Vlog: New Moleskine & Kuretake Brush Pens and Markers!

Have you ever discovered a new clothing store, walked in, and said, “Now this is my style?” Everything in the place just screams your name, and you’d turn the store into your closet if you just had the cash to buy it all out? Well, that’s how I feel about art supply stores. I don’t really care to shop for clothes, but paintbrushes, acrylics, pencils—now that’s my style! And that’s exactly what happened when I’ve discovered Jet Pens. I finally put in an order and received a bit of a haul!

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EmK’s Jet Pens Art Supply Haul

The main reason that I purchased these supplies is because I was able to try some Kuretake brand pens and markers via my Art Snacks subscription, and was extremely pleased with those supplies—especially the Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen that came in my June 2016 Art Snacks box. This haul included 16 Kuretake Zig brand brush pens/markers. I chose to pick up a small set of the Clean Color FB markers, a supply that contains water soluble ink, which makes for a lovely addition to my mixed media art journal pages. The other main part of my haul was a group of  Kuretake black brush pens, which is a curated selection by the Jet Pens website as a “sampler,” i.e. different styles of pens made by the  Kuretake company. They have a few of these “samplers” on the site, but the Kuretake Brush Pen Sampler was the one the that caught my eye. And finally, I also picked up a pen case…because it was green and adorable and I’m just a wee bit ridiculous.

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Jet Pens Kuretake Black Brush Pen Sampler

In the video found in this post (or HERE on YouTube), I swatch out all of the pens and markers, share the secret of what makes my new pens case so awesome, and tell you the difference between each of the black brush pens found in this small collection. I also share with you my preferred technique for using the Clean Color FB markers, and proudly show off a pretty terrible portrait that I attempted to create in my new sketchbook. This video should be especially helpful for those of your curious about Kuretake brand supplies!

Jet Pens doesn’t sell exactly everything I’d like to keep in my closet (or rather, studio), but I’m a sucker for most of the things on the site. The pens, markers, pencils, sketchbooks, ink, and, well, you get the idea! I’ve been frequenting it for about two months, building up a “wishlist,” one of my favorite things about the site. But I also really appreciate that the website has a blog in which the posters create guides, how-to articles, and compare and contrast multiple tools available on the site; I’m all about research, and the Jet Pens blog makes it easy. I had read some of the blog posts before ever looking at the available supplies, and think it’s a pretty great resource for the curious artist. No, I’m not being paid to say this, I’m just strangely passionate about the statistics and facts concerning art supplies.

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Are you a Kuretake or Jet Pens fan? If so, leave me a comment and let me know what pens, markers, or other tools that you love! I’m always trying to find the next great supply!

Art From May ’17 Vacation

finally got around to photographing all of the art that I created during the wonderful vacation that I took in  May! This first image is of many different spreads that were (mostly) created while en route during my trip. For occupying myself during the car ride, I took my Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers (click HERE for my review), some black pens, and a small set Copic markers to pair with a Moleskine sketchbook. The four spreads below are the result of sitting in a passenger seat for about 24 (nonconsecutive) hours with those limited supplies. All four of these spreads are in my 5″ x 8¼” Moleskine journal.

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Art Journal Spreads in Travel Moleskine

Besides the small bag of art supplies and Moleskine journal, I also took a larger bag with many more mediums and journals. Among these other supplies were: watercolor paper and a small watercolor journal, my altered book journal, acrylic paints, Jane Davenport’s watercolor palettes, multiple waterbrushes, several Pitt pens, a white gel pen, a bag of collage material, gel medium, black & white gessos, and matte varnish. It sounds like a lot, but I knew that a week up in the mountains with no internet, tv, or cell service would be difficult for me when night fell—there are only so many books this night own can read! (I read three, by the way, or about 3000 pages of a comic series.) The first night in our rental property, a yurt, I played with Jane Davenport’s watercolor palettes, the Bright Palette and the Neutral Palette. The watercolor of a Buddha statuette is what came about that night, inspired by the motif of the yurt.

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Small Watercolor Buddha

I was also  inspired by the feminine faces that Jane Davenport in known for, which cover the majority of the packaging found on her supplies. Being an artist who very rarely does any kind of portrait work, I decided to attempt to use Jane’s watercolors to paint a face of my own. The image below was my attempt. Though the portrait is slightly overworked, I absolutely love the effect that I created in the pupils. This was done by dropping in some white (“Unicorn”) paint while the black (“Raven”) watercolor was still puddled up and wet. I definitely don’t hate this little half portrait for it being my first attempt at using Jane’s Neutral Palette!

