Friday, 19 February 2016

Some new techniques, and some more daily sketching

I've learnt some exciting new techniques this week. I'm taking the new Sketchbook Skool course at the moment, and while I found all of the classes and lessons very inspiring, I especially loved this week's class. Because of the ideas and techniques that are not your "usual" drawing and sketching stuff. I especially loved the transfer techniques, creating more unusual and expressive lines.

If only there wasn't the oil paint medium issue for one of the transfer techniques! The one I used (and that was supposed to be odourless) made my eyes water and gave me a headache for hours, as the smell lingered on in my home, until I took everything outside to throw away. I have to experiment more with this and find something that works better.

I'm also continuing my (almost) daily sketching practice. There's so many things I'm doing at the moment, another online class (that hasn't got anything to do with drawing or painting, but is very exciting too) that are taking up my time at the moment, but there's always 10 minutes to squeeze in, in the evening or in my lunch break. I went to the cafeteria and the main library this week.

The one below was also inspired by a Sketchbook Skool class. I was thrilled to see that Felix Scheinberger was a teacher in this course, and I totally enjoyed his watercolour lessons and watching him paint. I've always loved watercolours but more often than not felt frustrated with them. This year, I'm finally learning how to use them. Well, I'm determined to, anyway.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Stamp carving and a little pattern on a rainy Sunday afternoon

Even if I haven't done it very much, I love carving stamps. It's such a nice process. Drawing your design first, either directly on to your stamp block or first on a piece of paper and then transfering it on to the block, and then slowly carving off all the excess linoleum, until your design emerges. And then the first test stamp to see how it all turns out. Some more refinements, until you're happy. And what a joy when it turned out quite well.

I really like how this one turned out. It was just a quick one, drawing the leaf directly on to the (inked) block, and the carving didn't take more than 10 minutes. Of course the time depens on whether you want just the lines to stand out and the rest white (like I did with my Christmas card stamp, which took a lot longer), or the other way round, like here, which is a lot quicker. The first option allows you to colour your desin in with, for example watercolours, while with the second option, the colours comes from the ink you stamp with, and gives the whole a much more printy look.

And of course the good thing with having carved a stamp is, that you can use it again and again and again. And also create some nice patterns too.

I definitely want to spend more time making my own stamps. I'm thinking of doing a little series of different leaves. Which I think means another lunch time trip to the art shop, as I've only got very few stamp blocks left. Yay!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Sketching, style, and doing it anyway

I've been sketching a lot recently. I'm trying to sketch every day, in my lunch break when I'm at work and in the evenings at home. Daily, if possible. Here's some of my latest drawings.

I live in a small town, there's a few shops but not too many since the big city (well, it's big for Switzerland, anyway) is very close. But for some reason, we have a Dutch shop. And it's been there for years. And last week, during my holiday, I finally went there. And got some of those lovely sprinkles to put on your bread. I remember them fondly from when I was a child and always got a slice of bread with sugar or sprinkles from the Dutch mum of my friend on the way to school. And they taste as delicious as they did back then.

I found this little travel box of mini water soluble coloured pencils in one of the department stores and of course I couldn't resist. They're perfect for adding a bit of colour to a sketch and fit into my pencil case, together with all my other pens and pencils that I take with me.

Back at work after the holiday, I didn't feel too happy and motivated about it, so I went to the nearby art shop to get some new materials during my lunch break to cheer me up. And of course I had to draw them all too. They had run out of the converters for the Art Pen, so I'm using the normal cartridges until I can get one. And since the ink isn't waterproof, I'm now making the best of that, and I'm really liking the results. A quick and easy way to add a bit of depth and shadow.

I find sketching among people, and especially sketching people among people, really hard. But it's something I'm pushing myself to do. And the university's cafeteria is a good place for that. So there I sit in my lunch break, looking for victims to quickly sketch while trying to avoid anyone noticing. I wanted to add a snippet of conversation, but it was so noisy that I couldn't make out any words at all. So I used the quote from my daily quote's app, and I think it is quite a fitting one. Then a large group of people crowded around the table next to mine and got far too close for comfort, and I decided to leave. But at least I had my sketch for the day done.

I've been thinking a lot about style when it comes to drawing and painting. And I know I'm not alone with this. I think it's a natural thing to do. But if it gets to the point that you're overthinking the whole thing and it actually keeps you from drawing or painting at all, then it's definitely a problem. I'm sure that even the accomplished sketchers and painters we admire sometimes struggle with this issue. I know for sure that some do, and, seeing their work, I would never in my have dreams have thought that sometimes, they feel exactly the same as me. But what they managed to do is to embrace and accept their style, and to just go on and do it anyway. So that's what I'm trying to do now too. Don't think, just sketch...