Monthly Archives: September 2010

Back from our Anniversary

My wife and I had a great time in Traverse City, celebrating our anniversary. I surprised my wife with a drawing and a metal rose that I had a close friend of mine weld together. He’s incredibly talented. It looks exactly like the real thing, only he doesn’t suggest watering it. Heather flipped when she saw them, on the way up to Traverse City she kept looking at them taking them all in. She didn’t expect it at all, the look on her face was priceless.

Not to be outdone, little did I know that she had something up her sleeve. When we arrived at the hotel Heather left me speechless when she surprised me with a box containing EVERYTHING on my Cheap Joe’s wish list! Watercolor paints, brushes, brush cleaner, masking fluid, fixative spray, a Robert Wood palette, watercolor sketch pad and a huge artist clipboard! Joe Miller of Cheap Joe’s even sent me a nice handwritten note with a $25 dollar gift certificate!

Thanks to my wonderful wife I now have everything I need to start with watercolors. I love her SO much! We couldn’t wait, so right away we tore everything out of its packaging and together sat down and put brush to paper. Later on I painted several paint charts to test the colors I could mix and to keep track of the colors later, but right then we just wanted to play and watch as the different colors poured out of our brushes.

First Watercolor

The above painting is Heather and I’s first watercolor painting! My wife is so amazing, I don’t know what I would do without her. And thanks to her I’m going to have loads of fun and many epic fails as I learn to paint with watercolors.

Thank you and happy anniversary my love!

1st Year Anniversary!

1st Year Anniversary

My wife Heather and I are celebrating our 1st year being married! The past year has been a crazy one and I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without her. Heather is a dream come true, I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful wife. She is the love of my life and I look forward to many more anniversaries as we grow old together.

Today we’re celebrating by taking a trip up to Traverse City for a couple of days. I drew this a little while ago and had it printed at Meijer’s Photo Center as an 8×10 and framed. It’s a drawing of her favorite stuffed animal holding a heart. I’m planning on surprising her with it in a few minutes – I’ll let you know how it turns out. You can see the full story of how Heather and I met and how I asked her to marry me, including a picture of the above stuffed animal, over at my wife’s blog.

Giraffe – I Hardly Knew Thee

Giraffe

I tried my hand at drawing a giraffe from a photograph. I never realized how little I knew about giraffes. I’d go to draw a section and I’d look at the picture and think to myself “That’s not right! Giraffe’s don’t have that weird bump there!” I’d turn the page to look at a picture of another giraffe, just to make sure I wasn’t drawing some “mutant giraffe”, sure enough the other giraffe had the same weird bump. I must have done that a half a dozen times during this little sketch!

Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter

I’ve been reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and have been really enjoying it. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read it until now (so many books so little time!). I also love the jacket cover of this edition! The jacket cover was designed by Jen Wang (on her site, if you click “Covers”, then “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” you’ll be able to view her cover in all it’s glory). I couldn’t help, but try my hand at drawing the Mad Hatter in her style. It seems to fit the Mad Hatter perfectly.

So Many Bunnies!

Cutesy Bunny

I doodled this bunny, trying to do a variation of my “Suspicious Bunny” picture that I like so much. After setting down my dip pen and taking a look at my finished bunny rabbit I was genuinely horrified! This bunny is so cute it sickens me. I draw plenty of cutesy things, but even I didn’t think I could turn out something this diabolical! For no other reason than morbid curiosity, I set to work on the computer to produce an army of cutesy bunnies. I warn you if you are faint of heart or have a weak constitution do not scroll down any further!

Bunny Attack

It sends shivers up and down my spine. I post these here because I know there are some of you out there that may find some twisted enjoyment out of these images. I post these images for their sake. To that small minority of you, I have only this to say: You make me sick!

For the rest of us, I’m happy to let you know I’ve inked the original “Suspicious Bunny” drawing, ran it through Inkscape and am very happy with how it turned out:

Suspicious Bunny (Inked)

Watercolors – What I Know So Far

I’ve been curious about watercolors for a while now. They have a lightness to them that I really like. Exploring watercolors feels like my natural next step. Though I have much yet to master when it comes to drawing and always will, the allure of color is strong.

From the library I have taken home dozens of books on watercolors and have devoured them all. For now I’ve focused mainly on what to buy when starting out. I want to make sure I start out on the right foot.

What I Know About Colors:

Paints

Above is my notes on what colors to start out with. As you can see the opinions are many and varied. Most of them are based on the author’s personal preference with little or no logic behind why these colors are preferred.

In the end I decided to go with none of these suggestions above and instead plan on going with a list I found on HandPrint.com Bruce the owner of HandPrint.com seems to have a limitless knowledge of color and watercolor paints. I plan on going with his suggestion of a basic palette of:

Winsor Yellow (PY154)
Quinacridone Magenta (PR 122)
Winsor Blue GS (PB 15:3)
Winsor Green BS (PG7)

I’m keeping it small to start out with. Bruce recommends these colors largely because of the range of beautiful colors you can mix from these basic colors. To start with, I’m going with Winsor & Newton brand watercolors because those are the ones Bruce seems to prefer for these pigments, but I’m looking forward to expanding my palette later with other brands. Especially M. Graham paints which I have heard many good things about.

What I Know About Brushes:

Brushes

As with paints I found many different opinions about brushes. The prices of a good brush can vary tremendously. I almost had a heart attack when walking into a local paint store and finding a two-hundred dollar watercolor brush! I almost gave up my watercolor ambitions right there. Fortunately I found that there are many affordable brushes out there that will work just as good as the “top of the line” brushes.

Because of my limited budget I’m planning on buying two of Cheap Joe’s Legendary kolinsky sable round brushes. I’m thinking sizes #4 and #8 to start with. The Legendary brushes are affordable and come highly recommended. I’m also planning on buying a Holbein Hake brush for washes.

What I Know About Paper:

Not much. It comes in different weights (measured by how heavy a ream of paper is) and different levels of smoothness (hot-pressed, cold-pressed and rough). I was struck by something I read in the Basic Watercolor Answer Book: “What if you create your masterpiece and it’s on cheap paper? Think positive and be prepared. You never know when you are going to ‘hit it'” Good words of advice.

I’ve already picked up a pad of sampler watercolor paper to try out all the different types. I plan on picking up a pad of 140 lb. cold-pressed watercolor paper to use for practice. I’m leaning towards 300 lb cold-pressed for the real thing, but I’ll have to try it first to see for myself.

So that’s what I know so far! I’ve set up my wish list over at Cheap Joe’s, now I just have to save up the money. I’m itching to begin painting, reading about watercolors is one thing, actually painting with watercolors I imagine is a whole different thing. Like they say: “There’s no substitution for the real thing” or as Bruce advises me: “Stop reading and start painting!”