(ART)icles – Pigments

williamsburg pigments

Before we can begin discussing the various definitions of Pigments and their purpose within Art; it is important to clearly outline what color itself is.

Color and light are mutually inclusive properties of reality. Color exists due to the various wavelengths of light, reflecting, refracting and emanating off of particles. Our eyes perceive the light waves that bounce off these particles, coloring our world.

Pigments are finely ground colored material that make up the color of paints, colored leads and pastels. Pigment is the basis of all colored art materials. Further distinctions can be made, regarding the origins of various colors. As light reflects off of these finely ground substances, the light that is reflected and enters our eyes colors our world.

Organic Vs. Inorganic

The distinctions between organic and inorganic pigments are, at first glance, seemingly contrary to intuition. An understanding of both types of pigments is essential to an artists’ understanding of color theory.

Organic (aka modern – 20th century colors) pigments derive from synthetically produced colorants. These pigments involve complex carbon based chemistry, and include a variety of materials such as animal, vegetable and other synthetically derived materials (petroleum, coal tar and natural gases). Vibrant and Bright in color, Organic pigments have an incredible tinting/dyeing strength and tend to be transparent. Their Lightfast Quality (see definition below) ranges from fugitive to strong. On the whole, Organic pigments tend to be rather expensive.

Examples:

Anthaquinone Blue, Diarylide Yellow, Dioxazine Purple, Hansa Yellows, Phthalocyanine Blues, Quinacridones.

Inorganic Pigments (mineral) are those produced from naturally mined minerals as well as synthetically manufactured pigments.

Lightfast/Lightfastness refers to a pigments or dyes tendency to discolor when exposed to light for prolonged periods of time. A Fugitive color is one that loses its pigmentation quickly. These pigments are impermanent and will shift in color (i.e. lighten, darken, or otherwise change in appearance when exposed to environmental factors).

 

The differences between Organic and Inorganic pigments

Particulars Inorganic Pigments Organic Pigments
Source Minerals Chemically refined oil
Color Often dull Bright
Dyeing / Coloring Strength Low High
Opacity Opaque Transparent
Light fastness Very good Vary from poor to good
Solubility Insoluble in solvents Have have little degree of solubility
Degree of safety May be unsafe Usually safe
Chemical Stability Often sensitive Usually good
Cost Moderate Mostly too expensive

Artisans have employed some inorganic pigments for centuries and some for millennia. They are produced from either naturally mined pigments (sienna, umber, ochre) or synthetically manufactured pigments, (iron oxide, carbon black, etc). Inorganic pigments may also be produced using a combination of these two processes. Inorganic Pigments that are both mined and manufactured include the Cadmiums, Cobalts, and Titaniums.

The organic pigments are a group of colorants synthetically produced through complex carbon-containing chemistry involving various materials including petroleum, coal tar and natural gas. Many of these pigments have their roots in the chemistry of the 1800s, although widespread production didn’t really begin until the 1930s. Even though they have only been available for several decades, organic pigments have demonstrated remarkable abilities to withstand the impact of light and weather.

RESOURCES:

Obsolete Art Pigments – Part 1

http://hyperallergic.com/74661/the-colorful-stories-of-5-obsolete-art-pigments/

(ART)icles – Etching & Drypoint

Gamblin Inks

 

Printmaking is one of the oldest forms of art in existence, dating back to prehistoric times. As a traditional form of art, it remains quite popular within the world of the artist. Etching and drypoint, which yield similar results after pulling the print, are two very different processes.

Etching, a form of intaglio printmaking, involves a number of solvents and acids to achieve the final image on a plate. It is done on thin metal plates, the most popular of which is copper as it is a very soft metal. A hard ground, normally made from asphaltum, is applied to the plate and left to dry. Once dry, any sharp tools can be used to create linework and imagery on the plate by lifting the asphaltum from the plate. Etching needles are a popular tool used for this, but there is a variety of etching tools to choose from, each yielding different types of lines or textures. After drawing out the image on the prepared plate using an etching tool, the plate is immersed in an acid bath. These acids can vary from highly toxic dangerous ones to safer, slower working acids that are less of a danger. The acid used will also affect the shape of the line it “bites” into the plate. For example, one acid might create deep v-like grooves in the plate while another will give straight grooves. The longer the plate is left in the acid bath, the deeper the lines will get, thus giving the artist the ability to achieve grey or black lines, depending on how long they let the acid bite the plate. Once the plate has been in the acid bath, had the edges filed and is ready to print, the artist can pull an edition of prints through the tedious process of inking and wiping their plate.

