Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Art Journaling with Colored Pencils

Being Alive, an art journal page made with Cretacolor Aqua Monolith watercolor pencils by Peony and Parakeet

My latest art journal page started with new colored pencils and rambling thoughts of the latest news from Helsinki: the architecture competition of Guggenheim Museum has ended and now there’s a big debate whether the city of Helsinki should finance the museum or not. I did not mean to include the winner building on the page, but you know how it goes: once you think something, it will appear! See the black element on the right!

Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils

Last Monday I went to the biggest art supply store in Helsinki to buy some paper and see if they had any Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils. I had bought one pencil about a year ago just to see how it works. After many months, I noticed the growing use of that pencil. So now I was thinking to buy a couple more. It turned out that they did not sell the pencils individually anymore, so I bought the smallest set of 12.

Creatacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils

As you can see from the picture, these pencils are nothing like ordinary colored pencils! They are not wooden at all; they only have a thin lacquer coating! For me, it took some time to get used to how they feel when holding them. But once I got over it and started treating them as any pencil, (pressing lightly and creating multiple thin layers), I noticed that they work great. These pencils are soft enough to make the coloring pleasurable but not too soft for detailed work.

Creating an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Using Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Pencils.

It is fascinating that you can also use shavings if you add a little bit water to them!

Cretacolor Aqua Monolith Watercolor Pencils

My art journal page was made without water – these watercolor pencils work well that way too.

Creating an art journal page with colored pencils, by Peony and Parakeet

All of my colored pencils fit in two jars as I usually use them all at the same time, no matter what their brand or type is.

Adding Journaling to the Page

I was drawn to green tones even if I was thinking of the city view. There’s something magical when the tourists arrive Helsinki in the spring. They make shy and withdrawn Finnish people more friendly and helpful. When the hard winter is over, everybody is willing to make a fresh start.

While continuing the coloring of the page, I thought about cultural institutes and their events. Whether it is a city full of tourists or a concert hall full of audience, it feels alive and uplifting. It gives me energy and inspiration to create once I get back home. I felt drawn to the word “alive” and decided to add some words to the page too. By erasing some areas after coloring, I created areas for writing.

Erasing places for writing when art journaling with colored pencils, by Peony and Parakeet

For me, being alive is a visual thing. When I am using my senses, I see images. When I draw the images, I feel alive.

Being Alive, an art journal page made with Cretacolor Aqua Monolith watercolor pencils by Peony and Parakeet

Create an art journal page with colored pencils and words by answering:
What does make you feel alive?

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17 thoughts on “Art Journaling with Colored Pencils

  1. OWIETJOWIEW (like a builder who whistles to a beautiful girl).
    I can see a building like that in Helsinki.
    I also feel the love you put in your work.

    1. This one is made on Dylusions Creative Journal. I also like the paper of the Moleskine sketchbook. I like fairly smooth paper for colored pencils.

  2. I have always worked towards realism, copying what I see, trying to make it look like a photo. Yet I am drawn like a moth to your work. I have not been able to produce your style of freedom yet, but I am trying and enjoying the slow progress I am making. I love your thoughts in your newsletter and find it very inspirational. You must have a wonderful sister to have shared her art in that way as children. What a lovely memory.

  3. Good Morning, Paivi…I received the cards and mouse pad I ordered from you. They are so lovely, colorful and inspirational. I don’t think I can part with any of them …. my friends will just have to deal with the ones I attempt to make for them. I had a hectic month in June but July is my month to jump into the Inspirational Drawing class….all has been downloaded and I’m ready to go. I’m starting it over today and will be able to continue through to the end this month. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it…I LOVE YOUR ART! Even though I missed your feedback in the Inspirational Drawing class, I’ll try to get my Facebook account to work so I can join the group and see what the other students have done. Thanks, Paivi

  4. Your city is alive with energy and colors – I can almost hear children laughing and playing in the park. Usually cities are portrayed at night when describing “alive or never sleeping” so seeing an obviously alive city in the daylight is refreshing. I also lot show you used tiny amounts of red for highlight really drawing attention to the “light”. And as a very wise woman once said, adding that red in the very light corner put a boundary on my eye sight and drew me back into the drawing – see I did learn something LOL.

  5. absolutely beautiful I love your work and can look at it for hours discovering new things loved the ecourse

  6. This is beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your process and how you think about your art. I love the layers and layers in everything you create.

  7. This is another gorgeous piece with so much detail! Thank you, Mary for pointing out the red in the corner concept which I would have missed! I love how you erased color to create space for journaling. Great tip!

  8. Hi Paivi,
    After a few weeks, I’d like to know any additional thoughts on the Cretacolor pencils and have you had any trouble with them breaking? Many years ago I had woodless pencils and they broke and were very dirty to hold.
    Thank you

    1. I just had one pencil that broke when it rolled from the table on the hard stone floor. But other than that they have been fine, I have owned one of the pencils for a long time and it has not not any damages. As with all colored pencils, you are supposed to draw light layers. To get intense colors, add more layers, not pressure!

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