“Capturing the Moment” – The Art of Illustrated Journaling

The Art of Illustrated Journaling Workshop-CJ Shelton

Event Date:

June 15, 2024

Event Time:

10:00 am

Event Location:

The Alton Mill Arts Centre

Join me, CJ Shelton, and local author Nicola Ross for this day long “retreat”

“We meet people who have crossed deserts, floated on ice caps and cut their way through jungles – and yet in whose souls we would search in vain for evidence of what they have witnessed …nudging us to try, before taking off for distant hemispheres, to notice what we have already seen.”  ~ Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

DATE:  Saturday, June 15, 2024
TIME:  10 am to 4 pm (approximately 5 hours plus an hour for lunch)
LOCATION:  The Alton Mill Arts Centre, 1402 Queen St W, Alton, ON L7K 0C4
FEE: $165 + HST

WHAT TO BRING: A bagged lunch (tea, coffee, water and snacks available onsite), a journal or sketchbook, drawing materials (pens, pencils, eraser, sharpeners), a stool, sunscreen and hat

A picture can be worth a thousand words but when images and text are combined the result engages you in a rich and multi-sensory experience that truly captures the moment.

 “Ten minutes of concentration at least are needed to draw a tree; [yet] the prettiest tree rarely stops passersby for longer than a minute.” ~ Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

An illustrated “travel” journal tickles all your senses, helping you to feel as much as observe the world around you, whether it is describing your backyard or Timbuktu.

Master artist CJ Shelton and bestselling author Nicola Ross have teamed up to offer this day-long workshop that will reveal the fundamentals of how to develop your own story-telling approach to journalling through with the combined arts of sketching and writing.

Following a short introduction, CJ will introduce key pointers about choosing a scene (natural or built elements), tips on composing your sketch and creating a focal point, plus some sketching fundamentals like shading, and how to create depth and mood using tonal values and more.

You will then spend the rest of the morning exploring the Alton Mill and its environs until you come upon an interesting subject/object plein air (outside) that you want to capture in a sketch with pencil or pen. Note that if the weather doesn’t cooperate we will move indoors and work from photographs.

After lunch, Nicola will take over and help you add words to complement your illustration, leading you through exercises that will illustrate the tricks of descriptive writing such as how to unveil rather than tell and how to use all your senses.

Then it will be your turn to add an “artful” tale to your image, making it into an authentic story-telling illustration. You will come away from the workshop knowing, as the quote from de Botton above suggests, that you have noticed – really noticed – what you have already seen.

This is an in-person workshop and limited to no more than 15 participants which means you get lots of one-on-one attention. Remember to bring a bagged lunch (tea, coffee, water and snacks are available onsite), a journal or sketchbook, drawing materials (pens, pencils, eraser, sharpeners), a stool, sunscreen and hat.

Any questions can be emailed to CJ at artist@dancingmoondesigns.ca
or Nicola at nikkiross1212@gmail.com



Nicola Ross

Nicola Ross developed a keen sense of place at an early age. She studied biology at the University of Guelph but soon discovered that a pen was her tool of choice in the environmental battles that appeared as she lived and worked in different parts of Canada and the world.

The winner of numerous writing honours including a National Magazine Award, Nicola is the author of 12 books, including the popular Loops & Lattes Hiking Guides (Caledon Hikes; Halton Hikes; Dufferin Hikes; Hamilton & Area Hikes; Waterloo, Wellington & Guelph Hikes; Collingwood, the Blue Mountains & Beaver Valley Hikes; and Caledon, Hockley Valley & Mono Cliffs Hikes).

Her latest book, 40 Days & 40 Hikes: Loving the Bruce Trail One Loop at a Time, is a travelogue describing her loopy end-to-end hike. It is complete with her simple sketches.

Formerly a climate change consultant, Nicola is a regular contributor to and columnist with In the Hills magazine. Her articles have been published in The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, Explore magazine, Mountain Life, Avenue, Ontario Nature, Alternatives Journal, and more. She was a regular environmental contributor to CBC Radio in Calgary, regularly appears on CBC Radio program Fresh Air and was the long-time editor-in-chief of Alternatives Journal, Canada’s national environmental magazine. Nicola resides in Alton, Ontario.


CJ Shelton

After a successful 30+ year career in commercial art and architectural illustration, CJ has spent the last thirteen years creating a unique blend of nature-based and spiritually infused art in her tranquil studio nestled in the beautiful and historic environment of the Alton Mill Arts Centre in the Hills of Headwaters.

An award-winning instructor and facilitator, CJ also teaches classes in traditional drawing and painting as well as arts-based workshops for self-development. When CJ hasn’t got a brush or pencil in her own hand, she is happily helping others learn how to use theirs. She can also frequently be found out in the woods with a sketchbook and camera, seeking inspiration.

With her deep love of both natural and built heritage, plus a wide variety of other interests that explore the “spirit” in things, CJ always strives to capture the essence and feeling sense of whatever subject matter she is engaged with.

To learn more about CJ visit the “about” page on this website, explore her art, and check out more of her learning opportunities.


CANCELLATION POLICY. Please note that all workshops are non-refundable if you are a no-show or cancel less than 2 weeks in advance. A raincheck may be offered for extenuating circumstances but this will be solely at the discretion of the instructors. In the event a class needs to be cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen reasons it will be rescheduled or fully refunded.

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Event Location:

Total Seats: 15 (10 Left:)
  • The Alton Mill Arts Centre
  • 1402 Queen St. W., Studio #206
  • Alton
  • ON
  • L7K 0C4
  • Canada

Event Schedule Details

  • June 15, 2024 10:00 am   -   4:00 pm
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