I can't remember a time when I wasn't drawing or painting.
Something I always did when I was a kid was paint and draw. My sister taught me the basics of drawing, showing me how to use shapes overlapping to draw anything I could see or imagine. She was always encouraging me to keep trying when I found things difficult. If I was disappointed in how a picture had turned out, she would always say It looks fantastic!.(She hasn't changed)
I remember once when my Grandmother was visiting and I really wanted to paint, I was about 4, she and my mother said no. I snuck of with some tubes of paint and a bowl and hid in the pantry and started to mix colours up in the bowl. Noticing I had disappeared they both started to look for me, Ill never forget the look on my grandmothers face when they finally opened the pantry door and saw what I was up to. She had a huge smile and started to laugh so much tears rolled down her cheeks.
I was about 9 when my sister gave me my first sketch book she called it a visual diary but I never really drew things I observed daily inside, I just drew what I imagined. Previously I was given scrap books with low grade paper,computer paper from my father's workplace, general scrap paper and so on. This was the first proper bound book I had ever been given to draw in. Having been deemed ready and worthy of my own bound sketchbook to fill, I felt very grown up and accomplished . This soon became a regular gift from my sister and family as I filled them up so quickly. I've always been a habitual drawer.
As a child I loved creating cartoon characters. Watching Warner Brothers, Disney and Hanna Barbera animations really drove my creativity. My all time favorite animated feature to this day has to be Wizards, directed and written by the amazingly talented Ralph Bakshi. I rented and watched this movie repeatedly. The fantastic style of the characters and setting was gritty and like nothing else I had ever seen before. It was the film that made me want to be animator. After getting a bit older and learning how painstakingly boring, repetitive and difficult cartoons were to create (at least to me ), I gradually let that dream go. I still love to draw cute cartoon characters, I keep a scrap book full of many I come up with, it then gets used as a reference book for making personalised cards, designing vectors, t-shirts and much more. I continue to love animation and enjoy playing around with stop animation just for fun from time to time.
While I do sit down at my desk and execute a planned, staged out drawing in a somewhat traditional manner, I think initially it would be best to share with you a drawing session. Drawing sessions are when I spend at least and hour drawing with no preconceived plan of what I am going to draw or what materials I am going to use. I just let go and see what develops on to the page. Depending on the length of the session I might draw 50 pictures and only feel one or two could be complete and successful art works, sometimes I love them all. These sessions are more about getting ideas and inspiration than producing finished pieces . I really have fun during my drawing sessions and the best thing about them is I can have one anywhere as long as I have a pen and paper. I even have a suitcase of drawing supplies I often carry with me when I go visiting, on a trip or wherever life and adventure might take me.
So with a clean desk, everything on hand, ample paper, jars filled with fresh water and clean rags and a variety of different tools, it's time for a drawing session! Below the video I'll discuss my results and show off images of pieces that I thought went well then cover materials. I use quite an extensive range of materials so I will keep it as brief as possible and just keep it to what I use predominantly.
This is the first time I have filmed my self drawing and it was a little tricky to setup, having said that I think it went well and I am pleased with the results. I drew for a little over an hour and sped the video up 20 times to make it fit under four minutes. I got some great ideas, most importantly I had a good time. I want to make a point that I mostly used pretty cheap paper and all paper is kept, reused or recycled. Now before I go on to discuss materials, here's some pics of drawings from the session.
Heres a quick run down covering most of what I keep on my desk, keep in mind I don't use many materials traditionally and this is just my experience experimenting with them for a more traditional explanation you will have to look else where.
poster paint - A cheap Acrylic paint designed mostly for children. You would most likely be familiar with it from primary school. Its very thin, you can water it down even more to make a wash. I like it because it's useful for a splash of colour and I stops me from using up more expensive paints. I don't worry about it becoming contaminated by dirty brushes either. I also use it as a kind of under coat or bottom layer when I painting a big piece.
