Today, I share a glimpse into my current sketchbook. It’s an Arteza watercolour A4 sketchbook.
I’ve completed all the drawings in boxes now, and am adding colour to them using watercolours, graphitint watercolours, graphitint pencils and/or inktense pencils.
The paper is rather nice to draw on with Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens or a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen.
On the cover page I swatched my collection of Inktense pencils, using a damp brush to bring their true colours out.
Inktense pencils are intense in colour when activated with water. Also, once activated with water and dry they are permanent.
I like all the media I’ve used so far on this page. Which I use does depend on my mood. Today, I wanted to choose an inktense palette of colours that is like the rusty colours I’ve been using with watercolours.
I really am drawn to this colour palette in my work at the moment. The dark blues, rich red-browns, blue-greys, earthy-dark greens and the vibrant mustards. One day I’ll look up the psychology of these colours and see how they relate to my mood/life at this time. But not today.
I did spend some time working on a second typographic portrait of Aneurin Bevan yesterday, using a photographic reference that had more detail in it in terms of grey scale.
Before bed, I wanted to relax with some colour (1). For some reason, I pulled out my set of Tombow Dual Brush pens and tried working with them on an A5 piece of Arteza mixed media paper. Hand lettering with gradients, with and without black outlines resulted, and then I wanted to try drawing with colour gradients.
To create gradients, I held the tip of one pen on top of the tip of the other. I then used the lower pen to draw or write with. I used the bullet nib for the lower examples. I used the brush nib for the larger lettering and also the leaves and flowers and so on.
I made some notes as I went, to remind me what I did and what I liked about them. I used a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen to do this, which is also waterproof. So, I used it to add lines.
This morning, I wanted to start my arty day experimenting with alcohol inks, once again (2, 3 and 4). All because I’d watched a YouTube videos where people use a straw to blow the ink and alcohol blending solution/rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol/propan-2-ol around the yupo paper.
One helpful piece of advice I heard along the way was it’s best to use only a small amount of alcohol ink. Which is what I did. One drop to start with and then add more ink of the same or different colour(s) as needed.
It took me a while to work out not to blow as hard as I could, and to try different angles to hold the straw at, as well as moving the ink in different directions.
I’m much happier with the results this time, though the scans have bleached the colours out a little. I really must work out the best settings on my scanner so that this doesn’t happen.
Anyway, I need to find a way to seal the alcohol ink so I can draw on top of it without wrecking the pens. I also want to do some better scans so I can make use of these alcohol ink backgrounds in digital art.
Today I want to continue work on the typographic portrait. This second one seems to be building up more quickly than the first one. I think that’s all due to me becoming familiar with the process and accepting that my hand lettering based on my handwriting is good enough. I’m also working out my own ways to fit letters to curves and the shapes at the ends of the sections.
So, all of these activities – using waterbased media, hand lettering, hand drawn typography, and alcohol ink backgrounds all have one thing in common – practice, practice, practice!