Week 2 watercolor class

The teacher gave us some Eureka lemons from her own backyard tree and taught us how to set up our palettes. She had us make a basic 8-color paint selection, some of which were mixed colors. I tried seeing what it would be like in a dark and lighter wash-type color. Then we started progressively adding complexity to 4 lemon sketches. My lemons look like squashes because my lemon model was under-ripe, lumpy, and on a brown table. Why the teacher made us do this on sketch paper instead of watercolor paper is beyond me.

colors and lemons

I’m sorry to have to post a picture from my phone, the paper is too buckled to get a good scan. The risk of cracking the glass plate after putting on a weight to press it flat is too much for me. Besides, the lemons look like squashes!




I can’t seem to find a paper that I can be happy with. I want a hard, smooth surface that doesn’t bleed, feather, or make rough edges on the borders of my lines. This is me trying out Canson’s Artist Series Illustration 150lb paper. It advertises as ultra-smooth and ideal for pen/ink, but no, it doesn’t hardly fare better than the Strathmore bristol paper that I have. In fact, I usually get my best results from fine tooth sketch paper and that’s not ideal because my finest point nibs scratch and stutter on it.

I’m not sure I’m a good enough artist to blow money on really high-quality papers just for sketching, testing, penciling, and technique development. As a scientist, I was told to find the reagent that works, stick with it, and make reproducible results. As an entertainer, I was told to practice as I would perform. As an n00b, I don’t know what I’m doing!

I’m happy with how this came out. What did I learn today?

1) need to learn more about draping forms.

2) noir is fun.

3) dry brush effect is sorta possible with dip pens.

4) should work on larger paper sizes.

5) finding an art eraser should be a higher priority.

Speedball acrylic ink on sketch paper using Hunt 103 for outlines, Hunt B-5 for broad shading, Hunt Global for edging. Reference image. 


Using Eutychidae’s Tyche of Antioch as a reference, I’m trying to understand draping better. Definitely needs some shadows. Again, sorry about the pencils, I feel like you can see my underwear but I can’t seem to get my hands on a gum eraser.

crow quill nib comparison

At this point I’m getting pretty sick of the Higgins India Ink, especially on the Bristol.

Hunt 513 bowl pointed globe nib

The Hunt 513 is a massive nib, it’s huge and long. It’s speciality appears to be making smooth, bold lines. I think I will make this an outlining nib in some applications. Usually when you are drawing, you add big thick outlines to the subject of interest, almost like adding a inky aura to the foreground subject, and I think this is the nib for me!

On both papers, the acrylic ink works out fine, but when the india ink gets involved, it starts looking like I’m doodling with a sharpie marker.

This is my tiki face. Keeps the craziness away.

Hunt 103 mapping nib comparison

For a state that I’m awfully proud of, I am terrible at drawing it in the correct proportions. I picked up some cartography nibs to find some alternatives to the stiff crow quill. The Hunt 103 requires only the most delicate contact to make a fine line. However, the steel is so flexible that any thing heavier than a feather’s pressure will make all the ink fall out. Here I try to use my delicate lady touch to draw Texas and the 9-banded armadillo. I kinda like this nib but I need more practice with it.

Again, here is the sketch x bristol and acrylic x india ink comparison set up. The bleeding and feathering is still worse with the india ink and the bristol paper.

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