Gouache- A thick sticky watercolour paint. It behaves similarly to watercolors but it is much thicker has more depth and you can create nice dark lines with it. With most materials to really know they are to use you have to experiment with them yourself. A set of 12 colours can range from $5-50 Aus, unless you are doing traditional watercolour painting or are after a special colour only available in a more expensive set, I recommend buying somewhere in the bottom range, too cheap though and he paint will be poor quality and dry out in it's tube fast. I usually spent about $20 Aus. on a set of 12
Watercolour - A paint you can water down or use on pre soaked watercolour paper, I use it for filling in backgrounds and shading. As far as buying it I offer the same advice as the Gouache.
Acryllic -Pictured above is a 'Monte Marte' brand of acrylic paint, a good paint that is nice and thick and dries pretty quickly but can be reworked close to drying time with a wet brush if needed. It comes in an endless number of bright and earthy colours. I pay between $5-8 Aus a tube, a little more for special colours like their metallic range which is fantastic. I also use 'Kaiser Kraft' paints because I can source them locally but find them to be a bit thinner and not much cheaper.
Kids watercolour pallet - This is pretty straight forward you just need a brush and water. The small set was $6Aus and the Larger set was $15 Aus. I have had the small set for about 4 years and use it all the time, these are great because they are super cheap and last for ever! It also stops me using my watercolour tubes unnecessarily. Great for kids to play around with as well. The lighter colours do tend to require you to almost grind the pallet with you brush but over all it is great value. (Note, you can keep the paint you squeeze out of your water colour tubes onto your pallet and re work it with water after it has dried in a similar fashion.)
House paint - This is a great versatile paint, I get these little pots for free. By free I mean I don't buy house paint regularly but I salvage it from wherever I can (work sites, friends etc). I use it for preparing canvases for oil painting. You can tint it with other paints to change the colours. To cover house paint and it's uses would take too long as there are so many varieties. Just play around with some if you get the chance.
Biro, writing pen - Pretty straightforward not much to say, pretty much everyone has uses one at some point. I think they are great for bringing out detail on top of a finished piece as they draw over most materials other than anything too waxy like crayons and oil pastels. They are a great all rounder and interesting shading results can even be achieved smudging biro ink . As far as price I've used biros that were 50C and $5 and found no real difference. Bic and pacer make some great colours that last a long time. There are some amazing artist who illustrate only using this diverse tool.
Pilot fineliner - Ok so these are fantastic they can cost about $5 each but can be bought cheaper in bulk and come in red, blue and black. The very special thing about this pen in particular is that is one of the only water soluble fineliners available (it's the only one I know of). You can get fantastic effects drawing and outline and then using a brush over the pen to create a great water colour effect. It is easy to get used to and a good starter pen for anyone experimenting with drawing for the first time. It's my number one.
Artline Calligraphy pen- These are a fun alternative to traditional Calligraphy pens, especially if you want to do some fancy lettering but don't want the mess and stress of using ink and nibs. Great for figure drawing as you can produce thin and thick lines. I find the fair well over the warmer weather and last quite a while even with regular use. This pen cost about $6 Aus.
Fine liner/graphics pen- Once again these are pretty straight forward. I do recommend spending a bit on a set, they usually come in sets of six ranging in thickness. I prefer Unipin or Artline. Pilot do make great graphic pens as well but my experience with them is they dry up quickly if you live where it gets really hot (pilot finelinersare an exception) . I paid $25 Aus for my set of 6 (not all pictured) and will spend up to $12 on an individual pen if I like how it feels, and flows in the store. These are not water soluble like the Pilot fineliner.
Brush pen - I got these at a Japanese variety store very cheap about $3Aus each, I like that they really feel like a brush and come in grey as well as black, great for shading. They dried up or ran out quickly, not sure which I used them so much, but I just dip them in water and ink when I use them and they continue to be of use. You can buy refillable ones for about $10-$15 Aus each and the ink to refill them is * Sumi drawing ink* as covered in my previous post on quills.
