Experimenting with papers and water-based media:

I think I’m getting better at the digital photography thing.  As I’ve been able to alter my camera settings for the quality of light, I’m having to do less cleanup work in Photoshop.  Even the Photoshop work has become routine, at this point…I should see what more I can do with it (aside from prepping photos for the Web).

So, these two photos are my sketches of a Bok Choy Mue, with color.  I do have lineart photos of these (before the watercolor), but I’m not sure if it would be overkill to post those.

Ah, whatever.  It’ll be good for me to see the bok choy in process, as well.  This is what they looked like before I hit the paper with transparent watercolor:

Really, the point of posting these is to let you see how the paper handled with water.  It does warp appreciably with large areas of wash (like the Payne’s Grey shadows in there), but for small areas of light watercolor work, it does better than I expected.  (I’ve seen worse from papers which say they can take light washes, including another variant of paper produced by Maruman.)  And it’s fairly decent as a drawing paper, as well.

As I said in a prior post, you’ll likely want to tape these down to a flat surface before you hit them with water at all.  This is something that I didn’t think of doing until I realized that, having taken the paper out of its pad, there was nothing whatsoever to stop it from curling.  By the time I got to these with the Artists’ Tape, though (it’s low-tack and relatively easy to remove), they had already begun to warp — and to dry (to set) in a warped form.  I’ve left the borders around these images visible so that you can see what actually transpired.

I’ll have to see what happens when I tape the paper from the beginning.

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Ah — and, I almost forgot to show you what the cover of this pad looks like.  I bought it from Maido, a stationery store right across from Kinokuniya Books in Japan Center in San Francisco’s Japantown.  Because I had never used it before, I got a small size…and right now I’m thinking that next time I go back there, it will be OK to get this type of paper in a larger pad.  Here is a detail of the lower left corner:

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On looking up what “Zuan” is meaning to refer to, I see a listing on Amazon which says that “Zuan” means “Design,” and is likely the brand of this specific type of paper, while Maruman is the manufacturer.

“Postcard size” means what it says…this is a tiny pad!  Almost too small to work with, and probably easy to blow through, if you’re like me and you find out you like this paper, and you can only fit one object on each page–!!!

What I’m posting below is an example of Holbein gouache on top of Strathmore ArtAgain coal black paper.  This was also a relatively small test:  ArtAgain paper is not cheap!

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I’ve cropped things so that they don’t read as…well, weird.  Hahehehe.

The shine on this paper is also something that I’ve run across multiple times while trying to photograph it.  I’m not really sure what I can do about it, other than use an actual nice camera with a polarized lens…but I’m not that advanced, yet.  Otherwise, I’d have to get away from an angle where the light is bouncing into the camera lens, without blocking the light source itself…(sunlight, in this case).

Everything in this photo that is bright white (other than the “J. Herbin” label in the upper left, which is from a Uni-Ball Signo white gel pen, and the circle at top left, which was drawn with a toothpick used to stir up my Daler-Rowney Pro White), is Holbein Permanent White gouache.  The pink and blue marks are Alizarin Crimson and Peacock Blue gouache, mixed with the white, respectively.  The translucent whites are either Pro White ink (as with the surprised spiral), or watered-down gouache (I can’t remember which one the snake on the right side, is).

And as those of you who can read kanji know, I’m very early into learning how to write these things!  (I’ve written, “Japanese language,” “bright,” “as for I,” and “person,” here…in what makes sense, at least.)  It is much easier to write nihongo with a brush than it is to write English with a brush, though (you can see my jacked “Holbein”), likely due to Japanese language being designed to be written with a brush.  (I honestly don’t know what English language was designed to be written with…)

I think that’s all I’ve got, for now.  Work was positive — they didn’t even expect me to come in!  But it was really nice to get some of the backed-up labor out of the way, meaning tomorrow will be much easier…

I’ve just got to assemble the ingredients for my homework, tonight…

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Mixing greens, and experimenting with camera settings…

Well, I got two things off of my list.  Everything else had to wait until after watercolor experimentation (hey the sun was up!).  😛

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From top to bottom:  Lemon Yellow (Hansa Yellow Light)/Prussian Blue, Lemon Yellow/Chrome Cerulean (Daniel Smith), Winsor Yellow/Chrome Cerulean, Winsor Yellow/Prussian Blue.  In these tests I made a near-middle green first, then extended the color into blue going down; and yellow, going to the right.

