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Blick Order Arrived...

Grown men playing with dolls time. I ordered two manikins on clearance, the Art S. Buck plastic ones instead of the traditional wooden one I gave to Eric as a parting gift. I found out they do articulate a LOT more than the wooden ones, twisting here and bending there in very clever ways to get into many more poses. Right now the male is standing on top of my brush washer holding a paintbrush like a spear, the female's balanced on top of my Prismacolors making a somewhat theatrical gesture.

They come in three colors: African-American, Caucasion (and why isn't that Euro-American?), and Gray... the gray ones were too creepy and were the only ones I knew of for a long time, which put me off them. They remind me a bit of that scene in Ursula LeGuin's Lathe of Heaven where the psychiatrist ends racism by making everyone the same color -- gray.

More art supplies and witty comments under the cut.

Much with the kittenlet toys. 10 Finger puppets and seven little tattoo books from Dover with six designs each, a Magic Plaster kit that'll probably be just as good for molding with bread dough once the special plaster stuff is used up, and biggest of all, a multi-medium Art Set in a blue zippered portfolio. That has watercolor paint in tubes, brush, 14 colored pencils, drawing pencil, a dozen crayons and eight markers all in the organizer that fits inside the zippered portfolio. When all the supplies are used up, the zippered portfolio may still be useful for storing Sascha's paintings and drawings.

It will live in my room and get used under supervision. So will all of these kittenlet toys, most are messy and involve water and would get used up in one day unless someone adult were there helping. Finger puppets are downstairs toys, so that Gabriel doesn't get to play with them unsupervised. He might swallow one and choke. They're cute little knitted things, rather clever in design, soft and squishy. Safe unless you're a toddler who puts everything in your mouth and tries to swallow it.

This was a pot luck Clearance order, in which almost everything was on the Clearance list except for a few repeat small necessities.

I got my kneaded erasers, my spare pencil sharpeners and the pocket watercolor brush are shipping later. The brush is in stock and reserved but the pencil sharpeners will ship on the 13th. Apparently I'm not the only one of them that gets a half dozen or more at a time and likes the General's All Art for 48 cents. Maybe others are taking the shiny sharp new blades out and replacing the blades in $2.39 fancy sharpeners too.

I bought a second Barron's Pocket Reference, this time on Waterscapes. The one I got on Landscapes had plenty of material, and super fine small print that took wearing magnifying glasses to read it. Good watercolor books but it helps having magnifying glasses around. The examples are beautiful though, and this author really believes in strong color. That's something I like in watercolors. The neat thing is that I may adapt some of these ideas to do ACEOs, painting scenes the size of the reduced printed examples with very fine point brushes.

I don't mind that they ran out of size 14 pointed squirrel rounds from Arches. I got the size 12 round and it is humongous. It is the biggest watercolor brush I have. It's got a good point and a fat belly and a long fat handle, now sitting in the biggest hole in my Loew-Cornell brush cleaner/brush holder. I don't always use that for a water pot, but as a brush holder it can't be beat. It also does always have clean water inside and I can use it without getting up once the little jar of water gets too muddy, which is why it gets used second since it's a bit harder to clean afterward.

Marshall's Photo Oil Pencils are something I'm probably going to use more for their intended purpose than generally as colored pencils. I looked at the palette and the special thinner and the kit... and it'll be fun colorizing black and white photos, especially if I buy some vintage postcards or something and start cropping them for ACEOs and doing strange colorizing and altering on them. I think this is my introduction to Altered Photos, now I just need to pick up some vintage photos, preferably landscapes and seascapes that I can add UFOs zooming in over or seas of blood or sea serpents and other weirdness. I'll look around for them when I get out to an antique shop or flea market, they're always abundant and cheap. Not really so much looking for the ones with people, although a lot of eBay artists do them with stiff, uncomfortable-looking children turned into fairies.

A pleasant surprise, even cooler than I thought it would be, is the Derwent Sketcher's Folio. It's thick leather or leatherette, it feels like patent leather, with two big sturdy zippers in a structure not unlike my Global Classic leather cases. The A6 hardback sketchbook has its own pocket in the side with the twelve Graphitints, the waterhandle brush looks to have a nice big reservoir and a good pointy tip and there is room to tuck in a kneaded eraser loose along with the white vinyl rubber that's included. That was something of an expensive treat, over $60 list and down to about $20 on Clearance, but all the discontinued colored pencils sets had sold out and I've used my 24 color Graphitints set a bit heavily since I got it. Extra Graphitints in extremely portable form is luxury.

