How I Repurpose My Art: Turning Practice Paper into Creative Projects

How I Repurpose My Art: Turning Practice Paper into Creative Projects

As an artist, I've always been drawn to the idea of breathing new life into old things. This holds especially true for my art. How can we transform something old that didn't quite pan out as expected into something fresh and vibrant? This question has guided much of my creative journey, leading me to discover a unique method of repurposing my art. I've found a way to repurpose my practice papers—the ones I used for painting and brainstorming—and transform them into something beautiful and entirely new.

Here’s how I transform practice paper into new creative projects, giving each piece a fresh start and a new purpose.

How It All Began

It was 2016 in NYC when I decided to take the plunge and pursue art full-time. That year, I dedicated myself to painting, spending hours every day for a whole year. As a result, I ended up with stacks of practice paper. Despite having a part-time job, money was tight. So, I started painting on both sides of the paper and discovered that it was surprisingly satisfying—it had a different feel, but I liked it.

One day, when someone bought one of my paintings (which were smaller pieces back then), I used a practice paper as packaging. I posted it on social media, and to my surprise, people loved it. I even noticed some of my followers doing the same.

Since then, my approach to repurposing paper has evolved, and I thought it would be nice to share my process.

Two different paintings that I cut; once I turn them, they will serve as new canvases. Here are the same sheets while I am painting something completely new. This eventually became a pattern that is now part of my art licensing portfolio.

Cutting and Flipping: A Fresh Start

The first step in my process is cutting the paper. I've grown to love working with square shapes because many of my repurposed pieces end up as patterns, and a square is just perfect for that. You can cut it into any shape you prefer, or leave it as is!

Once I have my squares, I flip the paper over. This gives me a clean, blank side to work on—almost like having a brand-new canvas. If I plan to use lots of water, sometimes I stretch the paper. It's nothing too complicated; using temporary adhesive spray or masking tape and a board is more than enough.

Starting Anew

With the blank side facing up, I begin painting once more. This step is all about exploration. The texture of the old paper feels familiar yet new in a way, aiding me in creating art with a fresh perspective.

Leaves Under the Dusk Moon,' 2024 - I created a completely new painting with layers of masking fluid and paint over a watercolor that didn't work out. You can see the full process on YouTube.

Once a painting has served its purpose as practice paper or for designing a pattern, I use it to write thank you notes or create beautiful packaging for my collectors.

I show how I paint this artwork in my online workshop: Painting Flowers No.1: Loose and Abstract.

Creating New Artwork

Another method is to leave the paper unflipped and repurpose the old painting with a fresh layer of paint or masking fluid. I recently shared a video on YouTube where I transformed a painting that didn't turn out as expected into a completely new piece.

Embracing Imperfection: Art Beyond Perfection

Did the second round not work out as planned? I bet you have a beautiful piece of paper filled with color and energy. Don't let it go to waste! When I send artworks to my collectors, I always use practice paper or repurposed sheets in the packaging. And you know what? Some customers have sent me these sheets framed! What might not be enough for you could be a masterpiece for someone else.

I also enjoy making cards, notes, and decorative items. There's a whole section about this in my book 'DIY Watercolor Christmas.' And if you ever join one of my in-person workshops, you'll see that we use lots of repurposed paintings.

The Joy of Repurposing Art

Repurposing my art has taught me to see potential in everything. It's a wonderful way to minimize waste and make use of what I already have, aligning perfectly with sustainable art practices. Beyond that, it's an enjoyable and imaginative endeavor.

Transforming old sketches into new art encourages me to view things from a different perspective and discover beauty in unexpected places.

Embrace the Journey of Transformation

Through recycling my practice papers, I've come to realize that art isn't just about the final product; it's also about the journey. Each piece tells a story of transformation. I want to inspire other artists to give this a try too. Instead of seeing your practice sheets as mistakes, view them as opportunities. Cut them, flip them over, and start afresh. You might be surprised at what you'll create.

So, why wait? Gather your old papers, scissors, and colors, and begin transforming them into new artworks. Embrace the joy of crafting something new from old sketches. And don't forget to share your creations with me—I'd love to see them!

