Friday, February 27, 2015

The Leap #Zentangle #Clairefontaine #JHerbin

Another piece that I did using tangles from the book, Das Grobe Zentangle®-Buch (The Large Zentangle Book)', that I reviewed on Tuesday.

I used a J. Herbin brush pen on Clairefontaine Calligraphie paper.  Lately, I've been obsessing on brush pens.  I love the way you can vary the thickness of your line so easily.

As happens so often with me, I started this with nothing in mind, and then I saw someone leaping.  The odd thing was that I could see three different versions of the body's shape, and they all seemed important, so I tried to keep all three.  I flashed on the quote from 'She' by Kobi Yamada - "She took the leap and built her wings on the way down."  I love that quote and feel as though it sums up the way I do these drawings.  I just start and build the drawing as I fall into it.

So there might be wings in this one.  It's up to you to decide, and there's no right or wrong of it.  If you see wings, there are wings. If you don't, there are none.  I have drawn and done my part.  The rest is up to you.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birds of Paradise #Watercolor #KDAllegri #BirdsOfParadise

I'm taking another watercolor class with K.D. Allegri and thought I'd post the exercises from the last class.  We were exploring the difference between direct color and glazing, using Birds of Paradise flower as our model.

Three different versions of the same flower.

These were done using round brushes size 6 & 8 on Arches Bright White paper and a Yarka St. Petersburg watercolor pan set.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review of Das Grosse Zentangle®-Buch (translated the Great Zentangle® Book) #Zentangle #Zendoodle #ZentangleInspiredArt

Beate Winkler, CZT® has a new book that has just been published in Europe-- Das Grosse Zentangle®-Buch (The Large Zentangle Book). Currently it's only available in German, and will probably be difficult to get in the States or Canada.  Many CZTs and other tangle from both countries have work included in the book, so hopefully it will be translated and sold in an English version sooner or later.

None of my art work is included, but one of my Zentangle pattern steps-out was, so of course, I wanted to review it for you. 

 I debated about the best way to do so.  I don't speak German,  I thought about asking for more information about chapter titles and so forth, but then I decided not to.  I decided to give you the experience of a non-native speaker and what I was able to understand from the book.  Since I'm guessing in some cases, I might be incorrect.  Please feel free to correct me in the comments, if you see something wrong, and I'll update as needed.

Look & Feel

144 pages
20.3 x 25.9 cm/7.9 x 10.1 inches
Glued Binding
Soft bound Cover
101 tangle step-outs

The paper is high quality and thick, so the book is fairly heavy.  This is a mixed blessing.  The book should withstand lots of use but the weight might make it uncomfortable to carry.  Because of the glued binding the book doesn't lie very flat, but I've found this to be the case with many of the Zentangle books.

There are many illustrations through-out, not just for the tangle step-outs.  While the examples are done by various people, the step-outs are done by the same person, so there is a cohesive look through-out. 

The tangles are broken out into three kinds.  I'm not able to tell what the groups are, but I suspect easy, moderate and difficult.  The tangles are presented A-Z within their respective groups.

I did have trouble figuring out a few chapters. In most cases, the illustrations were sufficient for me to get the gist if not all the details.  The information on materials to use and how to start tangling look very similar to those in other Zentangle books.  A complete beginner who didn't speak German might have trouble.  If they have another Zentangle book they can read, they would probably figure it out.

Many of the tangles included can be found in other books and on the internet.  I'm not sure if any of them were created just for this book.  A few looked unfamiliar to me, but I don't claim to know all the tangles that are out there!

The book begins with what looks like a greeting from the author, and then to the meditative qualities of Zentangle.  There are sections explaining what Zentangle is, what materials to use, and a step by step showing how to begin. 

I'm not as sure about the next chapter, but I believe it explains how the tangles are grouped and how tangles might be combined. 

The step-outs follow, but there is quite a bit of content after those, as well.  I found it more difficult to know what some of these chapters were about. There is definitely a glossary, a gallery, a links page, a list of contributors, information about the author, and an alphabetized and illustrated index to all the step-outs.

While this wouldn't be the first book, I'd recommend for a non-German-speaking beginner, I think they would still be able to benefit from it.  The same for those who know quite a bit about tangling and are looking for more tangle patterns. For those who already have Zentangle books or have compiled step-outs, I'd compare the tangles listed to see if there is anything new to them.

