Explore Colour in a Sketchbook

All artists are explorers. We explore how we can make the world. Make it better.Prettier. Funnier. More interesting. Nicer. More colorful.

Pink Notebook: how to by iHanna
Exploring pink

A great adventure awaits in colours, if you just take time to see them. Really look. If you want to learn about colours you should get yourself a small notebook or sketchbook and start to collect around one colour family. You can choose any colour. I choose my favorite color (pink) for this first book.

Pink Notebook: pink forms glued by iHanna
Then you start collecting materials with different surfaces: snippets of yarn, scraps of fabric and paper. Glue, staple or tape them into your sketchbook. Then rummage through your art supplies and find some paint to mix. Paint swatches. Doodle, draw and experiment around “your” colour to explore it further…

Pink Notebook: intro

Ask yourself questions! How many hues can you paint? What other colours goes with it? How do you feel about it? Where do you see it? What do you you notice? What words come up when you look at it?

Pink Notebook: crosshatching with green
Take notes. Explore the colour. Have fun!

Pink Notebook: crosshatching
Pink Notebook: fabric and papers
Pink Notebook: spring colours

I made my little sketchbook but you can pick up any notebook and use for your colour explorations.

The Exploring Pink Sketchbook

The cover of my sketchbook is a white mate board. It is cut for framing but was not straight enough for selling in the shop. I made a few of these notebooks a few years ago when I got the unused passepartout. I love the little window in the middle.

A book where all the pages are just full of yummy pink
Now this one has found its purpose: it’s a sketchbook for exploring color. One specific color: pink.

Exploring Pink - spine
I let a lot of stuff stick out from the edges and hung pink beads and funny yarns from the spine. I love how it looks on the shelf. You just want to pull it down and look through it.

I like when things stick out from the edges

In her colour school Julia Caprara writes:

A personal colour book is something that you could spend an intensive week working on – or the rest of your life – slowly adding more and more colours to the pages as you find them.

I was inspired to start my Pink Sketchbook by Julia Caprara and her beautiful colour theory and embroidery book Exploring colour that I reviewed a while back. I hope you’re inspired too!

26 Responses

  1. Great work!! There are so many different ideas for journals we could keep -but sometimes just not enough time. How many journals do you keep at the momet, Hanna? I’m working on 3 right now, but I’ve got a few more that I haven’t finished completely. If only the days were longer, with extra time for “us journalers”. :P How great would that be!! Your blog is my favourite!!

  2. Scrowlscrowl, thanks for your lovely comments! I try to keep just one Art Journal at a time, and then I write in my diary too. I love the feel of a finished book so I keep working until the last page most of the time. This one with colour collection is just a “side project” hehe. Oh, and your kittens are SO adorable, and you’re a help-mom now, that is just so cute! Smilla sends her best!

  3. Hanna, You just have the absolute best ideas….whether they’re your own or you “collect” them! This is an awesome post! I did a series of color books with a photography group and have been meaning to blog them. I need to get my rear in gear!

  4. I just love seeing what other people concoct in their color collection journals! I also love that Julia Caprara book and have been filling a Purple journal for more than a year now. Guess I took the “or the rest of your life” part of her remarks quite seriously.

  5. What a great idea! So simple and I’ve heard it recommended before but seeing your journal pages and reading your description made it really click. To see how many variations there are one needs to become an explorer, hunter and gatherer. What fun. Blue/Green, here I come! Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Wow, thanks for your enthusiastic comments!
    Please come back and let me know if/when you post images of your own colour collections so I too can have a view of others work! My book is not full yet, but I will keep adding to it so it might be a work in progress for quite some time! :-)

  7. I am going to make one too! And I like blue/green like Nancy S, so it will be intereseting to see what we will come up with!

  8. I’m doing color collections with my kids at school, putting it together on big posters for the classroom.
    Because of your last post on the book I started to consider making myself a colorbook, one color for a double page with an emphesis on my fabrics and yarns.. But dedicating a whole book to one color sounds even more tempting.

    How did you wire-bind your journal? Do you have the Bind-It-All? Here in Germany I have easy access to plastic binding, but those I don’t like.


  9. Barbara, how fun that you will make one! Let me know how it goes!

    Tally, thanks for your sweet comment on Smilla photos! I think a bind-it-all sounds great, but I have this huge heavy machine that I bought before I knew about the smaller ones. It makes the holes and binds it with wire (and takes up a lot of room) so I make my own books. Maybe I should try to make a few with cardstock for the etsy shop? :-)

  10. Once again, you inspire me with your photos and your project. I have a love of bought journals and notebooks that I find to small to journal nowadays so I think I will use them to explore different colours. I think that the great thing about this kind of book is that you don’t have to worry about composition and content as long as you keep your colour theme going. Expect to see some of these on my blog in the future!

  11. Wow, I can’t say enough how much this post has inspired me. I am so excited to pull out my art stuff now that I am wishing my laundry pile away…. so excited! Okay, off I go! Creation time.

  12. I’ve seen your Pink Sketchbook on flickr before and immediately I knew I want to make one for myself. it will be red.
    I have this huge collection of red clippings and ephemera and it’s just a perfect idea to celebrate my favourite colour.
    thank you for inspiring me yet again. :)

  13. Thanks for your lovely comments girls! Druga, red is a great choise! I think red and pink together (and orange!!) is the best! Let me know if you post it on your blog!

  14. Your sketch book is amazing!
    I’d love to have such commitment!
    I hope your keeping it out on show – it’s art in its own right!
    And kudos for keeping the cover so clean!


  15. Thank you for this idea! I’m hoping by sitting down and taking the time to work on one colour journal at a time, that I will get inspired and get back on track with painting. I’m thinking that the blue/aqua/green range is where I need to start. It’s refreshing mentally to look at and the range of colours excites me. Hope this will be the inspiration that I’ve been searching for and desperately needing. I appreciate your idea so much and can’t thank you enough. By the way, I’m also starting to make journals, some as gifts for friends and maybe the others will be wanted by others who see them. I have this wonderful stash of Japanese papers to put on the covers. Hoping to make a few tonite and then work on my colour sketch book which will take me to the palette and canvas tomorrow or so I’m hoping. :)

  16. I am doing this! I see now! I am doing green and… lime green! And other greens, too!
    I will send you a photo if I don’t blog about it.

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