Category Archives: Reviews

The Harvest Moon with Line Art video

It’s that time of the year. Where the moon is going to be extra big. As a Vietnamese kid, I often remember this time as being lit up with candles and being given these lanterns, that we never go out to light up anyway… except once! when I barely remembered. Back then we had cooler looking lanterns shaped in different sizes. And then adults didn’t feel like getting us those anymore, they just got us the simple accordion ones. Oh well, I didn’t need them anyway! I grew up fine without them….! hahahaha

Normally, the holiday itself is different for Vietnamese in that its a little bit more focused on children. For Chinese, its a little bit more romantic for couples.

But honestly, one of my favorite things about the holiday is eating lotus moon cakes… and they only come out during this time of year…. D: Some people might think they are very dense cakes, but they’re best served with some neutral tasting teas. The innards come in a variety of flavors, but I’m much more partial to the sweet bean paste flavors like lotus bean, mung bean, and red beans.

During July, I visited the booth ShinHan Art Supplies was stationed at during Comic Con, and I came back with two new pens. I all ready had an 0.3 pen, but now I own an 0.1 and a Brush pen in addition.

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Rough pencil sketch

My collection keeps on growing. The Touch Liners do come in a variety of other sizes ranging from: 0.05, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5 and 0.8mm and in a pack set of 5 or 7 liner nibs.

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It’s quick to dry, works like Copic liners, water resistant, smear proof, and archival ink as well as other nifty things. The pen, like other products, was made in Japan, but created in Korea. The ink also retains well against markers like the Touch and Copic inks.

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Near the end of the drawing, I outlined the things I wanted to pop out the most with the brush pen. This is one of the nicer liner tip brush pens I have used. It’s flexible, but not overly so, and creates a “cleaner” brush affect than say my old Sakura liners. They’re really comparable to the Copics just because I always get an 0.3 since its the ideal size for any quick line drawing. I think the one thing I’d like to see next is also having a refillable version of the Touch Liners too just because I’m all for sustainable products these days.

Honestly, I’m not even endorsed by them to do any of these reviews; I just like the company owners, who are really personable and friendly, and the products they make are really awesome and affordable compared to a lot of the leading products out there.

As always, if there are any questions or advice concerning the reviewed products, what you wish I talked about more, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Please stay tuned for a video on coloring this piece with ShinHan Markers, along with another review based on their markers.

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Filed under Pens and Ink, Reviews

Shinhan Premium Watercolors test

Hello!

Finally got around to testing out the tubes of Shinhan premium water color.

A little bit about Shinhan water colors:

ShinHan Water Colors exhibit strong transparency and brilliance. The uniform spread of our water colors leaves no hard lines at the edges of washes. Designed with accurate formulas, ShinHan Water Colors have excellent intermixing and overlapping properties that allow artists to work with a wide range of techniques.

ShinHanArt provides three major Water Color lines ­ PWC, Extra Fine Artists Water Color, Artists’ Water Color and SHAMI Water Color.

PWC, Extra Fine Artists Water Color
PWC, Extra Fine Artists Water Color is crafted with the highest quality pigments and the finest high-grade gum Arabic. To enhance
the clarity and depth of color, single-pigments have been used whenever possible and the usage of mixed pigments has been limited.
Using single-pigments, water colors are less prone to fading and the consistency of colors are improved. PWC offers exceptional clarity and transparency that artists desire, along with superior lightfastness to resist fading. PWC is ideal for spread techniques and color overlapping, bringing out the best in water color paper. The color palette offers a total of 84 colors that are transparent and subtle, yet intense and
vibrant, allowing for an even greater freedom of expression.

  • 84 very pure and exuberant colors
  • Carefully selected, fine pigments
  • High-grade gum Arabic vehicle
  • Highest degree of lightfastness
  • Maximum degree of transparency
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15 mL tubes

They’re a Korean based company, and they’re specialty is color luminosity, and quality paint products. They also have a line of markers called Touch markers, which is pretty much similar to Copic — I will be doing a review of this later also.

