Category: Drawing

birch trees ink drawing

Birches

birch tree ink sketch
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Birches (9-12-14). Ink in 7×10 inch Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series sketchbook.

I left the sketchbooks in the freezer for 5 days and there are no signs of the spider mites, except for a few spots on some of the pages indicating that the bugs that were alive are now dead. I’m glad to have my books back. Also, my strategy of using the rubbing alcohol to wipe down my desk has worked. I am now looking out for an artificial plant as I’m not going to risk bringing in a live one after this experience.

Here are some things that I came across recently that I liked:

fall leaves ink watercolor

Leaves on Blue

I have spent quite a bit of time working on this picture over the course of the past few weeks. I was intending to post in progress photos as I went along but then things started to go awry and I decided to wait until the end to see how things turned out! At the bottom of this post, I wrote about my process.

fall leaves ink watercolor
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue. Ink and watercolor, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue (WIP 4). Pen and ink, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue (WIP 4). Pen and ink, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue (WIP 3). Pen and ink, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue (WIP 3). Pen and ink, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue (WIP 2). Pen and ink, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue (WIP 2). Pen and ink, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.
pen and ink leaves
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Leaves on Blue (WIP 1). Pen and ink, 7.5 x 10.5 inches.

First I looked up general leaf shapes and sketched similar shapes on watercolor paper. I made up the pen and ink parts myself. I painted the leaves first, thinking that I could paint the background around them, but then realized that it wouldn’t work so I would have to use masking fluid.

In retrospect, I should have just gone right in with the masking fluid from the beginning because when I removed it, the color was lifted. Additionally, I must have left some gaps because the blue seeped through in parts. I had to repaint the leaves and also try to camouflage the blue. Luckily, I already had incorporated holes into the design of some of the leaves which made it easier in some places.

Regardless of all the mishaps I like the finished painting. I have never painted such a dark and intense background before. Also, it was kind of refreshing to paint from my imagination without copying so directly from photos. This was also my first time using masking fluid for anything significant. It is definitely something I would be willing to try again. The background didn’t come out as dark as in reality in my scan and I tried to darken it, but now the browns are a bit darker than they are in the picture. In real life, it “pops” a lot more.

tree trunk

Special Tree (5-3-14)

tree trunk
©2014 Carolyn A Pappas, Special Tree (5-3-14). Ink in 7×10 inch Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series sketchbook.

Part way through drawing this I realized that I was using quite a “vice grip” on my pen. Afterwards, I made a conscious effort to hold my pen more gently and I could see how this made a difference in my line quality. I will be thinking more about my posture and grip when making my next drawing.

I really love the Epsilon Series paper in the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks for pen and ink. The pen glides over the paper with no resistance. Unlike other papers, the ink dries quickly and doesn’t sit on top of the paper increasing the potential for smudges. I wish this company sold this paper in tear out pads though. They do carry it in 22″ x 30″ loose sheets, but I don’t have a good way to store paper this size.