Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Sketchbook Project 2011

Last week I received my Sketchbook Project sketchbook in the mail.  The Sketchbook Project is one of the many projects organized by the Art House Co-op and Gallery.  Check out their website and take a look around.  There's a wealth of information there.  For the Sketchbook Project, each participant is mailed a Moleskine sketchbook roughly 8" X 5" in size.  There are 40 pages of relatively thin paper, so you can make 80 sketches.  You can choose from a list of themes to base your sketches on, and once complete, you mail back your sketchbook by January and it goes on a tour of several cities.  At the time of this writing, over 14,000 people have signed up already. In each city of the tour, people can check out the sketchbooks like library books and go through them.  Once the tour is complete, all the sketchbooks will become part of the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library.

I chose the theme "If you lived here..." and pictured above is the cover page of my sketchbook.  My plan is to sketch scenes from various places in the world that I have been to and love, and some places that are imagined as well.  Should be fun!  The cover is a collage that started with an old map of Paris.  On it I pasted some patterns, an old French postage stamp, and a mock postcard with my name and theme with a stamp of one of my illustrations.  I then laminated the cover and added some teal duct tape (from Target!) on the spine.

Below is a close-up pic of the postcard section before it got laminated.

One of my inspirations for my sketchbook theme is a book I found recently, called Transit Maps of the World which has some incredible maps of subway and train systems from numerous cities around the globe.

I may use some of the maps as background for my sketches.  It's great to look at, and makes me want to travel somewhere far away.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do that through my sketches.  I'll be posting random sketches as I complete them, so be sure to check the blog periodically!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Acrylic Gouache Love

Over the weekend I went to the local art supply store to get a few tubes of acrylic gouache paints to round out my growing collection.  I started painting with the acrylic gouache last year when I became curious about them after seeing them in Japanese illustration magazines.  I've done several illustrations with them now, and my preferred method of working with them is to start with an acrylic paint base and then work up layers with the acrylic gouache.  Acrylic gouache dries to a nice matte finish, thanks to the fine pigments in them.  It's less gummy than acrylic tube paints, and comes in a mind-boggling range of colors.  You can water them down and paint thinly with them, but I think the colors look most brilliant when diluted minimally with water. 

There are several brands out there, but the two I use are the Japanese brands Holbein and Turner.  The two tubes on the left in the photo above are by Holbein, the ones on the right by Turner.  I use both brands interchangeably, though Holbein seems to be of a slightly higher quality.  However, Turner has a larger color range.  I love the names like Cosmos Pink and Peacock Blue.  Locally here in Phoenix, Holbein is carried by Utrecht and Turner by Jerry's Artarama.  But you can order them online from different art suppliers. Turner also has a line of what they call "Japanesque" colors, which are muted tones very commonly seen in traditional Japanese textiles and papers.  The tube on the very right above is one such color, Japanesque Deep Purple.  The Japanese name for it is "Edo Murasaki" or Edo purple.  On this trip to the art store, I was drawn to one particular tube by it's name ... Chocolate!

I'm a chocoholic, so I just had to open the tube and look at the color.  It turned out to be a nice, rich, yummy reddish brown.  You can see what it looks like, and compare it to other common brown tones in the swatch sample below.

I'll have to try it out soon on a painting. Turner also has a line of pearl and metallic colors as well, which I haven't tried yet.  At this point, I pretty much have the same colors in acrylic and acrylic gouache.

Incidentally, all my tube paints are stored in this box on my drafting table.  The box comes from Ikea, which I decorated with some stencils.  The colors on each drawer represent the tube colors inside as seen below.

A peek into my work area!  I'll be posting more about that another time...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Illustration Friday: Artificial

There were no artificial ingredients in Chef Kitty's chocolate cake!  It's been a while since I last posted on IF.

A mixed media piece with collage and acrylic gouache and colored pencils, 5 X 7 in size.  I've been experimenting with clear gesso for texture.  I like that it's much grittier than white gesso.  Will be doing more small pieces like this with it in the future ...