Tag Archives: sketch

Technique Tuesday: Faux Ink Wash

A technique that I’m asked about on  a regular basis is how I get that watercolor effect with my ink drawings. First I start out with a regular ink drawing like the one below. If I know I’m going to use this technique I try and use inks that don’t dry waterproof, eternal or bulletproof.

The next step is to use a waterbrush to pick up ink and move it around on the page. It takes a little practice to get the “right” amount of water and ink to get the value/tone you want but after you get the feel of it, it’s effective.


Review: Rhodia Webnotebook aka Webbie

Stephanie of RhodiaDrive hooked me up with Karen of Exaclair, the American importer of several very fine French made stationary products so I could do some reviews. I received a box in the mail and I felt like a kid at Christmas. There is nothing quite like opening up a box of sketchbooks to get my heart racing, well pen products would be a close second. Anyway, one of the products contained in that wonderful box was a Rhodia Webnotebook. It’s the larger size, 5.5×8.25 inches (I14x21cm) with blank cream colored pages. There are 96 sheets or 192 pages.

When I first opened the covers the color reminded me of oak tag; creamy, warm and lovely. The paper is 90g (roughly 24lb) which seems kind of thin when you’ve been working on 140lb watercolor paper for the last few months. When I ran my hand over it felt glassy smooth. Clairfontaine paper is known for this feature and is sought after by people who use fountain pens.

The cover is black with the Rhodia logo inset into the center of the front cover. Like all notebooks of this style there is an elastic to hold the whole thing shut. The plastic/vinyl of the cover is soft, like fine leather. I have a journal made of deer hide and the feel of this pleather rivals its softness and feel. I handed the journal to someone to check out and she actually said “Ooohhh, that feels nice that feels really nice, what is it?” Like, leather the cover does show greasy fingerprints, unlike leather those greasy fingerprints wipe off with a damp rag. Yes, I tested this by eating French fries at my desk and picking up the journal and having to wipe it clean.

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Flickr Friday: Eveline’s Watercolor Wednesday

I've written about Eveline before, she took my Old Skool Drawing class and is turning around and appling the concepts frm that class to watercolors. She's testing out her paints, checking out the colros, and most of all studiously painting.

She's gone from using straight colors from the pan to wonderful washy layers of colors mixed on the pallette. Her use of color is lucious and loose. THere is a freedom of expression I adore in her images.


Water colour Wednesday, week 3

Sketchbook Delight week 2

Water colour Wednesday (5)

Head over to her blog and read more here.

Review: B&N Bargan Bin Piccadily Sketchbook

This weekend I picked up a bargain priced sketchbook at B&N for about $5. I thought it was a no name brand that B&N often sell. When I got it home I realized it’s a Piccadilly branded journal.

The list price on this sketchbook is $12.99; I got it for $4.99. Less than half price. I noticed that B&N didn’t have ANY of these on the regular shelf. So I’m thinking these are only ordered for the cheapie racks. Which is fine, at $5 this isn’t a bad deal but for $12.99 not worth the money.

I tested this with a variety of inks in a variety of pens. I did a little sketching to see how the paper would respond and I did my usual of an ink and water wash.

Anything with a larger than a fine tip feathered and bled through the paper. There was a TON of feathering especially in my medium tipped and wet writing Pelikano. My extra fine and fine pointed pens did okay, regardless of the ink. I tested both sides of the paper and there is no right/wrong side, the sides have the same finish throughout the journal. The paper is very smooth. I wouldn’t want to use a pencil on this paper as it’s just too smooth and pencil would smudge all over the place.

Ink mix0019
As for water on this paper, it could be done but it’s not recommended, a very light wash caused major cockling (wrinkles) that never eased out of the paper. I also noticed that really heavy application of ink caused the same issues. Anywhere I used a heavy layer of ink it not only bled through the paper but also to the page underneath. Anywhere there was heavy ink use the fibers of the paper lifted and were picked up by the nib of the pen.

Ink mix0018 The Pros:

  • Good value at $5
  • Paper is smooth
  • Bright white paper
  • Great sturdy hard cover
  • Sturdy double coil binding


  • Feathering with any ink
  • Bleedthrough
  • Fiber lifting
  • No water due to cockling
  • EF and F nibs or pencil only

Overall I’d say this is a good sketchbook for someone looking for something cheap that they can do a lot of throwaway sketches in or just to take some notes. This little journal probably wouldn’t stand up to a lot of the abuse that art journalers would toss at it. Even if you gesso’ed the pages the paper is just not sturdy enough. It’s too bad, because this is a really good looking little sketchbook, and comes in a lot of good sizes and with lined paper too which has a lot of different options for covers.


Review: Canson XL Watercolor Pad

I picked up a Canson XL 30 sheet pad of CP 140# watercolor paper a few months back with the intent of comparing it to my favorite inexpensive paper, Strathmore 140# CP 400 series. It compares well.