May 31, 2024 — Ingrid Sanchez
Natural Brushes vs. Synthetic Brushes in Watercolor Painting

Natural Brushes vs. Synthetic Brushes in Watercolor Painting

Embarking on your watercolor journey feels like stepping into a realm of boundless creativity. However, amidst all the excitement, selecting the right brushes can feel a tad overwhelming. With various shapes, sizes, and bristle types to consider, where do you begin?

Let's simplify things: there are essentially two types of brushes—natural and synthetic. Natural brushes are crafted from animal hair, while synthetic brushes are man-made. Each boasts its own advantages and drawbacks, and the optimal choice hinges on what feels most comfortable for you.

In this blog post, I aim to explore the differences between these brushes, empowering you to choose the perfect one that aligns with your style and enhances your painting experience.

Natural Watercolor Brushes

Crafted from animal hair, such as sable, squirrel, goat, or hog, natural watercolor brushes have stood the test of time. Artists have favored them for centuries owing to their outstanding performance and capacity to hold and disperse water and pigment with precision. Below, we delve into the key characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of natural watercolor brushes:

 PROS
  1. Superior Water Retention: Natural hair brushes excel in holding water, allowing artists to effortlessly create smooth, flowing washes and gradients.
  2. Softness and Flexibility: With their softer and more flexible bristles, natural hair brushes are perfect for delicate and expressive brushwork.
  3. Durability: High-quality natural brushes, when cared for properly, can endure for years while maintaining their shape and performance.
  4. Natural Flow: The organic nature of animal hair imparts a unique responsiveness to brushstrokes, enhancing the intuitive painting experience.
CONS
  1. Price: Natural watercolor brushes often come with a higher price tag compared to synthetic alternatives, especially those crafted from premium animal hair such as sable.
  2. Animal Sourcing: Ethical considerations may arise for some artists regarding the use of brushes made from animal hair, especially if sourced from endangered or protected species.
  3. Maintenance: Proper care is essential for natural hair brushes to preserve their performance and longevity. This includes regular cleaning and conditioning to prevent damage.

Synthetic Watercolor Brushes

Synthetic watercolor brushes are crafted from man-made materials such as nylon, polyester, or a blend of synthetic fibers. These brushes have gained popularity in recent years due to advancements in manufacturing techniques, providing an alternative to natural brushes with their own set of advantages and drawbacks. Let's take a closer look:

  PROS
  1. Affordability: Synthetic brushes are generally more budget-friendly than their natural counterparts, making them an accessible option for beginners and artists on a tight budget.
  2. Versatility: Engineered synthetic fibers can mimic the performance of natural hair brushes, offering a diverse range of shapes, sizes, and textures to accommodate various painting techniques.
  3. Consistency: Unlike natural hair, synthetic fibers offer uniform texture and performance, ensuring consistent results across different brushstrokes and painting sessions.
  4. Ethical Considerations: Synthetic brushes provide a cruelty-free alternative for artists who prefer to abstain from using animal-derived products in their artwork.
CONS
  1. Less Water Retention: Synthetic brushes may not retain water and pigment as effectively as natural hair brushes, necessitating more frequent reloading and blending to achieve desired effects.
  2. Stiffness: Certain synthetic brushes may feel stiffer and less responsive compared to natural hair brushes, potentially impacting the subtlety and control of brushstrokes.
  3. Durability: While synthetic brushes are typically durable, they may not endure as much wear and tear as high-quality natural brushes, especially over the long term.

My Personal Choice

As a watercolor artist, I gravitate towards synthetic brushes, particularly when I'm crafting various botanical shapes. With a round brush and an oval wash in my hand, there's little I can't bring to life. They are also great to work with masking fluid, as you may know, one of my favourite techniques.

For painting expansive washes or applying a final glaze, my go-to tool is the Hake brush. Crafted from soft goat hair bound together in a wide, flat shape, these brushes hold ample water and make painting large pieces an absolute delight.
If you want to learn more about my selection of brushes and how I used them, check my online workshop: Master Class No.2 Watercolor Brushes.

  Recommended Workshops

In Conclusion

Deciding between natural and synthetic watercolor brushes hinges on your personal preferences, budget, preferred medium, and painting style. For beginners, synthetic brushes offer a budget-friendly option that provides accessibility and versatility. Conversely, if your primary focus is on oil paints, natural brushes deliver traditional performance, albeit at a higher cost.

