Some girls like shoes. Others like fine jewelry. Still others, fancy clothes. . .
While I enjoy those nice things, they are something that I can take or leave. Don't get me wrong – I love having a couple of 'extravagances' such as my Chanel perfume and soap. (After all – I want to smell divine when doing my woodworking and painting! ;) ) But for the most part, I try to keep things simple. Except when it comes to art supplies . . .
I can almost hear you guys cheering already!
Some say we are judged by our peers. If that is the case, I am in pretty good company. One of the perks of being a designer for a living is that most of my friends are also creative people and there is an unspoken understanding between us that no matter how many creative supplies we have – be it hardwood, paint, tools, blades or brushes – we ALWAYS have room for more. Why that just goes without saying.
About a month or so ago, I was closing out my day as I normally do surfing around the internet. Often when I am busy the way I have been, I am quite wound up and in order to get to bed, I need something to relax me and unwind, so I cruise Facebook and YouTube and so forth.
During one of these sessions, I came across some videos of some beautiful work done in colored pencils. I was blown away at the detail and realism I saw from them, I never knew that would be able to be achieved. So I started thinking . . .
I had here with me a set of 120 Prismacolor pencils from way back when I lived in Chicago. I had taken a class or two using them and besides a couple being slightly used, the set was virtually brand new. I dug them out and started reading up on how these wonderful artists achieved such realize with materials that I was only able to use to create child-like drawings. It fascinated me.
I began learning techniques and I purchased some of the additional supplies I needed to give it a go (decent paper, etc.) and I have been playing with it ever since.
On Friday, my most anxiously awaited shipment of Derwent Inktense pencils arrived. I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to try them out. (I will be blogging on them more soon.)
I got my set on Amazon for less than half price. I purchased the full set, that came in this beautiful wood box:
When I opened it, I think my heart skipped a beat!
I feel like a QUEEN!
Now the Inktense pencils have very different properties than the Prismacolors, and I will explain them in a later blog. (I promise) But after spending the time to get to know them a little better and experimenting with them, I started a new project with them in conjunction with my Prismacolors to make something 'just for fun' and to LEARN. And I am having a BALL with them!
I decided to create a simple 8" x 8" drawing for started. I used a piece of 140lb Fabriano hot press watercolor paper, which is heavy and will take a lot of water, but has a very smooth texture, which will add to the realism of the finished drawing.
I decided to make a bee because I just like bees. I found a photo of a honeybee and blew it up to the size I wanted. I then masked the bee out with masking fluid so I could apply the background.
(It doesn't look too impressive, but it doesn't look too intimidating, either!)
I then used one of my Laurie Speltz stencils to use the Inktense pencils to make a hive design on the paper. The Inktense pencils turn into ink when you wet them and are permanent, making them perfect for backgrounds. They won't lift up when subsequent layers are applied like normal watercolors do.
I then washed a very pale yellow over the honeycomb pattern after I 'set' the honeycomb lines with water. This will make a very subtle background which I will add more to later on.
Then I want on to begin the bee. While the area of coloring is only about 1.5 square inches, I probably used about 10-15 colors so far. It is a very slow process, but one that I find most enjoyable.
I am rather pleased with how the bee is beginning to look . . .
More importantly, I am LEARNING and ENJOYING what I am doing. Putting down color with pencils is pretty much the opposite process of when I paint. When I paint, I lay down the darker colors first and then add highlights on the top. With coloring, it is almost the opposite, where the light highlights have to be left 'open' in order to make them stand out. It is really an exercise for my brain and thinking.
I am also learning to look at the objects very differently. Instead of looking at say an eye or a wing, I focus on the minute shapes that each objects is created from. They don't have to make sense at all when laying down the color, but it is amazing how they seem to come together to create an object full of depth and dimension. This will certainly help my other forms of creating as well and improve both my drawing and painting skills a great deal.
I don't know where I am going with this new (to me) medium. I don't think that I would be able to teach this in packet form as I do my scrolling and painting packets. Not yet anyway. There is too much that I, myself need to learn to feel good about that.
It is all part of growing as a designer and creating new things. While each aspect of art can overlap, it keeps things fresh and exciting when we explore new ways to creat.
People often ask me how I keep from 'burning out'. I suppose my best answer is that we should never stop seeking to improve ourselves and learn new things. For each time we turn a page to a new technique or medium, we are opening an entire new chapter for us to get excited about and explore. And that can go on forever. :)
I hope you all had a good weekend. I was busy and got a lot done. My video for Art Play Date is complete, I got to play with my new 'toys' and I even started designing some new projects for a collaboration book that I have been invited to contribute to. I ended my weekend by watching the beautiful eclipse last night. Our sky here in Nova Scotia was crystal clear. It left me in awe.
Today there is lots of cutting on the table. Designing as well. I am surely going to remain busy and happy. I hope you are as well.
Happy Monday to you!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"