occupying my time

After the snack that was dinner (I was really not moved to eat much tonight, due to having been fed not too long earlier), I started looking for the portable CD player.  This is because I thought it would be nice to have some music going in my office (while I drew), which would not all be music downloads.  I have one or two boxes of CDs which I’ve scavenged…and have not heard any of them in a long while.

When the location of the boom box was not immediately apparent, however, I did see something that caught my eye:  my guitar.  Because we’ve put a new battery in the guitar tuner (it uses a 9-volt!), I decided to try it out.  It was out of tune in a way that I had been blind to; mostly, flat, but still close enough to on-target that I didn’t have to worry about being totally lost (I do have a pitch pipe around here somewhere, but have a feeling it’s in the junk room — with my music stand and guitar case).

So I played around on that until my fingers got to the point where I knew I would get blisters if I played any farther.  I’m getting better at remembering the location of notes on the fret board; though I still am not sure of the names of those notes or their location on sheet music, so maybe I should say that I’m getting better at remembering the location of sounds on the fret board.

I’ve also realized that I will have to learn classical fingering if I want to be able to play the songs that I want to play.  In classical style, it’s possible to ring up to five notes at once — one with each nail — as versus picking out notes one at a time, or only strumming chords.

After my fingers couldn’t stand it anymore, I set the guitar back and picked up the box which holds all of my prismatic markers, brush markers, and fineliners.  There are also four other sets in there:  one of LYRA graphite crayons (they only make three hardnesses, so far as I know), one box of Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils, a tube of General’s Willow charcoals (they wipe away easily and so are good if you need temporary marks), and my (soft) charcoal set…the last of which, I really need to clean out.

I did two drawings tonight with the markers, on 18″x24″ Sketch paper (this is the same pad gifted to me on leaving my first University, back in 2002…15 years old, and not yellow?).  I am not sure it would be best to show them, though…would it be too much pressure to show my experiments?  I don’t think validation or approval would help, here, more than it would hold me back from trying new things.

The first one was just me experimenting while thinking about moths (and spirals).  Something about fuzzy, feathery bugs…(and there’s probably a rebirth thing going on in there, too, not to mention the entire light-seeking thing which…still doesn’t make sense to me).  It could also be related to the green skeleton image I got back this Fall which had metamorphosis as a major theme (there was also a butterfly in there…I’ve posted about it before, but need to take a clearer shot).

The second image I did was an experiment in which I realized I was totally using lines, hatching, and cross-hatching, and started intentionally working with more random applications of line (bullet nibs for the win)…which I find I like immensely more than the way I had been working, though maybe that’s because it’s new.

The randomness appeals to me; it’s also very immediate and committed, at least with markers (though these markers are all water-based, so if I wanted to, I could wet them and use the ink as a wash — on top of a surface which could take a wash without warping).

I also found that the Staedtler Mars Graphic 3000 Duo markers (from years ago) behave differently than the Tombow Dual Brush markers.  The nibs are made of different materials; the Staedtler brush nibs are some kind of porous rubber which enables more painterly strokes (and gradual fade-outs, and finer delicate lines), while the Tombows are more like a straightforward water-based brush marker with a more fibrous and firmer/less responsive tip, on the brush side.  (Both markers have a firm bullet nib on the other tip.)  The advantage of the Tombows, of course, is the color range, and the fact that they are made (like the Staedtlers) not to easily dry out, unless the cap isn’t pushed on fully.  Of course, though, my Staedtlers are years old.  I’ve seen a revival of interest in them recently, though…but I can’t vouch for their current quality.

(The Mars Graphic 3000 markers, along with Staedtler’s Mars white plastic erasers [less smudging — especially with Pentel Hi-Polymer leads (ha — I used to draw in mechanical pencil), and clean erasure], were what immediately gave me a favorable impression of Staedtler, some years back.  However, I’ve heard that the quality of some known brands has diminished in some product lines, due to the current trend of adult coloring books leading to demand for cheaper materials.  I think D told me this when I was looking at the long Stabilo 68 bullet-tip marker sets at an office supply store [I like these and have the mini version (I think I got a set of 18)…but I am not sure how many colors they actually come in.  A quick search brings up a 50-color set…which I’m fairly certain I can’t get in-store in open stock].)