Ultimately, both types of brushes have their advantages and can enhance your watercolor painting experience in different ways. Whether you're embarking on a new artistic project or are a seasoned painter, selecting the right tools is essential for achieving your goals and obtaining the best results.

May 29, 2024 — Ingrid Sanchez
Art as a Meditative Practice: Finding Peace and Mindfulness

Art as a Meditative Practice: Finding Peace and Mindfulness

When was the last time you got so caught up in something that you lost track of time? Maybe it was during a chat with a friend, reading a good book, or enjoying the beach. This state, called "flow," is when you're completely absorbed and feel a deep sense of satisfaction.
Creating art can bring about this same feeling, allowing us to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and dive into a world of creativity.


A Brief Story of How I Found Meditation


I've shared before that although art was always my first love, when it came time to choose a career, my family encouraged me to go in a different direction—one that provided more stability. So, I did, and years later, I found myself trapped in a career and job that made me deeply unhappy. In my search for help, I found yoga, and then meditation. I can honestly say, this saved my life.

Rediscovering what my body was capable of (I danced classical ballet for 12 years), and with a clearer mind, I returned to my first love: painting. It took me another four years to discover watercolor as my medium and to finally go back to art as a career. In case you're wondering, I was 34 years old.

Mindful Tea, 2015 | One of my first illustrations using watercolors. Inner Light, 2020 | This watercolor became cover of the book: 'Bodies Arising by Nicole Schnackenberg.

Art as Meditation

If meditation brought me back to earth, art took me back to the stars.

I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s how I feel. With a background in classical ballet, you can imagine how important movement is to me. So when I started painting, I found myself bringing that movement into my art. I’m not just talking about my hand; I mean really moving my whole body. I started stepping on the paper, splashing paint, and then I realized that I was meditating.

In 2012, I studied a Yoga Teacher Training, and my teacher used to tell us that yoga is meditation in movement. So when I started feeling the benefits of painting, moving, and breathing, I remembered this phrase. And I felt that I connected with something.

Since then, I consider my painting practice to be a form of meditation. It has been incredibly helpful during difficult times, such as the lockdowns during the pandemic and dealing with endometriosis pain for years.

This is what I call 'Playful Watercolor,' a concept I talk about in my online class: 'Painting Flowers No.1: Loose and Abstract'.

This was a 14-minute painting session where I simply play with leftover paint, focusing on being present without the pressure of creating a final piece.

 Things I Have Learned from Using Art as Meditation

Being Present in the Moment
Art has taught me to live fully in the present. When I create, worries fade, leaving peace and clarity. Every brushstroke and color choice pulls me into the moment. The joy is in the process, like taking a journey without knowing the destination.

Discovering Self-Expression
Art allows me to express and explore my emotions in ways words can't. I learn about my fears, joys, and innermost thoughts through my creations.

Embracing the Journey
Creative art as meditation is for everyone. You don't need to be a skilled artist to benefit. Doodling, coloring, or smudging paint can be therapeutic. The beauty lies in the journey of creation, fostering patience, acceptance, and appreciation for imperfection.

Make art a part of your mindfulness routine to connect deeply with yourself and find calm in daily life.
 

If you enjoy working with plant medicines, feel free to integrate them into your mindful practice. Personally, I like working with cacao, a tradition I grew up with in Mexico.

Once or twice a year, I hold cacao ceremonies and painting circles in my studio. Additionally, I offer private 1:1 sessions, available both in-person and online, where we can delve into rituals and mindful practices tailored specifically for artists.

 How to Practice Art as Meditation

Step 1: Get You and Your Space Ready for Mindfulness

I always light a candle or burn palo santo or incense before I start. It’s my way of telling my brain, “Here I am, ready to be.” Turn off any distractions, and set a timer if you have things to do later—this will give you peace of mind. Close your eyes for a moment and focus on your breathing.

Step 2: Stay in the Moment While Creating

Start making your art, whether it’s painting, drawing, or something else. Be mindful: if your mind starts to wander, gently bring your focus back to your art and your breath.

Step 3: Embrace the Present Moment

Don’t aim for perfect art. Instead of fixating on flawless outcomes, embrace the spontaneity of each stroke and the unpredictability of the process. Enjoy the unique results that come from being fully present.