Drypoint can give similar results to an etching. However, many processes aren’t available to use with drypoint that can be used with etching, such as aquatint. Drypoint does not make use of any acids but involves the straightforward method of scratching lines and textures into a metal plate (i.e. copper, zinc) in order to achieve the desired image. This method takes a lot more elbow grease but is safer in that acids are not needed to prepare a plate. However, more graceful lines are achievable by doing etchings rather than drypoints. Once a drypoint plate has been completely etched, the edges are filed and the plate is inked similar to an etching plate.

Both methods require an etching press with the correct blankets (felted wool blankets used to provide a tighter pull and protect the press and plate), as well as wetting of whichever paper is being used. Heavyweight papers can be used by soaking them in clean water and then blotting the paper so it is damp; lightweight, delicate papers are wetted by using a spray bottle and then blotting. The wetting of the paper enables it to grab onto the ink held in the lines of the plate better, as well as allowing the embossment of the plate in the paper, a traditional etching and drypoint practice.

Etching and drypoint are just two of the numerous types of printmaking available – look for more blog entries about relief printing and silkscreening in the future!

The Art Supply Store

Written by: Mia Culbertson

Substrates – Choosing the Right Surface [PAPER EDITION] Part 3

This is Part 3 in our Paper Substrate Series – This edition is all about Painting, Printmaking and Mixed Media papers
Scroll through to learn about various types of papers!

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Behind (or rather, below) all great works of Art lies the Substrate. No matter what medium you may choose to fuel your creativity, there must be a surface on which to apply the paints, inks, and/or drawing materials. With such a wide variety of creative media/materials, there is an equally vast breadth of substrates to support your masterpiece.

So, what is a substrate anyways?

The primary or underlying foundation on which art materials/mediums (i.e. ink, paint, charcoal, pastel, etc.) are added is known as the Substrate. Canvas, wood panel and paper comprise the most popular and readily available surfaces; however certain artistic processes may require fabrics such as silk or synthetics, glass and even metal to act as a substrate. In the world of Digital Art, printing your creations include a variety of substrates all their own, with surfaces specially treated to accept the digital pigments and dyes.

Prior to application of art materials, a substrate must be prepared,  “primed” or “sized” to properly accept and fuse with the medium. The following is a breakdown of various types of substrates and their preparations:

TYPES OF PAPER (for art)

Painting, Printmaking, Mixed Media

Canva-Paper: Medium – Heavyweight [90 – 140lbs] paper, designed to replicate the texture of real canvas. The paper has been primed and sized to accept all forms of oil and acrylic paints on an impermeable, bleed-proof surface. Ideal for practicing painting techniques, this paper is an affordable alternative for any artist. Great for “sketches”, gestures, etc. Can be mounted and framed, with or without glass.

Brands: Canson, Strathmore, Art Alternatives
Available in: Pads

 

Watercolor: Varied Weights [90 – 300lbs +] Watercolor paper comes in a variety of weights, textures and tones. Typically made of 100% rag paper, featuring deckled edges, this paper is sized to accept and work with light to heavy washes of inks and watercolor, without buckling or bleed through. (Lighter weight papers are recommended to be stretched onto Gator Board prior to art execution)

1) Cold-Pressed – Formed by pressing with cold/tepid water during the paper-making process; this watercolor paper features a medium texture/tooth and is the most popular surface for watercolor artists

2) Hot-Pressed – Much like ironing, hot pressed paper is made by traveling through hot rollers during the paper-making process. This paper has an ultra smooth surface, great for gouache and fine watercolor details.

3) Rough – An ultra textured watercolor paper, this rough surface is made by lightly pressing the paper, leaving high ridges, nooks and crannies for color and pigment to pool.

**) YUPO – a 100% polypropylene paper, Yupo is a different kind of watercolor paper, designed with a different aesthetic in mind. It is waterproof and made from 100% recycled materials. Ultra-smooth texture, bright white or translucent finishes allow for inking precision and watercolor abstraction. Beyond fine art usage, Yupo has become a successful print medium for the commercial/marketing industry. With a multitude of creative solutions, Yupo provides a unique, yet versatile surface.

