I decided that after week 2's disasterous results of, well, not getting a lot done along with allergy attack I needed to regroup and rethink the drawing-a-day thing. (Traci was right when she said the upload was the longest part of it.) My initial decision to NOT tweet process pictures really threw me for a loop. Tweeting, facebooking and flickring process shots really makes my drawing time more interesting. Drawing is interesting with out the progress shots but… I like progress shots. So I'll be putting those back into my "process." I'm also taking the size requirement out.
Initially I focused on making the drawings in my Graf it pad, which was all well and good, but for the fact that sometimes I want to draw on my lunch break and I don't take the graf it pad with me. Maybe I should just suck it up and BRING it with me. Instead I chose to change my "rules" to conform to how I actually work, and that is that the drawing-a-day can be in any format, ie in my webbie if I chose, or the graf it pad, or anything else.
So, there's that, and here are some of my drawings from this past week:
"Demolition!" measures A5 or 5.75×7.5 inches. I did a quick sketch with pencil and then used a Pilot Parallel filled with a mix os Noodler's Black,Luxury Blue and Nikita ink for the darklines and color was added with watercolors and a brush.
This is the 4-1-11 drawing titled “I Need that Color!” It measures A5 or 5.75×7.5 inches. I did a quick sketch with pencil and then used a Lamy Safari with a B nib filled with Noodler’s Black ink for the paint tubes and added the shading with a TWSBI M Nib and Private Reserve Electric DC Blue ink.
One of the other sketchbooks I received from Exaclair was the Clairfontaine Graf It pad. I’d seen these on several occasions at Artist & Craftsman and passed them by due to the cover being… well, kinda lame*. In addition to the plain black grainy text and images, each cover is made with various colors of card stock that folds behind the staple bound pad. The back is supported with sturdy heavy chipboard. Each page is microperfed for easy removal. The perf is sturdy enough that you can turn the page and it won’t tear out, unless you want it removed, it stays. The pad is often sold on American websites as “6×8.” That may be the outer dimensions of the pad but the actual sheet size is 5.75×7.5 inches. There are 80 sheets in each pad.
I did my usual battery of tests on this paper and it withstood them all. I have to say that this paper is amazing. Though it’s only 90g (41lb) it’s super sturdy and accepts a lot of media without issues. It takes some serious effort to get stuff to soak through. When I say stuff I mean ALL the stuff I’ve tossed at it. See the pic below.
With watercolor it accepts the color well. The paper cockles as is expected with paper this thin. I find this to be a great paper to experiment with techniques and color. It responds well to puddles of water as well as thin washes. Color stays true and doesn’t get muddy on the page.
While drawing with ink I was able put down multiple layers of ink without cockling and bleed through. Heavy layers that would have bleed through many other heavier papers did not bleed through on this paper. Noodler’s black bonded with the paper well enough that I didn’t worry about it lifting much with my water brush. Colors seem to pop off the page.
I did try gessoing the page but I don’t see the point as the paper is tough enough to survive most stuff without the gesso. I also scrapped acrylic paint over the page to see how it would work, and it worked just fine. This paper is also amazing for pencil. It has just enough texture and tooth that pencil feels really good on it and it hold a lot of graphite, so darks are really dark.
My final verdict on this pad is that it’s great. The paper is awesome. The format it’s served in is where it is lacking. I hate perforations (my own little quirk.) I prefer a pad that allows the pages to stay together. The staple binding is crap for keeping stuff together, I made a little folio out of a USPS priority mailer to keep my drawings together. For art journaling it would be a great pad to do drawings in and then cut out and glue into your regular art journal. The paper is thin enough that if you draw a face and cut it out the edges won’t be all that noticeable.
