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Y’know those Inktense pencils I was talking about the other day? Derwent has expanded the line to 72 colors. Actually 70 colors, since one of them is the outliner, and another is Antique White which is pretty much useless. You can order them from Dick Blick, and the Dick Blick store on Bond Street carries the individual pencils. I picked up Golden Yellow and Carmine Pink to swap out for Antique White and the outliner in my 24-set.

Places that did not have the full range include: DaVinci Art Supply on 23rd St, AI Friedman on 18th St, Utrecht Art Supply on Fourth Ave, and New York Central Art Supply on Third Ave.

While checking NY Central, I discovered that Faber-Castell now makes a “superfine” (or “XS”) black Pitt marker.

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Here’s a tip for anybody who uses Faber-Castell PITT pens: After the tip gets all worn and frayed, you can pluck it out with tweezers, spin it around, and put it back in backwards. There’s a second tip on the other end! Make sure not to spill the ink out of the marker’s body while you’re doing this. Here’s a YouTube video of the process, from Adam “Ape Lad” Koford.

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girl with katana and bootsI’d been assuming — not sure why — that the Pentel Pocket Brush’s ink was water-soluble. Wrong-o, me! I hereby declare the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen the most awesomest brushpen ever, and I wish I’d cleaned out Hudson County Art Supply’s stock back when they were selling them for $5 each.

(Not to be confused with the Pentel Color Brush Pen; that pen’s ink is water-soluble.)

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Stopped off at Borders to use a 30% off coupon and pick up yet another Moleskine book. This time one of the ordinary blank notebooks, instead of a sketchbook, and reporter-style because that’s all they had left. Since I’ll only be using one side of the paper, that ought to work out well.

Then off to Kinokuniya Books to try out some new pens. Got a bunch. The Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.25 tip is probably the finest-tipped pen I’ve ever used that wasn’t a high-priced technical pen. (This was around $3.)

The brush pens were a mediocre bunch, though I see the prices seem to have come down a bit. My fave of the lot is a Pilot with fine-point brushes at both ends — one black, one gray. No identifying info I can read, because it’s all in Japanese, see?
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Boogying CthulhuHey, look, I did do some drawing!

Big buttload of images, like over 200k, and I cannot lie )
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Over the last few weeks I went back and tagged all my old entries with artwork in ’em (or all that I could find) as memories, using the keyword art. Looking back over them, I noticed that I like the fine-line and crosshatched work a whole lot. (And that I did a first-drawing-of-the-year post last year too, and only two days in.) This sparked an impulse to work larger than I have been recently, to move back up to a 9x12 pad from my Moleskine (or maybe even to 11x14). So I picked up a hard-bound sketchbook at Pearl. Pearl-branded, but with Canson’s imprint on the back. Turns out the paper kinda sucks, too soaky, the ink spreads out too much. On Friday I did a sketch of Melorne at a desk in an office cubicle (prep work for the first Vasty Deep strip, which I’ve got almost all scripted out), and it just sucks.

While gaming Saturday I dragged the book out again and did some ballpoint doodling. Ballpoints are admirably paper-agnostic; you can get decent results on real crappy paper. The downside is that you won’t get the really dark blacks no matter what paper you use. Still, it’s a good tool for just cutting loose and getting ideas out onto paper. You can move seamlessly from light, tentative lines to firm, dark lines without having to change tools.

Some ballpoint doodles )

Hm. Y’know, with a web comic, there’s not much reason not to go with something quick and simple like ballpoint, if it works. I can always take it into Photoshop, boost the contrast, and dab color behind it:

Ballpoint girl with color )

Anyway, I picked up a Canson spiral-bound sketchbook at Hudson County Art Supply today. Better paper than the other one, almost as good as Strathmore. I also discovered that Strathmore makes hardcover sketchbooks (both spiral-bound and actual books), but they’re tough to find around here. I can order them from MisterArt.com if I need to.
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pencil drawing of a guy on the subwayI did this pencil sketch on the subway last week. I think the guy noticed me, but he just kept on reading. I’d forgotten how much I like drawing in pencil. I ran a blending marker over the graphite later; maybe that’ll keep it from smudging. Probably not, but maybe.

