Sunday, November 18, 2018

Testing watersoluble pencils for faces

After my post on Friday about trying a Dina Wakley-style face with a Stabilo All pencil, someone asked on my FB Artist Page about the Stabilo pencil and whether we can get it in New Zealand. The short answer is that they are not easy to find here (please leave a comment if you have a ready source!) I originally sourced my one online from Fishpond, but they are not always available, and I was lucky to be able to purchase a single pencil. Often you have to buy in bulk which makes them a bit spendy and risky if you're not sure if you're going to like them.This is the particular one that artists (Dina Wakley, Effy Wild, Roben-Marie Smith) are referring to : Stabilo-All Pencil 8046 Black  (The number 8046 is critical to get the right one) Click on any photo to see it larger if you need details of the pencils.
It's watersoluble, it's very dark, it leaves lovely smudges/shadows on your work - you can use a blending stump or water. These were my faces using it and water on Friday
So with the question of alternatives in mind, I decided to do some testing for all of our benefit. When I originally tried to source the Stabilo I went to Office Max. They suggested the Staedtler lumocolor non-permanent (there is also a white which may be useful for sketching on dark backgrounds - purchased but not tested yet). Tried on another page from my altered art journal, but I sprayed first using a stencil with Dylusions ink - also very water-reactive. So this was a fun experiment in itself because the ink remains usable for colour in the eyes etc
But not very useful for how soluble that pencil actually is. So I did another face just with the pencil, and then decided I should use the same paper for a fair test so : 
Both the above were done with the Staedtler Lumocolor non-permanent pencil (purchased from Office Max) - the page on the left is thicker, but the pencil reacts about the same. Not as dark or as blendable as the Stabilo All 8046 below (same paper as above right) but depends on what you want : 
The above is the same pencil used in those original faces from Friday. The more pencil you lay down, the darker and more colour available to move around with water. Now using the same book paper for rest of tests. I really like Charcoal - below is my Derwent charcoal pencil (I think maybe purchased at Warehouse Stationery - they definitely have charcoal pencil options)
I usually rub the lines laid down with this pencil with a blending stump rather than use the water. I quite like this look - still not as intense as the Stabilo All but good coverage and can lay down more charcoal for more intensity. Then, just because I have them, I thought I'd test out the difference with the Derwent Inktense and Graphitint watercolour pencils. This is Derwent Inktense Ink Black : 
I really like the look of this - nice and dark and a bit more control with using the water with it than the Stabilo. Derwent Graphitint Midnight Black : 
Very disappointing - remembering that the graphitint colours are generally more muted than the Inktense, this is still what I would call grey rather than Midnight black! Perhaps if more colour was laid down in the future but I probably won't pursue it since there are some lovely alternatives here. This might be nice for general shadows since not so intense.
Hope that was a useful exercise for you to see as well. Apart from the learning about the pencils, although I didn't spend much time on these faces, the repetition was a useful experience. I'm feeling much more confident about eye position, and I like the nose and lip shapes developing naturally too. In Dina's class, she asked people to do a 'before' face for comparison. I didn't do one since I've been drawing faces since 2015, but often with a lesson for guidance/reminders of proportion. I did find this face from 2016 as a comparison - one I did quickly in my art journal without proper thought to eye position, for example.
Although she is a pleasant face, I would be drawing my eyes larger and a bit further down on her face now ♥ Practice - a lot - #arteveryday - and your skills will increase and your style emerge.
Two more things of interest : I haven't tested this with the other pencils but one advantage of the Stabilo All is that if you prepare your surface with gesso first, you can actually remove the pencil marks you don't want completely using a baby wipe - this is VERY useful as you can imagine and should work with the others since they are watersoluble too.
Remember most of these pencils will remain water-reactive so if you're going to continue to work on the art, you'll need to spray with a workable fixative and let that dry before continuing. This is what I currently use - 
available at Warehouse Stationery or Office Max. Shop around for specials/best price.
Ask me anything and I'll do my best to help :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