I’m in the middle of relearning that in art, most skills and techniques can’t be learned unless the artist goes out of their way to try it themselves.  Learning about it in theory, or learning about it secondhand, won’t suffice.  Thus, listening to other people say what can and can’t be done, or will and won’t work, isn’t entirely productive.  Those other people may not share your conditions (as, say, maybe M. Graham paints do actually never dry, in tropical conditions; but maybe I don’t live in tropical conditions).

Today M stated that if I went to the art store again, I couldn’t go back for a week, because I was addicted.  *^_^*  I opted not to go and to save that trip for a later date, even though we were right there.  I knew that if I could first practice with the paints I have, I would then have a better idea about anything I needed, as versus something I might need but was not sure about.

What I can tell, though:  15ml tubes are probably about the right size for intense color.  I have a bunch of tiny tubes (5-7 ml), but really those are great for testing colors…not for being mainstays.  And I’m not sure if I want to keep to Winsor & Newton, now that I have had a taste of other brands (particularly:  Grumbacher, M. Graham [I really love their Hansa Yellow — it disperses beautifully — I haven’t tried it wet-on-wet yet], Daniel Smith, Mijello).

Of course, though, it’s necessary to be a smart consumer and know what you’re buying before you buy it — there have been a lot of complaints that I’ve seen about Mijello Mission Gold brand being “mislabeled,” but it really seems that “mislabeling” is industry-standard and that companies telling you the actual pigments they’re using is a mark of quality.  I don’t think they’re required to do so, unless the paints contain one or more ingredients requiring a carcinogen warning under California Proposition 65.

I’ve just been learning things piece by piece, and each new bit of information makes me want to experiment, more.  Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately), there are no decent art stores in my area…and waiting at home encourages research

Anyhow, I’ve also been experimenting with camera settings.  The two photos I’m showing here were taken on the “Tungsten” lighting setting on my camera.  Although I was under fluorescent lighting, these images were the closest I came to what I had seen while the Sun was up (though they didn’t capture everything:  for example, M. Graham Hansa Yellow [I tend to just call this Lemon Yellow, as versus Hansa Yellow Light, or Pigment Yellow 3 {PY3} or Arylide Yellow, but in the spirit of accuracy…] and Winsor Green [Blue Shade] make a nearly fluorescent green combination when combined, seen below left).

(I tend to work by the edict that a color can be neutralized and thus dulled down, but the amount of light it reflects cannot be made brighter than it initially is…though that thought has been questioned by those around me…possibly because warm and fluorescent colors can appear psychologically brighter than white?  I don’t know.  I’ve noticed that I have a relatively high-key palette, though, and that is for this reason.)

Anyhow — every other camera setting cast a brownish tone over the entire image, which I knew I would have to edit out in Photoshop.  Turns out, it’s much easier to take the photo correctly, the first time.  😛  I also realized that I could alter the white balance on these images directly in my camera, instead of applying filters after the fact.  (Both of these images were taken with the white balance shifted a bit brighter than the light in the room.  Which, like taking the photo under the “Tungsten” setting even though I was under warm fluorescent light, did help with color fidelity.)

There was no processing after-the-fact (post-processing?) I knew how to do that I could do here, that would have helped — other than a judicious applying of the Skew tool to unskew my camera positioning.  But I thought that would be a little much.

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Top to bottom:  Lemon Yellow/Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Winsor Yellow/Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Lemon Yellow/Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Yellow/Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Aureolin/Winsor Blue (Green Shade).  For newbies, Winsor Green and Blue are both Phthalocyanine colors, with Winsor & Newton branding in these particular names.  Aureolin is genuine Aureolin, PY40.

