Friday, March 29, 2019

More Selfies (and Surprisingly Good Daiso Ballpoints)

3/19/19 8B graphite, S&B Epsilon

I’m still doing self-portraits to practice the method I learned from Gary Faigin a few weeks ago. I think the one at right has stronger resemblance than the one from a couple of weeks ago. Like last time, I used soft graphite, but instead of Yupo, I used my Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook. Although Epsilon has some tooth compared to Yupo, it’s still smooth enough that I can use the basic techniques that Faigin teaches with charcoal – lots of smudging to achieve tones and a kneadable eraser for highlights. I’m thrilled to pieces that I can practice his methods without resorting to charcoal! If I had to force myself to use charcoal to practice, I might as well have not taken the workshop, because I tend to avoid practicing when I hate the medium. On the other hand, when I love the medium, I enjoy practicing.

Ultimately, though, I’d like to be able to take what I learn about portraiture and apply it to any medium. Ballpoint ink is quite different from graphite (and charcoal) because it can’t be smudged or erased. On the other hand, it’s similar to graphite in that it’s easy to build tone with multiple layers of ink. If I drew my initial block-ins very lightly, I wondered if I would be able to get away with using ballpoint?
3/25/19 Daiso ballpoints, S&B Epsilon

I had recently picked up an extremely inexpensive set of ballpoint pens in a variety of colors at Daiso, the Japanese dollar store (where everything costs $1.50). Given the price, I didn’t have high hopes about the quality, but in fact, they contain the same kind of oil-based, pressure-sensitive ink as Bics – the only kind I like to draw with. I’m not proud that they’re plastic, disposable pens just like Bic Cristals that will end up in our landfill someday, but I couldn’t resist the fun colors! I used a couple for selfie No. 3 (in my eventual total of 20 to 30 portraits that I plan to practice, per Faigin’s recommendation). I like the pens – they will give me a fun splash of color next InkTober.

Daiso ballpoints, 10 for $1.50

1 comment:

  1. Both of these came out good, although I like the ink one best. The colors sound fun!


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