So I suppose it’s the time of year when I start thinking about what I’ll make or buy for people for Christmas.
I wanted to note that the crochet scarf pattern that I’ve named “dark waves” over on another website, could be good for someone’s Christmas present. I don’t know if I would actually be able to finish it before Christmas, though — at least, working with a fine gauge, I’m unsure. Basically I was thinking that I’d be able to work on this and it didn’t matter if I liked dark purple anymore or not, because it would be going to someone else. ;)
Anyhow. Also to update on the playing around with watercolors, ink and brushes:
I’ve “recently” (as in within the past two or three months…I think) obtained a set of watercolor brushes that I’m really happy with. I’m using the Winsor & Newton Cotman brushes, primarily. These have been mixed with some other brands; though I can’t recall the specific brands offhand, besides Princeton Art & Brush…which works differently because the bristles are of a different degree of stiffness than the Cotmans.
I basically have a bunch of small round brushes and a small flat…the Cotmans I like, because they come to a reasonably fine point, at least in my judgment, and the larger sizes have bristles long enough to contain a good ink load. (Only complaint I have is that the bristles on my smallest — an older brush — have splayed a little, causing random additional lines; and the bristles aren’t very long.)
Last time I was experimenting with them, I was using a jar which contained some Yasutomo Sumi ink (I know, pre-ground ink is not the best way to go about things, but it’s available). The jar…last time I used it, it had a skin of dried ink that fell into the bottom that I had to pull out so it wouldn’t gunk up my brush. I need to remember to clean the jar out.
I have a couple of pads of Bristol now to work with — I’m using the 300 series until I want to do something serious, then I can use the 400.
I’ve eased off of attempting the Japanese calligraphy, once I saw that I had a difficult enough time writing basic phonemes in ballpoint so that they look right…
…yeeeah. The Japanese study hasn’t been coming along well, because I keep forgetting about it. Reading books on Japanese calligraphy and Chinese brush painting, however, has been good to show different ways to *hold* and *use* a brush. The grip one uses on a brush drastically changes the quality of mark one can obtain from it.
But yes; I did find that the entire Oriental calligraphy thing would require a different set-up than I have; and in that field, I’m working uphill because of my limited knowledge of how to write in the language anyway. But the information of learning different ways to *use* what you have (and as I’ve read, Chinese brush painting, at least, draws off of calligraphic strokes in order to create an image) — that’s actually really valuable, even if you’re illiterate in all Asian languages. :)
As for what I’m doing artistically, otherwise: most recently I did a series of sketches while trying to get to sleep. Don’t know if that counts. ^_- But I did find that the Staedtler fiber-tipped pen I was using (.3) can create a variety of line widths, depending just on how hard it’s pressed, and how slowly or quickly one moves it. I should try that with the Microns and see how it works…
The art get-together I’ve been trying to plan with a friend just isn’t happening. Not entirely sure why, other than that maybe they just aren’t into it anymore. Or I intimidate them or something. I don’t know.
As regards ink and quality of ink — I have now tried Higgins Eternal, and I prefer Higgins Calligraphy. Eternal is not a very dark black, it’s more of a very dark bluish grey — which probably doesn’t matter if you’re making work for graphic reproduction, as the blacks can be digitally darkened.
The Higgins Calligraphy ink is the black that I personally prefer — in pens, the closest thing I can find to it happen to be the Pitt fiber-tipped and brush pens. I haven’t tried Copic or many of the other fineliners, though, so that should be taken with a grain of salt.