You’ll probably know me from my online courses, my art or my visual journals. Those who’ve been following me for a longer time, may know that I actually also have a thing for drawing comics. A wish, mostly. And I have actually made some comic-style visual journaling attempts like these:
Poor Sense of Humour, But Boy, Did We Laugh!
And when something hilarious happened one day, I drew this 4-panel comic, which – pardon my dreadful sense of humour – I still find incredibly funny:
And at some time I discovered that comics weren’t always about linework and traditional panels. Influenced by that, I tried a more stylish and colorful one, which was inspired by the work of Lorzenzo Mattotti and which tells a super big story for who can read it:
Embarrassment Gone Funny
Oh, and of course I tried combining illustration and comics in another funny one! Comics really seem to be THE perfect medium for embarrassing or funny events…
When The Goings Got Tough
But I also sought refuge in drawing comics in hard times, like when we moved house across the country. I drew the daily events in comic style, portraying my little family as migrating birds:
And on a more poetic note, I guess you could even say that my illustrated Tankas could be considered a form of single-panel comic:
Teaching Comics, Even…
And then there is of course also the storyboarding journaling course I teach, which is my personal favorite since it moves people so strongly towards the creation and elaboration of stories and helps them develop their visual language so well.
In other words, even though I’ve never identified with being a comic artist, I’ve always felt drawn to making comics and have used them in my journals. And for some stories I actually considered making a series or a book, even. Only, I didn’t really know how to go about it. My efforts often felt a tad clumsy. And I felt ‘naked’ without my painterly watercolors and not yet at ease with a totally different and less painterly style.
What I love so much about (auto-)biographic comics and graphic novels is that they make nearly every topic more accessible and digestible. I saw a documentary about that once, in which this notion was confirmed. Somehow it’s easier to read confronting and emotional things in images than it is in words. That’s why many graphic novels are about war and topics like mental illness. Topics that would be overwhelming in other media are interesting to read about in comic form. I think that’s in part due to the fact that comics are often a rather sober representation of events. And in part I think it’s because in images a certain principle that could offend or overwhelm people may turn funny and accessible, like my friend Elly does in her comics (important: these MAY offend people because she doesn’t shun away from any topic).
So, I’ve had a crush on comics for the greatest part of my life that I wasn’t really aware of until a few years back. Events in my life and family history demanded to be sorted into a story and shared. But it didn’t feel like art material and even though I tried to write a book about it, it didn’t feel completely right. But then I thought of a comic, or graphic novel, if you will, and that felt like “IT”. And working on the book had at least given me ample grit on the story to take shape in my mind already. But how to go about it? I hadn’t really drawn real comics before, not even multi-panel pages.
So I got back to scribbling events down in little comic-like sketches and storyboards. But I was fazed by the work involved. Somehow it seemed an even higher mountain to climb than writing a novel. This Spring, right before the renovation I got a new tablet and started a digital visual journal which I tried to keep during the renovation. I failed due to the chaos that grew too big to persevere in anything but conquering the daily chaos. But I really enjoyed creating these pages. They gave me an idea of how my journaling experience could go hand in hand with a new comic style to tell my story, so I’ve been wanting to continue ever since.
And Then…A Course!
When I ran into a facebook post by Nelle Verhoeff about taking the Storytelling Flow course by Tom Hart – a graphic novel author – I was immediately grasped, so I entered. And what a way to spend my staycation! I love it!
Practice Will Make Better…I Hope
I’m still very much in the sketching phase, so nothing fancy, but I am practising the kind of storytelling I’d like to learn in a new way and I absolutely love it! It brings about an entirely new flow of creative energy and inspiration. Here’s what I’ve done thus far. My focus was “kicking the brain” and some stories around that:
This is a topic I did an ink drawing about two years ago…one I also used to announce my Facebook time-out last fall:
I guess you might be seeing more comic-style work from me in my visual journals as of now. I’ve already begun working on some biographic panels to see if I could pull off a whole story…
Do you like working in your journal in comic-style as well?
Have you ever tried?
