Dracula, 7.5" x 10.125"
Yes, I've returned. Why the long absence? Well, there was a vacation trip and just dealing with personal things that cropped up.
There was also a basic assessment of my working methods. Right now I'm clearing up the basement that serves as my studio. Looking about, it's a case of accumulating way too much over the years and therefore deciding how it must be disposed of. I look at a lot pictures that people post of their studios and while it's fun to see desks full of creativity and art supplies, I've had to come to the conclusion that this isn't what's best for me. In fact, for me, it's a terrible idea.
To create drawings and paintings, the setup as well as materials have to be as simple as possible. Pencils, eraser, a couple of dip pens, waterproof ink, 3 or 4 brushes, a folding plastic palette loaded with 15 Cotman watercolors (plus chinese white gouache), paper and I'm good to go. I work standing at a handmade table, with a homemade drawing board. That's it.
I've also made a change in the paper. I've always been one to question why one needs to do something the way everyone else does. For instance, everyone always insists that 100% rag is the way to go. I have to say it's great stuff. It's wonderful. In fact, I still have a lot of 1/4 and 1/8 sheets of it. But you know what? It's not the only paper out there. There is also bristol board. That is a fun surface to paint on. There is also...index card stock.
Index card stock? No true professional uses card stock! Well, I use card stock and, having been an illustrator for over two decades plus, I have earned the true professional part. I used to look down at card stock until I was shown some watercolor paintings created on it. Once again, the old "it's the artist, not the tools" axiom reared it's head. Properly chastised, I decided to try it myself.
I enjoyed it. The colors went on the paper as I mixed them and I was able to do the effects I like (blooms, lifts, etc.). There is also the added benefit of being able to create without feeling that one is ruining a precious sheet of paper. Ah, freedom. And, as always, it's just a matter of learning to work with the paper.
The only change I needed to make was to stretch the paper after I drew in pen and ink and before I applied the watercolors. Otherwise, I was happy with the results. The Dracula illustration was on card stock.
I'll still use 100% rag along with the bristol paper, but I think once I've gone through my supply of both I may just call it a day and stick with card stock.
I look forward to any comments.