First off, it comes in a glue bound pad which is good for bookbinding not good for art journaling. To me a glue binding is temporary and won’t last, I abuse my art journals and thus this pad would absolutely not hold up to my use. The paper folds in half easily and without cracking. This is a bonus if you are intending to make your own sketchbook or journal. The grain of this paper is along the short side, which again, is perfect for binding.

The paper is thinner and softer in feel to other 140# paper, specifically the Strathmore. It’s still stiff, but is not quite as stiff as cardboard. The cold pressed paper is textured more on one side than the other. The Canson CP is significantly less textured than most other CP papers I’ve used, and I’ve used a lot. The reverse size is significantly smoother than the front. You can feel and see the difference in texture. The amount of sizing is different too. The differing texture and sizing means that when binding you either let the different textures face each other OR you pull the pages out and face them together.  It’s an extra step in binding that makes an art journal more pleasurable, versus getting into the journal and realizing each facing page responds to pen, ink, and watercolor differently. I find that annoying.

Ink mix0013
Ink mix0013
 The paper handled ink like a dream. Even my fine and extra fine pointed fountain pens floated on its smoothish CP surface. Noodler’s bullet proof ink bonded with it well and other inks gave me a wonderful watercolor effect. The pages handled watercolor crayon like a dream and scraped acrylics like it was made for it. I noticed even with repeated brushing and scribbling layers of ink no pilling or pulling up of fibers. Either side handled them well. The reverse and smoother side was much more absorbent, so an even pull of credit card scraped acrylic got less coverage but was decent. The paper is heavy enough that I did not notice any wrinkling. Watercolors of course gave a cockling effect that soon relaxed as the paper dried.

Ink mix0015

Ink mix0015
This is a budget friendly pad of paper. I purchased it on sale for around $7; regular price is around $13 for the 11×15 in size. It’s not a bad price, especially for a pad that is easily folded up for making an art journal. I found it on Amazon (see below) for $4.59 in the 9×12 size, which is not bad at all. I was unable to find the 11×14 on Amazon but did find it on the Blick site for about $7.


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Wordy Wednesday: Creative Commons; with attribution, non-commercial

In my world, copyright's purpose is to encourage the widest participation in culture that we can manage – that is, it should be a system that encourages the most diverse set of creators, creating the most diverse set of works, to reach the most diverse audiences as is practical.- cory doctorow

The above quote got me thinking about copyright, people stealing my designs, and the wide open world of the internet. Last weekend, most of you may have missed it, as I failed to announce it, I opened my entire flickr stream up to Creative Commons(CC), Attribution, non-Commercial. I had the setting previously to All Rights Reserved. I read this article with the above quote this AM, about a week after making the decision to go creative commons with my photos. I've also made the difficult decision to set my blog, back to the first entry on blogspot to the same creative commons as the flickr set.

This has been something I've been mulling over for months. I see the internet and thus my blog and photos as communication. I've always seen the important part of them is as a tool of communication. By setting my flickr to "all rights reserved" I forced people to ask permission before blogging one of my photos, or worse yet, forcing them to make the choice between asking permission and just not blogging one of my images. Over the last year I've seen how foolhardy that is, first hand.

Over the last year I've featured a lot of artists here on my blog from flickr. I've been forced into the same choice I've forced people into- ask permission or not blog. I'm ashamed to say, I've made the choice to NOT blog more times than I can count. I started out with the whole idea of the feature from flickr to showcase some of the work that makes my heart pitter patter, things that bring both enjoyment and inspiration into my life. When you go "all rights reserved" the viewer entranced with your image is forced to ask you permission to post your images. Flickr takes away the easy access. I'm forced to go from the awe and inspiration phase into thinking about business before I hit "post." Instead I hit "send flickr mail" and type up a quick email asking permission. More often than not I get no response. So after sending several hundred "Hey can I post your pic?" emails I quit.

I quit because a blogger asking an artist's permission to use their art- with attribution and a link back to the original image with a paragraph about WHY the blogger loved the image wasn't enough to get a response from most people. I have my flickr mail set up to send me an email. I can read the email and decide if I want to respond with a yes or no. I'm willing to bet from the utter lack of response I've gotten when I asked permission that most people don't have that set up. Or people just didn't care about getting their work posted on someone's blog.(Even with hundreds of readers a day!)

The real question is why would any artist want to shut down an avenue for more people to hear about and see their work? The more eyes on your work= the more potential sales. The more people talk= the more sales. To me allowing people to easily blog my images is a win-win situation. They write about my work and people see it= win. If someone wanted to use my images to illustrate a blog post, they can easily do that, all they need to do is link back to either my blog or the original image in flickr. Again, I see this as a winning situation.

