Friday, July 08, 2011

Do you change and experiment with your art tools often?

Every now and then I realise how long I have stuck to the same tools, most artists seem to stick to the same tools judging by their pictures or maybe they just strive for the same results with whatever they use. You get comfortable and stop thinking about how you could expand. The thing that encourages me to change is I think you often surprise yourself with what you can do when you try new tools and it feels great getting to know new tools with that confidence.

I used to love charcoal and graphite but it's difficult to get extreme precision with them. I used to be all about ink wash but I havent bothered with them for so long because I now have the patience to use bic pens to do the lighting that I used washes for, washes were often used as a lazy shortcut.

Right now I'm just a bic pen, watercolour, acrylic and gouache guy. I hate buying new tools only to find I cant use them very well, trying them out in the shop isnt a good test, you really need to create a picture before you know if you can work with them. I once used wax crayons and they were so much fun, but you have to wash your hands forever to get the colour out your skin after fingerpainting and smudging with them. I've been advised to do etching but I'm a bit reluctant to go into that whole process when pens are simpler. Although I hate making mistakes I like learning the discipline of making no mistakes and accepting consequences of a stupid mistake, instead of switching to tools that can erase any mistake.


limpey said...

I'm often surprised at how much I enjoy drawing with something that I would assume is not really intended for drawing with --- like cheap-o pens, etc, on the back of an envelope. Helps remind me of why I started all this in the first place. Sometimes I think I would be better off if I had just stuck with what worked for me when I was a kid --- white office paper or a roll of plain paper (so I could do really long drawings) and #2 pencils, colored pencils or magic markers.
For some drawings (like the ones I am doing for someone else) I don't really experiment that much --- nib pen, brush & india ink plus a finer pen and/or rapidiograph is usual.

Marcel Ruijters said...

Indeed. Cheap materials are often surprisingly satisfying.
I started drawing with fine brushes when I was ten. Some twenty years later, I was trying to be Charles Burns (in a way) and got a nasty case of RSI. Bye bye, fine but cruel brushes. Since then, I have been working with ordinary markers on glossy paper which allows you to scratch away mistakes, which made my style change into something that looks a bit like linocuts. Other than that, I am not a man of many changes. I can get really grumpy when favoured materials get discontinued.