I sketched this woman quickly after dinner at a local pizzeria, using my Pilot Precise V5. There’s something freeing about just slapping some rough ink lines down quick and then going back and developing the details and emphasizing the good bits. Maybe I should Photoshop some color in, like [livejournal.com profile] mishmow does here.

More sketches )

BTW, the books I’m using the weigh down my scanner cover (to help my Moleskine lie flat) are the Angels and Devils books from Taschen’s Icons series.

Murex pens

Dec. 16th, 2004 12:25 am
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Russ Stutler does some pretty nice sketching. Some of it even in a Moleskine. He’s also a serious fountain pen geek.

I’m not. Really. Despite the amount of posts I make about pens and sketchbooks, most of the time I’m looking for cheap, easily-replaceable supplies that work well together. That’s one reason I was so happy to find out that the Pilot Precise V5 works so well on Moleskine sketch paper — it’s already my writing pen of choice, and I’ve got a box of ’em (US$16 for a dozen pens at Office Despot) sitting here on my shelf. Even the obscure Japanese brushpens I like cost in the US$5-10 range. I generally have to fight the impulse to roll my eyes when people go on about high-priced fountain pens and leather-bound journals. Until now.

Pilot made the Myu and Murex pens for the Japanese market only, in the 1970s and ’80s. They’re long out of production, and hard to find now. But aren’t they beautiful? Especially the original Myu, such clean lines. They seem to have cost ¥3500 back in the day, which would have been, what, US$20 or so? Now US$400 from a collector. Another thing to buy if I ever find myself a millionaire. I’d have to be rich enough to buy a bunch of them, or I’d feel too inhibited to use them.

Stutler’s got some neat tricks in his sketch section, filling his water brush with a thin ink wash. I may have to try that. (Water brushes are cheap, and I can get them at Hudson County Art Supply.) Or maybe using water-soluble pencils.
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wingI stopped off in Hudson County Art Supply the other day, and found these Yasutomo Grip500 mechanical pencils. Back in college I’d used a model very like this, which I liked because the point retracts into a plastic sleeve, protecting the point and my pocket from each other. I haven’t been able to find the brand I used in college, which was a bit sturdier than the Yasutomos, but these’ll do. I’ve filled mine with 2B leads, softer and darker than the HBs it comes with.

I picked up another couple of Moleskine sketchbooks at The Art Store, figuring I might as well stock up while they’re on sale. I’m probably going all Moleskine, all the time. I could switch to a smaller shoulder bag, but I still need something I can carry comics in.

Played something new at Games Club (last Lerner Games Club of the year): Ticket to Ride, a simple yet challenging rail game. I got a really lucky pair of starting tickets — LA-to-Chicago and LA-to-NY, both high-value and both overlapping to a serious degree. I had to start building rails early, because if I’d gotten locked out of the middle of the board I’d have had to eat -37 points. But that kept me from building many long rail stretches, which cost me enough points to drop me into third out of five players.

Stopped off at Starbucks on the way to GC, did some drawing:

More sketches, including some color )


Dec. 9th, 2004 01:44 am
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Oooh, slept way later than I oughta have, then wasted too much time online. Hung out a bit at Ground, sketching. Today’s lesson is about the interaction of Pilot Precise V5 pens and Faber-Castell Pitt brush markers: the latter can go over and around the former without trouble, but the former blur a bit over the latter. Yeah, that’s not how I expected it to work either. You can see a bit of that going on in the left eye of the drawing on the left, right above the noseward corner of the eye.

Sketches )

These are both the same woman, though neither one really captures her. I feel like my skills have deteriorated a bit in the past few months.
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Melorne, with light washThere wasn’t any new work for me at the office today. It took a couple of hours to finish off something left over from yesterday, and then I had the day off. (Without pay, of course, since I’m a freelancer. Otherwise it would be much cooler.) Nothing tomorrow either.

Why couldn’t they run out of work on a nice, sunny day? It was cold and rainy. I went over to Coliseum Books and did some sketching anyway. I read in 43 Folders how a lot of Moleskine users really like the Pilot G2 gel pen, and I discovered one in the pen holder on my desk, so I snagged it and tried it out. Maybe it works on Moleskine’s writing paper, but it’s too blobby and skippy for their slick sketchpad paper.

