Monday, December 26, 2011

It's the only thing

Done using a homemade folded pen with Parker Quink ink on S&B "Gamma" paper; about 9" x 10".

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tool Report: the Folded Pen / updated 4July2012

I love the drawing and lettering tool called the Folded Pen.

Why: The nib's curves and flats induce me to do unexpected things.

How you can make a folded pen, from Scriptorium (both this and the following document are translated from the original French, so are little bit garbled)
How do you use a folded pen, also from Scriptorium and showing the "shivering" line.
The Way of the Folded Pen, from Leigh Reyes
A Folded Pen Video, from Leigh Reyes (drawing with the Folded Pen)
I made a folded pen . . . , from Stephanie at Biffybeans
The written word is a beautiful thing.... includes templates for the pen blade and a note on appropriate ink, from Maria Whetman.
How to Make a Pop Can Pen from Diane Hutt
Aluminum Can Folded Pen, clear and concise, from DocStoc.
An example of the line quality you can get with the Ruling Writer pen.
☛ A short essay on one of the calligrapher artists that favored the pen: Gottfried Pott – A Look into the World of Calligraphy

More folded/ruling pen videos, these showing lettering:
in me, by Letterarte
thank.yOu_1, by Letterarte
Folded Pen, by Beach House (sound track warning! --> YUCK! mute the sound!!)

Buy:Either the traditional N22 or the more basic N30, both from John Neal can get you where you want to go. The designs are different, but the underlying ink-delivery concept is the same. The Horizon Folded Nib from PaperInkArts works well too. Their Ruling Writer is equivalent to John Neal's N22.

If you find any other useful info on this nifty tool, please leave a Comment here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Man from Possum Lodge

This is about 7" x 5" on S&B 'Gamma' paper, done with a fude pen, in ink and watercolors.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pears and beer

About 3" x 4-1/2"; done with gouache and with "opaque watercolors" on St-Armand "Colours" paper.

Saint Amand (aw heck, close enough) = "patron saint of all who produce beer: brewers, innkeepers and bartenders (and presumably also hopgrowers). He is also the patron of vine growers, vintners and merchants, and of Boy Scouts."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is it flummery?

About 6" x 5". PR Velvet Black ink and gouache on Stonehenge "Fawn" paper.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eddie rocks

I enjoyed the Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint exhibition at the Phillips.

This piece is Ballet Rehearsal, from 1891 and is in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery. I really enjoy the adventurous composition of this one and spent some good time with it. Yo! Eddie!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sketching Etiquette Q&A

Q: . . . . when out and about with my husband (who thoroughly supports my artistic endeavors) I sometimes feel that my sketching can be akin to other asocial activities such as using a cell phone or texting. Have you felt this way?

A: Yes. I have felt that way. Sketching is not a genuine group activity. Even when you are out with your regular sketch group or are involved in a Sketchcrawl, each person in the group is off 'in his own world' while sketching. Such is the nature of the intentness that happens when you concentrate and are enjoying yourself.

It may feel as if you are deliberately excluding your companions. Which you ARE. Which is what you mean by the term "asocial". Right? But this is GOOD. See below!
Q: Do you limit your sketching to times when you are alone?
A: Yes! Separate yourself from your companions. Otherwise you may not feel comfortable sketching while they are just hanging around, watching you, sighing loudly, and waiting. This can be handled in any number of gracious and thoughtful and friendly ways:
-- "Hey, guys. Why don't you go take a look at the dinosaur exhibit. I'll meet you in a half an hour at the cafe on the ground floor."
-- "Go on to the elephant building. I'll stay here with the reptiles. Come back and get me in twenty minutes."
-- "You all stay here in the cafe and eat your cheeseburgers and fries while I go over to that fountain for a while. Take your time and come find me when you're finished eating."
-- "Why don't you order room service breakfast in the room this morning? I want to go for a quick walk. I'll be back in an hour."

-- "I'll stay here on this bench (or in this cafe, having a cup of tea) while you hike up to the overlook. Don't rush! I'll be sketching."
-- "Those ice cream cones are pretty messy. Sit here and finish them while I go check out that garden. When you're all done with the ice cream, come get me."
-- "Why don't you go take a look at the stuff in the gift shop? I'll be right out here sketching from this roof deck. Come get me when you're done."

Q :How about when traveling with non-sketchers and your desire to capture and record your journey? Do you work out an agreement with your travel partner about how much time you want to spend sketching or watercoloring?
A: No, nothing so formal as an "agreement". I just make sure to get away to sketch regularly and seamlessly, in and among all the group or couple activities. Play it by ear.