What I find interesting about working on art this way is that there’s very much a problem-solving part of my mind being engaged, though the problem I’m solving is one that I am generally not wholly conscious of, but become more aware of during the process of drawing.  Each mark suggests a new one, until the piece would suffer detraction from extra visual noise.  It’s like a Rorschach that I make and develop, that is.  And it’s nice to see a line suggested before it’s made.  It’s something that doesn’t happen with me so easily in painting (where there perhaps may be more focus on areas of color than boundaries of areas of color — or, lines).  I’m not sure if it’s actually possible for me to develop that skill in painting, this late in the game (I learned to draw at about 14, when my brain probably had higher plasticity than now).

The problem in this case could actually start out as, “how do I make something different than what I’ve done before?”  This is how I began my first piece, which is largely orange, yellow, red, and blue-green:  I have a tendency to gravitate initially towards violet, which is something I intentionally stopped myself from doing, this time.  In the second case, it became very apparent that I was depending overly on about three techniques, and motifs repeated from the first piece.  I wouldn’t lose anything by experimenting, and knew I might not post the results, so I went ahead and did so — and the looseness and immediacy of scribbly marks actually added a lot to the piece, which is now, apparently, about safety/predictability and risk/reward.

And, of course, these pieces are in rainbow colors, and so suggest a child’s work…but it’s nice to be able to see the colors before using them, and it’s nice to have them immediately available, if just for play.

I mean, play should be fun, right?  🙂  And none of us would be any good at art if we were so afraid to play with our materials as children that we didn’t…

occupying my time

Watercolor play…doesn’t look as bad on camera as it did to me last night…amazingly…

Alright, so.  I have been working on playing around in watercolor…though I think the better examples of this happened when I took my time.  The little squares here are underneath my transparency swatches…which are basically just an index of the colors I have.  Really, the biggest pain about any of this is that the earth tones tend not to stick in the lid of my palette and instead separate as little chips that fall when I try and close it… >_<  …right.  Whoever said that design would work, anyway?

Initially, looking at this, I was thinking that, because of what I had been doing with the brush to achieve smoother gradations (pulling each color into the other with small brushstrokes), maybe I should be working in gouache, instead.  However…now that I look at it, I just see someone learning to control their medium at a very early stage.

I have gotten out the gouache:  trust me, I’ve gotten out the gouache.  😉  I haven’t done any comparisons yet between the different effects achievable with each media, though.

Trying to play around with blending wet-into-wet

Sorry about the photo quality…I still haven’t gotten the hang of this, yet.

Dry brush merging into drawing-like marks…?

Although in the past I could say that I really disliked (my own) dry-brush effects, when I look at it here, it actually seems to work.  (Kind of like how I don’t like to use hard charcoal or graphite sticks, but they have their uses?)  I’m pretty sure the upper pink is Permanent Rose; and the one under it is Permanent Magenta (in Winsor & Newton brand), in many other brands known as Quinacridone Violet (though W&N’s “Quinacridone Violet” is a completely different shade, leaning more blue than red).  This is what I mean by irregular labeling of paints.

The grainy green-blue above it is Viridian; actual Viridian, not “Viridian Hue.”  I did try blending this Viridian with Permanent Rose, and now suspect that the beautiful mixed tone I got (mentioned in multiple places, earlier) actually may have been Viridian Hue (W&N Cotman Phthalo Green) with Permanent Rose.  Viridian Hue (Phthalo Green) plus Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) are together in the top central square in the upper first photo of this post.  What can Phthalo Green be used for?  Try!  🙂

One thing I can say is that natural hair in a paintbrush makes a world of difference in that brush’s performance.  I first ran across this in Painting class, when I started using Sumi-e brushes with my watercolors, because they retained water and color better.  This is not a traditional use for them, so far as I can tell — but at least the regular Western transparent watercolors I’ve tried (largely Prangs and W&N colors), don’t seem to harm them.