Window of the NY Public Library main building, done with blobby skippy Pilot G2 )

Then I knocked off a bunch of heads with that unidentifiable Japanese brushpen that works nicely with the Moleskine. The large one at the upper left and the one at the lower right were both people sitting nearby who I could sketch over the course of a minute or so; the others were all quickies, mostly passers-by who I just saw for a few seconds.

Various heads, in brushpen )

Then the kick-ass discovery of the millennium: My favored pen for writing, the one I buy in boxes of and carry around in the loop on my PDA belt-holder, the Pilot Precise V5, works really well on Moleskine sketch paper! It’s like Dorothy finding out that the shoes she’s been wearing all movie are the thing she’s been questing for. The ink isn’t water-proof, but I can make that a feature. The Melorne head shot up at the top of this comment was done with the V5, and then shaded a bit with a water pen. The Moleskine paper’s thick enough that the drawings on the other side weren’t disturbed.
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Hey, those two Pentel brush pens? Not the ones I can get nearby at Hudson County Art, but the ones I hadda go to Kinokuniya to get? Turns out they work better than anything I’ve tried on Moleskine sketch paper. Pretty dark and black, and they don’t bleed through. Woot!

Unfortunately, iGadget.com no longer has that amazing cheap sale price. The Art Store is having a holiday sale, with pocket-sized Moleskines going for seven or eight bucks. (And holy crap, The Art Store’s online shopping site is useless!)

More Moleskine links:

Moleskine Art
The Moleskinerie
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Did a little sketching at Ground this evening. I had a more ambitious picture in mind, but it didn’t get past the pencil stage before I could see I was screwing it up. So I pulled out the larger-sized Moleskine and tried out my Pentel Color Brush. As I feared, the slick Moleskine sketchpad paper just isn’t absorbant enough for the rich tarry black the Color Brush is capable of making. Meh.

Sketch of Melorne; I’m still working at the dramatic lighting thing )

I lu-u-urve the Moleskine form factor, and the handy extras like the elastic band, the bookmark, the pocket in the back, and the fact that it lies flat. I just don’t like the paper in the sketchbook. I’m giving serious thought to building my own sketchbooks, with hot-press watercolor paper.

Let’s see… It looks like each signature in one of these 4x7" Moleskine sketchbooks has three 8x7" sheets of paper, folded in half for six leaves, or twelve pages. The website says it’s got 100 pages, which ought to come out to about eight signatures. I might go for a slightly larger book, 5x8 or something like that if the paper sizes work out. If I just go for a straight eight signatures, three sheets each, that’s 24 sheets of 8x10 paper.

The standard size for watercolor paper is the Imperial 22x30" sheet. If I cut that into eighths, I get 7.5x11 sheets, which make 5.5x7.5, which is about right. Dick Blick sells a student-quality 90# (~200 gsm) sheet for, um, 38¢. Wow. A dollar will buy me enough to make a sketchbook. Though I’d have to buy at least ten sheets, and they don’t say what surface it’s got. Hm, “textured”, that doesn’t sound like hot press, which is what I want.

Arches makes a 90# hot press at $2.38 an Imperial sheet. I’d have to order ten ($24), which would make three sketchbooks ($8 each for the paper). Not bad.

Update: Or bristol board! That could maybe work. Do tests first.
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cyclopsPlayed one game of San Juan last night; old hat by now. The other game I played was new: Pirate’s Cove, a German boardgame. Each player gets a pirate ship and sails around looting and pillaging, collecting and burying treasure, gaining fame, and blowing other pirates out of the water. The game play is simple yet challenging, the chrome is fun, the mechanics suit the theme, and the game pieces are all attractive and (mostly) well-designed. If it wasn’t a great big boxed game (and $40) I might buy a copy.

I’ve been doing more sketching again, and getting back to linework and cross-hatching. Though I do think the slightly grainy drybrush look of the Pentel Color Brush worked nicely for the leather jacket in the last sketch.

Much sketchage! )
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I discovered last night that my Pentel Color Brush had fallen out of my pocket at some point in the past couple days. I’m hoping it’s on the floor at the office waiting for me on Monday, but I stopped off at Hudson County Art Supply anyway, just to see if they’d decided on a price for the things.

