Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Step up your oil paint palette and your charitable giving…in one fell swoop!

We’re very excited to announce that Wet Paint is partnering with Pygmalion’s Art Supplies in Bloomington, Indiana and Gamblin Artist Colors in Portland, Oregon to bring you a wonderful opportunity.  For the past seven years, John Wilson, the owner of Pygmalions, has worked with local artists and the paintmakers at Gamblin to create limited edition oil colors that are only available thru Pygmalion’s…until now.

While supplies last, you can get caught up on the last few years of these limited edition colors. We have 37ml tubes of “Cat’s Tail” (2015), “Saffron” (2016), and “Red Rhino Red” (2017) at Wet Paint for only $8.95/tube (read more about each color below)!

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And – as if custom Gamblin colors isn’t enough – Wet Paint will follow Pygmalion’s lead and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these colors will be donated to a local non-profit.  The Art Department of LEAP High School in Saint Paul  is dedicated to serving students who are new to the United States and are learning English while earning a high school diploma. As an alternative high school, LEAP High School enrolls students up to age 20 and provides an educational opportunity beyond the offerings provided in traditional high schools.

leaphsAt LEAP a special emphasis is given to acquiring language skills through the study of art. Students in visual art classes at LEAP learn the language of art through drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture. They study works of art, nature, architecture and the environment.  They also use creative and thematic ideas related to their individual experience and interpretation in creating their own work. Students are encouraged to reflect on their native country’s traditions, landscape and architecture and communicate them visually and verbally. Many of the images posted on their website reflect their students’ personal experiences as well as their knowledge and experience in demonstrating their traditional art forms.

TAILCat’s Tail is a transparent red created by Autumn Bussen, an MFA Painting candidate at Indiana University.  For this custom color, John Wilson asked his customers to vote from a list of color names and Cat’s Tail won by a landslide.  After choosing the name, a contest was held to create the color that went with it.  Bussen’s winner combines a dark maroon mass tone with a warm, earthy undertone…great on its own or as a versatile mixer.

SAFFRONSaffron is a unique, opaque Naples Yellow-like color created by Mitch Raney, an MFA Painting candidate at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Saffron is a spice made from the stamens of crocus flowers.  In its natural form, it is a reddish brown color, but when cooked it becomes a beautiful golden yellow that can color other ingredients in a recipe, as well as adding flavor.  Each tube is decorated with a picture of a crocus flower drawn by IU Printmaking student Bethany Lumsdaine.

RHINORed Rhino Red is a semi-transparent mixture of three different red pigments.  It is a chromatic red color that biases pink, like a crimson lake.  Phil Cardenas created the color, and Raphael Cornford drew the rhino used for the logo.  Both Cardenas and Cornford are accomplished Bloomington artists, as well as Pygmalion’s employees.


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Verra’ Paper Picks of the Week: Rives de Lin & Cavallini

Rives de Lin

Ever get bored using the same paper over and over? Well, now during the “Make Your Mark Sale,” we have a super paper deal on Rives de Lin: only $4.99 a sheet ($11.99 MSRP)! This beautiful off- white paper is not your run-of-the-mill Rives…you would swear it’s a handmade sheet.  Rives de Lin is 23.5×31.5,” 300gr. and features a lovely, distinctive texture that results from its production, as well as its  85% cotton and 15% linen content. Rives de Lin is great for all kinds of drawing and dry media, and – like its cousin Rives BFK –  good for printmaking, too.

The Make Your Mark Sale is from March 1st thru April 30th, 2017

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Cavallini

I have always thought any of our papers could be used as artwork for your walls, but did you ever think that someone would create a line of paper for just that purpose? Italian Cavallini paper is just that, and the entire collection (of over 50 patterns!) is really fun! The images look like old timey illustrations from back in the day…reproductions of anatomy lessons, alphabets, bird illustrations, and maps- just to name a few. The sheets are 20×28″ in size and have a lovely laid finish. I recently had a customer cut one of the alphabet sheets for a quick and fun batch of flash cards to teach her grandson the ABC’s.

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


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Darin and Scott went to beautiful Utah, barely went outside and it was well worth it.

Darin and I went to the big art supply show this week in Salt Lake City. It’s been nineteen years since the last time I went to a NAMTA show and I’m still reeling. It’s a gas seeing all the people behind these products and meeting up with other store owners to catch up, talk shop, and see if anyone has found the next adult coloring book trend or the new Bob Ross.

