Bahahaha

Okay, so I learned how to use the scanner to upload some black and white drawings!

Shiitake capShiitake sideEnokidakeOnigiriSwirly

Bahahahaha!30 mins

Alright, I’m working on that multiple-spiral form I mentioned to you all before, though it’s still generic enough that I haven’t played with it as much as I’ve wanted…so I’m not releasing my in-development toying-around, yet.

Yesterday I was able to turn in a couple of things (including an 18-page paper worth 30 points), which was a big weight off of me.  I did just find out tonight, though, that one of my professors has something due during Finals week!  😮

I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay, though.

These sketches are from the little moments in time between studying that I’ve allowed myself to doodle.  In particular, the mushrooms are from yesterday 😛 and the “30 mins” image (along with the two on the far right) is from that day when I was “mindfully wasting time.”

The far right image is just something that I did to show myself the difference between a Lumocolor marker and a black Copic…I’m fairly certain I used the 100 (Black) Copic marker right there, and then drew over the top of it with a Staedtler Lumocolor.  (I haven’t yet tried the 110 — “Special Black”, with the Lumocolors.)

Similar things happen with Sharpies, though I try not to use Sharpies for anything I want to last.  They’re pretty notorious for degrading/yellowing paper (among other surfaces — they’ve actually seemed to eat through some tape I marked on — not only did the writing seep through to the surface below the Artist’s Tape, but the plastic below yellowed; though that was over about seven years of aging), and fading.  But pretty much all markers are notorious for fading; it’s just that some won’t damage the paper as much, or the ink will last longer (pigment inks are said to be more lightfast than dye-based inks, though I’ve never had an image on my wall in the sun long enough to notice).

I’m not sure what will happen with the Lumocolors — they were a gift from a family member.  The pens say that they’re refillable, which is probably why my family member bought them.  The Copic SP Multiliners are supposed to be refillable (I’m using the disposable version), but I don’t use them hardcore enough yet to have to refill them, replace the nibs, etc. (though it might not be a bad idea for those super-fine nibs like the 0.03 and 0.05 that can easily kink).  Rapidograph (technical pen) is also an option, though I’ve never tried one, yet!

And, right!  The varied-width lines in the mushrooms I drew (from imagination, it’s probably obvious) are from a Pentel Pocket Brush pen.  It’s really sensitive to pressure and flicks of the brush tip, and is ideally held upright to take best advantage of this.  The hatching and cross-hatching of uniform width is with a Copic 0.03 Multiliner, although there is very slight line width modification even with a fineliner.  It’s just not obvious like with the brush pens!

The grey on the musubi/onigiri (rice ball with nori, or the triangular spiral, fourth from the left) is some kind of Copic marker (I honestly wasn’t paying attention to which one I used), while I’m pretty sure the linework was with a Fine-width Lumocolor pen.

And the lettering…was just me messing around!  I have been trying to find ways of incorporating ideas from other scripts into play with English lettering, though I haven’t shown it much, here.  The “for art” text in the lower image is in Medium-width Lumocolor, while everything else is in Fine-width (except the wavy line under “Lumocolor”).  I find that because of the way this ink pools (and the tips may as well be felt), the two pens I used weren’t as good for varying line width.  However, they’re good for consistent line width.  One annoying thing, though:  I found that the Lumocolor Fine pen tended to catch on the page and spatter.

Oh, right! and I wanted to mention the paper!  I got the pad which these were drawn on for notes in a class.  It was a really inexpensive pad I got from Barnes & Noble (the brand is “Piccadilly”).  It looks like the MSRP is $12.95, but B&N almost never sells them at that cost.  I’m sure it was likely around $5 or less — I got it because it was a cheap enough experiment.

There are issues with bleed-through — the inks (particularly the Lumocolors) can seep through one page and onto the next.  (You can see this in my first Shiitake image, upper left corner of this post.)  That wasn’t a large issue with the Copics or the Pentel; though Copic markers will likely bleed through given heavy enough application.

The reason I like this pad, though, is that the surface of the paper is very smooth and very white, kind of like opaque marker paper; and the proportions of the working area are interesting.  It’s spiral-bound at the top, meaning that I don’t have to worry about compensating for binding issues.  And — it was really inexpensive, so I don’t have to worry about destroying or blowing through an expensive pad of paper (which is sometimes something that can inhibit me).

I am hoping to get what I need to get done, done sooner rather than later — though I’ll try for getting everything done in a week, I can’t guarantee it.  After that, I will have plenty of time to play!  Well, until Summer School starts.  :/  🙂  But actually, I do think I do better with something to do.  It’s amazing what I can get done when I focus!  (And yes, focusing does involve, sometimes, taking five or 10 minutes to draw mushrooms!  Or lying down for 15 or 20 minutes.  It doesn’t have to be a marathon, I know that now…just so long as I can concentrate…)

😀 😀 😀

(And before anyone says anything:  Yes.  Yes I am thinking of working in black and white and scanning it.  I don’t know if it will be a comic…but it’s fun!)

Bahahaha

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!

Evidence of work ;)

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