Ballpoint Pen Scribble Art

Week 24 - Ballpoint Pen Scribble Art made with various brands of ballpoint pens in a Fabriano Venice 6x9 sketchbook. I've admired the drawings I've seen on Instagram and Youtube made with this technique and how a picture can magically come out of loose scribbles using a ballpoint pen.

After attempting a couple of scribbly drawings, I searched YouTube for other artists demonstrating their technique for some pointers. I also found a short, informative class on Skillshare called Ballpoint Pen Drawing: Scribbling by Alfonso Perez which was quite enjoyable to watch. The class was well organized with a section on different styles of scribbling, how to start your scribble drawing leading up to a final project assignment. I practiced the techniques he demonstrated and felt my scribblings were much more successful.  I was able make a ballpoint pen scribbly drawing almost every day for the past two weeks, finding it to be very stress-relieving and rewarding. Though, I occasionally found myself with ballpoint ink on my fingers from drawing with the super inky Papermate Inkjoy pen.

Because I enjoyed this creative activity so much, I thought I would try a digital version with the Apple Pencil on my iPad pro and on The Slate that Brenda gave me for Christmas.

I made a free form scribble drawing on The Slate with a Bic Crystal pen, which was connected to my iMac at work. The Slate is a tablet where paper is attached to the surface and strokes of a pencil or pen are recorded on your iPad or Mac. See my review from earlier this year here. There was an update available for The Slate and it was much improved from the last time I used it. The Slate software, Imagink, recorded my scribbling so that I was able to export the video file for uploading. The strokes of the Bic Crystal pen were very accurately recorded in the Imagink software, though the line pressure was the same darkness on the screen compared to the actual drawing on paper where some areas had less pen pressure than others.

I thought I would also try this technique on my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I used the Procreate app, with the technical pen brush set at the smallest diameter. Scribbling with the Apple Pencil was effortless, there was no lag while drawing. The scribbling on was much finer than the other drawing methods. This technique could lead to other variations of this style with different brushes in Procreate.

I really enjoyed this drawing exercise, so much so that I spent the past two weeks exploring it. 

Next up in Create-A-Thon 2017, a year long creative exploration project - make a hand bound sketchbook.

26 Instax Packs - #11

26 Instax Packs - #11 - Pinhole photography with Diana F+ with Lomography Instant Back using Fuji Instax Monochrome film. I was in the mood to shoot some instant film and decided to set up a couple of shots around the house with things from my collection - a skull model that I just finished building, a troll from my mother's troll collection, and a dragon that Alan made from clay when he was growing up.

I made a few adjustments to my method of making pinhole photos with the Diana F+ from the last attempt that I made on Pinhole Photography Day. The previous photos had turned out very blurry due to the camera shaking when the shutter button would release after a long bulb exposure. This time I used the shutter stop to keep it open in the bulb position after placing a piece of electrical tape over the pinhole. This way I could make the exposure without activating the shutter button, and causing camera shake.

The results from this method worked much better. After shooting a few photos out in the grass with my skull and troll (I don't know what my neighbors think I'm doing) I went inside to experiment with taking pinhole flash photos. This was very interesting as I had not thought of doing this until I heard about it on a photography podcast. I like the effect that I got with the skull and dragon with the troll in the background with glowing eyes, caused by the flash. I should mention, this photo was taken with the Diana lens on the camera using the Pinhole setting, which turned out a little sharper than the Diana without the lens using the pinhole.

I was pleased with the results from this pinhole photography experiment and would like to try flash photography with my Ondu MKII 6x6 and Holga WPC. 

26 Instax Packs - #10

26 Instax Packs - #10 - Skyblue Instax Mini Frame in Diana F+ with Lomography Instant Back. Wanting to shoot a pack film, but not knowing what to take photos of, I spent and hour or so at Codorus State Park on a pleasant Saturday afternoon with my Diana camera. I still need to work on getting the right expsosure and composition with this camera, but I do like the photos they look pretty sharp when they're right.

Pinhole Photography

Week 22 - Revisiting pinhole photography and film developing at home. Last weekend I picked up my Holga Wide Pinhole Camera, which still had a half used roll of film in it and drove out to Devil's Den in Gettysburg to finish the roll. I wanted to try a new photo composition tip that I heard about on a podcast to get better pinhole photos. 

I tried positioning my camera so that there would be close objects and objects further in the distance to create a more exaggerated pinhole effect in the photos. I couldn't remember what kind of film I had put in the camera, I had forgotten to write it on the back on a piece of tape. When I got home I developed it in caffenol (a mixture of instant coffee, super washing soda, and vitamin C powder) and saw that there were photos on the negatives when I pulled them out of the tank. I determined that it was Ilford FP4 from the brick of expired film that I had bought off of ebay last year. Some of the photos came out well considering the age of the film, but there were areas on some of the negatives where the backing paper numbers had burned into the image.

This past weekend I got out my Ondu MKII 6x6 Pinhole camera that I recieved as a Kickstarter reward last year which still had a half a roll of extremely expired Kodak Verichrome Pan film left inside from a couple of months ago. I drove out to Codorus State Park looking for a subject and wound up at the rental marina. I set about trying to make photos that had the type of pinhole composition I was trying to achieve, without worrying too much about the subject matter. I finished up and headed home to develop the roll in Kodak D-76 to find that the resulting photos were closer to the type of pinhole photos that I wanted to create.

In the next couple of weeks I want to try creating pinhole photos in my studio with some of the things in my collections, with and without flash. I plan to revisit pinhole photography on my Diana F+ camera with the instax back from Lomography to see if I can get the same kind of effect I got with the Ondu MKII. A pinhole photography exploration might be my next photography project after finishing 26 instax packs.

