Alright, adding to the random material posts here, I did make it out to (a couple of) art stores today. Neither had the desired chalk pastels…though I have recently discovered the joy of drawing on unusual materials.
However — in art class today, I met someone who had used Copic marker in their drawings. From what I could see, it didn’t seem that the “streakiness” of the marker was eliminated at all, but I’m feeling that this is likely due to the paper used, which was very thick and absorbent-feeling, almost to the point of being board. I kind of feel like anything but Sharpie or maybe Chartpak, would have shown streaks. On the other hand, I have marker paper which is very smooth, nearly transparent, bleed-proof. The Copics might fare better, there.
I did try out a couple of greyscale Tombows, which made weird poolings where fuzz came up off of my sample paper (always take a spare sheet of paper to art stores to test out the colors!). I tried a Copic light grey, though, and it didn’t pool like this (probably having to do with the surface tension of the solvents — Tombows are water-based, Copics are alcohol-based). I then proceeded to test out the Copics and came back with a greyscale set — 6 tones from very light grey to black — which I think will be fabulous. I picked up the Ciao markers, which are the least expensive of all their models — on sale at about $4.50 per marker, so approximately $30 for 6 markers. Good for a starter set.
If I recall correctly, I believe these are refillable with liquid ink, and can be disassembled and reassembled to switch out the nibs (I know this is possible with the Originals, I’m not certain it’s true with the Ciaos). What basically did it for me was discovering my Pantone Universe greyscale set dried out the other day (3 of them still work, I don’t know how), and the very visible difference between each of the Copic greys I did purchase (there are more than 5 greys — I skipped some intermediary tones), plus the reuse aspect and the smoothness of color.
Plus, it’s like, how much money have I spent trying to find a quality greyscale marker, while avoiding the Copics? I mean, of course I could always switch to Chartpaks, which make illustrations that look nearly like animation cels, but I don’t want to expose myself to more xylene than I need to (there’s also xylene in a cement I’ve used to seal knots in beadwork, and it’s enough, there). They’ve reduced the amount of xylene so that the new Chartpaks qualify as AP nontoxic and not CL, but…it’s a reduction by degree, not an elimination of the toxin. I think the reality is that the thing that makes Chartpaks blend so beautifully is the same thing that it isn’t good to expose oneself to.
So I am not sure just how this is going to work out. I have two drawings to do for Thursday…based on a group feedback assignment in which I got barely any useful feedback. It’s basically an “identity” assignment that was supposed to take into account words both I and my partner used in describing my portfolio. In the absence of an adequate response, I am forced to mostly rely on my own perception of my work and not the perceptions of others.
And I didn’t say, but — two finished drawings, for Thursday. I hardly finish anything, ever.
I’m thinking of making something very modern, dynamic and graphic-looking. I know my style ranges from delicate and feathery (with colored pencil and graphite) to bold and graphic (with charcoal and pastel, or marker/fineliners). I really like doing abstract art, or what I suppose is essentially design. Maybe I’ll make one delicate drawing, maybe of a plant, and one bold drawing, maybe a character.
I really like to draw plants, a lot. They’re pretty easy, for me. I’m not entirely sure how they’re hard for others, but I suppose I shouldn’t sell myself short and assume it should be easy for everyone just because I in particular find it easier than drawing other things.
Ah — and I need to take in an object to draw, on Thursday. I almost forgot. I have a couple of shells which should be great, including a huge cowrie which is around here, somewhere. I just have to pick one.
The other big thing I learned today: drawing on fabric can be extremely fun. I used a basic cotton muslin with charcoal pencil, washed to remove the sizing. Awesome tooth, velvety feel. The fake suede I took in, though — that one stretched with the pressure of marking, and really didn’t seem to take up anything very well. Maybe it was because the fabric was synthetic in origin, not natural fiber.
