Small Signs of Spring

When art takes a backseat to the rest of my life, I find it helpful to use a grid. Setting up a framework of small squares in my journal allows me the flexibility to fill them as time allows over a period of days or weeks. I started this grid in March, knowing that a hectic schedule lay ahead. This grid started with a set of six squares per page but, as you can see, the squares can be combined vertically or horizontally to fit the subject at hand. I especially like how a grid page can capture so much of a day, week, or month in just a few small spaces.

Tips and Techniques: Set up a grid in pencil with evenly spaced squares and an even amount of white space between them. You don’t have to plan what will go in them. When you have a subject you want to sketch, choose a box and add it. If your subject is quite vertical or horizontal, combine boxes to suit the shape. You can combine as many boxes as you want, or none at all. I tend to skip around the page, based on the shapes, and outline each box at the end.

34 Comments on “Small Signs of Spring

  1. Gorgeous! And perfectly captures all of my signs of spring, too. (Though I confess to not working so hard!) Yay for phoebes and daffodils!

    • I use a Micron 02 and 005 black pen for sketching and text. I add weight to the letters for the calligraphic effect. I occasionally use a calligraphy pen, but I like the imperfect variety that I get without one.

  2. Inspiring in so many ways….including your thoughts, dates and reflections along with renderings makes the piece more meaningful and encourages me to linger there. I wonder if your birds are completed from photos you took on that day. We live in a wooded acre+ lot with many birds and animals coming through. How do you capture them so well?

    • Sounds like you have a nice property for sketching. Practice is #1 to capturing birds well. Over the years, I have also built up a decent collection of reference photos that I use, especially for details.

  3. Yes, yes indeed, all of it. It’s an art/journal. Have you looked for ramps along your stream or nearby? That would be a fun subject. Also good to eat. Thanks for this wonderful page.
    PS- Oh! the Phoebes

    • Ramps? I don’t know what those are…must look it up and then go looking. Phoebes make an appearance almost every year in my journal– I always feel like we’ve turned the corner when they arrive.

  4. I adore the tiny vignettes …each telling its own story.
    Satisfaction in small spaces. I will try this myself. Thanks Jean.

  5. Oh I just Love Love Love this! I was about to sketch a phoebe in my journal too! I was so excited to see them return. Beautifully done!

  6. I love the way in which you create visual interest in your work with shape and color.

  7. What a great idea with the boxes. Just love your artwork. Beautiful pages . ~Gin~

  8. A pictorial diary – I love it. The variety in life is celebrated – taxes and skunk cabbage – perfect! 😉 But the memorial services and the quiet daffodils too, and the bird sightings. Phoebes, snow – there you have it: Spring in the northeast! (Oh, just read the comment above – thank you so much, Jean).

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