Step 4: Keep Practicing

Make art and mindfulness a regular habit. Set a time that works for you and choose a realistic length. Start small; five minutes can be a good way to begin: light a candle, breathe, doodle, and you’re done! You can increase your time as you get used to it.

 

Every mindful moment, whether in art, with loved ones, or simply being with yourself, is valuable. Being present improves relationships and fosters self-connection.

Whether you're an experienced artist or new to the craft, try integrating art as meditation into your routine. Set aside time daily to create without judgment, and experience deeper self-awareness and calm.

Embark on this creative journey and discover the tranquility it brings. Give it a try and see where it takes you.

May 15, 2024 — Ingrid Sanchez
How to rescue dry watercolor tubes

How to rescue dry watercolor tubes

Have you ever found yourself staring at dried-up paint, wondering if it's destined for the trash bin? We've all been there. It's a familiar dilemma for artists: the frustration of seeing once-vibrant colors reduced to hardened clumps.

But don’t worry! Before you say farewell to your beloved paint, I'll show you how to rescue and revive it. With a few simple steps, you can turn those clumpy colors into something usable again, saving both paint and money!

Follow this step-by-step technique

1. Does your paint tube look like this? 2. Fill a jar with a little water, as shown here, and dip the tip of the paint tube for a day.
3. Place the paint in the palette or pan, and use the tip of a toothpick or any other tool to remove leftover paint. Cutting the tube will make it easier. 4. Once it’s in the palette or pan, let it dry. Spray some water to reactivate it whenever you paint.
5. Use the remaining water to paint. Check out the video tutorial here and paint a mini moon with me!

 

I'm glad I could share these tips with you! I hope you find them useful. If you've tried rescuing your dried paint tube, please share your experiences with me—I'd love to hear from you!

April 20, 2024 — Ingrid Sanchez
Harnessing Nature's Beauty for Your Artistic Inspiration

Harnessing Nature's Beauty for Your Artistic Inspiration

For me, nature has always been the ultimate muse. There's something about its untouched beauty that ignites my creativity like nothing else can. It's impossible not to feel a sense of wonder and imagination wash over me every time I'm surrounded by its beauty. Whether it's the vibrant spring flowers or the delicate petals of a blossoming rose, each element of nature tells me its own unique story, waiting to be discovered. 

I believe that every artist has their own way of interpreting and expressing the beauty of nature differently through various mediums and styles and these unique experiences, whether abstract or realistic, are reflected in their artwork.

Ferns in Meanwhile Gardens Green Garden, 2020


Stepping into nature is like stepping into a world of endless possibilities of finding inspiration for your artwork. 

Sure, you can find inspiration in museums, magazines, or even on Pinterest, but there's something truly magical about spending time alone in nature. Just being present, soaking in peace and tranquillity, can spark ideas and inspire your creativity in ways you never thought possible.

How can I unlock my Creative block?

Whether you're a beginner looking to build your skills or an experienced artist in search of fresh ideas, immersing yourself in the natural world can breathe new life into your creative journey. Most importantly, if you ever find yourself going through a creativity block, my advice is simple: go outside, embrace nature, observe the smallest details like textures, colors and movements. Instead of just seeing, I would also suggest you to feel the air, touch the leaves and listen to the surrounding sounds. Don’t worry about the ideas now, simply enjoy and live in the moment. Once you go back to the studio, start by painting whatever speaks to your soul, and watch as the room of inspiration opens before you.

Always remember, Inspiration from nature isn't about copying what you see; it's about feeling the experience it gives you.

Here are five ways I find my inspiration:

1. Immersing In Nearby Nature

Explore nature wherever you find it, whether it's a local park, your backyard garden, or a countryside stroll. I always sit and soak in the peaceful surroundings of my garden studio or visit my favourite garden in my neighbourhood, ‘Meanwhile Gardens’. This place saved my mental health during the pandemic and inspired my Spring Collection 2020—the first collection where I applied masking fluid in layers as I do know, an idea that originated during a visit to this garden!