I have at various times had three different types of Asian calligraphy brushes, though one of them (I think it was a Mao “Little Ying”) eventually died from irregular expansion of the handle.  That is, I think I left it in the water too long, and the bamboo split.  >_<;;  Because of the way it was constructed, about the only thing keeping it together at the end was probably a piece of string, and probably some glue.

The other bamboo-handled brushes I have are all Yasutomo (for some reason, it’s hard to find other brands than this in brick-and-mortar stores:  excepting Asian stationery stores), in a couple of different styles.  I have no idea what the different styles are actually intended to do, but they work for watercolor.  The ones I have all have a core of stiff hair, surrounded by a ring of soft hair.  They don’t keep their point well — you have to shape the tip prior to each stroke — but the touch is much softer and more delicate than with a synthetic.

Most recently, I picked up a little tiny #2 Robert Simmons “Sapphire” flat, which is maybe 1/8″ wide, and it’s so much easier to use than a full-on synthetic with watercolors, that it’s kind of weird.  In tiny sizes like the one I have, they’re actually affordable…

The Sapphires are a blend of red sable and synthetic fiber; but the amount of natural hair in them actually does make them handle differently when it comes to watercolors.  Laydown and color retention is smoother than what I’m used to from my completely-synthetic brushes (most of the rest of them, that is), which I’ve read have a tendency to dump their pigment load all at once.

Now that I look up this company online, I find that they are also the people who make the “Signet” hog-bristle brushes that I like for acrylics!

Hmm.  Wonder about that…

I’m not sure how natural brushes would fare with gouache.  Gouache has a tendency to get heavier, stickier, and stiffer than transparent watercolor.  I’ll give it a try with my synthetic brushes before I attempt anything with the real-hair brushes (the color-load-dropping thing may be a bigger issue with watercolors which are close to the consistency of water), though I’m thinking that maybe my heftier intended-for-acrylic brushes might be better off with those paints…

Watercolor play…doesn’t look as bad on camera as it did to me last night…amazingly…

Thinking ahead: webcomics?

Taking a brief hiatus from my color work to think on something that caught my imagination last night.  This is the concept of publishing:  specifically, a webcomic.  I had (and have) been thinking on traditional printing, but if I wanted to work in full color, the economic barriers are much lower online; and my potential audience, much higher.

Of course, though, I’m planning on becoming an Information specialist, so I don’t…think? I would have to worry much about being paid.  If I learn web coding, I can also publish this in the manner I choose.  If I printed this stuff, though, it would be a financial loss not to charge for it.  Economically speaking, it’s still a loss if I spend time on it instead of doing other things, but if it makes me happy, that’s something else.

Part of what spurred this off was having run across an old posting of my own, which reminded me of a resource I’d forgotten (now found).  It is only a few pages of notes and a false start for something that looked more like creative nonfiction than a script:  but these are enough to spark off that which I did have in mind, back then.  As a note for the future:  I really should have recorded that dream I referenced, close to the time I had it.  Making it public is better than losing it entirely.

From what I can recall, it tied in my old/first fictive story (dealing with kind “demons”) with the latter/newer one (dealing with mental illness), and a few things wandering around my head which have to do with varying notions of immortality, the paranormal, ghosts, and aliens…it’s not what it looks like, let me assure you.  (This is not the one about the ex-Buddhist warlock [that one could be really fun to write, actually], or the one focused on jewelry and environmental exploitation.)

And now, right, I’m thinking that comics publishers must need librarians, too.  The major issue is that I am now on a data organization and retrieval path, not a Special Libraries one.  But we will see what the future holds.

Ah, wait:  nah.  My current path looks hella more adapted to me specifically.  😉  I’ve actually gotten a bit distracted by this at the moment, though.  It would seem “fun” to work as a librarian for a publishing house, especially where it comes to comics, but I am guessing that those jobs are few and far between.  I’ve also read that traditional publishing is shrinking due to Web influence (not to mention self-publishing), but I can’t recall where or when I read that.

