Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Art Journal 101: Pens Pencils and Mark Making

Welcome to the 3rd installment of Art Journal 101!
 This section is all about mark making  
As a starting off point i thought i would discuss the materials i use most often and we will just go from there.


I do use graphite a lot to draw with, especially if i am creating my whimsy girls. I rarely get my proportions right the first time so I do a lot of erasing.
My favorite pencil is a mechanical one made by Pentel. I bought mine at Blick, but I have seen them other places as well. The one I use is called Graphgear 500 and the lead I use is size 0.9 I find this one soft enough to make bold lines but still easy to erase.


As I said, I do tend to erase a lot and my preferred eraser is a kneaded eraser. I love these erasers because you can make them any shape, to get into tight areas, etc. They are great for getting rid of smudges, and you can use them to make a pencil line lighter too! I use any brand that is cheap and I always find them at the art supply store in the drawing section.


 I use lots of different markers in my journals for lots of different things. Sometimes i write my thoughts with a bold black marker across the page and then create art over it, so that it becomes the first layer and ends up acting as texture for the page. This is great when you want to get your thoughts out but don't necessarily want anyone to read it. 

Some of the markers I use for this are Sharpies and Pigma Microns, both of which are permanent.

My absolute favorite type of marker is the Uni Posca pens from Japan. These are paint pens and they generally write over anything. They last a long time and come in a great variety of colors. They come in a variety of true pastel colors which you just don't see anywhere. I find it amusing that the pastel set is referred to as "natural colors". I get them either on Amazon or from

Another type of marker I use a lot are the Tombow Brush pens. These are really fun because they are highly pigmented so they are nice and bright and they are water soluable, so you can use them like watercolors. They are wonderful for journaling! I get them at Blick but I have also bought sets on Amazon.

Colored Pencils

I use colored pencils a lot for shading faces and my favorites for years has been Prismacolor. I have been using them for so long I can recall the times they were called Sanford, and Berol! I have quite a few, though not the whole set.
 I also have a set of verithins-which are made by the same company. They are harder and great for sharp edges.

Another brand of colored pencils that I enjoy are called Irojiten. They are from Japan and come in lots of pastel colors. They come packaged in little books so you can collect the whole library of them. They are smooth and blend very nicely. I bought these from Amazon.

And lastly I use watercolor pencils. My preferred brand is Inktense by Derwent. These are fantastic because they are so vibrant. They activate with water and then dry permanent which is great when you are adding wet layers on top. I have purchesed these at Blick.


I use a variety of ink mostly for creating drips and spatters.Sometimes I write with them in my journal using a dip pen. Any ink will do for this, there is no need to spend a fortune. The brands I have collected are Daler Rowneys FW, and Bombay. I also splurged on a set of Dr. P. H. Martin's Hydrus Liquid  Watercolors which I use sparingly for this purpose. All of these I have purchased at art supply stores.

So those are my basic supplies for writing. Next week I will talk about paint!


Monday, August 1, 2016

Art Journal Supplies for Backgrounds

Art Journal Supplies

So now that we have looked at several options for art journals, let's talk about art supplies.  Of course there are no rules, you can work with whatever supplies you enjoy and that you are comfortable with. We will just go over a few of the most popular and basic tools and supplies. 

We will begin with backgrounds.

The Background
The background of your page is a  wonderful place to play with all of your supplies; to combine materials or techniques, and to experiment with color combinations, textures and layers. 


If you have never worked with acrylic paint before I suggest you start with inexpensive craft paints. I have used Delta Ceramcoat and Folk Art paints for years. They are inexpensive and wet, so they spread really well. A great way to get some quick color down on the page. They are also fairly opaque ( not able to see through;non-transparent). 
  If you are looking to add texture with a thicker paint, or you want transparent colors one over another, (glazing), then try the inexpensive student grade acrylics such as Liquitex Basics. 
   A lot of people really love the Golden line of paints, and you will see them everywhere in the art journaling world. They are a really good high quality professional artist paint, and they come with a higher price tag. They are not necessary to begin, but as you move along on this journey you might want to try them out. The basic difference between a pro-art paint like Golden and a student grade or craft paint is the amount of paint pigment that is in them. The more pigment the more expensive the paint, and generally the more vibrant the paint will be. Some companies like Liquitex and others offer both student grade and professional grade paints. 

