Testing out Viviva Colorsheets

(( This is not a sponsored review, this is just me making a few color swatches and sharing the info <3 ))

EH Sherman testing Viviva color sheets

I make a lot of work while on the go. Whether that’s an adventure abroad, or a coffee shop down the street I paint a fair amount outside the confines of my little studio and need small(ish) supplies to be able to do so.

And so, I am constantly on the look out for materials that will travel with me; tucked away inside a backpack or in a back pocket.

I had seen a few ads for these watercolor colorsheets from Viviva and found myself intrigued - but cautious. I’ve tried a few portable-themed watercolor paints that seemed great in theory, but didn’t really perform up to my standards, so I wasn’t overtly hopeful as I placed my order.

The colorsheets shipped from India and so took a little while to arrive (so keep that in mind if you order a pack for yourself!) but when they did I found myself getting more excited about trying these out. Slightly larger than a business card, these could bypass my backpack storage and go straight to my pencil case. That was an interesting thought.

EH Sherman Art Review - Viviva Colorsheets
How pretty is this rectangle of Viridian?

How pretty is this rectangle of Viridian?

EH Sherman Art Supply review - colorsheets

On trying them out, I was surprised. I expected patchy color, or a LOT of water application to loosen the pigments. Not the case. The brush glided across the surface and picked up SO. MUCH. PAINT.

In between each sheet is a page of wax paper, this is to keep the wet colors from sticking together (though it is recommended to allow each to dry before closing the book) and really enjoyed flipping through the pages. Some of the colors are so different from how they appear on the brush due to their concentration, it’s a bit magical to watch.

I made my swatches, noting how often I had to refresh my water due to the potency of the pigment. Definitely not what I was expecting.

EH Sherman Art supply review - Viviva Colorsheets

I don’t know how long they will last, though I will continue to use these sheets and update here when I run out of a color. I also don’t know much about the archivability of the pigment, I wonder if a bit of added of water might make them run off the paper once painted? But for a small set to sketch with, these work really well. And the fact I can keep them in my pencil case and not even need an additional bag - even better!

EH Sherman sketching with watercolor sheets

What do you think of these? If you try them out I’d love to know how they work for you!

Sketchbook Workshop at Teaspressa (1/13/19)

That first blank page can be an absolute doozy.

EH Sherman Sketchbook - blank page

It sits there, beautiful in it’s emptiness, complete as a book dedicated to the texture of the fibers, the tone of the paper.

And we intend to mess it up, to mar those beautiful pages with our marks and thoughts. This is one of the hurdles just high enough that it can keep artists and non-artists alike from truly committing to a sketchbook practice and from developing a discipline to connect regularly with our creative selves.

I’ve been there and it is incredibly uncomfortable.

EH Sherman Sketchbook Workshop

Which is why I decided to put together this workshop!

Join me on January 13th at Teaspressa in Ann Arbor at 1pm for an afternoon of sketching, discussion, material exploration and of course, delicious tea beverages.

RSVP HERE!

Who is this for?

Artists! Non-Artists! Anyone who wants to take a few hours out of your day to sit with a sketchbook, learn about my methods for sketching and engage in a few creative exercises designed to help you dig deeper into your sketching practice. Even if you’ve never held a pencil to a blank page before, but you are interested in exploring your creativity, there’s something for everyone on each step of their journey.


What is provided?

Materials that I use and love particularly for working small format and on the go. Feel free to bring your own supplies as well! The $45 ticket also includes a sketchbook if you’d like to start from scratch. We’ll be filling at least 4 pages in the books, so if you bring your own consider how many pages you have left.


Is this ONLY in person at the location?

For now, yes. I have plans for an online offering, but for now - this is only accessed by attending the workshop in person.

EH Sherman - Sketchbook

Head over to the RSVP page to sign up, I’d love to see you there!





A Day in Life of my Sketchbook; featuring The Mercer Refillable Sketchbook from SLATE COLLECTION

Thank you to SLATE COLLECTION for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

One of the most important parts of my art practice is my sketchbook. (If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably gotten that impression already.)

EH Sherman with Sketchbook

My paintings are an aggregate of so many different inspirations; contours of flowers, the colors of leaves on a run, words that stay stuck in my mind, patterns on the water, rhythms in remembered landscapes… all of these factors inform my work, so it is crucial that I have a sketchbook with me literally at all times, to record all of these.

Keeping a sketchbook is a discipline I cling to, rely on and owe much of my current practice to.

Currently I’m using the Mercer Refillable Sketchbook by SLATE COLLECTION and I’m in love with it. The cover is soft and supple (and in the case of my book, my favorite color; INDIGO!) and yet incredibly sturdy. I put my supplies through a lot, and it has held up beautifully.

How I use my sketchbook;

I get a fair amount of questions about my process when it comes to keeping a sketchbook, so I thought I might break down a typical day in regards to my sketching habits. I’d love to hear about your sketching routine too, make sure to leave a comment so I can learn about your practice!

7 am; Wake up (slowly, I’m awful at shaking sleep!) and quickly record thoughts from dreams, or colors that creep into my pre-dawn thoughts.

These are small notes generally, unless I’ve had an amazing dream, or spent the morning lying in bed visualizing a new series. It’s important for me to have a sturdy sketchbook, as I don’t sleep with it, but if I’m scribbling notes during the night, it can get caught in between the bed and the frame pretty regularly. The Mercer is both thick and rigid enough that this isn’t a problem.

9 am: Back from my run, I’ll write down thoughts that I’ve mediated on, colors from our local landscape, lyrics or moments from the music that empowers my run, and I’ll start to make plans and notes for the day ahead.

