Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let's Art Journal (Week 4: Grocery Shopping)

This week's art journal post is a combination of a journal entry and a rant (about raspberry preserves). I don't think anyone else truly understands how annoyed I am about my raspberry preserves situation, but this is my blog, so I can complain about whatever kind of fruit spreads I please. If you don't want to hear me complain about unimportant things, feel free to skip down to the supplies section of this post where I actually start talking about art journaling.

Raspberry Rant 

This whole situation started when I went to Target to get a jar of raspberry preserves to but on bread for the long weekend when our school cafeteria is closed. I didn't find out that I wouldn't have access to food until sometime this week when my roommate mentioned it. This wouldn't be that big of a deal because everyone is heading home for the four day weekend, but I can't fly home for every long weekend, so I'm kind of stuck here.

So anyway, I go to Target with some girls from my sorority and we're a little cramped on time, so I picked the first jar that said raspberry preserves on it and got to the checkout. It looked like the same kind I normally buy, except when I got home I realized that it was sugar free raspberry preserves. I texted my mom and she told me to return it, but that wasn't an option because Target is super far away and I don't have a car to get there. Plus, whenever you return food to a grocery store, they have to throw it away because it might have been tampered with and I feel super terrible wasting food like that.

I decide that I'm just going to use the sugar free preserves because I already have them and I spent four dollars on a tiny jar of them. I was hesitant at first because there's Splenda in them and my mom has had several small allergic reactions to artificial sweeteners like Splenda. Food allergies run in my family and they're not fun.

First of all, sugar free preserves have a totally different texture than normal ones. They're more gelatin like and they basically look like raspberry seeds floating in a red jello. They're super hard to spread on bread because it likes to clump together. I didn't quite realize that until I tried to scoop some out of the jar with a butter knife and ended up flinging a blob of preserves at the wall.

Second of all, sugar free raspberry preserves taste terrible; they're like a combination of artificial, chemical taste and tasteless at the same time. (I'm absolutely terrible at describing what food tastes like, so I don't plan on going into food blogging in the near future.)

You can pretty much get rid of whatever food you don't want by walking up and down the dorm floor and knocking on doors asking if people want it, but sugar free raspberry preserves turn out not to be a hot item. I've asked pretty much everyone in the entire building and I still have a jar of sugar free raspberry preserves in my fridge with only a knife-full taken out (and the glob that ended up on the wall).

So I decided to walk a mile to the local grocery store to get raspberry preserves with actual sugar. I paid a lot of attention this time to the labels because all the containers look essentially the same but the contents vary wildly. The only thing I got out of this situation was completing my step goal for the day by walking all the way to the store and back, which rarely happens and another four dollar jar of raspberry preserves, except they were the right kind this time.

So this rant was the inspiration for this week's journal page because I really wanted to do some drawing from observation and I also really wanted to complain about my stupid problems. If I'm going to be really clich├ęd, I should add a hashtag of #FirstWorldProblems to this post but tagging doesn't work on Blogger.

Supplies (The Part Where We Actually Start Journaling)

  • Derwent Watercolor Pencils
    • Geranium Lake #15
    • Crimson Lake #20
    • Madder Crimson #19
    • Ivory Black #67
    • Sap Green #49
  • Fabric Tape
  • Prismacolor Marker Pen in .03 Black
  • Watercolor Brushes and Water
  • Receipt 
  • Archival Gluestick

So I begin by setting up my journaling area so I don't have to get up to keep getting things. I make sure that I have a fresh cup of water for my watercolor pencils (I've been using an adorable teacup that I found at a thrift shop.) and I put the jar of raspberry preserves that I'm using as a reference in front of me.

I start my page by drawing in the lid of the jar and where the red part of the label is. While working on this journal page, I realized how hard it was to differentiate my tones of red and I really wish I had a darker red tone.

I add in my second tone of red, but it really looks the same as the first. At this point, I start layering the tones of red trying to get a darker tone.

I begin to define the shape of the jar using yet another tone of red, but it comes out oddly at the top. The bottom of the jar also looks a little too wide, but I don't care about this because I'm just going to end up defining the shape of the jar later with my black marker.

I used my black watercolor pencil to add in the black square in the label and also give the jar a more structured shape. I tried to get the darker tone of the actual preserves by adding black to the areas where they would be, but I probably should have used brown to get a more natural color. I would suggest a mahogany or umber color for this.

