The more I looked at yesterday’s squirrel, the less I liked it. It is misshapen and the colors look flat and childish. Another third grade attempt.
You can buy a fully bound sketchbook. Many of these bound books are beautiful and have high quality paper. When you are done with the book, you buy a new one. I will need to be much better than I am to buy an expensive sketchbook.
The alternative is to buy a cover that uses individual elastic bands to contain anywhere from three to five “mini” sketchbooks. Some covers have internal elastic bands inserted or you can buy your own. In either case, you can then do what I did, which is buy a big package of small pads.
Make sure the cover and the books are the same size. As you use up books, you can add new ones. These packages of “mini” books don’t contain the best art paper, but I figured i was going to use a lot of paper while I was learning, so I went with cheap — at least for now.
I hadn’t opened any of my higher quality sketch pads until today. But, it seems you can’t do an acceptable water color without using heavier paper. You can’t even run color tests because thin paper absorbs the paint and the colors don’t look right.
Total squirrel frustration overwhelmed me. I decided to move on and give watercolors a chance. I also decided to try a simpler image. I know I’m supposed to go out and do this from “life,” but is about 5 degrees Fahrenheit (well below zero in Celsius) — and it is sleeting. Not going out there. I went out and fed the hungry birds, but that was it. What a miserable day!
My new motto? You can’t have too many erasers.
Clearly squirrels are not going to be my artistic forte, so I went looking for a good picture of a goldfinch. This one popped up and it was a good choice. Simple lines, no complicated background, no hands or feet to fight with. Simple seemed like a good choice.
This is a baby goldfinch, probably on his first flight from his nest. I thought he was adorable. First I tried some color tests. In the process, I realized I really don’t like those nylon “water brushes.” They are supposed to be easier to use than regular sable brushes, but they aren’t easier for me. Luckily, I have a set of good sable brushes. As soon as I picked them up, I felt like I’d come home. It didn’t improve my talent, but it felt comfortable and familiar.
For a first try (and I even used watercolor paper!) it’s at least recognizable. I was not sure how to get the snow to look like snow. In the photograph, it’s just a solid white without any shadows. At least I managed to get that little birdie to have something like a shape. The background looks pretty much like the background looks. It’s all bokeh — soft color with no definition.
I think I can say now, for the record? I don’t think I missed my calling as a talented graphic artist. I think I chose the right profession and this is, as I said from the beginning, a “minor” talent.