Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Recipe for a work / art bag

I've been experimenting with simpler designs. I want to develop a freer hand and a looser style, especially since I enjoy washing my ink sketches in watercolor.

What's in the mix?

In order to obtain this freer style I find it's best to simplify what I carry in the bag. In going back and forth to work, I need to carry a notebook PC, an 8.5 x 11 work journal and lunch, that's heavy, and I haven't even added any of my sketch paraphernalia.

Mix in a moderate amount of art supplies

The only thing that I add to the heft of my work bag is my 5.5 x 8 journal, a waterproof ink pen, travel watercolor kit of half pans, and a water brush.

A pen?

For the pen, light, quick, and easy are the watch words. Oh, and it must absolutely have waterproof ink so that the page will accept watercolor washes. I usually bring my fine nib Waterman fountain pen, loaded with Bulletproof Noodlers. That's usually what I have with me going to work.

Sometime though I just carry several UniBall Vision Micro pens. I don't care if I loose one, they are easy to clip to my journal without falling out, they have a 0.5 point rollerball tip, and they are filled with jet black water proof ink.

Where to sketch

So when I stop off for breakfast or lunch I simply bring in my journal and pen. (I leave the other stuff in the trunk.) If I'm able to outline some scene in the restaurant with ink, I'm happy. Later at home I try to remember the basic colors of what I saw. However, I often change the colors to be more pleasing. I prefer muted colors in my sketches so I'll often adjust what colors were actually there.

This process gives me the ability to sketch anywhere, without too much notice, and without spending too much time. I want to develop a quicker eye that can capture the essence. It's not necessary to build up so much detail, the eye will fill it in. Color, balance, and interest is what I'm trying to achieve.

Speed Chess

When I was a teen we'd play five minute chess. It's very crazy. I had to make split second decisions given the position of the players on the board at that moment. There was no real thinking ahead other then a few moves. The strategy was that if I played speed chess I'd sharpen my game. First because I could see immediately the success or failure of each move. Second, I'd play more games in any given allotted time.

Quick sketching is like speed chess. You have to make quick decisions with limited tools in a limited time.

So, what's in your bag? Lighten and loosen. If you do, you'll sketch more frequently and you'll soon have more higher quality sketches to share.

The only difference between bloggers and homeless people who talk to themselves is . . . the the bloggers have computers.