Before I bid you goodbye, I will leave you with a little list of really great autobiographic comics/graphic novels, should you feel inspired to read some:
A Comic Bookwurm
As a child I read a lot of comics. We had friends who had the whole series of Suske & Wiske. And one day a classmate of mine gave me truckloads of all kinds of series, which I read almost without takine a breth. But I abandoned them when I became a student. They didn’t return in my reading repertoire until I got super-excited about visual journaling and disovered the existence of autobiographic graphic novels. Some really great ones are:
- 365 Days by Julie Doucet; a visual diary of one year
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (it’s even got it’s own Wikipedia page!); a coming-of-age memoir
- Persepolis I & II by Marjana Satrapi; an impressive coming-of-age novel during the Islamic revolution in Iran
- Burnout Dagboek by Maartje Hartjes; sorry, only in Dutch, but really, really good and worthwhile to learn Dutch for if you’re interested in the topic of burnout
- Epileptic by David B., which is about growing up in the shadow of the epilepsy of his brother
Do you know any beautiful autobiographic comics/graphic novels that I should read?
ByeBye, Till Next Time!
Even though this post is not about my art or about my visual journal, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. It is about the impulse that inspires me right now and about the direction my river is flowing into at the moment. I’m super curious where it will lead me and my work. But I bet you’ll be seeing it come back in my journals…
Finally!!! I am super-excited to share some amazing news:
Do you want to make art and help the earth at the same time?
If so, I have some wonderful news! As you know I’ve been working on a book the past year. It’s not finished yet, by far, but I’ve got a wonderful project to present that lies very close to one of its major themes. As you know I’m crazy about nature and very concerned with the current climate change and environmental issues that we face now. Well, turns out my friend Tam from Willowing Arts has worried about climate change for a while now too, and she wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the ‘fight against climate change’.
This is how the Art for Earth Project was born!
Tam collected over 45 amazing mixed media artists who have all contributed one or more art resources (like an art course, e-book, printable PDF or other item) to the Art for Earth Package! It contains over 75+ amazing art resourcesincluding some brand spanking new courses!
“I wish, I wish…” Watercolor & Mixed Media workshop + BONUS “From wishes to needs”
In fact, I created a whole brand spanking new course for this package deal: “I wish, I wish…” Watercolor & Mixed Media workshop. And I added a bonus lesson to it: “From Wishes to Needs”. Both lessons build up on a personal story that very much touches upon the nature and sustainability themes. “I wish, I wish…” is the base class in which you enter the first level of your story and do the basic mixed media project using watercolor. “From wishes to needs” takes you deeper into your story and the relationship between your story and the world around you. And at the same time it dives a little deeper into the combination of watercolor and mixed media.
“The Little Big World” Exclusive Pre-launch!!!
But I wanted to do something more with the theme. Climate change and environmental problems can be pretty heavy topics and I’ve noticed that for that reason some people turn away from it. So I decided to write an interactive e-book that can make both topics lighter by approaching them in a close-to-home, creative, inspiring and hopefully contagious way! So, in the Art for Earth Art bundle you will also get The Little Big World challenge e-book. It’s heavily based on the nature journal that I kept last year, but having progressed for a year, I included other super nice and inspiring mini-projects as well.
45 Artists joined hands for Art for Earth!
But Art for Earth is not just about my work. There are 44 more artists taking part in this wonderful art bundle. Scroll down or click here to see a complete list of all the products in this package!
The Art for Earth Package has a value of over £2900+ GBP, but will be sold for only £75 GBP! It will be on sale for 7 days only and get this; 25% of all saleswill go to an amazing organization that helps improve our climate. They are called Tree Sisters and they are a group of women spread out all over the world with a mission to plant trees and a focus on tropical reforestation.
“Vision & Mission of Tree Sisters:
TreeSisters exists to elicit collective responsibility for planetary restoration at the grass roots level with a focus on women and tropical reforestation.We are growing a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the acceleration of tropical reforestation as an expression of collective planetary care.
We channel 80% of member donations to exemplary existing reforestation organisations in the tropics with whom we partner to restore ecosystems. The remaining 20% funds our behaviour change and consciousness shift work with women to reinstate feminine leadership, and normalise collective ownership of planetary restoration.”
The Art for Earth package contains some fabulous art resources by some of the most popular mixed media teachers in our community (scroll all the way down to download the PDF file with info)! I hope you’ll buy this wonderful package of awesome art goodies and help the earth while making art!
Make Art for Earth!
Thank you so much!
I can’t believe that six weeks have passed since I last wrote on my blog! A lot has happened in the mean time and I have even more to tell you.
New online course, e-book AND project launch!
This coming 3 April an Art Bundle is launched that I’ve created a totally new online course and wrote a challenging e-book for! It’s a fundraiser for Treesisters and I can’t wait to share it with you because this is a project I poured my heart into. I can’t tell you the ins and outs just yet, but I can unveil a tiny bit by saying that this bundle will contain one brandspanking new online watercolor and mixed media workshop by my hand + an challenging e-book for a project that comes straight from the heart. It’s got everything to do with Art, Experiencing Meaning in Life and Nature and our connection to it. The online workshop is also for sale separately for those not interested in an art bundle.
