium is opaque, so you might also get Zinc White 205 for mixing tints. Hope that helps!


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