Welcome to a new year, one which I hope is much better than the last. I’ve been away on a bit of a break, regrouping for this upcoming year, experimenting with new ideas and reevaluating some current practices. As of the 21st of January, I can say I’ve officially been keeping this blog going for five years now, which I would say is a considerable milestone since it takes a good amount of focus and effort to keep something going for that long or longer. So I’m happy to say “Yay, Happy Blogversary” to me. But with that milestone I’ve also come to the difficult decision to bring this blog to an end. I have to say it’s been fun sharing my artistic journey and meeting new people along the way but honestly, I’ve been feeling stretched pretty thin over the last year with trying to keep content flowing for this blog, as well as all my social media accounts and my newsletter, then also trying to find time to create art, make journals, keep my online art store updated with new work as well as still take care of my offline life. So I gave all of this some serious thought during my break and decided that something had to go and it turned out to be this blog. I figure the time and energy I’ve been putting into blogging could be transferred into the newsletter I’ve been writing for three years now, which honestly I find more enjoyable in writing since I have no algorithms to be concerned about, I’m not as constrained by the format of the platform and it feels more personal. I hope that those of you who have been with me all this time can understand, especially for those who regularly chit chat with me on my posts. This will be the last and final post that I will make for Carve & Draw. I will leave up for a while for those who want to look through some of my older posts to see my progression of work. But if you still want follow my work please take the time to sign up for my newsletter at the link above. I send out this newsletter 1-2x a month with updates on my latest art work, my works in progress, experiments, current sales, discounts and this year I’m adding in content that will only be available to those who have sign up. Signing up is free, you can unsubscribe at any time and I don’t spam or give out your email address. And you can even email me directly if you have something on your mind. Other than that I want to say thank you for sticking with me through these years. I’ve enjoyed and learned a number of things in the conversations in the comment section. I’ve really appreciated the interest that many of you have shown for my work and it’s been nice meeting new people who enjoy drawing as much as I do. I hope that we can continue our conversations over in my newsletter. Looking forward to seeing you there. Sincerely, Q. 🙂
The holidays aren’t over yet. We have one more festive day to celebrate before we start a new and hopefully a much better year but in the meantime I hope everyone had a pleasant as possible Christmas. This year, to my surprise, Santa brought me a new technical pen for Christmas. When I got it I was excited yet a bit hesitant. You see, I have a history with technical pens and it’s not good. My first experience with these finicky things came by way of a set of Koh-I-Noor pens. Initially they were great for creating amazing stipple drawings. I loved how I could get more uniformed dots and I liked how the ink had a bit of a glossy finish when it dried. Besides being my first set of technical pens, Koh-I-Noor holds a special place in my heart for being the pens I used to create one of my most memorable drawings, “Kneeling Man” (shown below), which was based off of the cover of Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth.
Outside of that the set was a nightmare when it came to maintenance and cleaning. If you didn’t use them frequently and keep them clean, the ink would harden, making them difficult to use and clean. This was something I wasn’t particularly good at keeping up with. Within two years my pens were pretty much unusable due to unuse and my lack of maintenance skills. After that experience a decade passed before I ventured out into the world of technical pens again and tried the Rotring Rapidiograph. This pen was different from the Koh-I-Noor in that instead of having a reservoir for ink that needed to be filled manually with a billion parts to clean, it had a small cartridge of ink that you simply inserted into the barrel, shake it a few times and voila, you’re ready to start drawing. This was great. Less mess and parts to clean when refilling ink. And for a while I loved my Rapidiograph but the wonderfulness didn’t last long. Instead of having issues with maintenance and cleaning, I had issues with ink flow and the needle in the nib. I ended up having to buy another Rapidiograph only to have the same problem and mind you, these aren’t cheap pens. Depending on where you get them from and what size you get, you’re looking at spending $25-$35 per pen. So if you’re not fortunate enough to be one of those artists who is raking in the dough from their work, having to fork out $30 every time a pen malfunctions for some odd or unknown reason becomes frustrating and costly.
After spending $75 total on two Rotring Radiographs then turned out to be faulty, I said to hell with it and started searching for drawing tools more feasible to my bank account. That’s when I discovered Pigma Microns and have been using them ever since. For $13 I can get six pens in a set (that’s about $2 per pen). They have felt tips and are filled with archival pigmented ink. I have no worries about leaking ink, malfunctioning nibs or inconsistent ink flow. Over time though the felt nib wears down and the pen eventually runs out requiring the need for a new one but at $2 per pop it doesn’t feel no where near the expense as the more fancy technical pens out there. But because of that you do get this sense of feeling less professional especially when you see more of the big named ink slingers using pens like Rotring while noticing that the so called amateurs and “kiddies” are using Microns. Funny how perception can effect how you feel about your own work which is why you need to be careful as to how much attention you give to what other artists are doing. So here I am once again trying out a Rotring. This time it’s a Isograph rather than a Rapidiograph. The difference is that the Isograph uses a reservoir instead of a cartridge which means I have a little bit of clean up to do when I have the refill it. And unlike the Microns, which I don’t have to worry about ink hardening or inconsistent flow from lack of use, I’m going have to be mindful of how I store this Isograph and make sure I use it frequently in order to avoid ink flow issues. In order words, this damn pen in high maintenance. 😒 But hey, on the good side, I didn’t pay for it and so far, when drawing the ink is more richly black, maybe a little too black. Anyhoo, I will still be using my Microns along side my new Rotring. Maybe, as they say, “Third times a charm”, since this is my third time on this merry go round. Maybe this time I’ll become a believer or at the least, this Rotring will become a valuable asset to my arsenal of art supplies…or not. If this thing crashes and burns on me I’m not going to mourn the loss but simply toss it in the trash and no longer give any thought to these fancy technical pens.