Here is an example of some paint layers in my journal:
  Gesso is basically a primer for canvas. Traditionally it is applied over canvas or linen and left to cure for about 24 hours. The surface is then a little rough, we call this tooth. This gives the paint something to stick to and makes your painting experience a little easier. 

 In art journaling gesso is used for a whole lot more. It is a great ground( surface), especially for paper that is a little thin or weak. The gesso will provide a sturdier paper to add wet medium to so it won't just leak through to the next page. But it is also wonderful to mix with paints to create an interesting milky texture. It's great used with stencils or with a brayer to tone down the background when the colors get a little out of control. 
 You can brush it on thickly and stamp into it, or spread it around with your fingers. The sky is the limit!

Here, gesso is layered over collage:

And here I have painted the gesso over paint and collage in the negative space only, creating a colorful vine:

Stencils and Stamps
  There are all kinds of wonderful stencils on the market made just for art journaling. Some of my favorites are Stencil Girl and Artistcellar.  I have also used inexpensive stencils found at Michaels such as Plaid( wall stencils) and Heidi Swap( scrapbooking stencils). 

 Stamps can either be the rubber stamps mounted to a wood block, clear flexable stamps or even stamps you carve yourself.  You can use any kind of stamp you like, but 2 motifs that I would recommend for getting great texture are a text stamp and a music score stamp. These provide a wonderful background to your art journal pages. I also use a permanent ink, such as Stayz-on so the stamping doesn't smear with subsequent layers.

Here the stamps clearly show through all the layers:

Here is an art journal page that incorporates almost all of these techniques;

You can watch the video of the making of this page on You Tube:

This is just a small sampling of all of the options available to you. Next week we will look at pens, markers and all things available for getting your thoughts down on paper! 

Thanks for hanging with me and have a great week!


Monday, July 25, 2016

What Do I Need to Begin an Art Journal?

This is part 2 of my series on Art Journals

So last week we talked about what an art journal is, today lets talk about what we need to start one.

Lets talk about the journal itself.
   There are lots of options out there so to begin you need to think about what it is you want to do in your journal. I love to paint, and I love water based mediums, so for me it is important that I have a journal with paper that is sturdy enough to hold up to the abuse I am going to put it through. I look for a journal with super sturdy (heavy weight) paper.

 My very favorite paper to work on is a good quality 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper. Sadly I have never found this paper in a journal format, though it does sometimes come in a paper pad. But in the past I have bought the giant 20" X 30" sheets of Fabriano watercolor paper at the art supply store and cut them down and assembled them into a journal myself.
 I have made several of Teesha Moore's 16 page journal. Here is a link to her tutorial on Youtube:

Here are my Teesha Moore style journals:

    Next to that option I find that the Strathmore Mixed Media, and the Canson Mixed Media journals are pretty good. They are both spiral bound which you may not like if you are partial to 2 page layouts, because then the spiral in the center might get in your way. But they are made with 90 lb. watercolor paper which is hot press (smooth).
 I have a hard time with cold press paper myself, it just doesn't hold up to all of the water I tend to use and often starts pilling. These 2 brands are good, I probably work in these the most.
Here are my Strathmore Journals:
These are great because they have a tear off paper cover and underneath is a beautiful brown sturdy cover.
Here are my Canson Journals:
Sometimes I decorate the covers too!

Here is some of my work inside the Canson journals:

Some people really like the Moleskin journals. Personally I don't care for them because the paper is too thin and it buckles up too much. They are a little pricey as well. Here is a Moleskin Journal I have worked in:

 Another thing I do is work on loose pieces of watercolor paper and then bind them together after I have 10 or 20 pieces done. There are all kinds of ways to bind your own journals, from super simple ring binding to actually sewing them together. Here are some ringbound journals,the middle one is hand sewn. :

Here is my binding tool, the Zutter Bind-It-All:

Here are some hand sewn journals I have made for watercolor work:

 This is also a great option if you are going to do an art journal challenge,
 such as 30 Faces in 30 Days or an art journal prompt challenge. ( We will talk about art journal challenges in a future post.)