Here’s a test page. So basically, I was testing to see the luminosity and opacity/transparency. The paper I used is Arches Natural White, Cold Press, 140lb. Overall, I’ve found them to be quite transparent able to retain good luminosity on the white of the paper. The only other test is time, which is lightfastness, but that’s really something I’m going to put off doing. But as I visited their booth at Comic Con, I met Mrs. Han, who showed me a demo of the markers, a picture from a couple of years ago – maybe 5 years? She’ll have to correct me on that… I can’t remember! 😛 — well, least to say, the colors in the markers remained the same. I think its safe to assume their watercolors, being professional quality is exactly the same.

Shinhan watercolor test page

So the top ones are the Shinhan paints. I really can’t do a color comparison it feels like, because sometimes there are so many pigment names and color variations, each company names them differently; there’s no one unified name. And sometimes one red can be totally different from another red. It really comes down to what pigments each company uses. But I picked colors to compare that best matched as much as possible. On the left side, I tested what they looked like charged together, and then when you add alcohol to it.

I think these are pretty bright paints. I can definitely see that my Reeves Pthalo Blue is the most opaque, because it shows up on top of the black line. But the rest of the other paints are rather transparent over the black line (which is India Ink). And then the Van Gogh Permanent Blue Violet is the next most opaque. This one matched with the Shinhan Permanent Violet, is a lot more blue-ish in hue. Although all the Shinhan paints were really hard to scrub out of the paper after applying a lot of water, it could just be that most of the time, cool pigments tend to stick much more. So these pigments are quite permanent, as in the paints didn’t wash off so easily; the blue was the least difficult to lift off. And the not sure because of the brand, Reeves, but the Pthalo Blue lifted off really easily. So, but this brand is normally really easy to lift off… I like it for when I’m starting out a painting and can apply colors on top gradually. (As you are painting in watercolor, the opposite method of painting versus oil applies — you paint from lights to darks. But with oil colors, you paint from darks to lights.) I know the manganese Blue by Windsor isn’t as dark as Peacock Blue, but they were similar in hue so I just put it next.

I did this chart back in 2009 and probably need to update it again, as I have much more paint colors now and want to swap out for my better quality stuff. But normally, this is similar to what I did up there. I just wasn’t as thorough — I didn’t test how each of the other paints would react when mixed together — but that is for another free weekend.

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I also tested them alongside colors that I all ready own. So the best watercolor brands I had before this, currently is Windsor and Van Gogh. I started off with Reeves and Grumbacher – these were hand-me-downs from my sister’s bestie, so she was a designer, but she didn’t need them anymore. So lucky me, I got to inherit them along with some other nifty art supplies. But they didn’t really give me particularly rich colors, I started off with using them in the class room. And have since added more to my collection, so I’m happy I got these Shinhan pwc’s to add to it also. 🙂

Here is a video demo of me painting with the three colors:

Finished painting:

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I made the mistake of adding too much alcohol and that made me unable to lift off anymore of the watercolors… so I had to add white back in with white paint. I did extra touch ups with the white paint after the video as well.

I think overall, I’m very impressed with the colors, really nice and really saturated. I hope they’re products get a little more attention. If you’re trying to find a retailer for the paints, DickBlick’s online store and Jerry’s Artarama online store also sells it. As for finding the retail location, you may have to get in touch with Steven Berman at steven.berman@shinhanart.com and I think he’ll give you more info.

Hope this review was helpful! I hope I’m not missing anything else that people might be curious about, if so, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Thanks for reading. :>

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Filed under Reviews, Watercolor

My Experience with Art College

I’ve been trying to write a post about this subject for a while now because its always on my mind, and I think that there’s been a lot of media coverage about the difficulties of attending college nowadays. It is so very costly, and I attest this is true since I went through it. I had written a couple of other drafts before this broaching the subject, and hopefully, this one will be much more succinct. I’m writing this because I had in mind to be helpful, and hopefully, I’ll have somehow helped an aspiring art student to also become aware of the situation. We can’t all be dreamy anymore and choose to go to our #1 school choice, but keep in mind that feeling inspired to pursue life purpose versus finding a job that pays, almost always, life purpose goals are much better even if the way is difficult. I firmly believe though, that sometimes we can have different pathways to get to the place we want in life. So if you have to take a job that you hate to pay and fund your way to your life goal, you should probably do it. That’s my belief anyway.

