Strathmore Art Blog is a resource for artists to find more information about our products such as newly released items, frequently asked questions, greener options and helpful technical information. We also create articles of interest including artist features, project ideas, events and contests.

Artist Tiles - Tile by Jane Oliver

| Featured Artists | Products |

Tile by Jane Oliver on Strathmore Bristol Tiles

Our very own Jane Oliver in the Graphics Department got hands on with our Artist Tiles and created this lovely, intracate piece. She used a combination of permanent ink pens, colored pencils, and graphite on Strathmore Bristol Tiles to create this beautifully detailed tile.

Our Artist Tiles come in a variety of surfaces and small, pre-cut square sizes, making it easy to enjoy the approachable process of pattern drawing and meditative art. Clear your mind and give this relaxing art form a try for yourself. For more information on our full line of Artist Tiles click here.

What is the Difference Between Acid-Free and Archival?

| Artist Tips | FAQ | Technical Paper Info |

We often get questions about what the difference is between acid-free papers and archival papers.

Acid-free papers are made using alkaline paper making technology. This means the pH of the pulp that is used to form the paper is above 7 (neutral). The paper is also buffered with an alkaline reserve, such as calcium carbonate, to neutralize acid compounds absorbed from the atmosphere or formed through natural aging.

pH Scale

Although there are no universal standards in regards to what makes a paper archival, there are some generally accepted properties. In addition to being acid free, the paper should contain no groundwood or unbleached pulp, meet strict limits on metallic content and be free from optical brighteners which artificially make the sheet whiter.

If you are looking for the ultimate in permanence, we recommend acid free surfaces made with 100% cotton.

Papers in our 500 Series line such as 500 Series Drawing, Bristol, Museum Mounting Board, Illustration Board, Charcoal, and Mixed Media are all 100% cotton and acid free.

Furthermore, our Museum Mounting Board meets the Library of Congress Standards for Archival Properties.

In addition to your choice in paper, don’t forget environmental factors. They can be just as important in ensuring the longevity of your work. Light, heat and humidity all have an effect on paper. Sunlight and ultraviolet light can cause fading and brittleness. Too low a humidity can cause paper brittleness, and too high a humidity increases the chance of mold. The lower the storage temperature of paper, the longer it lasts. The life of paper is doubled with every decrease of 10°F. Cycling (temperature/humidity fluctuations) weakens and breaks down paper fibers by causing fibers to expand and contract.

2014 Online Workshops - Workshop 1 Back to Basics

| Artist Tips | Workshops |

2014 Online Workshops

Workshop 1 of our free 2014 Online Workshops are now in full swing! All four video lessons from Instructor Earnest Ward in his Back to Basics series are now available.

If you haven't registered yet, you can do so for free and get started right away! REGISTER

Here are the video lessons that are currently available:

Workshop 1 Week 1: Line and Shape

Week 1

Workshop 1 Week 2: Tone and Form

Week 2

Workshop 1 Week 3: Creating Pictoral Space


Workshop 1 Week 4: The Path Less Traveled

Week 4

Our Online Workshops are free and self-paced. After a video lesson is released, it will remain open until December 31, 2014.

Earnest has also gone out of his way to supplement Workshop 1 with all sorts of extra info related to the video lessons, and he’s even created some free bonus videos that you can find on his blog.

Workshop 2, Visual Journal Fodder, with Journal Fodder Junkies Eric Scott & David Modler will begin on May 5, 2014.

 Eric ScottDavid Modler











Instructor Eric Scott                              Instructor David Modler

For more information on the 2014 Workshops and to register, click here.

Watercolor Cards by Steven Larsen

| Creative Cards | Featured Artists |

Take a look at some fresh and beautiful watercolor cards by Artist Steven Larsen that are making us feel like spring is actually here!

Steven Larsen Purple Flower

Steven Larsen - Pears

Steven uses Strathmore Watercolor Cards to make these gorgeous pieces. He sits down with a pile of 50 cards at a time, draws everything out in pencil, then begins painting. He adds an extra special touch by painting a matching design on the envelope flap. Steven is a professional artist and teacher who has been doing art for over 40 years. He sells his cards in local shops near his home in Washington State and on facebook.

Spring is the perfect time to get those watercolors out and paint your refreshed natural surroundings. Check out our watercolor cards here and make someone's day with a cheerful spring greeting!