Brands: Arches, Canson, Yupo, Fabriano, Strathmore, Fluid
Available in: Pads, Blocks, Rolls and Sheets

 

Mixed Media: Varied Weights [90 – 300lbs +] paper designed for both wet and dry materials, allows for a variety of drawing, painting, and collage techniques. Some brands feature varying texture; one side smooth, the other, toothed. Great for all media; can handle light washes and acrylic layers. Not suitable for oils (unless primed first)

Brands: Canson, Strathmore, BEE
Available in: Pads, Sketchbooks, and Rolls

Paper Palettes: Weight [N/A] Palette paper is designed as a substitute to traditional artist’s palettes. Light weight, disposable, and an ultra-smooth finish, Palette paper allows you to paint on the go, with near effortless clean up. Works well with oils, acrylics, gouache and temperas.

Brands: Jack Richeson, Art Alternatives
Available in: Pads

Transfer Paper: Lightweight (25 – 30lbs) paper, also known as Carbon or Graphite paper; which is used to transfer drawings and designs onto various substrates. Typically, one side is coated with a powder/pigment that is placed treated-side down onto a fresh substrate. Then, by applying pressure (either with a stylus, pen or pencil) the lines are transcribed onto the new surface. This allows artists to expedite the creative process, as well as preserving their original drawing. Transfer paper can be used multiple times before its treated surface loses pigmentation.

Brands: Saral, Sally’s, Bienfang
Available in: Rolls and Sheets

Rag Paper: Various Weights [250 – 300gsm +] Rag Papers are typically made of 100% cotton or other natural fibers; superior to wood-pulp papers in strength and durability. Used in printmaking processes, rag papers provide smooth to textured surfaces, designed for etching, relief and intaglio printing techniques. Also a great paper for work with gouache, inks and a variety of dry media.

Brands: Legion/Stonehenge, Arches, Canson, Rives BFK, Somerset
Available in: Pads, Rolls, and Sheets

 

Rice paper: Various Weights [20 – 90lbs] Rice papers are made from combinations of rice starch and/or rice flour, with other plant fibers (such as hemp, bamboo, mulberry, wingceltis, gampi, etc.) Originating in ancient China, the papers were known as Xuan paper, specifically used for writing, art and architecture. Despite its fragile appearance, rice papers make for a strong and durable substrate. Suitable for various printmaking techniques, calligraphy, ink washes, and drawings. Not suitable for heavy washes or thick, impasto painting techniques.

Brands: Yasutomo, Paragon, Jack Richeson, Black Ink, etc
Available in: Rolls, Pads, and Sheets

Digital Papers: Various Weight [65lbs – 300lbs +]. With the proliferation of technology, particularly in regards to Digital Art creation and the accessibility of at-home printing, a wide range of Digital Fine Art Papers has infiltrated the market. Though the papers typically replicate traditional fine art and photography papers (such as rag, watercolor, pastel, canvas, etc) these papers have been sized to accept pigment-based digital inkjet and laser inks. This provides the artist will the ability to make Fine Art Reproductions and Art Prints for reasonable at-home editions.

Brands: Canson Infinity, Legion MOAB, Strathmore
Available in: Packs, and Rolls

Substrates – Choosing the Right Surface [PAPER EDITION] Part 2

This is Part 2 in our Paper Substrate Series – This edition is all about Drafting papers
Scroll through to learn about various types of papers!

—————————————————————————————————–
Behind (or rather, below) all great works of Art lies the Substrate. No matter what medium you may choose to fuel your creativity, there must be a surface on which to apply the paints, inks, and/or drawing materials. With such a wide variety of creative media/materials, there is an equally vast breadth of substrates to support your masterpiece.

So, what is a substrate anyways?

The primary or underlying foundation on which art materials/mediums (i.e. ink, paint, charcoal, pastel, etc.) are added is known as the Substrate. Canvas, wood panel and paper comprise the most popular and readily available surfaces; however certain artistic processes may require fabrics such as silk or synthetics, glass and even metal to act as a substrate. In the world of Digital Art, printing your creations include a variety of substrates all their own, with surfaces specially treated to accept the digital pigments and dyes.

Prior to application of art materials, a substrate must be prepared,  “primed” or “sized” to properly accept and fuse with the medium. The following is a breakdown of various types of substrates and their preparations:

TYPES OF PAPER (for art)

Drafting & Architectural Substrates

Vellum: Medium weight [50 – 60lbs] paper traditionally made from animal hides (specifically calf skin). Paper Vellum is now made from vegetable based resources and contains no animal products. Translucent (i.e. semi-transparent), vellum is used for high quality tracings; great for graphite, pens, markers, and inks. Used in technical renderings, architectural design and other drafting projects.