Check out the Meanwhile Garden, Spring Collection 2020. Meanwhile Gardens

 

2. Capturing Every Moment with Your Camera

As an artist, nature is my main inspiration. Thus, I click countless photos from various angles and directions, I capture the surrounding beauty – you never know what might inspire your creativity later on. Experimenting with different settings and taking photos at different times of day helps me discover new perspectives and ideas. Check out my Master Class No.1 where I discuss how these photos inspired me to create the watercolor monstera.

Putting together my selected photos to create a mood board is a fantastic way for me to explore unique color palettes and smooth my creative process.

Mini monstera painting from my Master class No.1 Photo of Monstera Leaf, exploring different angles

 

3. Reflecting and Meditating

I find a quiet spot in nature to sit, reflect, and meditate. I allow my mind to be clear and my thoughts to flow freely, connecting with the surroundings at a deeper level. I make sure to be fully present in the moment, just as our minds use dreams during sleep to analyse the experiences we’ve had in the past. Continuous painting can drain both my energy and mind, so it's important for me to take breaks and simply relax, doing nothing at all.

Nature's beauty is both inspiration and relaxation, with every moment spent soaking it in.

4. Taking Notes

I am known for my non-sketching approach, but I always make sure to bring along my journal and pencils to scribble notes of interesting scenes or objects I come across. This allows me to observe and interpret the world uniquely. These serve as references or starting points for my future artworks, also helping me overcome creative blocks.

5. Creating Artwork

Once I return to my studio, I always take a moment to reflect on my experiences. When I feel ready, I start making art inspired by what I saw. I love experimenting with different materials and textures to develop my signature style. And you know what? I don't worry about making it perfect; I just start painting, and things always seem to fall into place. I let my imagination run wild and allow nature to guide me in finding my own artistic way. Plus, I've learned that it's okay to make mistakes – sometimes they lead to the most amazing discoveries!

You know, the best part about nature? It's the endless color inspiration it provides. From the soft hues of dawn to the rich tones of dusk, there's a whole spectrum of colors just waiting to be explored. I love embracing the dance of light and shadow and playing with different shades to add depth to my artwork. And you know what? It's this infinite palette of colors that keeps me inspired on my artistic journey.

As I wrap up, I just want to remind you: creativity is everywhere – we just have to open our eyes to it. So let's take a moment to soak it all in and let our ideas flow free!

March 25, 2024 — Ingrid Sanchez
Tags: Inspiration
Online Watercolor Workshops with CreativeIngrid

Online Watercolor Workshops with CreativeIngrid

The virtual classroom is open!

It doesn't matter where you live, now you can take classes with Ingrid Sanchez, AKA CreativeIngrid from the comfort of your home and at your own pace.
 
After years of teaching my workshops only in person, I am finally opening the doors to the virtual classroom. For this, I have created 'Watercolor Foundations', a space dedicated to teach everything I have learned in my years as a professional artist and teacher. I will share with you my techniques while working in my studio, a real insight of how I paint and run my creative business.

 

Three Master Classes

Each master class begins with a deep explanation about each art supply and is also conformed of several demos and projects.

Watercolor Master Class
 

Online Workshops

The online workshops are shorter classes focused on learning one specific technique with one main project.

Masking fluid online workshops with CreativeIngrid

NEW: DIY Creative Workshops

Explore creativity with guided DIY projects. Led by me, this section will offer diverse crafts beyond watercolors. Whether you're making gifts, starting a side hustle, or just enjoying a quiet afternoon of crafting, join us for step-by-step fun and unleash your artistic flair!

DIY Painting Mugs Online Workshop with CreativeIngrid

April 27, 2023 — Ingrid Sanchez
Painting lights - Using values and layering with watercolors

Painting lights - Using values and layering with watercolors

How to paint lights with watercolors-tutorial by CreativeIngrid

One of the main qualities of watercolors is that by varying the amount of water and pigment that we use, the result can be very transparent or even opaque.

To practice transparency and color value in my book ‘DIY Watercolor Christmas’, I proposed a project called ‘Layering Circles’ (Photo 1). A wet on dry exercise where we can observe this quality while layering circles.

By using the same principle we can create the effect of light in a fun and simple way. I exemplify this with a string of lights (Photo 2), but I didn’t go trough the process. So I thought it will be handy to create a step-by-step tutorial.

