Artists in notebooks and materials. The world of notebooks and art magazines is colorful, varied, and stimulating. We interviewed artists to find out how they keep creativity working on their sketchbooks, what drawing techniques they approve of, and the tools and materials they have at their disposal.
John is an artist, cartoonist, and chairman of the Hudson Valley Art Association. He uses most of his sketchbooks to go to museums and cool drawing ideas. Copying works by Michelangelo, and other Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque artists. His needs are few for materials to put his drawing techniques into practice. Only a 4B pencil with an eraser attached to the end can get it right. I use a 4B to get an extraordinarily smooth line and darken as needed. I’m never screening or watching for large fields of color. For me, it’s a rational and controlled line.
You also glue a piece of sandpaper to the back of your sketchbook to sharpen the pencil, so you’ll never need to carry a knife or portable sharpener. Advise your students to use a sketchbook to improve their understanding of form and light concepts and not worry about how others will view the finished drawing. When Belardo draws in his notebook, his intention is not to make a nice drawing; it is meant to make an honest design.
Thomas simple artist based in Milan, Italy. Drawing for him is an anytime, anywhere activity, especially when traveling. Works with assorted ink pens and hardcover sketchbooks, but without graphite. Cian says ink helps me be more confident in doing than a pencil.
Your drawing methods always start with creating sure your notebook or sketchbook has a paper that goes well with your chosen media. The heavy piece is more versatile and allows you to work with many different techniques. For example, it can hold water and doesn’t allow ink to get to the other side of the sheet.
Gary Faigin is a Seattle-based artist, co-founder, and artistic director of the Gage Academy of Art. For him, drawing means developing concepts for paintings, drawing on the imagination, and drawing the people you see around you, for example, in public transport. In the church and the canteens. He plays with drawing media, including pens, pencils, and inks, such as Higgins’s sepia ink.
He extols the virtues of working within certain constraints in terms of style or theme. The worst thing is to have no limits: too much freedom can be debilitating. It works best if you create a regulation where you can do this. Having strict rules that you can come up with allows you to think, what can I do within those limits? You don’t have to reinvent the ring with each painting; you can modify it, try new combinations within your limits.
Virginia Hein is a Los Angeles-based artist and instructor. She uses notebooks for observing sites around her hometown and what she calls high-speed passenger sketches that show views from moving cars.
She likes the variety of her tools. Hein may have the most diverse toolbox of all the artists we communicate with. She uses pencils, colored pencils, fountain pens, calligraphy pens, and watercolors. She designs books from producers such as Hand-Book, Moleskine, and Stillman. The drawing techniques she uses most often have to do with movement. In an urban area, you start by drawing everything that moves, such as people, animals, and cars. Once completed, Hein notes that you can comprehensively render things like buildings and landscapes.
But be careful because even if the subject doesn’t move, sunlight does, so you have to work swiftly to take the scene before the light turns. Hein emphasizes the point of not being too harsh on yourself. The most significant opposition is self-criticism. It can be paralyzing. One of the best things about a sketch is that you can draw something every day, and if you think it’s wrong, keep going. And even a lousy sketch can have good details or give you a sense of time and place. There is regularly something to learn, still from epic failures.
James is a New York-based artist, author, teacher, and oral historian. Many of the magazine paintings shown here are also featured in the book Art Students League of New York on Painting, of which he is co-author and edited. McElhinney is unique in that he creates everyday paintings, complete works, and panoramas through which he interprets the world around him. His drawing materials and tools include colored pens (often orange or red), watercolor paints, and retractable brushes.
He recommends starting with a pencil drawing and then moving on to a painting phase, perhaps watercolor. It can produce an intriguing tug-of-war between the linear and painted aspects of the work. He advises artists to make social media part of their drawing practice because, according to him, artworks created in magazines, books, and sketchbooks are ready to be shared via those platforms. Through social networks, I can immediately dialogue with the public instead of making paintings that have to be framed and hung in exhibitions. These books have become my portable analog device.
Elizabeth Osborne is a Philadelphia-based painter. She mainly uses her sketchbook to represent outdoor landscapes, often created while traveling, although occasionally making a floral or botanical studio. Osborne’s tools and drawing materials are Derwent water-soluble pencils; watercolors by Winsor & Newton, Schmincke and Sennelier; Holbein’s multimedia drawing books; and a large plastic pallet. If you are drawing or painting the landscape, Osborne recommends working early or late in the day, with more contrast, which can reveal the most visually exciting paintings.
Also Read: Choose Custom Soap Boxes