If you have been following us on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen a few sneak previews of stuff we found for the store like the Black Black drawing pads, the Viarco vintage pencils (cooler than cool), and some new Daniel Smith oil colors. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know when these and more (including some TOP SECRET ITEMS) hit St Paul and our online store.

During the opening presentation I was pleased to see that the NAMTA organization and the University of Delaware are continuing the work of the late Mark Gottsegen with the Materials Information and Technical Resources for Artists  (MITRA) website. I had to take a break from reading the forums there to get this blog post done. Let us know if you also find something interesting there.

logoI was also impressed that the group is advancing their Art Matters! campaign for arts advocacy. You should expect to see some of the Art Facts in our store and posts. I ordered up some Art Matters! shirts for the staff as well.

I was excited to spend a few minutes that evening with Robert Gamblin, who mentioned gamblinWet Paint during his acceptance of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award (Congratulations, Robert!). The next day we caught him in the Gamblin Artist Colors booth and Darin had brought along a detailed customer question about mixing satin and matte finishes and applying varnish. Robert’s general advice for application of Gamvar is to always work in thin layers by applying a liberal amount and then using a varnish brush to pull off the excess until only a film remains for each coat.

Out on the floor we had our running shoes on and covered a lot of ground in four days.

We picked up some French-made journals with Coptic bindings and modern art covers from our friend Greg Daniels when we were in his booth talking about DaVinci watercolor brushes. (Tip of the cap to Phillip Forstall for helping with the term “Coptic binding!” ) These books look great and feel like they are delivered by time machine from 1959. I can hear jazz playing when I open them.

Karin Harding from Michael Harding Artists Oil Colors turned the tables when we got to her booth and interviewed us for a bit. She wanted to get more info about the artists that are so dedicated to using their incredibly rich handmade oils.

In the Yasutomo booth we checked out some new brushes and origami papers. One lovely item mystified us. We ended up eating it.butter2

Maureen Labro and I chatted after the President’s reception while we were stranded at the Utah Museum of Natural History one evening waiting for the shuttle bus to get towed through the snow (4 inches can stop a bus? Maybe in Utah. Not in Minnesota!). In her booth the next day we looked at printmaking and drawing papers from Fabriano and Awagami. Check out the fun they were having in that booth!  We couldn’t leave without placing an order for a display of adorable yet incredibly well-featured travel brushes and a matching bamboo wrap. Great attention to detail on these. The wash brush has a functional scraper end.  All of our whiskey/pocket watercolor painters will have these on their get list.lil brush

 

Two audiences that are getting more attention from manufacturers this year are Plein Air painters and Bullet Journalists.

Portability and ease for the outdoor painter is number one yet the Plein Air artists also remind us they are part of a tradition of style and materials. Both efficient modern design and beautiful heritage tools and paints are well represented in some new/old products we’ll be featuring soon. More than one oil manufacturer is working on smaller tubes for you and I’m so thrilled I’m already working to rearrange the aisles to make a little more room for them.

OK, BuJo’s (aka “Bullet Journal aficionados”) we hear you. More journals with dot grids and numbered pages are arriving daily! We also got a sneak peek at a beautiful highlighter line suggested by a local journaler that has watercolor-like tones and even comes in grey! We have to wait for them to get to the US then we will get them in ASAP!

  • HOT TIP Plein Air and Bullet Journaling artists! If you are interested let us know in the comments and we’d be happy to give you a head-ups email as the new stuff hits our receiving room.

 Darin wrote up about five pages of notes from the show. Watch this space and follow us on social media for more of the finds and discoveries we brought back from our trip to SLC.


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Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Japanese Chiyogami and Kinwashi

Chiyogami

I recently put up a display in the paper department of Japanese chiyogami papers (also known as Yuzen in the U.S.).   Chiyogami papers feature intricate, silkscreened patterns on machine made sheets of mixed kozo and sulphite.  The pattern choices are truly amazing with a huge range of themes & designs: birds, florals, geometrics, symbols and more.  The pattern size is small, the color saturation is striking, and the registration is spot on.   I can tell you first hand that once you feel and see this paper, the ideas for possible applications will flow.  We’ve even had customers buy a sheet and take it directly to Kate to have it custom framed…they’re that beautiful!

Sheets are 26×39″ (and we do sell them in half sheets, too).

 

kinwashi

Kinwashi

I can still remember the day, like it was yesterday, when I bought my first decorative sheet of paper.  It was the lovely Japanese Kinwashi in the Natural color. To be honest with you, the hardest part of the purchase was deciding between natural or white- they’re both so lovely!  At that time, I was making handmade greeting cards and needed to create a gauze effect with a natural look, and Kinwashi was perfect…even better than I expected!

