Last week I dusted off my other artistic hat and subbed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra again. (By the way, if you’re in the mood for some classical music, you can see the NJSO – and me! – playing here. I make a blurry appearance on the left of the screen at around the 5:38 mark.) Naturally, on the weeks that I’m practicing and performing music, I usually don’t have as much time for illustration work. Needless to say, that can often feel frustrating. However, I’m often surprised by the number of new ideas and the strides forward when I do come back to illustrating. Not to mention that a perk of the musical break is that I often have a new “ear cootie” – the music of Shostakovich, Beethoven, or whatever I’ve just performed – running through my head! The music in my head sometimes comes out on the page, too. In this post, you’ll see the marriage of music together with my latest illustrated adventures with watercolor.

Illustrated Adventures with Watercolor Demonstration Video

In a departure from my usual freehand drawing demonstration videos, I decided to show my water coloring process instead:

The little band of mice were drawn freehand in ink with my Carter’s vintage flex fountain pen.

Continuing on to the illustrated adventures…

Here’s a look at a two-page spread that I finished tonight in my Moleskine art sketchbook. As you can see, the inspiration was the humble Circle.

Illustrated variations on the Circle as an example of my illustrated adventures with watercolor

In the illustrations above, I used the same coloring technique that I used in my Mice Band coloring video. That is, I first added shading to the entire illustration with a neutral grey. Then I went in and filled in with my colors of choice. The effect gives more transparency to the colors without sacrificing on the depth. It’s a watercolor technique that I plan to keep exploring.

Speaking of exploring…

Cute picture of Toybob kitten studying my Moleskine art sketchbook and watercolor illustrations

This little one alternates between either wanting to grab my water brush pen or walking on my drafting table. Fortunately, he’ll eventually settle down onto my lap to watch the illustration unfold. A win-win for us both!

P.S. If you want to see more of my work, please visit my shop at Etsy!


    • Joana says:

      Thank you, my dear! It felt so good to get back to my Moleskine sketchbook. I’m about 1/2 way through it now, so maybe in a few months I’ll be able to post another “sketchbook tour” on my YouTube channel.

      Looking forward to seeing your new heart creations! Send me a pic, please.
      xox – Joana

  1. Mm says:

    Your micies are the cutest! And so is your muse with the whiskers.

    • Joana says:

      Ooh, so glad you like the micies! They do seem to be popular. 🙂 Too bad little Ziggy can’t play with them “for real.”

      xox – J

    • Joana says:

      Hi Itching for Hitching,

      Thanks so much for reading my post and taking time to comment! I’m glad that you’ve been able to keep on traveling and having adventures despite the pandemic. Of course, Australia (and New Zealand) have done a lot of things right! 🙂 Stay safe and keep having fun!

      All best wishes,

        • Joana says:

          “Micetros”…that’s pretty funny! I’m glad that my illustration provided inspiration. 🙂 Do you like to draw in pen? What kind of watercolors do you use? Do you draw “plein air” or do you have enough room in your RV (it’s an RV, right?) for an art area?

          All best wishes,

          • We’ve been retired 9 years and have been travelling in our caravan as much as we can so in accordance with weather patterns we tend to dart back and forth living two very different lives between home in Melbourne and our life on the road. A couple of years ago I woke one morning and thought “oh my God I can’t draw”, yeah, I know, strange thought. Anyway, being one who likes a good project I threw myself into drawing something other than stick figures and surprised myself when they actually looked more realistic than toilet signs! Following blogs like yours and a few YouTube channels I’ve discovered a passion for urban sketching. When we’re on the road I’ve always photographed old buildings, I draw them in pencil then a Mitsubishi uni ball pen before colouring with watercolour pencil, though I prefer not to wet them, just a personal preference for the softer colour. I’ve been dipping my toes into watercolour and last week bought a Windsor & Newton travel set which I think will be perfect when on the road as I like everything to pack into a briefcase sized bag. Sometimes I may get the time to draw plein air and it does make the work much more heartwarming, but in the evenings when everything is quiet I like to get out the pencils and draw while I listen to the sounds of the bush. Many thanks for your inspiration as you have helped to open up a whole new view of the world for me. Cheers!

            • Joana says:

              How interesting! One of my Portuguese cousins spent a few years living and working in Melbourne. I’ve only been to Sydney (my husband conducted the Royal Ballet at the Opera house a few years ago), but I really loved my time “Down Under.”

              I follow a few Urban Sketcher blogs and also really love Teoh Ye Chie’s Youtube channel:

              However, as you’ve probably gathered, my passion is drawing people, not buildings. Even so, I think it would be a good exercise to get comfortable with urban building sketching so that I can develop my own simplified building drawing style. That way, my whimsical peeps could enjoy “living” in more varied surroundings. 🙂 I, too, have a Windsor & Newtown travel set, but in the past year I’ve been using my Fan Watercolor palette pretty much all the time. I find the setup of the colors – almost like a series of paint strips – to be stimulating to my eye and to my imagination. Also, because the pans of colors are a bit bigger than what’s in the W&N set, I feel like I can get more paint on the brush and more saturation onto my palette.

              I really envy you being able to travel and live among nature! As much as I love NYC, the noise level and crush of people (even during a pandemic) does wear thin. Sigh.

              Keep following your inspiration!
              🙂 Joana

              • So glad you enjoyed Sydney. Yes, love TYC’s work he is inspiring. Ours is a weird life half urban half exploration but I couldn’t think of a better retirement. Maybe it’s time I added a few people to my wheat silo sketches 😂 stay safe and cheers!

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