Brands: Canson, Strathmore, Clearprint, Grafix, Koh-I-Noor, BEE
Available in: Pads, Rolls, and Sheets

Tracing/”Bum wad”: Lightweight [15 – 20lbs] yet highly transparent paper, used for creating patterns (fashion design), base sketches, renderings, etc. Also known as “Bum Wad” for its close resemblance to toilet paper (in texture and weight), tracing paper is an affordable way to make tracings of any image, text or source by hand-drawn means. Some tracing papers are sized to accept printer inks.

Brands: Canson, Strathmore, Bienfang, BEE
Available in: Pads, Rolls, and Sheets

Acetate: Various Weight [measured in millimeters; .003 – 1.0] Acetate comes in transparent (clear) and frosted/matte (translucent). Also called by a proprietary name, Mylar, acetates are used for many various design, drafting, and architectural purposes. Plastic/polyester/resin/PVA based paper which readily accepts dyes, inks, and technical markers. Used in scholastic settings as transparency or overhead projector sheets; can be used in similar fashion as tracing papers, as well as gels for lighting, stencils for photo emulsion process (in printmaking) and 3D glasses lenses.

Brands: Mylar, Clearprint, Grafix
Available in: Pads, Sheets and Rolls

Chipboard: Various Ply [measured in millimeters; 0.30, 0.60, 0.130]
Chip Board is an inexpensive wood-based product, ideal for mounting architectural models. Industrial Chip Board can be found at hardware/lumber stores and is made of compressed wood chips and fibers, bound with synthetic resins; known as particle board. Denser versions of particle boards are known as MDF, Hardboard, or Masonite (typically used in economical furniture fabrication, etc – also makes for great painting panels) Chip Board for the artist’s use has a smooth surface, and moderate rigidity. It is non-archival, and made from recycled paper products.

Brands: Art Alternatives, Grafix
Available in: Sheets (large)

Isometric/Graph/Grid: Lightweight [20 – 30lbs) paper, similar to tracing/bond/layout papers, yet printed with a fine network of grids (either as squares or triangles). Used in technical drawings, such as typography, architecture and other forms of graphic design, Grid/Graph papers provide a system by which schematics, plots or diagrams can be easily scaled larger for final drafts/projects. Semi-transparency makes Graph/Grid papers useful in tracing and transferring. Ideal for sketching, and any dry media; also suitable for inking. Grids typically printed in a “non-photo” or non-reproducible blue ink.

Brands: Alvin, Bienfang, Canson, Rhodia, Clearprint, Grafix
Available in: Pads

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Stay tuned for our 2nd installment – ALL ABOUT PAPERS

The Art Supply Store
Written By: Laura Spencer

Substrates – Choosing the Right Surface [PAPER EDITION] Part 1

Behind (or rather, below) all great works of Art lies the Substrate. No matter what medium you may choose to fuel your creativity, there must be a surface on which to apply the paints, inks, and/or drawing materials. With such a wide variety of creative media/materials, there is an equally vast breadth of substrates to support your masterpiece.

So, what is a substrate anyways?

The primary or underlying foundation on which art materials/mediums (i.e. ink, paint, charcoal, pastel, etc.) are added is known as the Substrate. Canvas, wood panel and paper comprise the most popular and readily available surfaces; however certain artistic processes may require fabrics such as silk or synthetics, glass and even metal to act as a substrate. In the world of Digital Art, printing your creations include a variety of substrates all their own, with surfaces specially treated to accept the digital pigments and dyes.

Prior to application of art materials, a substrate must be prepared,  “primed” or “sized” to properly accept and fuse with the medium. The following is a breakdown of various types of substrates and their preparations:

Paper

Paper is quite possible the most varied, versatile and common substrate utilized. Dating back to 2nd Century China, the pulp paper-making process is attributed to Han Court eunuch, Cai Lun, effectively replacing silk as a primary substrate. Paper spread from China through the Middle East, finally reaching medieval Europe in the 13th century, where water-powered paper mills began sprouting up throughout the developing world. By the 19th century, paper production became an essential product of industrial manufacturing, lowering costs and providing the integral substrate for the Industrial Revolution. Paper was and continues to be (despite the technological advances of the past 2 decades) the conduit on which information is generated and distributed to the masses, fueling cultural shifts and technological developments.