The pad is pretty cheap. I found it online for $4 to $6 the larger size is pretty reasonably priced too at around $9. These are prime pad for binding into a sketchbook. If this came bound like a moleskine or a Rhodia Webbie I’d buy it. I know that the reason this pad is so inexpensive is that its bound inexpensively, 2 staples straight through to a sturdy backer. I like this paper a lot, in fact the next time I’m at Artist & Craftsman I’ll be picking up another one of these in another size. Perhaps I’ll bind the large size into a nice art journal!
I’ve bought a bunch of different watercolors from Grumbacher Academy to Winsor & Newton. My favorite travel watercolor set is a Cotman 12 pan set. The colors wet easily and lay down nice saturated colors. It was a great value to get 12 half pans of color for around $20.
I’ve since focused on purchasing tubes of color to replenish emptied tubes and adding a few extras. I’ve tried to buy a few different brands. If you’ve got an AC Moore or Michael’s near you, getting a tube of Winsor & Newton Artist watercolors with a 40% off coupon is a pretty good deal.*
My usual rant with any art material is that you get more out of artist’s grade than student. Why? They tend to have more pure pigment and less filler and that means you get more color out of a 5ml artist grade tube versus a 15ml student grade tube.
I’ve purchased a few tubes of Holbein watercolors at Artist & Craftsman as they’ve been having a sale. The 15ml tubes are a little pricier than the usual 5ml tubes of Winsor & Newton colors that I buy but it’s also 3 times the amount. The colors are intense.
The first time I sprung for a tube of W&N artist grade watercolor I was shocked at how much more intense the color was than Cotman and Academy colors. I was also surprised at how easily my damp brush picked up a lot more color than with Cotman. The “rewetting” ability of W&N over their own Cotman student grade colors was surprising and delightful. Creating an intensely colored wash was much easier than with my cheaper colors.
Now that I’ve discovered Holbein I’m feeling the same way about them as I did about my W&N artist grade colors. I feel like I’m getting more bang for my buck out of these slightly more expensive tubes of really intense color. So far I’ve bought a tube of indigo, turquoise blue, and sepia. All 3 colors perform flawlessly and wonderfully on everything I’ve tried them on so far. The Holbein turquoise blue is a very different shade than the Cotman turquoise. Since I rather like the color of the Cotman turquoise I may end up buying a new tube of it, but I have to say that I’ve been quite spoiled with the Holbein paints.
That being said I also tried out a tube of Van Gogh watercolor. These are larger sized tubes of color that are considered student grade. The VG colors had something going for them- they rewet on a palette like nobody’s business. A swipe across a dried out blob of red oxide brought up a fully loaded brush of intense color. These tubes are moderately priced around $4 a tube and come in sets. I’ve not tried their pan colors but the tube color is very well behaved and an excellent value.
I followed a link to an art journaling blog where I saw yet another female artist in a tutu. Afterward I tweeted the statement, “To be a mixed media artist do you need to wear a tutu? Or even like them? NO!”
To be blunt, I don’t get tutus. They are made out of plastic scratchy material, the same stuff the exfoliating bath poofs are made of and I can’t imagine they are comfortable.
I’m not saying I’m down on it, I just don’t get it.
What I wear doesn’t define me as an artist. My clothing isn’t a statement. I’d rather my art make the statement. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind woman; I like cotton, wool and other natural materials. I look for comfort while I create. I don’t need something outward to help me find my inner creativity. I know that some people enjoy costumes*and perhaps that is what the tutu is about. Using costume to find that inner well of creativity, capturing lost childhood insight, or perhaps these ladies really enjoy wearing a tutu. It is not my place to yuck your yum, but I can say that I don’t get it
I also have to wonder, other than Salvador Dali, would you see a male artist wearing something like a tutu? In part I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that female artists have to dress up and play a part to sell their art. Peddle their wares like a carnie, “Win your lady a stuffed teddy bear here!” “Strong man competition, ring the bell, win a prize.” “Hooooot sausage and peppers, fried dough, cold lemonade”
Tutus and tiaras, 2 things you’ll never catch me wearing.