Tag Archives: stuff

Cult of Stuff part 2

The initial anti-cult of stuff response is, of course, that you need less, but the more reasoned response is that you need to find the media that is most suited to you in your expression.

For years I used a fountain pen. I set it aside for a set of Sakura pens and then for a set of Pitt pens until 10 years later I’m back at the fountain pen. Why? It works for me. I like how it works; I love the lines I can get.

I also use acrylic paint, watercolors, as well as various other tools. Why? They work for me and I like the effects I can get.

It took me awhile to figure out what I liked and how I work. Even still a break from my usual pen and ink work to make gelatin prints to liven things up. A workshop or a class at Michael’s, AC Moore, or your local community college can really shake things up and get you out of your creative rut. What about finding an art buddy? Someone you can head to a coffee shop with, or walk the park with, or sketchcrawl that pretty town you’ve never bothered with?

It’s a lot easier to head to the craft store and buy some premade ephemera and slap it in your journal than it is to trek to a coffee shop you’ve never been to isn’t it?

I’ve been there.

My point is that we need to get back to the process part of art journaling. Step away from the scrapping aisle. Head to the “fine art aisle.” Look at all the stuff there. Student Grade. Artist Grade and the more recently introduced “Professional” grade*. Here’s the thing, none of the stuff in that aisle is going to make much sense until you get dirty with it. Sure you understand pencils, colored pencils and pens but what about those tubes of paint? Where do you even start? Head to YouTube, Google, or ArtJournaling.ning.com search through for some technique videos and tutorials. The internet is crawling with great (and shitty) advice.

  • Try to avoid buying supplies on a whim**.
  • Buy student grade if you aren’t sure you’ll like this media***.
  • Don’t start with a full contingent of mediums and additives.

Make a promise to yourself that you will sit down with that one material and experiment with them in every way you think possible and a few ways you didn’t think were possible. Make notes. Get to know that material.

Get curious. Perform mad science in the pages of your art journal.

Ask yourself this question: What would happen if I did this? How would this respond to this?

Now that you know that material inside and out, add to it. Layer your spray inks over watercolor, and acrylic over that, glue down some ephemera from that coffee shop you tested out last weekend.

Now that you’ve read all this, you’re thinking, “I don’t have time, I just want results.” Here’s my answer to that, “You need to make time to experiment. You can’t get results without putting in a lot of time. If you take short cuts the only thing you’re doing is cheating yourself.”

When you decide a media isn't for you get rid of it. Craigslist and eBay are wonderful tools for getting rid of stuff you don't want anymore. Also consider donating unused art supplies to a school for use in their art room.

If you are new here, this is your first visit, please realize this is a (so far) 4 post rant on stuff. Feel free to head here to read the rest of my tirade. Also, please don't assume that I hate pretty pages or would sneer at your art. This rant is about empowerment not judgement.

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Gear Shift

Sometimes it's good to break  up the usual with something unusual. Some of you may know that I dabble with creating my own messenger bags from recycled materials. A few months back I made my own messenger bag by chopping up an piecing together tyvek mailers from fedex and the USPS. It came out fab, soft and sturdy. It's showing a few signs of wear but over all as a proof of concept it's worked brilliantly.

I learned a lot from that bag, and I'm applying that to another recycled idea- you kn ow those recycled reusable grocery bags? Those are a great sturdy fabric. We had a bunch that were chopped up to make a display and a few more that were returned for recycling (they can go into plastic bottle recycling!) and I realized they would make fantastic fabric. So I brought them home and chopped the bags into 2 inch strips aand then stitched and top stiched those into 14 inch wide by 24 inch panels. I purposefuly went with 2 inch strips rather than 4 or 6 so that all logos and words would be unrecognizable.

I'm still working out in my head how I want this bag to be, I know  I need some internal pockets, because summer is coming fast and I won't wear a jacket, so I need places to stow my phone and keys.

Here's a spectacularly crappy photo of the panels:

Recycled reusable shopping bags made into panels for a messen... on Twitpic

As you can see it's pretty bright, which is drastically different from my Fedex bag, which is mostly white and very understated. I htink I'm going to need to do edging on this, so I might head to Joann's this weekend with my Mom to see what kind of edging they have. I'm also going to need sturdier pins, I've bent a bunch on this stuff! It's much tougher than the tyvek.

Review: things that make me go Meh

 When I started doing reviews on here I debated the smarts of posting negative reviews. I have to tell you, there are things I don’t like. There are tools that I hate and will never use again nor recommend to my friends but they are few and far between. I decided to do a round-up of stuff that made me go, meh. These aren’t bad things they just aren’t stuff I’m raving to my friends about. You may have different feelings.

Noodler’s Nib Creeper Fountain Pen

The nib is fine to extra fine with no other option other than flex. You have many color options including clear. The colors all have that vegetal resin smell that to me, frankly it smells like fecal matter. I have read several reviews that this offensive odor is not offensive to all people, I happen to be of the group of people, like those that think cilantro tastes like soap, that think this stuff smells awful.

The pens themselves are nothing special, a rebranded Indian (Dollar)made pen that sells for less without the Noodler’s branding. They are light weight and feel pretty cheap. They hold 1ml of ink, almost exactly, and lay a wet even line. There is a tendency that if you are writing fast for the nib to dry out and will require a dangerous shake to get ink to flow.

Noodler’s Luxury Blue Ink

This is a blue that is nothing to write home about. It’s blue, like a ball point pen and it flows. It’s not special. It does dry mostly waterproof. I found that in EVERY pen I used it in there was a tendency for nib creep. Which is just messy.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice enough blue but for a 1oz bottle at the regular 3oz prize I’d rather get another blue that I like.

Moleskine 3x5in Graph Notepad

I bought this. Yeah, I have a drawer full of moleskins I was given for doing a giveaway on my blog years ago and I bought this because it had GRAPH paper in it. I love the look of the moleskine; the lovely black covers, the great bindings, the pocket and the place marker. I love everything BUT the paper. This paper sucks. Even my EF pens filled with well behaved inks soak through its paper, everything feathers on it and well, MEH!

Strathmore Visual Journal Bristol 3×5 size

Sturdy spiral binding and very sturdy covers filled with nice paper should make this a winning journal. I just can’t seem to bond with it. It’s nice, just not for me.

Sanford Peel-off Magic Rub 1960 Eraser Stick

I used to buy these in college for detail erasing. They were the only stick erasers available then and did its job well enough. I saw one at Artist& Craftsman and picked it up. It’s just like a Magic Rub but in stick form. It’s soft and is prone to smudging stuff. Magic Rub Erasers are not a favorite of mine for this reason. It will also lift some ink and smudge that too. Meh.

Mio Paper 146×87 mm Campus blue label

This is one of the most expensive notebooks I’ve ever bought. I picked it up on jetpens because I’d heard the MIO paper was amazing for fountain pens. Guess what? It’s is, smooth, perfect for writing and nothing soaks through it but the wettest pens and there isn’t even a hint of feathering at all. Ink DOES take forever to dry on it and smudges even when the ink looks dry. The cover is cool with subtle texture and coloring. It’s small enough to slip into a back pocket, purse, or where ever. This is another one of those notebooks I should love but I haven’t bonded with and thus it sits in a drawer mocking me for the money spent on it.

Sharpie Pens

I don’t like ‘em. I bought a couple of packs of them when they first came out and liked them for quick notes but they seem to dry out fast and I break the tips and they are too fine for me. It’s okay, everyone else loves them.

So that's my round up of stuff that makes me go meh.