What I found is that I get some **** clean colors out of Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), when they’re combined with the lighter Hansa Yellow (which is a cool, delicate, light yellow, often referred to as “Lemon Yellow”).  Phthalo Blue (GS) combined with Aureolin also makes really bright, pure, strong mixes.  I will indeed be sad if Aureolin does discolor with moisture and/or light…

…and I’m thinking of going over some of these swatches again with glazing in their original color mixes, in order to deepen them.  (I’ve already done this on maybe 3 or so squares, where I used too much water.)  It will be easier to see differences in hue, that way.

Prussian Blue and Chrome Cerulean (1st image) also make decent mixes with Lemon Yellow; in addition to Prussian Blue mixing well with Winsor Yellow (according to Blick’s website and handprint.com, this is a benzimidazolone [or Benzimida, I’ve also heard it called] yellow; and I’ve just manually checked it:  it is Pigment Yellow 154 [or, PY154], which concurs).

I got some really…slightly surprising reactions of the Chrome Cerulean with Winsor Yellow, however (1st image, third from the top).  I wouldn’t repeat the process, unless it were to see if the pigments settled out because of the amount of water in the paint (too much).  This mixture granulated heavily in the mixtures tending more toward Cerulean, in a way that I didn’t really find attractive or currently useful (you might, though!).  However, using less Cerulean and more Benzimida could add a subtle touch to …something.  I don’t know what, right now.

This is as far as I got today before I had to stop.  I was working on cheap paper because I was just doing scales…but I’ve got to say that the Fluid cold-press watercolor paper (second photo) was much more of a joy to work on than the Strathmore 300 rough I was trying to use up (in the first photo).

I’m kind of glad I don’t have any more of it, now… 😉

Experimenting with camera settings and Photoshop: suminagashi prints

I’ve been taking photos of the last suminagashi batch so that if and when I cut them apart, I won’t miss them.  😉  (Part of the nature of suminagashi is that it never turns out the same way more than once.)  This set turned out much more photogenic than the last — although that may also be partially due to my experimenting with the light settings on my camera.

Today was overcast, so I used the “Cloudy” setting on my camera, even though I was indoors with only window light.  This gave me a batch of photos which appeared dim (all values were shifted towards the black point in the Levels histogram), though I was able to adjust how the computer read the files by using a Levels adjustment layer in Photoshop and hand-tweaking each color layer, which worked out more aesthetically pleasing than letting the computer take care of it through Auto Levels.  I’m actually really amazed that it worked (for most of them, anyway):

Heh!  Nice!  Ah, right:  I’m hoping you can click on the images to see a larger version!

Like I said in the last relevant entry, I changed my working pattern for this set.  I can see where it would be useful to rinse off some of my papers after printing them — two or more got a weird haze of ink over the top (though I tossed one of them because it was so messed up); another got blotched by my not drying excess water, which caused a pooling effect.  Overall, though…it worked!

I’m trying to fight an urge to go back and try this again…mostly because I don’t want to have to clean off the craft table again, but….

Evidence of work ;)

Yes, it actually does help me stay balanced, to work with my hands.

I have a bunch of photos from tonight.  I’m thinking that if I keep taking close-up photos of tiny things, maybe I should take a Digital Photography class…or at least try and figure out how to use this camera off of the “Auto” setting.  It would benefit me to be able to take quality photos myself; and the skills would also be salable (say, to people in my current position).

As an aside, classes did start today, and I have some work I can start in on.  Unfortunately, most of it is introductions, and despite seeing the new semester coming, I did not adequately emotionally prepare myself for telling other people who I am.  I also need one more piece of information before I can submit a request for accommodations for my last class…but it shouldn’t be too much of a pain.

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The top spiral is 18g red brass wire, dead-soft.

