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Links of Possible Interest: Supplies at Wet Paint and a Gigapan of the 30 Birds in 30 Days Show

A Gigapan view of 30 Birds in 30 Days and a link to my art materials recommendations at Wet Paint


Speaking of Pigeons: My First Visit to this Year’s State Fair


Above: No this isn't a pigeon, this is my first sketch on my first trip to this year's Minnesota State Fair. I walked into the Swine barn at 10:52 a.m. (running late) and met this pig, who was napping, but kept opening his eye and twirling his ears around, listening to all the barn sounds. A 9 x 7 inch, 300 lb. hot press Fabriano Artistico journal card, with Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils used dry. I was just getting used to this card size and these pencils on this paper. I wasn't really interested in drawing the pen as the light strokes there suggest, but the pig looked like it was floating, without that. I miss my definitive ink lines, but I pushed forward because I love experiements and a challange. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Yesterday I did make it to the Fair to test out my new selection of materials. As mentioned in the caption above, I decided this year to go with pencils and not use pens for sketching. This still seems very odd to me, but after the above warm up sketch, I had some good moments. The main difficulty for me is that at 9 x 7 the card size is a bit too large for me when working with pencil. I need to fill up the space quickly and the pencil doesn't do that, the way I use pencils. We'll see, as we move into other visits I may come to love these cards.


Paper Choices: Strathmore Illustration Board for Wet Media

090820PigeonStrathIllBoardS Left: Pigeon test sketch on the new wet media illustration board from Strathmore. Approx 5 x 7 inches. Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils. This is a pigeon I met at last year's State Fair. I drew it using sketches made at that time for reference. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

The Minnesota State Fair starts today!
Go Sketch!

One of the fun side effects of getting yourself organized for the State Fair—and no I don't go on Opener (as I like to call it to the consternation of fisherman everywhere) because I like to let the food vendors get the kinks out before I show up—is that you have the perfect excuse for trying out new paper. (OK, I don't really need much of an excuse. It just has to be a paper that might prove useful to me.)

Strathmore creates some excellent papers that literally make my work possible. I love their 500 Series plate Bristol for pen and ink work (2-ply) and for painting (5-ply). Many of their drawing papers are suitable for binding into journals used by visual artists. Their 500 Series is their top of the line paper. Now they have an addition to this series: Illustration Board for Wet Media.


Minnesota State Fair Prep—#11: Paper Selection


Above: 9 x 7 inch trial journal card made of 300 lb. Fabriano Artistico Extra White hot press watercolor paper. Wild Turkey sketch using Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

It’s time to make decisions—get paper and other media ready for sketching at the Minnesota State Fair. Yes I've been writing about this since August 12, but I still have some decisions of my own to make.

At the end of last week I was still thinking about what paper I wanted to work on. Since I had already purchased several sheets of 300 lb. hot press Fabriano Artistico I was hoping I liked it as much for the Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils I had decided to use, as I do for ink sketches (which I typically do at the Fair).


Stabilo Tone (AKA Woody) Paper Choices


Above: sketches made on different papers to test the Stabilo Tone's suitability for dog sketching Sunday August 2 and also for use at the State Fair at the end of August. Click on the image to view an enlargement. Full images of A, B, and C are discussed and shown below.

As readers of my blog will know from the past ten days, I've been on a bit of a Stabilo Tone (defunct art product, large wax, watersoluble colored pencil, now only available in a few uninteresting colors instead of the full, really fun range which included lovely grays!) binge.

I'm going to be working with them on Sunday, August 2 when I sketch dogs stopping by at Wet Paint during the Paws on Grand event. (NOTE: The time for that event is noon to 2 p.m. if you want the free pet sketch!)


Fun with Finches Part 3


the third finch sketch in my three bird series. Initial sketch in dark blue Stabilo Tone left dry, on Lana Aquarelle 140 lb. Hot
Press watercolor paper. Then I decided to add some additional colors; read below. (This journal is 5.5 x 6 inches, so the spread is 11 x 6 inches.) Click on the image
to view an enlargement.

More fun with big fat
crayon pencils. See the July 26 post for a description of how I'm
working this series. No water added here either. Again I liked the line
quality of my initial sketch and then I decided that I would fill in some color, smoothing the strokes out with my fingers in some areas (beak, cheek). 


Fun with Finches Part 2

Left: the second finch sketch in my three bird series. This guy wasn't angry, it's just once you get that fat pencil tip in there to make a line…well, remember that discussion we had about quitting while you're ahead? Dark blue Stabilo Tone left dry, on Lana Aquarelle 140 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper. (Journal […]


Fun with Finches Part 1

Above: Journal sketch of a finch using Stabilo Tone (a dark blue) dry, and then rubbing on Brilliance Moonlight White stamp reinker with my finger. Check out the paper watermark in the lower left corner. Fortune reads: The fortune you seek is in another cookie. My hands are demanding a rest from typing so I […]


The Stabilo All: An Aquarellable Color Wax Pencil

090715ALouRescueMe Left: A bit of a wonky sketch (the chin should be tucked more and he does have teeth!) of John Scurti as Lt. Kenny “Lou” Shea on Rescue Me, using the Stabilo All Aquarellable colored wax pencil, on Lana Aquarelle 140 lb. HP paper which is what’s in the current journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement. 

I mentioned Stabilo All Aquarellable colored wax pencils in my July 17 post. And before too much time passed I wanted to post a sketch I made with these pencils. I have about 6 of these pencils, but my favorite is the brown pencil. Typically I use it when I’m drawing on acetate overlays to “try things out” before committing to the final drawing under the overlay. But after Liz mentioned this pencil on our outing to the Bell Museum I wondered what it would be like to sketch with it on the 140 lb. Lana Aquarelle Hot Press watercolor paper. Later while watching an episode of Rescue Me I sketched one of my favorite characters.

The pencil works really well on this paper. The waxiness of it being a bit of an advantage, giving it a slight, smooth drag across the surface. The down side of the pencil is that you have to sharpen it frequently, and I didn’t, loosing highlight in the second eye and detail in the mouth while working with an ever more blunt pencil. The texture you can get with this pencil is similar to much softer, drier pencils and pastels, which tend to flake, break apart, and wear down even faster. It’s a line with character, without all the dust.


Messing around with Watersoluble Colored Pencil (and No Water!)


Above: Sketch of a Hudsonian Godwit, made while viewing a taxidermy specimen at the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Campus. Burnt Umber Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer Aquarelle Colored Pencil (dry, i.e., not dissolved with water), in a 5.5 x 6 inch journal I made with Lana Aquarelle 140 lb. Hot Press Watercolor Paper. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I've been fussing around with the new little journal which has Lana Aquarelle 140 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper in it. I am remembering daily what I don't like about this paper (see comments from yesterday's post about a cityscape on this paper). I am also remembering that I do like to work on watercolor paper. (I love the smell of the sizing—on most watercolor papers; I love the way I don't have to work hard with the washes.)

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