Especially because I’m more of an indy type (when it comes to my own interests)…I think…than a DC or Marvel type…and as the print commercial comics world would seem to be dominated by males (even, it seems, when the target market is female — which doesn’t…really make sense), I could foresee some challenges (not least, being called to represent “women” when I don’t consider myself a woman).  But I’ve been the first female to do a lot of things, which is probably why I needed the shelter of Library & Information Science in the first place.

I have a couple of pages of little scribbled notes here from about 2 AM last night; I’ll see what I can make out.  The first portion of it is a thumbnail for a drawing/painting which I didn’t get to work on, today (I didn’t really wake up until 2 PM, which left me with three hours of daylight).  I had been thinking of working that painting on a small tile and seeing what became of it, but I think it is better to work with the precision of watercolor, as versus acrylics, right now.  Acrylics don’t require masking, but detail can be difficult to obtain on a small scale with heavy-body paints.

Anyhow (this does relate to my notes), through the rest of this week, Blick appears to be having in-store holiday clearance sales.  I’m pretty much too sick to risk going (I’m hoping to be healed up enough not to be immediately infected by something else, by the weekend), but it did get me thinking on what I might try out if I could.

At the beginning of last night’s “trying to go to sleep” stint, I was trying to figure out how to do layout without resorting to my Wacom.  There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just old and kind of awkward to use (where do I put this when I’m not using it?), and without Adobe Illustrator or another vector-drawing program (or maybe the Pen tool in Photoshop CC, which isn’t available in Elements), its uses are limited where it comes to comic production (scribbling in color fills on Photoshop is less than ideal, though I wouldn’t know about this unless I had been exposed to Layer Masking some years ago).

At some point I did realize that I could outline a selection, then use Paste Into Selection in order to insert a scanned drawing into a page that I could later publish, maybe as a .PDF.  Thus, there is no need for me to make a completed page, then scan it in and only do cleanup on it.  So long as I have a template or rough draft of what I want, and keep the images I’m inserting to the right ratio, I should be able to scale and insert the image, and assemble the page using software.  This basically negates the need for a translucent painting foundation like Yupo (of which I had been thinking about getting a tiny pad [should it exist] to try out).

Basically, last night I was trying to figure out how to transfer knowledge of a finished layout from my layout paper over to Bristol board or hot-press watercolor paper for coloring, in some way so that I wouldn’t be drawing the same thing three times:  one rough, one on Layout paper for inking, one which would allow water-based coloring media (though the same is possible by scanning the lineart and then adding color at 100% transparency on the computer).  Yupo would solve this problem by being the paper used both for inking and for coloring (there is a translucent variety), but it’s pretty expensive.  I also don’t know if the inks will stay put on it.

LOW-TECH, BABY.  😉  Well, kind of…?  Not really.  Yupo is polypropylene.

I probably should have marked the time that I realized that I didn’t have to pre-assemble the images, but I didn’t.  😉  In any case, I can create the images separately, even if on Yupo (allowing for disastrous failure) and then assemble them on the computer.  This method also allows for higher-resolution scans, though I’ve experienced my last instance of Photoshop (not the current one…yet) to be a bit irregular where it comes to what resolution anything is kept when imported into a new file.

I should also consider utilizing my Wacom with Creative Cloud services…(or saving money for a newer Wacom, with Creative Cloud services.  The biggest issue for me is whether they will stop billing me when I tell them to stop billing me, and what I can do if they don’t.)

I am also in the process of realizing that there are a number of possible visual formats one could utilize to publish a webcomic, and at the moment, I’m not sure which is best — or which will utilize the least amount of programming knowledge!  Today I started looking through the Reader here for examples, and found a really nice webcomic, Brainchild by Suzanne Geary.  It seems to fall in line with something I would like, at least aesthetically (I haven’t gotten the chance to read much of it, yet, so the story is a bit beyond me at the moment).