Anyhow…the other night I was playing with that red brass wire, right?  Red brass is also called “Jeweler’s Bronze,” even though it isn’t actually bronze.  It’s a copper/zinc/lead alloy, as versus a copper/tin alloy.  True bronze is actually copper/tin, and from what I’ve heard, it’s rather brittle, making it suitable for nice castings, but not so much for wire.

I was really pleased with finally getting this stuff, because on the catalog page, the photograph of this wire is fairly terrible where it comes to color.  The photo on the left shows how it compares to the brass color of Artistic Wire (which is a brand name, just to make sure you know).

The wire here which has the Pip beads on it (those three copper-finished glass seed-shaped beads at the bottom) is a finer wire, 22g, and is natural brass tone with an anti-tarnish coating.  That coating means that I can’t forge with this wire beyond a certain point, because I can’t assume it’s safe to heat it with a torch.  Weirdly enough, on the product description pages where I found Artistic Wire actually being sold online, there seems to be a color difference between the raw brass and anti-tarnish coated brass.  However…I no longer have easy access to a place where I know I can color-check this.

The thicker wire on top, with the little bubble coming out of the spiral, is the new 18g wire I picked up from online.  This is raw brass.  This means that it will tarnish (and/or patina); however, it can be polished…and polished, and polished.  The brass color won’t come off of it, because it’s solid to the core, not coated copper wire.  In recent years it has also become popular to wear antiqued metals, as well.  The ring which this piece is hanging out of is antiqued brass — sold that color.

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I’m thinking that the metal bead caps here are Vintaj nickel-free brass, or someone imitating them.

It’s interesting…at least two to three years ago, there was an upswing in the usage of nickel-free brass alloy.  This was mainly due to the Vintaj brand selling a lot of filigree-style components which could be bent and formed around other components.  An example can be seen to the right:

I used copper earwires because that’s what I could find, though find now that they set off the green of the large glass beads here nicely.

I didn’t take any photos of the insides of those new plier jaws…though I’m not certain it’s that important.  The things only cost $7, which could be why brass rubs off on them.  The insight I came to when I did push myself to work with this wire and the new set of flatnose pliers the other night, though, is that it’s very much a different process to use the materials than to pick out and buy materials.

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This is a more complete view of the first subject.  I need to figure out some way to put these on a stand so they don’t wobble when I photograph them.  D has suggested an eraser and some paperclips.  🙂

The piece on the left, above — the spiral with two loops — seems like it has a lot of possibilities, but I’m not entirely sure what they are, yet.  I’ll have to play with them some more, before I’ll be certain.  By the way — the spiral component on the far right, above, is the same design as the link in the center, but done in a finer gauge of Artistic Wire, not the 18g wire.  Here is a closeup of that one, seen face-on:

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this was just for fun:  that’s not 18g wire.

I’m wondering what I can do if I turn the “bubble” portion around so that it is perpendicular to the spiral, and then have a hidden link so that I could drop beads down, which would then appear to emerge from the spiral?  I’d have to do something about closing up that opening at top, but it’s an interesting possibility.

I should also note that I’m thinking about playing around with something I’ve seen called “Egyptian Spiral Chain.”  I’ve messed with it before, and it’s a very…kind of addictive pattern, just because the components form up very quickly, and the chain itself feels very solid and heavy once one starts to assemble it.  The major problem, I’ve seen through one of my classmates’ experiences, is the clasp:  The version she made was prone to loss.  I do, however, see an appropriate fix for this on the first page of Google Images.

The piece I was working on prior — the one with the macrame which I was scared of putting online?  I did take some pictures of it, seen below.  I also realized, though, that what I actually needed to do to photograph this was not to photograph myself wearing the neckpiece in the mirror, but to hold the camera up to face myself, and look at the viewfinder in the mirror.

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close up of focal

The main reason I even got the 18g wire is that I didn’t have any wire heavier than 20g in a yellow color (and yellow is significant to this design).  This meant that those rings which are holding onto the bells (which in turn hang off of the mother-of-pearl ring), are subject to deformity because they’re so thin.

