Saturday, January 16, 2016

LB2016 : The Happy traveller

This is the first main lesson by Tam for Life Book 2016. She does her lessons on separate sheets of watercolour paper. I did that last year, but this year am incorporating them directly into my art journal. Because it's a recycled art book I never know what I'm going to get as my base
At first I decided I would try & gesso over the words so my girl would have the same position on the page as in the lesson, but then I realised it would be easier for me to work on the opposite blank page for her face, and I thought a double spread would be fun. 
Tam is such an amazing instructor. Love the way she details her process so that I can create a face I am happy with. I've never really drawn whimsical characters, or even been "drawn to" (ha ha) create them. But for me the point of doing Life Book is to push myself to try different things. I sketched my beginnings - note that a layer of gesso makes it very hard to rub out pencil....not too worried though cos a layer of collage can fix this.
Then I started to add colour (click on any photo to see it larger)
I liked where it was heading, and I know I need more contrast of dark and light, but then got a bit stuck : I don't want to just rely on Tam's kind of imagery/motifs in the background, and I don't like the eyes on my animals. After thinking for a couple of days, I realised that I could put white paint over the eyes and improve them and I can add some dark and some paint through a new stencil to make progress
I didn't want to do an owl on the branch, and added a hanging word, but not happy with that at the moment. I do like the butterflies which I've done with some stencils. Much happier with the dark/light contrast and the eyes are coming along. I also decided to look at some of my past work to see what I liked in the background - the result was that I pulled these together - my present favourite stencils and stamps for layering in the background.
I also made myself a list of things I like to do - so I have an easy reference if I'm stuck. This reminded me how much I love to use found words. Tam's art included a wee pouch with affirmations written and placed inside. I decided not to do that, but rather to add all my affirmative words visibly on the page.
 I outlined them with charcoal pencil and smudged - love this effect too
As well as believing in myself, my travel companions have messages for me
I was very lucky to find my word of the year
and I changed the letters on the branch to words instead
In the photo below, you can see a number of my layers with favourite stencils and stamps. I wanted to remind you that you can also use stencils to draw with - I like my little stars better than if I had free-handed them
My happy traveller is now done - she's not perfect, but I've already had some fun and learned some good lessons on the journey of these pages.
Click on the photo to see it larger, or go HERE to see my Flickr album of all my Life Book 2016 projects. You can see all my posts about Life Book this year HERE.


  1. Beautiful! I wasn't sure whether the altered book was a good idea for LB pages but it sure seems to work brilliantly! Something for me to consider for next year. The elephant and the kitty look so cute (those are the two that I'm considering for my page as well) and I like the little messages you hung on the tree!

  2. Hi Zsuzsa - paints behave differently so if we have a purely watercolour project I will probably do on a separate sheet and put it into the book, but I am loving having all my art in my place.

  3. Yeah, that would make sense! I think there's a medium as well, called watercolour ground, which makes surfaces suitable for watercolours. I've never tried it though.


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