Collage as a Sketch

When I get into the studio first thing in the morning I like to take a bit of time to wake up, drink my coffee and check -in with my plans for the day. During this time I usually doodle on spare paper, make a few quick thumbnails or throw together a collage really quick. Nothing that requires any significant thought, just a little exercise to start moving the day in the right direction.

Collage materials!

Collage materials!

I keep a box of pre-cut, (or ready-to-be-cut) things next to my desk for specifically these times. Paint chips, magazines, old photos, print-outs, old sketches.... anything goes! I look for pattern, form, movement, anything that catches my eye or begs further exploration and cut those moments out. Once I've assembled those I start cutting further, grabbing for the essence of what drew me to them.

EH Sherman - cut up paper
I really want to play with the shadows on these pots.

I really want to play with the shadows on these pots.

EH Sherman collage materials

Materials Used:

Head over to my Amazon shop for links to all the materials:

- Canson watercolor sketchbook

-Elmers Adhesive Spray

-Derwent pastel pencils

-Ultramarine Acrylic Paint

EH Sherman collage assembly

At this point I just start playing. Layering color on pattern, adding daubs of paint, pencil lines... all that matters is I'm experimenting and staying curious.

EH Sherman finished sketch

Sometimes I take the finished collage and sketch around it, playing with color and rhythm - just expanding on the shapes found. It's a great exercise before digging into work and other projects!

I'd love to hear about your experiences with collage - how do you find the pieces you use?

My Morning Artist Routine

My ideal morning is waking up refreshed, a healthy 5 minutes before my alarm. I’ll throw on my silk robe and follow the sunbeams into the kitchen, where I absolutely remembered to prime the coffee maker the night before, and dispense an instagram-worthy frothy cashew milk latte to a chorus of songbirds outside.

I then float on clouds of fresh morning air down to my studio, and immediately begin to paint, refreshed and energized with literally hundreds of ideas.


I get a lot of questions about my schedule as a full-time artist, particularly about how I settle into my practice in the morning. Part of me wishes I could write something like the scene above truthfully. Something I could photograph, slap a nice white handwritten title on and put up on Pinterest and feel just so accomplished over.

The reality is far more mess and completely un-pin worthy. But it’s mine, and it works for me - so I’ve embraced it and will share here it in all it’s unorganized glory.

EH Sherman Art - Morning Sketches


7:30 - 8 : I try to wake up. I prefer not to use an alarm, and I can generally get up in this time frame without using one, but if I’m particularly tired or it’s imperative I get up at a certain time I’ll set my phone alarm to vibrate and set it in between the bedframe and the bed. Instead of a shrill song that shocks me from sleep with extreme rudeness, the vibration mimics a more natural waking, and I don’t shoot out of the bed expecting bombs to be falling from the sky. (It doesn’t take much noise to wake me, I’m a VERY light sleeper.)

8-ish : Coffee, maybe some toast and BASIC news. I used to launch into a full-scale rundown on everything that had happened in the last day, but it was just getting too depressing and I found myself starting the day already down in the dumps. I limited my news to 20 minutes of reading - and that’s it. I’ll finish reading news after dinner, when it’s less likely to interfere with my work.

8:30 - 9ish: Warmup time. I’ll throw on a podcast and just sketch a bit. No real purpose, just to shake off the sleep, let the coffee work it’s magic and draw out any ideas I had from the previous night. It takes me a long time to wake up, I’m absolutely not a morning person. This is my time to be sluggish and not feel guilty, just to embrace the motions of the pencil or paint and connect to my work.

If I’m still feeling disconnected, or unsure about where I want to take my practice that day I’ll do a bit of yoga in my studio. I’ve also been known to sneak in a few asanas when waiting for layers to dry - the more movement I can work into my day the more I seem to be able to focus.

EH Sherman Art - Morning Yoga

After that, I usually start the bulk of my “job”. Emails, client questions, commission follow-ups, sketching for projects… anything with a deadline. During this time I’ll solidify the rest of the day’s plans and make sure that day’s canvases are ready, packages are mailed and that I can spend the next 8-9 hours comfortably working without any distractions.

Like I said, nothing pin-worthy going on here - just a girl trying to wake up and get to work. But it’s a process I enjoy and I’ve come to rely on. I’d love to hear about your morning routines! How do you start your workday? (art or otherwise!) Any coffee recipes you swear by to start your morning?