Meanwhile, I will be getting back into my studio and continuing my Create-A-Thon year long creative exploration soon, it's just been too nice outside to be cooped up in my studio!

Derwent Inktense Pencils

Week 23 - Derwent Inktense Pencils, which are much like watercolor pencils in how they work, but after activating them with water, the colors become permanent. Other mediums can be used with them to create interesting effects. 

I thought I would try to make a few cloud studies using Inktense pencils but the finished effect is not how I thought it would turn out. I found the pencils didn't quite blend the way I anticipated, thinking they would be more like watercolor. It was more like I was trying to color the clouds, and I think a different style of drawing would have been better. I do like the pencil texture showing through in the washes after adding water, I think this effect might be better suited to a different subject.

I then made a drawing of foliage with photo reference from Flickr, but I found it difficult to get the vibrant effect I was expecting. I think that it may have been the paper I was using, which was a Stillman and Birn pocket Beta Series sketchbook. Other water media seems to work well with this sketchbook though. The colors appeared more vibrant on the Strathmore Visual Art Journal that I used for the cloud drawings and an onion still life I made from photo reference found on Flickr.

After making the first couple of sketches, and not being happy with the way they turned out, I looked for ways other artists were using the pencils and tried a different technique with the onion drawing. I like this style of drawing with the pencils and I think they might work well with another of the techniques that I use - mixed media drawings with watercolor and Derwent Aquatone pencils. 

I will, for now, put them aside and maybe revisit them in the future for other drawings or journal entries when I start working on a memorial art journal for my mother over the winter and for the 2018 Sketchbook Project, that I'll be starting soon.

Next up in Create-A-Thon, a year long creative exploration - Ballpoint Pen Scribble Art Technique.

The Sketchbook Project 2017

I have been wanting to participate in the worldwide sketchbook project created by the Brooklyn Art Library for some time, and finally in November I signed up to create a sketchbook. How it works is that you purchase a sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project with the option of having it digitized, and you fill it up when you receive it using one of the themes or with whatever you like, following the rules and size limitations.

After completing your sketchbook, you link it up to the library online and mail it back to be included in their permanent collection. If you have purchased the digitized option, your sketchbook will be scanned and made available online for others to view. The sketchbooks can be checked out and viewed in person at the Brooklyn Art Library or on one of their mobile sketchbook tours around the country.

Here are a few pages from my sketchbook entry with the theme "All about me". The fully digitized version can be viewed here.

Fuji Instax Square SQ10 Camera

Week 21 - Fuji Instax Square SQ10 Camera - I have been eagerly awaiting the new Fuji Instax square format camera and film since it was announced last fall and I was able to order one on release day, May 19th. My package arrived the following Monday and I set about charging it up and briefly looking at the instructions. I had already read about the specs in numerous reviews, and on the Fuji Instax Square website and watched all the YouTube video reviews I could find.

I've used two packs of Instax Square film with it so far and I really love the results. I like how I can use the LCD screen on the back of the camera to frame up my shot to get just what I want in the photo and also to make sure the horizontals and verticals are all lined up. Even after making the photo, I can edit it by zooming in, panning left/right, up/down to get the composition just right before printing. I like the editing features where I can add a little vignetting (darker or lighter) a look I really like in my photos. The filters are nice, the ones I like best are the monochrome and sepia ones. Brightness can be adjusted as well. After editing, you can choose to print the photo. I really like that I can go out and concentrate on shooting photos, come back and look through them and choose and edit which photos I want to print. I can make additional prints, make further edits or go back to the original photo setting if I choose. The camera can also be used for traditional instant photo shooting where the photo comes out right after you take the picture.

Another thing that I'd been playing around with is that photos taken on other cameras can be printed from the SQ10. The files have to be saved with four letters and four numbers in the jpeg format into the root folder of the micro sd card that goes into the camera. Files from my iphone worked just fine, but I found that photos I had shot and scanned from film negatives required a little workaround to be read by the camera. I opened the files in Pixlr and saved them as jpegs with the exif data removed, and that seemed to work. I think it's neat that I can print photo scans from film negatives that were shot with some of the vintage cameras in my collection as well as my Holga. This may seem like a lot of trouble to go through, but then isn't film photography more fun when doing things the long way?

I haven't explored the bulb mode or the double exposure setting yet, but overall I am really pleased with the camera. I feel like now I will get many more keepers out of my instax photos than the sometimes hit or miss results of traditional instax and other cameras that use instax film.


26 Instax Packs - #9

26 Instax Packs - #9 - Fuji Instax Stained Glass frame in Lomo'Instant Automat. A couple of shots of Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park and the others shot around our yard of flowers and my mom's troll collection. I really like the way the colors pop with the troll photos. It was early in the morning with a cloudy sky that I shot those photos with the closeup lens on the Lomo'Instant Automat.

26 Instax Packs - #8

26 Instax Packs - #8 - Fuji Instax Mini Shiny Star Frame in Lomo'Instant Automat shot around Jim Thorpe, PA. This film looks way better in person, because the border is shiny, like foil, which doesn't show in the scans. This pack performed better than the last. I like the nice lomographic lighting effect of the Jim Thorpe Olympian statue.

26 Instax Packs - #7

26 Instax Packs - #7 - Fuji Instax Mini Airmail Frame shot around Jim Thorpe, PA with the Lomo'Instant Automat camera. The exposure was way off on most of these photos. I think that it was caused by my shooting into the evening sky causing the buildings to be in silhouette. The no flash, low light photo of the writing desk at the Jim Thorpe Inn looks nice as well as the view of Jim Thorpe from Flagstaff.