Illustrated Watercolor Journaling

I had the pleasure and privilege of teaching a full day workshop on Illustrated Watercolor Journaling at the Killington Arts Guild in Vermont last weekend. I’m always inspired by the creativity and enthusiasm that comes from gathering people together for a day of painting! I don’t usually paint much when I’m teaching, but I started this beet as part of a demonstration and then finished it back at home. I always aim to make my journal pages reflect something meaningful or interesting from my experiences, so I finished the page with some of the lessons and tips we practiced and a bit of my joy from teaching the workshop.


click to view larger and read the details

I brought a variety of props for people to sketch, including some beautiful beets with weary looking greens (they were gorgeous when I bought them!). And – wouldn’t you know, I spelled “journaling” incorrectly on the page—I hate that, but oh well!

34 Comments on “Illustrated Watercolor Journaling

    • They are a good match for your beastly bananas and pear! Yes, even wilted they are so interesting. I have five on my desk waiting for the next page.

    • Using Windsor and Newton permanent sap green. It’s especially good when mixed with yellows or reds or browns. Do you think yours is permanent? Or a different brand?

      • My permanent green looks like that (M Graham) but the sap green I use most is in my Cotman travel palette and it’s more toned down. Mine isn’t a permanent sap green though either.

      • I love the little box and brush and I keep it right next to my recliner so it’s always waiting for me when I have a little drawing time in front of the tv. :)) Thanks for the tip. So much to learn!

  1. How did you get two colors in your lettering…which is beautiful.

    • Hi Elizabeth- I have two brushes going at the same time, one with each color. I start with one color and then switch. If the paint is wet, you can float one color into the other and they mix– which is nice if the colors don’t get muddy together. You can also have a drier paint when you want less mixing. Think of it as a graded wash on a very small scale! I sometimes go back over the color with a very dry brush to make it more vibrant.

      • I can picture using the two brushes of color for wet & wet on the beet and beet leaves; but, did you actually paint the lettering, “Journalling,” with brushes? I thought you must have used a fountain pen or calligraphy pen, the edges are so straight and sharp. I’m wondering if you used green ink with a fountain pen or with a dip pen w/ nib and, then, floated some purple in it while the ink was still wet with a brush or using the dip pen, again. Can one use watercolor with nib pens? I LOVE your work!

      • I outlined in fine Micron 02 pen and painted the letter using watercolor brushes. I have a #3 and a #1 brush- both with very fine points that, with practice, work fine for lettering.

      • Thank you so much. I have been admiring the hand lettering and creative fonts in the sketchbook pages online over the last year. They certainly add to the design and beauty of the page and layout. Wanting to add some nice hand lettering to my sketchbook pages, I watched some youtube videos of hand lettering and calligraphy while I was waiting for your reply. I will try your technique since I have some micron pens and small brushes. Thanks!

  2. Beautiful page! I just completed a farmers market themed calendar for 2016.
    I love painting fruit and veggies! Your beet is exceptional and I love the layout.
    I would love to learn lettering from you…you are a master. Unfortunately I live on the West Coast!

    • Hi Linda Thanks for your comment. A fruit and vegetable calendar sounds fun. I’ve been practicing lettering for a long time. Wish I could come to the west coast and give you a few tips…I’ll see if I can’t do a post on lettering sometime soon.

      • I’ll look forward to your post on lettering. That would be very helpful.

  3. Jean, I wish I could have gone to your workshop! It sounds like a great success and I’m sure those 20 women were delighted to be part of it. Congratulations!

  4. Awesome as always… What a great talent you are. Say Hi to your Mom for me… Cousin David

  5. Jean, I love your sketches! Please receive it as a great compliment if I copy some of your technique and style! Ha!

  6. I am new to art/nature journaling, and my friend Valerie Gardiner suggested I pop over and take a look at your lovely blog for inspiration. So lovely! I especially like how you include information about the color palette you use – that’s so helpful. Thank you for sharing your work and approach to journaling – I’m learning a lot!

    • Glad you found your way to my blog…and thank Valerie for me! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or comment as you see fit. I’m always happy to share ideas. Good luck with your own journaling.

  7. I first misread “Killington Arts Guild” as “Klingon Arts Guild” and wondered how you could keep the attendees at bay with only vegetables. I’ve been enjoying your blog for several months now. Beautiful work.

    • Not being a Star Trek fan, I had to get my husband to translate. But I also had nature and holiday themed items to keep the 20 artist participants at bay! Thanks for following!

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE – Brilliant! The misspellings {I’d never have noticed – I’ve actually spelled it that way myself in my own sketch journal} are part of the beauty. Loving this 🙂

    • Thanks– and so glad you’ll be following. I like your motto “learning, loving, living.” Here’s to better spelling in 2016!

      • Spelling correctly all the time is overrated 😉 It’s all about getting those words out and releasing them for the world!

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