artistic process

Summer Sketches

Hi there. How are you?

The summer months are a notoriously unproductive time for me. It’s hard for me to be inside when the weather is nice and things at my day job get insanely busy. My studio sat empty for most of June, July, and August.

I also have to be in the right headspace to make. It was a tough summer for me personally, which also contributed to my lack of production.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t making, but it was mainly confined to my sketchbook, and done in fits and starts. It’s important for me to keep up my creative practice. Without it, I just don’t feel myself.

Here’s how I snuck in some drawing time:

Ballpoint & marker drawings from May 2019.

Ballpoint & marker drawings from May 2019.

I drew on the job.

I worked on these drawings while attending a conference. If someone is talking, I was drawing. It keeps me focused on what they’re saying. I’m still deeply enamored with my Parker Pen.

Ballpoint and marker drawings from June 2019.

Ballpoint and marker drawings from June 2019.

I drew on the couch.

If you’ve seen my Instagram Stories, you’ve probably seen me “couch drawing.” If I’m sitting on the couch, watching TV at night, I’m usually drawing in my sketchbook. Sometimes I try to take videos while I’m drawing so you can see my process. (Find some of those videos in my stories highlights.)

A loose drawing made on a road trip.

A loose drawing made on a road trip.

I drew in the car.

(I wasn’t driving.) I made this very loose sketch as a passenger on a road trip. It was the first time in a long time I drew with a Pilot pen. I used these all the time when I was making my coloring books.

I made this ballpoint drawing while on vacation in San Diego this summer.

I made this ballpoint drawing while on vacation in San Diego this summer.

I drew when I traveled.

I did this one while visiting my brother and his wife in San Diego. Airports, airplanes, and beaches are great places for me to sneak in some drawing time.

Drawings made with Bic Cristal ballpoints purchased from the UK. Click for purchase information.

Drawings made with Bic Cristal ballpoints purchased from the UK. Click for purchase information.

I experimented with new pens.

A student in my Jen & Ink Ballpoint course turned me on to a set of Bic Cristal Ballpoints from the UK that included some new colors. (There’s even a gold!) When I have new supplies, I just have to try em’ out! These drawings were the first I’d none in a while with anything other than a black pen. Unfortunately, these pens are out of stock on Amazon. But hopefully, they’ll be available again in the future.

Ballpoint drawings from July 2019.

Ballpoint drawings from July 2019.

Most importantly, I stuck with it.

Drawing can bring me a lot of peace. It’s almost meditative for me. I drew when I wanted and didn’t worry about the outcome. There are some drawings I made this summer that will never get finished and I’ll never share. That’s perfectly OK.

As Emily Jeffords says, I “do it for the process.”⠀

I encourage you to make if it brings you joy. You don’t have to share it or show it to anyone. Do it for yourself.

What do you do, just for the process?

What do you do, just for you, to bring you joy?

Do tell.

That’s all for now.

Ciao, Jen

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An ASMR Drawing Video

Hi there. How are you?

ASMR. It’s a thing.

Have you heard about it?

ASMR is short for autonomous sensory meridian response. It’s that tingling sensation you get on the skin when you watch, hear, or feel something pleasing.

"Basically, it feels like the amazing chills you get when someone plays with your hair or traces your back with their fingertips," says Heather Feather, a popular "ASMRtist" on YouTube.

Have you seen Zoe Kravitz’s Michelob Ultra commercial where she whispers into the microphone and taps on the bottle?

That’s ASMR and people LOVE it.

While I’m not into this trend, there are millions who are. Search ASMR on YouTube and find MILLIONS of videos.

I jumped on the ASMR trend and made a 34 minute video of me drawing.

I jumped on the ASMR trend and made a 34 minute video of me drawing.

I made an ASMR drawing video.

I’ve been told that the sound my drawing is soothing to viewers, so I thought I’d jump on this ASMR trend and make a video.

No talking, just 34 minutes of me drawing in real time.

I used a blue Bic pen inside of a Baux pen body. The aluminum body gives a nice weight to the pen that I like.

If you’re not into the ASMR thing, but you want to see how I draw the “flower” shape that shows up in a lot of my work these days, you’ll probably like this too. Unlike many of my videos, there aren’t any sped up parts. You’ll see every stroke.

HEre’s the Video:

What do you think?

Should I make more videos like this? If you like them, I will! I might just have to pop in some headphones and listen to some music or a podcast. That was a lot of silence for me!

Until next time.

Ciao, Jen

Playing with Paint

Hi there. How are you?

Ballpoints have started to bore me. I’m feeling limited by the color range. Yes, I can now get every color in the rainbow in a ballpoint, but there’s a limited amount of color mixing possible, and you can’t make a tint (pastel) or a shade (gray). There’s only so many color combinations possible, and that has started to annoy me.

Color has always been an important part of my work and a major form of expression for me. I needed to find a way to increase the range of colors possible in my work. So I looked backwards…

Unless you’ve been following me for an eternity, you might have not known that I was once a painter. I painted big abstract pieces and I loved to mix colors. Now, I am in no means ready to go back to painting all together, but I decided to try and incorporate some paint into my current work.

I had a set of gouache paints in my studio and one day I mixed up some olive green and painted some simple shapes on a few different types of paper. I’d never tried to draw on top of gouache, but as it’s a matte paint, I thought it might work.

My first experiment drawing on top of gouache was disappointing.

My first experiment drawing on top of gouache was disappointing.

As you can see here, the gouache chipped away as I drew on top of it. It looks kinda interesting, but that wasn’t really the look I was going for.

In an effort to add more color to my work, I’ve been experimenting with drawing on top of gouache.

In an effort to add more color to my work, I’ve been experimenting with drawing on top of gouache.

I did some more experimenting and found that if I thinned the gouache with some water, it chipped a whole lot less. There’s a little bit of chipping in some of the dark areas of this drawing, but I don’t think it detracts from the piece as a whole.

A couple of my lovely  Instagram followers  suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink.

A couple of my lovely Instagram followers suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink.

Acrylic ink is Awesome!

A couple of my lovely Instagram followers suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink. I am so far out of the painting world, that I had never even heard to acrylic ink. I was excited to find these Amsterdam acrylic inks at the craft store and promptly tried them out and made a whole bunch of backgrounds.

*PSST. This is an affiliate link. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase with this link. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

I had a ball MIXING colors.

The acrylic ink is super concentrated, opaque, and flows nicely. It is just what I was looking for!

I’m on a roll!

In the last few weeks, I’ve made 6 new drawings. This is the most drawing I’ve done outside of my sketchbook in at least a year!

The paint has certainly helped me to expand my color palette and it gives these drawings more dimension. I am so proud of this work and can’t wait to see it all framed and hung together. I’ve committed to doing a show at a local coffee house with some friends in April. Wish me luck! Framing is not my favorite.

What should I title this drawing series? Do tell!

What should I title this drawing series? Do tell!

Title suggestions welcomed

I need your help, friends. What should I title this series? I’m stumped. What do you see when you look at these? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

That’s all for now.

I’ll be back soon to talk about a surprise gift that has become a one of my favorite art supplies.

Ciao, Jen