Pastels, crayons & raw charcoal
Crayons- Ok so again this is something most people will be familiar with. I don't recommend buying really cheap ones as it is sort of like trying to draw with a candle, quite discouraging for children. Crayolas are my go to crayon I have all my husbands crayons from his childhood and have not bought any for quite some time, I imagine a basic box would set you back about $10. I think they are great because they come in lots of colours and are fun to play with. You can also paint over them with a wash( watered down paint or watercolour) and they repel the paint and show up through it ( a great trick when dyeing easter eggs)
Dry pastels - These are so vibrant. I use Mont Marte brand, a decent set of 24 can cost between $15- $25 Aus depending on where you buy them and if they have special colours. That being said I have smaller sets of a generic japanese brand I bought for $4 Aus and they are pretty great too. You can smudge them or lay them on thick. I think they are totally worth experimenting with. After you have finished a drawing you need to set it so it won't smudge further as it ages or while in storage for this you need fixative, it's a spray that comes in low sheen, high sheen or workable matt, workable matt is for setting as you go so you don't smudge what you have already done while continuing to draw. If you can afford or find fixative a strong hold hairspray that hasn't got a shine to it works ok, but don't freak out when you apply it, the page may go transparent but will return to normal when its dry (probably worth testing out on a scrap piece of paper before to use it on your masterpiece).
Water soluble oil pastel - These are pretty fun, again I have a mont marte set, my set of 12 cost me about $10 Aus. I like to use them to cover big areas then paint over with water. Lines loose a bit of definition once they get water near them and tend to bleed a bit so I don't use them in the same way as the pilot fineliner or aquarell pencils.
Oil pastels- I love these and use Monte Marte brand a set of 24 costs me about $20 sometimes a bit less. There is a lot you can so with these , they repel water like crayons, they are great for smudging, are pretty vibrant, good for doing top layers as they draw over most materials. Available in all kinds of colours, bright, earthy and metallic. There's a lot you can to do with these too much to discuss here so I suggest grabbing a set and playing around. (you can layer these on top of each other and scratch them back to reveal the colours underneath)
Builders crayon- I wont say much on these they are like other crayons but have a different feel. They are also nice and big to hold. They are about $3 from a hardware store and don't come in many colours. I included them because I think they are worth trying out. I like using them for life drawing and lightly sketching out ideas.
Raw Charcoal -By raw I mean it hasnt been compressed into a stick, this is straight from our fireplace, mine is most likely Eucalyptus wood of some kind, I don't think the type of wood matters much, I believe traditionally willow is used. I don't enjoy compressed charcoal and find it pale and does not smudge the way I like or is too expensive. Raw charcoal is messy to draw with, it crumbles and breaks and the edges are inconsistent, so may not be great for beginners. I like that you can get many different lines and effects by using different sides of the piece and that no two pieces are the same. If you can source some from a friend or your own fire place, have a go and see if it is right for you. I really think its terrific fun to use.(You can get kneadable erasers from any art supply store for erasing materials like charcoal, heavy graphite pencils and to a lesser degree dry pastels.)
Water soluble graphite stick also known as aquarell pencil - These are fantastic fun. A set of four is about $10. They are really dark and when you add water they make great dark lines. You can do a sketch and paint over with water on the lines changing the effect of your drawing. THey come in grades that usually vary from 2B - 12B, the softer grades make really dark lines when you add water. You can purchase many kinds, these are woodless, you can buy wooden pencils and you can purchase them individually for around $2-3 Aus. This is another super versatile material that i use a lot, you really have to play with some to get the feel of how they work and are totally worth trying out.
Graphite stick - These come in different grades from light or faint(1H-2H etc.) right through to the softer and smudgey (2B-6B etc). They cost about $2 Aus each. They are great for shading big areas. They are basically like the lead in your pencil only bigger. Great for life drawing.
