drawing with a ballpoint pen

One of the things I remember being stressed when I started keeping a visual journal was the need to use a pen. I started with the works of Danny Gregory and Dan Price, who captured the world around them with bold lines and fun handwriting. 

I've gotten into making sketches with pencil, as of late, and spending hours on them. My Red Storybook is full of half-finished pages because I simply didn't have enough time, or needed to move on. So the other day, I decided to just...doodle. Draw what was in my head. Not make perfect lines. Let things overlap. Be imperfect. 

And hell if I haven't been having fun! 

This weekend was very busy and very exhausting for me, and I was interrupted a lot. So I found my Ink Joy ballpoint pens and decided to work informally, scribbling in whatever moments I could grab. I had my white pen there for the eyes, and grabbed my Tombow markers to color things in at the end (since they are transparent and don't leak through paper). 

I'm excited to keep working this way, and make a whole sketchbook of these girl illustrations. I can't believe I locked myself into a box (do illustrations, color in with gouache) and only now allowed myself to do something different!

Room In the Red Storybook...



I love illustrating, but lately, I've been feeling the need to go without a plan, and see what comes out. 

This is also a very relaxing way to approach your art journal...put down some paint and see what happens. The color study started looking boring, but the more I played and explored, the more complex it became! 

The right page was me drawing random shapes with one color, then wanting to fill them in...gives you some great time to play with colors and mix a few,  One awesome side effect of all my color play spreads is that I have a better understanding of where and how they work.

I really wanted to remember the girl drawing, so I pasted her in. I didn't have a sketchbook at lunch, so my father gwve me the receipt and the Fisher Pen in his pocket (he's had it for 25 years, a present from the guy who invented it! ) . I doodled as we chatted, and when we were about to leave, he slid it around and said, "wow, look at what you can do! When you started, I had no idea where you were going, but this looks great!" 

High praise indeed. But it's more...it's my parents becoming invested in my work, comfortable to give advice. I think they were secretly artists back in the day, because they're really good at helping me out!  

The Red Storybook Weeks #4 & 5

The first few weeks of The Red Storybook were amazing, and then week 4 hit and I drew, but I didn't do it well, and never colored anything. Okay, I didn't color half of week 3, either, but hey! I had weekends! I could catch up easily, right?


It's so hard to catch up when you also have that day's entry to do, and I've spent the past two weeks trying to catch up and stay on top of current entries. It was tough. But I have gotten to a point where I'm comfortable moving on. Oh, sure, I could spend forever and a day improving previous entries and getting into the details, but that isn't the point. I need to let go and move forward. 

I've already seen an improvement with how I work with the gouache, have added in colored pencils, and it's getting a bit easier to figure out what my illustration style really is. It's also awesome to be able to look back and see my weeks stack up -- I'm into the 40's, now, and can't believe I've cleared nearly half of February! 

I've also been working on a Massive Gouache Q&A post, as well as a How I Do This & With What post, and now that I'm caught up and posting all these spreads, will be back to regular blogging. 

(I'm always blogging on my Tumblr, which now has more art than Sherlock GIFs, and a few posts I haven't shared anywhere else even Instagram.) 


I'm goofy in love with some work I've done recently, including art journal messes made today, so this week's blogging will be more than just my silly drawings and words...(how else do we improve, though, but through doing and doing often?) 

Also, Friendly Faces is all up for self-study with some pretty satisfied students! 

The simplest victories (red storybook #6)

Heres a favorite of mine from the Red Storybook thus far...the day I got out of the house for the first time in a week or two and stole away to the library to look for art books and 'Dirk Gently' after watching the BBC show of based off it (I have always loved Douglas Adams' odd sense of humor). I ended up curled up on a bench with a headache texting with friends who we checking up with me, and who made my day brighter with their messages. 

I haven't colored nearly enough of these entries, and some are quite bad, but I haven't missed a day. I think I needed to tell myself it was okay to not share every day in order to feel safe making terrible sketches. This one was done in acrylics. I wanted to see if I could work faster with them. I can not. Back to the gouache it is!  

Maybe I'll work on coloring a few more this weekend during my 'Sherlock' marathon. God knows the season finale on Sunday will kill me. Maybe I'll do a little fangirl page before they rip out my heart. ;)