A book of ideas

While I took a long pause from painting and drawing through the summer, seems maybe my muse melted in the heatwave,  I was all out of inspiration for weeks. Instead I turned my attention to sewing and spent my spare time adding to this ongoing project .

Then, as suddenly as the ideas had dried up, they began to repopulate my thoughts.

A couple of months ago I started a new art journal. This time, instead of my usual blurted streams of consciousness, wild splats of color and scribbled thoughts, I have something of a theme going on this time.

The background for an “inspired by” spread
The background for an “inspired by” spread

The pages are beginning like usual, with splashes and washes of color from messy brush wipes, patches of color to use up left over paint.

BUT, the next step is the new part: every page is has space for drawing something I’ve been inspired by.

So often I take photos of patterns and shapes, so often I save images from artists and designers.

All the things that light up my imagination and set off a new train of doodles.

So I’ve got an enormous catalogue of inspiration tucked away in my phone, my bookmarks & favs.

When I get a spare few minutes, or when I want to warm up my drawing brain, I go to my art journal to add drawings and doodles inspired by someone or something in my list.

I was fascinated by the shapes and lines of these rocks on the beach in Cyprus last month. Dozens of photos of these wonderful wobbly lines. This is the first of a series they inspired.

Meanwhile, other artists have been drip-feeding ideas into my mind too. I invite their influence to stretch my skills, to let their style add new aspects to the way I doodle.

Alisa Burke creates fabulous flowery mandalas and often shares her process in Instagram. It’s such a meditative process, watching the patterns unfurl onto the page.

This is the first of  my inspired by Alisa spreads.

art journal spread inspired by Alisa Burke
art journal spread inspired by Alisa Burke

Where do you find your inspiration? how do you stretch your creativity to include new patterns and shapes?

If you’d like to be first to see what I’m making & doing, hop onto my email list here: 

a braid of ideas

A three ply art project in the making:

This is my Inktober inspired Sketchbook Project for Twelvty 2018: Three ideas smooshed together between the covers of a 5 x 7 inch book which will be the springboard into a new adventure for next year.


……..this is a story that began in July……..

Part One: The Sketchbook Project


The Sketchbook Project is just as the name suggests. It’s a collaborative art project, and it’s enormous. It’s 36,130 artists’ books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries over 11 years. In 2018 it will contain at least one more, and that will be my one. 

My book arrived in the mail on Monday 31 July, straight away I set to work on doodling a first page with my initial thoughts and ideas:


Contented that I’d made my first mark, I set the book aside while I waited for the ideas to formulate. Then I got sick, and was away from my life for a while. The up-side to hospital-strength pain relief is that although I wasn’t able to create anything for a while, the visual ideas flooding my brain were far beyond what my usual imagination can conjure, and I’ve still got a solid grasp on what I saw inside my head.

Yes, they were colourful. (more on that in part three).

………. now let’s fast forward to September……….


Part two: Inktober

Inktober is an annual ink drawing challenge held online every October. Again, the clue is in the title.

I was dithering as to whether I’d participate this year, historically I’ve been rubbish at commitment. Is this a good reason not to play along? That’s what I was pondering on n off through September.

Until I hit upon the way my three ideas perfectly fit together. 

Ink drawings are the scaffolding for the content of my sketchbook project – the top layer of which I’ll explain in part three  – combining to make real what my muddled little opiated brain saw in hospital. And leading me into a project I’m planning for 2018!



…………. now fast forward to October 1st……..

Today began page one of the sketchbook, #inktober doodle number one, a commentary on my thought process as the project reveals itself to me. It’s all quite meta. 
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 19.47.29

(you can see daily progress here on Instagram…. )

Black and white drawings are all well and good, as they form the scaffolding for the content of my sketchbook, but in order for it to be ‘me’ it needs some color, right? Of course it does.

……. Which brings me to ……

Part three: TWELVTY 2018

Twelvty is the environment in which almost all my art has evolved this year:  With each month a new color – as conveniently there are 12 colors in the color wheel if you count the tertiaries (which are by far my favs) – this perfectly fits one year.

complementary colors: opposites in the color wheel
complementary colors: opposites in the color wheel

An aspect of this color wheel journey I’ve enjoyed exploring more deeply this year is the ways that each color fits in amid its neighbours; how they interact. How they dance.

I’ve developed a real fascination with balancing the pairs and groups of colors – the complementaries, the triadic groups…

This is something I intend to explore more thoroughly in a second variation of Twelvty in 2018.

This is also the way I plan to add color to the Inktober doodlings in the sketchbook project book.


The Plan:

So there we have it: The doodles and drawings of Inktober will form the structure of my vision for the sketchbook.

In November I’ll add the colours, which will be the pairs and threesomes of color theory illustrating the beauty of the color wheel.

This in turn will be the visualisation of a new program all about color balancing for the new year.



I’ll tell you more about these 2018 incarnations of Twelvty at a future date. Meanwhile I’ve got important doodles to do!

Be sure to get on my mailing list if you’re even a little bit interested in finding out more about TWELVTY 2018 cos there’ll be special deals for folks on my list!