Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saying Yes Really Means Saying No

The other day I had to remind myself that in order to say yes to something I'm going to have to say no to a lot of other somethings. Historically I'm not one to get confused about what to say no to, but recently I caught myself not being true to me. I was shocked to realize that for far too long I had been saying yes to the wrong thing and no to all the right things in the name of pleasing others. All my life I have easily avoided trying to please others most of the time. I thought after years of not having to worry about something many people struggle with I was in the clear. Nope. I was wrong. Turns out if you let your guard down you can change without realizing it and not for the better not matter what age you are.

I usually find it pretty easy to determine what to say no to by asking myself: Will it make my soul feel like it's dying? Perhaps that sounds extreme, but the question really helps me to put things in perspective. Who wants to kill their soul? No one I tell you no one. Another good question to ask: By saying yes will you have to say no to something that feeds your soul? This last question is tricky and was where I ran into trouble. By saying yes to something that caused me to say no to something that was feeding my soul I was inadvertently killing my soul. I find if I'm not actively feeding my soul I'm killing it. Don't forget to feed your soul!

So in honor of last week's Valentine's day I quit the crap I shouldn't have been doing and started doing what I should have been doing. Happy V Day to me! I also treated myself to some new tools. Chocolate is great, but tools are forever.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

January Reminiscing

I spent January...

Using my sketchbook not for ideas, but to simply fart around in without any fore thought at all. No agenda. Just showing up and making mark after mark til the whole page was filled.

Trying to nail now a consistent go to style for my pen sketches that seems natural to me. So far I'm still searching. Searching is fun.

Dreaming of the perfect ball-point sketching pen. One that is simple, no grip, has a cap and doesn't blot.

Wrangling a cubby little cherub that I lovely call my son.

Bringing order to my studio bit by bit and little by little. Still a ways to go, but studio evolution is always a process.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Favorites For Sketching

It takes years to figure out what works best and why. Everyone's different which makes everyone's preferences different and over time as you change so does what works best in some cases. Here is a list of my go to favorites that I've been using for years and why I love them.

Sketchbook. I've been using the same Cachet Select Spiral Bound Sketch Books for many years. I was in the market for a new sketchbook the other day and I sifted through the options at the art store and still landed on the same brand for the same reasons. I've always gotten rectangle shaped sketchbooks, but my next one is going to be an 8"x8" square and I'm excited for the change.
Requirements: hard cover, plain solid cover, lays flat when opened, has some sort of closure.
Reasons: I like sketching in graphite  but hate smudges. A hard cover keeps the sketchbook from flexing which reduces pencil smudges. Also a closure reduces smugging by keeping the pages from sliding side to side. I like a plain cover so I can embellish a bit and laying flat is a must so I can easily draw on the whole page.

Pocket Sketchbook. I've found one sketchbook is not enough for me. Sometimes I need room to stretch out and sometimes I need the convenience of something I can cram into my pocket and go. I've gone through a few Moleskine Classic Sketchbooks (Pocket) now and I'm hooked. I love the little pocket in the back, how flat they lay and how thick the pages are too help things from bleeding (although Sharpies still very much bleed).
Requirements: fits in pocket, lays flat, hard cover, has some sort of closure. Bonus has a pocket.
Reasons: Fitting in the pocket is a must because I don't carry around a purse. I love the flatness of this sketchbook because I can draw from one page to the next which allows for larger sketches. The hard cover and closure helps to reduce pencil smudging just like with my larger sketchbooks. I love the little pocket in the back which allows me to stuff little treasures away.

Pens. The past few years I've been sketching almost solely in pen to avoid smudges. For sketching I use simple black inked BIC ballpoint pens. Ballpoint pens give me better control when shading than other pen styles. I like simple, no frill pens with caps although I'm not sure why I like caps. I usually pick up a large pack of pens when I'm running low and they last me for a year or so depending on how fast I lose them. My one gripe with the simple BIC ballpoint pens is that they eek ink sometimes, but I haven't found a simple pen that doesn't yet. When lettering I use black Micron Pens because they are a solid pen and readily available. For a range of thicknesses I have a .005, .05 and recently I picked up a .08 and a brush style.

Pencils. When pencil sketching I'm all about the mechanical pencils. I love the precision of always having a sharp point that doesn't need sharpening. I always have a 0.5 and 0.7 and sometimes a 0.9 on hand. I tend to use a 0.7 for sketching and a 0.5 for lettering before inking. Trying out lead holders for both sketching and lettering is on my list of things to do, but who knows when that will happen.
Erasers. I have a skinny Paper Mate Eraser Stick for precision and a Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser cut in half for bigger jobs. I try to avoid using the erasers on the mechanical pencils because they are a pain to change.
Pencil Case. I've had a Caran d'Ache Metal Tin case for years and I love it. I plan to order two more so I can have one for pencils, pens, and lettering.