Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Well grasshopper, that is a good question. Short answer: whichever kind lets you doodle and practice regularly. For starters, you could use a simple clipboard and a good supply of printer paper. Then as you gain confidence, you might want to invest on a sturdier sketchbook that you might conveniently haul around with you to practice at every free opportunity. If you prefer online shopping, I would recommend checking the selection of sketchbooks at Blick's. If you are looking for something unique and custom-made to your needs and specifications, you might want to check out Sketchbook Central (here is a link to my review post of some of their custom sketchbooks). Otherwise stroll over to the bargain section of your local mall bookstore, and you are likely to find a few value options. I actually have gotten the Hokusai's Wave sketchbook on both sizes a couple of times already, for I am pretty fond of that cover design.
You could also find some premium choices in the regular Art Techniques section.
Many larger bookstores have their own dedicated section of "Art Supplies and Sketchbooks" with artsy covers.
Even found a few more whimsical sketchbook options among the the seasonal offerings
on the display tables scattered around the bookstore.
Local retailers may also offer a limited selection of sketchbook and journals. The smaller Mead Acadmie sketchbook and sketch journal have a thinner card stock cover and a single wire spiral securing the 50 lb sheets together. The larger black sketchbook features a heavier gauge double wire binding, stiffer covers, and 70 lb sketch paper.
Some big-box retailers have a pretty comprehensive selection of art supplies in its own aisle.
In the Crayola section in addition to the usual paper pads, you might find a simple spiral bound sketchbook (Made in India) like the one shown above.
In the proper Art Supplies section you can find a selection of spiral bound Strathmore sketch pads. The top bound format can be particularly useful for sketching on location, for it makes it easier to secure the pages with a rubber band and keep them from blowing in the wind. It also keeps the ring binding away from your drawing hand (for both left and right handed artists).
In addition to the drawing and painting tools, there is also a large stock of Canson XL Drawing and Mixed-Media spiral bound pads that feature heavier papers that can withstand more vigorous techniques and repeated clean erasing.
Classic black Daler-Rowney sketchbooks in spiral and hard bound formats round up the range of options at this store. Hardbound journals will look a tad nicer on private library bookshelves documenting your artistic progress. When selecting a sketchbook consider how you plan to use it, whether will you be working on a table or sketching mostly standing while on the go. Pick the optimal size that you are comfortable carrying on-the-go, or the biggest size that you are comfortable working on regularly either at your home studio or inside your vehicle. Most importantly, pick whatever size will lead you to sketch more frequently and regularly. Happy sketching!
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Our Summer Art Camp term just concluded at the Cary Arts Center. Thanks for your participation and I wish you an interesting and productive school year. Hope you continue to enrich your lives practicing and refining your art skills along the way. For those of you that developed an appreciation for sketching with leadholders, you might want to check the post below for shopping options. For a good source of Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens, I would recommend checking Blick's, Jerry's Artarama, or Askew Taylor since many of you seemed to enjoy drawing and coloring with their archival pigmented India inks during the cartoon sketching camps.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
During my drawing classes students get the opportunity to try and draw with a variety of specialized sketching tools. One of the most popular happen to be one of my favorite mechanical pencils for doodling on the go: leadholders. I have gotten many of mine through JetPens.
The "Drafting Tools" section of your local office supplies store would also be a good bet for finding the reliable German Staedtler Mars Technico 780 2 mm leadholder. Its main advantage would be the built-in lead pointer in its push button. Though refills available in brick-and-mortar stores are usually limited to standard HB graphite drawing leads.
You can find a greater variety of 2 mm graphite lead grades online, and even some red and non-photo blue leads.
I would recommend getting one or two Uni leadholders and a selection of your favorite lead grades. If you plan to sketch lightly and then ink your drawings, you might want to use harder leads like 3H or H. If your style relies more on linear strokes, you might want to go with F or HB leads. If you prefer bold dark lines and prefer to draw with lots of shading, a 2B or 4B would be good choices. If you need a lead pointer to restore your sharp points, I would recommend the KUM Automatic 23 or the Kum Automatic Brake Long Point sharpener that also features 2 mm & 3.2 mm lead pointers on its sides.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
The students of my Monday night Cartoon Sketching class asked me to post this sketching demo. We worked on sketching eyes, faces, pools of water in fantasy situations, and wrapped up the session with tips on creating an underwater scene.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Today I subbed for a fellow instructor at the Cary Arts Center on the final day of a Clay camp, so we had the students work on custom comicbooks/sketchbooks, try their hand at folding ninja stars and boomerangs, and each student got their cartoon portrait drawn as a souvenir or for coloring it in class.
All the boys chose to de depicted as ninjas.
The girls went with fairy, forest ranger, mermaid, and the final request was for the sketch of a three-toed sloth (which /i did not get around to photograph).