30 November 2014

New Art - Thanksgiving Kiki

You may remember from my Halloween post that this year I've been working on three holiday illustrations to match my household's three cats.  It's a little bit late, but this is my Thanksgiving entry!  It features Kiki, the youngest of our brood (and the only female in our home aside from myself and, perhaps, our single goldfish) which makes her the most playful and naughty of the bunch!  A lot of thought and effort went into this piece's creation; it may very well be my most intricate illustration to date.  I hope you'll enjoy seeing how it all came together~

I started this piece with a handful of thumbnail sketches to work out ideas.  I tried several different compositions and poses, but the idea of Kiki with a cornucopia kept coming to the fore.  The iconic cornucopia is inseparable from Thanksgiving in the US, making it apt for the theme.  Plus, "Kiki" (or even just "cat") and "cornucopia" have a nice bit of alliteration!  Once I decided on the thumbnail, I sketched it out at half size so I could work out the finer details.

Half-Size Sketch of Kiki in a Cornucopia
The grid was drawn in warm grey ink so it would remain even after erasing.
I did a lot of research at this stage.  I started by looking up the origin of the cornucopia, which ended up being a good idea.  I usually visualize a wickerwork horn but I discovered that those woven icons are actually meant to represent a mythical goat horn that produces endless fruit, vegetables, and flowers.  I knew about the food (that's why the horn of plenty is associated with Thanksgiving, after all) but never realized flowers were also included.  When I learned this, I did further research to find produce and flowers that arrive in autumn (I didn't want to include anything that would be out-of-season since I wanted the illustration to be as autumny as possible!) and also to see what goat horns look like in real life so my depiction would be more authentic.

Half-Size Sketch and Full-Size Illustration in Pencil
Using the grid was extremely helpful in maintaining the composition.

Once I was happy with the sketch, I started redrawing it full size.  This is where I started to lose steam and got very behind schedule.  There is so much detail in all the fruit and flowers; it was taxing not only physically (drawing tiny details takes a lot of muscular stamina, believe it or not!) but also mentally.  It felt really tedious to draw all those things again and larger!  The tedium was exacerbated later when I made myself redraw several details because they weren't looking recognizable (i.e. they were too generic).

Completed Pencil Lineart
I only included fruits and veggies that I think are yummy!
I did eventually complete the final pencil drawing after several weeks working on and off.  I thought it would be easier from this point on but I was disappointed to find inking just as difficult to stay motivated for.  I finished inking faster than penciling, but I think that was probably because Thanksgiving was fast approaching and I intended to get the illustration done in time to print and mail as greeting cards. 

Partially Inked Illustration
The flowers I included were roses, dahlias, and salvias.
Unfortunately, the pressure of my self-set deadline wasn't enough for me to finish on time.  I kept pushing every day, but I was already so far behind that I not only missed getting cards made and mailed, I couldn't even finish by Thanksgiving itself.  At least I finished before November was over.  Better late than never!

Inking Almost Complete
The salvias really were the worst part to draw...

Fully Inked Illustration
...but I persevered and completed them all!  Worth it, I think!
Finally I finished inking and was able to move onto coloring.  Again I thought, "It's all downhill from here," and again I was disappointed.  All those details just kept looming at me like an insurmountable wall.  It was during coloring that I decided to give up on deadlines and just work a decent amount every day until it was done (I lost a lot of sleep on the last day, but I managed to finish before my Thanksgiving vacation was over!).

Shadows Defined in Marker
This part was really fun!
The technique I used to start coloring is one I sometimes forget but which is really helpful when I remember.  With a light purple marker, I roughly added shadows to everything in the drawing.  Not only does this help me maintain my light source (which is easy to forget when working a larger and heavily detailed piece) the marker's color is great for adding coolness and unity to shaded areas. 
Illustration with Flat Color
Here I stopped using references, drawing upon imagination and memory.
It took me longer than I expected--again because I just couldn't find my enthusiasm--but I did eventually get the flat colors laid down throughout the drawing.  I tried to choose muted, realistic tones since I was going for an autumny feel, but my love for vibrant color still came through pretty strong.  Not that I'm disappointed!  I'm pleased with every single color choice here~

Marker Work Fully Complete
I tried to give every color a different hue, especially oranges and greens.
Once the flat color was done, I finally, finally began to get that awesome feeling of excitement which I can only describe as akin to running down a hill after a long, arduous climb to the top.  THIS is the fun part of creating art!  The closer to the finishing touches, the more everything starts visually coming together, the happier I get.  It was still a time-consuming and intricate bit of work, but seeing the illustration nearing its final look gave me the patience and energy to push hard until the end.

