Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lessons in Life and Art: Doodle's and Mandala's Lesson II

So, I hope you have been enjoying your doodling and sketching, and that Lesson I was helpful. So you now have a collection of sketches and ideas, they are penciled and inked and all the variations in between, yet they still don't quite look as clean as you would like. This is where lesson II takes off. Today lets look at paper, pens, pencils, and erasers.

I love to look at others peoples work and art. People's blogs and instagram have opened up a whole new way of knowing how others create. Most people instagram works in progress, on blogs and facebook they may just share the final piece, but I find they open up to the moment in photo's of their progress and inspiration on instagram. Two of my favorite artists to pay close attention to are Katie Daisy and Geninie. One can learn a lot about their techniques if one really studies their photo's. You can learn a lot about different types of art supplies out there and see how they work.

Rule 1, know your paper. I am a paper snob, I love museum grade rag board and cold press rag paper. This paper is so soft and textured. I prefer cold press to hot press, cold press typically has a rougher texture. I also like a heavier paper 300 lbs verses 140 lbs. It can take a while to get a feel for what a paper will be like through description, the best way is by touch. There is a big difference between sketch paper, illustration board, water color paper, and mylar. Go into Micheal's and just touch all the paper in the sketchbook isle. The smoother the paper the smoother the lines and paint appearance. I love the texture in the paper and the way pastels float across it. Yet the more I doodle I am finding an appreciation and draw towards the smoother papers. You will have to experiment and find what works for you. The right paper is the first step to creating the image and artist expression you are wanting to create. Take the time to explore and find the right paper/sketch book for you. 

Rule 1 Materials: Currently I am learn towards moleskins for sketching and love Shizen paper for my water colors and Mr. Elle Poo paper for my daily sketches.

Rule 2, many artists lay down their composition in light pencil, or maybe a light blue pencil. In college I had a professor take my pencil away from me, he told me to be bold and to trust in my ability to draw. He said that I should not fear perfection, for such a thing does not exist and that I should find my inner confidence as an architect, as a designer. From that day on I always had a sharpie in hand. Sometimes I forget how valuable a pencil can be. Let go of the short stroke "sketching" we learned in elementary school. Drawings and sketches are really line segments, let your lines be lines. Use a light hand with a pencil, or be bold and carefree with a pen, and gingerly erase the pencil guidelines away when they have served their purpose. Note, when using a pencil to lay down a composition, don't draw every line, get the main idea down and then let your pen and color medium do the detail work.

Rule 2 Materials:

pencil} pencils come in lead grades. the harder the lead the sharper and darker it will be, leaving a track in the paper. The softer, the lighter and wider the pencil mark. I love the hard sharp edge to a new #2, alas, this pencil line is hard to erase. I recommend getting a pencil sketching set with a range of grades and find what works best for you. Click here for more information on types of pencil grades.

pens} Micron, Faber Castell, Sharpies (my favorite), and Paper-mate Flair felt tip Pen tips come in different sizes. The typically range from .1-.8 in tip/line width sizes, and they can be found in fine, medium and bold tips. Brush tips are also an option. As you get more familiar with different pens and start to look at the types of tips in your favorite pens you will be able to bring more depth to your pieces by playing with the thickness of the pens. I usually use a fine and a medium line with sharpies, and prefer .3 and .7 in Microns. Technical drafting is a good place to learn about the importance of line weight to the eye, not just in architectural rending and technical drawings, but in your daily art as well.

erasers} If you take a good look at erasers you will find pink ones, white ones (vinyl erasers) and the putty ones. All the others are going to be iffy as to how well they work and will likely mark your paper. If you have a unicorn or hamburger eraser it just needs to be passed along to someone else. I say the same to the pink eraser. They are just too abrasive, they will tear and chew up paper, it not only takes away the pencil, but everything it goes across. It also often leaves a trail of dirty pink. This just need to be tossed from your art bin never to be used again, unless you make them into a stamp! The putty ones are great for most sketching pencil/pen applications and is my typical go to eraser. They last longer and you can shape them to what you need to erase. Whenever i see them on sell I buy as many as possible. If they get gunky, just to a little stress relief and pull at it like taffy and it will clean itself out. The erasers I save for special pieces, they are the best and nicest to use, but they can make a mess. I use the white erases carefully on rag paper and my watercolors. They are the kindest to the paper, but sheds so I use them sparingly.

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