Saturday, November 26, 2022

Mini Review: Pentel Fude-Hajime Brush Pen

Pentel Fude-Hajime Brush Pen

Not that I ever need yet another brush pen, but this one sounded a bit different: According to JetPens’ description, the Pentel Fude-Hajime brush pen “features a convenient nylon brush tip that is specially designed for beginners. The nylon tip is both stiffer and shorter than other brush tips, which is designed to be easy to control.” Kind of a brush pen with training wheels.

11/21/22 Pentel Hajime brush pen in Uglybook notebook

Although I don’t really put myself in the “beginner” category for brush pen use, I was curious about a true bristle (“hairy”) brush that could be stiffer and therefore easier to control. I love both bristle and formed-tip (“non-hairy”) brush pens and have used both types for years. The past couple of years, the Uni Pin brush tip has made me lazy by being so easy to use (as well as sturdy under my heavy hand), so it has been my go-to. It was a good time to give the Hajime a try and put a hairy brush pen back into my hand. In fact, it had been so long since I had sketched with a hairy bristle that one with training wheels might not be a bad idea.

As you can see from my sketches, the Hajime offers a good range of line variation. I like the dry-brush effect as only a hairy brush pen can do. But is it stiffer and easier to use than other hairy brush pens? I don’t know about that.

Left: Pentel Hajime; right: Pentel Pocket



I put the Hajime side by side with a Pentel Pocket brush pen, which has long been one of my favorites. The Hajime’s brush is definitely shorter than the Pocket’s, but I don’t feel much difference in the bristles. Perhaps the shorter length makes it slightly easier to control.

The disposable Hajime’s ink is water-soluble, while the Pocket can be refilled with any ink you want (and therefore puts less plastic in the landfill). If you’ve never used a hairy brush pen before, I guess the Hajime is as good a place to start as any. But if you already have and love the Pocket or another similar brush pen, skip the Hajime.

So it’s a perfectly good brush pen – if you consider only the brush. But the deal-breaker for me? The dang cap: It must be turned around before it can be posted! I’ve run into this with a few other Japanese brush pens too, and for the life of me, I cannot see why it would ever be a good idea to break the convention of caps that post the right way! The Japanese are usually so good with product design . . . why, why, why would they do this? Every time I’ve used a brush pen with a cap that posts backwards, at some point, I unconsciously cap it again by trying to jam the end of the cap onto the brush, splaying the bristles and making a mess.

On location when I want everything to be as easy and efficient as possible, having to think about which way the cap posts (and inevitably getting it wrong) makes this pen a stay-at-home.

(We all know how much I love colorful trees in the fall, but I also love bare trees. If you have a brush pen in your hand, they are begging to be drawn.)




Friday, November 25, 2022

Sweet Gums One More Time

 

11/18/22 Green Lake

My favorite sweet gums at Green Lake are past their prime, but I hadn’t yet sketched them up close (here they are from across the lake, and here from a view that shows only the tallest purplish one). One reason I hadn’t sketched them from the best spot is that the parks department is building a new community boat house nearby, and the construction mess is noisy. The construction trailer was right behind me as I sketched, and the (thankfully temporary) utility poles stand right in the way. Some sketchers would find the ugly poles objectionable and simply leave them out of their sketches. I draws ‘em like I sees ‘em: The poles document the ongoing project.

In any case, this didn’t turn out to be my best sketch of the sweet gums. I had difficulty reserving the white for the poles as I colored and then spritzed the trees. Trying to wipe some errant color from a pole, I inadvertently dragged the tissue through the tree, turning the bright colors into mud. And my scene seems to be lit by more than one sun, based on all the different directions of shadows! HA! Oh, well, we win some, we lose some. Regardless, it was one of the last spectacularly sunny (though cold) days before the more typical rain settled in, and I was happy to stand in the warm sunlight.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Retreat at Green Lake

 

11/17/22 Retreat, Green Lake neighborhood


In the Before Times, Zoka Coffee had been my favorite wintertime sketching spot for years. Last year after I got vaccinated, I went back eagerly, but somehow, it just didn’t seem the same. Now freshly boostered again, I was ready to get back into coffee shop sketching, and it was time to find a new venue.

Retreat is a newish spot at Green Lake where we enjoyed al fresco lunches or coffee several times during the summer. In the afternoon, it is usually mobbed with the queue overflowing onto the sidewalk. I had noticed on my morning walks, though, that it isn’t crowded at all in the early hours. Compared to Zoka, it’s much larger, it has a more interesting interior, and it also has a very different vibe with a wider range of music genres. I decided to give it a shot last week.