I suppose you can say this is a follow up on the AAU vs. Art Center post I wrote up when I first started college. Well, now that I’ve graduated, here’s some of my thoughts.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering over the fact that, what would happen if I had not gone to art school? I was informed by many teachers, counselors, and adults in high school that college is an important thing to go through because you don’t want to end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Well, the fact of the matter is, most of us nowadays are stuck doing that anyway because we can’t get the job we graduated college for to begin with. I haven’t worked at a fast food chain, but working any sort of sales or retail is sort of a sad means. They pay you “minimum wage” but to be honest, minimum wage is not on-par with today’s high cost of living: rising cost of gas, food, and housing. I could go into economics and how bad the current economy is, but I think that’s a different topic altogether that I don’t really want to get into. I am trying to narrow the subject down.

So essentially, I have been puzzled since graduating about whether or not my choice in school was beneficial for me. It’s really a hit and miss, but quite frankly, with all the online schools popping up left and right, it’s left me in a state of envy. I wish all this was available in 2007 when I started. But I had no idea what I was doing. I had the belief that college was the answer to everything for my future. But if I could go back in time and teach myself the right way, I should have gone to a community college to learn important basic academic fundamentals. And then obtain an AA or something, by then, Conceptart.org probably would have set up a school that was by far cheaper than what I was paying for at the Academy. I remember this, and I had calculated the numbers. The only drawback is, would I be as good I am in my technical skills? I have problems with online teaching. My style of learning has always been to be immersed and to see (well, maybe that’s why I’m an artist!).

One thing that art school did do for me, was surround me with different minds — and these other minds helped me to open myself up more to different perspectives. I am much wiser than I was before. One of the things that kept me back was family and parents telling me what I should do. They probably didn’t know very much either as they only told me what other people seemed to have told them. One ability that I wished I could have built up earlier was people skills, and the ability to sell myself. This is most certainly NOT taught in schools. This is a life/street skill. And you need this if you want to become a professional. But going back to being surrounded by other people, I feel like this experience could just happen if I had gone out into the world and traveled to new areas like I initially wanted to. It was always a money issue for me, but quite frankly, when you graduate high school, you have no debts yet, and you can earn money by working part-time jobs, save up, and then go places.

One thing that I really adored was having mentors and instructors. 80% of them opened up my eyes to new possibilities, and I feel like good instructors like that are hard to come by. It’s the institution, however, that is the real enemy as they are the ones who are controlling everything else but your ability to learn. One thing I’m going to gripe a bit about is that the career section in our school was rather dismal. I grew tired of seeking help, emailing the representatives, and never getting replies back. If the counselors had problems with large amounts of email, maybe its time they hired more people to help??? I always wondered about this. Because as much as it is important to have an outstanding portfolio, one needs to also be quite literate. It is a little bit ridiculous, since the school teaches you mainly how to be someone else’s employee, so maybe they should be having more writing workshops for resumes and cover letters? There was some workshops, but it really was just one person talking in a limited time frame. I would have liked to attend a more hands-on type of workshop with one-on-one help.

My experience with freelance art is that, I had no idea what I was doing at first because the terms and words confused me. Sure, it was gone over in my portfolio senior class, but not everything was discussed. There were certain scenerios that left me confused, and the actual help that I needed was not from school or my instructor, it was from public forums on LinkedIn and reading lots and lots of blogs from other artists.

Here is also my experience with online classes at AAU:
Don’t do it. It baffled me after returning to normal on-campus classes how much more information you got from being in-person than being online. Its much harder to also connect with your classmates, and I personally believe that college is actually half for making connections and for networking, and the other half is for learning. So why exactly am I paying for full class tuition prices when I only get 65% of what I get on site? The year and half that I spent onsite made me realize that though I gained good attendance and grades, my artwork isn’t nearly as amazing as some of my other peers and that really depressed me, how far behind I felt. It took a lot of sleepless nights to get my skills levels to somewhat satisfactory. And don’t get me started on about why I should have started looking for internships sooner! There are flyers in the student lobby also that no online student can see but the only the course materials they have. I wish I could have formed better connections with my teachers too. It’s much harder to get letters of recommendation if you are an online student unless you are very aggressive at emailing…
http://www.vogue.de/blogs/suzy-menkes/crisis-in-college#galerie/NaN

I would alse like to point out that the article above is a bit maddening simply because AAU’s online programs aren’t impressive (as explained above), so don’t believe that you are getting quality education if you are at least in the illustration department. I most certainly can’t vouch for other departments. But one thing to note is, if you’re perhaps an older adult who only wants the course material, than I suppose its perfectly viable to attend an online course since its convenient.

