An attempt was made to do a speed contour drawing of my daughter's shoe..... one of these days I'll figure out how to flip the footage so you can actually watch me draw right side up! :P
I love to challenge myself and my students to create works of art that make them feel uncomfortable.... If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always gotten! Many people feel comfortable with graphite or even pen and ink drawings because they are the most easily accessible and "traditional" materials to use. So I pushed my students to use that familiar media but ONLY draw straight lines. Oh, and make those straight lines end up looking like a person. Ha!
Taking inspiration from Josh Bryan, my students began with pencils to compose their compositions and then employed rulers and ink to create their final works of art. Its not that technically difficult a leap to take but it forced students to slow down and really concentrate on their mark making. End results: beautiful!
When you want to create a two-dimensional work of art, the first thing you should do is consider the surface you'll be creating on. Different surfaces will create different effects in your final piece.... even the same medium applied using the same technique or amount of pressure will look totally different depending on the surface you put it on. While size and packaging (single sheet, ream, pad) vary, you really want to choose the best surface for the medium you'll be using.
If you're going to be primarily working in graphite, you probably want to use something specifically labeled as "drawing paper" because it is thicker and more durable than newsprint (super thin, off-white, good for practice sketches) and can handle repeat erasures without tearing. There is some coarse texture or "tooth" on the surface to bite off particles from your pencil to create a visible mark but anything too wet (ink, permanent marker) will probably bleed through.
If you want something slightly more professional looking, try bristol paper. Bristol feels thicker and more compressed (and sounds like lightning when you whack it!) and it comes in either Smooth or Vellum. Smooth is best for pen and ink and even handles washes of marker really beautifully. Vellum is not as slick as smooth bristol paper so it's best for colored pencil, charcoal, chalk pastel, and even graphite. I've heard of people using it with gouache but I haven't had the best of luck with it so I typically stick with Vellum for dry drawing, Smooth for wet.
When I first heard the term "vellum", I immediately thought of something more plasticy-feeling and transparent. And that does exist! You can use it as simple tracing paper or experiment with creating marks and layering several sheets to get your final image. You get really crisp and clean lines when you draw on it in graphite or ink (though I've found that you still get a little warping if you lay on too much liquid) and it comes in pads or large drafting rolls.
If you want to work completely in charcoal or chalk pastels, you want to choose a paper that is especially designed to handle the powdery nature of those materials. Charcoal paper is MUCH thinner than vellum bristol paper and has an obvious tooth you can feel as you manipulate the charcoal or pastels with your finger. One interesting thing too about charcoal paper is that the color of the paper itself has a dramatic effect on your final work. Instead of just coming in white, charcoal paper comes in various shades of grey, brown, and black and can alter the way your colored pastels appear. Plus it can be useful to already have a large around of ground toned for you when you begin so you only have to concentrate on laying down the highlights and shadows.
I still like to consider drawing with oil pastels "painting" - I dunno, I just do. You can use oil pastels on vellum bristol paper successfully but I just really like the effect I get when using them on watercolor paper.... perhaps because I tend to blend them so much with mineral spirits! Watercolor paper is marked as such and comes cold-pressed or hot-pressed with a varying amount of sizing.
"Sizing" is a solution added to the surface of paper to control absorbency. The more sizing, the less moisture will be absorbed into the paper and the crisper your color will appear. The less sizing, the more fuzzy or dull your color may appear (as it sinks into the surface) and it will be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to erase any pencil marks you may have made before beginning to paint.
Hot-pressed paper is smoother and are great for capturing fine details more clearly. Cold-pressed paper is rougher and has a lot of tooth to grab onto your pastels. It can also create different effect with your watercolor as some of the color will appear brighter as it stands out on the peaks of the texture and some will appear more dull as it sinks into the valleys of the paper. To make sure your artwork stands the test of time, you also want to make sure that the paper is labelled as acid-free and the closer you get to 100% cotton, the better!
Acrylic or oil painting is traditionally done on canvas. Canvas is stretched fabric over a board or wooden frame that is primed with gesso so that is can best accept your wet media. Depending on your technique, you may find that canvas still has too much texture on it's surface for your liking and can also try painting on board (heavily bonded thick paper or wood).
This is a REALLY quick rundown of the types of paper I use most often though its nowhere near a complete record of all the surfaces out there you could use! The best teacher is experience so grab what you have and try out your techniques until you find your favorite! : )
Aight, this has been W A A A A A A A A Y Y Y Y Y Y Y too long coming!
I've been doing things off and on for years but, now that I'm thirty, I guess it's time to be a grown up and get my act together! Everything on this site is not perfect but it's a start and I hope you will come back again and again and see how it evolves as I attempt to corral all these aspects of my life into one location.
I am an artist.
I practice the skills I have developed with the talent I have been blessed with. I use my imagination to design and create. I see possibility in everything.
"To be an artist means not to calculate and count but to grown and ripen like a tree which does not hurry the flow of its sap and stands at ease in the spring gales without fearing that no summer may follow. It will come." - Rainer Maria Rilke
I am a teacher.
I inspire others to come along on the journey of discovery. I believe in sharing and that there is room for all of us.
"The great teacher is not the one who supplies the most facts but the one in whose presence we become different people." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am a visionary.
I plan for the future with imagination and wisdom. I am often characterized by fanciful or impractical ideas but I have unusually keen foresight.
"Dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams we plant the seeds of our future. Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the person with all the facts. Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
And I will not wait until I am a better version of myself to begin.