Sneak Peek, Pt. 2

Sneak Peek, Pt. 2

And then, a naked lady appeared! I had a divine moment where I saw the contours outlined in the paint, so I drew it out with a black Stablio All pencil (BUY ONE, SERIOUSLY) and then tweaked it to make it more realistic. The butt and the left arm is still a work in progress, so that’s why I’ve left it out. I’ll give you a final update when the page is finished.

This page is the first step in my forcing-myself-to-draw-semi-realistically summer art goal. It’s also really unusual for me to go this size. I normally journal in a 4.25” x 5” handbound book, but this is the Canson XL Mix Media journal with a dimension of 9” x 12”.

Thanks to Leslie Herger at Comfortable Shoes Studio; her video is giving me guidance on shadows and shading, which is what I’m doing now.

Art Supply Review: Faber-Castell Gelatos

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Before my giant Dick Blick haul, I scoffed a set of two Faber-Castell Gelatos at my local craft store for 1.97– half price! I bought them on the recommendation of my mother, who has been using the metallic ones a lot in her mixed media projects lately.

Gelatos are available in around 30 colors, but obviously since I only have two, you’ll only see black and white (which Faber-Castell calls “Black Licorice” and “Coconut”). The purpose of this review is more to explain how they work.

Gelatos are very buttery; they twist up and apply just like Chapstick! They’re also very small; at about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter, they’re perfect for a travel kit and art on-the-go. Gelatos are watersoluble, but you can blend them easily without water by just using your finger– that’s how soft they are. When you do use water, they are easy to dissolve and create a nice watercolor effect.

The right side of each swatch has been blended with water.

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Here is the coconut over the black licorice. They do layer quite well.

Applications in my art journal:

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This is the Black Licorice over a gessoed art journal page, just to highlight the brush strokes.Image

They dissolve SO well. I used them here on old sheet music. For such a porous paper, they didn’t require much water to blend out and create a wash.

Oh. Fair warning: Faber-Castell also makes “gel sticks” which are essentially the same product, but they come in a set of 12 basic colors and a set of 6 metallics. They are much cheaper than the Gelatos (get 12 gel sticks for around the same price as 4 Gelatos) because they’re marketed for children, but you should get the same results. Gelatos do have more colors available than the gel sticks and their sets of 4 are coordinated so they’re project-oriented. Choose whichever works in your budget. This video from thefrugalcrafter (a fellow Mainer!) is really helpful if you’re unsure of which product is the best for you and your art.

Art Supply Review: Prismacolor Nupastel

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I bought a 24 set of Prismacolor Premier Nupastels on a whim (this means they were cheap on ebay and I had money from my last paycheck eating a hole in my Elvis wallet). Lately, I’ve been feeling in a rut artistically, so I decided that new art supplies– as in a completely new medium– were the answer to my woes.

And they were! There’s a lot to be said about how using something completely foreign to you can refresh your creative thinking processes. I’ve never used pastels before or even knew how. I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m slowly working my way to understanding how these work.

So. The package says that they are “Firm Pastel Color Sticks.” Being less than a novice here, I’m not sure I totally know what it means for a pastel to be “hard” or “soft” but compared to a set of Van Gogh hard pastels (which I just found in my mess of supplies a few days ago), these Nupastels are really soft (Supposedly, Prismacolor makes soft pastels too, though I’ve never seen them). Their texture is velvety, almost like lipstick if lipstick were powdery. I didn’t have to press hard at all to make a rich, dark mark, and for such a soft pastel, they didn’t leave much dust.

Bonus: They are watersoluble! You can use them as a cake watercolor or as a watercolor crayon.  Their solubility means that you can combine them with any other wet media, like gesso, acrylic paint, or gel mediums, and add color to those products.

These are some of the marks you can make with the different edges: the corner, the flat edge, and the full stick. They’re just on basic kraft paper. The large swatch of color was made using the complete edge of the stick, I added water to the blurred side. The color I used is 224-P or Violet (On the stick, it’s a number, but I found the corresponding color name here on this printable color chart.)

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I also did some blending. On the left, it’s just the two colors overlapped. On the right, I used water to blend. Colors used: 243-P (Light Ochre) and 206-P (Carmine Madder).

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Here, I blended just using my finger. Colors used: 225-P (Iron Blue, MY FAVORITE) and 286-P (Madder Pink).

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Here’s how I’ve used them in my art journal:

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On a tag! Fully dissolved with water.

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As a background over top lilac acrylic paint. The blue dots were made by rubbing the stick across my pothole stencil.

Hopefully this post gave you an idea of what Prismacolor Nupastels can do and has sparked your creative juices. Happy art-ing!

Life Update/Art Supply Haul

I graduated!

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It was a wonderful ceremony, perfect weather, followed by a well-attended party, a joyride in a convertible, and a mellow fireside evening with friends. As nice as graduation day had been, I felt a little burned out. So I indulged in a little post-graduation self-medication with art supplies from Dick Blick and a little something off eBay. I’ll be doing reviews of some of these products fairly soon, as one of my summer goals is to blog more frequently and to increase the quality of my posts. So, without further ado, let the haul review begin!

