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

Friday Link Share: July Edition!

Rhodia LeCarre

Notebooks Explained at JetPens Blog

The Oxford Comma Controversy at Writer’s Relief

Brilliant Summer Inks And Watercolors at Inkophile

The Tiniest Fountain Pen at The Well-Appointed Desk

J. Herbin Bouton D’or Ink Review at Write to Me Often

Review: Rhodia Ice No. 16 A5 at Gourmet Pens

Episode 10 of Erasable: “The Graphites of Wrath” at Woodclinched

Hey Mr. Postman! at Rad and Hungry

Rhodiarama Notebook Review at Office Supply Geek

Bic Brite Liner Grip Highlighter at A Penchant for Paper

Guilt-Free Creative Work at Daisy Yellow Blog

Art Journal Every Day: Sketching at the Beach at Balzer Designs

How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Unblock the “Spiritual Electricity” of Creative Flow at Brain Pickings

Journaling Exercise: What Are You Putting Off? at Kaizen Journaling

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

Let’s Talk Flat: NEW Landscape Webbie

Landscape Webbie

The new landscape Webbie notebook both opens flat to the page and lies flat when you are leaning on it to write. To me, that’s a pretty big deal because I don’t like losing precious real estate in the fold.

How important it it to you that your notebook lie flat? Can you give specific examples of when it might be particularly necessary for the book to lie flat?

Landscape Webbie

Opens flat: The paper needs no hand pressure for the pages to reveal a flat writing surface.

Landscape Webbie

If you lean on the book as you write, the spine folds neatly upon itself.

Tracing Paper

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is a product that hadn’t been on my radar until I needed to purchase some for a workshop I attended last fall. It’s purpose is simple yet multifaceted. It can be used to “test” potential changes to a drawing without altering the original. It can be used to isolate individual elements from a series of sketches and also allow you to play around with composition. With a little effort, tracing paper can also be used to transfer a drawing onto another surface. Watch the video below to see how this is done:

Rhodia Cover Doodles: What does yours look like?

cover doodle

Rhodia fan Chris sent us this cover doodle with the suggestion that our logo should look like this. What do you think? I like it! Now I’m just trying to figure out what mountain this might be…

Mont_Blanc

Perhaps Mont Blanc in the French Alps?

I’ll be adding Chris’s image to our Cover Doodle Fan Photo page. Have an image you’d like to share with us? Send it to me: Stephanie at RhodiaDrive dot com.

How do you test a pencil?

Rhodia Paper Pencil Test

I prefer hexagon shaped pencils sans eraser. I like the wood to sharpen cleanly and a lead that is slow to blunt for writing, I want the lead to erase cleanly with minimal effort. 

For writing, I like an HB, B or 2B depending on the make of the pencil. Light sketching? 2H. I’m happy with a 2B for drawing & doodling. If I want dark, soft & smudgy, I use something in the range of 6B-9B. Overall, I prefer a certain amount of smooth regardless of the grade.

I think that the best way for me to test a pencil isn’t a side by side chart like the one above but to actually spend time writing and drawing with a variety of pencils on a variety of papers. (any old excuse to keep buying more art/writing supplies) The ones that don’t make the cut are banished to a coffee can in my studio for other people to use.

What particular features are important to you when selecting a wooden pencil for writing, drawing or doodling? What is your preferred method to compare one brand against another?

(#2 pencils are typically graded HB.) 

Clairefontaine dot? Quo Vadis dot?

Clairefontaine grafit dot

Other than the up and coming Clairefontaine dotGrid Graf-It pads, dot ruling is exclusive to Rhodia.

If you prefer Clairefontaine, Quo Vadis or Exacompta papers, would you like them even more if they were available with dot ruling? If yes, please tell us which specific product- including anything in the Rhodia line that isn’t yet available in the dot format.

Link Share Friday: April Edition

my_name_pesca

Gratitude Journaling (by Kathy Paper Pumpkin) at Art Journaling

Monami Handy Highlighter at A Penchant for Paper

More about Pencil Tourism at The Well-Appointed Desk

Pilot Kaküno Fountain Pen Review at Write to Me Often

A Ferrule to Arms: Erasable #2 at Pencil Revolution

Weekly Loadout Submission – Alia L. at Ed Jelley

20 Creative Writing Careers at Writing Forward

The Handwritten Note at Daily Writing Tips

New Habana Notebook Cover Colors at Quo Vadis Blog

Journaling As Healing Process at Create Write Now with Mari

Guide to Choosing a Pair of Scissors at JetPens Blog

10 of the Most Controversial Productivity Tips That Actually Work at Buffer

Journaling Exercise: Question of Faith at Kaizen Journaling

The Library: A World History Presents a Stunning Visual Survey of The World’s Great Libraries at Open Culture

Office Size Clam Paper clipper at My Supply Room

Faber Castell 9000 HB pencils vintage matchboxes spotlight at Lung Sketching Scrolls

Montblanc Meisterstuck : The Masterpiece at Pen Boutique Blog

Featured Pen – Kaweco AL Sport – Stonewashed Black at Pens Paper Ink… Whatever!