They had. Five bucks each.

That’s both for the Pentel Color Brush (which I haven’t seen anyplace else for less than $8) and the Pentel Pocket Brush (ditto, but not less than $18, though that’s with four refill cartridges, and this only comes with two, but still). So come on all you NYC cartoonists, it’s just a $1.50 PATH trip and a five-minute walk away.

I picked up another Color Brush ’cause at these prices, what the heck, and I like fiddling around with those grainy fibrous lines, but the Pocket Brush has become my favorite marking tool of late. It’s what I used for those two sketches below, but the tower to the left (done at Worldcon) was done with a Pigma Micron 005 super-finepoint.

Melorne facial studies )
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Stopped off at Hudson County Art Supply on the way home, hoping they’d have some interesting sketchpads. Nope. What they did have was a couple types of Pentel Japanese brush pens, of types I don’t already have. Whee! Better yet, they hadn’t been entered in the register database yet, so they had no idea what to charge me for them, and decided on $2.25 each! Here, the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (just like Craig Thompson uses), and the Pentel Color Brush Pen.

I’m liking the marks these make, though now I’m carrying around no fewer than six ink-filled brush pens in my pocket. One good shot to the left hip, erm. I think I’d better bring my black pants to the con.
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A few weeks back (after reading Warren Ellis’s Lazarus Churchyard) another character popped into my head. She hit it off pretty well with a character that had been squatting there for a few months. They want to be a science-fiction strip. So I’m doing more character studies.

big color sketch )

I’m really groovin’ on this fiber-tipped Japanese brush pen. No idea of the brand, so I’m fucked if Kinokuniya ever stops carrying it. It’s forcing me to do things with line that I generally don’t think of doing.
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I was originally gonna post this as a comment in [livejournal.com profile] mamishka’s journal, but it came out so nice I just had to show it off:

[ bee ]

The linework is yet another Japanese brushpen, one with a tip made of separate nylon strands. It’s like a Niji water brush, but it comes pre-filled with ink. The color is Photoshop, but some new tricks: using the more exotic brushes, at 100% or 50% opacity, and then blending.
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[ Bring me the head of cybergal! ]Not a whole lot of sketching the past couple of weeks. Regular work’ll do that.

Earlier this morning I was flipping through my sketchbooks, and I noticed that my fineline, heavily crosshatched style style had turned pretty kick-ass. Maybe I should give up on these brush-pens (though I am finally getting the hang of the thin Japanese one). Chris Baldwin just uses a Pilot Precise (V5, I think) — the same pen I carry around for writing — and he’s another heavy crosshatch guy. I just picked up a Pilot P-500 the other day; that’s the next generation Precise. I think it’s waterproof. Doesn’t fit into the pen loop on my PDA belt case.

Sketches )
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[ fire-head guy ]I start another week or so of Photoshop work on Monday.

Visited a couple of art supply shops, checking out the Cartiera Magnani watercolor papers. Checking out the prices on the new (to me) Portofino hot-press blocks. I’ve got a Pescia cold-press block, but hot-press lends itself better to my anal cross-hatching pen technique. It’s also harder to find.

No, wait. According to this page, the Portofino line contains both hot- and cold-press papers. WTF? I’ve got no idea how Cartiera Magnani’s product line is divided up, and their website is no help.

Anyway, while I was at NY Central, I picked up a Japanese manga pen. (And holy crap, I got ripped off! $10 I paid! $4 online! At least I’ll know not to pay $5 for refills.) It’s got about the same line thickness as the .005 Pigma Micron I use so much, but seems to flow a bit better. On the down side, it’s water-soluble, unlike the waterproof Micron.

[ Melorne head ]No new comics to buy this week either. Grumph. I picked up a Scary Godmother TPB, but it’s just not keeping my interest. I read the TPB of Chynna Clugston-Major’s Scooter Girl yesterday, and didn’t like it as much as I like her other comic, Blue Monday. I did try using something like her style for Melorne’s eyes, and I like the results.

I’ve also finally started reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Good so far, and reassures me that I don’t just hate everything.

April 2017



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