Note that this is only for online schooling for AAU. If you are considering on pursuing a career in either illustration or visual development, or concept art, I would consider going to the online schools, listed below that are fundamentally cheaper to attend and the mentors are real people. So you’re basically, skipping the administration process, and being taught directly from actual working professionals who are passionate about teaching.

List of online learning:

School of Visual Storytelling
http://conceptdesignacad.storenvy.com/

Feng Zhu or better known as FZD school – for all things concept art, especially environments. Freeeee! And you can even take the dive and go to Singapore to attend his live classes.

Sycra videos – Freeee!

CGMA Academy

CGCookie – They offer tutorials for a subscription price.

Schoolism

Stephen Silver – also, Stephen has mentioned if you you follow him on Facebook, there is a possibility of getting some grant funding for his tuition, which is pretty cool. His school course link: silverdrawingacademy.com/

Chris Oatley Academy

Noah Bradley Art Camp

And even trying to find a way to get your hands on Gnomon Videos would be good.

I wish I could have added TAD on here, but as it seems, there has been some bad politics and they’re no longer happening, which is a shame how much ConceptArt has fallen over the years… it was a place that inspired me so much when I was younger.

 

Anyways, this is more than enough to find your way to getting good educational materials. As an artist, what makes you is your amazing portfolio and brain smarts. Educate yourself and you will go far.

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Filed under Academy of Art University, Art, Artists, Concept Art, illustration, Random Talk, Reviews

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty Artbook

Artbook review time!

I don’t remember if I have ever made a post about the Starcraft 2 art book I had before, but now I am because I just beat the first expansion of the Starcraft 2 game series. Honestly, I did not appreciate it as much as I do now. I bought it because I found it on Ebay for a really good deal. And I always thought the artwork Blizzard produces has been some of my most inspirational and contemporary influences. I even have a very old Warcraft artbook from the first games, and you can see how much Blizzard has improved since.

There is a lot of irony in all this simply because back last November when I had gone to CTN Expo, I met a really cool artist there and he told me NOT to play games. Like, I’ve been told this countless of times, but actually, I didn’t listen. It’s not because I don’t value their opinions. I really didn’t plan to play. They told me that there are videos online that you could watch on youtube that has other people playing. However, sometimes, I get these urges that don’t go away till they are satisfied. I blame it on my genes because I think that my family may have addiction problems? And these are my addictions…? hahaha… I actually did stop playing a lot of games, and I only began to play again after graduating from college. I didn’t own any of the new game consoles, and I almost feel ridiculous saying this to a gamer as much as I hate telling bacon lovers or anyone that I hate bacon. (I know, I can hear the gasps from all around even through space.) Can’t really be called a gamer anymore if one stops playing??  There was one occasion a good friend of mine lent me his DS to play The World Ends With You, which is an all around fun and very interesting fun game to play! The mechanics on that is pretty neat not to mention good music. And I love good music!

But overall, I feel like I should start understanding games again, because I am too out-of-touch with the current games now. Like, what does a gamer actually look for when they play a game anyway? Maybe this is a bad thing that I think too much. I analyze too much. But actually, I would rather work for a company that thinks about its consumers a little more instead of creating stupid games that are just all design and no content. This is almost all too apparent. I appreciate good design, but I’d rather it have some quality in other areas too. But it also goes a lot to say, that at least companies know how to market and so they invest in good designers.

Also, a side note. I finally got a taste of Far Cry 3 and its really interesting..!

In essence, though, as I flipped through the book, I had a revelation, that although this book may have a lot of artwork — it is completely filled, front and back with art, this is probably only a quarter of the art they had to produce. Why? Well, as I played this game, there were so  many units to memorize, so many building constructions to remember to build (not to mention, you need to remember what comes out of those constructions), and there are upgrades for almost a lot of those units and constructs. Plenty of characters, we all know Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan, and new additions like Tychus — who is helping me develop a southern accent, Arcturus, etc. Concept art for those guys!

