Book Review

The Student Sketchbooks!

The Student Sketchbooks!

The Student Sketchbooks!

My new Student grade sketchbooks have arrived!  I needed something to hand out to my student(s) to work in so that I could keep track of (t)he(i)r daily progress.  I needed something that would be portable, comfortable, and high quality.  I needed it to not be made in China.  So, I decided to have some made.  I will, of course, make these available through the website, but for right now, they are just for my student(s) and the folks that volunteered to test drive them for me.

Illustration Friday: Cravings

Illustration Friday: Cravings

They are not really for wet media, but I wanted to try a quick watercolor on them.  I zipped over to Illustration Friday to see what this week’s theme is, and found it was cravings.  The first thing that popped into my mind was pickles and ice cream.  So I thought I’d splash that out real quick just to demonstrate my favorite feature of these.

Standard 4" x 6" photo album

Standard 4" x 6" photo album

These have a 70# (103.6 g/m2),  super white (brightness 96) paper in them and are perforated to be torn out in such a way that the final sheet is 4″ x 6″, or the size of a standard 35mm photo.  That gives you a pretty neat way to keep track of the ones you like.  Just slip the finished project in a sleeve of any photo album and whamo, instant portfolio.

4" x 6" portfolio

4" x 6" portfolio

That makes it perfect to keep on your desk, show off to your friends and family or give to your dad for Father’s Day.  It’s also a very convenient way for my student(s) to keep track of (t)he(i)r progress.

I only have the one student right now, but I am STOKED about getting more.

Book Review: The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook

The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook

The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook

As I cruise around the interwebs, I occasionally (everyday, sometimes twenty times a day) come across a book that interests me.  While perusing Russell Stutler’s site, I noticed his book list of recommended reading.  Among them was The Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook.  Having bought and explored the book, I decided to share my insights with you, my friends.

The Good:

First, I would like to say that this book is just chopped full of valuable tips and tricks!  There are tips on everything from how to compose the painting to how to create your own palette from a used styrofoam meat package.  Gordon MacKenzie has taught watercolor for many years and this is a collection of the handouts he has given his students.  The illustrations and instruction are very well done and easy to follow.  As a stack of handouts, you couldn’t ask for better.

The Not-So-Good:

MacKenzie’s handouts are truly informative, especially in a classroom setting.  As a book, however, they don’t lend themselves well to a sense of order.  That is, there really is no beginning or end to them.  If you are a beginning watercolorist, there is no clear cut place to start.  The first handout in the book discusses topics that won’t be explained for 100 pages.  Every section is written with the assumption that you are already familiar with certain aspects of watercolor, or that the information you are lacking will be readily available from an instructor.  This makes for a difficult read, especially if you are like me and read these books cover to cover before attempting the practicals.

Recommendation: ♦♦◊◊◊ 2 diamonds

If you are looking for an introduction to watercolor, this is not for you.  If you consider yourself at least a little knowledgeable on the subject, there are a lot of demonstrations and examples for you to learn from.  If you are advanced, or are teaching, this book has a great many resources for you and your students.  If you are going to make copies for your class, however, please remember to contact the publisher for permission.

This book is worth buying, regardless of your skill level, but you will get more out of it if you are of intermediate or advanced skill.

EDM 118: Draw some rocks

EDM 118: Draw some rocks

EDM 118: Draw Some Rocks

I picked these rocks up in the yard where I work.  I carried them around in my pocket for almost four days.  Every night putting them on my dresser and every day putting them back into my pocket, intending to draw them when I had a chance to stop.  When I had a chance to stop, I found that I was not interested in drawing the rocks.  Lately, I have been imagining much grander things for the EDM challenges.  I get an idea, like the portrait of one of my high school friends, and then get frustrated when I have trouble relaying that idea in graphite on a 3.5″ x 5″ sketchbook.  It took me a couple of days to get back around to the idea that it’s the celebration of the everyday matters that make every day matter.  So tonight, I drew the rocks.