Currently Browsing: March 2009 34 articles


Commercially Made Sketchbooks: Hand•book Journals


Above: ©2009 Roberta Avidor. This New York City view of water towers atop buildings is from the visual journal Roberta keeps in a Hand•book Journal. Here she sketches with a black Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer Aquarelle colored pencil and Sennelier pan watercolors. (This sketch is from a large-sized journal which is around 6 x 9 inches.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Today we have fabulous GUEST ART! Eye candy. The images in today’s post are by one of my favorite artists, my friend Roberta Avidor. She is an illustrator of immense talent. She has a quick sense of humor and is kind and supportive. She keeps one of the most visually stunning visual journals I’ve ever seen. Along with her husband Ken, she is great fun on sketch outs. (Ken also keeps an amazing visual journal. He was my first Profile Friday.) You can see more of her work at her website and here.


Profile: Linda Koutsky—Bold Art Jewelry with Found Objects


Above: A selection of jewelry pieces ©Linda Koutsky (photograph by the artist, ©2009 Linda Koutsky). Fabricated from sterling silver and brass and found objects each piece of jewelry is a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art containing natural and man-made found objects. Click on the image to see an enlargement.

Minneapolis artist and author Linda Strand Koutsky received the “Minnetonka Center for the Arts 2008 Barbara Lund Emerging Artist Award” for her excellence in fine art jewelry. Her exhibit at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts opens Thursday, April 2, 6 to 9 p.m. (The show runs through May 2.)

If you are interested in jewelry, found objects, Minnesota, or creativity, you really need to come to this show. Linda, a confirmed regionalist, is a friend and inspiration to me. I’ve seen her jewelry in person  and the pieces are lovely and inventive. Using natural items and made-made items Linda has created mini-narratives about life and the land and resources in Minnesota. Her design eye and sense of texture, form, and color transform these ordinary bits, which others overlook, into bits of art with emotional impact. She believes “Not only can jewelry be beautiful adornment, it can also be fine art that explores and celebrates our human condition.” Her one-of-a-kind sterling silver and lost wax cast bronze jewelry confirms that.


International Fake Journal Month

Left: Buster, as the poster dog for IFJM. This is button art I put together for the event. I had hoped to post eight 3-inch button variations at Cafe Press for people, who like me, enjoy t-shirts and buttons to announce events. Unfortunately it was not clear to me when I set up at Cafe […]

New Blog for International Fake Journal Month

There has been some interest about posting images from people's journals for International Fake Journal Month. Because of this interest and the need for me to post any contest entries that come in after April 9th (which is when I'll announce the contest) I set up a quick blog at The Official International Fake […]

Audible Sigh of Relief: Derwent Drawing Lightfast Test

Left: Lightfast test for Derwent Drawing. (A) is the control, (B) is the exposed portion of the test. I'm relieved to say there was no visible fading. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

After being burned badly by Derwent Graphitints I decided to test one of my favorite Derwent products which I had always just trusted: Derwent Drawing.

These thick colored pencils with a muted color range and elegant clear varnished barrels, were first introduced in a set of 5 or 6 (it's been so long I really can't remember; the Dick Blick site says they were first introduced in 1986; I found them after reading an article in Step-by-Step Graphics on illustrator Peter de Sève). The set contained the essential drawing colors such as Ivory, Chocolate Brown, Sanguine, White, Yellow Ochre—you get the idea.

I always loved these pencils because they were drier and less waxy in their feel and application than regular wax pencils. They still had a waxy binder so it wasn't like using pastels (which I can't use because of allergies and asthma). They were always a happy drawing medium for me. Something that married well with watercolor. The black made an excellent pencil for sketching Emma and Dottie (black and white Alaskan Malamutes). When I photocopied those sketches to use as transfers for making carvings the lines were always crisp and clean. If I scanned those sketches and turned them into bitmaps they retained their pencil stroke quality when printed out in photocopier artist books.


Making a Photocopier Imposition Dummy

Left: a visual aid for the following discussion on making a dummy for a photocopier book. Click on the image to view an enlargement. (This is a straightforward pamphlet)

When I posted on the MCBA Visual Journal Collective Portrait Party I meant to post about creating a photocopier book right away; other things intervened. Now to make the discussion quick and simple, because it really can be simple folks, I have provided the labeled photo to the left.

Let’s walk through the process. And "No your head will not explode!" Just hang in there and read.

If you want to photocopy something and put it together as a book you have to be aware of how to layout your master pages (the originals that will be photocopied) so that when they are copied back to back the pages will fall in the correct order. You have to think in signatures.

The easiest way to do this is to make a small imposition dummy, which is essentially a bunch of folded sheets labeled with the page numbers, so that you can check you’re organizing it correctly. (I sometimes find it helpful to label these pages with a note about content as well as the page number.)

Authors on Hand at Once Upon A Crime

Best-selling authors Linda S. Koutsky and Kathy S. Koutsky will be on hand at 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 28 at Once Upon a Crime Mystery Books in Minneapolis, to sign their books and talk to you about them. Linda and Kathy have written the wildly popular "Minnesota Eats Out, "Minnesota Vacation Days," and […]


An Update on the MCBA Visual Journal Collective: Using Photos in Your Journals



Above: a page spread I did in our Altered Book Round Robin (the owner of this book elected to use a Handbook journal and not a printed book). The theme for this book was lost and found and inclusions were welcome, but most of the stuff that I find is pretty large so I thought it best to paint the object (a Lake Superior stone). I was working with dip pen, Ziller Glossy black ink (pretty much obliterated by the paint) and Schmincke gouache. Don’t ask me what was going on with the composition here. The verso page was all lumpy from the previous spread’s rivets and inclusions (I had to glue two pages together to cover the eyelet backs and such). I wasn’t going to use that side, and then I was painting it. Well at least it has an interesting texture and it fits with the idea of lost and found “ideas." Click on the image to see an enlargement.

March 16, members of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective met to once again, explore visual journaling and share our work. We watched a short documentary on Peter Beard, a photographer known for his journals filled with photos, scraps of paper, and animal skins and blood.


Just in Time for International Fake Journal Month!

Left: Sketch of the yard bunny (that's the sweet name for him) on a water resistant paper from Alvin, using a Staedtler Pigment Liner and then painting with washes of Schmincke Gouache.
Click on the image to see an enlargement.

Last week my errands took me to Wet Paint and after I found the things I needed I did a quick run around the store—just 'cause.

This is how I find things when the staff moves them to new locations! I like to know where things are.

I've also been thinking about what I'll do when I stop binding books. That thought led me to search the shelves of commercially bound sketchbooks (and hence the report Sunday on Venezia sketchbooks from Fabriano).

During this search the upcoming International Fake Journal Month was also looming large in my life. This is always the perfect time for me to try out new commercial journals.

Imagine my glee when I found a 4-5/8 x 7-1/4 inch field notebook from Alvin. (Alvin Field Book NP430; $6.95.)

Judging from the curve formulæ, charts, and trigonometric formulæ crowding the inside front and back covers, this must be the type of book surveyors like to use. The bright yellow cover probably helps them locate the book when they drop it in the tall grass! And the two types of grids (a wide spaced one on the verso page and a narrow one on the recto, as shown in the bunny image) probably help them note down all the data they need to record.


A New Blog to Check Out

Left: Purple Marsh, ©2009 Diane Wesman, 9 x 12 inches, pastel on board. A couple days ago I helped artist Diane Wesman set up an art blog so that she can communicate on the internet with her pastel students and art buyers. I've written about Diane before. If you're a new reader at my blog […]

Close Cookmode

Pin It on Pinterest