As I’d hoped, it wasn’t crowded, so I had my pick of tables. Unfortunately, I chose a spot that left most patrons backlit against large windows with their faces difficult to see. (Before I left, I cased the joint thoroughly, so I have a better idea now of where to sit next time.) Fueled by good coffee and a decent (but not perfect) blueberry scone (yes, I’m picky about scones), I filled a few pages in my orange Uglybook, trying to get my people-sketching mojo back. Making all those portraits from photos the past couple of months was good practice, but it made me crave sketching people from life all the more. It felt good to be back at it.


Speaking of Uglybooks, the sketch at the top of the page is the first time I opened one up to sketch across the gutter. When I did, I realized that it is only a tiny smidge smaller than an A5 page! Often while sketching at Zoka, I had wished I’d had a toned sketchbook in A5 size so that I could use white pencil or gel pen for the window light. But I knew that as soon as I brought one instead of my usual white sketchbook, I would want the white one (and I had no intention of lugging around two A5 sketchbooks). Now that a color Uglybook is a daily-carry, it gives me the option of toned paper that is nearly as large as an A5. Sweet! Uglybooks are becoming more versatile every day.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Nordic Museum Interior

 

11/16/22 National Nordic Museum


We’ve visited the National Nordic Museum several times since it reopened in 2018, and we always enjoy both the exhibits and the café. Since I’ve already sketched many of the more sketchable artifacts, this time I focused on the building’s interior. The distinctive, modern architecture includes walls that slant at unexpected angles and polished, reflective floors. The upper-level exhibits are on two sides of the building connected by bridges. It’s all confusing and challenging, but it helped to keep the studies small. I had fun with the tall, skinny compositions.

Sketching interior views like these hasn’t always been of interest, but my 30-day challenge in studying compositions with IanRoberts’ concepts opened my brain to new ways of seeing. Now I find myself looking for compositions everywhere without consciously making that my goal.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Whimsy! Caran d’Ache Colour Treasure Maxi Graphite Pencils

 

Caran d'Ache Colour Treasure Maxi graphite pencils

When Caran d’Ache announced its Wonder Forest holiday collection in 2021, of course the limited-edition Prismalo bicolor set got my full attention, but none of the other products in the collection interested me much. The two model-849 ballpoint pens were OK, and the lovely forest green Sharpening Machine would have been nice if it didn’t leave bite marks on pencil barrels. Fortunately for my purse, nothing tempted me.

This year, however, is a different story. Caran d’Ache’s holiday Colour Treasure collection not only includes a new Prismalo bicolor pencil set; it also includes a set of Maxi graphite pencils. With ballpoint pens usually dominating the Swiss company’s gift offerings, pencils are getting equal billing this year. Until recently, I wasn’t enamored with Cd’A graphite, but I’ve lately had better experiences, so I grabbed the Maxis.

The shiny, metallic gold tin is identical to the one containing the bicolors set.


The design of the five HB-grade graphite pencils is similar to the Klein Blue graphite Maxi (which I reviewed last year at
the Well-Appointed Desk). The jumbo-size barrel has the same lovely matte finish and slightly convex, uncovered end. While the Caran d’Ache/Klein Blue co-branding was printed in white, Colour Treasure Maxi pencils have a gold embossed Cd’A logo befitting holiday cheer.

Top: new Colour Treasure Maxi; bottom: Caran d'Ache/Klein Blue collaboration


A slightly convex, unfinished finish

I was tickled to see that, coming from a company that gives the impression of being somewhat formal (some would say stuffy), each Colour Treasure Maxi pencil displays a whimsical expression.

Whimsy!

Comparing each with the Klein Blue, I found the HB graphite to be the same (see my review at the previous link to learn more about that). It’s a thick 5mm core, and the chunky barrel is comfortable to write and draw with. I love the feeling of the matte finish in my hand.

11/15/22 Colour Treasure Maxi HB pencil in Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook

Of course, I would have preferred something softer, but as I learned with Cd’A Grafwood pencils last summer, sometimes a pencil just needs to be paired with the right paper. Grafwood, which is too “slippery” for my taste on smooth paper that I would normally prefer with graphite, feels beautiful on velvety Stonehenge Lenox Cotton. With the Maxi, I tried Stillman & Birn Alpha, which has a slightly coarser tooth than Lenox Cotton. I think I prefer Lenox, but I’m on the right track to stay with toothy paper. I prefer Caran d’Ache graphite when it has something to grab.

