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Not My Bag

sketching (1 of 18)

Every artist is looking for the perfect supplies. It’s like a woman looking for the perfect handbag. You know you’re never really going to find it. But that doesn’t stop you from trying bag after bag until you find one that’s so close to perfect, you’re willing to settle.

That’s me right now.

The last time I posted, I had just gotten a new sketchbook. It was a Canson brand book made for mixed media applications. The paper was sturdy enough. The paint goes onto the paper fine too.

sketching (6 of 18) sketching (7 of 18) sketching (9 of 18) sketching (10 of 18)

These were all quick watercolor sketches with bits of time I had. I liked them! I just wasn’t in love with how it felt to write or draw on this paper. Believe me, I still intend to use this book until it is filled. But, it really wasn’t my bag, lol.

Then, I remembered, when I was in undergrad, I used to fold and bind books. I knew just enough to be dangerous, really.  I tried to take a bookmaking class at the school I attended. But, it was in the printmaking realm and for some reason, all the printmaking instructors I took electives with seemed to always think everyone in the room was a printmaker. So, they didn’t teach. I got very little instruction on anything and usually had to figure stuff out on my own at home.*  I had some stuff still leftover from those days. Since, I couldn’t afford to become a sketchbook whore, I decided to go for it. 🙂 Along with my decorative paper stash, I came up with a couple books that might be usable.

sketching (3 of 18)

Don’t you just love the deckled edges on watercolor paper?!

I think I made out okay with these. On the first one, I liked how the binding came out a little better.  But, on the second one I liked the size. That one is about the size of an iPad mini and it fits in my bag a little better than the other (…which I kinda overstuffed getting a little greedy, I think…about 64 pages worth of unadulterated greed…the signatures were crazy!).  They’re both filled with Arches watercolor paper. But the little one has hot press and cold press mixed. The other just has 90lb cold press. Seems 90lb might have been a better compromise for what I wanted to do with it than the 140lb after all? We’ll see.

In the meantime,  I use the Canson for doodles, gestures, and little studies of Michelangelo or George Bridgman drawings.

sketching (11 of 18)

I keep doing these object portraits too. Can’t for the life of me figure out why I plop an object right in the middle. That’s like Drawing 101, right? But, it keeps happening, nonetheless.

I practice my gestures on my kids most often.

sketching (5 of 18)

With these, I go to the other extreme. Piling things on top of things until my whole page is full. Again, I’m clueless as to why I do this. Both ways completely obliterate any ideas of composing a page. Must work on that.

My hand is still too slow for the Girl Child. But, I can pick up little bits of the Boy here and there. Sometimes his feet. Sometimes, his hands. Sometimes a profile.

sketching (13 of 18)

sketching (12 of 18)

As you can see from my doodle pages, I also started trying out fountain pens too. Yeah…fountain pens. That’s a whole other accessory analogy…

If the sketchbook is the bag, then the pen must be the strap that the bag hangs on. I started seeing a lot of drawings on the web with fountain pens…Particularly Lamy Safari Fountain Pens. Look at the drawings in this search, mostly done with the Lamy Safari.  Now, the Lamy Safari I have has this ugly blue ink. Not a good look just yet. The Shaeffer you can get for $5 at the local craft store is a much nicer black ink. But, it’s not as sturdy as the Lamy. Probably neither ink would go with watercolor, though I haven’t tried yet.

Between the pens and the handbound sketchbooks, we’ll see if we can’t find something that fits nicely.

*Now that I think about it though…for all the money you pay for a class in art school, if you’re there and you’re not getting the instruction you need, speak up. Unless you’re getting a full ride, you will have to pay for that stuff someday. Get your money’s worth!

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