Layering circles with watercolors, tutorial Painting a string of lights with watercolors
Layering Circles String of lights

The following tutorial is for a yellow light, but you can create lights in many colours. The key is always to work from light to dark, so don’t be afraid of using enough water to achieve this. You can only use one color if you want, although I propose using two for a more interesting effect.

I also created a quick video that can be found as a reel on mi IG account where I added a blue back ground just for fun. It is a more experimental approach where I also sparkle some salt for an additional texture.

 



For this project you will need:

  • Watercolor paint
  • Watercolor paper
  • Pencil or watercolor pencil
  • Brushes


Color palette

Lemon Yellow and Pyrole Orange

 


Step-by-Step

 

1. Paint a translucid yellow circle and let dry. 2. Draw the light bulb using a watercolor pencil.
3. Make a watery mix of Lemon Yellow and Pyrole Orange, and paint a second circle, slightly smaller than the first. Go around the light bulb in step 3 and 4, we want to reserve the original color. Allow to dry. 4. Add more orange to your mix and paint a third smaller circle.
5. Repeat this step if you wish with smaller circles, I painted a total of five circles. 6. Leave the light bulb as is or add more color if you wish. I added more yellow and orange. Using a gray watercolor pencil, draw the base of the light bulb.
7. I drew some lines to resemble the idea of a strain. 8. Try it using different colors!

 



Video / Reel (TO BE UPLOADED TO MY IG ACCOUNT SOON)

For the group of lights with a blue background in the video I used:

Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light, Pyrole Orange, Cobalt Teal, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Indigo.

NOTE: This tutorial is based in the projects of the book ‘DIY Watercolor Christmas’ by Ingrid Sanchez, AKA CreativeIngrid. Publisher: David & Charles (13 July 2021).
* With thanks to Cass Art (UK) for providing the watercolors for testing them.
November 26, 2021 — Ingrid Sanchez
DIY: Christmas Ornaments - Paint on glass using Watercolor Ground

DIY: Christmas Ornaments - Paint on glass using Watercolor Ground

DIY: Christmas Ornaments - Paint on glass using Watercolor Ground

It’s that time of the year when we start thinking about Christmas decorations, and because I am all about handmade, I want to share one of my favorite projects from my book ‘DIY Watercolor Christmas’: the galaxy ornaments.

I love this project because it is also a cool way to experiment with Watercolor Ground, an absorbent primer that allows us to paint on many different surfaces such as paper, glass, wood, metal, fabric and plastic.

It is also interesting to observe how some texture techniques react differently than they do on paper. This is a fun and slightly messy activity that can be done with children.

 

Galaxy ornaments, tutorial by CreativeIngrid. DIY Christmas Ornaments, tutorial by Ingrid Sanchez, AKA CreativeIngrid.


Additional tips for applying watercolour ground


Some brands recommend sanding non-absorbent surfaces first, but I prefer to apply a coat of white acrylic paint instead.

After applying a coat of white acrylic and allowing it to dry, for best results you will need to apply two coats of watercolor ground, allowing for drying time in between coats. Once the second coat has been applied, allow it to cure for at least 24 hours before beginning to paint with your watercolors.



For this project you will need:

  • Watercolor paint
  • Glass ornaments
  • White acrylic
  • Watercolor ground
  • Table salt
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Brushes
  • Toothbrush or brush with stiff bristles
  • Spray bottle (optional)


Color palette

I use a mix of Prussian Blue, Indigo, Payne’s Grey, Ultramarine Blue, Cinnabar Red. To give each bauble its own personality, change the dominant blue for each one. Indigo and Payne’s Grey will result in an intense shade, and by adding a little Cinnabar Red to the mix we get a lovely purple.



NOTE: This video tutorial is based in the ‘Galaxy Ornament’ project of the book ‘DIY Watercolor Christmas’ by Ingrid Sanchez, AKA CreativeIngrid. Publisher : David & Charles (13 July 2021).

October 25, 2021 — Ingrid Sanchez
My experience writing ‘DIY Watercolor Christmas’

My experience writing ‘DIY Watercolor Christmas’

The dream of writing a book
Way before I became a full time artist, I worked in the publishing industry designing and managing manuscripts and corrections. I flirted with the idea of publishing a book several times and even had a couple of attempts writing, illustrating and self-publishing children books, but I never managed to find a publishing house interested in them and they never saw the light apart from a few copies bought by friends and family.