These fun, colorful Maxis are good drawing pencils – but the bad news comes from the back end. I initially noticed that the factory sharpening revealed slanted collar tops (where the graphite meets the wood) – usually a sign of off-center cores. The bare ends tell the full story.

Slanted collar tops

Three of five cores are clearly off-center, and one is a bit off-center.

I have never seen any off-center cores on Cd’A’s high-end colored or graphite pencils. Maybe these holiday Maxis are considered novelty and not high end, but at this price (five for €24 at Penworld), it’s disappointing to find anything but perfectly centered cores.

OK, I’ll forgive you this time, Caran d’Ache, but only because the Maxis are lovely and also fun.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Wallingford Center: For the Hardy, Hardcore or Cozy

11/19/22 Wallingford Center behind trees

Located inside the restored Interlake Public School building, Wallingford Center is a spacious retail and business venue that was originally built in 1908. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s an ideal winter meetup location for USk Seattle because it offers shelter if the weather is bad and an old surrounding neighborhood if the weather is hospitable. On a brilliantly sunny but cold Saturday, a strong turnout of urban sketchers bundled up for the morning, though I must say that not many were hardy (or hardcore) enough to sketch outdoors.

Taekwondo Institute building
Chilled the whole time, even while standing in the sun, I’m not sure I qualify as hardy, so I must be hardcore. I started out with a sketch of an old building at the corner of North 45th and Burke Avenue North, which is currently the home of the Taikwondo Institute (at right). The building is actually blue and yellow, neither of which I have in my secondary triad palette, so I looked at it as a study in cool and warm by using dark violet and orange.

Needing to warm up, I went inside Wallingford Center, where the majority of sketchers had smartly and comfortably settled in. I think some of the center’s boutique shops didn’t survive the pandemic; I saw several shuttered spots and not many shoppers. In fact, I saw almost no one besides sketchers! At the end of one corridor, I found a beautiful, quarter-round-shaped window in the wall between the main hall and a stairwell. It was just the kind of thing I like to take on with a small value study.

Inside Wallingford Center





After that short break, I put my down parka and gloves back on to venture outdoors for one more sketch. The entrance of Wallingford Center with columns was mostly in shade, but from across the street, I got a good view of the airy, orange tree in front (top of post). I wanted to be sure to get the open panel truck, so I put that in first, and sure enough, it drove off shortly thereafter.

The hardy...

... and the cozy!

Not exactly mobbed with shoppers.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Golden! Caran d’Ache Colour Treasure Prismalo Bicolors

Caran d'Ache's third and latest Prismalo bicolor set: Colour Treasure!

Last holiday season, Caran d’Ache released a new set of
Prismalo bicolors as part of its Wonder Forest holiday theme. It had been two years since the first bicolors set was released around the same time of year (though without a holiday theme). I wondered then if I would have to wait another two years to see the next edition. To my delight, I had to wait only one year!

Caran d’Ache’s latest limited-edition Prismalo bicolors set is part of its Colour Treasure holiday collection. The collection also includes a set of Maxi-size graphite pencils, two styles of 849 ballpoint pens, a luxury Ecridor ballpoint pen, and a set of coloring postcards. Here’s what Caran d’Ache says about the new bicolors set:

COLOUR TREASURE: a rainbow of colours that brings out the inner child that lies in each and every one of us. Caran d’Ache makes the festive period truly magical with this sparkling and high-energy collection that delights all fans of colour. Twelve two-tone Prismalo water-soluble pencils, including 3 original combinations, offer 24 enchanting colours recalling childhood emotions that are constantly renewed.

A fan of color? Twenty-four enchanting ones that recall childhood emotions? Add to cart! (Actually, hold on, and I’ll tell you where it costs less.)

The Colour Treasure set comes with a watercolor brush.
(The shiny, reflective tin sure is difficult to photograph without turning into a selfie.)

The latest bicolors set comes in a shiny gold tin with the same design as the red Wonder Forest tin and the original silver tin. Like the Wonder Forest set, Colour Treasure comes with a watercolor paint brush. The original set came with a waterbrush. To recap, all three sets are shown below (a good excuse for eye candy).