Recently one of my favorite artists went from easy access sharing to no access. I was looking through her flickr stream and found a whole host of images I was considering posting with a week devoted to her work. When I went to set up the posts, I was shut down. I was no longer able to use the flickr "post to blog" option, nor was I able to use the "embed image" option. The artist had shut down all options to share her work with others. I was and remain baffled. This is an artist who has had several shows of her work and is well establish and until 3 weeks ago, allowed open sharing of her images, with attribution as long as there was attribution, which I had always given. I have to wonder why someone would do something like that.

On one of Hazel Dooney's recent FB updates I wrote that I felt people should have more access to artists and their work. CC is one way to do that.

Of course, there are always people who are going to steal your stuff. It's the nature of people, the internet, and commerce. Like it or not we're in a commercial business (like it or not art, writing, and images are commodities) and we have a choice- let people steal or take control of our commodities and sell to people what people steal from us. I, for one, am tired of people stealing my designs. So, I will continue to make and design my stuff but I'm going to open a lot of it up to the CC and see what happens. Make anything I create for yourself but start to sell and we'll see what happens. This isn't tricky legal territory. You can read all about the CC here and educate yourself in it, it's less complicated than you think. It also puts the screws to the people who would take your hard work and rip you off.

I tweeted that I was frustrated that people had essentially stolen my pen slip design and were offing the product at a premium price. I'll be honest it's frustrating to use my creativity and come up with an idea that is immediately ripped off. Eventually I gave up on making the pen slips I'd been handcrafting in my basement, individually with care and attention to each one. I gave up becuase I felt I couldn't compete. I see now exactly how misguided I was by giving up. People will always buy the original from the original. There lies my big mistake. Should I start up on production again, it won't seem like I'm the original, no I'll seem like a copy cat, though I've got images in my flickr pool dating to way back in 2006. Giving up was the worst idea I've ever had. I've been kicking myself about it every day.

When I realized that I was doing the exact same thing I hated on flickr, I knew I had something to fix. I looked through flickr and figured out how to make the change and made the best CC licensing choice for me. Should you want to use one of my images in a commercial manner, email me. We can talk, but if you want to feature me on your blog, that's easy, now! Use the flickr share option and share away!

Traveling with your Art Journal: 2 Videos

I've been working on my travel journal for my upcoming (no fun) trip to Maine. I'll be up there for almost 2 weeks. I don't usually take my acrylic paints with me and I know that I'm not going to have the time I often have to work on the pages with watercolors. I like to work on colored pages so I've gone through and I've collaged into the journal random images from Mother Earth News, Wine Enthusiast and some collage papers. I've gesso'd the pages then used thin acrylics to color each page. After that Iused watered down acrylics in 3 colors to tone down and grunge up the pages. I'll be doing a whole video on that soon.

Anyway, here are the videos!

When I finish filling this journal I'll be doing an art journal flip video. I may try to do some process videos too. I'll have my cameras with me when I'm traveling, so we'll see.

nanojoumo- purity

nanojoumo- purity
Originally uploaded by lessherger

I get a kick out of all the online "purity" groups. SO when the word purity came up for nanojoumo day 2 I had to lampoon it. The purity "logo" was put online as a purity card for a church group. It looks far cooler here than it did on the card. I pulled the card in to MS Publisher, reversed it and resized it to be about 8×10, i then printed it off onto a sheet of transparency film. I put it on the right side of the film this time and used a great deal of matte medium to transfer it to the pages.I had to cut it into 2 pieces to get it on, and I'll tell you the fold was a beast. the original logo was clearly going for a "urban and graph" feel. So the tendency of the transfer was a perfect medium to really take it there. I then outlined the letters with my pentouch pen, pressed down to get dribbles and runs. While that dried I looked at hundreds of images of scantily clad women bent over various objects, and quite frankly there are things that can't be unseen. Just the very act of attempting to find the image for the right corner has left my brain irreparably damaged. The things I do for art. I found the perfect picture, of a woman, scantily clad washing a car. I wanted the legs to frame the corner, so I first drew the leg for the right most side in soft pencil, added the crotch area and then the left leg. Next was to mix up some white person flesh tone and layer it over the drawing. I added her thong and it's all set. I blocked in some green coloring to set off the legs. Then I mixed up some gesso really thin and used a liner brush to spatter it on the page…

Maybe not the most pure purity page, but it's exactly what popped into my head when I first saw the word as the prompt.

Inspiration and technique: Susan Cornelis: Soul Collage

I really really love Susan Cornelis’s work. She does some images of chickens that I simply adore, but I”m also a fan of her collages and sumi ink drawings/ paintings that she calls Soul Collages. It looks to be something of an automitic drawing process that involves sumi ink poured onto a wet page, manipulated with various tools and then collaged on with color added. It would be a great way to work out ideas, get inspiration and to work yourself out of a rut. This could easily be adapted to working in a spread of a journal- smooshing pages together to manipulate the ink. Reminds me of a rorshack test.