Tangle Patterns included

Angle Fish
Poke Leaf
Birds on the Wire
Blooming Butter
Henna Drum
Bubble Bobble Bloop
Bumpety Bump
Cool ‘Sista
Crescent Moon
MI2 Versions 1 & 2
Unmogliches Drejeck
Moving Day
Dutch Hourglass
Zenplosion Folds
Nzeppel Random



This example uses Appearance,Cool 'Sista, Dragonair, Dutch Hourglass, Quare, Quib,  Tropicana, and Wiking.     

This example uses Appearance, Aquafleur, Birds On the Wire, Crusade, Golven, Strircles,Widgets, and Wiking.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Waterbottles #Zentangle #Zendoodle #ZIA

This is actually a drawing I did quite a long time ago and never got around to posting for some reason.  I haven't got much art done recently, so now seemed a good time to share it. This was done with Hi-Tec-C Maica pens in a Schutzen notebook.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Working In the Fields #Watercolor #FountainPen #KhadiPaper

Been a busy week, but I managed to get in a little creative time.

I used up some left over watercolor paint on Khadi Paper (a rough hand-made paper) and did my tangles with J. Herbin Ocean Bleu fountain pen ink in a Lamy Safari fountain pen.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Journal52 2015 Week 5 - Television #Journal52 #SaveConstantine #ArtJournal

You know how I'm always jabbering on about not planning my work?  Well, this week I did.  I also got more complex than usual. It just goes to show--you can't trust anyone, lol!

I've long been a fan of the Hellblazer graphic novels, and when the new show 'Constantine' (the title character of Hellblazer) premiered, it immediately became my favorite.  When I saw that this week's Journal52 prompt was television, I thought it would be fun to have graphic novel John watching himself.

A little about my process has been written below.

Even though I planned and went more complex I still did a couple of things to keep this project from getting out of hand.  Instead of painting the TV screen, I printed out a copy of it, rotated it to fit a bit closer to the correct angle and taped it to the page (my final step).  I also gave myself a limit of 45 minutes to paint.  I went over that a little, but not by much.

Stillman & Birn Wirebound Alpha 7 x 10 inches
Watercolor paint-Perylene Maroon, Ultramarine Blue, Green Gold, Quinacridone Gold, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Pyrrol Red Light, Cobalt Teal
Brushes-1/2 inch flat, #2 round, #6 round

It's rather difficult to do a step by step, especially when I've given myself a time limit, but essentially it went like this-- I:
  1. looked up two reference photos from the show that had the angle I wanted.  
  2. printed out a copy of the TV reference, and called up the other on my laptop for viewing.
  3. drew Constantine in with pencil and traced around the copy of the TV screen shot
  4. painted his face and arms with the Perylene Maroon.  Used with lots of water, it's a great color for flesh tones. 
  5. painted the shadows on his shirt, face and arms, alternating between Ultramarine Blue, Green Gold, Cobalt Teal & Pyrrol Red Light.  At this time, I also discovered I had a problem.  Evidently I'd got something on the page at some point, because my paint was beading up in places.  I thought about starting over, but decided to try using it instead. 
  6. let everything dry for about 10 minutes
  7. painted the background around John, using the same color
  8. painted the beer and table using Quinacridone gold with green gold for shadows
  9. painted the TV, using a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  10. painted the shadows around the TV using the same colors
  11. let everything dry about 10 minutes
  12. now I started fussing, deepening the colors.  Where the paint had beaded up, I tried to suggest ghostly faces (in Hellblazer, John is often haunted by ghosts).  I kept going until my 45 minutes was up.
  13. I used two sided tape to adhere the TV screen shot

I made a couple of decisions based on the genre and storyline from Hellblazer that aren't necessarily ones I make based on value, tone and layout.  This has to do with the dark red of Constantine's tie and the reddish outline of his arms and hands.  Constantine's story is a bloody one, and I felt the red here was symbolic.  Normally, I would have softened the lines and diluted the color to be in keeping with the values around it.

Review Day 5 - A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook #Rhodia #Exaclair #Zentangle

This week I'm reviewing the A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook with a different example each day using different media.  Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.

*Bleedthrumanade-Copic Marker bleed-thru, Coloursoft Colored Pencils, and J. Herbin Creapin brush pen

*Bleedthrumanade-Got lemons? Make lemonade.  Got marker bleed-thru? Make bleedthrumanade.  In other words, I color with alcohol markers (sharpies, Copics, Spectrum Noirs, etc.) on one side of the paper.  Then I do line work on that side.  Afterwards, I turn the page over, and using whatever color has bled through, I create a totally different drawing.

Yesterday I shared the front of my bleedthrumanade piece, along with the back, showing the marker bleed-through before I did anything else.