Sky Detailed Using a Paint Stick and Blending Marker
I didn't plan on using my paint stick but I'm glad I gave it a shot!
For the sky, I had a stroke of brilliance, if I do say so myself.  A bundle of ArtSnacks was on my worktable and I thought to use the Krink paint stick (which you may remember from this earlier post) to add variety to the sky.  As I was applying the paint, I wondered what would happen if I tried to blend it using my colorless blending marker.  (I remembered that some people use this marker to blend colored pencil and I recently saw a similar colorless marker specifically marketed as a colored pencil blender.)  I had a good feeling about it so, even though experimenting on an almost-finished piece might prove disastrous both for the artwork and the blending tool, I gave it a shot.  I'm still not sure about the state of my blending marker but the way this experimental technique panned out for the illustration was perfect!  I might even use my paint stick in this way from now on, even if I have to buy a bunch of replacement nibs for my blender, ha ha ha.

Illustration Completed with Colored Pencil and White
Highlights are always the most fun part of creating anime-inspired art.
Although I was getting very tired by this point, I was still enthusiastic enough to finish everything up.  I added a lot of details in highlighting, shading, and general definition with colored pencil first.  Once I was satisfied there, I moved on to adding white highlights.  I ended up using three different opaque white tools: an artists pen, a paint marker, and a gel pen.  They were all useful and worked together well to create the final look on paper.

That wasn't the end of my work, though.  After finishing everything in traditional media, I digitized the image and set to fine tuning in Photoshop.  I fixed a few stray marks, added a couple overlays to unify the colors, and drew in Kiki's whiskers.  This is a true multimedia work!  You can click on the image at the top of this post to see a larger version of the completed piece on deviantART.  Please let me know what you think of my process, my struggles, and my final result~

27 November 2014

Happy Holidays for the Children (December 2014)

Folks who know me may find it odd that I would advocate for children's causes.  I'm not super fond of kids as company and generally try to steer clear of them.  That doesn't mean I don't remember what it was like to be a kid, though.  When Christmastime comes around, it brings up the best memories of my childhood.  That's why I would love to help kids have the best holiday season possible by advocating for some great children's charities this December!

My local Christmas Tree lighting. The hosting venue supports Toys for Tots.


Save the Children

This highly-rated, international children's charity supports virtually every facet of a happy, healthy childhood.  From education to emergency response, supporting health and fighting hunger, they pretty much do it all, not only in the US, but in 120 countries across the globe.  You can support their efforts any time by making a monetary donation.  Just go to their website, www.savethechildren.org, and hover over the "Make a Donation" button at the top.  If you're interested in making your donation count towards a specific cause (or get some neat branded goodies), check out their gift catalogue: gift.savethechildren.org/

For the holiday season, Save the Children is promoting their Make the World Better with a Sweater campaign. Basically, it's an Ugly Christmas Sweater party with a purpose (though you can participate all by your onesies, too!).  Check out the link to learn more about this fun holiday fundraising event!  You can also check out the Studio Mikarts fundraising page to make a donation towards our $50 goal for this campaign!

Toys for Tots

If you want to get really holiday oriented in your support of children's happiness, consider donating to Toys for Tots.  This foundation is actually run by the US Marine Corps and has received many accolades over the years for being a quality nonprofit.  This annual toy drive is supported by a wide range of corporations and individuals, which speaks to the cause's value.  Personally, I've heard some people nay-say Toys for Tots because 'toys aren't important' but I couldn't disagree more.  Children need the basics, yes, but they also need stimulation and entertainment.  They need to feel special and they need to play!  There's no better way to provide those essential elements of childhood to disadvantaged kids than to donate a toy or game at a local Toys for Tots drop-off station (unwrapped and brand new toys only) or by making a donation at their website: http://www.toysfortots.org/donate

Local Drives and Charities

There are many options to help children in your local community.  Here where I am, there are annual coat drives, food drives, charity marathons and baseball games, all kinds of small events hosted by local individuals, businesses, and teams.  It can be difficult to pin down all of the events that are going on, especially in the general hustle-bustle of the holiday season, but here are some places you can check to discover local charity events to support the health and happiness of children near you:
  • Local TV or Radio Station Websites
  • Your City's Website and/or Community Calendar
  • Flyers at Your Favorite Shops and Restaurants
  • Local Newspapers and Classifieds

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Whether you choose to support Studio Mikarts' fundraising campaign for Save the Children, donate a cool toy at a Toys for Tots location, or participate in a local children's charity event this holiday season, you can feel good knowing you're part of the larger effort to bring health and happiness to little ones around the world.  What a great way to ring out 2014!

