2-week holiday sketchbook challenge

  The holiday season is upon us and like every year I like to set out some plans for creating memories and recording the summer time in a way that is not just taking pictures and let them sit on my laptop for the years to come. I love travel journals, but with a busy family schedule during the holidays is becoming more and more difficult to set aside the time to fill in a sketchbook.
This summer I’m going to try a different approach and inspired by Sara Midda’s South of France – A sketchbook, I’ve put together an easy sketchbook challenge to help me make a visual record of my two week summer holiday.
How does it work
The challenge is open to everyone interested in creating a holiday sketchbook.
It contains a total of 7 prompts + 1 for the cover page. Each prompt will be developed over two days on a two-page spread to give me, and you, the chance to plan the page, gather informations and make up the time to complete it.
I will be using mainly watercolours, but really any other material or technique (photos, collages, etc) will do.
List of (suggested) materials
  • 8 loose sheets of paper (I will be using A4 watercolour sheets)
  • pencil + eraser + pencil sharpener (I will be using an HB pencil)
  • black sketching pen (I will be using a Staedtler 0.1 black liner)
  • brushes (10mm flat sable, no. 5 round sable, no.1 round synthetic)
  • watercolours (I will be using a travel set I made out of a mint tin, containing: winsor yellow, indian yellow, scarlet lake, alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, french ultramarine, turquoise, winsor green blue shade, olive green, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, titanium white)

List of prompts

  • Cover Page: Create a front page for your sketchbook. It could be a fun and colourful front cover or a more descriptive one, adding places and dates of your holiday.
  • Colour Chart: Create one or more colour palette based on the surroundings. It could be based on the colours of a landscape, a garden, a house, whatever catches your eyes, or all of the above. Next to each colour write down the object it refers to; i.e. olive tree, rose, shatter, plate, sky, etc.
  • Food: Create a page to depict the local food. It could be seasonal food, a special recipe, a list of favourite plates, a restaurant menu, your breakfast, a holiday treat.
  • Weather: Create a page to take notes about the weather during your holiday. It could be a weather legend, a 24-hour pie chart with the sky’s colour for each slice, the weather forecast for the 2-week holiday.
  • Journaling: Create a page for your journaling notes to include facts, quotes, dooddles, weather, feelings, daily routine.
  • Landscapes: Create a set of thumbnails to show the surrounding landscapes or local sceneries (beachscapes, cityscapes, local markets, etc)
  • Patterns: Look for patterns around you and create a series of small thumbnails adding some notes.
  • A collection of…: Create a spread of objects that caught your attention. It could be something from nature (flowers, plants, trees, fruits, stones, etc.), from the surroundings (house numbers, windows, signs, etc) or simple objects (vases, bags, shoes, mugs, etc).
I’ve created 2 different downloadable summaries of the prompts to use as a reference (look at the end of the post), so you can have it with you the whole time during your holiday.

There’s really no right way of doing this; you can finish off each page spread or leave blank spaces to add things later on; you can add more prompts or complete the given ones within a week.

The challenge can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

I will be posting each prompt and my personal take on it on Instagram every other day starting Friday 15 July 2016.

Everyone is welcome to join in! Simply use the prompts as your inspiration and use the hashtag #2weekholidaysketchbook if you are posting your pages on Instagram so we can all see your work and tag me @marina_cerra if you are joining in.

You are more than welcome to do this challenge on your own blog, just link back to this post. Thanks! Also let me know in the comments if you decide to join in; I’d love to see where your creativity takes you. Feel free to share the list and invite your friends to join along with you.
Happy creative holiday!

Downloadable jpgs (for personal use only)

A peak inside my new b/w sketchbook

As I don’t have already enough on plate these days, I bought myself this white gel ink pen to try out. I had some black paper scraps and started doodling. The results were very effective and loved the white marks on the black background.
So I thought I’d buy a pocket moleskine with black pages, but couldn’t find one easily, so I made my own little book (about 12x12cm) to experiment with instead.  I used this sheet of black paper and this black hemp cord to coptic stitch the pages together. For the cover I used some cardstock covered with a sheet of paper designed by Suzy Ultman for The Book for Paper Lovers 2.

Sketchbook #1 // Butterflies

I had a go at illustrating butterflies during the month of April, and it turned out more difficult than I thought. My mind wasn’t really there and I recognise I didn’t put much effort into it. The colour choice and composition are not my strong points, and it clearly shows in these pages.
Anyhow, I wanted to try some new watercolour pencils, but also I came across my old watercolour palette and thought I would give it a try.
Watercolour pencils are very easy to use and the results can be quite rewarding. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for non-professional watercolours! The ones that I used in these pages are Winsor & Newton Cotman, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can tell the difference between those and the artist’s range. Apparently, in the Cotman series, the more costly pigments are replaced with cheaper alternatives giving the paint a more uniform consistency, thus losing the wide spectrum of hues. However, I have seen well established artists using the Cotman range, with awesome results…so it must be just me then!
I haven’t picked any new subject for the month of May, yet. And although we are close to the end of the month, I’m still hoping I’ll be able to do some new illustrations.

Work in progress

A sneak peak at my sketchbook this month. Still very much a work in progress. I have been having fun using a new set of watersoluble pencils, thanks to Derwent Academy and their amazing monthly prizes (here if you want to play along). But also, a new subject for me to experiment with…butterflies!

Sketchbook #1 // Roots

This is a sneak-peak at my sketchbook from February. I’m carry on with my intentions of choosing a subject a month. Last month I went for roots, being fascinated by the many bulbs and tubers sprouting around this time of the year. It is very much a botanical subject and probably not really in line with this sketchbook (and its thin paper), but I loved it and regret I didn’t have much time to paint some more. My inspiration book was an old botany book that was used in the seventies by the pupils of the local grammar school. It’s full of inspiring illustrations and descriptions.
I’m currently working on a slightly related painting and hoping to get that done before spring arrives!