30 day Painting Challenge with Creativebug

PaintADay_1920X1080_1 I'm excited to share that I am now an instructor with Creativebug! The first class goes live on June 1 but you can start at anytime. Everyday for the month of June I hand picked an object to paint and I go through the steps with you on how to paint it. It was a great experience being out in San Fransisco at the CB offices and filming for a week. It is my first time on camera and I'm excited and nervous for it to be released into the world! They have many great classes and its so affordable to join. Click here to play along with me painting everyday. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do!


My sketchbook and how I do it take 2!

edges I wrote a blog post 10 months into my sketchbook project here. I am always asked so many questions about how I do this.. from discipline to supplies I think its fair time for an update. The earlier post  isn't all that different but I have changed up a few things.


The main sketchbook I now use is a Strathmore 500 series Mixed Media sketchbook. The paper is heavy and smooth but with a fine tooth. I love the texture and it handles the paint very well. I can use thick gouache or watercolor or ink and I'm happy with the results of all. I also sometimes use a black sketchbook so I can paint directly onto black paper. It is a Derwent, I am pretty sure this is the right one that I'm linking to here.. Gouache glows on this paper as well as using gold and white gel pens.



I still love my Muji book and I play around in it sometimes but not for this project anymore. The purpose of that was to be free and able to play without worrying about perfection. After a year of that one I'm able to do the same thing on better paper.

I mainly use gouache. I have lots of brands, my favorite is Winsor Newton but I'm a art supply junkie and its hard for me not to buy any color that looks beautiful. I have Holbein, Schminke, Linel, DaVinci..


I recently found this set of Shinhan poster paint that I've had for decades!! It was all dried out so I added water and reconstituted them.. They are so vibrant and gorgeous so I use these now too.


I also use a Sakura of America Watercolor travel set. I take this with me whenever I'm away. It is quite thick lustrous paint and Its perfect for travel and I also use it as an everyday paint if I'm too lazy to squeeze some paint onto the palette! I also add detail with ink, either Dr PH Martins Black Star waterproof ink or just lately some Black Walnut ink that a friend made and gave to me... That one isn't waterproof. I also use Bleed Proof White for details and layering over gouache.



I really love this little well palette, but I'm happy mixing paint on anything that is white.


For paintbrushes I started using Escoda Barroco sintetico after I picked some up on a trip to Spain last spring. They last so much longer than other brushes for me. I am rough on them!!! I use size 1 up through about 16. For big areas of color it goes fast to use a really big brush and the size 1 is great for layering details.


Discipline wise it has just become something I do. Some days are still hard and I don't love every piece. But I get more confident every day. I don't apologize for one that is ugly anymore.. Maybe I have a migraine, or I got a call that upset me or I just feel crappy. Its about doing it for me and not about the outcome. I usually find something in all of them that makes me happy, but if I don't I just move on to the next day. There is always the next day.  30 minutes is manageable, I can fit it in without feeling too stressed out. This is the only habit in my life that I have been able to keep up like this. I think because its the most rewarding in so many ways.


I still love this project, even on my 3rd year. I haven't missed a day! I love all the amazing support from everyone.. I wish I could respond to you all individually but it just takes so much time. I read and look at everything that comes through. I'm so grateful for all the press and the jobs and the encouragement that has come from this. Sometimes I just stop in my tracks and am amazed by the whole thing. I wish I could keep up this blog more consistently but I just get too busy and I need time to unwind at the end of the day. I hope this helps answer some questions and I'll update when I can. xo Jennifer






End of the Year Sketchbook Thoughts

9.3_s I'm not quite at the end of a sketchbook but it is the end of the year. The time we all reevaluate the year, think about the positive and negative things that have passed and what goals we want to achieve in the New Year. I'm about to embark of year 3 of daily painting and drawing. I'm sort of in shock that I've done this for so long.


There are days that I feel like I just can't do it.. I make a mess, I'm not satisfied, I'm unhappy and stressed. But every single day I get it done. Whatever happens, whatever it "looks" like is really ok with me. Sometimes just the process of putting aside any other work or commitment puts me in a happier place. Those 30 minutes become relaxing and rejuvenating. There are also times when I suffer through it. The brush isn't comfortable in my hand, I feel edgy and wrong... In a practice that is every single day there are bound to be good and bad days. You can't get around that. But as a whole, when I look back at 6 full sketchbooks and 2 in progress it's an amazing feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.


