Picking up our discussion from Monday, where does a studio notebook come in? source A studio notebook is kind of the perfect mashup of sketchbook and commonplace book. I think that's why I've been using one even before I knew what commonplace books were. I do a lot of writing in my studio notebooks, so they don't feel like sketchbooks. And actually, I think I get why it works for me now! source Here's how a studio notebook can incorporate elements of both a sketchbook and a commonplace book: Documentation and Reflection: Like a commonplace book, a studio notebook can... Read more →

As soon as I fell in love with the concept of commonplace books, I knew that I had to figure out how I could use one as an artist. While a commonplace book is typically associated with writers and thinkers, there are various ways in which a visual artist can use a commonplace book to enhance their creative process. source Here are a few ideas: Inspiration and Reference Collection: Artists often gather inspiration from various sources. A commonplace book can serve as a repository for collecting visual references, ideas, and images that spark your imagination. You can include sketches, photographs,... Read more →

I have a new obsession: commonplace books! source I accidentally stumbled upon them while researching Morning Pages. And I'm in love! What are commonplace books? I'm so happy that you asked! source A commonplace book is a personal compilation of knowledge, ideas, quotations, and observations collected by an individual. It is a notebook or journal where one gathers and organizes information from various sources for future reference and reflection. They are more like a database than a diary. In the past many people used commonplace books as a way to order their ideas and make them easy to refer back... Read more →

Have you heard of Sketchbook Revival? It's a FREE online workshop with more than twenty-five FREE sketchbook classes and I'm delighted to be one of the teachers this year! In my class "Custom Color Collage Grid," I'm demonstrating some simple gelatin printing and then showing you how to use a grid design to create a gorgeous monochromatic collage in your sketchbook, like these ones: In case you don't know, gelatin printing is a form of relief printing that I am obsessed with! You use a gelatin plate to transfer layers of paint onto paper or fabric and create a monotype.... Read more →

While I was on vacation in California, I posted a photo of what I was working on: The caption says: I’m on vacation with a bag full of paint pens and a tiny #artjournal. 🙌 When my little guy takes a nap, I use the time as an opportunity to muck around in my little hand made book. Most days I don’t have a goal in mind. I simply sit down and respond to whatever is there. A few doodles. A little bit of collage. It’s all part of maintaining an art practice — no matter what. 😁 And in... Read more →

Mom and I recorded this podcast back at the beginning of September. But life has been so crazy that I only just managed to edit it this week! You can watch the video version on my YouTube channel, or you can listen below (or anywhere you get podcasts): The focus of our conversation is on why keeping a sketchbook matters. We do wander into chatting about what makes for a successful art practice, as well as how cooking, construction, and yoga are similar to an art practice. And all of it really boils down to the notion of a "directed... Read more →

In the video below, I'm working on two ideas at the same time in my studio notebook, aka my sketchbook. My studio notebook is a place for me to visually think aloud. For this particular exercise, I decided to create the same image using two different methods. On the left side I painted and on the right side, I used painted paper collage. My whole goal for this experiment/exploration was to figure out which methodology I preferred -- both in terms of enjoying the process and appreciating the result. There are a lot of things that I might go back... Read more →

I'm currently working on a new series about motherhood. I'm in the preparatory stages of the series. I've been drawing, thinking, planning, and experimenting. Most of what I've made are little scribbles and copious notes. But I have worked on a few more composed pieces and I thought I'd share those with you today. These are acrylic paintings. Most also include collage. As you know, I generally make all of my own collage papers. And some of the pieces also include some pencil/crayon additions. Take a peek: You can watch this short process video to see the last two pieces... Read more →

We had such a great Book Club meeting last week. We discussed The Sketchbook Idea Generator by Jennifer Orkin Lewis. It's not my favorite book, but I shared how I made it work for me. Watch the replay below: Here are two of my favorite little "sketches" I made while working through the book: And here's the demo piece I created during Book Club: There are some fabulous versions that other people did, which are now posted in the Balzer Designs Students Facebook Group. You should check them out! The next Book Club is on September 14, 2022 at 12:15pm... Read more →

I recently saw Carla Sonheim drawing her Zoom meetings. What a stroke of genius! I don't know about you, but I definitely think better and listen better when I'm drawing. I was enchanted by Carla's idea of creating a drawing (and a record) instead of the random doodling I often do. I had a Zoom meeting yesterday and so I gave it a go. As you can probably tell, these are not actual likenesses of anyone who was at the meeting. But, they were super fun to draw and a great way for me to practice my observation skills while... Read more →