Archive for Artist Inspiration

Doodle Power!

marianmachismo

My ferocious appetite for doodling kicked in about ten years ago when I worked in a cube. (Technically more of a triangle…) Doodling while sitting in on seemingly endless conference calls, my focus and recall was always better than if I sat there and just “paid attention.”  My belief is that the benefits of doodling are similar to any other focused meditative practice; calming both to the mind and spirit.

Image courtesy of marianmachismo on Instagram.

The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory

Doodling in a meeting? Maybe you’re just drawing inspiration

Why Doodling May Help Improve Your Memory

Doodling Increases Focus and Recall

Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

Creative Prompt: Take the road not travelled

Ohio road

Today’s creative prompt is going to be a little bit different. Are you ready?

If you are anything like me, and often travel the same route to get somewhere, you might occasionally notice a road that appears to lead somewhere interesting but isn’t able to be explored in that particular moment.

My challenge to you, is to take the time to go back to that location and take that road not yet travelled. Notice everything you can about the surroundings. Be playful and explore.

The when you get home, take just a bit more time to write down a few words about your experience. What did you see? What new things did you discover? Is it a place you’d like to go back to, or one that you never wish to visit again?

Please feel free to comment with your experiences. We’d love to know what you find.

Sandra Strait reviews the Clairefontaine Calligraphy pad

The Secret Life of Seeds & Spores

“I can’t wait to try out a glass dip pen on it.  I know the results will be beautiful, but I also anticipate a satisfaction in matching a beautiful paper to a beautiful pen, and capturing a sense of writing in a way as people have written for centuries.  That creates a connection for me.  Even though I’m a computer-fiend, I was a pen-and-paper fiend first, and the computer will never recreate that sense of connection.  Or the feeling that not only am I creating a beautiful thing, but that the act of creating it is beautiful in itself.  The action of making marks, moving pen across the page–these are artful things.”

Life Imitates Doodles blogger and artist Sandra Strait is a favorite of ours for reviewing our products because of her willingness to be so very thorough. As an artist myself, I know how common it can be in the moment to want to use a variety of mixed mediums on a surface that isn’t always intended to accept it. When anyone takes the time to test a wide variety of wet and dry mediums on an individual product, I find it incredibly helpful. In this review, Sandra tests this paper using pen and ink, fountain pen, rollerball, collage with glue and gel medium, acrylic paint, colored pencil, photo transfer, and finally, watercolor paint. You can read her full review which included loads of pictures, here. 

Art is a Learned Skill (Really!)

nan_chanapa

I’ve met a lot of adults who seem to believe that because they weren’t born with a pencil or paintbrush in their hand that they have no business making art. To this I say, Hogwash!

Most young children are able to be creative without self-judgment. It’s easy for them to make art because it’s playful and fun. Things start to get a little tricky around the ages of 11-12 because this is when children desire to realistically reproduce what they see, and may become extremely frustrated when they cannot. Learning to draw realism typically requires additional instruction and a lot of practice which is why a lot of kids give up art in favor of other activities. This is why you, as an adult, may think that you have no talent for art because you draw like a child. In reality, all you need (regardless of age) is additional instruction. (and patience) 

Having said all that, you really don’t require any skills at all to express yourself through art. if you want to paint, buy paint and have at it because it’s fun! In my experience, the most difficult part of making art is learning being okay with the results.

The Five Basic Skills of Drawing are good to know.

Image courtesy of nan_chanapa on Instagram

Summertime Travel Necessities

Rhodia Pencils Case R Pad

For many, summer = travel. Trips to the beach, kids at summer camp, the cabin at the lake, camping in the mountains or perhaps a drive through the desert.

Regardless of where you are spending your time, I know that many of you would never leave home without first packing a few essential tools for the inevitable creative urges that free time can inspire. Will you share your favorites? Is it a notepad,  journal or sketchbook? A few favorite fountain pens or a handful of colored pencils? How about a travel sized watercolor paint box?

Big Gay Dragon

103

Andrea over at Big Gay Dragon (what a great name!) is using Rhodia Webbies for some of her daily doodles this year.  To me, the doodles can be whimsical, spiritual, meditative–or all three.

Thank you, Andrea.

149

Flexible Nibbed Pens: Yay or Nay?

I for one, am a huge fan of any writing implement that can create a line of varying width. I have a sweet little Parker Debutante Vacumatic in need of a new sac that has a really nice flexible nib and I don’t know why I haven’t had it repaired yet…

Have you ever tried a flexible nibbed fountsin pen? Any favorites? I’ve always wanted to try a “wet noodle” myself. (A very flexible nib)

Eversharp Symphony and Noodler’s Ahab shown above, image courtesy of Ed Jelley. Vist his blog at www.edjelley.com and follow edjelley on Instagram.

Check out Brain Sizemore’s demo on this vintage Wahl “wet noodle” fountain pen. Many more on his You Tube channel as well. 

Creative Prompt: Write a simple letter

ivory_ocean

Who doesn’t love to receive a handwritten note in the mail? I know I do! My challenge to you this weekend is to write a simple letter to someone you think could benefit from a bright bit of human kindness in their mailbox.

