Tag Archives: sketchbook

An Artist’s Guide to Sketchbooks

My sketchbooks are one of my most prized possessions.Simply because they are documentations of my imagination, thoughts and travel, and how it’s changed over my lifetime. I look back at a sketchbook from 15 years ago, and my mind can immediately shift back to the mindset I had at the age of 14 years old… or at least trigger memories of what that time was like; and boy how they have changed!

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I believe that keeping a sketchbook is one of the most important methods to improving and growing your art and creative mind. Sketchbooks allow you to be free… and delve into your deepest imaginations. One of my favorite sketchbook exercises is to do blind contour sketches. Simply to sketch an object or person without looking at the paper, or lifting my pencil/pen. It improves hand eye coordination, and the result can be both therapeutic and often quite humorous.


“A drawing is simply a line going for a walk”

Paul Klee

(Click the link above for a great article on sketchbooks!)

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Set your imagination free!

Take your lines for a walk. Long walks, short walks, it’s all the same fun.

Check out my Artist’s Guide to Sketchbooks & A Guide for the Traveling Artist.

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After experiencing the magic of Sennelier upon my arrival in Paris, I took a walk along the infamous Seine. It was a gloomy autumn afternoon, yet the grey light continued to radiate off of the cream colored stuccos scattered throughout the city. A Parisian glow.

Continuing the great battle against jet lag, I stopped at a small cafe for a café au lait and some lunch. That’s when the never-ending consumption of bread, cheese, wine, and coffee began… and it didn’t stop for the next 7 days. It would’ve been unacceptable to do Paris any other way… right?

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 Freshly energized with some wonderfully brewed caffeine, I went back to wandering the streets of Paris in my favorite olive green cape coat, mapless. The thought of buying a map never really crossed my mind. I love the idea of finding your way through a new city by chance and stumbling upon things in an unexpected sense.

There I was, walking through Paris, a bit delirious, wondering how this could all be real. It was one of those moments you’ve dreamt about your whole life, and now that it was a reality… it was difficult to grasp. Paris was flooding my mind with dreams and inspirations.

Wandering through the city I had seen small glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, so I knew it’s general direction. However, I had lost track of it after lunch, so I was feeling a little disoriented (it was acting as my North Star). I continued down some narrow cafe lined streets, and all of a sudden there it was! The Eiffel Tower appeared magnificently between two rows of buildings.

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I think I circled the Eiffel Tower twice, taking it all in. It was charming. I eventually climbed my way to the top to get a glimpse of the city from above. It was the perfect way to mentally map out where things were located for my next adventure…

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   Arriving in a city I’ve never been, language unknown; It’s an odd feeling. Somewhere between excited, adventurous, and lonely. I was exhausted and jet lagged having arrived in Paris at 7am from New York City, but I fought through it with wide-eyed excitement to finally have arrived in a city I’ve so longed to explore.

After settling into an artsy Parisian AirBnb loft, I quickly set out to explore the city until my friend, Charlotte, arrived late that evening. I’m not much of an itinerary type when it comes to travel, so I picked the first place I knew I had to see, and I’d let that lead me to something else once I found it.

My first stop couldn’t have been anything other than Sennelier; The infamous art shop on the Left Bank of the River Seine. Past frequents of the shop being Picasso and Cezanne.

Henri Sennelier created the first oil pastels intended for professional artists at the specific request of Picasso in 1948. So now you can see why I had to stop in and see this 127 year old shop… and perhaps find a few things to bring home with me!

After wandering through the city, and getting lost for an hour (I did not have a map, which was a wonderful thing), I finally stumbled upon the shop. The inviting green exterior of the storefront displayed elegant golden letters “SENNELIER” above it’s door. The shop and it’s surroundings were as charming as I had imagined… but the inside was beyond. I pushed the door open, history in mind, and slipped inside the small entrance to a warm wooden interior filled from floor to ceiling with all the colors you could ever imagine.  It was quite busy at the time, two young students filling their art class supply list with the help of the staff, and an older man sorting through brushes to decide which he preferred.