From left: original 2019 set; 2021 Wonder Forest; 2022 Colour Treasure

Although the description says that the Colour Treasure set includes “3 original combinations,” the actual number of new colors is confusing. Compared to the previous two bicolor sets, I found four colors that have not been included before, but each is paired with a color that has been included in one of the other sets. To add to the confusion, the Colour Treasure set includes a metallic silver and gold pairing, which also appears in the Wonder Forest set – except in the Colour Treasure set, the metallic gold color is called Dark Gold (899), which looks identical to the previous Gold (499). Is Dark Gold new? I see no discernible difference. And if it’s the same as Gold, why change the number?

Four of the eight colors in the top four pencils are new. Got that?


To complicate matters further, none of the bicolors in any set has Prismalo color names or numbers printed on them. If you care about which colors are included, you have to download the color charts (usually provided by online vendors). Whew! I had to take a nap after all this, but as far as I can tell, these are the four colors in the Colour Treasure set that have not appeared previously (I’m not counting Dark Gold):

Veronese Green (201)
Reddish Orange (040)
Pale Yellow (011)
Emerald Green (210)




If I had to give an objective evaluation of the three bicolors sets, I’d have to say that Wonder Forest is probably the best bang for the buck – the widest range of colors and with unique holiday-ish pairings like red/green and silver/gold. The original set also contains a solid range, but includes only 10 pencils instead of 12. Colour Treasure duplicates eight pairings from other sets, and the new colors are too similar to others to add much value. In particular, Pale Yellow (011) is too pale to do much with.

But I quibble. Who am I to complain about any set of bicolor watercolor pencils by Caran d’Ache? I have no shame in saying that I love them all!

I used a Prismalo bicolor from the Wonder Forest set to
crosshatch this pug because I knew it was hard yet pigmented
enough to do the job (note the fine whiskers).
I used water sparingly to retain the crosshatched look.
As I’ve said before (see my post about the original set for a full review of the pencils’ performance), while Prismalo quality is nowhere near that of Museum Aquarelle or Supracolor, it has a legitimate place in Caran d’Ache’s product line (not to mention history). Harder and thinner than Supracolor, Prismalo sharpens to a beautiful, firm point that’s handy for details, yet it’s soft enough to cover small areas quickly.


My compact skyscapito sketch kit.



When I started making occasional sketches of sky activity early this year, I put together a compact kit of bicolors for those spontaneous thumbnails, sometimes made in the wee hours. I’ve been using the handy kit for skyscapitos ever since (at left). Prismalos are too hard to make me happy on location when I want to spread color quickly, but they are fine for making 2-by-3-inch sketches.

By our (my) picky standards now, Prismalo may seem so-so. Historically speaking, however, Prismalo quality must have dazzled colored pencil users back in the ‘30s when Caran d’Ache introduced them – the first watercolor pencil in the world. I recently learned that the artist Alberto Giacometti had used Prismalo for lithograph preparatory drawings in the ‘50s. I’ve tried quite a few vintage colored pencils, both traditional and watercolor, from that era, and none I know of can compare with Prismalo’s pigment quality (even my oldest set, which has less pigment than contemporary Prismalos).

The 2021 Wonder Forest set included the same watercolor brush as in the Colour Treasure set.
 (The top 6 pencils were new compared to the 2019 original set.)

The 2019 original set included 10 bicolors and a waterbrush.

All of this is just my geeky, long-winded way of saying I’m thrilled that Caran d’Ache has come out with a third bicolor set just in time for holiday gift-giving. (I’m still thanking myself for this early gift, which I even had the joy of opening! See below.)

Speaking of which, if you’re interested in such a gift (for yourself or others), as usual, the Colour Treasure set is not easy to find. Although a few US shops – Pen Chalet, Atlas Stationers, Gold Spot and Gentleman Stationer so far – are carrying the collection’s pens, postcards or graphite pencils, the only online sources I’ve found for the bicolors set are in Europe. The least expensive is Penworld in Belgium, where I got mine (with very reasonable shipping, too). Surprisingly, Penworld’s price is lower than that of either of the previous bicolor sets. In fact, Penworld’s prices for the whole Colour Treasure collection are lower than other sources. (I may have purchased another part of the collection. . . stay tuned.)

11/20/22 update: Penworld seems to have raised the price since I bought mine... and it's now out of stock! 