Carol Spohn recently taught a class using Kinwashi as a collage paper with watercolors. The results her class got were really inspiring.  It’s really fun to work with lightweight, yet durable paper like Kinwashi!

Kinwashi is machine made with manila hemp and mixed kozo fibers. Sheets are 24×36″ and it comes in white and natural.

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


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Water Soluble Drawing Materials…Like Watercolor Without the Commitment!

Drawing is fun.  If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done it all your life!  I liked to draw as a kid, like many kids do.  On a trip to the Ben Franklin, I begged my mom for a set of crayons that the package told me could be activated with a wet brush…just like paint.  What could be better than watercolor you can draw with, I thought.  The world is a wonderful place!  Imagine my crushing disappointment when I got home and my new crayons did not perform as advertised…they weren’t even a little water soluble!  It obviously still haunts me.  I’m happy to report that Wet Paint has a bunch of top notch drawing materials that play nicely with water…we’re not gonna wreck a little kid’s day (or a big kid’s, either!).

Painting with watercolor is hard.  It’s very immediate – like drawing – but there’s no backsies.  It’s transparent and – mostly – not removable.  The beauty of working with water soluble drawing materials is that they’re easier to “fix”…you have the option to use water, but you don’t have to.  Draw dry and leave it be if you want.  But – if you want to activate part (or all) of your drawing with a painterly flourish – go for it.  You can move & blend  as much or as little as you want, in a very controlled way.  It truly is like watercolor without the commitment (thanks to my friend Megan Vossler for this line which I’ve used hundreds of times since she first coined it!).

A few years ago, one of our favorite importers started bringing in Artgraf products from Viarco, fine art drawing materials manufacturers in Portugal.  Their “Tailor Shape” carbon disc quickly became my most favorite art supply.  It had almost everything: – Dense, dark marks?  Check.  The Carbon Disc is basically a black crayon, but what a black crayon!  The line is reminiscent of a finer litho crayon or China marker, but it’s more versatile than either (see below). – Easy to use, easy to hold?  Check.  The unique “Tailor Shape” (it’s like the little tablet the tailor uses to make marks on your clothes for alterations) fits comfortably in your hand and allows you to use the edge for fine lines, the sides for broad strokes. – Blendable dry or wet?  Check. Sure, you can smudge it like any old crayon, but its water solubility is its magic.  Pass a wet brush over a line and watch it move.  Touch a wet brush to your Carbon Disc and brush it on paper…you would swear it’s India ink!  Deep, dark passages, or subtle, barely there washes…they are all available to you.

monochromatic

ArtGraf Monochromatic Set

Remember I said the Carbon Disc had almost everything?  Well, it was only black.  Hardly a problem, but I had dreams of a white to go with the black.  Instead I got six fantastic Earth Color Carbon Discs, then – later – three Primary Color Carbon Discs (same shape, same properties, lotsa colors that mix beautifully), but no white.  Until this past November, when the Monochromatic Set arrivedMy favorite black Carbon Disc was joined by Graphite Grey and long-awaited White!  Now you can draw with an entire range of tones, tints and colors…take that childhood disappointment! 

Speaking of childhood, the watersoluble crayons I should have gotten as a youngster – if I had Wet Paint there to help me – are Caran d’Ache’s Neocolor II.  84 colors of water-blendable goodness that are perfect for coloring and drawing.  Many people are familiar with these crayons as face paint.  Though that is not their intended use, it does give you a sense of their creaminess and water solubility.  Neocolor II’s are a staple at Wet Paint…we’ve got all 84 colors individually as well as in sets.

museumwatercolorpencilsCaran d’Ache also produces the most highly regarded water soluble colored pencil, the Museum Aquarelle.  Marks made with Museum pencils that have been blended with water are indistinguishable from traditional tube or pan watercolor.  The 76 colors are remarkably lightfast, just like an artists’ grade paint.  These are the best of the best.

