A recap of the recent meeting with favorite tools from the members.
Above: another look at what's going on in the weirdo journal. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on Magnani Annigoni Designo paper with Stabilo Tone for color. (Go to the category list and click and scan through "Colored Pencils" to see additional posts on using Stabilo Tones and similar watersoluble crayon products.)
Last Monday we held the October meeting of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective. Twenty three visual journal keepers showed up to exchange thoughts on various tools they use in their visual journals. I wanted to share the suggestions here because many people can't attend the meetings and while some art materials may be familiar to all of us it always surprises me how many times I whip out my Niji waterbrush and someone says, "Wow, I didn't know they made such a thing."
Clare talked about her favorite pens: Faber-Castel Pitt Artist's Brush Pens. She loves to use several different colors. Other members are also smitten with these pens and use them for sketching with watercolor. The pens are waterproof and you can wash over the lines almost immediately, with your watercolors. They are great for writing bold lettering as well. Now they come in larger sizes too (I mentioned this in an earlier post) which make an even bolder brush mark. So you might want to think about adding one or two of these (or several) to your drawing kit.
For Chach, her Kunst and Papier sketchbook with a fabric covered spine and bare bookboard covers was a necessary tool. She loves that she can fold these back on themselves just as you would a ringbound book. They are sturdy and well made.
Ann and several other members and visitors admitted to using "nothing fancy" and finding pleasure in using up what they had collected over the years. Marty (more on Marty's project below) agreed with Ann and recommended using Pilot Better Retractable ball point pens.
In addition, Marty shared that he liked to do sketches in the soft-covered Moleskines and then cut them out and paste them in the sketchbook Moleskines and work over them with ink. He also enjoys scanning the sketches and printing out an outline version of his sketch created in Illustrator (software from Adobe) and then gluing that into his journal and working over it with ink. The result is a wonderful mixed-media approach.
Printmaker Jean spoke to the group on using a sheet of Plexiglas with a Sharpie drawing underneath it as a guide for her paints that she applies to the plexi and then makes a monoprint from. She also enjoys using the Pentel Water Brush which is like the Niji Waterbrush, but shaped slightly differently. She gets many, many months of use out of one so the tip is obviously resilient.
A triangular ruler inherited from her mother is Anita's favorite tool. It's easy to hold and keeps its position because of its shape. She also brought in a peg alphabet rubberstamp set to show us. The letters were about a 1/2 inch in height, great for text.
Laurice finds the Derwent Watersoluble Graphite Pencils are her favorite sketching medium in her journal at the moment.
For Mary, acrylic medium (matte or satin or glossy depending on the look you want) is a must have for journal work. She is currently using Liquitex brand, but has had great results with all the brands she's tried. I felt the pages of her current journal and was amazed that there was no acrylic stickiness (something that always happens when I've used acrylic medium in my journals). Based on her success with this, if you don't live in a totally humid environment you might want to give it a try when you have items to glue into your journals, and then want to paint over them as well. Note that if you cover both sides of the item you are sticking in your journal you are also sealing it from the air and for people who like to use a variety of ephemera this can be useful to keep the items from deteriorating.
Parallel Pens from Pentel, which use color ink cartridges (not lightfast, but still fun to work with) have Beth excited these days. She has several nib sizes so that she can make a range of lettering sizes.
Lori finds herself working with watercolor crayons (any brand) these days, and ink. For the latter she likes any cheap gel pens.
A kneaded eraser is Marsha's favorite and ever present tool! Not only can it pick up graphite it can be used to model lights back into a shape. Additionally she always carries her retractable X-Acto (great because you never inadvertently stab yourself when reaching into your bag). And Marsha's important find that had everyone in the group ready to run to the store was a fly fisherman's hanging bag from "Fish Pond" (available in artistic colors). REI is one possible store to check out for this fabulous, foldable, carry everything accessory!
Briana remains loyal to her Zig pens (which are lightfast and archival). She loves the Memory Systems 2-way glue because it has a smaller applicator tip for small bits of paper. Tombow dual tip markers with their brush and fine tips are also something Briana is currently working with in her journal.
Dian is in love with Post-its right now. That's right Post-its. There are lots of creative ways to use them. Think about it.
If you are going to use pencils you're going to need a good pencil sharpener that's portable. Carol loves the Faber Castel Pencil sharpener that has two holes, one just right for the fatter colored pencils. It's about 3 inches tall and opens in half like a clamshell. One side for each type of pencil, and each half is also a container for shavings. (Still carry it in a plastic Ziplock bag because it will still leak a little.)
Molly loves to collage and she brought along a sturdy plastic envelope in which she stores collage bits. She also uses a plastic shoe box for larger collections of scraps and bits. She has discovered Reader's Digest Condensed Books at garage sales and used bookstores and loves to use them to create Altered Books.
Storage of supplies was also on Deidre's mind. She showed us a knitting box which she found could carry all her supplies and look wonderful and even a little retro at the same time. She loves the Robert Bateman Sketchbooks which have 100 lb. bright white paper that she finds will take all the work and wear she dishes out. She likes that they are ringbound and can be folded back on themselves.
It's colored pencils for Pam, Derwents and other brands. She is also working with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II (a watersoluble crayon line). And she recommended brayering ink across pages to begin building backgrounds on which to paint or collage.
It was my turn next and as usual I put a plug in for my favorite: the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. I also showed a Stabilo Tone and explained that I had been using them a lot and examples were up on my blog—but that I recommended, since the line was so reduced (10 colors from 60) that people just getting into the watersoluble crayon or pastel medium should go with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II or their NeoArt line.
Marty Harris, a local designer and illustrator who was joining us for the first time also brought along several STUNNING examples of the Moly_X project he started. Groups exchange accordion Moleskines and work in them and return them to the originating artist. Check out what is happening in this exciting project.
The last order of business was new projects. The Lake Street Project is a group sketching project that I'm organizing and most people present expressed interest in joining in. I'll have details in another post. I'm excited about getting everyone out sketching this dynamic and changing artery of the Cities (as it runs into St. Paul with only a name change).
And in upcoming news we will be having a sketchout at the Bell Museum of Natural History on Sunday the 31 of January, 2010. More details will be coming on this too—but plan to join us. Admission to the museum is free on Sundays, and it will be a great way to practice your animal sketching because all your subjects will be stationary! (And I was vaguely promised cake somewhere in Dinkytown afterwards, but I don't remember what the suggested venue was!)
I hope that this run down of recommended tools and supplies from the group will give those of you who live too distant to attend a meeting, an idea of what other folks enjoy using in their journals or with their journals.
If you do live in the Twin Cities area plan to join us Monday, November 16, at 7 p.m. for our next meeting (also the last meeting of the year!). We will begin with a short program on calligraphy, see all the Altered Book Journals from the Round Robin, and as usual have time to take a peak in each others' journals. See you then!