TYPES OF PAPER (for art)

Drawing & Illustration Substrates

Newsprint: Lightweight [30-35lbs] paper, good for rough sketches, figure/gesture drawings and studies and proofing test prints (printmaking). Low cost, non-archival. Newsprint is a great paper for beginners and professionals looking to work out ideas and compositional experimentation. NOT suitable for final works of art.

Brands: Canson, Strathmore
Available: Pads (50-100 sheet), Rolls

Sketch:  Lightweight [50 – 60lbs] papers designed for preliminary drawings, doodles, sketches, quick studies, and technique practice. Sketch papers are perfect for the exploration of drawing materials. Designed as a brainstorming paper, (not necessarily suitable for finished pieces). Good for dry mediums (graphite, charcoal, pastels, colored pencils) but not suitable for wet media.

Brands: Canson, Strathmore, BEE, Art Alternatives, Handbook
Available in: Pads, Rolls, Sheets, and Sketchbooks/Journals

 

Drawing: Medium weight [70 – 80lbs] papers design for final works of art. Drawing papers can come in a variety of colors, however the most typical being Bright White, Off-White, and Cream. Drawing papers are typically suitable for most dry media such as graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, pastels, and some inks (not necessarily recommended for wet media).

 Brands: Canson, Strathmore, BEE, Legion/Stonehenge
Available in: Pads, Rolls, Sheets, and Sketchbooks/Journals

 

Bogus/Kraft:  Medium – Heavyweight [70lbs +] Made from recycled and unsorted waste paper, both Bogus and Kraft are usually gray or brown in color, but can be bleached. Bogus/Kraft paper is used in the making of paper bags, corrugated cardboards and chipboards because of its strength.  Due to its rough, irregular texture, Bogus/Kraft is great for sketches, gestures, and figure drawings; used frequently in the fashion industry for clothing/model sketches. Great with charcoal and pastels, however certain brands may not be archival quality.

Brands: Pacon, C&T, BEE, Strathmore, 3M
Available in: Pads and Rolls

 

Bristol: Heavy weight [90-110lbs] Great for multi-media works of art. Bristol can withstand all dry media (i.e. graphite, charcoal, pastel, colored pencil, etc) as well as inks (technical pens, markers, light washes, etc) comes in two textures or “tooth”: Smooth/Plate or Vellum (slight tooth)

Brands: Canson, Strathmore
Available: Pads, Sheets, and Rolls

 

Pastel/Charcoal: Medium – Heavyweight [65 – 100lbs] papers with heavy texture and sizing made to cradle and preserve the loose charcoal and pigments. Pastel and charcoal papers come in a variety of colors, as well as specialty textures like “Sanded Pastel Papers”. Suitable for other dry media, such as colored pencil and graphite.

Brands: Canson, Strathmore, BEE, Wallis
Available in: Pads, Rolls and sheets

 

Marker: Lightweight [13 – 25lbs] paper, semi-transparent and smooth; bleed-proof and sized to accept alcohol and solvent based marker inks, as well as felt tip pens. A great paper for layouts, drafting and rendering projects.

Brands: Strathmore, Canson
Available in: Pads and Sheets

 

Cardstock: Medium – Heavyweight [65 – 100lbs] paper; also known as “cover stock” or “paste stock”. Often used in the printing industry, Card stock is a heavier weight bond paper, typically used for business cards, playing cards, catalog covers, scrapbooking, etc. Similar to Bristol, though typically sized to accept inkjet over traditional mediums, this paper is decent quality for dry media projects, as well as collage.

Brands: Canford (Daler-Rowney)
Available in: Sheets

 

Bond: Lightweight [20 – 30lbs] paper, typically used in the printing industry, as copy paper for letterheads, envelopes, etc. Bond paper provides a suitable sketching surface, for semi-permanent/finished works of art. Its lightweight and smooth texture lends itself well to dry media such as graphite and colored pencil. Not suitable for any wet media, or heavy marker usage.

Brands: Strathmore, Canford
Available in: Rolls and reams

 

Parchment/Calligraphy: Light – Mediumweight [20 – 60lbs] papers, traditionally made from animal hides (similar to traditional vellum) parchment was a predecessor to industrialized papers. Used as manuscript scrolls, Parchment was reserved for the highest quality writings and books. Now made of plant-based pulps, infused with tone/color to replicate the aesthetic of parchment, it is sold as Calligraphy papers. Great for inks; marker, pen and brush, as well as sketching.

