I successfully completed 31 drawings for Inktober 2017! They were made in the Sketchbook Project sketchbook that I will be submitting to the Brooklyn Art Library for 2018. The highlight of my Inktober, was on Halloweeen when the Mütter Museum reposted my Inktober sketch of conjoined twins that are on display at the Mütter Museum. My Inktober sketches are mostly cartoons of robots, aliens, and skeletons, with a few other things thrown in there. I used a dip pen with Liquitex Ink! muted colors for several sketches, but I fell back on my old standby, the brush pen, for most of the drawings. As this was quite a challenge, this was my Create-A-thon activity for the entire month. Here are all 31 sketches.
This week in Create-A-Thon 2017 - Urban Sketching. I have, in the past few weeks, been carefully putting together an urban sketching bag with essential supplies that I might want to use without carrying too much. I've found a light weight stool and had thoughtfully chosen which sketchbooks I wanted to carry. I have been a member of two Urban Sketching Facebook groups for a little while and I finally got up the nerve to join in on a meet up for each of them this past weekend.
On Saturday, I joined Harrisburg Sketchers at Fort Hunter Park along the Susquehanna River for a beautiful autumn morning of sketching. After completing two sketches, I introduced myself to a few of the other sketchers and enjoyed a couple of conversations about sketching, art materials and looking at sketchbooks.
On Sunday, Isaac joined me to meet up with Urban Sketchers Baltimore in Fells Point. Isaac had intended to work en plein air in oil, but was unable to find a suitable subject. I was able to meet a fellow sketcher in person that I had communicated with on Instagram. After completing a couple of sketches, I talked to some of the other sketchers, but was not able to stay to have lunch due to a prior commitment. I was excited that Urban Sketchers Global later reposted my favorite sketch of the day on their Instagram account.
It was a great weekend to get outdoors and try Urban Sketching, and meet new people. I'm looking forward to future events with both groups in the coming months. I think I might sketch outdoors on my lunch break until the weather starts getting colder.
I've made it through the first week of Inktober 2017, my fourth year participating. The materials that I've been using are a selection of several brush pens - the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, a Kuretake No. 8 Brush Pen, and a Sakura MB Medium Brush pen. I've also been using several dip pens with Liquitex Ink! in several colors along with Prismacolor pencils for a touch of extra color. I am working in a Sketchbook Project sketchbook that I plan to submit to the Brooklyn Art Library when finished. The paper is somewhat light for heavy inking so I've been creating some of the drawings on bristol paper and taping them down to the pages with permanent double-sided tape. I've mainly been using my old sketchbooks as a source of inspiration along with the official daily prompts for some days.
I was on vacation last week so completing each drawing every day was pretty easy, but it will be more challenging when I go back to work tomorrow. I've already got my bag packed with an assortment of daily inking supplies so that I can tackle this challenge on my lunch hour each day.
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils - A brand new 48 color set that I received for my birthday. I used these to render in full color two alien sketches that I had originally drawn in my Sketchbook Summer sketchbook. For one of the drawings I also used Nicole Dual Tip Design Markers from A.C. Moore that I have in my collection. I used the markers as a base layer, blending the colors and then adding another layer of blended Prismacolor Colored Pencils. I created this drawing in a Strathmore Visual Journal with watercolor paper.
For the second drawing, I used just the Prismacolor Colored Pencils on a Canson recycled bristol paper pad.
Next up - Apple Pencil vs. woodcase pencil.
Brandon Dayton threw out a challenge on his YouTube channel, which I subscribe to, for the month of July 2017 called Sketchbook Summer. The challenge was to fill and entire 8 1/2" x 11" hardbound 110 page sketchbook (which is 220 pages when filling both sides of the page) with sketches. I initially attempted to do this while also working on the World Watercolor Month Challenge for July 2017 of painting in watercolor everyday.
I was able to get to day 14 of both challenges, when I simply could not keep up with the demand of working on both of them, so I put aside the watercolor challenge and concentrated on filling my sketchbook. I did finish the Sketchbook Summer challenge on July 31st, that is to say that I managed to put something down on every page of the sketchbook. It was difficult to think of things to draw everyday, and I did take a day off here or there when I was simply too exhausted to sketch after working a full day and an almost three hour commute. There were other days where I could unleash my creativity and go all badass on the sketchbook and burn through pages, and other days were a real struggle. This forced me to think of ideas, no matter how bad, and put them down on the page. As a result, I now have some good starting points for other sketches and drawings that I want to explore and create in a more finished form.