The largest issue I can see with web publishing is the scale factor:  how to make sure that the text in my images is actually of a size that is readable, and that the images are actually large enough to appreciate, even on a tablet.  It isn’t so much of an issue when part of an image is given and then the reader scrolls down to get the rest of the panels, but putting a complete page onto a computer screen…may be different.  It would also be different if I designed the pages to be able to be printed and bound, as versus simply read online…which, I’ve gotta say, at this point I’m leaning against, if only because it will make it more difficult to rip off.  😉

Well, yes and no.  🙂  Not only will it make it more difficult to print, it will be vastly easier for me to produce.  ^_^;;  (Yes, I have indeed tried to use bleeds and gutters…the post-print binding and trimming of which, is probably the biggest pain about any of this.)

Gah.  I’ve got to find some way to learn to code…

Thinking ahead: webcomics?

late night color play…

It took me until 5 PM today, to fully wake up.  Accordingly, even though I am tired now…I know I should go to bed; I just don’t want to.  I did, however, get up the courage to play around with some colors.

My one pearlescent FW ink is at center bottom — it’s the one with the glare.

Long story short, all of the non-glittery FW acrylic inks I have at the moment, are transparent, and neither my Micron nor Copic fineliners bleed under them.  The glitter in the pearlescent color I’ve got, however, blocks some of the underlying drawing, even when there isn’t that glare off of the surface (the glare is illustrated above).

Though I’ve tried to color-correct for this, all of the photos in this post were taken under artificial light.  Therefore, some of the more delicate aspects (like the differences between those three yellows up there) are probably not going to be as apparent as they would under full sunlight.

Don’t let the water pool and dry, or you get this:

So, up next was the attempt at color blending.  These guys do a decent job of blending wet-into-wet if you drag the colors into each other with the brush (and not so much water), as indicated on that inside corner between red-orange and yellow-orange; they don’t do so well if you let the water and pigment pool and then dry on its own.

The latter technique was what achieved the blot in the upper right corner of this photograph.  I’m thinking it would have been alright if the amount of water had been far less.  But it’s an obvious difference from Western-style watercolor paints, which would probably not have dried like that.  You can see as well that glazing appears very effective.  I was working on Canson Montval cold-press paper, here.

Drawing a new color into a brushstroke which has already been laid down has the same subtle effect, as seen here:


…and I can actually somewhat see the colors separating out in the bluer “tail” of this doodle.  I’m not sure if that’s due to incomplete mixing or to the pigments actually settling out.  In any case, I’m really surprised that some of the color mixes I’m showing here look as decent as they do, because they looked pretty bad on my palette.  I can just say that.  🙂

At one point I did get the urge to see if these things could work wet-into-wet like regular watercolors.  The short answer to that is “no,” at least not when using staining colors, and at the same time having paper which is not fully saturated with water.

The result of attempting to drop pigment straight onto wet paper.

The image to the right is the result of attempting to drop a few different colors into what was essentially water which I had spread on the paper, but not allowed to soak in.  The stain in the center-top area seems to be the result of Phthalo Blue working its way into the paper itself, as the paper absorbed the water that had been laid on top of it.

I kind of wonder if things would have been different, had I allowed that water to soak in fully before adding in the ink.  It would likely have changed the response a bit.  I notice that neither the green nor the yellow which I dropped in did the same thing, though, so maybe the difference can be attributed to Phthalo Blue being a staining pigment.

And, right:  that same pooling and settling thing happened in the snakes on the right side.  I’ve got to remember not to let that happen again, unless I want the effect.  🙂  (It really didn’t look that way when it was wet…then again, I saw a lot of subtle variations when the inks were wet which became difficult to see after they had dried.

Okay, see, and now I want to do a comparison between these and my true watercolor paints…soon, maybe.  What I can say is that I have got the saying in mind to let paintings be paintings, and drawings be drawings…I don’t remember who said that, but it is surely difficult to wed the two.

