Mixed Media Scketchbook Cover

Working in Sketchbooks

I started using sketchbooks back in 1994 and continue to use them today. My shelves are full of big ones, small ones, half empty ones and completed ones. My first books were small and I only used them for sketching in graphite and watercolour. More recently my sketchbooks are full of all media (graphite, charcoal, ink, watercolour, acrylic, pastels and even water-mixable oil). I even paint the covers. They are great for experimenting, making marks, laying down notes, ideas and planning out paintings. There is so much freedom in using a sketchbook – since it’s just paper, I find I’m not as precious with the sketchbooks as I tend to be when painting on canvas or panels. It’s just paper after all and no one needs to see what I put in my sketchbooks unless I want them to.

The Joy of Concertina Sketchbooks
My latest enjoyment is to create homemade concertina sketchbooks in small to medium sizes using mostly mixed-media paper, but I have made some with 50 lb sketch paper. I like using the Concertinas for mark making and abstracts. I use acrylics, graphite, china markers, ink etc. and collage in these books. View Mixed Media

Concertina sketchbooks

Making My Own Stamps and Masks
Recently I started making my own stamps and masks for using in acrylic abstracts and monoprinting. I use styrofoam meat trays for my stamps and a bone folder to carve into them - they work great. For my masks I just used card stock.

Monoprinting Using Acrylics
on a Glass Plate

A few years back I started monoprinting using a brayer, open acrylics and a sheet of glass. I loved how they were totally one offs – something that could not be duplicated, but you could make a series of them by making a ghost print (pulling a second copy of the paint left over on the glass plate). I only did this for a short while. But years later discovered Gel Plates. I’ve written a separate section on Gel Plates below.

Using Gel Plates for monoprinting and creating collage papers

Last year I purchased some different sized Gel Plates for creating abstract monoprints and collage papers. I use brayers, credit cards, anything that will make marks, stencils (homemade and store bought), masks (homemade and store bought) and many other things on my Gel Plates. I even use them as starters for art in my sketchbooks. I love how easy it is to use tissue on the Gel Plates to create collage papers. When I do not feel like working on an actual full on painting, I’ll just bring out a Gel Plate create painted papers for collage. View Printmaking.