Monday, February 20, 2012

Listening to That Little Voice

My last few posts were all about the sketches I did when my husband and I took a short trip to Pensacola Beach, Florida. Well, after I wrote that last post, I took one final look at my Pensacola sketchbook, closed it, and put it on a shelf with all the others. But something kept nagging at me. Maybe it was the fact that I really didn't like that last sketch I did in the airport, or maybe it was those five blank pages at the end of the book, or the ugly front cover -- something was telling me that this sketchbook wanted a little more attention. So, who am I to argue? I'm a firm believer in listening to that quiet but persistent voice in my head when it tells me to soldier on, that the project can be better, that there are more stories to be told with paint and pen.

So, I filled those last five pages of my sketchbook with paintings and collages, using photos that I had taken as reference materials. This first one is a schematic drawing of the view from our hotel balcony. It was so pretty looking down on all that sparkling aqua blue water. Adding diagrams like this one, changing the scale and focus of my sketches, and mixing in pages of text or collage are all ways that I add interest to a sketchbook.

(Click on any page for a larger view)

Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

I snapped a picture of this biplane at the Naval Aviation Museum, but decided it might be fun to paint it flying over the Gulf with a colorful sky behind it. My husband (the pilot) pointed out that the prop really should be shown as a blur, but, hey, maybe the engine just sputtered and died and the guy's going to make an emergency landing on that beach down below. What's really funny is that I realized, as I was finishing up the sketch and feeling pretty good about it, that the cockpit was empty - I had forgotten to add a pilot! Luckily, I was able to squeeze him in (and no one would be the wiser if I hadn't confessed.)

Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

These seagulls were having their morning get-together on a sand bar on Pensacola Beach...

Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

Since my husband's name is Fred, we got a kick out of this dilapidated old pick-up truck sporting his name. It was part of the outdoor decor at a local restaurant.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

I thought I'd do one collage page to finish up the book...

Collage & watercolor, 6" x 9"

... but I had a few leftovers, so I glued them on the back side of the last page. I wasn't planning on doing anything with them, but I just can't leave something like that alone! I started drawing a few lines, and was having so much fun doodling that I filled the entire page.

Collage, watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

For years I've been thinking I should do something to pretty up the covers on my sketchbooks, but I can never decide on the perfect thing, so I end up doing nothing. Well, this time I decided to follow the advice of Scott Allen, who said, 
"Done is better than perfect." 
I found a piece of colorful batik fabric in my stash and glued it to the covers. It looks sort of tropical, doesn't it?

Sketchbook cover

To finish off the inside of the front and back covers, I glued down maps of Pensacola and Florida.

Now it's finished! That niggling little doubt in the back of my head has gone away, and this sketchbook feels complete. I can relax now. :)


  1. Love your sketchbooks. Thanks for sharing how you finish them up.

  2. So wonderful! Thank you for sharing all your work! Love it! :)

  3. Beautiful way to complete your Pensacola sketchbook! I love the biplane sketch with all the many pastel colors, and your doodling page is great. I love to put covers on my sketchbooks too, and that's a great idea of putting maps on the inside covers.

  4. Stacy, can you give me any suggestions on other ways to finish off sketchbook covers? What have you done?

  5. Oh, now this is just perfect! I love all the new additions and the cover and inside pages are terrific. I wish my inner voice would speak to me. I'm in a creative slump at present.

  6. Awesome! I like these additions to your sketchbook - more variety in the sketches, clever arranging of keepsakes, and very dynamic cover! Great idea to use the maps inside the covers. What a delightful book!


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