Q: Do you get around this by taking photos then sketching later? 
A: Absolutely not! The whole point of travel sketching is that you do it on the spot. Call me stubborn but I am keen on this point. In the evening I may go back to a sketch that I made earlier that day and add some color or title lettering or annotation or a frame or whatever. But the core sketch itself is always done "in the moment". This is the joy and the fun of travel sketchbooking!
Q: Can you sketch and carry on a conversation?
A: Yes, in an emergency. But trying to converse while I am sketching takes my attention away from the scene and my feeling of it and my ability to get it down in a satisfying way. Concentration is essential! As I said, sketching is a solitary activity.
Q: Do others with you just ignore your sketching, like ignoring someone who is knitting?
A: "Others" being my travel companions? No because I am not "with" them while sketching. Strangers? Yes, most of them ignore me if I'm not too obvious.
Q: Is it okay to sketch during a meal?
A: I hate to start making rules about what is or isn't "okay", but I'd say, yes, it's okay. Except for in nice 'white-tablecloth' restaurants. Those kinds of restaurants will get nervous that your ink may stain their nice table linen and they may ask you to stop. No need to embarrass everyone. Hold off sketching in the fancy joints.
Q: What about sketching in a situation such as a performance, where you would like to draw but do not wish to divert attention from the activity occurring?
A: Yes, sketch discretely during performances! Make absolutely sure you are situated so as not to distract the performers or the audience. For instance, if you're in the front row, don't sketch. Use common sense.

But do not sketch during the opera at the Met or during a National Symphony Orchestra concert at the Kennedy Center, where your seatmates may be skittish about you getting graphite all over their mink stoles. Same kind of "rule" as not sketching in fine restaurants.

That said, outdoor music and dance festivals are great sketching venues. The lounging and grooving audience at outdoor concerts is just as entertaining as the performers are!
Q: What other "Sketching Etiquette" thoughts or suggestions do you have for these types of situations?
A: If you are determined and consistent and considerate about your sketching, your travel companions will eventually come 'round to accepting it. It will become part and parcel of the group (or couple) dynamic. It will become part of what you do.

Some additional suggestions:
-- If at all possible, attend one of Susan Abbot's "Traveling with Your Sketchbook" workshops. ( She covers all these topics very thoroughly. Be on the lookout for similar travel sketching workshops in your city.
-- Look at some of Paul Hogarth's books. Drawing People is especially good with advice on how to sketch with people all around you. His autobiography is good too: Drawing On Life. And the illustrations are better.


Sketch at the top is 'Bruce Lacey at 'The Establishment' (1966) by Paul Hogarth; 14" x 7", done with graphite in his sketchbook

Monday, October 31, 2011

Watch. Learn. Shake.

"SAVEUR magazine's Executive Food Editor, Todd Coleman, shows you how to peel a whole head of garlic in less than ten seconds."

This actually freaking WORKS. I tried it. [Update: I now do this all the time. Piece of cake!]

I am not sure if this is a spoof or not: 10 Bullets. By Tom Sachs.  Seems it's gone 'viral' in corporate America. More on Tom Sachs. You decide.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Be cheerful

I found this old and brittle and yellowed sheet recently in a stack of papers. I think I remember my Mom carrying it with her. The transcription:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life 

keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

It appears to have been written in 1959 by Reverend Frederick Kates, rector of Saint Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Although there is some confusion about it. It sounds very 1950's-ish, though, doesn't it? Very plain brown paper kind of naive and hopeful aura to it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


This is done with the Pentel Hybrid Technica 06, which washes okay. Surprisingly.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A White Man

This is 7" x 7" on Stonehenge "Kraft" colored paper. It's done first with a white gouache+white ink mixture in a folded ruling pen. Then finished with watery gouache.

Beat down! and
"Good morning, good afternoon, and good night Detroit!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Now is good

Inspired by Mr. Steve Light, this is done with Sheaffer Scrip ink, in "Brown", with a sumi brush and a folded ruling pen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This is a delightful sketch by artist/illustrator Steve Light, where he uses a big rooster feather brush to lay on the big mark and then a fine drawing pen to draw in the detail.

Excellent stuff. More here!

October Pear

This is about 5-1/2" x 7" on Rives BFK paper and is done with by golly practically every medium I have in the place. Begun with an ink-in-brush-pen sketch, worked over with gouache, picked at with wc pencils, and then finished with pastels.

Sketch Kit for Everyday

Plus the 8" x 8" sketchbook, this is my everyday sketch stuff as of this very moment.
   left to right:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Herr Spachtelmasse

This is about 7-1/2" x 7" and is done with modelling paste, gouache, watercolor, and ink.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Talking Lady

Getting closer and closer to actual likenesses. As opposed to caricatures. This is progress.

Why waxia.

This is done with PR Velvet Black ink using a shredded bamboo stick that I picked up "down county" a few months ago. I dribbled in some Dr Phil Martin's Bombay India Ink, in Terra Cotta, which is some pretty scary gooey stuff.