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Small Watercolor Half Portrait

After getting my paints wet, I decided later that week to work with them in an experimental fashion inside of my favorite art journal: my altered book. Knowing that this spread would be created mostly with watercolors, I covered the majority of my spread with white gesso. Being a lover of found ephemera, I also adhered some tissue paper that was wrapped around a blouse, which I had purchased earlier that day. Journal pages that include something tangible from my life—like the tissue paper—are always very special to me. The image below displays the journal spread in progress and remnants of the tissue paper.

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Work in Progress of “Spread These Wings”

As you can see, I had a large wooden table in the yurt to work on, and I spread out on it for 5 wonderful days! I wouldn’t say that I accomplished an incredible amount in that time, but for my first vacation as a working artist, I’m quite pleased with the quantity and quality of my finished pieces!

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“Spread These Wings” Art Journal Spread

Have you ever taken your art journal on a trip? What supplies did you miss? (I so very much missed my collection of fluid acrylic paints.) What supplies were you thankful to have taken? (Those Mermaid Markers were pretty great for me!) Let me know in the comments below!

EmK’s Return, With Digital Art

I’m bouncing back right now from a very personal issue that has disallowed me from creating art. I really wanted to!! In fact, I think this may be the longest I’ve ever gone without getting my hands dirty in the name of self expression. Unfortunately, I was not able to work with my paint, my pens, or even any of the new tools that came to me in my July Art Snacks box. (I know, right, that poor box of beautiful supplies!)

Luckily, this past week, I was able to eek out a little creative time. I played around with my new drawing tablet that hooks up to my PC, letting me do some quick sketches. (For those of you curious readers, it is the medium Intos tablet by the company Wacom.) The following three pieces of art are of my own personal design created with this tablet. I am pretty proud of them, especially after discovering that digital art and physical art are two very different beasts!

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I’ve been thinking about creating a creepy-cute comic, somewhere between The Adams Family and…well…adorable. It’s not exactly an original idea as far as style goes, but the story that I have in mind is a little creepy, and I would prefer that it have a light hearted feel throughout. These characters are not necessarily going to be in that comic, but the style is something that I’m playing around with, and I was pleasantly surprised with  how these quick portraits came out!

I’m back in the art biz, anyway, and finally able to get back into my studio, burried in my art journal!! You’ll be seeing me again here, with more photos, videos, and inspiration! Yey!

 

Art Journal Speed Process: “Ink Blot Buffalo”

Forgive the tardiness of this post, as I was involved in a pretty intense car accident that left me so shaken and exhausted that I collapsed on my sofa upon return instead of blogging to you, dear follower. (I have a feeling you might be understanding in realizing that the situation was an unexpected incident which could alter anyone’s schedule.) But I thank you for your patience and present you with almost 20 minutes of an art journal speed process video!

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Art Journal Spread

I created the above spread as my first week’s participation in the Get Messy group (discussed in this blog post), which offered multiple prompts as part of the current week for this six week season. The theme for these six weeks is introspection, and I chose to do an inkblot type design with my acrylic paint. The Get Messy prompt inspired a great many of us to see what we would find in our homemade “inkblots,” which mimics the famous Rorschach test.  I’ve done this before, as you can see in the photo below, but it’s been a long time since!

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“Not All That Bites Is Bad” Art Journal Spread

This video took me quite a bit of time to put together, as it not only shows an entire start-to-finish process for my newest art journal page, “Ink Blot Buffalo,” but I also took the time to add commentary though out the video. This commentary provides you with my rationale during the creation of this spread, detail of the art supplies used, and gives you a little insight on how it is that I create my spreads. The video is sped up to four times the original, so there is a lot of content crammed into it! Enjoy!

 

More photos of the “Ink Blot Buffalo” art journal spread can be seen below.

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Close-Up: Bottom

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Close-Up: Right Page

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“Ink Blot Buffalo” Close-Up: Right Page

I hope you gained a little insight and a lot of inspiration, and I will see you Friday with a new post! Feel free to contact me before then by leaving me a comment below; I’d love to hear your thoughts!!!

Finished Spread: The Magic

I accidentally took a week-long vacation from this blog. I’ll be honest: I had a touch of performance anxiety. I told myself that I needed to do the Art Snacks Challenge, which required me to use the four art supplies that came in my Art Snacks subscription box for the month of May. (Blog post and video for the unboxing of May’s Art Snacks can be found here.) Suddenly, I found myself in a predicament: uninspired by the only items I felt I was allowed to blog about. I let the items stare at me from the sidelines while I continued to make art in my book; I stayed far from my blog while I worked, convinced that any post excluding the results of my Art Snacks Challenge would be a betrayal to my readers. Forgive me, all five of you, for my mind is not always as exercised as my paint brush.

