Friday, December 31, 2010

sketchbook profile: Violette Clark

Violette is a mixed media artist, author,  designer, workshop instructor and creative catalyst.

I create whimsical and inspirational collages. I live in beautiful B.C. Canada with my partner Mr. G (aptly named for his tolerance of glitter) in a purple magic cottage.  The cottage sports a huge papier mache dragonfly drenched in glitter!

My first book “Journal Bliss: Creative Prompts to Unleash your inner Eccentric” is all about Visual Journaling.  My passion is to teach others to embrace who they are through the vehicle of their creativity.  I do this mainly through classes on Visual Journaling (among other mixed media projects), in online classes and  my blog. My home, glittery van and art have been featured on numerous TV shows including Weird Homes.

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
I have been keeping sketchbooks ever since I was a child (young teen). When I was in grade three drawing Twiggy and noticed I received attention from the other kids I realized that I had found my calling.  Later as a teen I was able to take art classes in school and keeping a sketchbook was part of the curriculum.   I am less organized now.  Not only do I work in a sketchbook but I also work on loose papers that I store in a drawer or in a box.  My art journal pages are kept in a box with a lid – having loose pages makes it easier for me to show my art to workshop participants PLUS when I work on a loose piece of card stock I don't freak out if I mess it up. I draw every couple of days – but even on a daily basis I doodle while watching TV or when I'm on the phone.....this is usually done on loose paper. If I like what i've created they end up in my “originals” drawer and later find life in an art journal page or illustration for my blog.  I like to keep a sketchbook/papers to document my ideas before I lose them in the ethers. I sketch most often to flesh out ideas for my art journal pages, jewelry ideas, a purse I want to create etc. I've been blogging for over 6 years now and having to put something up on my blog 5 days a week  fuels my creativity so I sketch out ideas to illustrate a point.

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I work on a few at a time....and of course on multiple pieces of paper.  I also have lined exercise books which have collaged covers where I doodle and document my ideas.  In my purse I carry a small book  to  doodle ideas in.  When out and about and I've forgotten to bring my tiny books with me I draw on my hand or write down ideas which I can flesh out later. Lately I've been carrying recipe size pieces of cardstock with me and have used those.  A few years ago I created a coil-bound book called The Idea Factory where I created a space for the drawing and some lined spots to document the idea on. This video outlines the process.

What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet,spiral bound etc?) and preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc? 
I used to use a black coil-bound book – starting out with a 9” x 12” size and then moving to a smaller square format and then even to a teeny tiny coil-bound book.  Although – right now I like loose pages of card stock which I can either keep in my box with the lid or I can bull-clip it together with an embellished cover.  Occasionally I use watercolor paper but mostly just use cheap card stock you can buy at the Office Supply store.  My favourite tools are pencil, and definitely my Micron pens.......I use them all the time!  Also to add some colour I enjoy watercolour pencil crayons and twinkling H2O's.  For my art journal pages I like using collage items.  The backgrounds for my pages are usually painted with acrylic paints and fluid acrylics.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
Well first of all I would ask you to ask yourself “What calls to you?  Is it a coil-bound book or do you covet a moleskin with the elastic closure?  Are you interested in loose pieces of card stock and a clipboard?  Does something large or small call to you?”  Go with whatever you are attracted to.  You are unique and one size does not fit all!  Don't feel obliged to stick to your original size book either. As you can see I've been all over the map with formats and size of books. Begin with a book or papers that make you want to PLAY with wild abandon. You don't need much to begin with – a pencil, black pen of your choice and paper or sketchbook.  You can experiment with different mediums as you discover them.  Lately I've enjoyed using copic markers. Be open to new ideas and new supplies. Sketch what you love.  Are you a nature lover?  Then go out in nature and sketch or take photos and sketch from your photos. Do you love to document your food?  Draw your food – that is such fun! How about doodling a “day in the life of you”? Even a trip to the veggie store can garner a fun page in your sketchbook!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Whether or not you choose to share your sketchbook with others is totally up to you.  If you are self-conscious about it then simply keep it private.  If you're like me and like to share your process and innermost thoughts then feel free to share with others.  There are no rules here! You are uniquely you and whatever feels right for you is ALL GOOD!  

Visit Violette's website here to see more of her work.
Sign up for her newsletter here and get free creative playcards!
Watch her Youtube videos here and find her articles and projects here and here.

Get all the details on the Sketchbook Challenge here.


  1. Well, I enjoyed that video. I will have to go back and see some more. Time is ticking....tick, tick, tick.

  2. Violette has been my inspiration for years. Thanks, Violette! I have just put up two pages of my I just did, and one I did two weeks ago. It has been a busy writing time. NOW I can do art again. Got a new French Journal recommended by Suzi Blu, and I am going to do a better job of journaling this year! Also, thanks for the encouragement of Danny Gregory!!

  3. I love your book! I really appreciate this Sketchbook Challenge I am even more excited, and ready to go! Thank you!! Happy New Year! ~Kathy

  4. Thanks, Violette! You are always an inspiration! I really like the idea of keeping loose sheets in a box cause I can't tell you how many journals I've torn pages out of when I didn't like something.


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