Books come in all shapes and sizes
So…you may remember I was writing a book. When Tamara Laporte invited me to join this project, I put the book on hold to write the online course and e-book. Doing so, I realized that in writing this new material, I was also writing “my book”, only in a different form. It was another way of telling my story. And a really fun way of doing it and for others to take in, I think. I enjoyed the process of creating a new online course so much. Perhaps online teaching is altogether another way of ‘writing my book’. And maybe people would prefer that to a textbook. After all, it brings across the message in a visual, inspiring, interactive and challenging way. What do you think? Would you rather read a book or find a message in courses?
I could do with a little help…
There’s one thing I find dramatically challenging about online teaching, thouh. I mean the M-word: “marketing”. If you are subscribed to my newsletter, you will know that I took some M-classes and got put off enormously by “the sales funnel”. I don’t want to force anything down anybody’s throat. I want to inspire and help people develop their artistic skills and, if I can, help them in their personal growth if they’re looking for that. But in the current “market” (another M-word) it’s hugely important to let the world know what you have to offer or else valuable things get overlooked. So, even though it’s outside my comfort zone, I will have to do some marketing. But I was wondering if perhaps you could help me spread the news next week? It would really help if you could share a blogpost or a facebook post, for example. And in the mean time I’m putting my teeth into learning to execute the M-word and shine bright like a star, but a little help on the side would be quite the encouragement 🙂
New Work and Art for Sale
In the past months I’ve created some new work. These two are watercolor treemen. They were very much inspired by my nature journal. One of the things I love most about nature journaling is the study of textures. These trees are both full of texture. It takes a huge amount of time to paint such minute details, but I can’t help it…I love doing it. For the treeman below I studied bark of a cork-like tree bark I once found in France. And the rock texture is based on some textures of rocks here on the beach. I love when I manage to pull off the feel of it in watercolor…
I seldom sell originals, but I’ve got so many paintings now that I must start selling my work or else there’s no room for any new ones. So to start with three, I’ve also listed the original watercolor “Michaela” for sale. Should you be interested, I’ve added a link to each salespage in the images, so if you click on them, they will take you to the shop.
And can I pick your brain a little more? I’ve so many paintings lying about at the moment. What kind of art would you like to buy? What style do you like? And if it were an option, would you buy an original or a print? I was trying to guess, but maybe it’s better to your brain…
Online courses back in my shop
When you’re in my Etsy store, you will see my other online courses for sale again and you can already see my new online course listed. It’s ready to go, but on 3 April an Art Bundle will be launched that it’s part of. So if you feel like doing a lot of online classes and want to check that out, then please hold your breath for a few more days 🙂 On 3 April I will publish a link that takes you right to it! If you want to be the first to know about this wonderful project, then please sign up for my Newsletter if you haven’t already done so. I will make sure it reaches you the moment the clock strikes 3 April ♥
Kickstarting the day
I am currently refurbishing my website and to be honest, it’s quite a boring job and I long to paint. But since both websites and painting are time-consuming activities, the painting will have to wait a bit. A few days I crept behind the computer early in the morning and soon ended up in search of matches or other sticks to keep my eyelids from falling shut. So I needed a little something to wake the whole of me up before I did some work that actually feels like work. And lo and behold, I chose collage.
Here’s two collage pages I did yesterday and this morning:
These collages were done in the grey-black book I bound almost two years ago for the purpose of practising collage. It’s odd how sometimes books lie wanting and abandoned on a shelf for a long time. I mean, I did a few collages in it, but then I forgot about it somewhere along the line. Now that I’ve picked up this book again, doing these quick postcard-sized collages, it’s so much fun. It really helps wake up my system to do some more tedious work. Speaking of which, I have procrastinated enough by writing this blogpost, I think. I’d better head to the backend of my website, do some more brushing up and get the job done. 🙂
If you feel triggered to dive into collage as well, you can find some inspiration perhaps, in the work of:
And the winners are….
Michelle M. Heindl
Congratulations!!! Please e-mail me your names and addresses through my contact form on my website and you will be sent your watercolor package asap!!! Have fun painting!!!
For those who didn’t win…better luck next time and check out the video… 🙂 There’s more in store!
