Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stallion and Dogs from Life

Ballpoint pen sketches of horse head two poses, dogs, hooves and feet.

Today I played with a bigger sketchbook, 9" x 12" and sketched in ballpoint pen so that I'd have a loose expressive line without worrying about pressing too hard. That can be a problem with brush tip pens or Pigma Microns, if I get carried away I mash the tips and lose their precision. I have a heavy hand. Works well in ballpoint where by going lightly I can sometimes get a nice halftone scribble too.

The paper isn't one of my beautiful archival journals or sketchbooks either, it's just a 30 sheet sketch paper pad that specifically says for illustration or perfecting techniques. It doesn't even say Acid Free. Anything that comes out really well on this probably ought to get sprayed in Make It Acid Free buffer from Krylon.

My daughter trimmed two horses at that stop, but the two year old filly was restless and bounced around a lot. Her owner was in the way of her face for most of it though I got her hooves. The stallion was sweet, patient and calm. He kept moving his head between those two poses so I was able to draw his face well. That owner also has four super friendly dogs and I sketched some of them as well, may eventually draw them all. They're fun.

Earlier we visited and she trimmed some Clydesdales. They were gorgeous and if I'd been a bit more awake I'd have drawn them too. Definitely want to have a go next time! The owner's a new customer who breeds Clydesdales and likes Kitten a lot so we'll be back in six to eight weeks looking after the giant sweet tempered horses. Maybe next time I'll sit a bit closer to them and find a good vantage point. They were stunning and very mellow.

You don't need expensive supplies to start up daily life sketching. Bob Davies recommends using the back sides of printouts and letters you get, just stick them in a report holder and sketch with whatever pen or pencils some company gave you for free. We have access to almost unlimited sketching materials.

Back in Leonardo da Vinci's time, paper was rare and all of it 100% rag expensive stuff not much cheaper than parchment. Sketchbook space thus was limited and his page layouts show it. I've been getting into medieval and Renaissance art lately - but one thing about it is a reminder of how lucky I am to have the copious supplies I do and wonderful vivid pigments with a wide variety of effects.

My Blick order came today, two days faster than the guaranteed date. I'm back to being close to a distribution center in a state that's not charging sales tax on it! Whee! It was so much fun. About a third of the order was goodies for Sascha, bound sketchbook, calligraphy pens, Pitt Artist Pens, manga paper and her own Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

Remember how I struggled with that for a month before I began taming its thick-thin line? My granddaughter Sascha got it on her first try and loved it. She turned those big brown kitty eyes on me and bounced at me. I had to get her one for herself, she promptly used it last night to fill the first page of her sketchbook with a close-up big anime face. Well, eye, nose and hair, very emotional ECU on a character's eye. Striking design. The kid still has extraordinary natural composition skills.

I'm fondly looking at ten redundant colored inks knowing that this time I'm going to use them a lot more often. Once my stuff comes down from the attic it'll be fun, I'll have some to share when bringing this stuff to SCA events to the scribe table. Art is fun at home but even more fun out with other artists!

Plus I've got the gold leafing kit now, but I have a contest to enter that won't involve using it so that can just sit to the side for its own projects. April 16 is a contest for Pre-Print design - three different award scrolls need an original design in pen on paper that'll be printed up for volunteers to color. This is actually period, the calligrapher, gold leafer and painter weren't always the same person. Some people don't do calligraphy, just enjoy painting pre-prints.

I like doing my own illumination, the painting and gold details are the fun part after the stress of avoiding errors in calligraphy. In drawing, I make fewer errors and fixes are easier. I pencil first of course but I don't try to copy the shapes of calligraphy letters in pencil and work to those - though I might for the Pre-Print Competition. I want to create entries for all three of the awards, in the hope one of mine will win and be used regularly, colored and painted by lots of people all over the region.

I always wondered who designed the pre-prints and how they were chosen. Now I know and it's a great system. I need to do some offline research too and make it a nice authenticity project because I'm up against people like university professors who have been doing scrolls and research for decades.Against that, I have, basically, art and design experience. It's a fair challenge, a real stretch! I will be happy if any of them win and glad to have entered if none do. 

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