Having said that, I went out on a limb and tried drawing a person tonight.  Right now, she’s kind of a wireframe and difficult to see, being totally in pencil.  But if I were going to work in illustration, as for a comic book, I really do think that this media would be ideal for that.  The transparency of the inks allows inked underdrawings to show through, easily, and the acrylic component in the color allows lower layers of acrylic ink to stay put.  However, there is also a bit of an issue in my recording tools not being able to pick up the full spectrum of the light which I can see reflected off of the paper.

I wonder if maybe I should look forward to a dedicated scanner, if I’m going to be doing this stuff seriously (no, that is not a dare)…I just don’t want to deal with public machines where it comes to scans…

late night color play…

Found a cache of journals?

It’s been a bit of a trial even to get back to the point of writing, here.  Good points?  1) I found my old Japanese Pentel Brush Pen (the one with the ink reservoir as the handle and no English anywhere), 2) I did go out and just get the Uni-Ball Signo 207’s in Ultra Micro and Bold; 3) I cleaned out one of my desk spaces and found at least five in-progress paper journals, organized by theme.

I had started to play around with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen at work (this one was packaged for the U.S. but still has kanji on it that I can’t read), when I realized that I did not have an adequate amount of control over it as regards handling, to be able to be intentional about my marks, when drawing.  Upon realizing that, I started trying to write in kana (Japanese syllabary), and found that this pen is excellent for writing in Japanese!

At that point, I went into the stacks to try and find materials with which to expand my (Japanese) vocabulary.  What’s nice is that I can understand a good amount of this.  The negative point is that I had been hoping to focus on calligraphy, not necessarily getting wholly involved in learning another language!  I know it will give me skills lacked by others, but still:  it wasn’t my intent to launch into learning Japanese language because I got a brush pen.  😉

Nor was it my intent to come home, start reading aloud, and have D switch the channel to NHK World so that I could hear native Japanese intonation…

At least he’s supportive, though.  I guess that’s nice.  🙂

Finding the paper journals, though — that was kind of a trip.  There’s stuff in there from at least five years ago.  Because I found them, I was kind of wondering where to place new thoughts, at this point; but what I’m writing here is kind of on a meta-level; and my journals are themed.  I do want to do something with my hands, though, and writing longhand counts as part of that.  So does calligraphy, and drawing.

Speaking of which, it’s much easier to play around, when using pens or markers which make a consistent mark regardless of force, as versus using things which make marks which are dependent on hand pressure.  Let alone hand pressure, while using an alternate and not wholly comfortable or understood grip.

I’m guessing it’s like trying to play piano or electric piano when one is used to a keyboard:  pianos are sensitive to pressure when the keys are touched.  Keyboards, aren’t.  I still remember when I got together with one of my friends who made art exclusively on the computer, and she didn’t know how to make a pencil mark lighter by pressing lighter.  The variation of pressure was something she hadn’t been exposed to, before.  (This is one of the reasons I opted for training in Fine Arts as versus immediately going deeper into Multimedia Arts.)

I’m very good at achieving fine gradation with pencil, but even so, brushes — and especially this little soft Pentel Pocket Brush Pen — are much more sensitive to pressure than that!  Also, from what I understand, the normal grip used with Japanese brush calligraphy is different from the grip I’m used to for writing in English.

I suppose it marks the third major grip position I will have gotten used to:  in drawing, there is the normal pencil-grip position — like the way one holds the upper stick of a pair of “chopsticks” (hashi).  I’ve modified this in a way which gives more control, in exchange for a callus on my middle fingertip:  holding the pencil between the tips of the first two fingers, and thumb tip.  Then there is holding material (like charcoal) on its side between the fingertips and thumb tip.  With brushes, though — there is at least one more grip, and that is the one I’m trying to use now (from memory).

Here, I’m holding the brush vertically, and using the motion of my arm and fingertips (not my wrist) to make strokes.  (To be clear, I’m not sure I’m supposed to be using my fingertips.)  This involves bracing the handle of the brush vertically against three fingers with the thumb, and essentially hovering over the paper.  Granted that this allows for much more freedom of mark than only having one grip position.