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Derwent XL Charcoal Blocks

English pencil manufacturer Derwent has been producing pencils since 1832.  Their Inktense extra vibrant, “ink like” watercolor pencils are still one of the most asked for products at Wet Paint, years after their introduction captivated artists worldwide.  More recently, Derwent launched a short range of traditional graphite and charcoal blocks, but with a few twists: the blocks are BIG, the blocks have color, and the blocks are water soluble.  They are: Derwent’s XL Blocks!  The XL Graphite range contains four super subtle shades, plus traditional graphite tones in soft and extra soft.  Imagine a big, squared 4B pencil without the wood!  Similarly, Derwent’s XL Charcoal Blocks come in four rich, natural colors, plus black and white.  They handle just like the less hearty compressed charcoals you’ve used in the past…they’re just bigger and stronger!  XL Blocks are available individually, or in handsome metal tin sets of six Graphite or Charcoal Blocks.

And this just scratches the surface.  I could fill a whole other post talking about watercolor pencils from Faber Castell (Durer & Durer Magnus), Koh-I-Noor (Mondeluz), Bruynzeel and Prismacolor, as well as water soluble graphite from Faber Castell, General’s, Cretacolor, Viarco (kneadable graphite…wow!), and Lyra.  But you get the idea.  We’ve got the water soluble drawing supplies to make every artists’ dream come true!


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Minding our beeswax

I got a text last night after the store closed. It got me thinking about a couple of trends we’ve noticed that have something in common.

wax44

Tell Alex we have wax coming out of our ears. (but we mainly sell the stuff from bees and plants)

Wax is amazing smooth sticky stuff. We carry it for scads of uses and on the main it’s pretty much all the same bee and soy waxes in different formats (power, blocks, granules). It is a removable resist for water based techniques (fiber, batik, watercolor).It’s a mixable medium and finish for oil based media. On its own you can make sculptures out of wax for 3D sketching and for castings (lost wax technique).  It’s also in all the colored pencils in some quantity.

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Hey Paige, there was a bunch of bees in here a little while ago asking for you.

waxmeds

Wax is a traditional matting and stiffening agent for oil paints and finishes.

Oil painters use wax mediums like these in the paint to get a stiffer texture for brush and knife strokes and in some mixtures the result  can be burnished to a satin luster. They are available ready to use or can be prepared with basic materials and a good recipe. There is a wealth of information on cold wax technique here.  As a finishing touch wax and wax mixed with varnish are often applied to a completed painting for a similar result. Note that the wax finishes will take much longer to cure and will never be as hard, but are easily removed for cleaning. Encaustics are a kind of paint made of wax enjoying a revival ove rthe last couple of years. We wrote about them a little while ago. I think the resurgence comes with the trend of having electricity available in artists studios and also the greater availability of proper surfaces like Ampersand cradled boards.  The colors have to be used hot and most painters can now have a hot plate on their table for heating the color palette or the panel itself to keep it workable. There’s a hot wax aroma in an encaustic studio which some people dig but ventilation is suggested. Boards are the most popular surface for encaustic painting, it doesn’t bend and flex as well as oils. These paintings have a harder finish than the oil mediums and can also be burnished to a beautiful warm patina with amazing depth of color.

We have little cakes of fine beeswax and kistka (the needle used to draw the design on the eggs) on order right now for one of our most popular free demo event, Ukrainian Egg Decorating. Everyone says this particular wax smells wonderful!  We are also getting a few dozen goose and chicken eggs from a local farmer friend that will be already blown out for ornaments and display!

wax3

We have a wonderful sample egg in our display case! Ask to see it!


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Verra’s Paper Pick of the Week: Thai Marble Momi and Japanese Ogura Lace

Thai Marble Momi

I love the feel of paper.  The tactile experience is one of my favorite things about it – so many lovely textures to soothe the senses.  I’ve always enjoyed the Thai Marble Momi group for that exact reason- it’s very fabric like and colorful.  So many swirled color combinations- this line includes 19 fabulous options.  We recently added four new colors to the range we stock…I can’t wait to start working with the one called “Tropical Reef” which has a blend of lime greens, pink, turquoise, and copper.

When you hand-tear this paper, it creates soft edges making it wonderful for any paper arts projects involving glue or layering.

Sheets are 24×36″ hand marbled in Thailand. Made from kozo and wood pulp.

momimarble

Japanese Ogura Lace

This paper is a great, fiberous lace that can be used as a collage paper.  I have found it tears easily and creates wonderful feathery edges.  I even used it as a window covering for my basement windows- I just love how it filters the light!

Sheets are available in 3 colors and are 21×31″ in size.  Machine made with manila hemp in Japan.

oguralace

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


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Fantabulous floaterframes!

