Arty Advent Day 8: The Pencil Case Challenge

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

One of the many challenges I have noted down in my notebook to try is The Pencil Case Challenge.  This one involves swapping pencil cases with a fellow artist and creating a piece using just the supplies inside.

My artist friend (Cayden) didn’t feel ready to have a go but happily handed over his pencil case.

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Inside were these lovely goodies.

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Step 1: swatching.

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Cayden likes blue.  That gold that you can’t read because of my atrocious camera skills is Shimmering Sands ink by Diamine, in a fine nib Moonman pen.

I took on this challenge on a game night, so I wasn’t focused entirely on the artwork. As a result I wasn’t finished by the time Cayden went home.  But he was due to come and visit again in a couple of weeks and promised not to change the contents of his pencil case in the meantime.

When Cayden had to go home I’d done the sketching.  I’d come up with some kind of design, decided the hat was too big, erased it with this nifty cute little eraser…

 

 

 

…changed the orientation of the page a few times and finalised the image.

Now, this is where I’d normally show you what I did manage to do.  Except that for some unknown reason I didn’t take a photo.  So I can’t.  What I can show you is what I started the next session with, which isn’t quite the same thing.  Because I cheated a little.

Since I happened to have two of the exact same pens, in the interveneing weeks I used the Uniball Air to outline her hair, and the Zebra Mildliner to fill in her face.

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(I have just now – literally as I write this – realised that on my swatching page I wrote “mild liner” twice instead of writing the actual colour.  It’s mild blue, if you’re interested.)

In the second session I had with the pencil case I…

  • used the Tombow Brush Pen to fill in the hat.
  • filled in the hair a little more.
  • added another layer to her face with the mildliner.
  • used the Fire and Ice ink by Robert Oster in the TWSBI 58AL fountain pen to fill in the eyes.
  • used the afore-mentioned Shimmering Sands ink to do the detail on the hat band – which I left to fully dry overnight before erasing the pencil beneath out of fear of smudging it.
  • redid the outling of the face with the Uniball Air.

 

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The blue smudge on the right side there is because I was an idiot and did some layering and testing on the back of the paper.  But other than that I’m really happy with this piece.  I wish I could have taken a picture of the hat band that shows how awesome that ink it.  I can show you this little bit though, which helps but still doesn’t really do it justice. This is from where I was testing to see if erasing pencil after inking would ruin the sheen.

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I’d really like to do this challenge again, but I don’t have any other friends in real life who are artists.  Maybe one day.   Or maybe I could ask Cayden to curate a special pencil case for me.  We’ll see.

Arty Advent Day 7: Huevember

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

So despite not having completed Inktober, when the month rolled over to November I decided to take on a second consecutive monthly art challenge.

One of the things I struggle with when drawing my monsters is what shape to start with.  So to make it easy, every image for Huevember would begin with a circle.

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Initially I wanted to use my alcohol markers, because I love using them.  So I had some more swatching fun.

Some days ended up close enough, like Day 1.  Some days were spot on, like Day 3.  And some days weren’t very close but they’d have to do, like Day 4.

 

But eventually I had my palette.

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This is where I made my first mistake. I noticed that some brands feathered quite badly on this paper…

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…and I chose to ignore it.  Because I love my alcohol markers and I was commited to that particular square sketchbook.  But then I started colouring.

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So.  Much.  Bleed.

This is the point where I wised up and decided to use a different medium.  So I got out my beautiful Faber Castell Polychromo pencils and got with the swatching again.  Until I had another pretty palette.

 

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Never one to keep things simple, I decided here that things needed a little extra challenge.  I have a page in my bullet journal that looks like this…

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When I can’t decide what to draw, I grab my dice and provide myself with some pieces that I HAVE to include.  Wouldn’t it be fun if all my Huevember pieces used this chart?

The problem I’ve found is that I roll a lot of high numbers for number of things to include.  So some of my monsters have come out looking a little odd.  But that’s okay.  All my drawings are a little odd.  I’M a little odd.

By the end of November I hadn’t completed Huevember.  I had 14 completed pieces…

 

…three inked pieces waiting to be coloured…

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…two sketched pieces waiting to be inked and coloured…

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…and 11 blank pieces of paper.

I am not partaking of a monthly art challenge in December – unless you count this Arty Advent blogging thing I’m doing – but I do plan on finishing Huevember by the end of the month.  And then in January there’s Art Jounral January, or Creatury….

PS: I can’t leave a monster unfinished so I finished that monster from the false start.

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Arty Advent Day 6: Platonic Doodle Date Follow Up

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

After our Platonic Doodle Date back in October, both Cayden and I decided that our rushed 10 minute pieces had a lot of potential.  So we took the same scribble…

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…and the same colour palette..

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…and drew the same pieces, but with no time limit.

Cayden’s transformation looked like this.

 

 

And my transformation looked like this.

