Getting Skool’d

Learning to art journal……..

Well it’s been three weeks and I am halfway through my first Sketchbook Skool course called Beginnings.  Did you followers think I fell off the face of the Earth?  Nope!  Just learning and sketching and studying and Instagramming…..but I figured I would stop in tonight and write about what I’ve learned so far.

In Beginnings, we are learning how to start a daily art habit and keep a sketchbook.  Art journaling is actually a fun and therapeutic way to chronicle the events of your life… the more adult and sophisticated version of my gossipy teenage diary.  😉

For those of you interested in starting your own art journal, here are some motivational tips:

  1.  It’s okay to sketch mundane objects or log the details of the boring details of life.  Life doesn’t have to be exciting each and every day to create a daily art habit.  Just start sketching….anything that catches your fancy!
  2. Make a habit of it… may feel critical of your drawings or paintings at first, but stick with it….you won’t regret it.  As they say, practice makes perfect…..and even if it doesn’t, who wants a perfect sketchbook anyway?  Mistakes make your sketchbook better….more real…..more uniquely YOU.
  3. Don’t pressure yourself.  If you skip a day or a week, don’t beat yourself up.  This is supposed to be fun and a way to de-stress……so have FUN!  If you start a journal and find you hate it (highly doubtful….but I’m biased!), feel free to chunk it in the nearest recycle bin or dumpster <cringe>.
  4. If you do love it, take your sketchbook and at least a pen with you at all times.  You never know when the perfect opportunity will present itself…..which brings me to…..
  5. Sketch in public!  Sketching in public can be intimidating at first, but I can promise you that most people will either be curious and impressed or too busy to even notice.  I like to keep my phone with me in case I can’t finish a sketch and need a photo reference to work on it later.
Have I lost you yet?  If not, let’s move on to some more technical skool-type stuff:
  • A sketchbook.  I like using a 5.5×8 inch bound sketchbook.  I feel cramped using something smaller and anything larger isn’t portable enough for me.  I really like my Strathmore Hardbound 500 Series Mixed Media Art Journal.  The pages fold reasonably flat so that you can sketch across adjacent pages and are thick enough so there’s not much bleed-through.
  • A pen.  Preferably a waterproof permanent pen like Faber Castell Pitt artist pen (superfine nib) or Sakura Pigma Micron in 02 or 05.  A lot of artists, apparently swear by using just a Bic ballpoint pen.  I’m not a big fan of ballpoint pens, but to each her own, and on the plus side, Bics are incredibly inexpensive and easy to find.  I use a Sharpie pen in my planner notebook and occasionally use that to sketch as well….also easy to find in any Walgreens or Target.
  • A small set of watercolor pans or a small set of watercolor pencils.  I have a Windsor & Newton Cotman pocket sketchbox, but I prefer my Derwent Inktense set of 12 pencils.  I find them easier to carry and I can use them dry or wet.  Sometimes if I am feeling rushed for time or don’t want to deal with watercolors in public, I color in parts of my drawing with these pencils, then add water to them later to create a wash or brighten the color.  Faber Castell also makes good watercolor pencils.
  • A small round watercolor brush and container to hold water.  But better yet…..there are these nifty things called waterbrushes.  [—I literally just discovered these….and I call myself an artist!….for shame!]  They hold water inside and with the press of a button or tiny squeeze of the reservoir they dispense a small amount of water, eliminating the mess of a container of water.  Brilliant!!  I like to keep a tissue or small paper towel handy for clean the brush tip or soaking up extra water when I accidentally add too much to my drawing.
  • Optional but for an added security blanket: a standard no. 2 pencil or set of sketching pencils and eraser.
  • Completely unnecessary but I carry these sometimes:  a brush tip marker for bolder lettering and painterly swooshes (I like Sakura Pigma brush marker), and a white gel pen for highlights and layering writing and designs over watercolor  (mine is Sakura Gelly roll).


Okay artists…..enough for today.  Now go drag out your supplies or shop for new ones and meet back here next week for Getting Skool’d part 2.  Cya soon!




Author: tuxedocatart

Worker bee by day.....runner, fiddler and 'jack-of-all-trades' artist by night, craving to learn all I can about whatever art form I'm obsessed with at the moment. I love landscape painting, making paper flowers and general crafting, though my interests tend to change with the wind. I'm known to browse Etsy, Hobby Lobby, and the arts/crafts/photography sections at B&N for hours looking for the perfect new project or three. Some say I have too much time on my hands. Others say I have too much going on in my life. I say bring it on!

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