Don’t know what to write? How about writing out your favorite poem- or maybe a recipe for you favorite chocolate chip cookie?

Image courtesy of S. Jane Mills – be sure to visit her blog, Sketches and Studies Art & Life by S. Jane Mills

Which of these books on creativity have you read?

birdbybird

After seeing this post on Buzzfeed: 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading, I noticed that I’ve already read several and will probably want to eventually read them all. Do you have any favorites from this list? #25 is an all-time favorite for me.

3. Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott: Read this a long time ago. Remember it being sweetly encouraging.
4. Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon: Read recently. Good info, but nothing that was really new to me
7. The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron: This is a classic. Excellent info to be found here. Do the work if you want to experience transformational growth in your life. (It’s not just about art)
15. Just Kids, Patti Smith: This has been sitting patiently in my Kindle for over a year…
19. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White: Great info. “Omit needless words” is a classic.
21. Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland: I’ve never read it cover to cover, but every time I crack it open and read a few pages I find something totally relevant.
22. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards: Just recently bought a copy.
25. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield: One of the BEST books I’ve ever read. It’s about resistance. You do not have to be an artist to get a lot out of this book. It’s tiny – read it in an afternoon.
29. On Writing, Stephen King: I owned this a very long time ago. Can’t remember if I read all of it. The one thing that sticks with me is his mantra of “Write every day:”

Who Still Uses Parchment Paper?

640px-Permennter-1568
From Wiki: Parchment is a material made from animal skin; often calfskin, sheepskin, or goatskin. Its most common use was as a material for writing on, for documents, notes, or the pages of a book, codex or manuscript. Parchment is limed, scraped and dried under tension. It is not tanned; therefore, it is very reactive to changes in relative humidity and will revert to rawhide if overly wet.

While the term parchment refers to any animal skin, particularly goat, sheep, or cow, that has been scraped or dried under tension, vellum refers exclusively to calfskin.

The heyday of parchment use was during medieval times, but there has been a growing revival of its use among artists since the late 20th century. Although parchment never stopped being used (primarily for governmental documents and diplomas) it had ceased to be a primary choice for artist’s supports by the end of 15th century Renaissance. This was partly due to its expense and partly due to its unusual working properties. Parchment consists mostly of collagen. When the water in paint media touches parchment’s surface, the collagen melts slightly, forming a raised bed for the paint, a quality highly prized by some artists.

Listing our Legacy

Rhodia Stack with Yellow Safari

“We like lists because we don’t want to die.”

In a 2009 Spiegel interview with Umberto Eco, the Italian philosopher and novelist states “The list is the origin of culture.” And what does culture want? “To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.”

I’ve kept my own book of lists for over a decade by contributing several lists per year of material either relevant to the time or from memory of things past.

Do you keep a book of lists? If not, would you ever consider it?

 

Geometric Doodles on a Rhodia Graph Pad

kaiser5081

Charles – could this be one of your old graph pads?

Last week, Charles Barilleaux voiced his preference for our dot paper stating, “The grid doesn’t work for me, as I wind up spending meetings filling in the squares.”

Anyone else enjoy coloring in the squares like this?

(This image actually belongs to kaiser5081 on Instagram.)

Razor Sharp

Razor pencil

My artist friend Angie Snyder-Lande uses a razor to sharpen her pencils and for some reason this always amazes me. A razor seems like a good idea, even though the potential exists to hack a pencil to bits until one learns the right amount of pressure to apply to each cut. I’m guessing that once you get the hang of it, a lot less of the pencil would be wasted to sharpening. (Where to dispose of the shavings… maybe a small Altoids tin?)

Do you prefer to sharpen with a knife or razor? Please share your process.

I own at least a dozen pencil sharpeners but can never find one when I need one. I’m wondering if a small pocketknife might be easier to keep track of.

Razor pencil

Frank Bettendorf’s Trip to the Channeled Scablands

Schoolhouse-Road---Govan

81 year old urban sketcher Frank Bettendorf was super excited about the new landscape Webbie notebooks so we sent him one to try out on his recent trip to the Channeled Scablands - a barren, relatively soil-free landscape in Eastern Washington. Click on any image below to view the full gallery. 

I’m back home after seven great days recording my trip to the Channeled Scablands and I’m eager to share some of the experience with you. I shot three rolls of slides, two rolls of black & white, and did 27 sketches. I thought I’d send enough so you’ll at least get some feel for the trip..

Continue Readering »

Just for Today

Bleu Ocean

Whenever I come across a saying or quote that I wish to integrate into my daily thought process, I will often use it as an excuse to pull out some art and or writing supplies. In this case, I’m using the Japanese phrase “Kyo Dake Wa” which pretty much translates as, “Just for today” which I think is a nice reminder to live more in the moment.

By doodling with a dip pen, J. Herbin’s Bleu Ocean Anniversary ink, and a few colored pencils in this loose and playful manner, what may have been limited to quickly scrawled words on a post-it note, has engaged me for an hour or so of playful art-making with the added benefit of being able to actively focus on the message itself.

Do you have a favorite saying that you might consider turning into a simple piece of art like this?

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