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Benefits for New Painters – Ink & Watercolor

Old Oak, Paso Robles
 All the images in this post were published in “Work Small, Learn Big!” published in 2003 by International Artist. The work was done on 9×12 handmade watercolor paper, drawn with a rollerball pen, medium point and painted with watercolors. 


The Courtyard, Orange
A number of years ago I was privileged to be asked to write a chapter for International Artists’ Magazines book, “Work Small, Learn Big!” I was one of 17 artists from English speaking countries to do so. It turned out to be a fascinating collection of all sorts of  methods using these basic tools. After teaching this technique to many students throughout the years, I’ve noticed several exciting benefits to beginners.
Vine Street Victorians, Paso Robles

It keeps you focused. By working quickly, you’ll be more inclined to concentrate on big shapes and really, truly observe the environment.

It makes you practice drawing. Starting with pen, not pencil, is a huge boost. Unable to second guess yourself once the pen touches the paper, you’ll keep drawing even though corrections need to be made along the way.

It helps you get over perfectionism. When the waterolor is added, some of the drawing lines are blurred so “making it perfect” is no longer a concern.


Coffee Corner, Orange
It encourages you to work outdoors. There is relative anonymity in this approach. With a chair or stool placed against a wall, you become somewhat invisible to passersby, removing the likelihood of over-the-shoulder viewers.
It keeps you on task. Demanding that the work be completed in a defined time frame is a sure defense against procrastination.

It builds confidence quickly. The more you do the better you get, period. And that leads to more work which, in turn, gets better and better.

It reduces your stress level. It’s the kind of fun that takes complete concerntration. You can’t worry about anything when you’re so happily engaged in painting.

It keeps you young by engaging the mind and body and teaching you to see the world differently. And the decision making that must be done as you work exercises the brain. I’ve always thought that Ponce de Leon, that seeker of the fountain of youth, had it half right. Not only water is necessary, but so in paint!


  1. Dana
    June 24, 2012

    I love this book – and your chapter is my favorite. 🙂 I look through this book quite often! I am so glad I heard you mentioning it to someone at Cheap Joe's, as it is very inspiring to me!

  2. Judy Schroeder
    June 24, 2012

    Thank you, Dana! Your comment made my day…

  3. monkeymia
    June 25, 2012

    I too have had this book for some years, and love to re-read it often. I find it very inspirational

  4. Sketchbook Wandering
    June 26, 2012

    I have that book and love it. Perhaps it's where I first saw your work…working quickly, with pen, not second guessing, getting over procrastination & perfectionism, Yes!! Engaging the mind & body, Yes! Thank you for having this blog. Rita.


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