I use my sap green watercolor pencil to add in leaves to my raspberries so that they look a little less like blobs. I think this little raspberry design in the middle of the label is one of my favorite parts of this page! I also use my sap green to add a slight green tone into the black areas on the jar so that they don't look so ominous.

I then use my madder crimson watercolor pencil to draw back into the red areas, still trying to achieve that darker tone. This time, I didn't use water on the pencil, I just used it like a colored pencil and it gave a nice effect. The areas where I had put the green were still a little bit wet which made the pencil super dark and pigmented on top which worked out well.

Now, I use my Prismacolor marker pen in .03 black to add the details into the jar. This was especially important for this part of the drawing because of all of the wording that's on the jar. I messed up on top of the lid because I thought I could write backwards and upside down, but it turns out that my numbers are backwards half of the time, whoops...

Adding in the lines that defined the raspberries and their leaves really made the drawing transition from a rough watercolor sketch to looking like a final product. I also used my black marker pen to further define the shape of the jar which I had messed up earlier. I didn't care if the watercolor extended beyond the lines that I set as the side of the jar because it just adds to the gestural feeling of the watercolor sketch.

I use some natural colored fabric tape that I had bought at Target to attach the receipt from this purchase to the page as another texture. Before I used the fabric tape, I covered the back of the receipt in archival glue stick just to assure that it wouldn't peel off of the page or have a weird gap where I didn't tape it. I just really liked the look that the receipt paper gave in opposition to the mixed media paper that the journal is because of the glossy texture, although it really isn't that visible in the images. There was also the perfect amount of space left on the page for the receipt to go!

Then comes the journaling part where I write all over the page about the elements I chose to include. I wrote a bit larger this week than I normally do just to add some difference between my pages. Basically my paragraph journal entry is a paraphrase of the rant that you all just read.

 I've been trying to work on my hand lettering for these journal pages, but it's still not great. I'm really going to practice some lettering for my next journal page because as you can see from my little calligraphy fail last week, there's some room to improve.

Then I decided that the page was looking a little bare and that adding more raspberries would be cool because I had so much fun drawing them on the label. I used the same watercolor pencils from earlier to loosely draw them into the blank spaces, including on top of some of the journaling I had just completed. Thank god for swatches because I wouldn't be able to remember which colors I used otherwise! The gestural drawings really pull the whole page together and I just really liked the way they turned out.

I the areas where there wasn't any text, I detailed the raspberries and their leaves with my Prismacolor marker pen to give them some more definition. You can also see in the previous image that I darkened the arrow pointing to my receipt because it just started getting lost in all the chaos going on around it. Making slight adjustments like this as I work on the page really helps me with my design skills because I'm able to view the composition and make changes accordingly.

And then we have a final product! I'm super happy with the way that this page turned out (as mentioned several times throughout the post). It was also really nice to take one of my frustrations from this week and turn it into something expressive and beautiful like a journal page. Normally, when you think of groceries, you don't think of art, but I really like to draw food because I'm normally surrounded by it so it's easily accessible for reference.

If you decide that you're inspired by drawings of my groceries and create your own journal page, I'd love to see it. You can send images of your art journal pages to my email which is listed in the contact me tab or by tagging it with the hashtag, #CKLetsArtJournal on Instagram. Also, if you've ever been in the same raspberry preserve predicament that I was in, I'd like to hear about that too and the comments are always open for that kind of thing.

It's going to be a week full of new posts, so get excited! I have a DIY monogram picture with floral accents that I'll be finishing up this weekend and then hopefully posting, a review of some products and the last installment of My Friday Faves which I've been working on and am super excited to post tomorrow. Here's a hint, if you enjoy the founding fathers, rap music, photos of puppies and other fun stuff, you'll love tomorrow's post!


  1. Hi. Nice blog and lovely artwork.

    Just want to give you a heads up, you might want to edit your photos with the receipt in them and blur out your payment info. I'm not sure how much of a security risk it really is to publish something like that for the world to see, but there's definitely some crafty people out there that will try. Just a warning to be safe.

  2. You're a great artist! I hate when I accidentally buy something that has Splenda or Nutra-Sweet instead of sugar. I'm really sensitive to most artificial sweeteners, and I get headaches and stomachaches when I eat them.

    1. Finally, someone who understands my struggle! Thanks for reading!


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