When I went upstairs to get the boxes it was just nice outside, hot but not blistering. It's overcast and a bit muggy but it wasn't one of those days that sweat springs out as soon as you leave the AC. I was very tempted to run outside and sketch anyway! But I need to rest a bit before I do, since I did haul both boxes downstairs and then stand there opening them and releasing African-American manikins from bondage -- they were tied down very securely in their boxes, Art S. Buck takes no chances on escape or damage while they're en route.

I saved all the shiny plastic-coated soft wire as sculpture wire because I think I can do something interesting with it, the wad of soft sculpture wire is tucked up with recycled-art things.

I picked up an 11" x 17" Robert Ware Basic Presentation Book, and now regret that I didn't get the little 4 x 6" ones or letter size ones while they had them. This big one was under $5 after the coupon, and I forgot just how big 11" x 17" is. It means that I can open my archive box and take out some of my good unmatted art and put it in the protectors and flip through it sometimes or show it to people. Plenty of pages too. I might do more pastels now that it's handy.

I used to have a portfolio that had presentation pages and would keep larger art in the sheet protectors, it was a lot easier to keep them from getting damaged that way. Some of my art that's currently on the walls needs to come down to make room for good art that's going up and for new art.

I got my two frames. They are very pleasant, nice inch-wide black frame, correct size for the art. I'm going to have to get up and get athletic again to actually open those and put Aladyx's watercolor painting in one and The Kill in the other, but doing that will let me put those together on the big fancy wall that's easiest for me to see. I might get some more of those later on, get an 11 x 14" one for my pastel Ari portrait and start framing the Wall of Ari stuff.

And I picked up a clearance trim ruler system from Dahle. We'll see if this is easier or more accurate than cutting ACEO blanks by hand with scissors. I don't get them too badly with scissors and am used to marking up with a grid ruler, but this has its own inbuilt heavy grid ruler and I could also perforate or do wavy edges with it. Which might be amusing on some of the more humorous type of cards.

I had a wonderful surprise with the Aquabee Tree Free pad of drawing paper. That stuff is multimedia paper. 120lb, almost as heavy as standard watercolor paper. Certainly heavy enough for ACEOs and using wet media, it's sized for wet media.

But it's not plain white. It's hemp paper and it has little specks in it, it's one of the fancy papers with little darker fibers showing here or there. Which means it'll be lovely for doing the sorts of art that let the paper surface show through, either transparent watercolors especially in the Asian styles, or drawings that vignette. The stuff is nice and stiff like card stock, perfect for ACEOs. I'm not going to do just sketching on it, I'll probably use this acid free 100% recycled Good Stuff for a series of ACEOs. Now wishing I'd stocked up and gotten several pads, though it's been on Clearance for a while and might still be available in a few months when I'm past everything.

Turned out that Ari's vet bills are $40 higher than I thought. Oops. I still owe $75 on his vet bill because I needed to get ink cartridges to print out my book for edits. Between SBI, Booklocker and doing a wholesale order of Emerald Sword to have auction copies, I won't be doing another art supply order till December, when it'll probably be ASW because their holiday sales are always so deep-discount. So I am very glad that I did clean up on the Clearance stuff this time and have new mediums to fool with now, as that'll last me for three months ahead. Though if I move enough ACEOs this month, maybe I can at least catch up on the cat's medical bills and just be doing my website and book printing and wholesale order.

I did not know about the additional $40 on the kitty bill when I placed this Blick order. I had my budget worked out pretty tight and thought I could put it off, would be paying an additional $35 later on which is not that much. But now it's a bit more substantial and I'll need to focus on that for a while.

Oh, and I did get all those cheap plastic palettes and lids. So now the watercolor stuff is a lot more organized! I can start putting Winsor & Newton watercolors into palettes too, arranging them by color harmony, and keep lids on them all so they don't get dirty and messed up. I bought six palettes and seven lids because I had one of the palettes already but was too cheap to bother with the lid at the time. Way cool about that. I'm going to definitely have fun with the watercolors.

Also a splendid bargain, Loew-Cornell's 30 color Aqua Crayon set. These are not kid crayons, they're Aqua Crayon Sticks For Artists and look to be at least university grade if not artist grade. Sometimes Loew-Cornell does very high quality at a low price. Often their packaging is cheap cardboard and styrene, a bit flimsy but the supplies are cheap. This set comes in a sturdy hinged lid tin, includes a small sponge and four palette areas for mixing washes, and a slightly blunt round brush for washes. Great bargain at $9.99, good color range, nontoxic and lightfast. Texture is much like oil pastels, so oil pastelists ought to really have fun with them. Someday I'll get the giant set of Caran d'Ache Neopastel II... but until then, I just extended my aqua crayon range at a serious bargain and this set is a bit easier to stack and carry outdoors. Sticks are a bit larger than the normal Loew-Cornell oil pastels.

