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!




Tuxedo cat rests after a hard evening’s work creating his masterpiece entitled Making My Mark on Mom’s New Couch.  This particular work of art was created by napping on a Sharpie pen that was accidentally left uncapped and unattended.   Always the art critic,  I tried unsuccessfully  to ‘erase’ the unwanted drawing.  It’s not going anywhere, however so for now I will try to appreciate it’s classic simplicity.  Maybe one day I will grow to love it…..or just turn the couch cushion over.

Daily rituals

Productive people say it is highly important to have daily rituals to get you ready for an awesome day and keep you motivated.  I have a few already, my morning cup of tea and ‘beddy-bye’ tea/reading at night to help me sleep.  This year I have resolved to read….


…every day to keep myself inspired and motivated to create, but I wanted something more.  I have always admired artists that keep a running sketchbook of their daily adventures and  travels.  My mundane adventures never seem very sketchworthy and drawing/watercolor are not my forte.  So today I signed up for a Sketch Book Skool course that I found out about from a blog post from Danny Gregory .  I’ve been an admirer of his work for years and he’s teaching one of the modules.  How did I not know about this skool before?!  I can’t believe I just barely got in the class before it starts on Friday!  I will learn not only how to keep a sketchbook but also how to build a daily art habit.  I’m so excited I can barely contain myself!  Stay tuned for sketchy updates…..

Santa’s Workshop 2015 Collection

Since I don’t have any current projects running…..drumroll please… are the results of Santa’s Workshop 2015!  Perhaps just a snippet of what I’ve been doing and trying….succeeding and failing at.  Painted boxes were easy and fun.  I tried out metal stamping for the first time….but the real fun was all about the steampunked nerf guns!  I’ve been fascinated by steampunking for quite some time and this is my first crack at it.  I definitely want to delve more into the steampunk era, as well as making use of my new metal stamps with some jewelry projects.

Welcome to 2016!

 And it starts!  The year of the blog.  First let me introduce myself.  I am KristyMichele, artist with a day job, obsessed with all things creative.  I am most comfortable with my oil paints and a good landscape shot.  This year I will expand my painting skills, learn new art forms, blog about my dabbles (including how-to’s for you project-hungry followers)…..and most importantly de-stress and have fun.  

This little dude is my friend and confidant….and the inspiration for the name of TuxedoCatArt… cat Sly 😽 

Are you ready to join in my journey and learn some new things?  Let’s go!