 

Painting a Christmas Wreath, DIY Watercolor Christmas. Ingrid Sanchez 2021. | CreativeIngrid | Publisher David & Charles.

Painting a Christmas Wreath for the project 'Traditional Wreath'. This is also the artwork used on the cover of 'DIY Watercolor Christmas', Ingrid Sanchez 2021.

 

On December 2019 editorial DK invited me as a collaborator on the book ‘Watercolor Techniques for Artists & Illustrators’ (you can get a copy here) where you can find three tutorials detailing some of my best known techniques. However, the big surprise arrived a little later in February 2020 when I received a call from the publisher David & Charles asking me whether I would be interested in writing a watercolor book with Christmas as its main theme.

 

I was of course very excited about it, but hesitant at the same time because for years I had envisaged that if I were to publish something it will be floral or botanical related. On the other hand,I thought that it would be a unique book, a fun way to teach and introduce some of my techniques with a different approach. Not only the opportunity to publish my first solo book, but an incredible learning experience as well.

 

Writing a book in pandemic times
In March 2020 I signed the contract, we started planning the content of the book, scheduled a visit to the publisher’s offices and the meeting with the photographer… and then COVID-19 happened. Not only the UK but the whole world went into lock down, I got what is now called long COVID and I was sick for over ten months.
Taking photos in my studio for DIY Watercolor Christmas. Painting star glass baubles with watercolor, galaxy texture. DIY Watercolor Christmas, Ingrid Sanchez | CreativeIngrid.
Trying to capture the step-by-step process
Painting glass baubles with a galaxy texture

 

This book will always be in my memory as a lifesaver for my mental health, something that allowed me to look forward in one of the darkest years I have ever experienced. It was so challenging from the very beginning but at the same time an amazing experience and I wanted to share the journey with you.

 

To start, my first in-person meeting with the team was cancelled multiple times and we decided to do it via Zoom (something unusual back then but very common now!). When the date of the call arrived I could barely talk as I had lost my voice. It turned out to be most unusual meeting I have ever had - luckily the team was great and managed to get through it ok!

 

The next challenge was that the photographer couldn’t be with me, so I tried to take the photos myself but I soon found that it was a near impossible task. Try holding a camera and painting at the same time! The next challenge was to capture the step-by-step process without the need for photography. The obvious answer was to scan each step, the problem is that I work with a lot of water and wet on wet is one of my favorite techniques, making scanning rather difficult. My solution was to paint the same thing four, sometimes six times, so I could scan the steps.

 

Once the first lockdown was over and I had enough projects, the publishers proposed to send the photographer to my studio. We settled on the first week of November 2020 - he spent the first half day setting up all the equipment, but then we learned that we were going into a second national lockdown and the rest of the session was cancelled. He came by the next day, but only to dismantle and take away the equipment.
And I did it!

 

Photography session at David & Charles for the book DIY Watercolor Christmas. Photography of art supplies for the book DIY Watercolor Christmas, Ingrid Sanchez.
Photography session at David & Charles offices Taking photos of my art supplies

 

When I finished writing the text, it was time to work with the proofreader. What a great experience having someone catch all the little mistakes and make sure my instructions were clear. Keep in mind that English is my second language and never had I imagined that I would be writing a book that was not in Spanish. It was also amazing to think that I painted and wrote all that text while fighting constant brain fog and body aches. With inhalators at hand and in between a couple trips to the hospital in an ambulance, I did it! I wrote a whole book... in English!

Books for the pre-release
Holding the first copy!

 

By December 2020 the text and the projects were ready, but we still had no photography and as a result they started talking about delaying the release to 2022. After all the effort we had put in, my heart was broken. But then a miracle:  Between moving to a new house and a third lockdown the publishers found a well ventilated studio in Exeter where we could finally do a photo shoot. I hopped on a train but with all my excitement missed the stop and arrived into Exter late at night three hours later than scheduled. The city was empty and there were no taxis anywhere. An adventure from beginning to end!

