Soooo this was supposed to be day 15 of #worldsketchbookmonth. I started in a Canson XL watercolor sketchbook, ended up with the DISASTER you see below, and then switched to Arches. I’ve vowed never to use non-100% cotton watercolor paper again for straight up watercolor. I’m happy enough with the result, though I messed up the wires. Based on this YouTube tutorial.
Bonus: Prem really enjoyed watching the tutorial with me.
I’ve wanted an art subscription box forever. In early August, I broke down and subscribed to Sketchbox (referral link) after I did some research on my options like Artsnacks and Scrawlrbox. The other options seemed less reliably good month-to-month from what I could tell.
I wanted a subscription art box not for a good deal (which it isn’t, really, though it isn’t terrible, either) but to try new mediums. This month’s box was full of water-soluble graphite – along with two regular(ish) pencils. It contained 3 Spectrum Noir Colortint pencils, a custom Sketchbox set of Derwents, a nice Zebra mechanical pencil (which I gave to Palmer because it’s a .07 and I like .05), and a Princeton size 4 filbert paintbrush. There are two tiers of boxes: basic and premium. I originally signed up for basic because moneys, but after watching some videos about them on Youtube, I switched my subscription to premium – though not early enough to avoid basic as a first box. It turned out fine because the only difference was the quality of the 3 standalone pencils: the premium box got Caran d’Ache. That’s a great brand, but I don’t know enough about water-soluble graphite to care, really.
Anyway, the first thing I did was a page of swatches, dry and then wet:
You can barely see it, but that Sage Derwent has a lovely shimmer. I was really impressed by all of them, though I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the dark and light washes at the bottom.
After the swatches, I drew my very first hydrangea with these pencils. I’d painted one with watercolors some time ago, but I really wanted to learn to draw one because these flowers are soooooo beautiful drawn. The result is outline-heavy, but I’m happy with it.
Aaaaand that’s it. I’m a huge fan of Sketchbox because now I’ve tried a medium I’d never thought about. I probably had a couple of plain water-soluble pencils somewhere around here, but I’d never used them, and I certainly hadn’t ever used tinted graphite. Since next month is Inktober, I assume the October box will involve ink, which is cool. I’m looking forward to it!
Here are two versions of the same painting – one with student-grade paint and one with professional. The student grade is SOHO acrylic from Jerry’s Artarama, which I always order for my library programs since it’s inexpensive and decent. The other is Golden acrylic, which is waaaay more expensive and waaaaay more pigmented. You get what you pay for.
You can probably tell which is which pretty easily. Hint: the one on the left is the SOHO. One disclaimer: the yellow I used for the leaves is different: in the one on the left, I used yellow ochre, and in the one on the right, I used cadmium yellow medium.
Why have I painted three copies of this pumpkin, you ask? I’ve started making circulating paint parties at work. Twelve library branches will be offering this program, and my only involvement is sending the kit, which includes a traceable, graphite transfer paper, instructions, and 12 easels. There are three paintings because I want to make these programs so easy to facilitate that branches can’t say no – so staff doesn’t even have to paint anything before the program. Several of them have painted during the program, though, which is awesome.
Anyway, since I had to paint this thing three times, I used better paints in two of them to make it a more pleasant experience for myself. For one, I don’t have an orange in my office, so I had to mix red and yellow for the pumpkin (first world problems, I know). When branches ask to do the programs, I send them a suggested supplies list, and it included orange so patrons won’t have to mix. I also painted on gessoed and sanded (by me) MDF board, which I find SO much more pleasant than canvas. MDF is smooth, and I don’t have to dig paint into divets like canvas.
I should probably say that I still love SOHO paint. It’s fantastic for the price, and the library certainly can’t afford to buy professional paint for everyone. Also, inspiration for this painting came from the internets: the pumpkin from a how-to-draw-a-pumpkin tutorial and the pumpkin face from this Art Sherpa traceable.
Last month the library had JAWS paint parties, and they went really well. I’m looking forward to what happens with this one!
Sometimes I wonder why I keep this ridiculous amount of washi tape, but sometimes I’m glad I have it.
Ahh, a nice clean edge.
This is a work in progress based on a photo by Sunyu Kim on Pexels. I started with the sky in acrylics, then decided that the only way I’m going to get the gradient I want is with oils. This is an acrylic underpainting with a looooovely clean water line. Hopefully I can finish this one this weekend. I’m not very good at oils yet, so we’ll see how it turns out.