Monday, September 17, 2018

Inktober sketchbook made of envelopes

Gearing up for Inktober, I got this little envelope book from badbooks on Etsy. The pages are envelopes and the cover is double thick cardboard. A friend calls it a junk journal. It arrived tied shut with string. I could make my own, but really wanted to see the security prints from England, or any other place for that matter. We only get mail from a few places, the bank, a few bills that can't be paid online. These are all different. It's very fun to draw in. Regular fountain pen ink (de Atramentis) bleeds, but Pitt pens are fine. The pages are small and not intimidating. I usually do two or three two-page spreads in an evening.

Above - drawn with sepia Pitt pen.

Above - 2b pencil. I am experimenting with drawing with straight lines. Another tip from Sktchy. I like the look of it.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Consider This - Inktober Questions

Some things to think about now if you want to do Inktober:

If you are going to scan your drawings to post online, choose a sketchbook that will fit on your scanner. If you like to work across the two pages, make it small enough to fit. You probably don't want to have to use software to stitch together two images every day. Get your pens in a row before the end of the month. Make sure you have refills or an extra of your favorite pen.

(Image: Red Prismacolor pencil and ink pen. This image has nothing to do with Inktober, but I can't stand to post without one. I have been enjoying this two-handed drawing technique. It makes me loosen up, I am not in charge of either hand. The photo is from Sktchy - I forgot to make a note of the source.)

Do you want a separate sketch book for the month? Or maybe 30 5 x 7 pieces of paper you love to draw on? Don't make them too large - that may be intimidating.

Consider, will you use the prompts provided? Do you want to go out and draw in public, will you use imagery from the internet? Do you want to set a goal - i.e. improve hatching, learn to use a brush pen? Or do you want to stick with a theme? None of these things are necessary, but might be fun or educational.

Should you set a time limit for yourself? It's not too hard to get 15 or 20 minutes every day to do a quick sketch. Diving in and spending an hour each day for the first week might be too much and you may burn out too fast. Do you want to sketch every day or only on weekends, or only on weekdays? I know the idea is to sketch every day, but if that's not possible, don't let that keep you from doing what you can. Even doing some days will help you to get where you want to be.

At the end of the month make notes for yourself. What worked well? Was a goal of 20 minutes a day too much? Did you wish for another kind of pen? Or different paper?

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

It's me again

I'm just complaining here - I enjoy pencil sketching until the end. When I step back (or scan) and see the smudges it's frustrating. I know the tips - use your little finger to hold your hand off the page. But in the moment I forget. And erasing doesn't work well - I can't erase in the hatched areas. It's also hard to hold the sketchbook in the right place and also keep my hand elevated with my little finger. I like to sketch with my feet propped up in the evening. I suppose I should try it at my work table where I have better posture. No wonder I like pen and ink.

The other thing I like about this image is the angle - "they" always say "don't take photos pointing up your nose." It is unflattering, but I just took a personality test online, so now I have verification. I'm a Rebel. Sort of, not really in my estimation, but the 8 question quiz thinks I am.

Edit 9-9-18: Right after posting this, a tip on Sktchy mentioned an artist's leaning bridge. It's a strip of fairly thick plexiglass about 3 inches wide, with feet on each end. You place it so it spans your drawing and you can rest your hand on it. Kind of like a mahl stick that painters use. The same tip also mentioned using a back scratcher in a pinch. It would be easy to make, but a few art supply places online have them. Jerry's Artarama has them at the moment.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

More Zymoglyphic Finds

I love it when I pick up something and Jim's eyebrows go up in appreciation. Just today I found what might be a mostly dried apple, it's dark and a little soft still. Jim liked it at first glance, but then rejected it because it's soft. So I placed in on our covered porch, to either mold and melt, or to dry up more.

I don't remember this one - it looks like a piece of cement with moss. Jim is a sucker for moss.

Some kind of seed pod, it may not count because I think it fell apart later. Jim saw wings.

A part of a wasp nest. It's a little torn and possibly will be unidentifiable in a diorama. Which adds to the appeal.

And because this post seems very boring - here is an amazing Bushtit nest, found by Jim, not me. Made of lichen, spider webs, other plant material. Here's a great article about Bushtits. The best part - other Bushtits help build the nest, and the assistants help feed the baby birds. All birds, the parents, the babies, the assistants roost in the nest at night.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Gearing up for Inktober

I have decided to do Inktober again this year. The idea is to do an ink drawing every day of the month of October. Last year I did pretty well - I may have missed a few days, but did catch up in the end with extra drawings. For me there are no hard and fast rules - I will just do the best I can. To prepare I am thinking about pen and ink drawing, which I pretty much think about all the time. I am also considering the size of my sketchbook and materials.