Also the palette includes many more familiar artist pigments rather than the brights and kid colors range. It includes Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue and the like as well as Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre and so on. Good balance between brights and neutrals. They are hues -- you don't get Cadmium Green nontoxic without it being a hue -- but they look like good hues and I'm not going to feel bad about selling artwork done with these.

Oooh, with the palettes here, I can use one to set out all the Chinese colors and do a Chinese colors chart, test those and start using Asian paint for Asian paintings. So cool!
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
I've been looking at those manikins for a while now, debating whether or not to pick one up. Conveniently, though, my roommate found this site last night, which has a lot of images of poses for people who don't have the helpful manikins. No idea if it will be helpful to you or not, but your entry was conveniently timed for me to mention it. :)

Also, that's a really good idea for those little soft wire thingies that I never thought of before. I've been wanting to get back into using clay for sculpture, and something like that would really help in a pinch, when I can't get any other good wire to hold things in place! Thanks for the tip!

And all your talk of colour really makes me want to break out the fabric dyes and dye up huge batches of yarn, to experiment with lots of different colour combinations. My own personal art that I'm decent at, since I still need more practise with the whole pencil-and-paper kind. :p (Which I actually got some of at work last night between calls. I'm now better at drawing people sitting on a couch with their legs tucked up, which is a pose I never tried drawing before. :D)
Aug. 8th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the Posemaniacs link! I just bookmarked it, because it's useful in addition to the manikins. Holding one upside down and looking at it from a worm's eye view with the underside of the foot would be difficult to do and draw at the same time. Same with the leaping in the air poses and stuff. That site is wonderful for anyone doing figure drawing. Their posting the skinless nudes helps too for seeing where musculature goes.

But I would say the Art S. Buck manikins are well worth the money, even if they weren't on sale they're a few dollars off the $20 list price. That is, if you want the gray ones rather than the African-American ones. I like the brown better, it's easier to lighten a skin tone that's a real skin tone than to try to figure out the color of a shadow on a gray object vs. skin tone shadows.

Those little soft wires are so pliable that I straightened one completely last night just fiddling. Soft wire like that gets sold as sculpture wire, it's very easy to manipulate, and the plastic coating may help keep it from breaking if it's bent too many times in one spot so it'd be a little stronger structurally. Very delicate sculptures of course, easily squished, but if it's mounted in a clear box then it'd be safe. They would also be handy for holding things in place in a still life. Lots of uses.

Oh coolness that my talking about colour in painting inspired you to dyeing yarn again in colour combinations! I love ombre yarn, and want to do some of it someday when Kitten spins some in light or white so that it can be dyed -- currently she is spinning black to make me some socks.

Oh yes. If you sketch at work you'll start improving at life drawing constantly. Every single time I've drawn anything from life it's made my drawing skills stronger. Why not get one of those very small sketchbooks like the Moleskine one that Blick has, one that can fit in your pocket to take to work? I sometimes use a spiral bound 4" x 6" one and have filled two of those already, but there are even smaller ones available that might be more convenient for doing in a workplace. Three by five or two and a half by four, that sort of size. Blick has several brands of them in bound sketchbooks and they've all proved useful for doctor appointments or hanging out in the living room watching movies.

One thing that makes drawing easier like that (or at least easier to scan) is using an Ebony pencil or a very soft graphite pencil -- 6B or 8B or 9B, the smudgy dark ones. It shows up better in a scan if the drawing came out good, and is easier to get strong lights and darks in the sketch. Charcoal pencils are good for that too. But even if you just use an HB, if you keep it in a sketchbook on good art paper it's easier to a) save any that come out looking really good, or b) date it and tell how much you improved later on.

Way cool that you did people sitting on a couch with their legs tucked up. That's an interesting pose to draw and it's hard to do without having someone actually there in the pose to draw from. It'll get to the point fast that you like your drawings enough to not be embarrassed.
Aug. 8th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, even at full price those manikins are significantly cheaper than trying to use a child's toy. I checked prices out of curiosity and my jaw dropped at the price of Barbies. I think that Sascha is going to wind up getting art supplies through her childhood rather than Barbies. lol
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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