23 November 2014

New Art - Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Here in the States, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  For most people, including me, this is mainly a feasting holiday.  Recently, however, I've also focused on giving proper thanks for things I'm grateful for in the days leading up to the feast.  To that end, this year I started a Thankfulness drawing project for the month of November.  Every day this month, I have sketched something I'm grateful for.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Ink Sketch of Smiling American Shorthair
My first entry featured our adorable American Shorthair.
The very first sketch I drew for this project featured our housecat, Kiki.  She follows me around quite a bit when I'm at home, so it was easy to make her my model.  She's my beau's first cat and she's silly, wily, and loving.  It was impossible not to draw her because I am very thankful indeed to have her in my life ❤

In drawing this, I decided on several rules for me to follow in future Thankfulness drawings.  For one, I decided to only sketch things that were right in front of me.  I would not use photographs or sketch anything abstract or made-up.  On top of that, I decided to use the same pen and paper for every sketch (the ZIG mangaka pen I received in my September ArtSnacks box and a coil-bound mixed media sketchbook from Strathmore).  This means that every drawing for this project was done directly in pen.  Not having a pencil sketch to work over made things easier to foul up, but it has also been really good practice for life sketching!

Ink Sketch of Sleeping Manx Cat
Kiba was sleeping in my computer chair as I sketched~

The next sketch I want to highlight also features one of our housecats!  This time it's Kiba, the black Manx we rescued a couple years ago.  He is a true rescue in that we noticed him living under our house and, over time, realized he was losing a lot of weight.  We knew he had belonged to some neighbors that moved away but they never came asking or looking for him.  Since it was obvious he had been abandoned, we brought him some food to build up his trust, coaxed him into a cat carrier, took him to the vet, and (after receiving a clean bill of health) brought him inside to become one of our housecats.  He's simply the most adorable little kitty (to be honest, I think that of every cat, but he really is unbearably cute!), a little wild and crazy, but cuddly and affectionate more often than not.  I'm very grateful to know this kitty!

Ink Sketch of Tartan Scarf
I'm not just thankful for my pets!  Scarves~

Although most of my favorite sketches feature animals, I've actually drawn a wide variety of things for this Thanksgiving project.  One of them is this cozy scarf!  In life, it's bright pink with blue, dark pink, and white tartan stitches.  I'm thankful for all my scarves, but this was the one I was wearing that day and it inspired me to use it as my subject.  I'm particularly fond of this sketch because, although there was no way to translate the scarf's cheerful colors with the tools I restricted myself to, I think the essence of the subject still came through.  I'm thankful for everything that keeps me warm during these chilly, snowy months!

Ink Sketch of Sleeping Shiba Inu
My Shibi-beebee was sleeping at my feet as I sketched~

Of all my Thankfulness sketches, I think the ones featuring my pets have come out the best.  I suppose it's easier because they're not as rigid a subject as, say, a 3DS or a space heater.  If I mess up sketching a pet, no one can really tell!

Anyway, this is a drawing of my Shiba Inu, Sun.  He's my youngest dog, though not my youngest pet.  You really can't tell what age he is, except that his muzzle is whiter than it used to be.  I became interested in Shiba Inu because they're a national treasure of Japan and, of course, because they're so terribly cute, but after bringing Sun into my life, I realized Shiba Inu are even better than that.  He's always ready to play or ready to cuddle, big and small enough to do both really well, he's fastidious and clean, and although he's quite mischievous, he generally listens once we say "no."  I'm super grateful for him!

Ink Sketch of Sleeping Hound-Mix
This is my big boy, Kenshi!  He snored as I sketched, ha ha.

This may be my favorite pet sketch from this project.  It's my mixed-breed dog, Kenshi.  He was laying on the couch, deep asleep, as I sketched him.  He's a senior dog, and shows it in his white, floppy face.  It's times like these, when he's calm and relaxed (not being overprotective or otherwise naughty), that I feel most thankful to have my oldest, biggest buddy.  Over the years we've been together, he's really taught me a lot about being a good, responsible dog owner.

Ink Sketch of Jacket Draped Over Chair
Another warm item!  I love being toasty warm and cozy.

