15 November 2015

Cheap Watercolor for Painting and Hand Lettering

Apparently, in the world of art there is such thing as cheap and expensive. But technically they are called student grade and artist grade. I've spent a few days justifying that this very affordable 36-color watercolor cake set can make good art.

Like most artists do, I did a sampling of this watercolor cake. The packaging says "Flamingo" and is made in China.  It seems to me that the paints are WYSIWYG. The colors show on the paper as they do on the palettes and are very chalky probably due to having more filler than that of higher quality paints.

Handlettering and Painting
I did some hand lettering practice with the brush. Erasing the pencil lines needed much care since the dried watercolors smudged so easily. I've digitized the artwork and created a postcard out of my older travel photos from 2012. I couldn't pick a better photo than that of the tropical beach. Then I tried reproducing one of my instagram photos of the Burj Khalifa. This watercolor cake seemed to fail at blending and layering. The colors did not mix very well on the paper.

Nonetheless this watercolor set is good enough for art journaling and practice. Even simple for simple illustrations I would still use it especially if the original artwork will be digitized so there is no worry about lightfastness. At less than PHP200 or USD5 you can't go wrong with it.

07 November 2015

"Hello World" of Modern Calligraphy

When you code, most begin with the phrase "hello world" to print on the screen. For the purpose of simplifying my blog post, I opted to write the simple word "hello" to demonstrate how different tools can be used for fancy handwriting. I am not an expert of calligraphy nor hand lettering but my discovery of such art has led me to experiment with various tools that most modern calligraphers use today. Where I am at it is a bit challenging to find resources for the art but after hard work and research, I have compromised with several tools that are very much alike to other more famous brands being advertised. I hope you enjoy this post!

The Tools

Below is a list of tools used for this post. I have skipped the inks for now.
  • card stock paper
  • paint brush size 0
  • dipping pen
  • watercolor cake set
  • white and silver gouache paints in tubes
  • pigment ink drawing pen size 0.8
  • felt-tip brush pen
  • Japanese brush pen

Drawing pen with pigment ink
Your ordinary Sakura or Artline pigment ink drawing pen will do wonders. If you love to sketch, this pen is useful for hand lettering as well.

Felt-tip brush pen
Your ordinary felt-tip brush pens that are used for manga drawing can be used. However, not all tips are designed to be flexible enough for calligraphy works so it can damage the tip. This one in particular is an Edding brush pen that is just a little over a PHP100 for a set of 10.

Japanese brush pen
I have used a SAI Akishiya brush pen from Japan. It has real brush bristles so it mimics the behaviour of watercolor and brush but gives you more pigment control. This is very similar to the Kuretake Zig real brush pens.

Watercolor and brush
If you paint then there is no need to purchase additional tools to start practicing modern calligraphy. A tiny brush and any kind of watercolor paint will do. In this case, I have used a liner brush since I already have one at my disposal and a chalky watercolor cake that looks strikingly similar to the Simbalion watercolor cake but surprisingly cheaper.

Watercolor and dipping pen
In a happy accident, I found a nameless dipping pen sold at one of the book stores here. The nib is not replaceable. Nonetheless, it is able to serve its purpose.

Gouache and brush 
Gouache is an opaque water-soluble paint which means it can be hydrated after it is dried. Technically, it is different from opaque watercolors. In this case, I have used silver gouache from Pebeo.

Gouache and dipping pen
Just like watercolor, gouache can be be diluted enough to be used with a dipping pen. White gouache is a good alternative if white calligraphy inks are not available to you. Daler-Rowney zinc white was used in this case.

Here's a peak into my calligraphy diary which I have organized from my gazillion practice sheets. There are so many stuff in it that I would like to talk about but I am still very traditional when it comes to blogging and taking photographs so it takes time. I code a lot and process photos from RAW format. But these are the pains we take for doing what we love.