bookplate blanks

July 2nd, 2010

Since I’d already brought the bookplate into vector for other reasons, I figured I’d post up some blanks in case people want to make their own. You can print them on regular paper and use rubber cement or glue sticks (the latter might get a little lumpy) or you can print them on adhesive paper – either way.

Download Illustrator File 01
Download Illustrator File 02

Illustration Friday: Satellite

July 1st, 2010

Ok, well, this is one I can’t tell if it’s any good at all. I kind of like the loose crazy style and was shooting for that, but I’m having a hard time deciding if this is a success or just a messy thing. I drew it over a night or two late at night and while I did look at/study a photo or two of Yuri Gagarin I didn’t take any reference to bed with me. And then I wound up kind of liking the errors and left them in. All the black is real pen and I’m kind of annoyed that that’s what wound up looking sort of digital. The color is all digital, though, thanks to Stumpy Pencil and a mighty sore wacom hand.

The inspiration and the words are from one of my favorite PJ Harvey songs – Yuri G. I wound up there after looking at the definition of “satellite” and seeing the moon listed as our main satellite made me think of the song.

As always, click for larger.

Linocut Bookplate for Ma

June 30th, 2010

Mom’s birthday is Saturday and she’s coming up to visit. She’s always loaning out her books (she’s an English teacher) and never remembering who has them or getting them back. So I made her a pile of bookplates. Well, 30. Maybe I’ll do more tomorrow, we’ll see.

I’ve had a lot of trouble with the ink when block printing in the past (it was always too thick, but if I didn’t put it on so thick, it wouldn’t print, and so it was always all clumpy and lumpy and awful,) and so I did a bunch of reading up before I did this run. Whatever it was that fixed my earlier problems, I do not know, because I changed almost everything, but it was a lot better this time around. One thing I did try that clearly helped a ton was to dampen the paper before the print. I bought new ink for this – just Speedball black, but I think it might be a notch better than the stuff I was using before (smelled different, anyway) – and I got a soft brayer instead of my old hard one, which I also think helped a lot. I still haven’t found what I would call an ideal substrate, but the Utrecht generic Easy Cut stuff did me all right this time. Far from perfect but far from lousy, too. Lots better than that beige true linoleum I used to use ages ago, that dried out constantly.

Most of the prints are on mulberry paper for sumi-e. It’s incredibly thin and porous – the ink comes out the back side of the paper as you press. But it looks super and it should work out well for bookplates, I think. I did a few on watercolor paper too.

Here’s the result on the left and the drawing on the left (drawn normally and flipped so I could use it for reference. I also coated a piece of tracing paper with graphite and traced my drawing onto the block, with very blurry results – redrew the whole thing with pen onto the block before carving) –

And a picture of the block before I started printing, and one of the prints hanging.

June 28th, 2010 - Art Found Out

Pretty much everything on this site is bloody amazing.

pika bootcamp week 3

June 22nd, 2010

Been really busy with the Pikaland bootcamp stuff. This past week was a tough one for me – we were asked to be inspired by an existing work of art (preferably in person, but that did not work out so well) – I chose Remedios Varo, a very long-standing love of mine (back to age 17 or 18 or so) and I felt a great deal of pressure to try to live up to her. I wound up drawing approximately the same sketch many times, finally started painting one and chucked it after a few hours’ worth of work on it because it was absolute crap. Did a new sketch (pencils and some brush pen) and liked it. I’ve started coloring it digitally but it still has a long way to go – after all that time I had to just swallow it and move on. Maybe after bootcamp is over I’ll finish coloring it.

Below are: the original Varo, my drawing, and my digital WIP. Click any for bigger.

June 19th, 2010 - All Art?

Now, I can’t say if this site really lives up to its name, but it sure is something. A little tricky to navigate and arranged somewhat puzzlingly, it nevertheless contains a serious amount of serious art (and a little bit of not-so-serious art.)

read this book!

June 18th, 2010

Ages ago I posted about the Pottery Parable, which is something that I should probably have tattooed on my forearm where I can constantly see it. The type would have to be really tiny though. Anyway, I was mentioning it again recently and figured I should check out where it actually came from. Turns out it is from a book called Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Bought the book and read half of it last night and I’m pretty sure that everyone inclined to make art of any kind ought to read this. I never underline anything, in any book, and I wound up having to grab a pencil and mark passages of this one. A few:

“The sane human being is satisfied that the best he/she can do at any given moment is the best he/she can do at any given moment. That belief, if widely embraced, would make this book unnecessary, false, or both. Such sanity, is, unfortunately, rare. Making art provides uncomfortably accurate feedback about the gap that inevitably exists between what you intended to do and what you did.” (emphasis mine.)

“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.”

“A finished piece is, in effect, a test of correspondence between imagination and execution. And perhaps surprisingly, the more common obstacle to achieving that is not undisciplined execution, but undisciplined imagination.” (emphasis mine)

“Most artists don’t daydream about making great art – they daydream about having made great art.”

It costs $9 at Amazon. Buy it! Or get it from your library! Do it!

Illustration Friday: More Ripple

June 17th, 2010

Annoyed with self – I posted an old link accidentally instead of this link here to IF. I guess I shall submit again…wish I could edit the original instead. Sorry, IF people.

Wasn’t overjoyed with the octopus. Here’s a pen-watercolor-digital Harrison Bergeron I did with a Gulf shrimp and some made-up marine stuff. I like it better.

Of course, this is also for the Ripple project – $10 for the sketchcard size. Kelly Light is doing good stuff over there.

Calendar for Artists/Doctors

June 16th, 2010

Ok, so lots of folks like to draw naked ladies, and lots of folks use anatomical reference. This calendar features x-rays of women in classic pinup positions. References like these are few and far between for sure…of course, I can’t figure out how to buy it, or if one CAN buy it, but I wish I could…

Useful Information I Wish Took Less Long for me to Locate

June 15th, 2010

I want to do something that seems incredibly basic: paint with oils on wood without covering up the wood. That is, I want the wood grain to show through/around my painting. So I do not want white gesso/acrylic ground. I have been hunting for the answer to this question for some time. Finally I posted the question on Facebook and lo and behold, Liquitex makes clear gesso! Such a tiny little piece of information to be so hard to find. Maybe I was searching wrong. At any rate I am posting this so others that might be searching for how to prime or seal wood panels to take oil paints without painting them white have the information.

ASW Express is full of very good prices on many things (and they have regular brush sales – I got three W&N Series 7s from them at bargain-basement prices), including Liquitex Clear Gesso.