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My pencil sketch set Experience

So I bought a Conte a Paris crayon set from Amazon, and it wasn’t even terribly expensive as art supplies go. 

This all came about… well, I’ll let my (expanded) tweets tell the story: 


So the past few days I’ve spent spare time staring at watercolor sets and videos, even though I’m not yet learned enough to use the media. 

I realized just now this is, tho I love pen & ink, I ache for color in my paper sketchbook. I’m not always up to computer work anymore.

My artist friend @shwetanarayan, also my informal tutor, is helping me figure out a limited color set media that I could use in my non-mixed-media Strathmore, which has an appropriately toothy grain but lacks the weight to deal with watercolors. 

Also I never thought in forever that I would ever say, “there are times I can’t deal with the computer.” Computer work (in particular, coding for long stretches of the day) was my life for so long.

Still, when it comes to art and board games, there is part of me that wants natural media and physical objects. Not so for text though; still an ebook and audiobook fan. (Hey, did you know that Ahsoka is available in all formats now?) 

So we got a Conte 18 crayon set. They’re actually a waxy pastel, so won’t smudge as much, tho all pastels are messy.

I asked my artist friend if I needed to get a blending stumps set, but they say, nah, paper towels are more flexible. So we’re set for now.


So now I have my suitable pencil sketch set—as I’m mainly using them to create under drawings for pen and ink sketches, I need maybe a 2B and HB, though it was nice to try the others. This would also, I think, be suitable for fully pencil sketches if I ever feel in the mood. Eventually I’ll buy a good pack of 2B and HB Staedtler pencils—they feel very nice and yet are pretty cheap while being high-quality. One of the 2B 10 packs will last quite a long time. 

I have one of those pretty neat triangular Scholar erasers that erase pencil lines pretty cleanly. One of these days I’ll figure out the kneaded eraser, but it’s mainly for lightening pencil sketch areas in any case. 

I’m very happy thus far with my Pitt Pens pack, and thus far I don’t use the calligraphy nib, but that’s about the only pen I don’t use. All the others have been useful for varying line width and achieving certain hatching and stippling effects. The brush pens (a normal brush and a soft brush) I’m still experimenting with. 

I’ll have to figure out how to deal with the crayons. They can’t just sit loose in my cardboard box, so I’ll need to figure out a plastic container for them. Conte crayons apparently work best when broken into pieces of appropriate lengths, so length is not so much of an issue. 

Oh, and yes, a place to store folded paper towels. 

In the meanwhile, I’ve found out why a sketchbook is a battleground, no artist is ever too experienced to do regular art exercises, and why most of a sketchbook should be private. Still, I thought I’d show y’all part of a crumpled paper rendering exercise: 


It’s incomplete, but still turned out to be quite fascinating to do. I wanted to do a sea shell, but the crumpled paper turned out to be just as, and perhaps even more, intricate and wonderful to explore. I know rendering itty bitty crooks and crannies and details isn’t to a lot of artists’ fancies, and indeed, may be an indicator that I’m unimaginative—I mean, surely an artist who’s above details and doesn’t need to render them is a better artist after all? 

I’m having severe doubts about that, though. I think that having details appropriate to what you need is the key, but that in general having details at all brings out a bit of soul. Too much, admittedly, and you lose the focus of the piece. 

Ah well. I think I’m doing fairly well for several months into drawing at all. 

Anyways, crumpled paper ball: the model you can make on your own and light any way you like for the cheap. Nice exercise.

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