Saturday night I got a bit ambitious and tackled kettle stitching. First off I have to mention that this feat probably would have never happened if I hadn’t of been blindsided by my sweet tooth and been hyped up on cake and oatmeal cookies. (We all have our weaknesses.) I had spent the day watching bookbinding videos on various stitching techniques and found myself interested in kettle stitching. To me it seemed the easiest to grasp of all the stitching techniques that I watched yet still rather challenging so I really didn’t have any real intentions on trying it. But late in the evening I was full of energy. Too much to sit down and stipple, which requires me to be in a less excitable mood. So I opted to make a blank journal using kettle stitching.
In this project I used two precut 5×7 mat boards, some cardstock, two images from an old wolf calendar I had (by the way, if you didn’t know, I love wolves), an elastic band and bookmark I cut from an old Mokeskine journal, waxed thread, a needle, a corner rounder (I think that’s what it’s called and 72 sheets of paper cut and folded to the appropriate size. I first made the case cover which is why I needed 72 sheets of paper. The sheets I grouped into six signatures (this is a group of folded sheets) of 12 sheets. Most examples I watched used signatures of four sheets, if I had of done that, I would still be stitching right now. After making the signatures I made the proper holes with an awl to prepare for threading. Now I won’t go into all the details on kettle stitching, it would be better to watch the video below that shows the technique I used if you’re curious to know the basics of how it’s done.
Once I got my text block ready I glued two end papers to the front and back of the block. And to keep from getting long winded, in a nutshell, I glued those end papers to the inside cover of the case I had already made and voila, I had a hot mess of a wolf journal on my hands.
You can’t see from the pictures but the first mistake I made was attempting to stitch such a large number of sheets for the first time. I blame the sugar for my lapse of good judgment. Second, I didn’t keep the thread tight as I was stitching which made the binding a bit loose and this led to a rather uneven cutting of the pages when I trimmed the excess. Initially I was disappointed with how it turned out but I had to remind myself that it was my first attempt and mistakes are a given. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself but some things just take time to learn so I’ll be tackling kettle stitching again. Anyways I’m not going to let some paper and thread defeat me. Overall it was fun and I look forward to mastering this technique. ☺
I didn’t think I would be able to do it but I got my idea of a mouse with mushrooms to fit onto an artist card. I started off working at a larger size but it didn’t seem to look right to me. I’m beginning to wonder, by me being so accustomed to working on such a small scale, I now have difficulty working at a larger size? It’s like my brain can’t fathom such a thing. Then again maybe working on a small scale is really just my natural disposition and I should just hone my strengths rather than worry about my perceived weaknesses. Unfortunately I often get the impression from the art world that there’s much more interest and focus on large works of art that can fit the span of a living room wall. Due to that, at times I feel this pressure within, to match what I see and strive to stretch myself and to do something on a much more grand scale. But in all honesty, I find something cozy and quaint about small works of art that suits me more than I like to admit. As an American, born and bred in a culture that likes to do everything BIG, it seems almost unAmerican to churn out these little works of art, especially when I have some people who ask, “Why don’t you do anything larger?” Anyhoo, so far this little scene fits nicely in the space provided and I’m excited to see how it’s going to turn, which is a good sign because if I’m not excited about my work it becomes so much harder to do.
Welcome to December, the busiest and biggest holiday month of the year and I’m already tuckered out from wrestling with Christmas decorations over the weekend. It’s not like me to get all wrapped up in the Christmas spirit but this year all the cheer that I can squeeze in is warranted to lift the mood of what has been a pretty difficult 9 months for all of us. I won’t bombard you with random photos but just know that my living room looks more like a 70’s disco than a Nativity scene. I’ve gone all festive with the lights and to my surprise my hubby doesn’t mind. I guess he’s also been needing a little cheering up. So we’ve both taken to spending our evenings in the dark watching the blinking lights and eating gingersnap cookies. (I’m too lazy to make gingerbread cookies.) It really doesn’t take much to put a smile on our faces. 🙂 In the meanwhile I’ve expanded my line of handmade illustrated pocket journals by adding “Magdala” to my growing collection. This makes three sets and three singles that I now have available for those who enjoy unique handmade stationary goods. I’ve also managed to get through my creative block to start fiddling around with an idea I’ve been mulling over this for a week now. There’s a little sketch of what I have in mind below. I still wanted to do something involving a mouse so I’ve worked that in and added some other little creatures. This piece will be a bit more involved since I’m working with more than just one or two elements. I’m also debating on whether to make this an ACEO drawing or make it a bit larger. I’m leaning towards larger but it would be interesting to see if I can make the idea work on a small scale. I’ll just have to get to work and let the drawing unfold as it will. Be sure to check back to see how things turn our. Or never miss out on my latest finished drawings and handmade items by getting updates straight to your inbox when you sign up for my store newsletter at: Art of Q. Rumbley Newsletter. Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy. 🙂