Steven Larsen Plums

Strathmore Art Journals Video

| Products |

Strathmore Art Journals

We understand that artists work in a lot of different mediums, and we know having choices is important. That is why we expanded our art journal collection to include a broad range of paper types in both softcover and hardbound book format. With papers ranging from Sketch, Toned Sketch, Drawing, Recycled Drawing, Mixed Media and Watercolor, there is a book for every artist. We now have a helpful video with all the details on our full line of Art Journals. Watch it here.

Books Video

You can also find more information on all of our Art Journals on our website: Strathmore Art Journals

Splash Mixed Media Workshop at Arizona Art Supply

| Creative Cards | Workshops |

Last weekend Arizona Art Supply held their Splash Mixed Media Workshop where participants created bright & colorful greetings using Splash Inks on Strathmore Mixed Media Cards.

Arizona Art Supply Workshop Arizona Art Supply Workshop













If you're interested in trying out a colorful card for yourself, here's a quick tutorial on how they created the Thank You card below (or use these ideas to put your own twist on a fun card!):

Thank you Card


  • Crafters Workshop Stencil (face stencil used for this card)
  • Strathmore Mixed Media Greeting Card
  • Niji Splash Ink
  • Permawriter Pen .03
  • Plastic palette knife
  • Golden regular gel medium
  • Round synthetic hair watercolor brush


  1. Lay the face stencil on the front of the opened card on a flat surface and secure with a few strips of low tack tape such as painters tape.
  2. Mix a few drops of Yellow Splash Ink with gel medium and apply gel over the stencil using a palette knife in a scraping motion over the top of the stencil until the gel medium fills the open areas of the stencil.
  3. Carefully lift up the stencil and let the medium dry completely before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Mix Magenta Splash Ink with a few drops of water and paint into the card over the dried gel medium. Wipe off any excess ink to reveal the yellow tinted gel image.
  5. Mix Yellow and Blue Splash with water and write "Thank you" on the card.
  6. Mix Yellow and Magenta with water and load the watercolor brush with color. Lay the brush on it's side to make the flower petals. Let dry.
  7. Outline everything with the pen.

Tip: Detailed stencils work best for this technique!

Arizona Art Supply Workshop

2014 Online Workshops begin March 10!

| News | Workshops |

2014 Online Workshop Logo

Our free 2014 Online Workshops start next week! Workshop 1 entitled Back to Basics with Instructor Earnest Ward begins March 10, 2014. All workshops are self-paced and will remain open from their starting dates until December 31, 2014.


In Workshop 1, Earnest will focus on demonstrating and teaching the value of having a repertoire of basic art skills that can apply and transfer to any style or medium. Each week Earnest will build upon his lessons and give artists the knowledge and tools necessary to approach sketching, drawing and creating art confidently.

Following is a supply list for Workshop 1:

  • Strathmore Skills Series Sketch OR Drawing Pad (your choice) – Week 1
  • Strathmore Skills Series Mixed Media Pad – Week 2
  • Strathmore Skills Series Watercolor Pad – Week 3
  • Strathmore Toned Sketch Pad or Book (in Tan or Gray - your choice) – Week 4
  • Graphite pencils – HB or softer (try to have enough sharpened pencils on hand that you can switch to a fresh pencil any time the one in use gets dull)
  • White vinyl eraser
  • Commercial or homemade composing frame: see Earnest’s blog for more helpful information on composing frames
  • Water-soluble graphite pencils
  • Watercolor brush and water container OR waterbrush
  • Fineliner pens, waterproof (Instructor uses Micron pens in size 005, 01, and 02)
  • Watercolor set (optional- a 12-color set will work for sketching on location)
  • Colored pencils – wax or oil-based (Instructor uses indigo blue and white)
  • Drawing sticks such as graphite, carbon, charcoal, pastels, oil pastels, crayons, etc (optional, but very useful for laying down broad areas of tone – faster than conventional pencils)(Instructor uses indigo blue and white oil pastels)
  • Drawing board (optional)
  • Large alligator clips or large rubber bands (optional)
  • Soft brush (optional, but very useful for erasure clean-up)

Registered students will receive an email prior to the start of the class with instructions on how to access the online classroom. If you are already registered, watch your email.

