Saturday, July 4, 2015

Product Review : Art Graf Viarco Tailor Shape

Ah... the world of water-soluble products. Yes, I found yet another piece of yumminess in the form of Art Graf Viarco Tailor Shape : Earth Tones. Viraco products are created by a family owned business in Porto, northern Portugal. Its a beautiful set and I was quite surprised at how big each piece was.

The idea behind the shape is just as the title suggests. They are in the shape of a tailor's chalk, there for you can hold the graphite in your hand on edge to use the corners to draw.

The texture came out fairly smooth on my Midori Traveler's Notebook insert 003. A very smooth paper from Midori that take many types of mediums. On water color paper 'cold press', it is like that of charcoal when dry.

However, as you can see here, when you press down too hard they do tend to chip off. Which is a bit of an annoyance, but not a deal breaker. Also, yes it does get all over your fingers. If getting dirty is an issue, just use a brush with water just as you would when using water colors.

The colors of the earth palette are : Sanguine, Ochre, Sepia, Brown, Dark Brown & Black. Here is what it looks like in the Midori insert.

Once water is added on both the textured paper and smooth, the graphite blends like any typical water color. One can add as much or as little water especially on textured paper, to give it a rough or basic smooth water color effect.

What is interesting, especially for the mixed media artist is that if the graphite is completely blended out with water, once it dries, it is permanent. Adding more water will no longer dilute it. However, if there is some of the grainy dry bits of graphite is left, it will still react with water.

For this feature alone, I would highly recommend it. It is a lovely palette of colors and easy to work with. Here I decided to mix in a little of my favorite water colors and voila a little face appeared ^_^.

Music of the Day:
Dan Croll : Compliment Your Soul

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Friday #49 : What Community Does for Artists of All Ages

My daughter Amelie has always enjoyed drawing. In fact she has probably over 70 finished sketchbooks since she began at the age of 3. That being said, she began to lose her passion for it for a while and did not seem to progress. That was until the community factor was added into the mix. We began by trying out a printing workshop together, then she joined an online community for all ages manga drawing, and a one week fashion illustration camp.

This is not unlike the Facebook groups, Ning, Instagram, etc... many of us has joined and subsequently have grown leaps and bounds in our efforts to tap back into our creative selves. I my self did not seem to have enough motivation to fit art into my daily life again until I joined in communities of like minded souls. I had forgotten how important that ingredient was for me, much less a budding artist like my daughter...

So in spirit of remembering that your artistic little ones may need that little confidence boost of community be it online or in person. I thought I would share a little about her current experiences.

The online community for her at this moment is : Paigeeworld. It is an online social community for manga artists. What I find interesting is that the more you engage, such as uploading your artwork, sharing, commenting, etc., the more points you gain. This in turn allow you to unlock manga/drawing tutorials. Unfortunately I have not been able to find the age information on the website, however on their new iTunes app, which is the one my daughter is currently using, the rating of 9+ was given.

As a parent I decided to poke around the site as well, just incase... While scrolling through, I did find the occasional skimpy clothing and some hinting of nudity but, I haven't found anything extremely inappropriate as sometimes manga sites tend to be. I believe they moderate for this.

Personally I  am fine with what I saw so far as she is a mature 10yr. old and knows not to linger so to speak on that type of art, nor share any personal information. Also, in general, her personal tastes are still geared towards cute Chibi (large headed manga), cute characters, and cute manga characters, so I do not really worry to much. However, you may want to brows the site if you aren't sure it would work for your kids and remind them never to reveal personal information.

In terms of physicality, I would definitely recommend either classes or workshops at least once in a while. The creative energy from the in person social aspect is so very critical in really anything that we do.

Joining a community be it online or in person is truly a wonderful experience. Being with people who share your same passions create such a fantastic energy, incites motivation, and the general support one usually receives boosts the confidence of artists in all age groups.

Music of the Day : 
Free Tempo: Beautiful World 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Happy Friday #48: Back to My Midori Traveler's Notebooks

Happy Friday everyone!!! Did you notice my title? Yes... notebooks plural. Funny how after about a year and a half since I went down this path I've some how acquired 4 during this time. The 4th one tucked away inside my purse.

For the most part I wrote in my lovely MTNs, however the creative stuff... was usually done in other sketchbooks. Why? Well because... for us notebook addicts, something is always shinier and must be played with haha.

I had almost forgot how lovely the 001 plain Midori insert was. I just love how the stark white sheet contrasts with ink and how forgiving it is with wet media. Simply fab!


Music of the Day : An oldy but goody ^_^
Everything But the Girl : Before Today

Friday, May 29, 2015

Happy Friday #47 : Blue Edition (Pan Am) Midori Traveler's Notebook

Hello everyone and Happy Friday to you! Ah such a lovely mail month I'm having. I pre-ordered my Blue Edition (Pan Am) of my Midori Traveler's Notebook a few months ago. Was a bit worried when I saw others getting theirs right after they ordered to be honest, but alas... it finally made it's appearance from Tabiyoshop.

The Midori came in it's usual packaged glory. However, it had a funky smell to it.  I decided to air it out all night near the window. Today it is not so strong, but still there. Hopefully a few more days of airing out will do it. Honestly I wasn't quite sure how I would like the blue leather and sat on the fence for quite a bit on it. In person its actually not too bad. It is a very sophisticated blue I think.I'm actually quite liking it so far. Not sure how it will age, but promise to keep you posted on that.