I may go back and ink in some of the drawings or maybe just redraw them and ink them on other paper. This has prepared me for once again taking up the Inktober Challenge in October, coming up in a couple of months. I will use my 2018 Sketchbook Project Sketchbook for the daily challenge of drawing in ink and trying several techniques. I may also have an overall subject or theme for the project.
Next up in Create-A-Thon 2017, a yearlong creativity project, I will be using Prismacolor Colored Pencils with Premieré Dual Tip Design Markers to create finished drawings from Sketchbook Summer sketches.
Create-A-Thon 2017 summer update - Over June and July this summer, I took an Outdoor Sketchbook class at the Adams County Arts Council in Gettysburg. For this class, I broke out a new sketchbook and sketched in pencil almost daily for four weeks. I averaged about 1 - 2, ten minute sketches each day trying to capture the essence of the outdoor object I was trying to draw. Mostly trees and flowers, with a few urban objects thrown in.
This is very different from the way I normally sketch, usually drawing in brush pen, marker, or watercolor, mostly from my imagination, creating cartoon characters or making repetitive patterns. I learned some very good drawing exercises for sketching from nature using a light pencil technique - something that I definitely needed to work on.
Another activity this summer has been attending my son Isaac's Portrait Drawing class on Thursday nights at Waldo's in Gettysburg. This class is also venturing out from my drawing comfort zone, though I have frequently gone to figure drawing sessions. When making figure studies, I usually focus on trying to capture the essence of the pose rather than a detailed portrait study. I want to draw something quickly, unable to focus on a subject intensely for a long period of time. This class gives me the opportunity to study the face and learn a thing or two from my son!
And lastly, I'm in the middle of another drawing challenge while also trying to complete World Watercolor Month. I'm participating in Sketchbook Summer, for the month of July where I'm working on filling up an entire 8 1/2" x 11" 110 page sketchbook (on both sides of the page). This has been challenging, trying to fill up an average of 7-8 pages each day to keep pace with completing the sketchbook by the end of July.
Over the past few months, I've been taking a break from traditional film photography, and focusing on instant photography, specifically Fuji Instax film. I'm in the middle of 26 instax packs - a six month Instax Mini film project. I'm shooting on different Instax Mini Films including themed Instax Mini Film character frames that I've bought from ebay. I use different cameras in my collection, mostly the Lomo'Instant Automat and a Diana F+ with Lomography Instant Back.
Stay tuned for upcoming Create-A-Thon art techniques that I will be trying in the coming weeks.
A very busy July for Create-A-Thon 2017! I have several creative challenges that I'm working on this month, one of them being that July is World Watercolor Month. I thought I would take the challenge of painting in watercolor everyday this month to get back into using my watercolors on a regular basis. Though I haven't been blogging that much so far this month, I have been very busy working everyday on my artwork.
I took a week of vacation in the beginning of July and while not trying to plan every minute to be filled with one thing or another, I did have a few projects in mind for my vacation. Because I'm working on several other creative challenges this month, I thought I would try to keep the watercolor challenge manageable by limiting myself to 6" x 4" paintings everyday. Last summer, one of the YouTube channels that I subscribe to, thefrugalcrafter Lindsay Weirich had a very useful tip for making your own watercolor blocks. I had purchased two 9" x 12" Arches Watercolor Pads at Plaza Art when they had a half price sale last year with the intention of making my own pocket watercolor blocks. I wanted to use them with the same Sakural Koi Watercolor Field Kit as mentioned in Lindsay's video to carry around for watercolor sketching when inspiration strikes. I was able to get the watercolors for about $5.00 with an A. C. Moore half off coupon and a reward club certificate.
I took one of the Arches Watercolor pads and cut it down to 6" x 4" sheets, totaling enough sheets to make four 10 sheet blocks. I then clamped the sheets together evenly on top of a heavy cardboard backing with clothespins and glued the edges with a hot glue gun as shown in the video. I cut down scrapbook paper that I had in my stash to cover each of them to make 4 cute little watercolor blocks.
Here are some of the paintings I've made so far this month (some are on Fluid Paper as well as Arches).
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, and leading up to a final project assignment. I practiced the techniques he demonstrated and felt my scribblings were much more successful. I was able to 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 in the file 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 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, and would like to incorporate it into my sketching routine.
Next up in Create-A-Thon 2017, a year long creative exploration project - make a hand bound sketchbook.
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!
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.