If you’re wondering how I made the rings so large, it’s because I was using what are called bail-forming pliers, online?  They’re really invaluable for making large rings, though.  Before I remembered I had these at my disposal (their protective coating in machine oil [ugh] had caused me to put them away and not touch them for years), I ordered a $9 set of dapping punches in order to use the handles as mandrels.  However…with the inexpensive dapping punches I got, the manufacturer didn’t really pay all that much attention to the diameter of the handle…so they aren’t as useful as I had hoped they would be.

In my Silversmithing class, that is, it was apparent that the dapping punches were high-quality, and also that they had different-sized handles available for “swaging” (or forming a sheet of metal so that it is curled along one axis only [as versus two for “dapping” or doming], possibly lengthwise).

And, of course, the dapping punches came heavily coated in machine oil, as well.  Gross.  I guess they didn’t want them to rust, in storage.  Which is why they put them inside three boxes and three plastic bags and drowned them in petroleum…

Luckily, though, the bells hanging off of the pendant at present are in very little danger of falling off.  The brass rings had to be drastically opened to get them around the relatively thick mother-of-pearl component, and the loops which are physically part of the bells are wide enough that the bells are probably not going to slip off.  I just would like the connections to be more durable.

I don’t have any photos of this piece in-process, though.  I probably should have photographed how I got the inner disc to float inside of the mother-of-pearl ring…I tied it in with thread while I wrapped and knotted the connection at center top.  After it was securely in and I had the bottom of it secured in wire, as well, I cut off all the threads…and still had to rotate the piece to center it (as the mother-of-pearl ring is not consistent in thickness and width, the disc rests differently inside the ring [as regards being centered or not] depending on the location of the connections).

I think the only piece I haven’t showed you yet is this one:

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scarab pendant

This is almost entirely, at this point, getting its identity from the center bead.  I’m fairly certain this is a Swarovski scarab, which is new for this season.  I got the flat-nose pliers because I hoped to be able to make closer and cleaner bends in wire when doing wirework, if I had pliers without a lot of thickness at the tip.  As things are — I really under- over-estimated the overall size of the pliers, so as a consequence, what I thought were really fine tips, turned out to be somewhat fine tips.

All of the metal in this piece (minus the wire it’s hanging off of, just for this picture) is sterling silver.  That means I had to buy sterling beads and a sterling bail…though, luckily, I was already buying sterling beads, because in the long run it seems cheaper to make earwires than to buy them ready-made.  Some skill and knowledge is required, though:  for example, the ends of cut wire need to be rounded or filed or sanded so that they don’t rip piercings when the earwire is inserted.  Also, the loop at the bottom of the earwire, in best design, needs to be centered under the center portion of the top bend of the earwire.

That bail, by the way — I’m talking about the tube portion of it, topmost — has a lengthwise opening of about 2mm.  This means that I can pass up to four lengths of C-Lon (I believe I’m talking about the standard size, not the heavy size; though I’m not certain) through the opening.  C-Lon is an industrial upholstery thread which comes in tons of colors (or did, last time I checked).  S-Lon, from the best of my knowledge, is parallel, but came about after C-Lon…though that conversation is a little weird, given what we’ve been talking about recently on the blog.

I basically had to put spacer beads on this scarab bead, too, because the drill hole is so freakin’ big that the headpin (that is, the vertical wire with the stopper that the scarab is hanging off of) might have passed through it, or broken through it, on a bad day.  I do have two of these in different colors, but still…too beautiful to destroy.

Right now, I’m working out how to make the cord that is going to be the other major component of this piece.  I’m actually not sure how I will do it, yet, though I am looking at doing something delicate and lacy like a Lark’s Head sinnet…just not sure how that will integrate, and it will definitely not necessarily take up all of that 2mm!

Beginning attempt at managing a library of images

For some reason, tonight I got the urge to organize the photos I have which may in one way or another be inspirational.  Right now, I’ve gotten through the photos which are not images of drawings or paintings (my own, or anyone else’s).