Brands: Bienfang, Borden-Riley, Canson, Strathmore
Available in: Pads and sheets

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Stay tuned for our 2nd installment – ALL ABOUT PAPERS

The Art Supply Store
Written By: Laura Spencer

ART(ICLES) – THE IMPORTANCE OF DRAWING

Art or more specifically, Drawing has played a significant role in life of every human since the dawn of time. Throughout childhood, we spend endless hours with crayon in hand, scribbling, scribing and formulating the visual vocabulary which influences our lives today. Our written language can be said to be a form of drawing in and of itself. Therefore, Drawing is at the root of all our visual communication.

Drawing provides the foundation, structure and context of any great work of art. True, there are some artists that do not draught at all, prior to creating a piece. However, somewhere along the line, a sketch, thumbnail or doodle was most likely made, in order to start the visualization process. In fact, the definition of “Drawing” has loosened throughout the Post Modern movement.

According to most traditional definitions, Drawing is an image making process, utilizing various marks (typically) in dry media (i.e. graphite, charcoal, inks, and/or colored pencils) on paper. But, just as the definition of “Art” has moved from the concrete to the highly abstract, any aggregate that could be made about what a Drawing really is, has blurred dramatically. Drawings can be made using any and every media available; from paint and brush, to sculptural relief, graphic shapes and digital renderings. It could be said that a Drawing is defined primarily by the creator. With such a subjective approach however, you may stir up a rather heated discussion amongst the most haughty of any given art scene.

The marks made while composing a drawing hold their own lavish language, expression and ambiguity. The following examples are general interpretations of various “types” of drawings.

Line Drawings, such as contours, blind contours, curvilinear, rectilinear, calligraphic, hatching and cross-hatching, utilize lines which are fluid, bold, and clearly defined.  It could be said that each line is “visible” and made to stand on its own, carrying all the weight, meaning and intention the artists has imbibed within it.

Line Drawing - Contour - Trey Bryan

Line Drawing – Contour – Trey Bryan

Hatching - Drawing/Illustration - Barry Moser

Hatching – Drawing/Illustration – Barry Moser

Cross Hatching - Drawing - Edwin Austin Abbey

Cross Hatching – Drawing – Edwin Austin Abbey

Sketching and Gesture drawings are closely related, in their fast and loose approach. Conveying concept over visual perfection, sketches and gestures typically communicate movement, weight and dynamics, which can easily be translated into more refined artistic techniques. Value may be utilized to provide volume, as well as mass, described with various densities of drawing mediums.

Gesture/Mass Drawing - Kathe Kollwitz

Gesture/Mass Drawing – Kathe Kollwitz

Gesture - Figure Drawing - Jane Radstrom

Gesture – Figure Drawing – Jane Radstrom

Sketch - Figure - Scott Prather

Sketch – Figure – Scott Prather

Gesture/Line Drawing - Figure - Laura Spencer Illustrates

Gesture/Line Drawing – Figure – Laura Spencer Illustrates

Doodling is simply the most playful, freeform type of drawing that exists. For the pure pleasure of drawing, doodling holds no boundaries and no rules. Typically, sketchbooks provide the ideal venue for collections of scribbles, scratches, notes and ideas; all of which embody the spirit of the doodle. Have fun, be experimental, and revel in the beauty and ugliness.

Doodle - Sketchbook - Justin Runfola

Doodle – Sketchbook – Justin Runfola

Doodle  - Character Sketch - Natalie Hall

Doodle – Character Sketch – Natalie Hall

Doodle - Sketches - James Jean

Doodle – Sketches – James Jean

Thumbnails are an essential step in creating a final piece of work. Particularly useful for the Illustrator or Painter, thumbnails are a way to try various compositions in order to make the best visual decision. Try it for yourself; before beginning a final piece, sketch several different options utilizing simple shapes to represent the elements of your composition. Start with 5, making more if you feel moved. Play around with different areas of emphasis, integrate value and color, push the envelope and your initial concept; experimentation can lead to the best works of art. Guaranteed, a compositional solution will be found that is stronger and clearer than the original concept.

