Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How to get even light on a sketchbook page for photos

I often struggle with getting even light on a sketchbook page when I'm taking a photo. I usually go outside and use bright open shade. But it's not always day, or that bright. If I can't get a good photo, I scan the page, make adjustments on my computer, export the images and then mail it to my iPad to upload to Sktchy. I got this tip from Craig Houghton on Sktchy: use a selfie ring light. I tried this one from Amazon. It's rechargeable and has three light levels. I have no affiliation with Amazon or the ring light manufacturer, it just seemed like a good one, with good reviews.

To take the image above I had the light on the lowest setting - exposure is pretty good. I do think the mouth is a little overexposed. It's graphite and white Posca pen on an envelope with a security pattern, done in a junk journal mentioned in my previous post. Each image will enlarge, the pages are about 3.5 inches high.

To take the image above, same drawing, I had the light on the highest setting - it seems overexposed all over, the graphite is naturally a little glossy and I think the light reflects too much.

In the image above the light was on the lowest setting again. This is definitely closer to the original drawing than the following image.

And for this one it was on the highest setting.

This is a very low tech test - you would need to do a group of photos with different materials to get a good sense of what's going on. Still, to get a quick photo for Inktober, I think I will stick with the lower setting. It will allow me to take a quick photo with my phone and post to Sktchy instead of my old method.

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.