Jaqui Falkenheim -- A Sketchbook Conversation

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Jaqui Falkenheim. Jaqui is an artist with a passion for color, textures and patterns. I really enjoy following her on Instagram and am delighted to have her here today. Here's her story:

My name is Jaqui Falkenheim. I like to work on different media: watercolor, gouache, acrylics, paper collage and also digitally. Some days I tell myself I need to narrow down and focus on one medium or style and other days I feel I need to trust my path and experiment at my heart’s content. 

sketchbooks, Jaqui Falkenheim, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, gouache

I started keeping a sketchbook four years ago when I took a summer watercolor class at the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia. Most of the session took place indoors but at the end of the course the instructor took us to paint in plain air by the Potomac River and the landscape is particularly beautiful in the summer.  In preparation, she showed us some of the sketchbooks she had kept over the years and the supplies she took with her: a small watercolor set, a brush, a small container with water, a paper towel, and a sketchbook. And off we went on a sunny Saturday morning to sketch by the river.  Since then I always take a small sketchbook everywhere I go.  I have also expanded the practice to sketch at home.

sketchbooks, Jaqui Falkenheim, Sketchbook Conversations, drawing, flowers

I have different sketchbooks that I use for different purposes.  I have a small one where I test colors and funky ideas and where I can be very messy.  The paper is not good but I love the way the watercolors flow in it.  For the best textures I love the Moleskin watercolor sketchbook; the quality of the paper is wonderful.  This sketchbook would be my favorite if it came in a portrait layout with the same kind of paper.  I also love the square shape and small size of Global sketchbook.  It is 5 by 5 inches and I take it with me in every trip.  I have a larger sketchbook from the Strathmore 400 series that I use when I work with acrylics because the paper is thicker and can take a lot of water. 

sketchbooks, Jaqui Falkenheim, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, gouache

Nature is my main source of inspiration.  Every time I go on hikes with my family I am the caboose because I frequently stop to take reference photos that I can use later on.  I have so many photos for inspiration—more than I have time to use!

When I work on a sketchbook I often feel less precious about the materials I use and the result tends to be more playful than when I paint on expensive paper, canvases, or panels. I say “often” because sometimes it is not easy to let go and just play and experiment with abandon.

sketchbooks, Jaqui Falkenheim, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, gouache

My advice to other artists who want to develop a sketchbook practice is to take the first step, which tends to be the hardest.  Once you start moving on a path, you see things that you didn’t see before and you can continue with another step, and then another.  After a little while you will enjoy seeing your sketchbooks grow. What I love the most about keeping a sketchbook is that I vividly remember the moments I capture in them so in a way my sketchbook works as a record of my daily life.

Thank you, Jaqui, for sharing your story with us today.

Dear reader, you can connect with Jaqui:

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 ©Jaqui Falkenheim. Used with permission.


  1. I like the clean and clear colours that Jaqui uses and all the winged creatures lined up in rows! I have never used a square sketchbook that Jaqui mentions and think that may be something I would like to try! :)

    1. Square sketchbooks are lots of fun. I hope you do try one, Simone!

      Glad you enjoyed yet another Sketchbook Conversation post!

      Have a great week!

  2. I really like her style. Especially the circle flowers, there's something about them.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this Sketchbook Conversation, Jaime. It's always so inspiring to connect with other artists like this and, of course, fun to pass on that inspiration!


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