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The Magic AJP

I have abandoned my self doubt for the moment, and now come to you instead with another finished spread! This one is the page that I shared in this earlier blog post, which is now titled The Magic. As I mentioned in that post, I’m not exactly a professional portrait painter, but I’m delighted by this orange skinned lady! Her nose is too big, her lips are angled strangely, the highlights and wrinkles in her face are too contrasted, and the shines in her hair are not properly spaced…but oh well! I’ve put too much pressure on myself this week over my art, and I need to breathe easy about it (paint fumes notwithstanding) so that my muse may return!

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Detail of The Magic AJP

I hope to do the May Art Snack Challenge, but forgive me if I do not. I already have another video in the works for a current art journal spread that I will be sharing shortly; until then, I hope you accept my sincerest apology for disappearing  and trust me when I say: I shall return tomorrow with some lovely pages for your hungry eyes!

 

WIP: It’s No Mona Lisa.

Portraits! Oh my do I struggle with portraits. I can draw flora and fauna to my heart’s desire, but the second I want to create a face, my artistic abilities pack up and take a vaca. Being an avid acrylic user, I love mixing paints for light and darker hues, and find it so much easier than perfecting shades with graphic or water color, however shading is still far easier than line work! It’s still a work in progress, of course, but I’m at the point where things are starting to feel cohesive. I’ve always considered my style cartoony, as my drawings imply the proper shapes but never quite capture them. I chalk this up to my horrendous hand-eye coordination. My eyes can see the lines and shadows but my hands just won’t comply.

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Orange & Black WIP Spread

For my current spread, I’ve decided to paint a portrait, though it may not be my forte. I was over eager in creating my background, and while I made some amazing texture, it became far too messy to use small imagery  as the foreground—it simply would be lost in the chaos. Choosing something large and mostly opaque seemed to be the best option. I’m still in love with my background, and am leaving the most interesting elements alone. These elements include: paint that has dried raised, multicolored paint drips, stamped lettering, and circles created with my (new from the clearance) Tim Holtz paint dabbler.

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Orange & Black WIP Spread

The imagery that I’m most excited about came by accident, and not by the purposeful application of tools. The left page, which is currently dominated by a long paint drip that runs horizontally as well as vertically, was created with supplies I had not previously mixed. I used watered-down tan acrylic paint to make a very fluid mixture, which dripped down the page with ease. The amount I used was in excess, and when I turned the page sideways, it poured to the left from the original drip. I had done this before, but next I did something different: I used white India ink to add to the tan paint’s original drip. I then turned the journal on its right side, mirroring the tan lines with white ones. The India ink and paint mixed independently, making an unexpected marbled effect. It’s beautiful! I will definitely be trying to recreate that effect in later spreads.

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Orange & Black WIP Spread

The portrait needs line work to create facial features, but I’m 99% sure that the left page will stay just as it is. The only way I can think it may be necessary to alter the left page is if I find myself using other colors on my portrait. If other colors come into play, I may choose to incorporate them on the opposite page in order to keep my color scheme cohesive.

I’ll keep you updated on this portrait…as long as it doesn’t turn out too terribly. That being said, I’ve already accepted that it’s no Mona Lisa. (It is orange, after all.)

WIP ‘Head in the Stars’

The spread I’m sharing  with you today is a work in progress in my art-art journal.

Art outside of my journals is unlikely to occur off of a canvas, but every now and again I want to create without the dedication that either of those two projects demands. When I turn to a sketchbook, it’s usually for making small drawings that end up on my ATCs. However, sometimes I’ll use my sketchbook if I want to create with watercolor and believe the imagery to be too impersonal for my daily journal. Last week, I sketched a cartoon-esque face some in my sketchbook. The line art was incredibly basic, but the coloring required 3 different types of paint: watercolor crayons; water brushes, pre-filled with pigment; and diluted acrylic paint.  The portrait ended up so colorful and fun, but was created as a time killer and went hidden between the pages of that sketchbook.

My art-art journal has a few spreads that are nothing more than colorful backgrounds, which I’ve painted on whims. When I rediscovered my portrait, I decided that it belonged someplace more treasured than just my sketchbook. I lined the image with a large black marker to create a line for cutting, and trimmed her down to size. I tested the face against blue, yellow, and gray-scale backgrounds, but discovered the piece looked best on a vibrant backdrop of pinks, purples and teals! Securing the portrait came as a struggle, though, and I found some of the face pealing away as I used my paintbrush on the sticky surface of drying Modge Podge. (Invest in brand name gel medium, kids!)

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It was an unfortunate accident, but I was able to creatively hide the tearing of my poor vibrant lady. The first thing I decided to do was actually cover up the blemish with other imagery. I dug out an old star shaped hole punch, some hand painted paper, and went to work! I punched out enough stars to not only cover the tear, but also enough to scatter around the art journal spread. After adhering all of the stars in clusters around my pages, I then diluted white craft paint and let it drip from the top of my journal. just to make sure all accidents were covered.

I’ll keep you updated on this whimsical spread. Until then, happy arting!