Smudgers- Great for learning to shade. Made of compressed cardboard fashioned into a point. Cost is between 50C and $3 They are pretty self explanatory. You can smudge whatever you like with them but if you use them with oil pastel you wont be able to clean them easily. I clean them by wiping off the excess on to scrap paper then use a kneadable eraser ( kneadable erasers don't work well on oil pastels)
Grey lead Pencils- Ok so these are pretty common to most people. A good set of 12 should cost about $25. But cheap ones will work pretty much the same. Pencils work in grades so to explain quickly anything with an H is hard, will draw lightly, wont smudge, and is commonly used for underline or preliminary sketching, they should be drawn with lightly. Pencils with a B are soft, they are darker smudge more, and are used a lot for shading. My favorite grades of pencils are 2B and 6B, I like dark smudgey things! IMPORTANT NOTE ON ALL PENCILS if you drop them (especially soft ones) they will break in side, be careful with them. If you spend a lot of money on a set and go home to sharpen them to find the lead continuously breaking return them and ask for another set or your money back.
Coloured pencils - I wont say much about these other than don't go to cheap, somewhere in the mid range is fine I the most I would spend $20 on a set of 12 . However if you plan on using them alot and love those adult colouring books (who doesn't) you wont regret spending a little extra say, $50 for a bigger set. I wont go into brands other than to say Derwent pencils were fantastic in the 80's and 90's but are in my opinion nothing to write home about any more.
Water Soluble Coloured pencils or aquarell pencils Great fun and have a really vibrant finish as a stand alone coloured pencil, even if you dont plan to paint over them. You can draw over already wet surfaces to add definition and they don't bleed. Mine are Mont Marte brand but I can't remember what they cost it probably wasn't more that $10Aus. They are also available in woodless like the first graphite stick I discussed. If you can find woodless, they are more vibrant, and last a long time. As with all softer pencils well all pencils be gentle and don't drop them.
Faber Castell connector pens/markers - Most people have seen these or used them. They are the best of their kind for my needs. Although they are not hard to loose (connect them up), come in so many colours and are reasonably priced, around $22Aus for a set of 80, my main reason for loving them is they don't dry up in the heat quickly. Ive had sets last 3 year before showing signs they might dry up. Where I live most days from November until March reach at least the low 30's c (86 F) and can often reach 40c (104 F).
Crayola Soulable- Incase you haven't noticed I love anything water soluble because you can get great effects. I love these and they are usually $6 Aus. Just note that I find the pink doesn't' work well when you paint over it with water and doesn't really budge. They are cheap, easy to hold, you can draw thick or thin lines and great for kids and adults alike.
Sharpie permanent marker/ texta* - The best permanent marker I have used. They don't bleed and come in tons of colours including neon colours that glow under Uv light (funky). Bic have a range of permanent markers that come in awesome colours as well including a really nice pastel range, I prefer the tips of sharpies as they are bit finer. Your standard set of 24 costs about $22, special edition packs with extra colour cost about $30 but you can usually buy the special edition colours on their own for about $4.
Paint Pen- This is like a Posca pen if you have ever used one, only it's a brand I found again in a Japanese variety store and was a lot cheaper only $3.80 Aus, roughly half the price. They come in a lot of colours including metallic. Great for adding some pop out effects to your drawing. I like using them to add a line here and there on the top of a drawing to make it stand out. They do alright in the heat as well. Be careful when you use them play around on a bit of paper until you figure them out, alot of paint can come out all at once ruining your work.
Although I have proof read this quite a lot, I hope you will excuse any mistakes, my father in law has been quite Ill over the past few days and is currently in hospital. I have been spending quite a lot of time helping him out and making sure he has all he needs at his bed side. Needless to say finding the time and focus to complete this post has been a real challenge.
I would really love to know what you think in the comments below. You could tell me what you like to draw with. Feedback is most appreciated, I am pleased to answer any further questions you might have as best I can. I really appreciate all the lovely comments and support I have received so far, I thank you all who have welcomed me to the Steemit community with open arms.
I'll wind it up with a quote Art sets you free when nothing else can-Kimberlea Perry
Until next time love each other and peace out