The comments inside the book did say that the main focus of this first expansion was the Terrans. So there was more Terran art than there was Protoss or Zerg. I have yet to play the second expansion of this game, but I can only imagine the main focus of the next two games are going to be about each of the other two races. I’m guessing, but I need to play the next ones, ey?

My appreciation comes from the fact that since I now know these units better, such as what their role in the game is, the artwork makes more sense to me. The book itself has very little captions for all the pieces in here, in fact, it only gets wordy at the very beginning with the ‘foreword’ and introduction. Concept art is not about pretty art like regular fine art. Concept art is a solution to a question. What is this thing’s purpose? How does it function, and how does it serve the story? One should always ask this when one decides to create concept art. It’s just not all about the pretty little gadgets that you think makes it look cool. It’s aesthetic and its good design at the same time.

Anyway, here’s some pretty photos from the book to look at.

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Filed under Art, Artists, Concept Art, Games, Reviews

WonderCon 2013! + Game booth reviews~ *Warning, nerdiness apparent!*

Sorry, no pictures this year, and somewhat pointless to because once you’ve seen awesome cosplay, you’ve seen them all. There were no R2D2s wondering around though… I wonder why! Maybe I just missed it. You know, there was at least 3 attendees that said WonderCon is only a 1/10th of Comic Con. That’s pretty crazy… I really need to see Comic Con one of these days!
One of my goals this weekend was to find something neat for my desk at work… and well… I’m sad they had more relevant figurines from Star Wars and mainstream characters… I mean, good for the convention and comic book fans! but not for me. There was hardly any game characters, a few Street Fighter figurines and Tekken, but… I really wanted to find a Red XIII I saw some years ago… I’m going to be forced to go to an anime convention to find one now. I think the only figures I really want to collect is Red XII, Gundam Wing DeathScythe, or Eva-01. I do have to say that Kotobukiya figurines are absolutely beautiful… like if I was a fan of getting the X-Men female figures, I’d grab them up.

I think one of the neat things about WonderCon is the game booths. Free game demos! A lot of people think WonderCon as only a place for comic books, or animation, which it is! but it pretty much encompasses a broad range of entertainment industry things. This is because comic books can become adapted into animation, television, movies, or games. And it works vice versa, games, movies, and tv shows can become adapted into comic books. What attracts me is, of course, that all of these things tell stories. Stories are an important aspect to humans, its been in human history since the cave paintings, maybe even earlier than that, I dunno, I’m not going to look that up. It is an important aspect in my life because it is one of those things that I just don’t tire of very easily like participating in sports. (hahaha)

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Top Favorite Artist #2: J.C. Leyendecker

Happy New Year’s Eve! I think I’ve been the most productive this week. It’s probably because I haven’t played any games in the last few days. I find this a major accomplishment. 😀

But here is to the new year. I hope its better than the last.

Here is another of my favorite artists: Joseph Christian Leyendecker

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He is known for the Arrow Collar Man advertising illustrations, the Saturday Evening Post, and various other book and advertising illustrations. He was one of the best of his time and very well paid. However, because he often spent whatever he made — living in a mansion and buying luxury material things during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ — that after his death, all his original artworks were auctioned… which I find quite unfortunate.  I’d actually love to get some of his prints if they are still available, I do have a particular one in mind that I really like.*

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The New Year’s Baby was made famous by him, featured on the covers of Saturday Evening Post.

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Although Leyendecker was best known for depicting men better than his woman. Though his woman are good, they are much more ‘blocky’ and less fluid/graceful than other illustrators’ works. They’ve almost got no shape or curve. However, his men are always very well done; they are very upright, natural, striking, and regal, which was why his Arrow Head Collar was made so famous during his time!

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Though it is speculated that Leyendecker was gay, never married and has always lived with another man during his lifetime, whose name was Charles Beach. I think it makes perfect sense to me in the way that I’m always fascinated with woman, and how I’m always happy to draw them. Maybe he feels comfortable, and appreciates the male form — much like the Greek artists who favored men over woman models, i.e. Raphael.

