Mia Whittemore

Working In a Sketchbook

Mia Whittemore
Duration:   1  hrs

Sketchbooks are a great place to gather inspiration, collect ideas and see growth over time, says artist Mia Whittemore.

Mia offers a tour through one of her composition sketchbooks, a book she uses to create more polished, thought-through ideas. For some works, Mia uses both pages of a spread and paints across the middle, while elsewhere she’ll keep her ideas to a single page. The book allows her to audition different mediums against one another and also capture what she’s seeing in front of her. This is a place to play, says Mia, it’s just for you; try different shapes, patterns, and color palettes. The sketchbook is a good opportunity to push yourself in new directions and help develop your own style, advises Mia.

Mia then demonstrates how she uses her sketchbook. She starts with painting since it will need to dry before moving on to a different medium. Mia, who often paints florals and patterns, uses a size 4 round brush to sketch in paint, starting with some bell-shaped flowers. She then adds a vase and additional floral shapes across the page. Once dry, Mia picks up an opaque paint pen that allows her to add stems, leaves, and other details to her paper and on top of the paint. Mia continues to work her way across her sketchbook, making sure to balance colors, shapes, and objects throughout the composition. Mia grabs her brush pen to add some flowers, noting that translucent brush pens cannot go over paint. When layering acrylic gouache on itself, it may take two layers to get the opacity you desire, says Mia. Mia fills out the entire spread of her sketchbook, switching between her mediums and adding in colored pencils for an additional texture. Mia likes to swatch the colors she’s used across the side of the page for easy reference later. She recommends stepping away from a sketch and coming back to see if there’s something you might want to add.