Sunday, September 24, 2017

Random Project of the Week - Artwork with lettering

Last week's random project was a painting/collage with lettering. I actually didn't create this piece last week, but I did apply the varnish to it a few days ago. I used the definition of the word "hobby" to remind myself that my hobbies are supposed to be fun and make me happy instead of being frustrating because I can't do them perfectly or because they become competitive.

For the sheet music I copied a page out of a book using the copy machine then aged the normally bright white copy paper using paint and water and by tearing one edge. Gluing it to the canvas didn't go quite as planned, though; I couldn't seem to flatten out all the wrinkles. It...was my first time...

This was my second painting with lettering and I would like to do more in the future. Below is my first painting with lettering I made a few months ago.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

From the Sketchbook - Fun with toned paper

I recently bought this pad of brown sketch paper and a white pen and I had a lot of fun using them to draw these dog cartoons...except when I was trying to get that terrible white pen to work. 👎 I used the white pen and a white pencil for the highlights, a couple shades of gray from my Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen set for the shading, and my good ol' Zebra Sarasa gel pen for the outlines.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New set of markers! (or pens...or markers...or...?)

Updated on 9/15/21

I like to play with markers occasionally, but I only ever used the cheap kinds like Sharpies and Bic Mark-its... Until now! I finally decided to buy some artist grade markers. I went with Faber-Castell's PITT Artist Pens after reading about their excellent lightfastness ratings.

I've been playing with my new set of PITT Artist Pens for a little while now and I am liking them so far. Most of the pens I bought have brush nibs and they are more like markers (well, they are markers... right?). The brush nibs are somewhat flexible and they feel nice and smooth on paper. They can produce thick and thin lines, but I also bought some pens with the 0.7 mm and 0.3 mm nibs for even thinner lines.
My first test with these pens was to see how they blended (I really wanted markers that blend!). I first tried blending using a waterbrush. The India ink in these pens is water-based, so I was able to wet it and use it like watercolors, but the ink dried a little too quickly around the edges and didn't blend cleanly. I then tried layering and using different shades of color in between like I usually do with my Bic markers. That's when I discovered that if another pen is rubbed into ink that has already been applied to the paper it will eventually moisten the ink enough that the two colors will blend nicely.

It will take some experimentation to find the right paper. I found that the ink is super moist and can ruin the surface of some papers when blending and layering (I initially used 18 lb. marker paper). I had to use a heavier paper, but even on 140 lb. mixed media paper, the ink can get a little too moist if the pens are layered too many times. Also, the ink can be "reactivated" on certain papers more easily than others. When using these pens with watercolors, I found that 100% cotton watercolor paper by Bee Paper works well, but I must be patient and wait for the ink to dry completely to avoid smudging.

Here are the pros and cons for me:

  • Ink flow is consistent and drawing is smooth
  • Colors can be mixed and blended to some degree
  • Recently dried ink can be remoistened for blending
  • Waterproof when allowed to dry thoroughly on certain papers
  • Mistakes can be partially erased using water if the ink is not allowed to dry thoroughly
  • Ink does not bleed through paper (unless too much ink is applied on thin paper)
  • Ink is "pH-neutral" and "extremely lightfast" (they say - I haven't tested this myself)

    • Ink is too moist to allow for much blending and layering on thinner paper
    • Recently dried ink can be smudged with another pen or sweat from your hand
    • Brush nibs can fray with only moderate use
    • For some of the pens, the color on the barrel does not match the color of the ink

      Bic Mark-it markers vs. Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens
       I am able to mix my own colors using the PITT Artist Pens
      while the Bic markers can only be layered.

      Overall I'm happy with my new pens (markers?) and I look forward to playing with them some more. I even made a video of the creation of my first larger pieces using them.