Tag Archives: materials

Artist Tip #16 – Why on earth did you buy that?

Have you ever stuffed your cart so full of art supplies, paid for them, lugged them 1000 clicks across an international border only to be strip searched for stolen erasers!

View to the left

OK, I did buy a few bags full of paper, pens and other artist sundries while visiting New York City in the Spring of 1994 and we did get stopped by the border patrol on our way back across into New Brunswick, Canada. We had to take everything out of the van and report all that we did, bought and drew upon. Sadly I’ve never returned to the United States since then. 14 years passes rapidly when one is consumed with Chron’s Disease, going into remission, getting married, then divorced, succumbing to addiction only to recover and have your boyfriend leave you. My god.

Whilst those 14 years of joy and agony were, I lugged around an accumulated arsenal of artist materials. I drug them from Fredericton to Saint John, Saint John to Fredericton and back again only to fly and mail them out to Vancouver for five years where I resided and began drawing solely with black and occasionally red ink. I swore off pencil all together thinking it an unnecessary time consuming evil that could be cut from the creative process all together. And I began painting extra large wall paintings to break the cycle of fear of going big.

I bought fat black pens, phat black pens, skinny black pens, no name brand black pens and ultra-fine-grip no slip tip permanent eat your heart out black pens. I bought them all. I tried them all until they ran dry. At one point I was averaging two to three pens per week. That is a lot of drawing and writing folks.

Why did I buy them?

How could you not buy something that makes you happy. How can you not buy a tool to help you find that means to an end. I found an answer while in Vancouver. I discovered two brands of pens that to this day are still my favorites; the Viscose based Pilot G-tec C4 pen and the Archival Micron Pen; each costing $5.

View to the right

For the next 14 years I plan to buy more black pens. In the near future I’m buying an Epson printer and then…

Why?

When you purchase a good quality artist supply it will not deteriorate over time with proper storage, use and care. If your art supplies are becoming goopy, yellowing or drying up perhaps you should invest in that $30 paint brush or that $45 sketchbook. This standard does not hold true for all supplies but I will tell you this, those bags of paper I bought in New York 14 years ago, today remain in the same condition as they were then.

Last Week’s Tip – The Truth Behind the Struggle

Next Week’s Tip – Did you mix enough of that color?

Picture credits – The two pics were captured from the windows of my studio; one to the left and one to the right

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Artist Tip #9 – Where to find the best art supplies – a top five list

Where to find the best art supplies – a top five list

  • 1. DickBlick – one of the largest retailers of art supplies online I am learning. I have yet to buy from them but will be soon as I can’t find what I need locally.
  • 2. Your local flea market – great for found art objects, oddities and even inspiration
  • 3. Michael’s– Yikes! I let the cat out of the bag…
  • 4. Loomis Art Store – OH HOW I MISS YOU! This is where I shopped when I lived in Vancouver.
  • 5. Trade amongst your artist friends – I did a pen trade though mail with Shane Vorhaben (Illustrator Extraordinaire!) We each mailed pens to each other we could not buy where we lived.
  • Next Week’s Tip – Why you should comment on art blogs

    Last week’s Tip

    add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

    Solvent based Markers are Dangerous to You and Your Artwork

    Who would have known that? I didn’t. DUH!

    Last night I was researching markers and pens as I am in the market to purchase a set. I wanted to buy this set from the art store where I work as I do get a nice discount. Sharpie Markers were out of the question as the fumes from them make me feel ill, not high or happy, sick.

    Last night I settled on buying a $119 set of 24 Prismacolor Double Ended Markers. I already loved their lightfast colored pencils so why not their markers. I was ecstatic!

    I went to work today and during lunch purchased that set of 24 Markers. I was so excited until I brought them home, opened the packaging and then one marker and almost puked. I have a head ache on the right side of my head from that damn Poppy Red Marker. Upon closer inspection of the solvent-based marker itself is a sticker reading Non-toxic. NON TOXIC my ASS! Tomorrow those 24 markers go back to where they belong, locked up in the expensive artist materials jail cabinet.

    I’ve re-settled on purchasing Le Plume Double Ended Markers. They are water based, rubber stampers love them, and they won’t kill me or my family members. I’ll continue using Micron, Faber Castell and check into Zig artist pens soon.

    1.Markers contain a reservoir of soluble ink that is wicked onto a drawing or writing surface through a felt or nylon tip. With the exception of archival markers, most markers are not lightfast, even if they are classified as permanent.

    I work hard folks to use the best artist materials I can afford. I choose artist and archival quality whenever possible. I want to be “DOING” art for a long long time and as such refuse to put my health or other people’s health in danger just for the sake of permanency. My face is so close to the paper when I’m drawing. How do you think I get that detail. I’m sorry, but I’ll not sport an activated carbon mask when drawing. I didn’t like Xylene (found in most white board markers, bingo dabbers, rubber cement, sharpies etc) in Art College and I don’t like it now. Trusting brand alone is not enough today when searching for artist materials.

    And worst of all… after some searching I came across this 2.snippet,

    Never use solvent based markers on a photocopy or directly on original artwork done with permanent ink! The marker will make the linework smear.

    Save yourself and your artwork. CHOOSE waterbased, unscented and acid free whenever possible. Or in the least, go outside to draw or paint. I don’t have that option as we are expecting our 9th or 10th snowstorm tonight.

    1. From Blick Art Materials
    2. From page 172 of the book, Drawing Shortcuts: Developing Quick Drawing Skills Using Today’s Technology, By Jim Leggitt

    UPDATE Found a great artsist safety site aptly named Artsafety.org