 

‘DIY Watercolor Christmas: Easy painting ideas and techniques for cards, gifts and décor’ finally came together a year after we started planning it. This book is not what I thought I would be publishing as a first book, but life is never what we think it will be. And I am so grateful for it, so incredibly fortunate to be alive and sharing this story. The first copies arrived this week and my heart glows with happiness.

 

I loved creating this book because it made me think as a beginner again. I couldn’t teach workshops during 2020 but I wrote something that will help a larger audience, and having taught so many classes in the past has given me good insight into the needs of those wanting to learn. The theme doesn’t matter, the medium behaves the same way no matter if you’re painting flowers, galaxies or Christmas wreaths.

 

I hope this book speaks to you and helps you discover a medium that has brought so much joy to my life. And of course it is a big plus if you love Christmas!

BUY A SIGNED COPY
June 18, 2021 — Ingrid Sanchez
Tips for painting with masking fluid and watercolours

Tips for painting with masking fluid and watercolours

If you know me, you know that I love working with masking fluid. I use this medium in almost all my paintings, and it is very common that people ask about it when seeing my videos on Instagram or YouTube.

Here are some of the most asked questions and some tips of how to use this medium without all the hassle of ruining your brushes or paper.

What is Masking Fluid?

Also know as liquid frisket, masking fluid is a water-based medium used to repel paint and preserve white areas on the paper. This technique is very handy to keep small or complex details that would be too difficult to paint around, but is also a great way to create unusual effects that would be impossible to do by hand.

What brushes do you use to apply Masking Fluid?

Short answer: (almost) all of them! I obviously go for the not so new ones and avoid really expensive brushes. Just please don’t buy cheap brushes to throw away after using them, there is no need of that.

We all know that masking fluid can ruin our brushes, but it is all about preparing them correctly. So here is the big secret: Soap.

How to prepare your brushes before dipping them in Masking Fluid?

Mix a teaspoon of liquid soap in a glass of water and soak your brushes in every time you add more masking fluid, this will also make it easier to apply. Wash your brushes with more soap and under running water immediately after you finish applying it.

What kind of soap?

I always use liquid dishwashing soap. Alternatively you can also use a bar soap, I’ve seen other artists doing this, but because my brushes are big it's easier to work with soapy water.

What brand do you use? My masking fluid is too thick to paint.

With some exceptions, almost all brands are equally thick, but by using the soapy water on your brush you will dilute it and make it easier to work. I recommend pouring your masking fluid in a small bowl or plate instead of dipping the brush in the bottle, you can always put it back into the bottle… yes, with soap and everything.

And if you still want to know the name of the brand, it is Schmincke blue masking fluid.

Why does my paper tears when I remove it?

There are different reasons that can cause this, but the most common one is that the quality of the paper is very low. Student grade paper and thin paper don't react well to masking fluid.

Another reason can be that the paper was wet when you applied it, or it was damp when you removed it.

What is the best way to remove the masking fluid?

It depends on the amount of masking fluid used. Small areas can be removed simply by rubbing with the fingertips or an eraser. For larger areas a stiff piece of cloth can be used, you can see how I do this in my process videos.

ONLINE WORKSHOP:

Introduction to painting with masking fluid & watercolors (CreativeIngrid Style)

Masking fluid and watercolor online workshop with Ingrid Sanchez.

An online beginners friendly class where I explain step by step the process of layering with masking fluid and watercolor in my signature style. You will learn the fundamentals of working with masking fluid and how to avoid the most common mistakes.

ENROLL HERE!

 Important tips:

– Work fast and never allow the masking fluid to dry on your brush.
– It is important to apply and remove the masking fluid when the paper is completely dry, if not it is easy to tear the paper when removing it.
– Don't let the masking fluid more than a week, or it will get too difficult to remove and damage the paper.
– Before removing the masking fluid I recommend using a humid paper towel to clean the excess of pigment accumulated, this way we avoid transferring color to the white areas.

For more detailed information and a small demo can be found on the video below.

 

 

 NEW ONLINE WORKSHOP:

Painting with masking fluid, washes of watercolor, mixed media & textures

An intermediate class where you will learn how to paint with layers of watercolor washes and masking fluid while exploring other mediums like acrylic inks and pigments.
ENROLL HERE!

 

 

January 15, 2020 — Ingrid Sanchez