Again with the clowns, what the f...

I'm at it again guys, working on another clown, albiet another tasty and twisted one. To tell the truth, I'm not really scared of clowns, it's just cool to believe that I am. Chances are good that I'd simply punch one in the neck if it rolled up on me the wrong way lol.

Anyhow, this clown began in my trusty Moleskine sketchbook last year. Every now and again, I look through some of my older artwork and choose one to paint. I used my mechanical pencil and inked him with my Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and ink (see the blog post below this one for the equipment used).

While I was sketching I thought it might be cool, and effed up, to combine a clown with yoga, with a centipede, with me needing more coffee. Tadaa! Next on the blog will be the value painting. Stay tuned. Be sure to use the social media links at the bottom of the page to follow me and my madness;)

What I Use: Fountain Pen

There's something special about fountain pens. They provide beautiful lines, offer precise control, and make you feel like you live a few centuries back in time. Ahhh, the good stuff. Well, not really for me. You see, I love my technology too much and would go into a fetal position if something happened to my tablet. 

As a matter of fact, I once fell down a small flight of stairs and, while my entire body slammed against the floor, my right arm was in the air, holding my tablet safe from harm. Sick, I know but it sure was funny...except for not being able to breathe for a few minutes. 

I used to use a dip pen, the kind of pen that has a detachable nib, and that you dip into a repository of ink. You know, the kind of joint Mozart used to write music. Problem with those is the potential for mess. I'm a klutz so I used to have ink all over the place.

Fountain pens come with many types of filling systems. My pen, a Noodlers Ahab, uses a piston system. It loads in quickly and keeps everything nice and neat. For it's price, the Ahab is an astounding value, offering performance found in pens far more expensive. 

Because the Ahab features a flex nib, I can easily create fine to thick lines simply by varying how much pressure I apply while drawing. This one pen made it possible to completely put my marker set away. 

Thin and thick lines easily achieved with fountain pens with flex nibs.

Thin and thick lines easily achieved with fountain pens with flex nibs.

So, do yourself a favor if you love the look and feel of ink drawing and check out a fountain pen and a nice bottle of ink. It can rekindle a love of drawing by adding a mix of the past into our high tech world.

See you next week. Keep creating,

What I Use: Sketchbooks

Like practically every artist on the planet, I rely on a multitude of sketchbooks. I have so many, built up over decades of drawing, messing up, and messing up some more, that I have lost count. You'll notice that I use the 'messing up' a lot in that last sentence, and that's because sketchbooks should serve many purposes: some are for goofing off, experimenting and some are for work you want to exhibit.

When we create, we have to learn to let go and understand that not everything we draw is going to wind up in a museum. Some things we draw will be garbage, so much so that we either scribble the hell out of that page or straight up tear it out, ball it up, and kick it across the room. Or, that could just be me lol.

But, in the never-ending quest to improve, expect to have frustration. But understand that that frustration is a vital part of making yourself better. It can't be forced. Learn to let that drawing go, and start on something else, even switching subject matter or medium. If watercolor is driving you insane, try oil, try marker, let your creativity explore!

This is why I use so many different kinds of sketchbooks. Some of them are low quality paper for experimentation and some, like my Moleskines, are for doing artwork that I intent to share with you guys. Though, let's be honest, even in my best sketchbook, I have pages I really think are horrible.

It's just a part of being a creative person. We have tons of ideas, are stimulated by the wonder of the world and life, and we want to record what inspires us in lead and ink. Always remember that your sketchbooks are not gold, not some precious gem or treasure. They are a tool to help you express yourself, to help you grow creatively. 

Don't judge yourself too harshly when you don't like something you've drawn. Use that feeling to help you look at your art with a critical eye. Evaluate what it is you like and don't like, and how you can improve upon the next sketch.

Artists are notoriously hard on ourselves so learn to think about those little rectangles of paper and binding in a different light. They are your training routine, just like an athlete's. They workout, run, do laps, etc., to better their skills and we do the same on paper.

Visit your local art supplies store and feel many different types of paper. Let the sensation of the paper guide you and inspire you. Most of all, let it lead you to the creation of awesome art!

Glass be tricksy, mon!

Oh glass, why doth thou maketh mine head ache? Glass can be tricky to convey because, well, that bastard is practically invisible. When I was in England, I visited a glass house (a place where glass is made right before your eyes), and I was amazed. And a lot hot. Glass needs heat to form and, man was I close to that heat source.

Light can refract inside of glass so using that is one great way to depict it in your art. Take a drinking glass, fill it with water, and put a straw or a fork or something in it. Back up a bit and take a look at how the object within seems to bend.

In 3D art, there are even refraction indices for choosing the exact type of glass so the light bends accurately. Amazing stuff, but important to understand. There's a lot of science behind the things we draw, and it's fun and a good thing to learn some of it:) Enjoy the free textures!

Trouble at Helm's Deep

Welcome back! As I mentioned in the last post, painting the Dwarf Warrior proved a little more difficult than originally anticipated. The culprit: indecisiveness. Sometimes being an artist means we allow ourselves to flood our brains with too many options. For example, should I color this in a comic book style, maybe manga style, maybe realistic style, oil painted style...I think you get it by now. I have yet to meet an artist who hasn't explored a myriad of techniques and styles of art. It is who we are, visual storytellers and sometimes the tools and techniques change, depending on the mood we're trying to convey. Many times the mood changed based on how we ourselves feel. I created some of my best comic book fight scenes while angry lol.

Another thing us artist types get in trouble with is our ability to let everything, and I mean everything, inspire us. Watch the movie 'Aliens' and now we want to draw something sci-fi inspired, watch 'Lord of the Rings' and the next thing ya know, we're painting dragons and um...Dwarf Warriors.

I have always had this problem, primarily when it comes to my own personal work. Granted, there's nothing wrong with having options in regards to tools, style and technique. But we need to reign those impulses in once we decide to finally get to work.

Fortunately, when it comes to deadlines, I have the discipline of a Shaolin priest. Giving yourself a strict timeline to complete a project can go a long way to calm that wandering creative mind and help you complete the task at hand. Let your creativity lead you to awesome art but let the left side of your brain (the logical side) keep you on point so you get more done. 

See you next week!