View Full Version : Sizun's watercolor sketchbook

09-10-2010, 06:03 AM
I just discovered there was a journal thread on wetcanvas, so as I began a journal last spring I though I might share my favorite pages of it here.

I bound the sketchbook myself, with scraps of card board and stressed watercolor paper and I used coptic chain stitch to assemble the signatures. It is not beautifully done, but next time I know what not to do :lol:

The only rule is to draw from life and to use the pages with randomly pre-glued papers when I come to them.










09-10-2010, 07:14 AM
Superb sketches Ghislaine, a wonderful range of subjects.

Love your blog. Love the Jura.


09-10-2010, 08:00 AM
Thanks a lot Doug. I have a few pages left and I think I will narrow the range of subjects for the next one.

09-10-2010, 03:54 PM
These are all wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing them. I also love your blog and have added it to the list of those I read regularly. I am about ready to jump in and bind my own journal for the first time. I have ordered paper and I'm looking for an old, used novel to re-load. I'll post it here when I have it ready for art.

09-10-2010, 05:24 PM
Lovely sketches! Thanks for joining the forum.

09-10-2010, 06:16 PM
You've got some truly gorgeous drawings and paintings in that sketchbook. I also bookmarked your blog!

09-10-2010, 10:16 PM
Ghislaine, these are beautiful! The sense of design in all the pages shines through, each one is laid out so well and the images are so powerful and well rendered. I like the bits of brown paper glued in and the art that rambles across them, suddenly developing white paint accents before wandering off to become linear again. I love the watercolor paintings.

There are enough cognates that the text is hauntingly near to understandable, even though I only speak English. The French text is very beautifully laid out and looks so clean and professional. I think this journal is publishable, it's very striking and would be beautiful as a printed book.

09-11-2010, 12:54 AM
Wow, these are just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

Carole A
09-11-2010, 01:18 AM
Hi Sizun~

I love what you've done here with your journal. Please don't limit your range of subjects. What I love is how varied your subjects are. To me that's so interesting.

Hope to see more here.

Carole A

09-11-2010, 02:20 AM
Welcome Sizun, your sketchbook is a delight! I look forward to seeing more :)

09-11-2010, 03:41 AM
Suruchi, I've tried to fill in sketchbook journals before, and this one is the first I'm sccessfull with, although the first pages needed an adaptation time. In my opinion, it's because I bound it myself, which makes it special to me, with a stronger commitment. So I think binding your own book is definitely worth it. Go ahead !

Robert, I'm very fond of the brown paper too. I might use it more in my next journal.
Some of the watercolors were drawn on the Atlantic coast, in a place very dear to most of my family members so I though I might have some Blurb copies printed as Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, I only go there a few days a year so it might be a long time before I have enough drawings to complete this project.
As regards the text, I write the letters between the vertical margins without bothering about cutting the words in the proper place. It makes it a bit hard to read, especially if French is not your language. But I like it because you need an extra effort to kind of decipher what I wrote. It's not obvious at the fisrt glance. Some people like it, other don't.

Carole, my subjects are varied because my life is varied, so indeed, it might be a good idea to just be true to myself and translate all my interests into my drawings...

John, it's a pleasure for me to join this forum.

Cremnitz, Debby and Jackie, thank you for your welcome ! See you !

Vivien Maloney
09-11-2010, 02:31 PM
Your sketches are beautiful and very interesting. I like your varied sketches. I love the way you made your Journal. Great work!

09-11-2010, 09:35 PM
Sizun I love your work here. The colours are gorgeous and just so many great pages. I have already come back 3 times just to look at them again and again. I hope to see more of your work too.

09-13-2010, 05:07 AM
Vivien and Jacqui, thank you for your kind comments.

Here are the latest spreads in my sketchbook :



09-13-2010, 10:38 AM
These pages are gorgeous! I love that spire on the first one. The water pipe with a dragon-head looking head is beautiful, such wonderful copper-verdegris color and shading. Great little slugs. Beautiful scene of little garden sheds, and is that an outhouse next to a garden shed?

Once again, your sketchbook has an overall feel of something designed and professional, each spread is elegant as a complete layout as well as the individual drawings or paintings having a good composition. I'm seriously impressed, still working on that quality myself.

09-13-2010, 11:43 AM
Robert, they're both garden sheds. This is an allotment garden and each gardener has built his own shed. I agree some of them look like outhouses !

09-13-2010, 10:24 PM
Oh wow, that's cool. Yeah, I would guess a shed doesn't need to be that large depending on what you store in it. Just something with a roof and walls to keep the rain off your tools.