When granulation becomes a style
Over the years my watercolor painting style has varied greatly in appearance. But underneath the variety really boils down to three branches: I do stylized illustrated Tanka in ink and watercolor; I do illustrations based on preconceived images making use whatever medium I feel needs to be in it, but I mostly do watercolor paintings in which I work with a rough idea in mind, but then let the paint form the basis to work from and let the work grow from there. And to make that happen, I like to use all kinds of media mixed and granulating watercolor paint. I just really love the textured look a colored surface gets when painted with a granulating paint. They make paintings feel more lively. That being said, granulation is a skill to learn. The results are most beautiful in a balanced image.
A collection of granulation
A few weeks back I decided to make a collection of good granulating paints and keep them all in one tin. Here’s the collection I have composed thus far. THUS FAR, because…as you can see, there are eight vacancies. Eight empty pans! That’s not tolerable, is it? So my question to you is, which granulating paints do you think should be added to this set to complete it? A good color chart with pigment information can be found further down this post.
What IS granulation?
Granulation is a characteristic in the paint that makes the pigment particles flock together in micro-heaps or sink straight down onto the paper while the water flows on. So when the paint dries, you can see an uneven spread of color in the area that’s been painted. There are two kinds: real granulation, which can actually leave tiny areas uncolored and a flowering sort of granulation, which causes an uneven spread of color. Both can be really, really nice.
Artist vs cheaper quality & granulation
Granulation works best in artist grade pigments due to the heavy load of pigments in the paint, which makes this characteristic come out best. And because more expensive, pure pigments are used. Cheaper paints tend to be made with cheaper pigments and most of those have an ink-like feel, which means their color spreads out evenly. Many student grade paints have no granulation at all, some only in cheap pigments.
The most affordable watercolor paints and fluid watercolors are made with dyes rather than pigments, so they don’t granulate at all and instead the result of using those is an even, inky look. It can be lovely too, mind you. Granulation is not a must. But to me it is a perpetual source of fascination and inspiration.
Other ways of achieving texture in watercolor
Granulation can also be achieved by granulation mediums, although the effect of those will never be the same as the use of a good granulating pigment. You will see texture happen, though, so it is certainly worth a try. Other really great texture effects can be achieved with salt, alchohol and plastic wrap too, for instance. So if you don’t own granulating pigments yet, but do love texture, then by all means, experiment!
This morning I did a color chart of my granulating set of watercolors while having a coffee. I figured I might as well make it a cosy moment together…
As you can see, I already have a rather extensive collection of granulating paints, but it will not surprise you that I’m always curious for more. There are just so many lovely watercolor paints out there. I’ve been very curious about Daniel Smith Primateks, but I know other manufacturers use many of those pigments too, naming it differently. And I know that every day more and more small paint makers join the game and some offer really lovely paints, or so I’ve heard. So should you have any suggestions, you’re more than welcome to leave a comment. And if any of you perhaps know granulating yellows an reds, I’m extra interested!
today I have something really nice to start the New Year with, a giveaway! But before I start, I want to wish everyone a very inspired and colorful 2019, of course!
A few weeks back I was asked if I’d like to unbox a Watercolor studio kit and give away two. I was a bit hesitant at first because I always work with artist grade paints myself. Not out of snobbery, but because artist grade paints each have their own character, which I use to create my art. The more affordable paints don’t have the characteristics I’m referring to.
Affordable paint for starters
But should I always just review artist grade paints then? Pigments are interesting, of course, but making art doesn’t require the most expensive supplies at all. And besides, the amount of questions I get about more affordable paint alone, says ‘no’ too. When you start out painting, what matters, is to become familiar with the joy of painting and to learn the feel of water and color. That doesn’t require artist quality at all. In fact, pigments will only confuse and probably frustrate beginners. But that being said, you also don’t want to start with a set from the toy store. There is a difference between affordable paint and garbage. Art supplies need to work well, feel comfortable and ooze color.
So I took a look at this watercolor studio kit and the first impression on their website was good. The instruction video looked inspiring and the paint didn’t seem too bad at all, but really nice affordable paint instead. So, I did the unboxing. As you will know from me by now, the video is a bit wordy, so I’ll stop talking here, so that you can watch the video. But not before I let you know how you can partake in the giveaway.
Simply leave a comment below this blogpost BEFORE 30 January 2019.
Preferably with a username that links to somewhere I can contact you or an e-mail address or something. Or…keep an eye on my blog and YouTube channel, because on that day I will post who the winners are. I will draw the two winners at noon CET, so Amsterdam Time.
- Intro talk until 9:48
- Unboxing at 9:49
- Swatching and first experience at 23:32