Smooth As A Baby’s Bottom – Or Not at The Pen Addict

Image courtesy of my_name_pesca on Instagram.

Illustrations by Kai Lützenkirchen

kailutzen 2

These animal drawings are by Kai Lützenkirchen and were drawn with a Kaweco fountain pen in a Rhodia notebook. Aren’t these meerkats adorable? Kai’s Instagram feed kailutzen is filled with all kinds of wonderful illustrations like these.

Kailutzen 1

Have you heard? The bird is the word…

Images courtesy of Kai.

Inky Fingers

ragemore
What fountain pen user hasn’t at one time or another experienced inky fingers? For me, it’s every time I refill a pen. It happens either by accidentally touching the rim of the bottle or when using a paper towel to wipe the nib section clean.

Other ways I’ve gotten inky? If a pen is running a little dry, I will sometimes twist the convertor to push more ink into the feed; if it’s a bit too much, spillage may occur. Dip pens/nibs come with their own type of inky hazards simply from having to repeatedly dip the nib into an ink bottle.

Under what circumstances have you experienced the inky finger syndrome? Anyone ever experience ink problems on an airplane?

Image courtesy of Ragemore on Instagram

 

Waiting to get your paws on a landscape Webbie?

hotdogsandwiches

The landscape version of our beloved Webbie (Webnotebook) will soon be available in the US and we are hoping that you are as excited about it as we are. Will you share with us how this format may work more efficiently for your needs?

• Size A5: 5 1⁄2” x 8 1⁄4”
• 90 g ivory paper, acid-free, pH neutral, 96 sheets
• Embossed Rhodia logo
• Elastic closure matching color cover (orange and black)
• Round corners
• Individually shrink-wrapped
• Lined or blank
• Inner pocket in back cover

Image courtesy of hotdogsandwiches on Instagram

 

Similar Fountain Pen Ink Colors

pelikanop

Have you ever discovered two similar ink colors? How did you determine your favorite between them? Price? Smell? Flow? Looking for something similar to an ink you can’t find? Take a look at this article on Pendemonium: A Few Thoughts on Fountain Pen Inks which includes helpful notes on similar ink colors.

Image courtesy of pelikanop on Instagram

 

Sketching on Rhodia Paper: What you need to know.

cednocon

In regards to Rhodia products imported into the USA, white and yellow Rhodia papers are typically 80g and ivory Rhodia paper is 90g. All of these papers are fountain pen friendly, acid free and PH neutral. For the reasons that these papers are fountain pen friendly, it also means that you may notice a slight delay with how long it takes the ink to dry. The size of the pen’s nib in combination with the type of ink may also play a factor in drying time. (Some inks dry faster than others. Humidity is also to be considered.)

When we say “fountain pen friendly” we mean that water based fountain pen inks will not feather or bleed through to the other side of the page, Note that there may be exceptions to this rule if you are using a very broad wet nib.

The 90g papers are reported to be the smoothest of the bunch with the 80g right on its heels. The yellow paper is a little different than the rest and has a slightly toothier surface.

Speaking as an artist, pens, pencils and markers all pretty much glide across the smooth white and ivory Rhodia papers. It will be a matter of personal preference whether or not this is a desirable attribute while sketching. (For what it’s worth, I’ve doodled quite extensively in my Webbies using a variety of fountain pen inks. I also enjoy using drawing pens such as Faber Castell Pitt Pens and a variety of Japanese calligraphy pens,) 

Paper colors and availability:

80g White Rhodia paper is available in the widest variety of sizes and formats: head stapled pads, (aka “Bloc Rhodia Pads”) side stapled padsspiral pads… View more on RhodiaPads.com. 

90g Ivory Rhodia paper: is available in a head stapled tablet known as the “R” Premium Pad. It is also available in the following hard covered books: Webnotebook, (Webbie), Landscape Webnotebook, Webnotepad, and the Rhodiarama

80g Yellow Rhodia paper is only available (in the US) in one 8 1/4 x 12 1/2″  head stapled tablet.

90g White Rhodia paper is only available in one product in the USA: The Rhodia Meeting Book 90. 

Image courtesy of cednocon on Instagram

 

Permission to Doodle

butch_gordon

Are you a doodler?

By allowing yourself to be creative in a way that is not dependent on any particular outcome, you can focus on the process itself and simply appreciate your hand moving the pen across the surface of the paper.

The next time you find yourself waiting at the doctor’s office, the DMV, or when picking up your children after school, I’d like challenge you to reach for a paper and pencil and allow yourself to doodle. If this is something you don’t normally do, I think you might be surprised at how calming and meditative the process may be.

Image courtesy of butch_gordon on Instagram

 

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Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.