Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holiday Wish #2

Wednesday, I purchased a poinsettia and last night worked on this in the Strathmore Visual Journal (watercolor).  Again using the Kuretake Zig Clean Color brush markers along with a wet brush.


End results as an e-card.

Holiday Wish #1

Several posts back, I shared a graphite sketch where I came up with Opal dressed up and the two other elements.  Using that, I worked this in the S&B Zeta sketchbook using the Kuretake Zig Clean Color brush markers and waterbrush.


And here is the ending e-card results I created from this color sketch.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Son's Dog, Rocco - Chocolate Lab

Travis (my youngest) has been wanting me to create a drawing or painting of his 9 year old Chocolate Lab for some time now.  At least over a year.  I've tried taking photos that I might like to attempt but kept putting it off.  This little inner voice kept saying I couldn't do Rocco justice so I just kept procrastinating.

Lately Travis has been bringing it up so I started searching for videos that show how to draw fur in graphite, as well as painting in watercolor.  Can't tell you how many videos I viewed.  Even signed up for a craftsy course on drawing animals in color pencil.  Unfortunately that little voice continued making me feel like I just couldn't do it right.

Finally this morning I thought...........I'll never know for sure if I can or can't do the job to Travis's liking unless I tried.

This started out as a simple pre-sketch playing with what I had picked up from the videos I'd been watching.  I chose to try graphite rather than watercolor as not as much to worry about with graphite.  I chose to practice on copier paper using Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils 3H, 2B, and 6B.  I also used a putty eraser for lifting highlights and lighter areas of the fur trying to match Rocco's lights and darks.  As I worked, I also ended up grabbing a white gel pen, which I'll explain its use later.

Initial line work:


Began with the left ear (as you view it) with a layer of short choppy lines with the 3H.  As I worked sections, I went back over using the same type of pencil marks using the 2B.  The 6B was used to go over yet a third time in the darkest of shaded areas.  Then the putty eraser was used to lift areas.


Notice the hard edges and line marks still showing even after the graphite layers were added.  That bugged me and I tried to figure out a way to "hide" them.  That's when I thought of the white gel pen.  I went over the outline of the dog, as I worked, with the white.......dabbing with my finger while the ink was wet to soften it.  I did the same thing within the face and then went back over with the 3H and 2B to blend those areas into the surrounding areas.

As I worked, I evaluated the placements of my darks and lights and made adjustments as needed.


Here's where I decided to call it quits.  I could have gone on and on tweaking but when I realize I'm starting to do that, I make myself stop.  In a few days when my mind and eyes are fresh, I'll probably take another close look and maybe make some final finishing touches.  Maybe darker here or there; maybe lifting more.  We'll see.

My son absolutely loves it!!!




Monday, November 16, 2015

A Few Ornaments in Ballpoint Pen

Another page worked in the handbook journal.  Two different pens were used.

The two on the right were sketched using the cheap ballpoint I received as a promotional gift in an order.  The Santa was sketched using the Zebra 302.

I have these little guys on two different tabletop trees.  One tree is about 2.5 foot tall that sits on an electric rotating base.  As it turns, the legs on these miniature ornaments move.  I also have these ornaments on a 1 foot tree that came in a ceramic pot.

This year I have five trees total being set up.  All are smaller trees you can set on furniture to include an 18" palm all decked out with lights and ornaments.  The biggest tree we have is a 5 ft tree we just picked up from Hobby Lobby.

Most of my ornaments are handmade with a few store bought (like these) I've started using.  :-)



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Graphite Snow Person

After playing a bit with the various grades of the Staedtler pencils, I chose to stick with these three - H, 2B, and 6B to work on a more serious drawing.

One of my favorite Christmas decorations happen to be plush snow people and I tend to collect at least a couple each year as I come across ones I like.

This one I picked up from Hobby Lobby a week ago.  Love the hat and material used for the body!

I started out with the H pencil with the initial sketch.  Then I started using the 2B which was used for most of the drawing.  The 6B was used in select areas for a deeper value.  Also used a paper stump to blend and putty eraser to lift areas as I worked.

Although the Zeta paper is smooth, I really enjoy using it for graphite.  It blends beautifully with a paper stump and makes lifting with the putty eraser a bit easier.  The rosy cheeks are Albrecht Durer Watercolor pencil used dry.



What Are All Those Pencil Grades ?

Through the years I have purchased various pencil sets and for the most part they just sit.  Normally I grab for one of my mechanical pencils.......either an .05 or .07.  Once in awhile I'll use the .09.  Often I ask myself why and I think it comes back to laziness not wanting to worry about sharpening pencils.

One of the benefits of a pencil versus a mechanical pencil is the fact you can use the side of the point shading larger areas at a time with it.

Looking at my Staedtler Mars Lumograph set, I sat wondering what all the various grades were about.  What do the numbers mean and when do you use them.  So out of curiosity, I decided to play a little just to see what each looked like on paper.

