Panda Pages, and a Tip on How to Splatter Paint

Journal Pages - Watercolor & StampsPretty Washi TapePanda Pages, and a Tip on How to Splatter Paint
I made this upcoming week's pages using watercolor, colored pencils, stamps, and washi tape.
I would also give a Panda a hug if I could.  I painted her in watercolor.  

To make the splatters, you can sprinkle some salt into the watercolor while it is still wet.  
I did that in the lower left hand corner.  
Then, once everything was dry, 
I splattered a little bit of green on the right side.  
Simply use your thumb to flick the paint from your paint brush.  

Fun & messy goodness. 

Art Tip #3 - How to Mind Map

I wish I knew about this technique when I was in high school & college.  Writing term papers would have been much more exciting!

It's a creativity technique that's been around since the 70s, but I first heard about it only a year ago.

The idea behind it is to literally map out your thinking.

Our brain is wired to think in associations and connections, kind of like a spider web or branches from a tree.  So why are we still stuck taking notes with the old, linear Roman Numeral system?    

                     I.  Mind Mapping

                                 A.  Mind

                                 B.  Mapping

                                 C.  Creativity


Mind Mapping is much more fun and effective.

It's used in businesses, collaboration, psychology, note-taking, brain-storming, etc.   I personally use it a lot to journal or schedule out my week.   Sometimes I use it when I'm facing a challenge and need to sort out my thoughts.  

So how do you Mind Map?

This is what works for me:  

  1. Pick a main topic.  
  2. Draw a circle in the center of your paper.  This circle is going to be slightly larger than the other circles, which you'll draw later.  
  3. Write down your main topic inside the big circle.  Or draw a picture.  
  4. Look at your topic. What's the first thought that pops into your head? Write it down anywhere on your paper.  This is a subtopic.  Circle it.  
  5. Repeat Step 4 for any other ideas or themes that come to you.  If you have 3 subtopics, you'll have 3 small bubbles.
  6. Connect your bubbles to the main topic. You can draw a simple line or fancy doodles.  Whatever floats your boat.   
  7. Now branch off of each subtopic, and repeat the brainstorming process.  What's the first thing that pops into your head when you look at one of your bubbles?  Write it down near the bubble.   Draw your connecting branch.

Pretty soon you'll have a map that looks like this:  

It's an old journal entry.  I shared it with my husband.  He remarked, "With all of those thoughts in your head, no wonder you're ADD!"

It's one of my favorite little tricks that helps keep me sane and focused. 

Happy Mind Mapping

How do you like to organize your thoughts?

Art Tip #2

The first tip I posted was to believe in yourself.   
It might sound super-obvious, but my second tip goes hand-in-hand:

I had a long 5 year stretch where I didn't draw at all.   I was a single mom, trying hard to get my life in order.   I felt lost and overwhelmed.   The idea of having to produce something "spectacular" seemed so stressful to me at that time.  I was letting a gift that originally gave me so much joy slip away.   

But one day I had a quiet little epiphany.  I realized, "I can't call myself an artist if I'm not actually making art, can I?" 

To get back into the groove, I grabbed my trusty sketchbook and resolved to draw 15 minutes a day.   Nothing big, just a little nudge to get me back on track. 

It's been one of the best decisions I've ever made.   Seriously.  That little resolution led me to this blog and pet portraits and meeting wonderful people like you.  I have had more fun with it than I ever have, simply because I started playing in my sketchbook again.

Miriam-Webster defines an artist as "one who professes and practices an imaginative art."  I love how simple that is.   

An artist isn't someone who marches right outside and paints the Sistine Chapel.  An artist professes and practices.  


How often do you like to draw?  :)

Art Tip #1

I'm human.  I love compliments. 

"You are talented!" 

"You are an amazing artist.  I wish I could do this." 

 "That is so neat!  If only I could draw."

But, I always feel mildly sad when I hear these phrases too.  Somehow, I feel like artists are placed up on pedestals.  I don't like pedestals.  I want others to feel like they can be great at art too.  I want to jump up and exclaim, "You can be an artist with me!  You can do this!"  

I was a normal kid.  I started off drawing big-headed, goofy-looking stick figures. 

I loved coloring in my My Little Pony coloring books.  I got in trouble for scribbling on walls.  

I do clearly remember, though, the day my 7 year-old-self "decided" to pursue art.

It was a bright, sunny day.  My mom, who had gone to art school, kept her college portfolio hidden under her bed.  I knew this, so I snuck into my parents room, sat indian style on their floor, reached underneath the bed, and dusted off that giant old portfolio.  I thumbed through all of her drawing and sketches, and I sat in awe.  

With a dusty sketchbook in my lap and sunlight pouring down on me, I remember thinking,  

"This is amazing.  I want to do this too.  I know I can do this...  I'm going to be an artist."  

And that's my first "tip" here on my blog: 

I humbly offer it to you, realizing that I still have so much yet to learn myself.

Know that you will probably stink in the very beginning, no matter what you pursue.  Everybody does to some extent.

Believe that you can.  Keep going!

How to Start a Sketchbook Journal

Last year,  I made a New Years Resolution to sketch at least 15 minutes a day.

With my little resolution, I began my very own sketchbook journaling adventures.

It's a quick and easy ongoing project.

Here's how to start your own:


Begin with a trusty journal.

 Hand Book Journals

 really are fantastic.  The bindings are sturdy and the paper is nice and toothy.  The pages come unlined.

2)  Draw in your date boxes.

 Zig Writer is my favorite pigment marker.   You can sort your journal days any way you like - by one week or a few days...  


3) Start Stampin' 

At this point, I'll stamp the dates.  I might stamp some other images too.  I keep all of my stamps in a cute little tin I found on eBay.  I bought the date stamp at Staples


4)  Pick out some favorite scraps.  

I use magazine clippings (Real Simple is great) or scrapbook paper.  Sometimes I use old sketches too, like the Sunflower I'll show you in must a few moments.  After I've picked out & arranged a few clippings, I'll decoupage them to the pages with archival safe glue.  

5)  Fill in any important dates or holidays.  

(Can you believe it's almost 2012??)  


Add some watercolor

.  I'll wash in an area, or I'll paint in some doodles.  

7)  Be Happy with Your Pages!  

There you have it!  A set of sketchbook pages, ready to be filled with your thoughts & memories.  

Happy New Year.  Happy Journaling!