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*Personally, the above painting has always been one of my favorites because its well composed and it speaks to me! Totally want a large print of this in my home or work area~

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Personally, I’ve always wanted to copy his style, it looks almost like pastel, but not at the same time — in a way that the figures have this smooth elastic kind of skin texture. One of his obvious techniques to break up or add a kind of texture. The direction of some of his brushstrokes are obvious. They go across some of his paint strokes, going in the direction of the form. He also practices a lot, often repainting and figuring out the design by doing many sketch paintings.

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The art direction for Team Fortress 2 was inspired by Leyendecker’s art style. You can see in the way that they are “painted” is very similar to his techniques. Cool beans, huh?

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Filed under Art, Artists, Painting, Reviews

Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade isn’t actually one of my favorite artists ever, but I feel like he would be relevant to review because he paints so many wintery, Christmas-themed stuff! And its so close to the 25th. I’m sure most homes have all their decor up.

So apparently, he’s a contemporary artist of our time but he paints very “romantic” themed images. Actually, he just recently passed away in April of this year, he died a natural death. Well, that’s a doozy! Because he’s going to miss the end of the world on the 21st this month. D:

For the Romantics, Berlin says, “in the realm of ethics, politics, aesthetics it was the authenticity and sincerity of the pursuit of inner goals that mattered; this applied equally to individuals and groups — states, nations, movements. – Wikipedia

One reason that he might be one of the most successful American painting artists is because his works has a very appealing theme that most people like and can understand. My dad has one of his paintings, and as a child, I remember the setting itself seemed so magical. I really wished that I could actually live inside the painting.

It is unfortunate though, that his reputation as a person in general precedes him. He’s reputed to have strange outbursts when drunk… (HAHAHA… much in common with Kinkade?!) I think most artists are weird themselves, its just that when anyone gets aggro and easily provoked that this gives a bad impression. :\ Best not to start fights.

winter snow houses christmas artwork thomas kinkade 3000x1860 wallpaper_www.wall321.com_26

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Thomas Kinkade Wallpaper 9

Thomas Kinkade Painting 233

Wall Paper by Thomas Kinkade

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Wall Paper by Thomas Kinkade

He has his own online gallery which can be found here at thomaskinkadeonline.com.

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Wednesday 19 December 2012 · 14:23

Reading Symbols and Color Meanings

Hello again.

And once more, I have not updated my blog in awhile. I am still sorry to myself and subscribers, but in all fairness, I update my facebook page pretty regularly! I was flipping through a book of mine just now, and I have some input about color. Actually, I’m always still learning about art, and color all the time. Despite having graduated from art school, I’m still learning about color and value. It’s not that I didn’t learn the concepts and ideas, but there’s always something new that can be put into words or refreshers. And even then, I do not think that a course can teach us everything about one subject, though it is a start. With that, I’ll tell you that in my early life, I had no concept at all about color theory and I very much sucked at it. I can’t tell you how many times my siblings called me the 7 colored fish. I dressed with more than 2 colors and back in the late 90’s through mid 2000’s it was considered bad fashion… Quite frankly though, its fine to coordinate 7 colors, if done properly, I’ve seen an art teacher do this! I’ve always liked saturated colors — I think it is because I’ve spent a majority of my childhood with Seseme Street and kiddy shows. And of course, this is deliberate. Kids respond well to high intensity things. The reason why colors clash is because there is no harmony between the colors and they fight. Fighting is not compromise. No balance.

One way to harmonize colors is to “mute” them, which in terms of painting means putting in one color into the other. This may bring down the intensity of a color and turn it a little more greyer than before, but in effect, it harmonizes two seemingly clashing colors, like complimentary colors. There are usually many ways to do this, but always, it means adding one color into the other. I suppose it is like a relationship with a friend in a sense.

So Colorist by Shigenobu Kobayashi is a very technical and theoretical book on colors. I think graphic artists and Americans are more familiar with the The Color Index by Jim Krause.

It’s a very good book also on color, and is much more about CMYK and RGB and digital application/usage. This series spans to several other books.

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Filed under Art, Color, Random Talk, Reviews

Pencil review

When was the last time I did a product review? Ages ago, that’s what. I was honestly going to review pens and inks, but I left my inks at my parents last month because I couldn’t take everything with me to San Fran.