Paper surface used is Stillman & Birn Zeta.  It's a smooth paper with no "tooth."


I seriously doubt I'll use the numbered H pencils unless maybe a 3H for lightly sketching for an all watercolor rendering.  I can see the advantage of using something like that if I don't want to worry about pencil lines showing.  Otherwise I'll probably stick with the B range.  I'm already used to 2B and 4B pencils but I might explore using those higher on the scale if or when I get past my unease of using real darks.

These next sketches are from choosing three grades - H, 2B and 6B.  They were worked in the Handbook which has a little bit of tooth to the paper.  I found the paper seemed to grab at the graphite making it easier or better to see the marks.  I had fun working these of my little miniature bear as my model.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Trying a Different Ballpoint Pen

After a very good friend suggested I try a Zebra ballpoint pen (thank you, Larry), I picked up one of the Zebra F-302 pens to give it a try.  This was worked in the Handbook journal, which I believe is a mixed media paper surface.

I found the pen was smooth when writing and was nice to sketch with......although it did blob on me a several times and I had to wipe it on a piece of paper towel once I realized the ink was gathering around the point as I sketched.

I wonder if due to the type paper surface or if this might happen even on a smoother surface.   Maybe it's the way I hold the pen as I tend to sketch with the point somewhat on it's side.  Maybe it's because it's a fine point.  I really don't know and will need to play some more on different paper surfaces.

One place in particular it's noticeable is to your right as you look at this on the second protrusion of the antler.  The side of my hand also picked it up and transferred it to the center of that antler as well.  There are a few other spots but squiggly marks helped hide a couple of them and the hair hid a couple :-)

Finished the page off with a little watercolor using a water brush and my mixed brand palette I customized from a Neocolor II metal tin.  I love this tin and find it's my #1 favorite palette.



More Ballpoint Sketching

Here are a few more ballpoint sketches using the cheap freebie pen used in the other sketches posted.  Both sketched in the Handbook journal.

The landscape illustrations inspired by Frank Lohan's pen and ink books.


This one is from one of my artificial rose arrangements.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Exercise Following Frank Lohan

One of my favorite pen and ink artists is Frank Lohan.  I pulled out his book, Drawing Florida Wildlife, and worked one of his exercises (actually two combined somewhat) on landscapes found in Florida.

The landscape reminds me of a canal we go kayaking and fishing in not too far from where we live.

This was a lot of fun...especially considering I love the scribble or squiggly pen and ink technique.  Perfect subject for practicing that.

With this one I decided to use a ballpoint pen - medium.  It's one I received for free in a mail order purchase and love it!!  It doesn't blob up like some ballpoints do.


Doodling Fall Arrangement

Yesterday I was sitting and doodling while waiting for my youngest to return from a job interview.

I'm still working on quick sketching trying to keep things loose and still with pen and ink only (no pencil).  It's not that I don't believe in using pencil because I definitely do but I like working these ink only exercises to help in gaining more confidence.

Worked in the Handbook with Pilot Falcon and Lexington Grey ink.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Sketching Opal

As it's been stated before and probably real noticeable by all the posts I've shared with Opal, she's one of my favorite models.

After working the page with Opal for Halloween, I started playing with Christmas ideas by dressing her in a Santa suit.

I start out lightly sketching the bear....body and all as it looks in real life.  Then I start lightly sketching over whatever clothing I might want to place on the bear.  Once I like how it's going, I start getting darker with my pencil........erasing lines I don't want to show (initial body lines in particular).

Here is my initial sketch after satisfied with placement of clothing.....


This is after further shading using hatching ......still in graphite.

Next I wanted to add some props to go along with Opal dressed up.  I have always loved the simple "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree so I sketched my own.  Plus added a sack of toys.


Showing it all together.........



I didn't stop there................where I scanned along the way, I took the initial sketch I scanned and cleaned it up making it into a pencil outline.  After printing it off, I decided to play with some color using the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils (dry).  This next shows the steps after color and then with pen and ink for added definition.  This was done on copier paper so I didn't get any nice effect with pencil and paper like I would had I done this in one of my sketchbooks.  Again........this is just my experimenting and playing.  I often do this when working out ideas..........not always in a sketchbook but separate paper I later tuck in the sketchbook. Many of these sketchbooks have pockets at the back (sometimes front).


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pen and Ink - Flowers

Earlier, my hubby and youngest son were sitting out with me in the sun room chatting.  We all slept in for a change and for some reason we are all feeling a bit out of it.

While chatting, I just started doodling this page in my journal......not really paying much attention to what I was doing.  Almost like I was in auto pilot mode or something.  Anyways.......this was the results.

Sketching of a small artificial flower sitting on my table.

Pilot Falcon with Lexington Grey ink in the Hand.book.


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