On social media, pens, and birthdays

So I recently had a birthday. I’m officially over the hill. Mr Underhill at your service.

As part of my gifts my wonderful wife ordered me three pen samplers from Jetpen.com.  I’ve often perused there selection,  read the reviews and blog posts. But generally I stick with tried and true pens that I know work for me and I’m well… cheap. I hate splurging but birthday presents in our house are for things you want but wouldn’t buy under normal circumstances. So I asked the wife and she got them for me. Outside of them somehow getting on a plane to Guam and then back through Hawaii (I’m a bit jealous of how well traveled these pens are) they got here intact and only a bit late.

So after cleaning them off and looking them over I decided to share the a photo of them on a Facebook Inktober group. Just a simple picture of them laid out and a caption about my birthday presents arriving. Now when I post to this group I expect to get maybe 30 likes and a handful of comments. I think the most I’ve ever gotten was just over 100 and I was shocked. So my surprise and confusion in getting over 1000 likes and 100 comments in the last 24 hours is well placed. I mean, it’s just a bunch of pens right. It got me thinking though.

Three Jetpen samplers in all their glory.

What is the commonality on that group? Inking drawings and the tools that we use. In our culture marketing reigns Supreme. Everyone has a fantasy whether they admit it or not that their next purchase is going to take them to the next level. I’m that way with hunting equipment, hiking gear, exercise equipment, art supplies. There’s something ingrained in us that makes us think that an object will change our world and not hard work. Look at all the action movies, an weapon is discovered that will save the day. Our commercials tell us that their product is the best and will get us the object of our desire. The genie out of the bottle… but it doesn’t. Not without the hard work.

So, this afternoon I pulled out my sketchbook and all those pens and drew toadstools with them to see how they would do. Did they magically make my art sing? No. But they worked well and I know which I should use for what and got some drawing time in and that’s what will take my art to the next level.

Don’t get me wrong. A copic fineliner is head and shoulders above a old bic pen you have lying in a drawer somewhere but it comes down to the experience in the hand holding it.

So what are your favorite drawing tools?

Until next time, do art.

Clark

A nice Saturday’s work

This afternoon I got the chance to work on the piece I wrote about earlier this week.

I started out referring to the photo and thumbnail and doing a sketch my Canson mix media 7×10 sketchbook (I’ve almost finished filling it! This is a rare thing for me) in Dr Ph Martin Bombay ink doing washes and figuring out what I did and didn’t want to include.

Ink sketch: washes, rigger brush and fan brush

After it was completed I moved on to working on the painting. I used mutt last sheet of Legion Stonehenge 10×14″ in hot press. I’ll have to buy another block because it’s so nice to work with.

The washes went down well. The paper didn’t warp. Everything worked out nicely.

While things were drying I started on some bookmarks but those will be another post.

Until next time. Do art.

Clark

What do you see?

Yesterday was a fun and successful day. On my way home from work I knew I wanted to work in ink, that it would be a night scene, and had to be loose. No other preconceived ideas, just have fun.

After dinner, working out, and some chores I settled into the studio with my sketchbook and inks.

Dr Ph Martin Bombay inks are really wonderful and versatile. I use them for nib work and as a acrylic paint. I spray them with water for effects, I thin them for light washes, mix them, just amazingly useful.

For this piece I used the dropper on the bottle to transfer the ink to the paper, sprayed it with water to spread and thin it and then brushed it to cover the whole page. After that the fun began. I used paper towel to lift the still wet ink to make clouds, fog, and the circle for the moon. The moon seemed to dim so I added some white paint to it.

Next came the trees. Both rigger brush and nib were used. As I worked I decided that I wanted a couple birds in the branches so these trees had to have branches by the moon and then some in front of it to push it back.

At this point I thought since I had some birds, maybe I should add some bats flitting about. Then the animals and people worked their way in. At this point I wet a wadded up paper towel and added yellow and red hues to it to make it glow. I thought about splattering some titanium white and creating halos around them on it to add fireflies but thought it might make it too busy.

What do you think?

So after finishing it I showed it to my daughter and she asked if there was a creepy thin man hiding behind the tree. Then after posting it a friend asked if there was a little lost boy there. Each person that views our art brings their life experience to it and creates their own story in it if we let them. A painting is a open door into the worlds we create. A snapshot in time and they bring themselves to it. I really prefer to let the viewers write their own story in my art. I think it reaches more people that way.

What do you think?

Clark