#arteveryday : week 2

Week 2 review of trying to #arteveryday. I'm finding that taking a photo a day so I can share it here is motivating. Read about my first week where I more fully explain this November challenge HERE.
Saturday : I thought all I'd manage today was printing out this lovely poem for my journal page onto an old calendar picture...but then I managed some doodling in the evening
and picking flowers from my garden and arranging them in a vase counts as creative ♥
Sunday : portrait progress in my journal
Monday : finished spread. Full post HERE
Tuesday : guiding craft club at school
Laying down some paint through stencils and Dylusions drippage for a new background in my journal and managed to finish the doodles on my girls' arm and in her flower (that was already part of the magazine picture)
Inspired by this film on Netflix 
Wednesday : slapped me sideways....no art but printed out this wonderful quote by Victoria Erickson for my Inner Work Journal and shared it on my FB Artist page. It fits perfectly with why I am trying to #arteveryday ♥ AND I still wrote in my Inner Work Journal (as I do almost every day) so that's not nothing
...thinking a lot about personal style development and where I want to spend my time creatively developing in the future.
Thursday : Dina-style face ♥
Friday : and another
See the complete spread HERE.
I hope you are inspired by these posts to #arteveryday. It doesn't take much to build up journal pages when you are not demanding lots of time all in one block. I am thrilled with my progress this month and it's all down to this new challenge.
Happy creative weekend to you.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Trying a different style of face

As part of a special art bundle deal last year I got Dina Wakley's Facing the Facts online class. Decided I would try this different style of face in my journal - she uses a stabilo all pencil in a different way than I'm used to, and she does lovely patchy backgrounds and makes use of white space where I'm more of a layered background girl. So I thought I'd give it a go to see what I thought.
First - a playful quick background using stencils and paint and a bit of Dylusions round the edges (the pink) ♥ 
Ended up doing it as a spread to use up paint on the right side and I smooshed pages together to pick up the excess Dylusions ink too. I WAS trying to leave white space...at least there's space for the face and maybe I can add some white paint later. Began with Stabilo All Pencil (watersoluble) quick drawing
and then added water - leaving her raw like this ♥
Loved how she turned out so much I decided to try a side-tilted one on the other page
Don't love her as much - maybe too dark?....so I decided to add white pen work. Happy to be adding the white dots and the heart in her top lip - feel like these are becoming part of my signature style.
And that's another spread completed in my altered art journal ♥
I've found these 2 videos FREE on YouTube which show Dina demonstrating drawing a face and painting a face so you can have a go at her methods if you like. See you tomorrow for my #arteveryday review of Week 2 in November.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Moonshine : Making is medicine

Our lesson for this new moon was about showing up, obeying impulses, painting intuitively, operating on instincts alone. I went into this art journal spread wanting to paint a self-portrait - fierce, proud, celebrating and nurturing my body as it changes. Change can be hard - it's been hard this past week when my body has behaved in ways that are not my normal. But I've got this. The new moon symbolizes new beginnings and a fresh start, making it the ideal time to make wishes, set new intentions, and plant new seeds. My new moon intention is to embrace the changes, celebrate my strength, be grateful for what has got me here today....
Also on my mind are the lovely warming days and gorgeous roses in my garden
"My Mum"
and picked on my table
"Compassion" with Alstromeria
I talked about this book in a previous post
It is really adding another dimension to my art, helping me to celebrate what is around me seasonally - in New Zealand that is flowering and sap rise, a high-energy time when the whole earth sings of growth and regeneration. When it's this time in the northern hemisphere they celebrate with May Queens and Beltane fires. We are half way between Spring equinox and Litha, Midsummer's day and Summer Solstice. I am happy to "pause" as we have also been asked to do in this class in November, but I'm not waiting for the long dark. Interesting to see how those rose colours manifested in my painting ♥ 
Show up - with all the above in my head, and the only plan a self-portait, I first traced(ish) a photo of my own face and then laid down some gorgeous iridescent fiery colour.
Obey every impulse...I ♥ stencils so I gathered some favourites
More iridescent paint all shimmery
Operate on instincts - so glad I was moved to use white too - so pretty
Then the universe (OK FB!) showed me these wonderful words from Victoria Erickson that fit my feelings perfectly. I cut down an old calendar page and fed it through my printer to get this lovely background colour ♥
I am trying to flow gently with the changes happening to me - this past week, art has helped so much when I've not been feeling my best : "Making is Medicine".
Not sure what next in the background (maybe it's done) so decided that the face needs my attention next, and that ended up including hair (stencils) and gorgeous floral serviettes to trim the dress and head
After playing around a bit with the poem, I decided that it needed to be cut up so as not to completely obscure the lovely layered background
A few minor touches, and here's the finished spread 
Get the links to all Effy's offerings for 2019 HERE (including Moonshine 2019), and check out the info about how to save by purchasing Early Bird bundles HERE.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