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Have you ever seen anything more attractive (besides Ben Affleck in Argo)? I tried to get a mix of things I needed (like new gesso after my seemingly infinite debacles with off-brand products) and new-to-me things (like Prismacolor Nupastels and brush-tip markers).

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Canson Mi-Tientes Pastel Paper. 9×12. 24 sheets in 6 colors (white, goldenrod, beige, a warm grey, and slate blue/grey). 98lb. Surprisingly, it holds up well to watercolor; it buckles some, but there’s virtually no bleed-through or pilling. My pack came damaged, but Dick Blick’s customer service is AMAZING. I would have been happy with an exchange, but instead, I get to keep the damaged one (I’ll just have to cut off the bent edge) and I get new one free of charge! Thanks, Blick!

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Prismacolor Premier Brush-tip Art Markers. I’ve only ever tried a chisel-tip black Prismacolor marker, so these were a bit of a gamble. I chose muted colors because I thought they’d be more versatile, but they’re a lot paler in person than they show up online. And the brush tip is slow and draggy– almost like a marker that’s running low on ink. The colors do overlay well. I’m not 100% sure I like them and almost regret buying so many. But we’ll see.

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I have wanted a water brush for almost a year and I now cannot look back on life without one. It is beyond convenient for travel watercolor sketching (which I’m still faithfully pursuing), and as long as I don’t work large areas, the reservoir holds plenty of water. The one I bought is a Sakura Koi #8 Round, which is their largest size. The only disadvantage to a larger brush size is that it takes more water from the reservoir to clean it.

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I needed a new clay cutter because I can’t find mine and I see a future need for one. This one is nylon instead of steel because I’m sick of split wire clay cutters. Fully anticipating this not cutting as well because the nylon cord is quite thick…

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This is the coolest pen! It’s a Pentel Outline marker in Black/Silver fill. When you write with it, the ink is a very vibrant metallic silver, but as the ink dries, the lines are outlined by thin black rims. This photo doesn’t really do the marker justice, but:

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Derwent Graphitint pencils in Juniper, Meadow, Dark Indigo, and Port. These are tinted watersoluble graphite pencils. They graphite lends them a dull, grungy color when dry, but when wet, they become vibrant like watercolor. These are really swell; I’ll be buying more colors!

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Prismacolor Premier Watercolor Pencils in Dark Brown, French Grey 20%, Sienna Brown, and Blush Pink. These are the last four pencils I needed to complete my set of all available 36. I can’t say enough about Prismacolor products (except the markers; I’m really kinda bummed about those) and these pencils are no exception. The colors are vibrant and intense and they match the rest of the colors in the Prismacolor line. I wish they’d make more colors because I can’t get enough!

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Stabilo “All” pencils in red and yellow. If you’re a mixed media artist, an art journaller, a collage artist, fellow pencil enthusiast, you need some of these in your arsenal. They seriously write on EVERYTHING and they’re watersoluble which is an added bonus. I already have them in black and white. They’re also available in blue, green, orange and brown. YOU MUST GET THESE.

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More Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils for my stash in Sky Blue Light, Lemon Yellow, Pale Sage, Espresso, Non-photo Blue, Ultramarine and Parrot Green.

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This is a Derwent Onyx graphite pencil in Dark. It’s supposed to be super dark graphite, but it’s not much darker than this Prismacolor Turquoise Drawing Pencil in 9B and not half as soft. Meh.

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Liquitex Gesso (4 oz). Very opaque– I don’t need much to cover my surfaces so definitely a good bargain. It’s also very velvety, like a craft paint. I think I might like the super heavy version better if it’s grittier; I miss that texture. I will never be completely satisfied on the gesso front, but at least this stuff doesn’t reactivate when wet!

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This is probably one of the best deals I’ve ever seen on Dick Blick’s site: A Fabriano Studio 9×12, 140lb cold press tape-bound watercolor pad with a free 8×10, 140lb hot press tape-bound watercolor pad. I have never tried hot press paper before and was excited to get this AWESOME combo (and with a 25% discount on my whole order, I spent nine dollars for 4 pads of paper!) Very excited to play around with these.

Not pictured is a package of kraft paper, because it’s just cheapo brown paper that I’m going to make a few sketchbooks out of and who wants to see that anyway?

And these may be the absolute coolest prettiest nicest things I’ve ever bought. Prismacolor Nupastels in a 24 count.

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SO VELVETY. SO INTENSE. AND THEY ARE WATERSOLUBLE. Supposedly, they’re “hard” pastels, but there’s nothing hard about them. They blend easily and it takes very little pressure to leave a heavily-pigmented streak across the page. These were a bit of an impulse buy and are an affirmation that I should trust my impulses (and buy a bigger set).

Whew! That was a long one. Thanks for sticking around. I’ll be back with reviews quick as a bunny.