After I get it down, maybe I should make a tutorial…I suppose I can film myself, though I’ve never done it before.  And, wait:  I don’t know how to edit that.  I’ve never taken a Digital Filmmaking class.  I suppose I can just use photos, then… 😉

I have gotten to the point where this blog has become so large as to be unwieldy.  There is the option of switching to a different Theme in order to make my much older entries available…or maybe I should only post here that with which I want to engage others.  I have just found it relatively amazing to find these little books with my 29-year-old self’s writings.  Not to mention that I can draw in a paper journal (though I may need to resort to things that won’t warp the paper or rub off — like the Signo 207’s).  It’s just really tempting to go back to paper journals, but then the entire community engagement thing is missing.

Yeah, blogging is like an entirely different animal than journaling, huh?

I should be able to use calligraphy practice to teach me control over the brush…I just wonder about the possibilities of combining the media of calligraphy and art…

Found a cache of journals?

Alright, I’m still awake…

I was able to finish A View From the Studio Door by Ted Orland.  I had about 40% of the book remaining, but after all the academic reading I’ve had to push through, this was nothing.  I finished it after dinner.

Now, I have broken back into The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook, which will likely have me doing things differently where it comes to watercolors.  In addition there is Design Elements:  A Graphic Style Manual, 2nd ed., which should refresh my knowledge of basic design.  (I can no longer remember how long ago I took Basic Design…)

In any case, I’m actually–! all ready for bed (more than I can say, having accidentally dropped off to sleep, in days past), and find myself not-tired.  Seriously?!  It’s 2 AM here!

It’s not all me, anyway, though.  Right now I just have to figure out what to do…and maybe rest my wrist.  I think it’s a little sore from writing all those papers…

I will need to go out tomorrow.  I wanted to refresh my Process Yellow FW ink (the one I got had mold or something in it), plus look for the Ultra Micro and Bold Signo 207 pens in black…though I don’t need them.  I can see that now.  I just need to use the Microns, and depending on my technique, I probably won’t need those for painting, just for drawing.

Line and wash is just one of those things that…well, I suppose it is traditional, but it’s kind of traditional in the way pulp fiction is traditional.  🙂  It’s not regarded as the highest art.  The book I was reading wanted me to make shapes with the brush, not draw first and color-in later (the latter of which, I’m really struggling with, so I can see why they would say this).

I do want to get a book on Notan.  Notan is basically the strong use of visual space, including (most obviously) negative space.  Of course, this is essential in watercolor, regardless of the fact that the word sounds like a 19th-century Western invention attributed to the Japanese.

I have an e-book on this aesthetic, accessible — now that I’m thinking of it — through Kindle and the Cloud Reader, but having a paper copy would likely be easier and less harrowing.  Water and electronics don’t mix.

And ah, right.  I should pick up a roll of brown Kraft paper on which to practice brushstrokes.

Coming up, when working in grisaille (greyscale underpainting), I think it would be a better habit for me to mix my blacks and greys.  This will bridge me straight into using color, as then I can add more hue to the mixture, bit by bit, until I get to the most saturated colors.  It’s tempting to want to go and buy a grey and a black, but I think I’ll have more fun — and learn more — the other way.  🙂  After all, I was trying to get to black when I discovered a Burnt Sienna-type hue…

Gah.  I really need to play with color mixing!

Alright, I’m still awake…

(Yes, Fall 2016 is now over…hurrahs may commence)

Hehehe!  I am officially done with classes (for a month, at least)–!  Though there are a few things I can still pick up, there’s no rush to do so (with the exception of my painting, tomorrow).

Now, I get to do things that I actually want to do!  (Once I can remember what those are…)

I expect there to be a few days in which I don’t know what I’m doing, or how best to use my time.  It happens at the beginning of every break.  Usually, there’s a long rest period, then I start to explore what I can do, then I start to do it, then the next semester starts up again–!