I definitely packed this box to the max with Pan Am fun. I purchased 4 notebook inserts, 2 packages of different stickers, plastic zip folder, pen, and pen clip. (Also, a few sticker flakes offered by Tabiyo.)

Also, if you noticed, I found my favorite calendar weekly insert albeit the free form version from my local Kinokuya Book store. Back to my fav. style of keeping up to date with my tasks and a way to sum up my week with photos.

Music of the Day:
MA : I don't Wanna Feel

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Friday #46 : Color Bible A.K.A. Color Test Book

Hello everyone! Happy Friday to you this fine day in May. Today I thought I'd share a little gem I found at a local used book store.

It is a book from 1979 (first edition published in 1905) called, 'A Color Notation', by A.H. Munsell. Otherwise known as the man behind color theory, he was an artist and teacher in his own right that had a proclivity towards science.

In essence, he knew compared to the physical mixtures of pigments confined to the user,  the eye produce thousands of variants of colors on a daily bases. The invention of the Munsell photometer for measuring white, as well as adaptations of hue and chroma are among the few things he was responsible for.

The paper inside the book is a lovely heavy stock that is akin to cold press watercolor paper. It was such a serendipitous choice for me. I had been thinking about all the test pages I have done for my supplies and how they eventually become lost in my journals so thought about getting something to have one book that would house them all. As I was mulling about what I would use, my friend Courtney from Raven's Cauldron mentioned that Jane Davenport had an amazing color bible that would pop up every now and again in her refresh videos.

So of course I had to go back and binge watch her videos and grew even more enamored with the idea of having my own little beauty. Now despite the fact I have a lot of supplies,  I don't believe I have nearly as much as Jane, so I thought a smaller book would be more appropriate for me. Next thing you know, while exploring a neighboring town, we happened upon a cute little recycle book store and this little critter all but jumped out at me with it's vivd binding amongst the sea of books.

Here I am a few pages in and I am adoring it! No need to mess around with the cover, the title, content, and the paper are just so amazing. I am becoming more convinced that maybe this is the way I should go for at least some of my journals in the future ^_^.

Music of the Day:
Indila : Tourner Dans Le Vide

Monday, April 13, 2015

7 Day's In The 100 Day Project

It has been one week in since beginning The 100 Day Project. It kicked off to a rocky start because I was out of town the first three days and I was lacking some supplies, but all-in-all I'm all caught up now. 

I must say it is an interesting foray into doing stand alone pieces, albeit still a bit small since I am using an 8 x 8 water color block. I am learning what works and what does not, since I like to use other supplies such as Prisma color pencils and such, but it is mostly because I don't have much experience with rough surface of cold press paper. I just ordered some hot press paper, so maybe that will help moving forward.

The other aspect of stand alone pieces I find difficult is the need to be more patient and meticulous. Which as you see so far is not quite there yet haha. In a journal its more forgiving to have paint splotches or lines that are off, but on a separate piece... due to the larger surface area and such I am having difficulty keeping the paint thickness and shade consistent. 

Any who, originally I was going to continue with my little character that is in my Hobonichi, for this project, but I have decided to just play. One day to plan and the next to paint. Nothing wrong with exploring the different facets of one's artistic personalities no? Plus, eh... I'm still searching I suppose for my own creative voice. Which in turn will be defined by practice... practice... practice. 

Day 1 sketch

Day 2 gouache & digital

Day 3 sketch

Day 4 gouache

Day 5 sketch

Day 6 graphite, watercolor, gouache, color pencil, ink

Day 7 graphite, watercolor, ink

Music of the Day:
Nouvelle Vague : Dancing with Myself

Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy Friday #45 : Flexi-Sketch Book Review

Ah yes... what can I say? I found my happy throw all sketchbook that I don't mind messing up, The Flexi-Sketch. Sound strange? I suppose it is, but certain sketchbooks I feel a sort of preciousness about it still even after a few years have passed. 

Any who the paper inside, although fairly standard for a sketchbook is good enough for light wet media. There maybe some curling if a page becomes too wet, but I don't mind that much as u can always flatten pages by closing the book and adding some weight.

Charcoal pencil works beautifully on the paper as does my oil pastels. The paper itself has a very fine texture to it. Very slight, but good enough to look nice as the charcoal runs across it.

So far most of my markers do not bleed. Heavy use of supplies leave a slight shadow on the next page, but I've decided to try using only the right side of the sketchbook. A practice some advocate so that drawing do not get ruined maybe? Or is it a plot of the paper companies so that you will get another journal? Hmm... either way I'm all for it haha.

Now in terms of the size. I made a slight mistake in size judgement. It did not really register just how small this would end up being until it arrive on my doorstep. Admittedly, afterwards I regretted the purchase and it sat on the shelf for a few weeks.  I toyed with getting the bigger size, but just couldn't bring myself to get another journal... well right now anyways. Yes, folks... I do have a bit of self control ^_^.

Then in my desperation to find a good square journal, I opted to just pull this out and play with it and so glad I did. You'll be seeing me playing around quite a bit in this little  6 x 6 critter. In fact it is my go-to for 'The 100 Day Project'. If this one sound a bit too small for you they do have it in an 8 X 8 as well as your traditional shapes. Here is to a good mistake... happy creating!!!

Music of the Day:
Mr. Little Jeans : Good Mistake