What remains is to get through the images I have of my work.  The majority of this is just practice stuff — nothing big.  But there are pieces in there which could inspire other pieces, which are what I want to make easier to find.

The other thing I can do is take my photos of other peoples’ work, and organize them in the same way.  I have much less of this than either of the other two categories, but enough to be significant.

After I get all of that done, I’ll want to archive it.  Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to know how many gigabytes I’m using with this folder.  Wait — no, I just found it.  3.77 GB, so far; mostly .JPGs (though there are one or two .PNG files in there — I tried not to pick up the .XCF files).

It would be interesting if there were some sort of collection-management software for home use…I know I can tag images individually, but I’m not sure that allows me to rank them.  Wait, no — under Properties I can assign a Rating, but I am not certain what functionality that would open up.

Something to think on, and maybe look up at work.  For now, it’s late, and I should get some rest.

Reading an “okay” book…

I’m in the middle of reading a book I found at random a while ago, called The Practical Handbook of Color for Artists.  This one is put out by Barron’s, which is a publishing house I’m familiar with from their books on jewelry making (like The Art of Soldering for Jewelry Makers and The Complete Jewelry Making Course).

Like a lot of these books which seem to promise to cover everything (“the only book on this topic you’ll ever need to read!” — this book doesn’t say that, but the gist is exceedingly common among nonfiction books and nearly always untrue)…the coverage is sparse.  It’s enough to give one a taste of what one may be getting into, but it’s lacking something.  I guess what I’m getting at is that the book feels “commercial”; i.e. meant to sell to a specific target market; not necessarily meant to help the target market all that much.  If you don’t tell people what they need to know, after all, maybe they’ll keep buying your books in vain to try to answer their unanswered questions.

By accident, I ran across three other books in a different area which focus on color for painters.  They’re under a different call number, even though the topics would seem to be the same as the one I’m reading, from the titles.  I’m hoping that the latter will do more to help than just kind of inspire/intimidate/overwhelm, which is the current book is doing.  I’m just thinking that there is a lot of talk about technicalities, but not about why someone would want to paint at all.  Nor are there examples of artwork which I can recall from that book which seem like they mean anything.  The heart just seems to have been stripped out of it.  Neutrality = marketability plus?  (did that Marketing course jade me?)

Given that, the good part is that I didn’t buy the book, and that I don’t have to.

At the State Fair, I was more attracted to the drawings and paintings than to the photographs.  It would seem like photography is a much easier route than painting…but then I’ve just started out with my little inexpensive automatic digital camera.  (I only got into Painting because I’m interested in Illustration, and using paints will save a lot of grief over not having enough ready-mixed colors; plus, it’s a degree requirement.)  This is not the same thing as pro photography.  I’ve seen some highly impactful photography, a lot of it online and in books.  This was largely not what I saw at the Fair.  Most of what I saw at the fair were small black and white prints placed so high that they were out of the general public’s view.

The reference that comes to mind is that people think that shelving library materials is easy, anyone can do it, and they want to save us time, so they try to do it themselves — and extremely often, they put it in the wrong place.  Meaning we don’t know where it is, sometimes they can’t remember where it is, and no one can find it without combing through all of the stacks, item by item.  Eventually the book goes Missing (or Lost, if someone didn’t Return it, and then put it on the shelf in the wrong place), until one of us finds and recovers it, or reshelves it in a findable manner.  We don’t get paid very much for our attention to detail and ability to shelve in numerical + alphabetical order while paying attention to New titles and owning branch, maintaining accuracy for long periods of time…but apparently not everyone has the skill.

All that to say, I know it sounds like photography is easy to do, but in reality I know that there is a lot I don’t know.  I’ve also got to remember that photography is a relatively new field where it comes to the Visual Arts; digital photography, especially.  (For me, this somewhat calls up memories of old-school silversmithing versus CAD/CAM…though there is some other memory that I’m having a hard time recalling right now…possibly Digital Imaging in comparison to traditional media.)