There are two things I found on my second art store visit, today, which caused me to melt a little bit:
1) Pastel pencils
2) Watercolor pencils
As I said at the start of this, I couldn’t find the chalk pastels I was looking for. However, I did find a lot of wood-cased, thick-lead, intense, vibrant pastel pencils. I’m thinking maybe they would handle like charcoal pencils, but obviously — I haven’t tried them yet. When I do try them…I’m thinking maybe it would be best to use a drawing board propped up at the fireplace or something, above a sheet of newsprint, to keep my hand off of the drawing and to catch loose dust. There was also a carcinogenicity warning just in general as related to pastel…so I will have to be cautious. There were a lot of brands at the second store I went to, which I’d not heard of before. So some research would be good, as well. The last thing I need is to use a pencil with actual cadmium or cobalt or lead pigments without wearing a glove, for example.
And then the dust — even with a particle respirator, if I’m drawing in my house, I’m producing dust. I’ve been warned about this by my professor, twice; that I need to go after the AP nontoxic brands and not the ones lacking a “nontoxic” label, as they’re probably toxic in some way. It’s one thing to use these in liquid media — another to use them in media where they can become airborne and settle all over the house.
And watercolor, plus watercolor pencils. Tons of watercolors in brands I’ve never heard of, at the second art store. If I were going to use toxic pigments, I’d use them here; they cannot become airborne and get into my lungs, unless I’m sanding my painting or something. Which, obviously, I’d know would be a bad idea. 😉 Watercolor pencils, or aquarelles: beautiful, vibrant colors. I’ve just recently tested a couple of the ones I already have. They are a different animal wet than dry. I could have the tightness of a colored pencil drawing with the smoothness of aquarelle.
And then there are the actual watercolor paints, which can be used in drawing and illustration. I would be hard-pressed to exactly explain the difference between a painting utilizing watercolors and a drawing utilizing watercolors, at this point. But, in my last semester of Drawing (Continuing Drawing), there was a person in the Special Projects section who was, indeed, drawing with watercolors.
I think the difference has to do with markmaking as versus utilizing areas of color, but I’ve never taken a painting class (other than Color Theory). If anyone can define the difference better than I can, given that marks can be made with paint, and that it seems (to me) that drawing may be about markmaking, they’re welcome to go ahead in the comments. I just lean against the “wet media obviously = painting, dry media obviously = drawing” line of thought, because it seems something more subtle but unspoken is going on here. Plus, if my teacher allowed watercolor in the Drawing class, it’s not really…I dunno, productive? to shut down the line of thought or question as to why, and what defines a drawing as versus a painting, beyond wet/dry (which may be an inaccurate assumption). I have an idea about this, but it’s not fully formed yet.
It’s kind of like I didn’t know the difference between Art and Graphic Design, or what the adjective “graphic” meant, until I took one or two Graphic Arts classes and contrasted them with Fine Arts. Graphic means that it’s designed to get your attention, to efficiently communicate a message; to work now, and be reproduced; Fine Art doesn’t have this emphasis to this extreme, often has more emphasis on longevity, and has less ability to be produced in a mass-media capacity. That’s the way I see it, anyway. Discussion welcome in the comments! 🙂
I’d wanted to pick up pan watercolors because they last longer than tube watercolors (as tubes can separate and dry out, mold, etc). But the second store I went to had barely any pan watercolors. This may be telling.
But also, the tube watercolors are…I can’t even say. They’re so beautiful. When I had my Color Theory class, we picked up Holbein gouache (an opaque watercolor)…the colors were just so vibrant. This is to the point that I look at one common brand’s Alizarin Crimson (in a different type of paint) and just feel like I’ve been spoiled by Holbein. 😉 Alizarin should be a vibrant red-purple, not brownish purple-grey. Maybe the color chart was just not printed well, and their Alizarin is actually passable, but going by the color chart, I’m not that attracted to work with that paint.
The thing is that I use watercolor so rarely as things currently stand, that pan colors, because of their long-term stability, are more attractive, as I don’t want $80 of tube paints separating and drying out because I didn’t get to them in time.
But I guess, maybe, don’t we all know.
There is one more concept that I want to just remind myself of, before I turn in for the night. That is, joy in creating versus fear of creating. This is something that I’m being forced to deal with because of this Art class. I can touch on it coming up, maybe it would be good to help work this problem out. But as it is, I’ve been here probably for a good couple of hours now, and I’ve been awake since before 6 AM. I should get some rest…