My order from Penworld: I love it when shops include a handwritten note and even lemon drops! And my pencil set was gift-wrapped! 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Layers of Color

11/14/22 Maple Leaf neighborhood

On our neighborhood walk last Sunday, I saw that the brilliant red maple on Northeast Fourth was at peak, flanked by two yellow trees. It was sunny but chilly; the next day was forecast to be the same. Instead of freezing on the sidewalk, I waited until Monday and sketched from the comfort of my car.

This is the same colorful block I sketched on Halloween two years ago (though I was parked further back that time). I remember clearly the beautiful, sunny day, just like this one. Families taking walks had stopped to chat together, carefully keeping their six feet of distance. Despite the ongoing pall of COVID preventing kids from being able to partake in trick-or-treating, neighborhood Halloween festivities were apparently going on. Two blue sharks walked by.

Sketching this street again brought all of that back. It’s the super power of urban sketching.

Friday, November 18, 2022

A Salute to the Lowly Bic

15 colors!
 

Although I’ve been sketching with Bic ballpoints sporadically for a while, it wasn’t until I took France Van Stone’s crosshatching courses that I learned to fully appreciate them as an art material. During InkTober when I was crosshatching (mostly) human portraits, I tried a few other types of pens that France used in demos, just to see what they were like as a crosshatching tool, but I kept going back to Bics.

1.6mm Xtra Bold tips

Since my first formal experience with hatching and crosshatching was by copying masters using traditional pen and ink, a particularly elegant medium for those techniques (when done by masters), it seems ironic to say that ballpoint crosshatching, when done well, can be almost as beautiful (not to mention faster and with less potential for tragic ink spills). My Bic crosshatching will never be as elegant as France’s (or other ballpoint artists I admire, as seen in the fantastic book, The Art of Ballpoint, by Matt Rota), but I’m good with that. The messy, “dirty” methods I learned from France suit my style and patience level, and I’ve found that Bic mark-making can be expressive and textural, which appeals to me. Although its appearance is different, Bic ink is strangely similar to pencil in application – its pressure sensitivity and in the way it builds up gradually in layers. Bics are the pencils of pens – no wonder I love them!

I think of Bic ballpoints as the lowliest of all my sketch materials (indeed, among the lowliest of art supplies and stationery products in general). In fact, they could possibly be the ideal Gilligan’s Island art medium: If I found myself stranded with absolutely nothing at all to draw with, surely I could sneak into any hotel on the island and help myself to a Bic from the counter. (I have done as much under far less dire circumstances.)

Xtra Bold and lots of drools.

It’s also an egalitarian art medium: There’s no distinction between “student grade” and “artist quality”; the snob value is equally distributed among all types of Bics (that is, equally little for all). Well, there might be a few exceptions, like
 the limited-edition, jewel-studded, gold-plated 4-Color (priced at 390€).

Unlike some pencils, which may have been inexpensive and utilitarian initially but became overly inflated in price due to scarcity, the ubiquitous and probably nearly universal Bic doesn’t seem to have much collectible value. OK, there might be an exception to that, too. By the time I found out that Bic had come out with a limited-edition, “collectible” 50th anniversary 4-Color pen, the anniversary had long gone by, and the pen was only available at inflated eBay prices. Still, the inflated price was only 7 bucks – easy to spring for.

Caution: If you go hunting online for the 50th anniversary edition, beware that some stores show packaging for the commemorative edition, but if you read the fine print, the stock they are selling is the standard 4-Color you can get anywhere. The 50th anniversary edition has a dark blue barrel, and among the standard four ink colors, green has been replaced with purple. (See my photo below.)

The inexpensive price of Bics means that they are easy to acquire – maybe a little too easy. Taking France’s courses prompted me to take inventory of all my Bics, and let’s just say I have a few. The fact that they are easier and much cheaper to buy in bulk quantity rather than singles unfortunately makes over-acquisition a problem. All that disposable plastic is also an issue, although most are refillable.

Shown at the top of the page is my latest purchase – a pack of 1.6mm Xtra Bold point Cristals in 15 colors. Some colors are duplicates of those in another pack I bought a few years ago, but I bought this recent pack for colors that are rare among ballpoints, such as metallic gold, brown and neon colors. (I used some of those new colors at the end of France’s “critters” course on the golden retriever and pink cow.)