I never took non-digital photography classes, because of concern over chemical hazards…but with things moving digital, I kind of don’t need to have that concern anymore.  I’d still think that large-format images would probably be better handled using traditional media — just because the setup for printing something very large would be expensive.  Utilizing traditional media takes specialized skills…question is, really whether it’s worth enough to me to spend hours, days, years, to hone and maintain those skills.

Like, is it worth it to manually Posterize a photograph?  You know?

I’ve gained one useful bit of information from the book I’m reading now…and that is to lighten (or darken) hues with other hues within the same color family which are lighter (or darker) in value, in order to raise (or lower) the value of the color without decreasing saturation or luminosity.  Only use white or black to lighten or darken as a last resort.

Annnd…I probably just alienated a lot of the non-painters out there.  😛  Unintentional!  Really.

It probably doesn’t matter that much if you know what I’m talking about, though; it’s arcane and only matters if you’re drawing or painting.  I’m likely to explain if you ask in the comments and are probably-not-a-spammer.  😉

Classes…do I not know when to quit, or am I really just tenacious about the classes?

So let’s see here:

Coming up, I have three classes in Spring; two of which apply to an Art Certificate of Competency, one of which is just for background knowledge.  After these classes are taken, there will be four classes left to take before the Art Certificate is completed — though it’s obvious I want to take more than four.  But the official classes shouldn’t take longer than a year, especially if I take one class per Summer Session and at least two classes during each Spring and Fall semester, which would total me out at 5-7 classes per year.  If I can hang with 19 hours of work a week, that would be awesome and help me pay down my debt and pay for art supplies and medical, but I’m not betting on that happening, just yet.  (I’m hoping for somewhere between 14 and 19 hours — between about $560/month and $760/month.)

After gaining the Art Certificate, I should be able to update my profile online and start seeing Art jobs popping up as a match for my skill set.  At that point in time I can move on to the Basic Animation Certificate (three courses), and possibly some of the other Digital Imaging or Digital Photography courses.  Digital Imaging would be so that I could work within Advertisement or Marketing, if it came to it…and maybe? it would help out with graphic novels.  I’d seriously need to do some informational interviews to find out, but at least I’m excited enough about graphic-novel possibilities (kind of like art-store/artist-supplier possibilities) that I’m willing to do the work.  Digital Photography would be to source images to use in my illustrations; kind of visual note-taking.

The only drawback to Digital Photography is that it may require a serious camera — the one I have is made for consumer/hobbyists, not professionals (as I found out when downloading the user manual).  And serious cameras (which may, I don’t know, refrain from auto-focusing on the most centered thing in the frame) cost serious money.  If I were to still be on the “I want to be an Illustrator” train, it might be better to go for Digital Photography — even though drawing from reference photographs, I have been told, leaves something to be desired (the image is already pre-flattened, so it’s hard to capture the essence of anything but the print).

I should probably outline the exact classes I want to take under those certificates, so I know what I’m looking at.  I have the Catalog for 2015, so this is doable.  I can also counsel with both the head of the Art Department and someone in Digital Imaging (I have a professor in mind who is still teaching there.  If nothing else, she may be able to tell me who to ask.  But it’s also possible that she would need to see my portfolio to know who would best help me — and ee!  Portfolio!  Need to work on it!).

At that point in time, it may be possible that I’ll start to get job offers (this is the bane of my school), but so long as I’ve done the Art and Basic Animation Certificates already, I think I’ll be OK with leaving school to take an internship or job.  It doesn’t make sense to hang in school longer because of the nature of the field; skill sets current with technology will be more salable than, say, my Photoshop CS3 training from 2008.  It would make more sense to go with the job then and later go back for training, if the job doesn’t work out.  Though, of course, I may be somewhat established by then, and have to deal with actual real bills and cost of living on my own, and things like this.  But I’d also have at least two job references — three, if I’m hired by a supplier of artists’ materials.

I intended to go on here about possible places to look for jobs…I’ll try and consolidate that in the next entry.