Thumbnails - Figures in Composition - James Jean

Thumbnails – Figures in Composition – James Jean

Thumbnails - Shapes - Greg Newbold

Thumbnails – Shapes – Greg Newbold

“Rendering” is a term typically associated with a controlled, refined drawing technique (typically in graphite or charcoal) which consists of line and value, giving 3 dimensionality or realistic qualities to a drawing. To render a drawing is to pay close attention to each and every eccentricity, to light and shadow, pattern and reflection. “Believability” is the main goal of any rendering.

Rendering - Figure - Francis Vallejo

Rendering – Figure – Francis Vallejo

Rendering - Architecture - Don Brandes

Rendering – Architecture – Don Brandes

As you can see, Drawing can be defined and articulated in so many various ways. Trying each and every variation will broaden your artistic spectrum, while exercising your hand-eye coordination. Just like all the other muscles in the human body, drawing is a way to exercise and strengthen the way we see. One last recommendation; pick up a copy of the following book: Zen and the Art of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation by Frederick Franck. This book combines the calisthenics of drawing, with meditative vision. Results may vary, but the journey through the drawing process makes all the difference.

Book - Zen and the Art of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation - Frederick Franck

Book – Zen and the Art of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation – Frederick Franck

The Art Supply Store
Written By: Laura Spencer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready Made Wall and Poster Frames Now Available!

The Art Supply Store is now carrying ready made wall and poster frames for all your framing needs. We have a variety of sizes, styles, and colors – come in and browse our selection today! From box frames to poster frames to wood float frames, we are sure to have something to fit your taste!

frames_for_site

ART(ICLES) – STUDENT-GRADE VS. ARTIST-GRADE

ARTIST-GRADE ACRYLIC : GOLDEN HEAVY BODY PAINTS

ARTIST-GRADE ACRYLIC :: Golden Heavy Body Acrylics

STUDENT-GRADE ACRYLICS:: Amsterdam, Liquitex Basics

STUDENT-GRADE ACRYLICS :: Amsterdam, Liquitex Basics

One of the most common questions we receive in our store is “What is the difference between Student-Grade vs. Artist-Grade Materials, and does it even matter?”

As an artist, the quality of materials you use should equal the talent, effort and passion you provide to the piece. Of course, a truly prolific artist can create with even the most rudimentary materials; however, there is no question that using the RIGHT materials can make all the difference between a great piece of art and a MASTERPIECE. That being said, pros and cons exist for artist-quality and student-quality products, as well as appropriate uses for each type.  Here are several points to help you discern between artist and student grade products.
Typically, cost is the first notable difference between artist and student grade materials. However, cost can be deceiving, depending on your intention.

Student grade paints are typically sold at 1 or 2 price points (or “series” as they are known in Artist Grade Materials). The reason is due to the formulation of the paint; the binders/fillers to pigment ratio.  Student-grade paints are typically made of imitation, synthesized or compound pigments, creating “hues” of authentic colors; for instance, a student-grade version of a Cadmium Red (i.e. Cad Red Hue) is comprised of various red tones in order to achieve an almost-accurate yet conservatively priced paint. On base, student-grade products have very low pigment content, making them far more transparent, and difficult to color mix, yet more affordable regardless of the type of pigment.
The variety of colors within any given line of Artist-Grade paints is rather staggering; each color family with a multitude of options, all ranging in temperature and pigment purity. Artist-Grade paints are sold in “series”, meaning the price point is contingent on the quality and cost of the specific pigment used. For instance, Cobalt Blue is an expensive mineral; therefore a paint containing a high concentration of Cobalt is typically a Series 5 or higher. Rest assured you will get far more mileage out of that 2oz tube of Artist-Grade paint than the student-grade knock-off, due to the Artist-Grade’s rich and concentrated pigment base, allowing for better coverage and opacity.
However, student grade materials aren’t all bad. Utilizing student-grade paint for under paintings is a great and economical way to block in color, saving you time and money. Be warned, student quality paints may have a high risk of color shifting; that is, changing tint or shade from wet to dry. A common misconception for the artistic novice is that “I’ll just keep using student grade materials till I become a ‘better painter’”. But as the old adage goes, “The clothes make the man”; the better the materials you use, the more proficient your painting skills and techniques will become. But, regardless of qualitative hierarchy, both student-grade and artist-grade products share the same raw materials, and both have a significant place in the artist toolbox.

 

The Art Supply Store

Written By: Laura Spencer

Holiday Gift Idea – Gift Cards

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