I am inspired by the exercises and images in One Drawing a Day, by Veronica Lawlor (2011). This book gives you permission to make a mess.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eta’m chik chuplinik

This is about 6-1/2" x 7", done with gouache on old crumpled Rives BFK paper.

(The sketch underneath: a Pentel Aquash waterbrush filled with Nooder's Lexington Gray "bulletproof" ink.)

Critical Response Process

Choreographer Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process is INTERESTING.

Details are in her book Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process: A method for getting useful feedback on anything you make, from dance to dessert (2003)
The Process engages participants in three roles:
 -- The Artist offers a work-in-progress for review and feels prepared to question that work in a dialogue with other people.
 -- Responders, committed to the artist’s intent to make excellent work, offer reactions to the work in a dialogue with the artist.
 -- The Facilitator initiates each step, keeps the process on track, and works to help the artist and responders use the Process to frame useful questions and responses.

The Critical Response Process takes place after a presentation of artistic work. Work can be short or long, large or small, and at any stage in its development. The facilitator then leads the artist and responders through four steps:

1 Statements of Meaning: Responders state what was meaningful, evocative, interesting, exciting, striking in the work they have just witnessed.

2 Artist as Questioner: The artist asks questions about the work. After each question, the responders answer. Responders may express opinions if they are in direct response to the question asked and do not contain suggestions for changes.

3 Neutral Questions: Responders ask neutral questions about the work. The artist responds. Questions are neutral when they do not have an opinion couched in them. For example, if you are discussing the lighting of a scene, “Why was it so dark?” is not a neutral question. “What ideas guided your choices about lighting?” is.

4 Opinion Time: Responders state opinions, subject to permission from the artist. The usual form is “I have an opinion about ______, would you like to hear it?” The artist has the option to decline opinions for any reason.

Lerman, Liz, and John Borstel. "Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process." Contact Quarterly 33.1 (2008): 16-20.

(adapted from Unlocking the Classroom, 2009)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cucurbita incognita

Scary feet!
Scary feet!
Scary feet!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Have some fun, why not

I very much enjoyed my workshop this past weekend: Contemporary Scripts: Lettering for the 21st Century, with Mike Gold. Interesting!

It was hosted by the Washington Calligraphers Guild and they were a good group! All very encouraging and welcoming and patient with me and with the one other noob in attendance.

Mike Gold is a charming man and an expert teacher. He is the senior lettering designer at American Greetings (the five hundred pound gorilla that challenges Hallmark for total domination of the Earth) but pursues more creative challenges in his spare time. Thus, this workshop.

My favorite part of the weekend was watching Mike's eyes and face as he stared down, first, at a big blank sheet of paper and second, how he responded to/answered each partially done line or mark. He was constantly reassessing and rethinking and re-planning as he went, continually reacting to the line he had just made, eyes darting around. It was a delight to see this process in action.

The other interesting part of the weekend was watching how the accomplished calligraphers in the class dealt with (or didn't) the challenge of getting loose and intuitive and wild and crazy. 'Wild and crazy' does not seem to be a part of your standard calligrapher's skill set. Are we surprised?

In any event, for my piece at the top (12" x 20") I started with an enormous Chinese sumi ink brush to make the big fat marks. I finished it with some very spidery and thin lettering in the crook of the "n". (Yep, that's an "n".) The sumi brush is a nifty object and the marks it makes are nearly alive, all on their own. I really want one of those brushes but cleaning it is absurd. (How do they do this in China? Are they left sitting in the ink? Dunno.)

The bottom piece (10" x 14') was made quickly, standing at the table (rather than sitting down), using a ruling pen and some skanky brownish black ink+watercolor goo I had mixed up. It was the last thing I made, and hurriedly, on Sunday afternoon. Go figure.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tool Report: Kid Palette

Portability? Yeah, I guess so!

I found this kid palette at Plaza Art and remembered reading about in on RozWoundUp, on one of her palette pages. It's called the Jack Richeson Mini Watercolor Set 8.

So I snagged one (shoulda gotten five of 'em), took it home and soaked it until the pigment pellets that it came with were soft enough to dig out. I then filled it with some DSmith tube paints and let them "set up" over night. (I put eight colors in. Roz gets eleven by putting three more in the slot between the circles, where the microscopic brush originally snapped in.)

Anyway, the following morning I had a new carry-around-every-day toy to play with! Keen!

The Kid is also available from Wet Paint Art here. The closed dimensions are about 1-3/4" by 2-1/2".

The pix below show The Kid with my other two travel/sketch palettes.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Orange El

This is in my new Clairefontaine Douceur de l'écriture Papier Velouté. N'est-il pas grand?