Friday, January 25, 2013

Organize Your Art Techniques

Yes, I know the title of this post seems like an oxymoron. Isn't art supposed to be free and flowing? Let it go, play, see what happens. But what if you don't know what will happen? Yes, that is part of the fun, the adventure. I love to do that.

There are times when I cannot afford to do that. Literally. Like when I have some new art supplies and I don't want to waste any of it. Or when I am working on unique paper, that cannot be replaced. Or especially if I am working in someone else's journal.

When I need to know what will happen with a particular art technique, I go to my Practice Journal. That's where I play around with ideas, supplies, and questions. I record my findings in the journal and refer back to it often. (I have a lousy memory.)

A Peek Inside My Practice Journal

I use an old calendar/planner I picked up from a yard sale. I didn't do anything with the cover. I love the photo. Sometimes I feel Just.Like.Him.

Before I start, this is how the pages look. Sometimes, I glue paper onto the pages, other times, I use gesso, paint, or whatever else I am experimenting with.

On the first page, I wanted to play with a correction pen. Clearly, I needed to practice. I was so glad I did. it takes practice to get used to how the pen flows.

On other pages, I experiment with specific pens or paints. What pens or paint show up best, which ones react with water? How to they react? Things like that.

I write all over the page to remind myself what happened.

I used to get so frustrated when I used acrylic paint as a background and then couldn't find the right pen to journal or embellish. I find a lot of my supplies at yard sales or thrift stores and they don't always come with instructions or explanations. I also wanted to know a fixative did or didn't preserve what I used.

 Now, I know. I recorded it. One of my biggest questions is: How will this react with water? I experiment a lot with that question.

Different pens on an acrylic paint background and a water wash.


Playing with doodles...

And mixed media...

If I want to know how pens work on watercolor, or how different colors look in different lettering techniques, this is where I turn. First, I played. Then I added a tag to the spine, with notes.

My practice journal isn't always for recording techniques. Sometimes, I just play with my thoughts. I have this thought a lot.

This was an experiment. I was playing with some of the techniques I recorded.

I am so glad that I finally figured out how to remember what works, how it works, and if I would want to try it again. Most of these techniques I pretty much remember now, since I've used them a lot. But there are lots of other supplies I want to play with. Gelatos, pastels, the list goes on.

I'll keep all my art techniques organized in this journal, and probably start another when this one is full. 

I hope this gives you ideas for how you can organize your art techniques

Do you do something similar?  Something different? How to you keep it all organized? 
Leave me a comment, if you'd like to share. 
Include a link if you've posted about it. Thanks!

I've shared this post here:


  1. I just love these! what you call a "doodle" I call a masterpiece! :)

  2. I love your doodles! They look so fun and are so pretty.

    1. Thanks Rebecca, They are definitely fun!

  3. I love your art, even if it is "just" practice. It's nice to see someone else likes to experiment with products and see how they work together. I don't keep a journal of what I've learned, but I think it's a great idea! I'll have to start that!

    1. Thanks Morena. Keeping it in a journal became necessary when I had all sorts of paper EVERYwhere so often :)

  4. It's almost hilarious how fast we outgrow our space, isn't it?? Creativity just sparks more, and more. ;) Your space looks beautiful!!

    1. Yes, Adrianne, it is. lol I am going to have to put myself on some sort of restriction or I'm going to outgrow it again!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks! and thanks for dropping by, too :)

  6. I love all your journal pages. Make me want to get going in mine! I have only been doing some quick pen sketches. Hope your having a great week & thanks for linking up @

    1. Thanks Theresa, love your link parties!