Thursday, October 14, 2010

From the Art Journal: Grid, Typography, Silhouette

Yet another grid.

I haven't shared any art journal pages with you lately, mainly because I haven't been creating many.  When I posted my last page, I mentioned that I was feeling rather dissatisfied with the pages that I was creating.  But apparently I wasn't as dissatisfied as I thought, for not long after completing that art journal I began to want to start another one.  The problem was finding the right notebook....

I wanted a spiral bound notebook this time so that it would lay completely flat and pages could be removed easily to prevent the book from bulging open with the addition of collage.  I also wanted something very cheap, and possibly with brown paper.  Finally, I found what I was looking for at Michaels.  It was called a "Papier Mache Journal", had brown paper, and was spiral bound.  It was a bit smaller than I wanted and the spiral binding was inferior (when open, the front and back covers don't align properly, for example), but it would do.

I work very slowly, so I only have three complete page spreads since I began this journal at the beginning of September.  The first page spread (shown above) is yet another grid.  I have a thing about grids lately, and I don't know why - I just love creating them.  Speaking of grids, iHanna had a great art journal page of grids and lines on her blog lately; I love the look of order and disorder, although her colours are very different from the ones I would choose.

A mess of words.

The second page spread was especially fun and easy to do.  I felt like I was back in elementary school cutting out words and gluing them on the page.  Some of the quirky combinations of words on the page amuse me: "changing world" next to "nothing changes", and "lust" next to "surrender", for example.  The pages still have a few holes in them (I was running out of magazines to look through), so there's still room for a few more words.

Odds and ends: silhouette, collage, Celtic knotwork, and more.

Finally, this last page spread is rather eclectic collection of elements: a messy painted background, collage, doodles, a silhouette, and Celtic knotwork.  I'm not sure if I entirely like this page yet; perhaps it is not quite finished.  Maybe I should add some lettering, or more paint?  Or just leave it as it is?

I have at least three more page spreads that are currently in progress, although it will probably take another month or more before I finish them.

Do you keep an art journal?  If so, what kind of pages do you create in it?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens

I had been wanting to buy some Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens for a while, but had been consistently put off by the price.  Finally, last month I broke down and bought a set of four at Michaels with one of their 40%-off coupons.  Although I have been using them off and on for the last few weeks, I can tell that I will need to spend much more time with these pens.  So don't take this review as the final word.

The set I bought comes in a reusable plastic case and contains four black pens, each with a different tip size: super-fine, fine, medium, and brush.

My favourite so far is the super-fine; I just love the way this pen feels on the paper.  As soon as I begin using it, I feel like covering the whole page with lines and doodles.  However, there doesn't really seem to be enough difference between the super-fine and the fine, and between the fine and the medium.  I'm not sure about the brush.  The only brush pen I ever used before was the Sakura Pigma Brush, whose tip I managed to wreck after only a few days of use, so it was a disappointment.  The tip of the Pitt Artist Pen brush feels harder than that of the Sakura Pigma, so I am hopeful that it will turn out better, but I'm still uncertain how actually to use a brush pen.

The black India ink of these pens is excellent.  It ranks among the blackest of blacks and, according to the package, is waterproof, smudge-proof, and extremely lightfast.  I haven't used these pens with watercolours yet, but I'm sure that I will be doing so in the future.  And the ink certainly does seem to dry very quickly.  Keep in mind that although these are "art" pens, there is no reason why you couldn't use them as ordinary writing pens as well, and I think that the fine or super-fine would be especially nice for that.

Finally, because these are intended as art pens, I wasn't expecting much in the way of a snazzy design or comfortable grip.  However, they do have a rather serious and professional look, and are not uncomfortable to use.  They are much more comfortable than the Sakura Pigma Micron, which has a sharp edge that digs into my finger and that I find almost impossible to use for even a short time.

These pens are fun to draw with, so much so that I wish I was better at drawing so that I had something nicer to show you than this page of doodles:

I even had to cover up a particularly bad drawing on the left with three of the pens!  Hopefully, I will improve with practice and maybe now that I have these pens I will feel like practicing my drawing more often.

Before I leave, I would also like to urge you to head over to Notebook Stories to read a very detailed review of Arwey notebooks and to have a chance to win one of the same notebooks.  Good luck!

Related reviews: David Wasting Paper, Paint Daubs, Artista Blog.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Daily Arsenal

These are the items that I find myself reaching for most often these days:
  1. Quo Vadis Habana notebook, small, black cover, unlined pages - This is my current journal, and I absolutely love it.  If I miss a day or two without writing in my journal, I don't feel quite settled until I have written in it again.  The notebook itself is wonderful: it is plain and simple so that I don't get tired of it, and the smooth, creamy paper is a joy to write on.
  2. Staples Better Binder - If you read my last post, you will know why this is on the list.  This binder contains my planner, as well as all the notes I need for my classes.  It is also an excellent, durable binder (and it's lime green!).
  3. My pencil case - I love this pencil case, and I think it is very close to being perfect.  I especially love how it displays all of my pens for my perusal, and keeps them in order (I like to keep my pens in a particular order).  More thanks to my mother for making this for me!
  4. Staedtler Polo 0.5mm mechanical pencil - I'm not a big pencil user, but I do always have at least one mechanical pencil on hand, although I'm not too fussy about the kind that I use.  I think this one originally was part of a geometry set; I love it's bold black and yellow colours.
  5. A few pens - I have a number of pens in my pencil case, but a subset of these get used more frequently.  The ones that I'm using most these days include the Pentel Slicci, Sharpie Pen (both original and grip versions), Uni-ball Jetstream, and Pilot FriXion.
What's in your daily arsenal?

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