Cafe style coffee is delivered to the studio every day by Gabriel of Kiss Cafe. He is usually met with gasping relieved sounds of creative types waiting for their espresso coffee fix. Donald’s is double strength in half a cup of water! It tastes perfect, smells wonderful and looks good too.
Donald is a regular student to the studio and his beautiful pen and wash drawings continue to improve and charm us all. Most of his work is done with a black waterproof ink pen with a wash of vibrant colour from a palette of Derwent Inktense blocks….. and the recently discovered perfect background colour – coffee!
Drink the coffee until there is about one cm (half an inch) in the bottom of the cup.
Lay down a wash of clear water to dampen the page where you want to the colour to go. (watercolour paper works best)
Dry the brush off slightly on a sponge and then load with coffee. (This time it’s not an accidental dipping in the wrong liquid)
Wash the golden brown into the damp areas creating a gentle wet in wet background.
Let the piece dry naturally.
Don’t use coffee with milk. It’s not the correct colour, isn’t gloriously translucent and the milk will probably turn sour before you can brew your next cup.
In a pinch you can make up some black coffee with instant coffee and boiling water but it doesn’t quite have the same style.
You don’t need a dedicated studio or a large amount of time to get back to (or continue) with your creative pursuits.
Dedicated studio = a place where you can leave things set up; where you don’t have to pack things away; where you can step back in and carry on where you left off. What a great luxury that not many of us have. I’ve got a great excuse to have a studio for myself – I have over a hundred students coming through my large teaching art studio every week so I’ve kept a corner for myself. Perfect.
So, how do you keep the creative spark going? The first thing you need is the attitude that art can happen anywhere and anytime and drawing is the perfect vehicle for that. An A5 visual diary and a pen is all you need to start. It can be a simple ball point pen, a special waterproof ink pen or anything in between. It doesn’t even matter what colour it is.
A pen works instead of a pencil (although that’s also fine) because you don’t have to sharpen it (and carry a sharpener or knife), it won’t break or mess up a bag . You won’t get your hands covered in graphite as you draw and you won’t have to worry about erasing! Believe me, all of that frees you up.
You can draw for one minute or many.
Just draw something you see or doodle as your mood takes you.
Don’t wait for a spare half an hour or a beautiful subject.
Draw something small.
Draw a part of something.
Draw leaf litter, a half eaten apple or dirty dishes before you wash them.
Don’t be perfect.
Don’t wait for inspiration.
If it’s not working then work over it or turn the page and draw something else.
It actually doesn’t matter what the end result looks like. It matters that you are involved, observing and following where the line takes you.
A long standing student returned to class this term after having spent last term welcoming and enjoying her new grandchild. I had introduced the concept of zentangles a couple of terms ago and she decided it what something she wanted to explore. What a great relaxing doodling technique? Although it’s nothing new – take a look at some of Escher’s work. But I digress…
Frances proudly showed off some small cards with beautiful and precise patterns and designs.
She named each little picture and the photo to the right shows what she wrote on one card. As she made ‘errors’ with her mark making according to the instructions she realised that she didn’t have to follow them if her work wasn’t going that way. “Who says I have to?”
So, indeed! Who says you have to? Who says you can’t? Who says you can’t mix one media with another? Who says your can’t follow your own patterns? Who says you can’t colour outside the lines? Who says you can’t draw?