But a year ago, one of my instructors gave out these orange pencils, and they were so good to draw with. They rocked. The pencils are from a brand called Palomino. And it wasn’t until I bought my very first set that I realized they were made in Japan. Figures that’s why.

Dude. The plastic box it comes in is like sooooo nice. I’ve never praised plastic before, but this is a very pretty plastic box. When I opened the flap, it didn’t bend at all. And the art on the cover is cute.

So I’ve almost always used Staedtler, and they are pretty much one of the best brands out there. Faber Castell was next on my list. And if I wanted to be cheap, I’d just go for the store brand pencils, or General’s.

Staedtler pencil case

Staedtler pencils

I have had these since high school actually. My sister gave this case to me for one of my birthdays. If anyone remembers the episode in Sailor Moon when these two cartoonists/artist friends bought each other some really nice pencils in a case, I’m always reminded of it. I guess that’s why I haven’t used them all. I always use other Staedtler’s that I’ve received from others. Up until now, one of my favorite brands.

Faber Castell wood and woodless (Pitt) pencils

Faber Castell wood and woodless (Pitt) pencils

General's (Kimberly) pencils and graphite sticks

General’s (Kimberly) pencils and graphite sticks

Utrecht 5B & 6B

Cretacolor monolith woodless graphite pencil

Cretacolor monolith woodless graphite pencil

It is really too bad I don’t have every single pencil degree, but I have most at least…

What I have found out: Well, the Palomino pencils are the softest out of all the pencils. The lead was smoother and laid down more easily. As the degree went up, the less I had to press to achieve a dark color. It did, break more easily though, but I’m sure the ratio of graphite and clay is much more different. Staedtler was the second best in terms of smoothness. General’s was almost always a shade lighter than the rest until you got to the 4B’s, and so was Faber Castell; for those two, I always had to press harder to get the color darker. That somewhat surprised me a bit, but they are the cheaper brand… Except for the woodless Pitt graphite pencils by Faber Castell. Those tend to be great for heavy areas that need to be colored in… But General’s and Faber Castell was almost always the easiest to erase with my Sakura electric eraser, yet it took 2 or more strokes sometimes to remove Palomino or Staedtler (but that’s probably a good thing right? more easy to smudge though).

The Cretacolor Monolith woodless pencils versus Pitt was practically the same. The ingredients could be different though. You never know.

I tested a lot with the HB and 6Bs.

I did use these:

I assume this to be an HB but I am actually not sure….

And of course a standard no. 2 pencil.

So I’m gonna be treating my Palomino’s with love and care, but they’ll be well used. I hope the local Utrecht and more art stores stock them because the only place you can get them at is pencils.com, they are a pretty cool website, but I want to look at the Palomino Colors or Aquas, which are color pencils, but Aquas is probably water soluble pencils. There are also writer’s pencils on there called Blackwing with replaceable eraser ends. They sell other products too. Man, I want to get that wood craft set; it looks awesome. I would like to build a mini toy town!

I hope people enjoy this review. I found it rather informative (while doing the tests) about the quality of some of the pencils I’ve bought. I guess it’s kind of like testing out paint.

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Filed under Art, illustration, In general, Reviews

about.me review

So I’ve been using an online profile thing called “about.me.” It’s in the promotional stages I think, and I got wind of this because I am a BzzAgent — not an overly active one, but that’s okay, I don’t like spamming my friends so often but love giving them free stuff to try. This is great for when you have too many online profiles like me! Sometimes, I just don’t know which link I should give to people. Should I link them my DeviantArt? my Behance? my blog? Most of the time, it’s here, but sometimes having so many profiles, I get lazy about updating them all at once. =_= Yeh.. sorry.

And you can get 50 free moo.com cards! I got my first set, and they were so purty~ And ran out so fast at AM^2, I had to get frugal about giving my cards out on the second day… :\ Some people took more than one, but at least I know there are people who like my art so much. Consider it a free 2×3 bookmark, I guess.

I will be posting stuff again. Currently, working on creating content for my new cooking blog. Stay tuned~

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Filed under Random Talk, Reviews