 

 

I think mine was slightly more drastic, but they both look excellent now 🙂

We’re both working on follow ups to the 20 minute challenge too, so keep an eye out for that.

Arty Advent Day 5: My 100th Post

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

This is my 100th post.  For it I needed a special piece of art.

A week or so ago I made a washi tape collage inspired by an image I’d found on Pinterest.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with it though, so it’s been sitting in my sketchbook.

When I realised that my 100th post was upcoming I decided to put the numbers 1, 0 and 0 on that collage.  But they couldn’t just be plain numbers.  I considered fancy lettering, but went with what I’ve been enjoying for months.  I made monsters in the shapes of the numbers.

Cutting them out was fun.  I used Faber Castell’s Mixed Media pad which is 250gsm.  Not the thickest in the world, but thick enough to be sturdy.  And thick enough to mean my scissors weren’t working well.  I tried several different pairs but couldn’t get a nice clean edge in some places.  Still, that’s what the magic of black edges are for.

And I couldn’t just stick them on the collage.  I needed a bit of oomph, so I used sticky pads so they’d raise off the page a little.

So here’s to 100 blog posts, and to many hundreds more.

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Arty Advent Day 4: My First Inktober

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

This year I undertook my first Inktober.  For those who don’t know, Inktober was created by Jake Parker in 2009 and it’s a worldwide challenge where artists do one ink drawing a day for the month of October.  Over the years the rules have become more lax.  For a lot of people, Inktober just means doing an art piece – whether that’s ink or pencil or digital art or paint.  And in the last year or two there’s been a prompts list.

When I initially chose to do Inktober I didn’t plan on using the prompts.  I was still very much at the “I can draw monsters and nothing else” phase.  I wasn’t sure I could make things themed, or scenic.  But with some encouragement from my friends I decided I could look at the prompts and see if I could fit one or two of my monsters in.

I ended up getting all 31 to fit the prompts.  Some links are a wee bit tenuous, but they’re there.  I didn’t complete it in time… I finished on November 11th… but I did complete it and that’s a huge thing.  I definitely look forward to doing it again next year.

Arty Advent Day 3: Digital Dinosaurs

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

One of the ways I’d love to expand my art is digitally.  I have very little experience in it. I did a couple of years of a digital photography course a decade ago that involved some Photoshop, but I remember almost literally nothing about it.

I got a Wacom Intuos Draw a while ago but can’t really get the hang of it.

I know that practice makes perfect, but when I’m really bad at something it impedes my desire to try again.  I will have another go… at some point.

Cayden has a tablet that he can use a stylus on and he traced one of his drawings to make it digital.  I had a go at that with mine and it came out wonky.  I have absolutely no idea why.

If you know why, please let me know.

In the meantime there is a form of digital art that I can do.  I can take traditional illustrations…

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…scan them and colour them.

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There were a few steps in between.  Like leveling and tidying up and all that jazz.  And my “colouring” was basically using the paint bucket tool.  But it’s still progress 🙂

I’ve gathered some tutorials for making clipping masks and other fancy things like that, so my digital colouring will progress, even if my digital drawing still needs some encouragement.

Arty Advent Day 2: Copic Colour Conversion Conundrum

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

In November I wrote about how my Platonic Doodle Date challenge with a friend was delayed by my need to work out the corresponding colour of Copic markers for all my not-Copic markers.

I wrote about how the 358 available Copic colours were not enough, and that some of my markers just not match any Copic.  I ended up with this mess.

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Well I couldn’t just leave it like that, could I?

Before I neatened it up I had another go at colour matching.  I found a Copic colour swatch image by CartoonGirl17 on Deviant Art…

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And I swatched all my markers on the edge of strips of card to make it easier to match.

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Of course holding white card up to a laptop screen distorts what you’re seeing, so I printed the Copic chart off.  I know that doesn’t make it particularly exact, but it gives me something I can work from.

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I struggled with the same problems as last time.  Some of my colours just didn’t match any of the Copics.  Some Copic numbers ended up with several completely different coloured markers attached.

 

I do have a handful of Copic markers, and so I have true swatches for those in the appropriate boxes.  Copic at the top by the name, other brands at the bottom of the box.  Like this one…

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But I’d really like to be able to find a way to get actual swatches of the rest.  I don’t personally know anyone with any Copics at all, let alone the whole set.  And I’m fairly sure the YouTubers I follow are too busy to draw out 358 swatches and post them to me.

If anyone reading this can help, please get in touch. In the meantime I have 20 markers that I could not assign to any Copics, even with my loose definitions of “matching”.  If you happen to recognise any of these colours as Copics, please let me know.

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And I have 30 sheets of 250gsm A5 card waiting to be filled in with pretty coloured swatches as I gain more markers.

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I tried out several different styles that used up less card, but I like having the full list ready to be added to, and plenty of room for multiple swatches per colour.  I might bind the pages into a book at some point.  I’ll make sure to share how I do it if I do.