#arteveryday : week 1

When I shared my November musings, I declared I was going to try and ART EVERY DAY➽ this doesn't mean completing a full art journal page, just doing something - the micromovements idea - getting into the habit of DOING instead of looking online. I decided that aiming to take one photo a day to share would be motivating - and it worked! Here's my summary of the week.
Day 1 : Saturday 3rd November. Finished page on the right, at last got some doodles on that cloaked girl
Sunday : Started a new page in altered art journal, finished the doodled girl, made a Christmas ornament sample for craft club at school
Monday : added some paint to the journal page and then used up the leftovers in the recycled doodle journals
Tuesday - added paint, some stencils and pen work - very happy with progress
Wednesday - finished the journal page : Be Here Now
Thursday - began another journal spread and added leftover paint to recycled magazine face
Day 7 : Friday 9th November - got my stencil groove on.
Thrilled to say that despite a week that was testing both physically and mentally, the motivation of wanting to have something to photograph every day worked a treat. It made me much more aware of when I was thinking I was just going to sit in front of a screen that the time was better spent doing some art ♥ It's the awareness that I need to jolt me into better arting habits. And isn't it cool to see how quickly things progress though the daily effort doesn't seem that big?
Started the week sharing daily on my FB Artist page and Instagram but I've decided I'll just take the daily photos to share here for next week's round-up and only post finished projects in those other places. Look forward to sharing my daily process again next Saturday. And since it's the weekend, I'm pretty sure you won't have to wait long to see how that last journal spread turns out. Happy creative weekend to you

Thursday, November 8, 2018

BOD : Be Here Now

We've been supporting my youngest with study help for exams this week. Sunday seemed to be particularly anxious and I needed to start making some art that was grounding and meditative. I felt like I wanted to be guided by a lesson, and this recent Book of Days offering was perfect. 
I had purchased a roll of graphite transfer paper from Office Max last week, so was pleased to use this supply immediately.
The week didn't get any easier as the days went on and I had some challenges of my own to face, so I chose colours of the Chakra to help centre me : Violet = oneness and spirituality : Indigo/Blue = soothing the soul, opens consciousness : Green = healing, balance, tranquility and serenity (needed a lot of that!)
Not worried that it looks quite messy at this point cos I know there are going to be pen and stencil additions....
Some would stop there, but I don't like those words by the feet....so added another stencil border while I considered what to do.
Mostly I enjoy the text in the background of my altered art journal, but not here. I was thinking about some botanical stencils, but then I thought of these serviettes
Needed the serviettes to become more part of the background, so added a green-gold glaze and used it for a border detail along the top. This is the finished page
Others in the class were able to keep theirs clearer - simpler, but I had to do what felt right for me with the page challenges. Done is better than perfect....Done is being here now....Done is loving the process ♥
I'm so glad I've given myself the #arteveryday challenge for November. It's really got me thinking about what small thing I can do every day to progress my art practice and this is the third piece of art I've finished this week because of it!
Get the links to all Effy's offerings for 2019 HERE (including Book of Days 2019), and check out the info about how to save by purchasing Early Bird bundles HERE.
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