The image above is from a class I just took on Sktchy with Joan Martin called Make Your Mark. Part of that class was drawing two handed. I find it makes my dominant (left) hand line very loose, which I like a lot. On the left is a sketch I did using two pens. I liked it so much I didn't want to draw and paint over it, so I scanned it, printed several copies and played with each one. After drawing her image Joan goes in with some hatching and then paint and other mark making tools. I haven't progressed that far.

Here I am experimenting with outlining value shapes. My goal has been to loosen up and to get better with hatching. Actually, I probably don't need to loosen up, many of my drawings are loose, but not quite where I want them to be. Perhaps they are too loose or not skilled enough. Maybe they need a little more structure, I'm not sure.

This last drawing was done with no pencil sketch, just fooling around. I think all of these approaches will play a part in my Inktober. I will also make a sketchbook with hot press watercolor paper that fits on my scanner. I don't want to have to stitch together pages if I have a two page spread. And a smaller size will be less intimidating.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Look, look, look

Installation detail of video created by curator for Look, Look, Look…A Playful Book, Center for Book Arts, 2018

I like the idea of having little kids test drive artist's books. From a Hyperallergic article Why Grownups Should Play with Artist's Books Designed for Kids about a show at the Center for Book Arts in New York: "By and large, these books do not tell elaborate stories; the vast majority don’t tell stories at all, at least not as a typical picture book would. Instead, many of these works focus on delight — through the surprise of shapes unfolding, revelations of shifting scale, new images found by rotating things around, new spectacles revealed as each page turns."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

What Should I Do Next?

This week I have been cleaning up in my studio. Not that it's ready for visitors, but I can see the table. I realized I have a number of unfinished projects and need to be making progress on some of them. I lined up some of them, hoping that seeing them on the table would inspire me to pick a few to complete. The first two were easy - I needed to sew up a dream journal and a notebook to use for lists and notes to myself. Those are done. The others will be harder. I am trying to rank them: Mature or almost done. Established; these need work to become full fledged ideas, but some of that work has been done. Hopefully they are putting down roots and I can't see the progress yet. The last group is Seedlings; little bitty barely begun things that may or may not ever come to completion. The seedlings in my neglected garden have more of a chance of survival than these piles of paper do.

In the image above there is one Mature project, second from the left, front row. It's a book that needs three more drawings, a cover, and a little text for each image. I am working very slowly on the text, which is the hard part for me. I hope to glean it from my dream journals. The stack of pages on the left are probably Established, but there are really three books there, each needs to have the text refined and to have drawings or some other kind of illustration. I don't know where I'm going with these ideas but they have potential. The pile of books in the back row, with a shoe box on top (holding collage parts) and a torn collage on top is definitely Established, but needs a lot of work. It's also the project that calls to me the most right now. In the front row, number three from the left is a pile of eco-dyed papers that are probably too fragile to bind, but I have been drawing on them in idle moments. The fragility is a big part of the appeal. The pile of red pages on the right were a project I was excited about, I have parts of one collage started, but now I don't remember where I thought I would go with this. That one is probably a Seedling. In the very back, upper right are some more eco dyed papers I thought I could use in books, but they have no ideas attached - Seedlings for sure.

In this image there is a shill in the back right - there are notes and some printouts that just need to be gathered together somehow. It will be easy to do and it's there to give me something easy when I get frustrated. In front the orange spotty pages on the right are for a collage book but I have no idea what the topic will be. Definitely a seedling, but I love the pages. On the left is an open manila folder that holds some mock-ups for a pop-up book. I am intimidated by that one - I haven't done a pop-up and I'm not sure the topic is right for the technique. I'm being coy and not showing you any part of it because I need to have some progress on it first. I think I need to make a few more mock-up pages, and one that is complete.

As I write this I realize I am taking an on-line class in mark-making. I have tried one technique from last Monday, there is another I want to try tomorrow. And in two days we will get another lesson with more things to try. So things will be going slower than I was imagining. I think I have a time-management issue for one thing.

How do you get yourself going on old projects? How do you keep from having this kind of pile up in your studio? Maybe most people are more disciplined than I am.