No, I mean, like, really.

I do have a lot of books which are available for me to read, which I didn’t have time to read while I was working on schoolwork.  In particular, I have a couple of books on Design, well– actually, three books, at least, on Design (focusing on Graphic and Web Design), and at least one new book on Watercolor painting.   And lest I forget, I do have three in-progress books on art practice.

Plus, I have my guitar–! though I will only be able to practice with that 30 minutes maximum today, before my fingers get too sore to continue.

And then, I also have plenty of art materials to play around with.  In particular…paints.  And inks.  Lots, and lots, of things that I can apply with brushes.  Which reminds me, that I really want to experiment a lot more with color mixing with those FW acrylic inks, given that even the neutrals seem vibrant…

There’s a lot about color mixing that I just wasn’t taught.  It seems to be different, as well, depending on media:  so whereas when I was painting with acrylics, it would be normal for me to mix from 5 or 7 base paints to get the color I wanted, apparently that’s not something done in watercolors?

I’ve found that when working with transparent watercolors and gouache, it may make the painting look disjointed to use too many different pigments to start off with.  This is, at least, unless heavy mixing is going on where you’re using differing proportions of most or all of the paints, in each color you’re laying down on your painting.  I was indeed doing that with my acrylic paints, but watercolors are just prone to getting contaminated, due to the way the paints disperse in water.  In addition, I tend to reuse my dried watercolors — at least, the transparent ones — so I am apparently concerned when the teacher turns my Aureolin well brown (it’s supposed to be yellow).  :/  (and Aureolin isn’t a cheap color!)

Acrylics, however…you lay out a full palette of those colors, and that paint is basically gone.  You can’t re-use acrylics unless you use plastic wrap to cover them and keep them from drying out.  A spray bottle full of water to wet them down doesn’t hurt, either.  The issue is that they dry out, and when they dry out, they also cure, and can’t be reworked.  Because of this, it isn’t a big deal if the paint on the palette gets contaminated, as it’s all a loss, anyway.  On top of this, the contamination stays limited to a small area, at least if one is using heavy-body paints.

As for what to do with the acrylic inks, I’m just going to have to experiment…though I suspect that they are closer in behavior to high-flow acrylic paints than to watercolors.  Like other acrylic-based paints, I put out a few drops of this stuff and I can never use it again!  But, the amazing thing is how far a few drops (especially three drops of each base color), goes.  For a small, 5.5″x7.5″ test paper, it’s plentiful.

I was experimenting on a cheap little plastic palette with little cups, which showed me how intermixable these are — on par with my heavy-body acrylics — and also how permanent they are!  (I should probably take a picture of that palette I ruined, so you all can see it.  I wouldn’t be able to accurately tell the color of any transparent paints or inks I used in the painted cups, again.)

So now I know to use the disposable palette sheets for these.  It’s not like the drips are going to run anywhere, unless I pick it up.

I am thinking, also, of the entire Web Design tangent — hence the books I obtained for myself during the semester which I didn’t get the time to read.  However, I know that it isn’t an easy option, especially when dealing with people trips me out, anyway; and people who want Design jobs done may have much more serious problems than “make our website pretty.”  How do you say to people, over and over again, “I know you hired me to make your website pretty, but you have these fundamental navigational and structural problems which we can also fix”…?  Although, that doesn’t sound so bad…if you can fix them.

Now that I know that Design isn’t totally “selling out” as an artist; that it requires a different set of skills than someone solely a visual artist may cultivate, and that someone solely a visual artist may not know about; it may become a viable option.  This is in addition to any learning I get done as regards Information Architecture and User Experience, in my program, in addition to my main Cataloging focus.  Coming up, I should be taking a Beginning Cataloging course along with a course on Metadata, and Research Methods…though it’s without question that I do want to learn how to construct Web pages.

I’m just really, really glad that I don’t have to focus on public service, anymore–!  I mean, seriously…

(Yes, Fall 2016 is now over…hurrahs may commence)