To Create is to Live! Creative projects keep me going throughout the week and I always keep something I can paint or sketch on my craft table so that I can work on it in my “pockets of time”. Here are my 3 favorite art projects that I work on regularly and the basic supplies to make them happen!
- Watercolor Painting. At the start of the stay home – stay healthy plan in March 2020, I came across a beautiful watercolor painting on Pinterest of a green door with bricks, flower pots and a flowering tree. I love rustic doors and this one looked like a window that I had seen a few years ago in Venice with peeling layers of paint on old wood shutters. The tutorial was free through a company called Let’s Make Art which I discovered had 3 of my favorite interests – watercolor, journaling and hand lettering! I have learned so many techniques from their tutorials and have branched out into other tutorials like Art by Paul Clark, Peter Sheeler, The Frugal Crafter, Maria Raczynska, Emma Jane Lefebvre, creationsceecee and more!
- Liquid paint: Let’s Make Art uses this paint (Dandelion Paint Co. is their brand) in their projects and sells it on their website. Liquid paints work by squirting a quarter size dot on a paint palette (I like a butcher tray) and adding a bit of water from your brush. The reason I love them is for their bright, vibrant colors and ease of mixing colors right on the butcher tray where you can make variations of the same color on the same area!
- Pan paints: I recently purchased a small set of Winsor and Newton Cotman pan paints which is convenient for painting out in the field. I think I will be transitioning to pan paints going forward because most of the artists I follow refer to these color names and it is easier to follow along. I find the colors rich and bright, easy to pick up and mix by spraying or drops of water on top of the paint blocks to “awaken” them. I have been able to mix wonderful grays and turquoise which I hadn’t managed to do with the liquid paint.
- Paper: I use 140lb. cold press watercolor paper. I have tried Canson XL and Strathmore which have both worked well.
- Brushes: Most of the paintings I do have been done using a Round 6 and Round 2. As I discover other artists, I am learning to use other types of brushes like flat, rigger, mop and fan! Another fun brush is an aqua brush. It has a small barrel that you fill with water and a paintbrush at the end. You control the water flow with a gentle squeeze of the barrel and it’s ready to use with watercolor paints and there’s no glass of water to knock over accidentally!
- Light Board: This has been a game changer for me! It’s ideal for tracing outlines that are already drawn onto watercolor paper. I can also take a photo from my phone, turn the photo into a sketch drawing with the uSketch app, print it out and trace. You can really personalize a card or art piece by painting a photo from a trip you took or a special day or location with a friend or family. Creating memories!
2. Nature Journaling. Again, browsing Pinterest, I saw a beautiful sketch of a plant that was outlined with black ink and painted with watercolor. This is my favorite method of painting, called “line and wash”, so as I researched the artist, I discovered a whole new world of nature journaling! The intersection of two of my favorite things; watercolor and nature, seemed like a perfect, creative activity! Nature journaling is done out in the field where you can observe plants and animals and directly sketch into your journal. I like to sketch in black ink, make a note of the colors or take a photo, and then paint the sketch with watercolor back at my craft desk. A great starting point is the Journaling with Nature Podcast where you’ll find the most interesting nature journalists to follow and learn from!
Nature Journaling Supplies:
- Sketchbook: I like to use a spiral visual journal with mixed media or watercolor paper. Being able to fold the book over makes it easy to sketch on one page in the field and the hard covers give a solid surface. Many nature journalers use the Stillman and Birn line of sketchbooks which have stich binding that makes it easy to lay the book out for sketching across both pages for a larger sketch. Plain paper on a clipboard works just fine, too!
- Black ink pens: I use a Micron Archival Ink 05 pen which has waterproof ink that watercolor paint can be laid over and it won’t smudge! India Ink pens are also a great choice. I just bought a bottle of India Ink that I’m planning to use with a dip pen for old-fashioned style sketching or calligraphy!
3. Hand Lettering. I love to make cards and tags for gifts with quick sketches, watercolor and a meaningful message with brush hand lettering. I learned a lot of amazing lettering techniques and styles as well as quick flower and border doodles from Amy Latta Creations! Amy has the most wonderful books that are full of instruction, humor and inspiring stories! She has many helpful YouTube tutorials and workshops to learn from.
Hand Lettering Supplies:
- Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens: I bought a set of two pens; one is a hard tip for drawing lines and one has a softer tip for lettering with thin up-strokes and thick down-strokes. These pens made it so easy to practice and learn faux calligraphy and brush lettering. Just remember they are not waterproof, so you cannot use watercolor paints over top of these pens.
- Tombow Dual Brush Pens: These come in a rainbow of colors and each one has a fine tip on one end and a brush tip on the other for hand lettering. The brush tip is on the thicker side, so they are good for larger lettering projects. These are also not waterproof, but you can blend one color into another which is a really neat feature – color a few strokes of a few colors on a plastic surface like a zip lock bag, then using an aqua brush (see watercolor supplies – brushes above), pick up the color with the brush and paint directly on paper.
I would love to hear in the comments what kinds of projects you like to work on and if you’ve tried any of my favorite art supplies!
#creativity #art #projects #watercolor #naturejournaling #handlettering #brushlettering