I love paint and I love pencil. Combine the two, and you probably get a marker, so what’s not to love? I’ve been using my Staedtler watercolor set quite a bit, like on the cow above. And I’ve ventured into the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. They use India ink, so the end product is permanent, water resistant, and lightfast. Both bird sketches are done with Pitt pens, and all sketches have a wee bit of a white gel pen here and there. Yes, I’m broadening my horizons and can now say it’s okay to use a white pen.
The other day, I realized that a crayon—in this case the Neocolor pastels—is an oil pastel. It says it right on the wrapper, but I never connected the dots. It’s pigment with a waxy/oily binder not encased in wood. If that was true, I also realized I have many oil pastels/crayons, Sennelier being the softest and Prismacolor Art Stix being the hardest. I could even take this a step further and say that colored pencils are probably oil/wax pastels encased in wood, but I’m not up on my art chemistry enough to say that. (Although I think I’m right.)
I used Stonehenge paper and blended all four various ways. The softest ones are truly stunning blended out with walnut oil. I love oil pastels because they’re beautiful and very satisfying to use on paper, film, pretty much anything. I’m frustrated with the softest ones, though, because I’m never quite certain how to finish or store them. They stay tacky, while the “crayon” Neocolor pastels are easier to store. I treat them like watercolors and store them in a portfolio, only I put a sheet of paper or glassine over the top.
I then tested both Neocolors. Neocolor I are water resistant and II are water soluble. The act similarly dry, but II are softer. I assume there’s gum arabic in them. They blend nicely with the Caran d’Ache or Derwent blenders. I absolutely love these crayons.
While I was in the testing mood, I pitted the less expensive, more available Grafix Duralar drafting film (left) against the Grafix drafting film (right), both the same thickness, double-sided, and matte.
Duralar doesn’t take nearly as many layers as Grafix, about seven compared to ten. The color is deeper and richer on Grafix, which is the overall winner. However, I’m partial to both. Duralar lets the colors shine, and Grafix needs more thought and care to keep colors from muddying. I also realized only certain markers and inks work. Some smeared even hours later, so test first before embarking on a big project.
Several years ago the traveler’s notebook trend began, but I wasn’t paying attention. I am now, however, and have not one but two: the standard size (above) and an A5 (below). I prefer the A5 as it’s just that much wider and the notebooks stay open while I’m sketching. Yes, I did buy a bigger purse to carry my art supplies on a daily basis.
I carry this in my purse every day, and deciding what tools to bring with is a small challenge. I’ve been happy with some primary color Neocolor II crayons, a waterbrush, some primary colored pencils, and a variety of pens and graphite. Probably too much.
A traveler’s notebook is a cover with elastic bands in the fold that hold a variety of notebooks, planners, folders, etc. Once you fill up a book, swap it out for another. The standard size has a nice sketchbook, but the A5 doesn’t have as many to choose from, so I’ve decided to make my own out of sketch, multimedia, and watercolor papers.
Even though I’m carrying a notebook for writing, I’m mostly using this as a place to sketch. Having a limited, primary color palette is great fun. I seem to be more creative with limitations.
I’ve asked myself, why not just carry a sketchbook? The answer is, I like the cover, the bands, the variety of inserts I can create. I also like a smaller sketchbook that fills up quickly.
What’s next? A super cool pencil case from Japan, still on its way here.
I’m still on that drawing-birds-with-ink-and-using-a-wash kick. I bought a second Wancai Moonman Mini fountain pen, this time filling it with Noodler’s Apache Sunset ink, also water soluble.