The last sketch I'd like to focus on features my leather coat, draped over a chair at the cafe where my art group meets.  I'm thankful for outerwear in general, anything that keeps me warm and safe from harsh weather, but I'm particularly grateful for this coat.  It's one of those awesome thrift store finds, a perfectly serviceable, real leather coat, in a length and style I love, for a tiny fraction of what such a coat would cost brand new.  I love fashion--dressing stylishly gives me confidence and sets the tone for my whole day--but it's expensive, so coming across a find like this is special.  I'm thankful for the person who donated the item, thankful for the store that sold it at a generous price, thankful for the moment of exhilaration at finding it, and thankful for the coat itself, which keeps me feeling warm and looking good!

Although these six sketches are all I've included in this New Art post, there are plenty more--including my other household pets!--available for you to browse in this photo album.  Please check it out and let me know what you think.  Until then, have a safe, comfortable, delicious, and happy Thanksgiving!

18 November 2014

Pigment+Palette - 11th Edition

I'm very excited to present the unboxing of my second Pigment+Palette shipment!  For anyone who may not know, Pigment+Palette (P+P for short) delivers monthly boxes of art supplies to subscribers.  The boxes may contain full- or sample-sized items and the contents are a secret until the box is opened.  It's the perfect thing for artists like me who love to experiment with new tools.  Let's see what was inside the 11th Edition box~

Unopened Pigment+Palette Box
The P+P logo isn't just printed, it's laser-cut into the box!
The 11th Edition's Featured Art Print
The 11th Edition's featured art: "Bandito" by Derek Nobbs

I think by the time my box arrived, both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos were already over, but it was still nice to see a festive theme for the box.  And I always appreciate watercolor art, especially bright, bold pieces like this.  The box's official theme, "Dead Man's Party", invariably sets my brain to playing Oingo Boingo's song of the same name.  I just love that cheerfully grim, upbeat music!

Unpacking the Box, Table of Contents
The table of contents and a little peek inside the box.

In this box I received [specific traits in brackets]:
  • R&F Pigment Stick [dianthus pink] with information pamphlet
  • Strathmore 500 Series Gemini Watercolor Paper [300 lb. cold press, two 4x6" sheets]
  • Dynasty Black Gold Whales Tail Brush [size 1/4]
  • Holbein Acryla Gouache [titanium white]

As of this writing, there is only one item I haven't yet tried out.  It's actually the first item on the list: the R&F pigment stick.  The color is a vibrant bubblegum pink, lots of cuteness potential there, but the fact that it's an oil paint in stick form has made it rather a misfit in this box's watercolor-centric lineup.  I'm not sure if I should just try to use the stick by itself in an experimental manner, or create a full-blown (though probably small size) oil painting that somehow incorporates the stick.  I'll have to mull it over until inspiration hits.  Oils just aren't my forte or my cup of tea.

All 11th Edition Contents Revealed
An interesting group of items in this box!

Paint stick aside, I've tested out all the other items in this box.  I'm happy with them all, too.  My favorite item is the next one on the list: the watercolor paper.  It is simply glorious to use!  I'm afraid it's difficult to describe precisely why I enjoyed it so much, but I can say that it was one of the best watercolor surfaces I've ever used.  I just loved how the watercolor reacted to the paper, the organic edges I received, the way I could mop up wet color if I wished, being able to mix colors right there on the page.  And of course, the 300 lb. weight meant that the paper didn't disintegrate, crumble, curl, or buckle one bit.  If you love working with watercolors, I highly recommend this paper.  I never knew Strathmore made anything so wonderful.  I'm happy that I still have one more sheet to play with!

The remaining two items were surprisingly not used together in my test painting (you can see and read about the painting in this blog post) even though they seem to naturally go together as paint and brush.  No, this brush, as adorable as it is (whales tail! I can't take how cute that is!), is only good when wanting to create a very specific type of texture/mark.  I did try at first to get varying types of strokes out of it, but I ended up using it only to create a pretty, mottled sort of background for my painting.  I'd say this brush is a 'nice to have' rather than a 'must have'; it made really cool organic shapes but it's not useful for anything else.

As for the paint, at first I was stumped as to what I was going to do with white gouache on white watercolor paper.  Luckily I realized I could use watercolor first, adding gouache at the end for details and highlights.  It worked wonderfully!  It didn't push the paint to its limits or test how it blends or gradates, but at the very least I know what I'll turn to whenever I need to add opaque white details to my watercolors in the future.  White gouache works, visually and texturally, so much better than white ink or acrylic on a watercolor painting!  (On an amusing side note, I was tickled by the Japanese subtitling on the paint tube.  I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw that the katakana for "titanium white" is "chitaniumu howaito".  I always assume I know exactly how English words will translate to katakana and then I get schooled by random items like this, ha ha ha.)

