12 August 2009

If at first you don't succeed...

... keep making little disasters until you run out of paper/patience. Figured this was better than posting each one of these individually before they go in the bin. There are about 4 square inches of awesome up there. I maybe cut them out and glue them together. The detail on the pic isn't great, even if you click through, but that's OK, they look better that way. Promise.

10 August 2009

Progress +

This photo was taken after the 3rd layer of glaze was applied. Will be putting a 4th layer today. Probably ought to start putting in some side/background paint, hey? Too bad about the dark green just left of lower/center. It just doesn't match anything else--not even the smaller bits of the *same* color on the 3 o'clock position. Grrr.

In other news, can anyone explain to me why cheap toilet paper roll tubes should be a thing? It never occurred to me before that the little cardboard tunnel supporting my TP was over-built. WTH??

04 August 2009


On the left is the printing plate-- a sheet of glass with a designed taped to the back side of it, so I know where to make marks. I've colored the design on the top of the glass with watercolor/water soluble crayons. It's faint, because I've already pulled a print from this. On the right is the print that I pulled. More vibrant than the plate, probably 2/3 of the color transferred. There is enough color left on the plate that I can pull one more very faint print without recoloring, or I can add more color and print again at full strength. Or, I can clean the glass and start over entirely.

This is a crap photo of the final print. It's successful because it is more or less exactly what I was trying to do. The coloration is a little weird and uneven, and not just because it's a low light photo. It's actually weird. The whole image could benefit from some additional paint/ink detailing, and I'm experimenting to find out how much of what's on the page is water soluble (ie, I can alter/move it around with just water), and how much is just pigment, which means it's basically part of the paper now, and everything else goes on top.

Also, if you find yourself wondering, What the hell IS monoprinting, anyway? ... Wiki to the rescue!


First try. Not bad, considering how poorly the next several turned out. I taped a pattern to a sheet of glass, and painted the design on the other side of the glass in watercolor. I tried to pull the print by placing heavy things on top of it all, with the paper being wet enough, I thought, to suck up the paint, most of which had already dried. This *might* have worked if I'd rubbed the paper with a smooth thing, instead of letting it sit--the paper tore a bit when I peeled it up, because it had adhered to the glass, instead of just taking the paint and running off with it.

This is the 2nd try. The paper was FAR too wet, and the paint was... unwilling. After this, I decided I should probably just go read about how to make watercolor monoprints at home without any print equipment, instead of screwing around wasting a lot of time, energy, paint, and paper. Oh, and enthusiam. For reasons I can't guess, I'm really into this idea right now.

After doing a bunch of reading about how watercolor monoprints can be made, I tried a few of the recommendations. All together. On one plate. As you can see, it made a relatively uniformly unattractive print. Those recommendations were: a thin base layer of hand soap as a release agent, rub the paper by hand for the transfer, use paper designed specifically for watercolor paint. Although totally uncool, it encouraged me anyway. I'm easy, I guess.

A print to give me hope! Water-based pens on the left, water soluble/watercolor crayon on the right. The unevenness of the transfer comes from me using a bone folder tool to rub the transfer over. If you click through to the full size pic, you'll see how that's not a very good way to lay the color down, even if it seemed good at the time. I don't have a brayer, or a rolling pin, or anything. Outsider art, baybee!

This is the first really successful test. The big pink blob is from the paper being a little too wet, but that also was informative. The ghost image at the top is a 2nd pull from the original drawing with easy-wash-out kid's pens. The really vibrant bits of this were added in after I pulled the print, with those same pens. The actual base print was made with watercolor crayons, though.

Matting project continues

Besides being off center, I'm not pleased with this arrangement, I think it probably needs a dark over-mat instead of light. But, whatever, I'll re-do it sometime. As more and more stuff gets matted, the more official things look.


After saying the other day that I don't have the skill with oil paint to make this go, I got annoyed and tried to do it in oil paint. Using a glazing technique (many thin layers of paint, instead of a few fat layers), and a tiny, soft brush.

This is after 2 layers of paint. I have NO idea where I'm going with the colors, or what it's supposed to look like when it's done. The asymmetric colors on a tri-symmetric pattern makes my brain really cranky, but it's probably good for me.

Things that makes me cranky are good, right?


It's always late at night when I remember that I forgot to take pictures of my most recent work/progress. At which time, I *don't* take pictures because with my lack of suitable lighting, it's virtually impossible to get good pics of flat things at night. Therefore, I hereby state my intention to begin each work day (usually M-F, but sometimes a weekend day also/instead) by taking pictures of whatever I worked on the previous day. Even if it sucks. Even if I stared at a blank sheet all damn day. Even if I'm busy.

Your part in this: If you are the type of person who wants to see stuff, and sees me on AIM or something, feel free to nag. Nag me in LJ. Nag me in e-mail. I hope to get this habit fully formed by the end of September, but we'll see, won't we? We all know how habits go...

Because no post here is really complete without a photo, I give you a snap shot of the pair of gentleman's drawers I saw in old town on the sidewalk on Sunday morning. I've noticed that Sunday morning is the prime time to see underwear on the sidewalk in this town. I make a habit of documenting it photographically, in case someday someone wants to give me a book contract chronicling the Sundarpants phenomenon. Unlike SOME people, I'm not so slack as to set up a web page requesting submissions of same, so I can eventually bundle that into a book. Or, I'm actually too slack to do that. It's definitely one or the other.

01 August 2009

Another Incomplete

This is the current project. The drawing is good, I will probably use it for multiple versions of the finished piece. I *was* trying to set up something for an oil or acrylic painting, but this is too fine detailed for my oil paint skills, and for some reason I'm a little sour on acrylics right now. So, another watercolor/ink deal. Which is FINE. It just wasn't what I'd intended when I started.

Here is a detail from the ink wash part of this (click it for full size). I'm probably going to start coloring it in today, although I'm not yet 100% what the color scheme will be. Probably something I'll be excited by at the beginning and annoyed with at the end, or the other way 'round...

In progress, which is another way of saying...

... incomplete.

I've been trying to work out how to fill/color this one for over a week now, and it's very frustrating. I haven't found anything totally satisfying yet. This first version is a test of various types of shading, and various types of color (watercolor, pens, colored pencils...) It's not coherent, but it was kind of informative.

I do wish I'd taken a photo of the second version (the one that's got low-key colors and a lot of grey tones) before I started coloring it, because it was all grey tones--I'd inked it with dilute india ink and a paint brush, and where each 'tile' overlapped another, the ink was a tiny bit darker.

It looked nifty, but kind of flat, so I started coloring it. and it's not
bad with this color scheme, but I'm also not satisfied...
so I started adding more tint and shading on top of the color
with a super fine black pen.

After that, I tried a version with all color, and no black or ink. I like that one, but couldn't really decide which color scheme was best, so I tried several.

There were a few other color tests along the way (Blogger only lets me put 5 pictures/post, and the other two weren't all that exciting anyway, so I'm leaving them out.) However! This post might at least be informative for those who think visual art springs fully formed from the brain to the finished product. O! how I wish that were true. It takes so many steps, and so much time, to even begin to approach the realization of the idea.

Before all that, of course, the original pencil version, and an ink tracing to use so the original/design don't get lost or damaged.

Lotus concept sketch

Haven't done anything with this since completing this initial design, but I like it, so I put it up on the wall of designs I like that I haven't done anything with. It's getting kind of crowded over there. In fact, now that I've put this one up, there isn't really any more room on that wall. Guess I need to either do something with some of those designs, or stop making new ones...