Front of the Page

Back of the Page before adding colored pencil and brush pen

You would hardly believe the picture with the cat is the back of the same page would you?  I decided to go an entirely different route, using the marker bleed-through as ghostly shapes.

After lightly drawing in my cat, I used three different colored pencils in purples and blues, to even out the background colors, being careful to not to color inside the cat.  I chose a brush pen for my line work because it would work over the waxy pencil without clogging and potentially ruining the pen.

In one way, I made a mistake.  I had already done the mixed media with sealing wax that I shared on Day 2 of this review.  When I created this page, I was working over the lumps and bumps of the wax, and those shapes were unavoidably picked up by the pencil..

Colored pencil is not my favorite medium to use, so I may be biased.  I don't believe it is the best medium for this paper.  In the past, I've found it to be okay, especially if you want light, gentle color.  It allows for some layering, but not enough to build up deeps tones and depths.  While my first layers were a little streaky, I could lessen it by using light pressure, and then blend most of the streaks out by squirkling (scribbling in circles) my last layers.

I was not able to build up my pigment as much, this time, and the streaking is very visible.  I used four layers of color, realized nothing was changing, and left it at that.

I blame the issue with sealing wax for some of this.  The un-evenness meant that some of my strokes ended up with more pressure than I intended.  But the underlying un-evenness isn't totally responsible.

Without further testing, I don't know for sure whether paper, pencil or both are at fault.  My Coloursoft pencils are a fairly recent acquisition, so I may not have used them on this paper before.  Or there could be a manufacturing change to the paper that makes a difference (none of my other media tests leads me to believe that, though).

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not unhappy with the streaking that occurred, and I like the transparency of the colored pencil.  I think it adds a nice sense of texture.  But now I know to try out the brand of pencil I want to use, first, so I can choose whether I want streaks or not.

I hope you've enjoyed my reviews and examples, and I want to thank Exaclair, Inc. once again for the chance to share one of their products with my readers.  The giveaway runs until midnight on Sunday, the 8th.  Please pass the word!

Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review Day 4 - A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook #Rhodia #Exaclair #Zentangle

This week I'm reviewing the A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook with a different example each day using different media.

Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.  

*Bleedthrumanade-Copic Markers, Pigma Micron, Coloursoft Colored Pencils, and J. Herbin Creapin brush pen

*Bleedthrumanade-Got lemons? Make lemonade.  Got marker bleed-thru? Make bleedthrumanade.  In other words, I color with alcohol markers (sharpies, Copics, Spectrum Noirs, etc.) on one side of the paper.  Then I do line work on that side.  Afterwards, I turn the page over, and using whatever color has bled through, I create a totally different drawing.

My goal for this example was to show how beautiful alcohol marker is on the Webbie paper and to test out colored pencil coverage.

I forgot to scan the front of the page before adding my linework, but you can get a sense of the color.  The colors are intense, but have a matte, almost velvety quality, rather than being bright or brilliant.

Below is a scan of the back of the page showing the bleed-through from the alcohol markers.  Alcohol markers will always bleed through paper unless it is very, very thick and/or specially coated. The amount of color that bleeds through varies considerably, and according to the color.  I'd say it's about 75% with the Webbie paper.  My scanner didn't do a very good job of picking up the yellow and light blues.  In real life the back is darker than what is showing on my screen.

Tommorrow, I'll show the finished back.  I went a totally different route, and you won't believe the difference!

Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Giveaway at Notebookstories- Resketch Notebook @Notebookstories @Resketch

Here's the problem with not having my link list of Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways every day.  Sometimes, I come across something I really think you should know about, but it falls between postings.

Notebookstories is having a giveaway of a Resketch Sketchbook, which is a notebook made from reclaimed papers--maps, magazine pages, etc.  I think it looks really cool and would probably be fantastic for art journaling and mixed media projects.  

I hope to win it myself, lol.  Failing that, I'd love to see one of my readers win it.  The giveaway ends Friday 6, 11:59 PM EST, so if you are interested, click on the link below and enter soon!

Review Day 3 - A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook #Rhodia #Exaclair #Zentangle

This week I'm reviewing the A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook with a different example each day using different media.

Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.  

Mixed Media-Pilot Drawing pen, .005, Ohto Graphic Liner .01, Water-soluble Distress Marker and 

My goal for this example was to show how well art and technical pens work on this paper.  The landscape became a bit of a steampunk phantasmagoria, and I decided I wanted my bubbles to have more of steel marble look so I used some watercolor markers and Zinc White Acrylic paint to achieve that.