EH Sherman SLATE COLLECTION sketchbook

(This particular morning was spent watching a few busy squirrels outside my studio window. I put the pencil on the page and dragged it around according to the squirrels movements. Like a little treasure map to their buried nuts.)

11-1 pm: Errands and meetings! I make notes in my sketchbook of orders that need to go out that day and any supplies that I’m low on. Since I’m already out and about, I try to schedule meetings and meet-ups around the same time (and, Ann Arbor has such great food that lunch meetings are automatically THE BEST). My sketchbook is in tow for all of this, acting as a list for supplies, and as a mini portfolio if I’m meeting with a client or gallery space.

2-3 pm:   My favorite part. Unless I’m knee-deep in other paintings, this is my project time; when ideas take form and the next paintings in a series starts here. Here is where I distill morning sketches, break apart words that have been stuck in my head, examine memory, color, and make thumbnails.

EH Sherman - thumbnails in Mercer Sketchbook

These can be super clean, super messy, made with lots of types of paint, or just pencil - so it’s important to me to use a sketchbook that is multi-purpose. Paper that is too thin will tear with water, paper that is too thick feels too final and I’m less likely to get deep into the experiment phase. I’m looking for a quality paper that can take a few layers of exploration, and the pages of this sketchbook (Mercer Refillable from SLATE COLLECTION) are perfect for that.

Once I’m confident in the idea, the movement and color scheme of the piece transfers from my sketches to canvas as I begin to create the painting. If I’m not totally feeling the pre-painting sketches, I’ll just keep exploring the composition and colors in thumbnails until I feel like I’ve got a better handle on the message I’m trying to convey. Or, the idea gets scrapped / shelved for tomorrow and I’ll come back with fresh eyes.

10 -11 pm: A slow unwind. At the end of the day, orders shipped, progress made on paintings, space (relatively) clean, I like to take stock of the last 16 hours and make sure if any thought is still rattling around upstairs - that it is written and/or sketched out for tomorrow. I’ll use this time to journal in my sketchbook a bit, reflect on things from the day or the days to come.

Keeping a sketchbook and being disciplined about the process is a huge part of my practice, and using the Mercer Refillable from SLATE COLLECTION has been the perfect book to use for this. If you’re an artist looking for a new sketchbook (refillable too!) check out their books. And if you know an artist, none of us is ever upset at a new sketchbook for the holidays!

What sort of sketching schedule do you keep? Is it a daily activity or more of when the mood strikes? I love looking at other artist’s sketchbooks and hearing about their process - feel free to share your habits below!

Happy sketching friends!


Art Studio Renovation - Finished (for now)

I am SO. HAPPY. to be back in the studio.

It’s been weeks of projects scattered throughout our house, a few in our friend’s houses, and many sketching sessions at coffeeshops - but I’m finally back in my dedicated space.

I’m hoping to film a little walkthrough soon, but here are a few photos of the process until then.

Everything in my studio is now in the living room. Yikes.

Everything in my studio is now in the living room. Yikes.

The house is from the 1880s, so there’s LOTS of work that needs to be done. Window replacements are first priority - it’s cold!!!

The house is from the 1880s, so there’s LOTS of work that needs to be done. Window replacements are first priority - it’s cold!!!

New windows are in! Time to freshen up the paint. This eggshell warm white is not cutting it for me.

New windows are in! Time to freshen up the paint. This eggshell warm white is not cutting it for me.

This is the new EVA foam flooring that will cover the studio. I work on the floor most of the time, so having a bit of extra padding as well as protection for the floor is something I’ve been hoping for. It’s like sitting on an extra thick yoga mat, makes a HUGE difference when working for hours down here! Much cheaper than leveling our INCREDIBLY slanted floors, it also gives my furniture on wheels a place to stick.

This is the new EVA foam flooring that will cover the studio. I work on the floor most of the time, so having a bit of extra padding as well as protection for the floor is something I’ve been hoping for. It’s like sitting on an extra thick yoga mat, makes a HUGE difference when working for hours down here! Much cheaper than leveling our INCREDIBLY slanted floors, it also gives my furniture on wheels a place to stick.

It’s late, but I’m happy as a clam. My soul is at ease when painting, doesn’t matter if it’s walls or canvas.

It’s late, but I’m happy as a clam. My soul is at ease when painting, doesn’t matter if it’s walls or canvas.

We had a little bump of a light up there, and I was hoping to find some directional light instead. I picked up this fixture at Home Depot and it’s perfect.

We had a little bump of a light up there, and I was hoping to find some directional light instead. I picked up this fixture at Home Depot and it’s perfect.

First look on the next morning! I LOVE how the cool white paint and white floors brightens up the room!

First look on the next morning! I LOVE how the cool white paint and white floors brightens up the room!

These are my grandmother’s ancient poinsettias. I inherited them when she passed away and they are my favorite studio friends &lt;3

These are my grandmother’s ancient poinsettias. I inherited them when she passed away and they are my favorite studio friends <3

The final piece - the white board from my sister. I use this to keep track of projects, plan paintings, brainstorm for articles and just to keep track of all the things on my plate.

The final piece - the white board from my sister. I use this to keep track of projects, plan paintings, brainstorm for articles and just to keep track of all the things on my plate.

First night in the renovated studio. Here’s to many more!

First night in the renovated studio. Here’s to many more!

Thanks so much for following this journey of mess-clean-bigger mess- finally organized! I’m thrilled to be back in my space and sitting much more comfortably <3