Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ink Pens

Last month I talked about line, so I thought it appropriate to cover a bit on ink pens this month. I love to sketch and draw in ink. Just putting ink to paper frees me up because I can’t use an eraser, which means I get what I get. I do a lot of over-drawing, that is, if I make a mistake I just draw over with a corrective line.
My favorite pen, and most expensive, is the Rotring sketching art pen. I get wonderful, full lines and no skipping. I use non-permanent ink and experience wonderful washes. However, I don’t take it out with me on sketching trips as I’m afraid I might lose it. Mine cost over $20 , so it has a nice safe home in my studio. (at DickBlick on-line store: $18.89) In general, when I’m sketching outside, I use whatever pen strikes me for the moment. Sometimes I’ll use the Koh-i-noor’s Rapidosketch pen, the cheaper cousin of the standard rapidograph pen. They come in three nib sizes .25, .35 and .50 and for me, perform the same as the expensive ones. (at DickBlick on-line store: $13.70)
Micron pens offer the same and are a bit more convenient. What bothers me about the tech pens is that the nib can get clogged—a bummer when you’re outside. The Microns are always at the ready for sketching, but unfortunately are disposable. They are available with permanent ink in several different colors and come with different-sized nibs, my favorite size is 5 black. Make sure your pen says “waterproof and fade proof.” You can purchase them in any art or craft shop for about $2.45 Fountain pens in general are a nice addition to my sketch box. I started using them when we lived in England for a spell. Back there, students still use fountain pens to learn writing. I like the flow of the fountain pen, and the ones I own, create rather thick lines. Sometimes they’re hard to start going, a drawback for outside work. But they are worth it, as they also make wonderful gray washes, giving me the freedom of just taking my sketchbook, waterbrush and fountain pen out and about instead of lugging a big bag filled with all sorts of things.
Speaking of gray washes, I also use the Uniball, Onyx gel pen, which you can find at any stationary store for less than a $1. I buy them at Staples –a box of 12 for $6.49. Wow. This pen is so convenient and makes crisp washes. I’ve had a great time playing with them this summer on our Sketch’n on the Go ™ trips through out the Portland area. So there you have it. My little review of pens I love to use. Check out the video below. I want an iPhone!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I want an Iphone

Recently, a friend sent this to me about creating art with your iPhone. What a great tool for our Sketch'n on the Go™ group.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What's in a Line

When we begin our sketches, we usually start with line. Of course, we could develolp light and shadow right from the start, but most of us draw with line and then move into form. There is so much variety with line, and I guess that's why I find myself drawing more than anything else on a daily basis. Weeks can go by without me picking up a brush or pastel stick. I love to see what a few lines in graphite or ink can create.
It's always a toss up for me who is the true contemporary master of line: is it Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) or Ben Shahn (1889-1968)? With Picasso, you have an artist who used one line to describe an object, such as the lithograph , A Dog. With a few more lines, he created La Femme.
Then there is Ben Shahn, who did a lot of commerical work and social realism in the 50s and 60s. Shown here is Supermaket 1957 and one of his political posters. The simplicity of Shahn's work draws me into his pictures.
Tried a bit of line work myself.
The above pictures inspired me. So I thought I'd have some fun just playing with line and watersoluable ink this past week. I re-discovered the basic line. What fun it is! The palm tree and faces below were drawn with only one line--I let my pen do some walking! Why not try this yourself. It's a cool exercise.