Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Studio Notes

Feeling stuck? Uninspired?

You are not alone.

But Artist's Sketchbook magazine might be able to help. Published by the folks at Artist's Magazine, Sketchbook is chock-full of hints on how to feed your creativity. And it can help you to turn your sketchbook into your best friend.

Some recent topics have included: "how creativity can improve your health", "how to be creative in a busy life" and how to find inspiration in the season of winter".

Artist's Sketchbook magazine is available at most large booksellers and is also now being offered by subscription.

Speaking of sketchbooks.....I've always had a hard time keeping a travel journal. To make things easier on myself - and to avoid lugging around unnecessary materials - I've settled on a fairly small kit that will go almost anywhere. Here are my basics:

Arches "Travel Book", 6"x10", cold-pressed water colour paper: It's spiral bound and a good size for quick sketching. Since it is water colour paper, I can use ink and colour.

Sakura's "Micron Pigma Pen", 05, black: This is permanent, archival ink and I can use it for note-taking as well as for sketching. 05 is a fairly fine line pen but not so fine that my handwriting is invisible. The pen is also small enough to slide into the spiral on the Travel Book.

Sakura's "Sumo Grip" mechanical pencil, 0.9: This is a soft-ish lead that smudges nicely for shading. It also has an artist's eraser end.

Strathmore Sketchpad, 3.5"x5", 100 sheets: This little beauty is small enough to stick in my pocket. A good size for discreet sketching, it allows me to do draw almost anywhere. With just this pad and my Sumo Grip in my pocket, I am mobile.

Optional: a few aquarelles (water colour pencils) in colours that approximate my standard paint palette. (I generally use a similar palette in both acrylics and water colours.) These are useful in developing my original sketch into a painting. Unlike regular coloured pencils (which are waxy), aquarelles are water-soluble and are compatible with other water-based media.

To find these goodies, check out Cheap Joe's online. Or go by Studio Supply the next time you're in Chapel Hill. Better still, drop into your local art supply store.

There you have it! A basic and very portable field kit that will go almost anywhere and can make your next daytrip into an artistic adventure.

Really, you'll be surprised what you'll see when you take the time to stop and really look.

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