My name is Marion Younan and I live in Oakville, Ontario Canada, which is a small city just outside Toronto. My home base on the Internet is artwewonderful.com, and I’m on Facebook and Instagram also as “artwewonderful”.
After many years away from art-making, I rediscovered how much I love it during an art course I took in Italy in 2013 while on vacation. I came home determined to keep it up and started my website to help keep me publically accountable. And I haven’t stopped! Six months ago, I decided to take a break from my consulting work, and put my energy into making art full-time for a few years and see where it takes me.
On that 2013 vacation, I started my first travel sketchbook, and instantly fell in love with this art form. I had kept written travel journals but until that time the most I had done to them artistically was glue in a few ticket stubs and postcards.
Now I fill these sketchbooks with illustrations of the places and stories I encounter when travelling or on outings with our local Urban Sketchers group. Most of the art projects I do today are in some way connected to my travels or the travels of others.
I enjoy drawing in-the-moment as well as from photos. I find that both ways allow me to take in and savour what I’m looking at. I take lots of photos when I travel, thinking how they might make good drawings later. I know many people find that working from a photo isn’t satisfying but I may actually give it a slight edge – I like having the luxury of time, better drawing conditions, and getting to relive travel moments through the drawing. Probably because of that reliving factor and my endless curiosity, my work has an illustrative quality and contains a lot of detail.
I work mostly in ink and watercolour, or straight watercolour. As for my process, I may start with a pencil drawing first if the subject is complicated, or go straight to pen if it’s not (or if I’m feeling particularly brave). I often paint my drawings since I’m attracted to subjects with lots of colour. I alternate between putting the details in the ink drawing and painting them in instead. I tend to work no bigger than 11 x 14” and recently did a series of tiny 2.5 x 3.5” pieces which are challenging but really fun.
For drawing, I like Copic multiliners and my Platinum Carbon desk pen (and Platinum Carbon permanent ink cartridges). My watercolours are a mix of artist-grade Winsor & Newton, Da Vinci and Daniel Smith. For travel, I use Koi waterbrushes and some larger Escoda Optimo travel brushes with a 14-colour Winsor Newton kit and a homemade secondary kit of 12 go-to colours (varies depending upon where I’m going and the predominant colours there).
I also travel with a few Derwent Inktense pencils. I’m a big fan of Arches 140 lb cold-pressed paper because the watercolour blends so beautifully on it, with the only downside being it easily burns out my .03 multiliners.
For sketchbooks, I’ve tried a lot of them, and for now have settled on the Pentalic watercolour journals for travel because the paper can really take the water without wrinkling. I also like the heavier, water-loving Stillman & Birns (Beta/Zeta) for everyday sketching.
The art journey I’ve taken over the last few years has been so exhilarating and surprising. I had no idea I’d end up doing what I’m doing today, and that I would meet and be cheered on by such a supportive community. With a new year ahead, I’m anxious to get back on the road, and draw who and what happens next!
Art We Wonderful
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!