Sketchbook

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 →


Another wonderful Design Boot Camp has wrapped up! During Design Boot Camp I always spend a lot of time in my Studio Notebook -- aka my sketchbook. It's a place to think out loud, experiment, make mistakes, and learn. I rarely share the pages from my studio notebooks for a bunch of different reasons -- the biggest is that they're usually pretty ugly. My sketchbook is full of thoughts and ideas, but not finished work. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share a little behind-the-scenes peek into some of the work I created during this round of Design Boot Camp: As you... Read more →


During this month's Member Livestream, I taught a section on mixing neutral paint colors to coordinate with your palette. I swished the colors all around on a page in my sketchbook (to show how they looked together) and ended up with this mess: Well, I took a few minutes this week to clean up the mess and turn it into a composition. And I looooove how it turned out: Simple patterns will always be on my love list. If you'd like to learn more about composition, check out the upcoming season of Design Boot Camp. Thanks for stopping by! Read more →


Back in 2014 I wrote a tutorial on how to make a watercolor palette in an Altoid tin using an empty gum wrapper. Thanks to evolving technology, lots of folks on Etsy are now offering 3-D printed watercolor palettes that fit inside an Altoid tin. They range in price from $8-20 and they fit the tin perfectly! Here are three that I bought to try out: There are lots of different kinds of configurations and features. Some have a single layer and some have a double layer. When you're using the palette, you can place the second layer in the... Read more →


I've been eyeing the Derwent Push Button Water Brushes for a while now. The push button seems like such a great idea. When I decided to teach my Sketchbook Habit online class, I determined that I simply *had* to buy the brushes in order to be a good teacher. After all, what if a student asked me about them and I hadn't yet tried them? I was super excited when they arrived, but after trying them out, I have to say: meh. Watch the video for more: Supplies: Derwent Push Button Water Brushes Sakura Water Brush QoR Watercolors Mijello Air... Read more →