I use a lot of media, many different kinds of pens, markers and paints, in my Rhodia Webbies.  But I think the paper works especially well with fabric-tipped art or technical pens such as the Pigma Micron, or in this case a Pilot Drawing pen and Ohto Graphic Liner.

There is no feathering, skipping, spitting, show-through or bleed-through.  The smooth paper is friendly to the tips, 'causing little wear on them.

It is easy to get both bold crisp lines and also the fine wispy lines.  This, of course, also depends on the pens themselves, but the absorbency and tooth of the paper counts for a lot, and the Webbie paper is just about perfect for the style I like--lots of variation.

I only used a few swipes of the watercolor markers--Tim Holtz Distress Markers--wetting them just enough to soften the lines.  I only wanted a tint, so I used a thinned down Zinc White acrylic paint to soften the color even more and then heavier Zinc white to give a little more marbling.  There was no dimpling  from the wet media.

Although the acrylic looks different on the page, your fingers can't feel any difference to the surface (at least, mine can't).

What can I say? I like to switch between papers to get a variety of finish and textures, but if I were forced to choose only paper for doing my pen work, I'd choose the Clairefontaine paper used in a Webbie.

Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.  

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

joey's weekly tangle challenge #46
ROZO - a new tangle
Tangle Patterns: How to draw CHUCHU
Zendala Dare #95

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
No Excuses Art Weekly Sprout 38-Tea Cups
#Cre8time Celebrates FRIENDSHIP for Week one of Anything But a Card Challenges No. 44

Lemons on a Blue Plate in Vibrant Watercolours 
Poppies on Kraft Paper
Building Paper Bezels and Pendants

The InCoWriMo 2015 Edison Pen GiveAway
Janes Davies Giveaway-a set of Golden Fluid Acrylics

Pen & Ink
Review: Manuscript Master Italic Calligraphy Pen

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review Day 2 - A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook #Rhodia #Exaclair #Zentangle

This week I'm reviewing the A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook with a different example each day using different media.

Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.

Mixed Media-Watercolor, Brush Pen and Sealing Wax

My goal for this example was to see how wet I could get the page before causing damage, how well watercolor washes would move across the page, and how well the paper would hold up to the weight of the wax.

The paper in Rhodia's Webnotebooks is thin at 90g (24 lb), but it took heavy washes of watercolor, with wet paint dropped into wet paint reasonably well.  There was very little dimpling and most of that was along the edges.

The texture of the paper changed and it picked up that crinkly sound you often get with thin paper and wet media.

Even though the sealing wax  is heavy the paper didn't buckle around it, and did not deboss.  

The washes moved well, and the colors blended well, allowing for both soft and hard edges.  I had no problem controlling blossoms.

After the paint dried, I used a J. Herbin Creapin brush pen to add line work.  The ink went down smoothly, with crisp lines.  There was no hint of pilling or dimpling.

I did get one tear in the paper.  Mid-right bottom where there is a heavy line of wax, the paper tore.  It is of note, that I did the fountain pen example from yesterday on the back of this piece (actually this mixed media is the back of the fountain pen drawing).  That area had a heavy saturation of ink, and on this side, a heavy saturation of watercolor.  Combined with the weight of the wax, the paper tore. So I won't recommend using wet media on both sides of the paper, especially when there is extra weight added.

Also, of note, on the other side, some of the fountain pen ink reactived.  I applied my washes heavily enough to re-wet the ink, and in a few places it ran.  No surprise there.

All in all, the  paper can take quite a bit of weight and quite a bit of water, making the Rhodia Webbie a good candidate for art journaling or a travel journal.

Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me give away five of these notebooks, and you can find out how to enter at the Day 1 review post.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review Day 1 - A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook #Rhodia #Exaclair #Zentangle

Ah, the simplest things can be a cause for excitement.

When I saw that the Rhodia Webnotebook (Webbie) was coming out in a landscape orientation my heart went pitty-pat, and I was thrilled when I received one from Exaclair, Inc.  (Thank you, Exaclair, Inc.!).  Exaclair, Inc. is also letting me host a giveaway-now closed.

Cover: Italian leatherette with Round corners – orange (also comes in black)
Paper: Clairefontaine brushed Vellum, 90 g (24 bl) ivory paper, acid-free & pH neutral
Size: A5 - 21.0 cm x 14.5 - 8 ¼" x 5 ½"
No. Sheets: 96 sheets
Format: blank (also comes in ruled)
Binding: Sewn
Extras: Matching bookmark and elastic closure

So what exactly is actual difference between the landscape and the portrait webbies?