Other P+P subscribers, what did you think of this box?  What have you created with your items?  Did you get anything different from me?  Everyone else, is there anything you'd like to know about this box that I didn't cover?  Anyone have an idea of how I should test out my pigment stick??

16 November 2014

New Art - Happy Snow Girl

We've seen some extreme weather this week in Idaho, extreme not only in the type or strength, but extreme in the speed at which it came about, too.  When I was typing last week's New Art post, the weather was a bit chilly at night, yes, but very mild otherwise--dry, still, almost summery.  It definitely didn't feel like November!  Then, all of a sudden, last Thursday saw the arrival of an arctic blast that brought glacial temps and one of the biggest non-stop snowfalls I've experienced in all my time living here.  I LOVE inclement weather, so all of this has put me in a fabulous mood!  The painting I'm featuring today was created from those good vibes.

People who know me may recognize some of the features in the girl I depicted.  I wanted to create a pretty painting quickly, without too much thought about design or detail, while staying away from a wholly experimental composition.  It's easier to draw oneself, who one knows so well, than to create an entirely new character.  So, as you may see, my Happy Snow Girl was loosely modeled after yours truly. 

Anime-Style Girl Drawn on Watercolor Paper
Initial sketch done with a mechanical pencil.

This painting was actually created using several items from this month's Pigment+Palette box.  The first of which was a 4x6" piece of watercolor paper.  I want to save some of my review-like comments for my actual review post, but I will say that this paper was a joy to work with.  I was continually excited by how it took my brush strokes and how it reacted to the paint.  300 lb. cold press watercolor paper really is my favorite surface to paint on. 

Anime-Style Girl Filled In With Watercolor
Watercolor painted using the graphite as a guide.

Since I was in a bit of a hurry, I applied my watercolor more roughly than I'm usually wont to do.  The painting definitely didn't look complete after this step, but I knew how I was going to proceed, so that was a-ok.   My intention was to get the basic color and shading down with watercolor and add fine details with ink and gouache afterwards.

I used the whale tail brush from my P+P box to paint the lovely, mottled background.  The brush's organic result was just perfect for my wintry scene. 

Anime-Style Girl Outlined in Ink
The girl was lined using pen & ink.

The next-to-last step was adding lines.  This was where the painting really started to come together.  I used my favorite Deleter pen & ink system but I had to add a lot of water to get my ink to flow well; the cap to my ink bottle lost its protective wafer a while ago (well, it kept coming out and making a mess so I tossed it in frustration!) so the ink dries out unusually fast.  Thank goodness it performs just as well even after repeatedly drying up.  It's top quality stuff! 

Anime-Style Girl Completed with Gouache
Snowflakes and highlights were added with gouache.

At the end of this creative process, I used another P+P item: white gouache. I've never used gouache as a highlighting tool, but it seems perfect for use on a watercolor painting (after all, it's basically opaque watercolor).  I was able to add snowflakes, large and small, highlight the girl's face and hair, and fill in the heart details on her outfit.  This paint did everything I wanted and the resulting effects pushed the painting to a whole new level!  I'm beyond pleased~

Anyone else enjoying some wintery weather in their hometown?  Bundling up, sipping hot chocolate, throwing a snowball or two?  Are any of my fellow artists just as inspired by the sight of snow thickly blanketing the world?  Have you created something wintry already, too?

09 November 2014

New Art - November ArtSnacks Challenge (ArtSnacks - November)

Welcome to another New Art post! Last week I decided to skip my regular post because I was on vacation and hadn't created any new art worth sharing. This week, though, I'm back and ready to go! The art I'm featuring is my November ArtSnacks Challenge, a piece made only with the supplies that came in this month's box. I also figured I may as well combine this New Art post with my ArtSnacks unboxing since they're so closely related and actually happened all in the same session.  This promises to be a robust write-up!

This month's ArtSnacks box arrived in its regular timely manner but I continually faced delays in unboxing the contents.  First I forgot to check the mail on the actual day the box arrived.  Then, when I checked the tracking and saw that the package had been delivered, I only had time to retrieve it from the mailbox.  Other responsibilities kept me from opening it for a further two days.  Maybe it's because I had to wait so long or maybe just because the items were so good, when I finally got to open this thing, I was ecstatic with what I found.