If you haven't registered yet, click here.

Also, check out Earnest’s blog for sneak peeks and some helpful tips!

We look forward to learning with you!

Building TonedSneak peek images from Week 3 and 4

Sketching in San Clemente, California

| Mixed Media | toned paper | Visual Journaling |


As the Midwest is caught in the grips of yet another very cold week, we take a mental vacation via the sketchbooks of Ken and Roberta Avidor. Ken and Roberta recently escaped chilly Minnesota to visit family in sunny San Clemente, California. They biked around town sketching the beautiful surroundings in their Strathmore Mixed Media and Toned Tan Art Journals. Thanks for sharing your wonderful sketches with us Ken and Roberta, they remind us that warmer weather will be here soon!

San Clemente sketchbookFrom the frozen fields of Minnesota to the sunny skies of San Clemente

San Clemente palms

Ken and Roberta Avidor

surfers on toned

San Clemente Surfers


To see more of their journey in San Clemente visit their travelblog:

Brian Scott's "Ruina" on Strathmore's Product Catalog

| Featured Artists | News |

UK Artist Brian Scott’s beautiful piece “Ruina” is now adorning the cover of our 2014 Product Catalog.

Strathmore Product Catalog
Brian used our 400 Series Drawing paper and Faber Castel’s Polychromos pencils along with some oil color solvent for blending to create this gorgeous work.

Brian, who resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a self-taught artist who is known for his emotional colored pencil portraits. His personal motto of “the next one’s got to be better than the last” has pushed him to higher standards with each image, and he usually works with a photographer in the process of creating his artwork.

Brian believes it shouldn’t matter what your artistic history or education is, but rather that you love what you are doing. With an early interest in art, he first tried oils and acrylics. He didn’t feel successful in those mediums and in 2009 turned to colored pencils. He found his niche and never looked back. He feels colored pencils are a lot cleaner than other mediums and require less room. He began challenging himself to make his pencil work look more like an oil painting rather than a traditional drawing, and developed his own signature style.

Check out Brian's progress of "Ruina", and enjoy a couple more of his beautiful pieces.

Ruina WIP
Progress of "Ruina"


Brian Scott's





Progress of "Fire"



To see more of Brian's artwork, click here.

Less Than 1 Month Until the 2014 Online Workshops!

| News | Workshops |

On Monday, March 10, Instructor Earnest Ward will kick off our free 2014 Online Workshops with the first video lesson in Workshop 1: Back to Basics.

A strong foundation of basic art skills can translate into your artwork no matter the style or medium used. Maybe you’re new to art and are looking for a good place to start. Maybe you’re a seasoned artist with years of experience, or a painter who doesn’t usually focus on dry media. Either way, take some time in Workshop 1 to sharpen your pencils and start with or re-visit the basics. Pick up tips from Earnest along the way to help elevate your artwork and bring it to another level. See his techniques and learn about the importance of taking the time to observe your subject as you slow down to enjoy the process.

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How the Workshops work:

Each workshop consists of four video lessons and supporting downloadable instructions. You can get access to the free videos and instructions any time after they are released. Students can participate in conversations with the Instructors and other students in the discussion boards, and share artwork in the classroom photo gallery.

Our workshops are self-paced, so after a video is released each week during the 4 week period, take your time to follow along, pause, fast-forward, rewind, re-watch, re-visit, and work your way through each lesson at your own pace in your own home.

Did we also mention the workshops are completely FREE? You can register here.

On March 10, the first video lesson will be posted within the “Workshop 1” tab on the Online Workshop website.

Here’s the full schedule:

Workshop 1: Back to Basics
Instructor: Earnest Ward
Start Date: March 10, 2014

tl_files/content/blog/2014 Blog/Earnest.png Earnest Ward

Workshop 2: Visual Journal Fodder
Instructors: The Journal Fodder Junkies – Eric Scott & David Modler
Start Date: May 5, 2014

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Eric Scott (left) & David Modler (right)

Workshop 3: Watercolor Sketching & Journaling
Instructors: Gay Kraeger & Christina Lopp
Start Date: Sept 1, 2014

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Christina Lopp (left) & Gay Kraeger (right)

Workshops will remain open until Dec. 31, 2014. To learn more and to register, click here.