  • The logo is debossed for landscape reading
  • the elastic band and matching ribbon bookmark are sized for width not length
  •  If you wish to draw in portrait, the opposing page will be at the top, like a notepad 
  • The bound edge is shorter than the length of the pages. I'll talk about this a bit later.

Look & Feel
Although the paper is labeled as ivory, it seems more of an off-white to me.  It is smooth, but not slick to the touch.  It is very thin and flexible.

The pages lie flat.  In the middle of the book, there is a bit of slope, but it flattens with very little pressure so you can draw or color right to the seam with no problem, and two-page spreads can be created.

The Rhodia Tree Logo is the only marking on the cover.  The frontispiece and backpiece pages are in matching orange.  On the very first blank ivory page, there is some light gray writing in French at the bottom, 'Papier Velin Veloute 90 g/m2 fabrique en France par Clairefontaine'.  It's very light, and was easily covered when I painted on the page.

The book is put together with & *signatures and sewn binding, making it sturdy and very flexible.

(*one method of bookbinding is to fold several sheets of paper in half, stack them inside one another, and sew them together through the fold.  These are called signatures. Traditionally, you would stack 8 sheets together, and sew them for 16 page signatures, though nowadays that number can vary considerably.  To create the book, you sew or glue several signatures together and then sew or glue them to a cover)

You can fold the covers, of the Webbie, all the way back if you intend to use it while traveling.  The Italian leatherette covers do pick up creases when you do this, though you can usually get away with folding it a few times before it does (I base this on past experiences with Rhodia Webbies).

The book has rounded corners, and the cover extends past the paper.  All of the corners are tucked and sewn in neatly, except for one bulge (shown in the photo below).  With my other webbies, the folds have always been neat and flat, and since only one corner had a bulge, I'm suspecting it's a one-off.  I don't know that for sure, however.  

I noticed that the signatures aren't aligned as evenly with each other as they are with my other Webbies, and this is where that shorter binding, that I mentioned above, comes in.

With the binding along the shorter edge, there is more paper weight per stitch. The signatures have a little more give, and might lie a bit differently each time you close the book.  This is an issue with every landscape oriented book I've encountered, unless the pages are made of heavier weight paper. It's never been an issue for me, but I suspect it would bother some.

In order to keep this post from being too long, I'm going to show you one example today, and then each day this week, I'll share another one done with different medium(s).

Fountain Pen

My goal with this example was to see how fountain pen friendly this paper is.  I already knew, pretty much, from past experience but you never know when manufacturing might change, so I test as thoroughly as I can.

I used a variety of fountain pens with varying sized nibs, from extra fine to broad.  Most of my inks are J. Herbin, but they differ in their texture, some being very 'wet' such as the Vert Olive, and others dryer.

There was no feathering, or skipping.  Drying times were fairly standard for fountain pen friendly paper--in other words, slower than they would be on papers that soak up the ink so it bleeds through to the back.

There was very little show-through and then only where I saturated the page.

The metal nibs of the fountain pen can cause debossed lines or divots in the paper.  Even though, I worked heavily in many spots, I had no debossing.

You can see the pinpoint nature of the bleed-through on the back.  These occurred in the areas where I added more ink to ink that was still wet.  Doing that with metal nibs will weaken any paper a bit.  It isn't something you normally do with writing, so I would expect little to no bleed-through if you write, unless you pause with the pen pressed to the paper for a while.

And now for the giveaway info!

Giveaway Now Closed

I received this A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook from Exaclair, Inc. for the purposes of reviewing and hosting this giveaway.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions expressed are my own and are as honest as I can make them.

Good luck, everyone!

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Weekly Zentangle Challenge 203
Tangle Patterns: TanglePatterns String 142
70’s Cup A: a tangle pattern

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Prompt60 #22
Prompt #1286 Visual Prompt of the Week – Snuggling

Watercolor DIY Bracelets
Using Gesso as a Resist with Vivian Keh
Tutorial: Milk Carton Gift Box

Life Imitates Doodles Giveaway - A5 Rhodia Landscape Webnotebook 
MK Designs Four Year Blogaversary Giveaway - Craft Prize Pack
Hero Arts Pick 5 +2 Stamp and Inks Giveaway

Pen & Ink

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Zentangle Challenges The Daily New Tangle Challenge Pattern-Collections Daily Pattern Focus Zentangle All Around-Taking it to the Next L...