Friday, June 16, 2017

Mia Whittemore -- A Sketchbook Conversation

Today I'm delighted to be chatting with Mia Whittemore. If you're an Uppercase Magazine reader you might recognize her work. Mia was the winner of last year's Uppercase + Windham Fabrics New Designer Competition. Although I'm always tempted to rattle on a bit about my Sketchbook Conversations guests (they're all so inspiring and generous!), I'll let Mia take it from here:


My name is Mia Whittemore and I am a surface designer and art teacher based in Massachusetts.


I have consistently worked in my sketchbook for about a year. I started keeping a sketchbook during my first year as an elementary art teacher because I needed a way to make art during the week that would fit with my schedule. So, I found making watercolor sketches in my sketchbook to be a low pressure way to keep up my art-making practice during busy times.


Most of my earlier sketches were made using square format Bee Paper Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketchbooks. I love this square size because it is conducive to the pattern making process, which can be done in a square format. I keep all of my sketchbooks and I especially enjoy looking back at these square sketchbooks because they are where I began to find my voice as a pattern designer.


Nowadays, I mostly use the hardbound Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Art Journal for my sketching. Sometimes, my sketches in these Strathmore journals end up as final artworks because the paper quality is so nice!

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Mia Whittemore, Painting

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Mia Whittemore, Painting

In my sketchbooks, I mainly use watercolor and gouache. I create my own watercolor palette, so I buy tubes of watercolor paint then fill the wells with paint and let it dry overnight. Holbein is by far my favorite brand for watercolor and gouache because the colors are so rich and vivid. And as far as brushes, I mostly use just a couple of brushes for my sketches - #4 and #6 round brushes are my favorites.

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Mia Whittemore, Painting

I sell my work at art markets throughout the year and I always take along a sketchbook. Many conversations have been sparked by people asking about my sketchbook and I also get lots of ideas out of my head and onto paper during these markets! I always keep some kind of sketchbook on me because you never know when inspiration will strike or when you will have a spare five minutes to fill.

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Mia Whittemore, Painting

If you are just beginning to work in a sketchbook, try not to be too precious about the process - it can be difficult to remember that! It is especially tough when you have a brand new blank sketchbook that you don't want to "mess up." That is why I always start on the second page of my sketchbook!


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Mia Whittemore, Painting

What keeps me motivated to continue working in my sketchbook is the unknown because you just never know what you will create when you let yourself sketch with no pressure!


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Mia Whittemore, Painting


Thank you Mia for sharing your sketchbooks with us here today!


Dear reader, you can see more of Mia's work at miawhittemore.com and follow along  with her on Instagram @miawhittemore



Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews.





*Photos in this post ©Mia Whittemore. Used with permission.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Anne, Thank you for introducing us to another fun artist. I enjoy Mia Whittemore"s use of color and whimsy in her designs. It's perfect that she is an elementary art teacher in Massachusetts!(those lucky kids) because for many years, I was an elementary teacher. One of my goals was to bring art and writing into each subject that I taught in each grade in which I worked. That practice became so rewarding in surprising ways.

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    1. Hi, Janet! So glad you enjoyed this post!

      It's great that you brought art and writing into your subjects when you were a teacher. Creativity is so important.

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  2. What a delightful, cheerful and inspiring post! Mia's work is gorgeous!
    This post also drew me to the Uppercase website (yet again). Anne, I'm curious...do you have a subscription?

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    1. So glad you enjoyed meeting Mia, Karen!

      Yes, I do have a subscription to Uppercase. I got a free subscription when my 2x2 Sketchbook project was featured and then when my year was up I renewed. It's really inspiring and interesting and fun. In truth, I still have issues I haven't finished reading because I hate to read through them too fast. I prefer to savor them slowly!

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  3. I've admired Mia's work for some time and was happy to see her here in a Sketchbook Conversation! I'm inspired by the idea of always having a sketchbook with you to take advantage of any small amount of free time. Lovely illustrations!

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    1. I was so happy to have Mia sharing her sketchbooks here. Glad to know that you're a fan of her work, too!

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  4. Great images and use of colour! :)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed peeking into Mia's sketchbooks. They are so full of joy, aren't they?

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