From left: 50th anniversary Bic 4-Color, Velocity, 4-Color with stylus, 1.6mm Cristal

The Bics I used most often in France’s courses are shown at left: the classic 4-Color with medium points; the retractable Velocity with Xtra Bold point (that is strangely even more blobby and drooly than Cristals of the same point size); my newest 4-Color Grip with a stylus on the end; and the 1.6mm Xtra Bold Cristal in various colors.

Each of these has pros and cons. I like the convenient, retractable Velocity, which has a more comfortable barrel than the classic skinny Cristal, but the drooly ink is frustrating. (I don’t understand how a change in the body results in more drooly ink!) The 4-Colors also have more comfortable barrels than the Cristals. I don’t need the stylus, but that one has the additional benefit of better color-selection levers that engage more easily. It costs a few bucks more than a standard 4-Colour, but it has become my favorite Bic body. (If only the 4-Colors came with an Xtra Bold point option, my life would be perfect.)

Despite drooly, blobby ink, France favors 1.6mm Cristals because she can really lay down a lot of dark values quickly when aggressively crosshatching with them. Instead of wiping off the tip constantly as she does, I eventually accepted the blobs as part of the medium. By the end of InkTober, I had decided that I preferred to use a medium point Bic for most of the crosshatching and then finish off the darkest values with a 1.6mm Cristal. As the pencils of pens, this combo is similar to the way I might use HB and 4B graphite pencils together in a drawing.

A bouquet of Bics

So after all these musings, it seems the Bic is not so lowly after all. Whether scribbling a shopping list or making gallery-worthy art, it is rivaled only by a pencil in versatility (and has the added benefit of never needing sharpening). All hail the modest, ubiquitous Bic!

More posts about Bics:

Bic CMYK Colors (and Cristal UP Comments)

A Super-Cool Bic

Review: Bic 4-Color 3+1 Pen/Pencil

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Last of the Critters

11/10/22 Caran d'Ache bicolor pencil in Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook

These sketches are from the last three lessons in France Van Stone’s crosshatched critters course. They would have been fairly easy if I hadn’t given myself the additional challenge of eyeballing proportions instead of measuring. Although the golden retriever went well without measuring, both the pug and the cow gave me so much trouble that I had to start over with both. I’m going to show here the abandoned initial tries because I learned a lot from them.

With the adorable pug, I realized fairly quickly that the shape of the snout and depth of the head were wrong. I wasted only a few minutes before I scrapped it and started over. (All reference photos provided by France Van Stone.)

Several things went wrong here, but I abandoned
before wasting too much time.




By comparison, I eyeballed the golden retriever’s proportions and features well. I did have some trouble with the Bic pens I had chosen, however. I got a new pack that includes some interesting colors like metallic gold, which is rarely seen in ballpoints. Unfortunately, it’s a bit pale, especially on the yellowish Moleskine I used. When I saw that I was not going to be able to get the darkest values dark enough, I went in with a brown Bic (from the same pack; if you’re curious about my other Bic colors, say no more – a whole post on Bics is coming up!).

11/11/22 Bic ballpoint in Moleskine sketchbook


The cow in the last lesson turned out to be the most challenging. I saw early on that important proportions and features were wrong – the eye too close to the center of the face, the snout twisted and pointy, giving it a vaguely deer-like look – and I must have wasted 20 minutes trying to “fix” them. The good news is that by the time I finally abandoned the sketch and started over, I had learned enough about what went wrong that I finished the re-do in 20 minutes.

Many important proportions went wrong, and
I spent a lot of time "fixing."



11/12/22 Bic ballpoint in Moleskine sketchbook

The moral of the story is that the second I see something important is going wrong, I need to abandon immediately and move on to a re-do, because it’s likely that proportional errors can’t be corrected. But the abandoned version is not a total waste because I will have learned what I needed to from it, and the second try will go much faster.

Perhaps a second moral is that measuring is useful; I probably could have saved the most time overall simply by measuring to begin with. Still, I think it’s important and useful to develop my eyeballing skills, which I intend to continue practicing.

I was a little sad to finish the last lesson; I’ve really enjoyed the critters course and looked forward to viewing and then practicing each lesson. I have wanted to learn to crosshatch for a long time, but I knew that the meticulous, time-consuming methods used by many crosshatching artists I admire are just not my style. After working through two courses with France, I learned how to love and appreciate crosshatching in a way that suits my own style (and Frances, when she chooses to; she is also beautifully capable of the meticulous, time-consuming methods). The longer I draw, the more I understand and accept that techniques I learn will only “stick” if they fit in with who I am.

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