 I used this method to bind all of my pages from the Lifebook Course that I took in 2015. This was a year long course where you have weekly lessons from all different mixed media teachers. Each lesson project is done on an individual piece of paper and then you bind them all into a book at the end of the year.  In this case I punched each page with a hole punch and then used purchased rings to hold it all together.

I highly recommend Lifebook, as it is a wonderful way to learn loads of techniques, become part of the art journal community, and it provides a structure to keep you motivated and working all year. You will also develop mad artskills in a super fun way!
(if you are interested in Lifebook I have provided a link up in the left hand corner)

 For me, as time has gone by and I have tried many different types of journals, I have found that I really like being able to work larger. Especially if I am working out a composition for a future painting.
I found this awesome journal at a local Japanese Stationary store called Kinokinaya.  It is called Art spiral. It is a whopping 16 by 13 (a really odd size by western standards) and spiral bound in the center.
  The paper is some type of thirsty watercolor paper. I really love it.

Here is some of my work inside:

And if you do a double page spread it is 26 by 16!!

All of these are great options. I encourage you to just pick one to get started with and dive in! As time goes on and you gain more experience you will find the journal that is perfect for you. Or, like me, you will work in several all at once!

Next week we will talk about supplies! See you there!


Monday, July 18, 2016

Art Journal 101

 Let's talk about art journals!

 I've been keeping an art journal for about 3 years now, actually I have several going all at once. Each one has a different focus. But I have one that I work in the most that houses my morning pages, or as I like to call them my daily ramblings.

So what is an art journal?
  Here is a definition from Wikipedia:

An art diaryart journal or visual journal is a daily journal kept by artists, often containing both words and sketches, and occasionally including mixed mediaelements such as collages. Such books will frequently contain rough workings, in cartoonform, of ideas later to appear in finished works, as well as acting as a normal diary, by allowing the artist to record their day-to-day activities and emotions.
These diaries not only give art historians a valuable opportunity to explore the creation process of these finished works, but they are a useful biographical tool.
Many famous artists are known for their art diaries - the sketchbooks of Leonardo da Vinciare probably the best known example. Other artists to have used art journals include Frida Kahlo.

Here are some pictures of Frida Kahlo's actual art journal:

And here is a picture of Leonardo's famous diary:

I find them so beautiful and interesting!! This is a picture of some of my very early art journal work. This is from 2013, the year I began to keep an art journal in earnest.

  You don't have to be a professional artist to have an art journal. It Is just for you alone-to play and do something creative. But if it becomes a practice for you, part of your daily or at least weekly routine, I guarantee your art will improve and your use of the art language; how color fields, shapes and textures relate to each other and how you apply them in your unique way ,will improve. I think you will surprise yourself with how fun it is, how much creativity you actually have, and how useful it really is!

  So now that you have an idea of what an art journal is, stay tuned for my next post where we will talk about different types of art journals and some basic supplies. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I have a new video up on You Tube!!

This one is called:
"The Making of Mermaid and Seahorse Painting"
by Annie Beez

Um, I had a few problems with the editing! LOL!
You will see...
Its a learning curve people!!

This is the finished mermaid from the video

This is a previous version of this mermaid-I have painted her several times!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Original Mixed Media Painting By Annie Beez

Love is a Sheltering Tree

Love is a Sheltering Tree is an original one of a kind mixed media painting. This special piece is meant to call to mind that special bond between mother and baby-that sweet but too short time when mom and baby are bonding and baby is learning about the special unconditional love and fierce protection that only mommy can give. Oh so sweet!

This painting is done in watercolor, acrylics,ink, Posca markers, and colored pencil. There are many layers featuring stamps and collage. It is painted on 90LB hot press watercolor paper from Fabriano. It is 8" x 10". 

Available today in my Etsy Shop!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, June 13, 2016

New Paintings in my Etsy shop!!

I have new 9" X 12" paintings in my shop today! I was so excited to realize this size fits on my scanner bed! Ha!<
Hope you enjoy them!