Completed Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Journal and Flip-through

I’m having a bitter-sweet beginning of May.

I’m supposed to be in Hawaii right now, visiting with friends and enjoying the ocean air.

But I’m not. I’m home, instead.

About a couple weeks ago, I contracted a nasty upper respiratory infection, and it was stubbornly hanging on. To make it worse, the more stressed I got about getting well by the day I was supposed to fly, the worse I felt. (We probably all know how well stress and illness go with one another…)

I made the difficult decision to cancel my trip at the last minute and instead use my already approved time off from work to just stay home and rest up.

It’s been a blessing in disguise. I am still shaking off the last remnants of the cold, and I was certainly verifiably ill enough on the day that I was supposed to fly to feel pretty justified in my decision to cancel my trip (the thought of spending nearly a full day of traveling in flying petri-dishes was certainly a determining factor for me to stay home.)

But, wow, I sure needed this down-time. Along with just resting and relaxing, I was able to leisurely catch up on chores and errands that had gone neglected during the peak of my illness. I even managed to transplant a couple basil starts and get my containers ready for my tomatoes.

Best of all, I had time to complete the last painting I was working on in my Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Journal (link in materials list below). I’d been working on it for what felt like at least a month (between work, other obligations, and being ill.) I’m really happy with how it came out, too.

This one has a story behind it, too. Corn isn’t exactly something I ever feel compelled to paint. I barely even eat it. But I was introduced to this type of corn, called “Glass Gem” by my work. I was actually almost given the opportunity to create the piece specifically for my job, but one of our established (and way more talented) botanical artists heard we were going to be featuring this corn and really wanted to do it, so we gave her the commission.

I was still very intrigued by the corn, however, after seeing photographs of it, and decided I wanted to do a composition just for my enjoyment. I’m very happy I pushed myself to complete the painting (it sat as just a line drawing in my journal for at least a couple weeks as it was.)

And with the completion of that painting also came the completion of the watercolor journal. Huzzah!

If you’ve read my earlier blogs, you know how satisfying it is for me to complete a sketchbook from cover-to-cover.

What’s even more great is that because I’ve had all this time off, I’ve also had time to record and post a flip-through on YouTube, plus I actually have some time to blog about it. Whoopee!

This watercolor journal took nearly a year to complete. In no small part because I obviously jump between other art projects, particularly focusing on filling up other sketchbooks, like my pocket Leuchtturm1917 sketchbook, and now my current pocket Moleskine sketchbook.

As you also know, while I love watercolor, I don’t like to be completely obligated to using just that single medium so I often work in different mediums. When I felt the urge to just do a watercolor piece, I would jump back to my Strathmore watercolor journal and do it in there (and that was also if I was not in the mood to gesso pages in my Leuchtturm1917 or Moleskine sketchbooks.)

Overall, the Strathmore was a very nice journal to work in. (I’ve just swapped over to Moleskine’s equivalent watercolor journal, and I’m admittedly already feeling a bit disappointed with the Moleskine’s paper quality in comparison – it’s far less heavy, so it warps pretty quickly. I’ve also discovered that paint easily bleeds through the binding, as well. Drat!)

The Strathmore’s paper was nice and heavy—300lb—and the binding is nice and tight so there was never any problem of paint bleeding through the binding to other pages. I actually did already purchase another Strathmore watercolor journal to work on in the future. But that will come after I finish up this new Moleskine.

It was fun to watch my flip-through, however, and see how my art continues to progress. I’ll post up a few photos of my favorite pieces in the blog, although if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen these images before.

In any case, very happy to share this with you.

I hope you feel inspired and the art brings a smile to your face!

Be sure to follow my Instagram account @kellyro77 to stay up-to-date on my creative endeavors.


List of materials:

Strathmore Watercolor Art Journal
Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album
Sakura Brush Pen
Sakura Micron Pen
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors
Mission Gold Watercolors
Daniel Smith Watercolors
QoR High Chroma Watercolors
Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Watercolors
Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
Pentel Aquash Water Brushes

Leuchtturm1917 sketchbook flip

Another six months have passed and I have another completed sketchbook flip to share!

Most of you may remember that I announced that I had decided to use a pocket Leuchtturm1917 sketchbook this time around while I participated in various Instagram challenges, and worked on my own ideas. This sketchbook contains art from #dndchallenge, #sealemon, #worldwatercolormonth, and #inktober. I really enjoyed flipping through it and seeing how my work continued to progress through the year, as well as observing so many different focuses, approaches, styles and techniques.

