Ever since I started cartooning I’ve discovered that it’s gratifying to have sketchbooks as a visual record of places, people and events. Creating the illustrations connects me to events as they unfold. Reviewing the cartoons and illustrations in my various sketchbooks gives me perspective on my progress overall. And, best of all, the act of drawing seems to preserve moments in time in my memory in a far stronger way…a win-win situation all around! To date, I’ve filled quite a few small sketchbooks with my pencil, pen and water brush drawings. Currently, I’m working on filling up my watercolor sketchbook with more involved “scenic” cartoons and illustrations.

A nice feature of my watercolor sketchbook is the alternating medium surface “sketch” paper sheets between the 300 gsm, acid-free watercolor paper.

Even though I’ve decided to fill this sketchbook exclusively with cartoons and illustrations drawn in India ink, I find it helpful at times to rough out some compositions in pencil on the included sketch paper. When you’re drawing action figures – well, “sort of action” figures, as you can see in the photo below of my mom and husband playing cards – it’s helpful to have a reference sketch in case your subjects ever decide to move.

Photo-of-quick-pencil-layout-cartoon-in my watercolor sketchbook

My stick figure sketch, above, inspired the finished India ink drawing below:

India ink cartoon drawing in my watercolor sketchbook

Note the “spider” on the ground in the bottom right of the drawing. I accidentally created Mr. Spider when the side of my hand moved across the page after having rested on the not-yet-dry ink on my husband’s shoe. Naturally, adding in my mom’s little Siamese cat seemed like the perfect fix!

Inking Tip: Ink from left to right (if you’re right-handed like me) so that you don’t create ink blobs along the way!

I’m still experimenting with the water coloring process for my cartoon drawings…

I’m not totally thrilled with the coloring for this cartoon illustration. For one, the color choices for my mom’s skin got a bit dark and muddy. Also, I wasn’t able to create a dark enough black for the table cloth. Part of this is just lack of experience. But I’ve also learned I need a bigger plastic palette with which to mix my colors. Unfortunately, my Windsor Newton Cotman travel watercolor set comes with only a small 6 square palette.

P.S. Mr. Puck is scared of spiders!



  1. Sharon Miranda says:

    I LOVE IT! I want it for the fridge!! Love, your mehmeh

    • Joana says:

      Hi Meh-meh,
      Soon your fridge will be wall-papered with Joana Miranda Studio originals….I’m honored!
      I lurve you!

    • Joana says:

      Thanks, Helen! I’ve been meaning to write you to ask your advice about something regarding my Etsy shop. Will do so soon…
      But first I must get in my walk and swim before the rain comes. 🙂 XOX – Joana

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