Archive for December, 2008

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Ink Drawing: Running the Garden Path

December 31, 2008

I’ve started a new ink drawing. This is based on a couple different photos of mine that I’ve combined togther. It will be a man jogging on a garden path through an arch of tree branches. I was originally planning to to this as a painting, but thought all the green would be too monotonous, so I decided to make it as a large drawing. I knew all the tree leaves would be daunting to say the least, but was up for the challenge.

Full Sheet

Full Sheet

It’s going to be hard to properly display it in small digital files, but hopefully you can see it clear enough in the closeups. There’s about a day’s worth of drawing in this so far.

Closeup 1

Closeup 1

Closeup 2

Closeup 2

I’m using Pelican Drawing Ink A again, and this time adding the wash as I go to get a consistent idea of values. The drawing displayed here is roughly 14 x 7″ at this point. The second closeup is about 5 inches square. I’m using a light table to help me spot the main shapes, especially where the circles of light break through the leaves, but I’m not trying to be too precise.

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Two More Sketches

December 24, 2008

Pen Drawing

Pen Drawing

Here’s a couple more recent sketches. They are both made with PITT pens, the cowboys drawn with a brush tip, approximately 8 x 10 inches each.

Brush Drawing

Brush Drawing

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Recent Sketches

December 22, 2008
Pencil Sketch

Pencil Sketch

Pencil Sketch2

Pencil Sketch2

I haven’t had much time for full art production with all the holiday interuptions, but here are a few recent sketches, each @ 8 x 10 inches. I do have some painting ideas in the works so hopefully I’ll get started on those in a few days.

Pencil Sketch3

Pencil Sketch3

Ink Sketch

Ink Sketch

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Ink Markers For Drawing

December 15, 2008

I thought I would share some information about using ink markers for fine art drawing. The markers you buy to label a jar of leftover peas may seem like a poor tool to use for quality artwork; however, many brands offer other high quality markers that can be very appropriate for drawings.

Selected Markers

Selected Markers

Comparing Markers to Dip Pens:
Although I honestly tend to prefer traditional metal nib dip pens to ink markers, I still often use both sometimes interchangeably. A marker does offer an advantage in making a continuous uninterrupted line. Although that may be convenient, the cost of replacing or refilling the marker makes it less benefitial. If you need to cover a large area with ink, it should really come from a bottle. Some steel nibs, like the Gillott brand, are very flexible and give a varied line width, which is hard to replicate with most markers. On the other hand, markers have less of a tendency to catch the paper, the flow is more regular, and they won’t splatter ink accidentally. A true benefit for markers is being portable for outdoor use.

Dye or Pigment:
The ink found in markers is either dye or pigment. Dye based inks, which are the most common, are not lightfast, meaning they will fade or discolor in a comparitively short period of time, only a few months in some cases, but for some projects that’s not important. If you scan the artwork to convert it into a digital file, the permanence of the ink is irrelevant. The inert particles of pigmented inks are claimed in tests to last for a couple hundred years under ideal conditions or at least a lifetime. Essentially, the words “archival” and “pigment” are what you should look for in marker labeling, not “permanent” or “fade-resistant.” If the label doesn’t list “pigment” I always assume it’s dye based. Sometimes even that can be confusing, however, since there’s a brand called FabricMate from Yasutomo that reads “pigment fabric dye” on the label. There are some dye based inks that have an extended life of about 50 years and are therefore labeled as archival. The word “permanent” does not refer to any archival quality, but rather that the marks are not temporary or not easily removed. Many permanent markers, like those from Sharpie, use solvents that will stain the drawing surface.

Types of Tip:
Wide chisel-tipped markers (which I refer to as “layout markers”) are favorites for concept, storyboard, and advertising artists mainly due to their ease of use. They come in a wide range of colors and shades of gray. I like them too… for work I don’t consider permanent. Unfortunately, all brands of these I’ve seen use dye-based ink. For some reason the major manufacturers of layout markers like Copic, Letraset, and Sanford/Prismacolor do not offer their pigmented markers in a wide chisel tip. However, I have found some brands of pigmented markers that have a medium sized rounded tip (1.2 mm,) such as the Kuretake brand ZIG Writer. ZIG also has a “Posterman” line with a wider tip but I haven’t tried those out yet. Another option that is offered, although not technically a marker, is brush tips made of synthetic fibers, such as the Pigma Brush or those from Marvy Uchida called Le-Plume. There are other brands of refillable brush “pens” on the market too, for example Letraset, Copic, Kuretake, Kaimei, etc. Just make sure the ink you refill them with is pigmented. Faber-Castell also makes a marker pen (PITT) filled with India ink. It’s available with either a fine line or brush tip. The Sakura Microns are also very nice disposable markers, or Staedtler’s Pigment Liner.

Paint Markers:
There are various brands of “paint” markers you can investigate. They appear to be just highly pigmented markers, either oil or water based from those I’ve tried. There’s a brand from Uniball called Posca that I like, but they have only 12 colors. It’s often difficult to determine exactly what all these markers are made of, which makes buying something not designed for artwork problematic.

Refilling:
The idea behind refills is to solve the problem of a disposable marker that runs dry, like using a fountain pen. The price of a refill, however, is about the same or more than the cost of a disposable pen. Environmentally speaking there’s less plastic being disposed of, so I suppose that’s a good thing.

Water or Oil:
Another thing to consider is a pigmented marker uses either water or oil based ink, which in some applications or combinations may be a concern, especially if you’re planning to use another media or solvent on top of them. I like to use an oil based marker like the ZIG Writer, or the acrylic Posca, for drawing the early layout lines on a painting. These work especially well under acrylic washes in thin lines, which later layers of paint have no problem adhering to, and those marks won’t bleed.

Some Links:
Marvy Uchida
Kuretake ZIG
Faber-Castell PITT
Sakura Pigma Brush
Uniball POSCA
Wilhelm Archival Reasearch

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Crowd of Heads: Final Wash Added

December 12, 2008
Toned Ink Wash

Toned Ink Wash

…and so we’re done. Here’s the drawing with a final ink wash added.

The effect pulls the dark areas of the drawing back and models the white areas in gray tones. I wanted to be careful to not obscure the drawn lines too much, and very subtlely marry the line shading with smoother washes.  Here’s a closeup:

Ink Wash Closeup

Ink Wash Closeup

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Ink Drawing: Crowd of Heads -version 3

December 9, 2008
Final Line Art

Final Line Art

I’ve got all the line drawing finished on this now. I used a PITT India Ink marker on the head in the foreground instead of a nib. I can get a lighter touch with it which I needed for her hair. Here’s a closeup:

Drawing Closeup

Drawing Closeup

I’ve been doing some tests of washes and I’ve decided to go ahead and add some tone to this, but I’ll let it dry more overnight first.

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Ink Drawing: Crowd of Heads -version 2

December 7, 2008
Drawing Update

Drawing Update

Gradually drawing my way across the surface of the board. I’m considering adding a light gray ink wash to accent the tones a bit more but I’ll wait until I get the drawing done to decide that.

The Speedball ink I was using is nice and dark, but it also has a tendency to clog the pen tip. I switched to another old favorite instead, Pelikan Drawing Ink. It comes off the pen a bit more smoothly but is still a dark black.