09-14-2010, 12:03 PM

As life drawing sessions ar not available at the moment and as I feel very awkward sketching people in public places, I though the next best thing would be to sketch statues... Saint Magdalena and Saint Denis , around 1870 by Jean-Joseph Perraud.
I used a pen and sepia watercolor. And... only 7 pages left !

09-14-2010, 08:41 PM
Congratulations to be so near to filling your sketchbook! I love your work with the writing (thanks for your comments in my sketchbook - I know what you mean about the words just have to join in with the art sometimes!). I also am intrigued with the little stamps you have put on some pages too :)

This is a fascinating little sketchbook (even though I do not read/understand French!), thanks for joining in and sharing it with us.

09-14-2010, 11:58 PM
Hadn't thought of that. Statues do hold the pose as long as you need. *smile* Lovely pages.

09-15-2010, 09:57 AM
This is a beautiful book with great observation, lovely marks and the way you use the random stuck in pieces, you make work really well :)

Joan T
09-15-2010, 10:41 AM
Your sketches are wonderful, and I love how you sketch just about anything. My favorites, of course, are the ones of the towns, but I also love the statues and the people. Great book!!

09-22-2010, 03:58 PM
Really nice work in your sketchbook Sizun, especially the way you integrate the collage.

09-22-2010, 09:54 PM
These two are so gorgeous! I love the balance of text and paintings, the composition of the whole spread is lovely.

09-22-2010, 10:43 PM
I read a book or website, recently that talked about the importance of sketching statues. It said that statues were already simplified and therefore easier to draw, than real life subjects, and examples of how to simplify.

Not that you need anything easy, or examples :-) Very, very nice :-)

09-27-2010, 10:30 AM
Lifting jaw off the ground!!!!!!!

This is AMAZING journal work, the paintings, the text (although I have NO IDEA what it says), and the compositions are so beautiful and perfect.

THANKYOU for shareing and looking forward to seeing the rest as they develope!

03-27-2011, 09:25 AM
Thank you very much for your encouraging comments.
I neglected my sketchbook last winter, but yesterday retrieved it from where it had been hidden so this is an opportunity to do some catching up. And now, I have only one page left before beginning a new sketchbook !

The statue on the left is very funny : it's life size and with no pedestal so you might think this is actually someone looking at the river or at least a street artist mimicking a statue. I had no camera with me but I found an online picture. (http://fr.academic.ru/pictures/frwiki/83/Statue_Besancon.jpg)

03-27-2011, 10:48 AM
Very nice to see you back with new sketches, and an almost-completed sketchbook! The statue sketches are very well done, and the whole sketchbook has a wonderful combination of feeling spontaneous and yet well-designed.

03-27-2011, 01:20 PM
Thanks a lot John. I found that if my sketchbook has lots of failed drawings in it I leave it on the side and stop sketching. BUT if there is too much successful ones, then I have stage fright each time I take it and stop drawing too...

03-27-2011, 03:47 PM
Lovely sketches. Good to see you again.

03-27-2011, 07:55 PM
Gorgeous sketches and a great inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing your work. I love the way you've worked in the paper pasted on various pages. Your use of watercolor is perfectly simplified --- so hard to do!


03-28-2011, 12:46 AM
Wonderful work. I love the incorporation of the collage.
The text is as much a design element as the drawings.

Very enjoyable to view.

03-28-2011, 01:28 PM
lovely sketches

03-28-2011, 04:38 PM
lovely sketches. . . like how you laid out each page. The plate is a favorite for me.

03-28-2011, 09:44 PM
Ghislaine, this is truly a beautiful journal. I love the randomness of the subjects and I love the idea of pre-glued papers that must be worked into the design. Also, I agree with Robert that your writing is so elegant and well placed that it greatly enhances the layout of the pages.

You must be happy to have only one page left, but I hope there is another journal very close behind this one. Your blog is wonderful as well.

I'm so glad you started posting to the Journal Forum. I've been pretty inconsistent here recently due to other committments, but I'm glad to welcome you and hope you will continue to be a regular.


03-29-2011, 05:04 AM
Thanks a lot for your comments. Very encouraging.
I'm currently working on binding a new journal. I completed the covers last night and I might sew it today. (coptic binding)

Joan T
03-29-2011, 01:56 PM
Super job on the latest sketches!!! Your statues are so well done. I just took a class to learn how to do Japanese stab binding. I really like the journal I made in the class. Now I have to try it on my own.

03-29-2011, 05:36 PM
What a lovely book! I look forward to watching it grow.

03-29-2011, 06:39 PM
Gorgeous work! Love it!!

03-30-2011, 03:31 AM
Eyepaint and Kema, thank you.

Joan, I like Japanese stab binding too. I think I'm drawn to bindings where you can see the stitches, so Coptic and Japanese are perfect !
Have you posted some pictures of the book you did at the workshop ?

