Make Drawing Part of the Art Journaling Process

cate pratojane lafazio art journalMy husband draws beautifully. His drawings are so realistic, they are almost photographic.

I really admire his talent, but if I were to pursue drawing as an art form, his work would not be my model. Not only do I not have the patience, I like a more free-flowing style.

The style I do aspire to is that of mixed-media artist Jane LaFazio. Every time I see one of her drawings, especially those from her "Everyday Objects" series, I swoon. The way she captures an image isn't perfect, and yet somehow it looks alive…fresh…immediate.

If only I could draw that way, I think. And Jane says I can.

"Drawing is all about seeing. Taking the time to sit and look and draw what you see," she says, adding that, "Journal style drawing is meant to be fresh and casual. It's meant to capture a specific time–you do it and then turn the page."

jane lafazioOK, then. I decided to take Jane's challenge as demonstrated in her new Cloth Paper Scissors WorkshopTM video, "From Art Journaling to Art: Drawing, watercolor, and more techniques for the mixed-media artist."

Here's her basic tutorial:

art journalingDraw from real life, using simple objects. Start with a pear or a piece of fruit.
I made a mini still life of an apple and a blackberry.

Grab a pencil, and begin sketching, lightly at first. Look at the object 80% of the time, and your paper 20% of the time.
This was an eye-opening step. I never realized how much I look at the paper when I draw. I also never realized how bumpy an apple can be!

Really look at the object and let your pencil make marks, following with your eye, along the edge of the object. Draw it in pencil as best you can. It should take you about 5-10 minutes. Don't worry if there are a million pencil marks on the page; keep trying to capture what you see.
Because Jane said it was OK to make a lot of pencil marks (we're going to erase them), I didn't fret too much over not getting the shapes right the first time. I just kept looking and drawing. Each time I saw a little more of the shape.

art journalingWalk away from the page.
This step is to give you a little distance from what you just drew. I got myself a glass of water.

Come back, reassess. Look at the object, look at your drawing. Are the proportions right? If they are, go over your drawing in permanent ink pen, looking just as closely at the object as you did when you drew it in pencil, but this time, you're going over your pencil lines with a continuous pen line.
I took a black Micron® pen and drew. This was less scary than I thought because I had gone over the shape so much in pencil. I was more confident going over my lines. I also tried to leave some gaps in my lines the way Jane suggests in the video. This helps create that "immediacy."

art journalingErase all the pencil marks.
Wow. I was pretty amazed at how much I liked my drawing.

Be proud.
You bet! So I couldn't help going to the next step: adding a "frame" and color. In the video, Jane does this with watercolors and water-soluble pens. I had some water-soluble pencils handy, so that's what I used. All in all, not bad for a first attempt.

I'm really looking forward to trying more drawings in my art journal and turning some into more elaborate collages and even sewing projects.

I recommend "From Art Journaling to Art" to anyone who thinks they can't draw or is intimidated by watercolors or art journaling. Jane really demystifies the process and makes it fun.

I can't wait to show my husband my results.




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