Sunday, September 28, 2014

ACEOs Are Done, and An Afternoon of Sketching

The weather's been a bit weird the past couple of weeks; we're getting our fall preview, I guess. Temps have been more like the UK was in August (in the mid-60's in the day and the 50's at night), except for this weekend, where we had a small burst of summer heat.

I spent the afternoon sketching outside on my back porch.


And my ACEO cards are done and living in their clear sleeves and inserted  into Strathmore Frame Cards. I finished all of them yesterday. I activated the Derwent Inktense pencils with a brush I acquired in the UK at the art supply store in Bath, on the recommendation of the saleswoman. It's a Pentel Aquash brush, with a self-contained water reservoir - rather designed specifically to use with watercolor pencils, I think. It lets you work in watercolor out in the wild without having to deal with bowls of water.

Here are photos of some of the cards before cutting and packaging:



Friday, September 26, 2014

ACEOs for the fall (WIP)

I started working on some artist trading cards last night for a Halloween card/gift exchange among members of one of my online communities. Here are some progress shots.




I like creating my ACEOs on large paper and cutting them down to size. The pencils I've used to color these are Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. This is the first time I've tried them. I haven't "activated" the pigment with water yet, so I don't know how it's going to act. I wanted a good scan of these before I get them wet, just in case I mess something up.

I quite like my Pumpkin Witch. I think I'll do a few more of her over the weekend. I'm also digging my Totoro-influenced raccoon.




Friday, September 19, 2014

sketching again

I've been working with paper and pencil and ink a lot at home, to get away from the tablet and Adobe applications that I spend most of the day working with at the day job. However, I really enjoy working with the Procreate app on my iPad. It has the most "natural" brushes of any of the iPad apps I've been trying (and I've been trying most of them, believe me).

I doodled this while watching TV last week, and trying out the "fill area" feature they added in the latest update.


Right now, I'm using either the Sensu double-ended stylus ("fingertip" on one end and paint brush on the other end) or the Wacom Bamboo stylus. I am really seriously considering getting the new Wacom Intuous Creative Stylus 2 when it's released next month, and maybe I can hold off finally investing in a Cintiq drawing tablet for a while longer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Every once in a while

I manage to take a really good photo.

On the bypass toll road from Bath to Bitton (and the B&B)
More travel blogging ahead, now that I'm home and have time to cull through photos and memories of the vacation.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Things That Are Different in England

Or at least at this hotel...

Hair Dryers! The hotel where we are staying for the convention graciously provides hair dryers in the rooms. This particular device must have been purchased at a discount from a shrink-wrap company, because it has only one heat setting: melt your face. You have a selection off an speeds, however.

The other feature is that you must hold down the ON button with a death grip for the fan to function at all. I'm sure this is an ernegy-saving feature, but now both of my hands are cramped into claws, giving me a demented crone (or Skexxis) appearance.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Into the West

We drove out of London on Sunday. The GPS was feeling particularly sadistic that morning, and it took us 2 hours to get out of the city and onto the M4 motorway.


We didn't even get the tank filled. Petrol is expensive here.


But apparently, some people can afford to drive in style.




The Little Normead Farm

The farmhouse B&B was incredibly beautiful. We had a little time to ourselves among the grounds when it wasn't raining. There were many large lavender plants that made the whole yard smell of lavender and the honeybees were busy collecting pollen. The farm had ducks and chickens and cats. Our hostess, Susan, was an excellent cook and provided us with enormous breakfasts every morning.






The only downsides to the place were the lack of surfaces to put things on and the tiny, highly uncomfortable bed, which we dubbed "the torture bed"... That, and the fact that we couldn't just stay there all day on the farm (it was literally a "bed and breakfast") had us leaving a day early. I had initially planned to chill out there on the last day, but there was no way to do that comfortably.

But we did have the most dramatic skies I have ever seen.


Friday and the Theatre

I rested as much as possible on Thursday and Friday, keeping my foot up. The rest of the family went sight-seeing and shopping. Friday night, we went to the West End again, to see Shakespeare In Love at the Noel Coward Theatre. The adaptation of the film was quite good (IMO), and I particularly enjoyed the inter-scene and in-scene music.