I'm thinking about what changes I want to make in my project for 2016. I'm not the type to keep doing the same thing for the rest of my life. What I do know is that I want to keep painting daily for the rest of my life or for as long as I can. I never could have imagined the positive things that have happened for me because of it. I'm not even talking about jobs, or collaborations, or number of followers. Its the personal joy of setting my mind to doing something and really doing it. I'm more confident, I'm happier, I'm busy in the way I want to be.


In the next 2 weeks before January 1 I'm deciding if I want to keep on painting in a sketchbook or move onto flat paper. There are pros and cons. I love having a book I can hold with all my work in it. It feels like a diary, a tangible thing that starts and ends. On the other hand I'm not taking them apart so I can't have a exhibit which I'd like to have. I guess I could say I'd do another project where once a week I do a stand alone painting, I'd still have 52 by the end of the year. I'd like to be able to sell my originals, I'm going to run out of room for all of the sketchbooks at some point.. I'd also like the art to be in loving homes. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I should do... Whatever it is, I do say to myself, it's my project, I can do what I want, I can switch around. The main point is that I show up every day.


Now to do the same in other areas of my life!!



Creative Style: Lauren Lowen

Today's creative style journey is with the quirky, fun and wonderful Lauren Lowen. I met Lauren in Make Art that Sells class a few years ago and now we are both represented by the great Jennifer Nelson! I love Lauren's sense of humor, her fabulous color sense and gorgeous textures. She also is a RISD grad so we have that connection too. Its fantastic to see the development of her work. She also writes very informative and interesting blog posts that you might like to check out on her website. How did you arrive at the style you working in currently?

 My style definitely took many years and phases to develop (I like to say style is like a soup- you throw many different ingredients in a pot and let them simmer together for a long time).

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Growing up, I was influenced by a lot of the comics and video games my brother had lying around in the house, as well as pop culture in general. Then in high school I discovered artists such as Egon Schiele and Alberto Giacometti. They used a lot of organic line work and abstraction in their art, which really appealed to me. Now I understand how those two interests have merged over time, but back then it all seemed kind of random.

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When I went to get my degree at The Rhode Island School of Design, I had no idea I would end up declaring Illustration as a major! The department was very broad in its approach, and it made me feel like I could explore many different creative avenues. I was lucky that the program and my instructors believed that students should experiment and try new things while they are in a classroom setting. There was never any pressure to have a “style” before graduation, because I think they were wise enough to know that so much of that process happens after graduation and through out your career. Because of this, I was always investigating new things in my projects. Mainly, I would switch back and forth between a more rendered look and another method that was based more on line work.


Many of my peers went on to illustrate and create characters for comic books and the video game industry, so I’d be lying if I didn’t say that didn’t effect me to some degree during my college years (meaning the quirkier stuff sometimes took a backseat). My peers and instructors always loved the eccentric doodles and characters I would draw in my sketchbook, but I had a hard time applying that to traditional illustration markets and my assignments.

After graduation, it was a little weird to think “wow, now I can just make any art I want to make!”. It still took some time to figure out what that exactly was, but in the end the more playful, quirky line work took over. I did mostly illustrations for books and magazines. You may think it was art for children, but actually it was more for alternative or independent magazines- clients who wanted fun art for a slightly off-beat, colorful audience.



Eventually I learned about art licensing, and I thought that was the perfect fit for my art, which was heavy on characters…silly…art that you could see on products like greeting cards and kid’s clothing, etc. I took a job at a company in the gift & stationery industry (C.R. Gibson) to learn more and realized that my sense of humor was a valuable skill, so I quickly learned to embrace that in my art. The other big thing that happened to me at that job was that I had to become extremely knowledgeable about the adobe suite. As a result, I became much more confident with my digital skills, which opened up a whole new creative playground for me (before that, I was working in gouache). In fact, I’ve told people that becoming a digital artist has made me a better traditional painter, because over time I have become less timid due to the experimentation that occurs in Photoshop and such. That brings us to today, where I like to combine textures and mark making with strong line work, all through whimsical and quirky subject matter.


Are there any other styles or techniques you are playing and experimenting with now that you think will incorporate into your work?


Lately, I have been experimenting with different degrees of line work and color in my artwork. Maybe one piece will have so many colors in it that I loose count…and then the next one will have just four. Sometimes I skip the line work in some areas of a piece, so it’s a mixture of crisp lines and shapes that have less contrast.

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It’s been a fun past year as I mix it up! Other than that, I would say the biggest thing I’ve been playing around with is subject matter. For instance, I never thought I could do pretty florals or lettering, but in the last months I’ve surprised myself by tackling those things. I just had to figure out what my version of florals and lettering looked like! It’s been a lot of fun.


See more of Lauren's work here.

It's so interesting Lauren! Thanks so much for participating!