First peek!
Another candy I could hardly wait to eat!
These items made me shriek in excitement. I scared my dogs!

Of course the first thing I was so excited to see was the Copic Wide marker; I love my regular Copics and have been eyeing the Wide set for a little while now.  But the other items in this box were exciting for various other reasons, too.  Here's the list of what I got [specific attributes in brackets]:

  • Lyra Water-Soluble Graphite Crayon [2B]
  • Krink K-80 Permanent Paint Stick [Blue]
  • .Too Copic Wide Marker [Y15 (Cadmium Yellow)]
  • Kuretake ZIG Fudebiyori Metallic Brush Pen [Silver]
  • Extras: Sour Patch candy (no ArtSnacks-themed item this time...)

Ready to start experimenting!
The beautiful view from my window was my inspiration.
First step: bold color from the Copic Wide marker.

I started my ArtSnacks Challenge with the Copic Wide marker and played around to see what kinds of marks I could get out of the giant, but narrow, chisel tip.  I must admit I was a little disappointed at the limited range.  I tried to create organic, leaf-like shapes but found the marker more useable when I simply drenched large areas in color.  While it wasn't very versatile in terms of my artistic process, I believe people also use these markers for Western-style calligraphy, so it might be better suited for that.  Also, my marker seemed a bit dry--I had to go over areas several times to get good coverage--but perhaps that's due to going through the shipping process; the marker was certainly brand new (sealed with a sticker).  Maybe if I turn the beast tip-side down for a while, the color laydown will improve.

Well-capped paint stick.

I thought to continue my Challenge with the K-80 paint stick but realized the remaining ArtSnacks probably wouldn't do well on top of it.  I still took the above photo to show the interesting cap system; one big, typical cap and one small, fitted cap.  Very protective!  I didn't use enough paint to show it, but the stick also has a twist-end at the bottom to push more up (once exposed, the material will not retract).


Metallic ink.

I decided to leave the paint stick for last and move onto the graphite crayon.  I was a little familiar with it already because I actually bought several of these when I visited Seattle earlier this year.  I was very tickled to receive another one with my ArtSnacks.  This item not only covers large areas well, its pencil-like tip allows for relatively fine lines, too.  I didn't realize at the time, but this graphite crayon is also water-soluble.  My sister noticed it when I showed her these items at November's Kikai meeting.  She tried it out with a water brush and ended up creating a lovely piece.  (Something else to note: if these graphite crayons interest you, make sure to buy one of the specially-made, oversized sharpeners to maintain the useful tip shape!)

After creating my branches with graphite, I embellished them with the metallic brush pen.  I also added organic lines over the Copic marker to create a more leafy image.  I was very satisfied with the pen's performance.  The coverage was excellent, the even flow of ink being reasonably opaque and beautifully reflective.  The brush tip also provided a nice range of line widths.  The only complaint I have is that the ink flows so readily that whenever I take the cap off, I inevitably mark on the inside.  Then, when I place the cap on the opposite end of the pen for safe-keeping while I work, the ink on the cap gets smudged all over the end of the pen.  Not the worst thing ever, just a minor annoyance; I otherwise love this pen.

Finished off with the super fun paint stick.

Finally, it was time to come back to the paint stick.  It feels difficult to describe how much fun I had using it.  The coverage was less forgiving than I hoped (there's basically one line width and one shade) but the way it felt to draw with this thing was marvelous.  It's very much like coloring with a child's wax crayon but...better.  Like riding a swing compared to riding a roller coaster, same basic thrill, the latter enhanced to satisfy a more experienced customer.  In less metaphoric terms, the paint laid down very smoothly, producing a texture uncannily like a wax crayon but without the resistance one typically finds when pulling such a crayon across the page (especially those super cheapo crayons!).  I was also able to cover a surprisingly large area considering how little stick I used.  I am very interested in procuring more of these paint sticks because I think they'd produce an even better result if used exclusively with each other, particularly for an impressionist-style piece.

The finished piece outdoors with its model.  T'was a beautiful day!

And there we have the November ArtSnacks box and the piece I created with it! Even though my Challenge is already done, the items I got this month were so fun and different that I still feel like creating with them (in fact I already have, at the Kikai meeting I mentioned earlier). Did you get the November ArtSnacks box and, if so, what did you think of the contents? Did you do a Challenge piece? Did you get different colors or styles than me? If you didn't get these ArtSnacks, is there anything further you'd like to know about them?