We sell tons of Ampersand panels at Wet Paint…Gessobord, Claybord, Aquabord, and – of course – Unprimed Basswood (how could you miss the boxes full of ‘em on the pretty orange palettes?).  Many folks like painting on panels because they can be presented without framing…simply paint or stain the cradled edge and it’s ready to hang on the wall.  Unfortunately, this presentation method doesn’t offer any protection to the artwork.  It also doesn’t adequately distinguish the picture from the wall.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple, all-in-one solution that would both safeguard and support a painting made on an Ampersand panel while also making it stand out from the wall?  Well, now there is: introducing Ampersand “floaterframes!”  Designed to fit 7/8″ and 1.5″ cradles, 3/4″ canvas (and even flat panels!), floaterframes come in two profiles, three colors and five popular sizes.  These premium hardwood beauties are super easy to use…everything you need to give your artwork the finishing touch it deserves is included: all of the mounting and hanging hardware comes with each floaterframe.

Floaterframes elegantly complete those panels you’ve worked so hard on, and we’re making it easier for you to complete them: all Ampersand floaterframes are priced with an introductory  discount of 25% off!  Stop by to see all of the options…Greg even framed one of his fantastic panel paintings so you can see the magic in action!


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Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Decor Blossoms & Amime Lace

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!

verrapaperblogapril

Decor Blossoms from Nepal

This paper is handmade in Nepal from the fibrous bark  of the daphne cannabina- a bushy herb commonly known as “Lokta.”  Sheets are 19.5×29.5″ and are available in 4 color combinations: Slate on Cream, Gold on Navy Blue, Gold on Sage, and Gold on Black.

This beautiful sheet can be used for many paper art applications- book arts, collage, and decoupage- or with the Slate on Cream style, just add color to it like an oversized coloring book page! You could even just hang it up as art to enjoy on your wall.

amimelace

Japanese Amime Lace

I’ve always loved clean lines, intersecting lines, and grids. The entire Amime Lace series (of 13 colors!) really speaks to me- the grid pattern and the range of colors make me very happy.  I would like to highlight a particular favorite with the “hot pink” color.  This color says summer time to me when everything in my weird world revolves around bright colors.  Who doesn’t need a little summer feeling right now?  Hot Pink Amime Lace would also be totally appropriate for your handmade valentine…ooh la la! Whatever the project, I enjoy paring up bright colors with a crisp white paper for a fresh look and adding the various colored grids to my collages to create depth.


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Add (some) Color to Daily Drawing Practice

Chris, on our staff, told me about his project last year to do one sketch a day. At first I thought, “Heck, how hard is that?” Then I tried it. After letting a couple of days get away the coin dropped and I recognized that it’s a very tough challenge. Like New Year’s resolutions to work out every day, to improve your bass guitar playing, to run three times a week, or to learn French with an app on your phone, this is about setting aside minutes every day for practice. Daily practice gets you ready for the race. One-a-day sketches will not be not 365 masterpieces. Like playing musical scales or making time for a walk or a run, hitting the minutes is the goal. The first week or so you may just be doing a few minutes each day before you are fatigued but you get stronger. The trick is trying for one more minute the next day and then more after that.

My goal is to get in 25-30 minutes of drawing practice each day and thanks to the realization that this is training, not the race, I’m finally doing it.

Here’s how I got a good start; toned paper. One of our regular customers came in to pick up a new pocket sketchbook and was showing me his cartoons and caricatures. He draws people he sees outside and in the skyways in his grey-tinted book and uses a white chalk or marker to punch things up. Then a couple of days later I saw a documentary on the Civil War that used illustrations with black and sepia conte on kraft-color brown paper with a yellow ochre rubbed into the backgrounds to pop them out. It was simple and looked good. So I got a kraft color Stonehenge pad-a small-ish one, since I was working with pencils.  To my regular assortment of regular pencils I added a white Pitt marker and made some fun little drawings. I’d do a sketch of random shapes or copy part of a picture from the newspaper and then fill the background with the white Pitt pen. The pop-out effect is like magic!  A couple of days later I added a 30% grey Prismacolor colored pencil, then a cream Conte crayon, then a silver Gelly Roll ball pen. After using white in the backgrounds I started adding dots of white in textures then highlights. (I really like the Signo white pen for those.) Also check out the amazing sketches of Don Colley for more inspiration.

The sketch pad is on the kitchen counter and it is filling up because I am picking it up and doing my drawings every day.

The other thing I realized is that even though I started after to first of the year I’m not behind schedule. A year from when I started will be January  16th. If you see me in the store ask me how it’s going and let me know how your year of sketches is coming along.