Yesterday I bound my next sketchbook. I made it a near square. The pages are 18x16 cm, the covers are just a bit larger. I used the kind of paper I paint for my collages to make the covers. The board I used is just mat leftovers. The pages are plain student-grade watercolor paper and there are 9 eight pages signatures. So plenty of work ahead !

03-30-2011, 02:36 PM
Oh Sizun this is beautiful. My coptic binding always ends up a bit loose.

The cover is terrific.

03-30-2011, 03:51 PM
Oh Sizun this is beautiful. My coptic binding always ends up a bit loose.

Mine used to as well, but using a curved needle helps a lot.:thumbsup:

03-30-2011, 04:11 PM
what a gorgeous cover. . . beautiful book

03-30-2011, 09:38 PM
Awesome book. Lovely stitching. Yay, another book binder.

03-31-2011, 05:38 PM
Your sketchbook is beautiful. can you please tell me what kind of paper you used? I love journalling myself but your sketches are beautiful:cat:

04-01-2011, 04:06 AM
I used this paper (http://www.geant-beaux-arts.fr/Papier-N3-Aquarelle-papier-aquarelle.htm). If you're in Europe, this company also has an English online store (http://www.greatart.co.uk/) and a German one (http://www.gerstaecker.de/) (and a Swiss one too, it seems). It's a relatively light-weight, student-grade cellulose paper. Not great quality, but I find it OK for sketching and its low price is liberating in some way. You're not afraid of spoiling pricey paper. As soon as I'm finished with the stack of it I have, I'll try to bind a sketchbook with Fabriano Artistico cold press because it seems to be so popular for watercolor sketchbook binders.

The outside paper is plain A3 copy paper I textured with matte acrylic gel. When dry I added some washes of diluted acrylic paint. The beauty of the process is that the areas with no gel are darker.

Have fun !

04-01-2011, 04:20 AM
Your wonderful sketches deserve this really beautiful book. I look forward to seeing more of your work Sizun.

04-01-2011, 06:31 PM
Thanks for the tip Sizun. I'll have to look for one.

04-02-2011, 10:02 AM
This morning I used my new green sketchbook for the first time. I walked to town with my daughter and we had our caffeine, then we sat under a tree and I sketched the statue of Rouget de Lisle, the composer of our national anthem. He was born in our city, Lons le Saunier.

04-02-2011, 02:25 PM
So that is who wrote La Marseillaise.
Very interesting . He looks like he could be singing it himself.

A lovely walk and way to spend the time.

04-02-2011, 08:15 PM
Time with your child and sketching. Can't beat that. Great sketches.

11-02-2012, 05:49 AM
I was very buzy for a whole year but here is a sketch I made in early January, 2012. It's the center of our city with holydays ornaments, namely a huge spruce tree with big white glass decorating balls. Because it was a bit cold I didn't add color. Anyway, I'd like to find some printmaking design and working in black and white helps a lot.
See you soon ! I'm planning to resume sketching... ;)


11-02-2012, 05:38 PM
Glad you are back. Great sketch of the architecture.

11-05-2012, 11:04 AM
your sketchbook is a stunner, love the random paper approach, and your style works so well across the pages, brill, thanks for sharing...

Joan T
11-05-2012, 04:18 PM
Sizun - I did post photos of the journals I made but I don't even remember where I posted them. lol I used the Japanese stab method. I plan on making some to sell at an art show I'm doing in Dec. I love the sketch of the coffee cup. For some reason when people sketch while drinking coffee or tea they have a special feel to them. Maybe because the sketcher is relaxed.

11-07-2012, 10:03 AM
Sizun, thanks for sharing you journal and sketches. I love to see homemade journals and I think the process is wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing more.


12-08-2012, 10:16 PM
Wonderful pages!!! My favorite is absolutely the orchid in one of the first posts, it is so appealing!!

12-09-2012, 04:14 AM
Love the architecture sketch, so many little details!

12-09-2012, 11:21 AM
Glad to see you back! Great sketch of your town as well.

12-09-2012, 11:26 AM
Very nice. It's pretty cool how it spans across the centerline separating the pages.

12-21-2012, 12:26 PM
I only looked at the first and last page, but you have some wonderful sketches there. I like how you add collage pieces in some of them and they look so integrated into the sketch.

05-18-2013, 11:09 AM
Sorry I've been away for so long. Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments.

I try to catch up on drawing and posting...
Here is the latest spread.
The restaurant was drawn last november. It's a former wine cellar in the oldest street of our city. A very small place but warm and welcoming.


05-18-2013, 03:20 PM
Looks like a delightful place. Cool sketch.

05-19-2013, 04:36 AM
Thank you Debby.