I enjoyed working in this sketchbook for the most part. It’s a little larger both in size and in page numbers than the comparable pocket Moleskine sketchbook, and the paper is actually white versus the Moleskine’s offwhite, cream-colored stock.

The only real downside I found to the Leuchtturm’s paper was that it did not interact well with wet mediums. I tried watercolors, Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay India Inks, and Faber-Castell Gelatos in it and I had issues with the paper absorbing the wet medium quickly and bleeding through. Where the Gelatos were concerned, the paper pilled up when I took the approach of using a baby wipe to distribute and blend the colors.

This was all remedied in later layouts by preparing my pages with a layer of gesso if I knew I wanted to use any wet mediums on them. The gesso step was sometimes an inconvenience, however, if I was really wanting to just get moving with a painting.

That said, the paper did take well to pencil, colored pencil, ink pen, and Faber-Castell PITT artist brush pens. I just saw a little bit of feathering on the straight ink drawings, but there was no bleed-through or ghosting to be seen.

This is yet another proud moment for me—seeing another sketchbook through from cover-to-cover.

I hope you enjoy the little tour.

Thanks for dropping in to check out what I’ve been up to. Remember to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to see my latest creations.

Have a fantastic day!


Materials used:

Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Sketchbook
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors
Sakura Micron and Brush pens
Faber-Castel Pitt Artist Brush Pens
Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Inks
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
Liquitex Gesso
Pentel Aquash Water Brushes

Coptic stitch #RockYourHandwriting and #sealemon sketchbook flip through

Hi everyone!

As promised, I’ve uploaded a video to YouTube on my channel as a flip through of all the illustrations I did during the Instagram March 2016 #RockYourHandwriting challenge, and the April 2016 #sealemon daily doodle challenge.

Sit back, relax, and let the colors flow through you. :) I do flip through it a bit too fast for someone to be able to sit and leisurely read every long quote that is present. I figure if you really want to read the content, you can pause the video. Otherwise, I kept it moving for people out there who, like me, like to absorb a flip through at a faster pace.

Let me know your thoughts, comments, questions, etc.

Remember to follow me on Instagram to check out what I’m working on currently!

Art Journal Flip: Dream, Create, Play

Have I got a treat for you!

At long last, I’ve finally managed to get a setup so that I could successfully film a flip-through of my first art journal.

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, however I kept running into road blocks.

The first time I attempted to film one, I didn’t have a tripod, so I held my phone in my right hand while I attempted to flip through the journal with my left. Needless to say, it was very clunky and shaky and I wasn’t happy with it. I also had not yet completed the cover design, so it didn’t feel right to consider publishing the video without the journal being complete from cover-to-cover, literally.

Second go around, I finally purchased a tripod. But darn it, no holder attachment for my iPhone. No biggie. I’ll try using my old Canon camera’s video.

Ugh! Awful!! The quality was horrible since the camera is so old. The film was grainy and pixelated. I did not want that to represent my art to the world.

Third time’s the charm!

I ordered and finally received an iPhone attachment for my tripod, and at long last, I was able to film a high-quality, non-shaky video of my first art journal. Hooray!

I love watching art journal-flips. Probably because I get saturated with a lot of ideas all in one sitting.

I start the flip with a little tour of the cover design. I give the stack of bulky pages a little attention, as well. I can’t explain it, but I love seeing all the stacked, colorful, bulky pages of a closed art journal. It creates some mystery and I find I then want to poke around inside to see what’s creating all the riot of colors.

Once I open it up, you’ll see at the beginning of the journal that the art is very sparse. This was back when I was doing some half-hearted doodling and sketches in it when I first got the journal back in 2008. You’ll even catch a glimpse of my early affinity for lettering.

Once we’re past that, however, we step into the real meat of the journal, which comprises of my works from June 2015 through July 2015 where I challenged myself to complete a single layout every day. I didn’t manage to get one in every day, but it was pretty close. And that exercise is what catapulted me in to my current love for art journaling and likely created the art beast I now have inside of me that demands to be “fed” with creativity.

Unfortunately, I completed this journal before I began my blog, so there may be some layouts you see in there that have never made it here with full how-to descriptions. At one point I did a little back-tracking and back-posted some of the layouts. But currently I have honestly forgotten all the steps I took in those earlier layouts, so their creation from start to finish shall have to remain a mystery.

I decided to go the route of just using music. No commentary. Not comfortable doing that just yet.

I have to next figure out how to get my Canson journal filmed. It’s much larger than this Moleskine journal, and my workstation doesn’t really have a lot of room to accommodate as I have it set up currently.

One video at a time for now.

I do hope you enjoy the little tour. Please let me know what you think.