100 Face Challenge: Snowy cat! (#2 & #3)

Nexi at Time Nexus is an amazing photographer here on WP, and she posted a link for me yesterday featuring lots of great cat photos. One cat in particular really drew me – I’m guessing its name is Snowy, but Nexi will let me know if I need to change it.

0102 prelim

I started with a preliminary sketch in graphite (a B pencil) in a drawing journal. This is a Canson sketchbook called Universal Sketch. The paper barely has any tooth and is lightweight (65 lb.). (Don’t let that number fool you though, because it’ll even take a light watercolor wash!) Kirk at Dumb Sketch Daily recommended it to me, and it really is great. There are 100 pages and it’s like $3.50 at Blick. You can’t beat it. It’s given me the incentive I needed to really draw, draw, draw. I bought some expensive sketchbooks when I was just starting out – there are a couple I still haven’t used at all yet! They can be a little intimidating when you’re afraid of wrecking them! I find this Canson book to be perfect, because I won’t hesitate to just pick it up and draw something – even if I think I’m taking on something way too challenging and headed for a drawing fail. But I digress!

I was pretty happy with the initial quick sketch, so I switched to pen and moved over to the journal I use for my daily sketching. The mixed media journal has a fairly rough/toothy surface. So if I were going for a very finished look and wanted to do a really detailed pen study, I probably would have chosen a different paper entirely, something like a smooth Bristol. But in this case, I wasn’t sure at all how it would turn out in pen, so I just went for it. I used to be really afraid of drawing in pen, but I find two things really helpful: 1) a very light touch saves the day (and for me, that’s with most any medium) and 2) a very fine nib goes a long way to help you hide mistakes that inevitably crop up.

0102 sketch

I put this Copic drawing pen on my Christmas list, and one of the artists at Blick was kind enough to send me a free sample of the refillable one as well. (Have I mentioned I just love Blick?!)  Anyway, these pens are golden. The tip on this one is very fine, measuring just 0.05 mm.   The smallest I had discovered prior was the Micron 005, which measures at 0.20 mm, so this gives you a much finer line, perfect for animal fur.   (These pens also come in a 0.03 mm size, even smaller!)   Needless to say, I’ve ordered a set of the refillable Copic pens, because I’m finding neither the Micron nor the Pitt pens last as long as it seems they should.   They are more expensive initially, but I expect to save lots of money in the long run, as the nib and ink can both be replaced/refilled.

After the ink sketch was done, I went back in with several shades of Polychromos colored pencils to add some color in the eye and nose areas.    What a beautiful white cat!    He/she really was a joy to draw, and I want to thank Nexi once again for posting those terrific cat photos.    Tune in tomorrow, you never know what I’ll be cooking up next.    Peace and Happy Weekend to all!


Vivacious Violet (with Yellow’s Complements)


Art is so much fun. I’m working toward eventually making art quilts (for fun and profit), and toward that end, I decided to cut out a piece of organic quilt batting, and try out a bunch of mediums on it to see how they fly with the fabric. I didn’t expect the finished product to be postable, but I’m actually quite happy with the result.  So, here it is! 

 If you’re not into art supplies, you might wanna skip this section.  But for some of you who work with fabric, or might like to, I wanted to tell you what you’re looking at.  Clockwise from lower left: 

 1) Inktense pencils (painted from pencil tip to fabric with wet brush) in colors 610, 710, 720; 

 2) Inktense blocks, same colors as the pencils, top left corner and side (first one in upper left I got it wet and slapped it right on the fabric.  Oops!  A bit too inktense, so the other two colors I painted off the sticks with a wet brush; was still more intense than the pencils, which you’d expect); there’s also a gold Inktense block in the center/left (color 0250); 

 3) Tombow markers in top right corner (bright palette, the purples – don’t they look cool?  I thought they translated to fabric really well) 

 4) Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels in violet, yellow, and yellow-orange, taking up most of the lower R quadrant, except the very corner.  This was the biggest, happiest surprise of all.  The crayons themselves don’t look vibrant at all, but they really got jazzy and happy when I dipped them in water and drew right onto the fabric with them! 

 5) Bottom right is (I think, it was sitting around in a palette) cadmium yellow tube watercolor paint, which also translated very nicely to fabric, much better than I thought.  I’ve never tried painting watercolor on fabric before. 

6) Then, I went around the border with some gold Lumiere metallic acrylic, cut with water by about half. 

 7) Oops, almost forgot:  I went over the Inktense pencil on the lower left with Lumiere lavender metallic acrylic.  I took a picture of this in the sun, just so you could see the shimmer there, but it didn’t translate to the photo or screen that well.  It’s a very cool, very slight shimmer in that whole bottom left-hand corner.  In bright light, it looks awash with gold dust.  But only in bright light!  So it doesn’t leap out at you all the time.  This, I like. 

 What I learned:

  • I expected lots of stiffness.  Nope.  Soft, soft, soft!  Almost gloriously soft.  Probably the roughest sections are wherever there is metallic acrylic, but it sits on top of the batting, so the fabric itself isn’t at all stiff, and the top (just in those areas) feels like you’re touching someone with pretty dry skin.  All in all, not bad!
  • I expected the Inktense to be really bright and vibrant.  I did use some water with them, probably more than maybe some would use.  My batting wasn’t dripping wet at the end, but it was uniformly damp and needed time to dry.   I’m sure if I’d have used less water, my color would’ve popped more, but maybe more than I’d have liked.  Still, if that’s the look you’re going for, you can probably get that with the Inktense pencils, and the blocks are definitely stronger, and will make a major impact, if you want that.
  • I’ve not tried wetting the batting to see how permanent the Inktense and pastels are.  I believe acrylic paint is permanent on fabric, so I wouldn’t even need to test that.   This is just supposed to be a test swatch, but I really like it, and so I’m not in any hurry to try and scrub it and risk messing it up.  I’m thinking this will eventually be cut up and will wind up going into embellishments on the quilts.  Also, not sure if regular watercolor paint will wash out of fabric once it dries?  I assume it would, but maybe staining pigments wouldn’t fully wash out?  Not sure.
  • If I put something on the fabric and thought it was too bright, I just thinned it with water.  This worked straight across the board with the exception of the water-soluble oil pastels.  And I’m sure if I’d have really worked at those, I could’ve tamed those colors a bit.  But I really loved them!  They were my favorite part of the piece (and the biggest surprise, because I almost didn’t use them at all)!

It may just be me, but every time I look at this, I see those gorgeous violet and yellow violas that come out at this time of year.   I just love purple and yellow together, and those Portfolio pastels are so inexpensive that I think I’ll really be enjoying using this medium most when I want a really strong color statement. 

 Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing another mixed media fabric experiment to celebrate spring!  Playing with art supplies is so much fun!   Sometimes the less you know, the better; the surprises never stop!   Have a great Tuesday, and don’t forget to spread some joy around.  Peace.