Friday, December 2, 2011

Special Guest Sketchbook Participant Profile: Dion Dior

Dion Dior is a wife and mother first, a creative spirit, writer, and traveler next.  Born and raised close to the sea in Australia, she is a passionate traveler and adventure who met her husband in Nepal on that famed trek to Mt Everest Base Camp.  Her sketchbooks vibrate with color and she draws most of her inspiration from nature.  She blogs regularly about  all sorts of subjects, particularly her travels and adventures and her blog was recently named one of the top 2011 blog finalists.

How has the sketchbook challenge influenced your sketchbook keeping practice?

Before the Sketchbook Challenge, I was a 'closet' sketcher.  My biggest problem was my inner critic that kept telling me that because my work wasn't recognizable or elegant, then it must be bad. I rarely opened my sketchbook and certainly didn't show it to anyone, but once I found the sketchbook challenge and joined the Flickr group I found the courage and inspiration I needed to not only stretch myself as an artist, but to share my work with other sketchers.  I just love the monthly themes, there are loads of ways to interpret them, they're not overwhelming, and there is no pressure to produce a huge amount of work.

It's great to remember that sketching is just a small part of our artistic journey and a wonderful mechanism for creative expression. Since the Challenge began I have made so many wonderful friends and mentors, all of whom have helped me shape my artistic focus. I have found, almost a year into the challenge, that my own personal style has begun to evolve and my vision has opened up so much.  I now have a blog that has lots of great followers who offer me guidance, encouragement, and inspiration; and I have lots of ideas and energy for pursuing my future as an artist.

Tell me how you're approaching each challenge - do you jump right in and start sketching as soon as the new challenge word is posted or do you reflect on it first?  

There are some months where I connect to the theme as soon as it's announced, then there are months where I need to reflect on the theme for a while.  Inspiration is often influenced by the other things going on in my life, but I usually find that ideas for the theme come pretty quickly and at the strangest times.  They're often followed by loads of energy and enthusiasm and I find myself sneaking away from chores such as laundry or vacuuming to start a page. I sometimes sketch or paint while I'm waiting for dinner to cook, or in doctors waiting rooms.  One thing I have determined is that it's got to be fun for me, as soon as it stops being fun and starts becoming a chore then I have to reevaluate what it means and why I'm doing it. 
Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?

I have several sketchbooks going at once.  I've found that I like to play with a range of mediums on all sorts of different paper.  It's all part of my learning and experimentation, seeing how different mediums behave on different surfaces. Often my pages are a disaster, by occasionally something turns out better than I expected.  The theme usually gives me a clue as to how I want to capture it, sometimes it's bright bold watercolors, other times it's shimmering Twinkling H2O's and glitter or Ink, and sometimes I just want to scribble with pencil or charcoal. I've discovered that creativity is fluid, it waxes and wanes and regenerates all the's never stable and predictable. My next goal is to learn how to make and bind my own sketchbooks, that way I can use a mixture of papers sized just right for me.

What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet,spiral bound etc?) and have you found your preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?

When I first started this challenge I was only working in a basic sketchbook with pencil, but after seeing how other people play with their sketchbooks I was totally inspired to branch out. I have a range of sizes and using them depends on my courage.  I've discovered that the most important element for me is color.  It's like an addiction; I need color, bright, bold, vibrant color in everything I do. 
I'm immersing myself in color theory and have signed up for some online classes to expand my skills in this way. My goal now is to discover mediums that produce the color effects I'm looking for along with surfaces that provide the right platform for the colors to dance and glow.

I definitely love wet media and lean toward paint, usually watercolor or water soluble mediums--as long as they give me the vibrancy I need.  Twinkling H2O's are one of my favorites and I do a lot of work with them, especially on black paper.  In the last year, I've also discovered Neocolor II water soluble crayons.  These buttery, intense, brilliant little sticks of color are so versatile and always gorgeous and I've found they've become an integral part of my art kit.  So now, I'm looking for new and interesting mediums to try out and love to blog surf as a way to see what's out there and how it's being used.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I love all the instructors in the Challenge and want to thank them for their insights, skills and generosity.  The Sketchbook Challenge is a wonderful, exciting journey that is only just beginning and I hope it keeps going for years to come.  


  1. Yay, Dion. That's all I have to say about that. :-)
    Hugs, Annemarie

  2. I'm so glad to see your art take off! It's like you have grown wings... Fabulous job!

  3. Nice to learn more about you Dion! and I LOVE your sketchbook pages!

  4. Congrats on being the featured artist on SkChallenge! Yay, for Dion!

  5. Great interview Dion! It's good to hear that the adventurous spirit continues in your work.

  6. Found you from pinterest... your work is amazing!