Monday, October 6, 2014

More #INKtober days 4-5-6

#31 Days #31 Drawings

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 Still working here with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen in a Moleskine Sketchbook. But very unhappy with the paper.

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#INKtober has been a good experience for me so far, in that it's helping me clarify my materials choices. I began a few posts ago by telling you that I was going to use a Moleskine sketchbook that I had started in 2012, but had only used a few pages of. I was excited by the prospect of 1.) not wasting the book and 2.) have all my #INKtober sketches in one place.

The challenges for me were going to be working in black and white only, and improving my skill with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. 

Well, things don't always work out as we plan.  I used to use a Moleskine sketchbook all the time. I have several of them filled with sketches. Then I moved on to the Pentalic Nature Sketch, sketchbook, which I still recommend (except that it has a paper cover and on a spiral bound book that means that the cover is going to most likely come all, or partially off just through wear and tear, if they ever make a sketchbook with a sturdier cover I would definitely go back to it). After that, Stillman & Birn appeared on the scene and I was immediately hooked. Best sketchbooks out there, in my opinion.  Still, I don't always use a S&B sketchbook, sometimes I like a book with watercolor paper in it, as opposed to mixed media paper.

I've read that Moleskine recently changed the paper in their watercolor sketchbooks and notebooks, I'm not sure if they have in their sketchbooks. In any case the book I'm using is at least from 2012, and perhaps older.  Me, no longer liking the paper, which I used to use Faber-Castell Artist Brush Pens on and then UniBall Vision pens and Yarka watercolors, may be entirely due to the fact that now I work differently.

Then there's the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, which many, many people love. It's a very expressive tool. I've been trying for quite a while to learn to use it well. Sometimes I get great results, which often look like wood block prints. But other times I just don't like the look.  It's one of those very bold tools that show every mark, so you have to be very careful about where you place your line and the quality of the line.  If you are using line to find your way through a drawing (scribbly, repeatedly restating a line) and using this pen you'll end up with heavy black blotchy areas pretty quickly.  So I'm coming to the conclusion that I like this pen for somethings but not others.

The paper in the Moleskine which seemed far waxier and resistant then I remember it was a problem with this pen for me. The ink at first would bead up a little but then go on, but then as it dried it seemed to sink into the paper and become dull. 

First thing I did was make the decision to give up my hope of having all my #INKtober work in one place. I decided to simply incorporate the sketches into my daily sketchbook. That solved the paper problem. (see sketch of the barred owl above). But it still didn't solve the problem of whether or not I liked the look of the sketch made with that particular pen.  So today I made a complete break and worked in my regular sketchbook (at present a Handbook Journal Co. Field Book filled with cold press Fluid watercolor paper), with my Pilot Falcon flex nib fountain pen, Noodler's black ink and various acrylic markers because I could no long stand to be without at least some color.

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I never want these group sketchbook challenges to be torturous, they're supposed to be inspiring and fun!  So, although I had to rework some of my materials, (well, OK all of them) and reinvent my goals, which are now to 1.) complete the #INKtober challenge, 2.) use any pen in black, 3.) use minimal color as an  accent.  I'm much happier, and more likely to meet goal #1 and excited to keep going.  

It's always important to take charge of what you're doing and make it work for you. So while a few days ago I was dreading the rest of this month now I feel happier about it.  Once again, this is about me, enjoying my art.  Enough said!

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