Art shops are magical places. They, for one, are filled with the ingredients to visualize your greatest imaginations! I would much rather pour my money into art supplies than anything else… because if there’s something you can’t afford in the world, you can always draw it – it gives a sort of satisfaction! Secondly, art shops are filled with wonderful people. My mind always wonders what each customer is going home to create… it’s fun to dream up stories about people in art shops. My favorites are the older customers. I can only hope I’ll still be painting (and able to) when I reach an old age, because I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Paris, to be continued…

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Paris Sketchbook

The Eiffel Flower…


It’s true, Paris is MAGIC.

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Creative Process

“Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.”

Dee Hock

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From my 2013 Sketchbook.

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Moments in New York, I

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a drawn out battle with a friend called painter’s block (which always turns out to be a great thing, fortunately). It forces me to stop, reset, and find new ways to be inspired.

I moved to New York during it’s finest autumn days, which quickly turned into what seemed like a never ending winter wonderland. At last, those days are over, and the sun has finally pierced through the constant blanket of winter clouds. I’ve even managed to get my first lopsided bit of sunburn…

With the newly blossoming trees and colorful florals everywhere I look (both online and off), I’ve been inspired to get out and explore the incredible island of Manhattan.

Lucky for me, on just about every single excursion I have witnessed some beautiful moments in New York. Between the piano man in Union Square, giant flower arrangements being rolled around the stark contrast of a concrete jungle, and my new favorite spot, the storybook-like scenery (Alice in Wonderland statue included) of the Central Park Sailing Pond (which I’ve found myself at 4 times in the past 5 days).

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetSketch of the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park.

These moments are what makes living in New York so special. It’s quite the opposite of where I grew up, but equally as wonderful. I’ve consequentially devoted an entire sketchbook to documenting these everyday sights and moments in New York…

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetPiano Around in Union Square.

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Rosie Assoulin illustration (above).

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Jenny Packham illustration (above).

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See more of my past sketches here.

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Japanese Dolls

The day after Christmas I flew off to a destination far different than anywhere I’ve ever been before. Japan was a new adventure, a place to find fresh inspiration for a new year.

My Mom’s family lived in Asia when she and her siblings were growing up, so we’ve had various artifacts from Asian cultures all over our home. My grandparents received this Japanese doll as a gift when they were overseas, and I’ve always loved it so much.

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It was my dream to see a living breathing Geisha or Maiko (Geisha in training) while I was in Kyoto, Japan… but unfortunately luck wasn’t on our side. I’m fascinated by their look! However, we did catch a glimpse of many beautiful women dressed in Kimonos for the New Year.

I picked up a few traditional books with artwork depicting the style and dress of kimonos at a book shop in Tokyo. Flipping through them inspired a lady of my own…


I loved the wooden Kokeshi doll my mom had in our home, so when I went to Japan I made it my goal to find a special one of my own. The name Kokeshi comes from the combined meaning of “small wooden doll”.

The simplicity of the Kokeshi dolls (and the simplicity of Japanese style in general) is beautiful. Here are a few Kokeshi inspired watercolors from my sketchbook while I was in Japan…

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Painting with gouache is becoming an obsession… I can’t seem to stop!

Especially after ordering lots of new hues to play with…

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Give me a great pair of flats and I’m a happy girl!

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Some of my current favorites… 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

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See more sketchbook dreams here.

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Dark Rose


Lately, I’ve been experimenting with adding solid gouache backgrounds to my watercolor paintings. I love the combination of botanicals on a dark contrasting backdrop, much inspired by Graham Lott’s gorgeous photographs .

Some process…

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See more floral illustrations here.

Print available in my shop.

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 See more pages from my sketchbook here.

I use Moleskine Watercolor sketchbooks.
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It’s true, I’m a lipstick fanatic. No matter what you’re wearing, a bold lip can take your look to the next level. It’s one of those power cosmetics that gives you confidence as you glide it on… even if you’re not wearing any other makeup.

My current summer lipstick obsessions (clockwise from top):

Chanel 38 La Fascinante, Clé de Peau Beauté R10, Hare Lipstick (Henna lipstick that reacts to your PH balance, it is not green on your lips! Plus it stays on all day), Tom Ford Violet Fatale (looks amazing on, less purple than it appears).

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