Illustrator: brushes arrived.

This morning my new brushes arrived.


These are some of the handmade brushes from Rosemary&Co
Some of the brushes have that magic Russian weasel fur, Kolinsky, and some have red sable. Three have synthetic variations of some kind. I bought two thicknesses. Thin (#2) and not-so-thin (#5).
They’re meant to give expressive, fluid lines. To make for interesting black drawings.

Rosemary&Co is a small family business in the UK. My order was processed in the evening and send in the morning. Next day they were here, quick, secure and well protected. It felt like sympa post!

(Do you know “sympa”? It is a French expression meaning “sympathetic”. I picked it up in the ’80s. Not sure if they still use it. We were hip in the ’80s!)

The post arrived just as I finished writing the blog post before this. That’s what I used my one hour uptime for today. Write that post. Then go lay down.
Dingeling! The post. Not only with these brushes but also with the High Frequency shielding fabric for my cage of Faraday.

I know I ought to go lay down. But I could not leave those parcels alone. Had to see the fabric. Had to see the brushes. Then I hád to test them. I was so curious and so full of anticipation.
My new, well meant daily routines are not implemented as easily as they are written down…

So I went upstairs to my lovely attic and tried the brushes, with the ink I bought the other day, in my green owl notebook. Just a few swirls with each brush, to get a feel for them.
I’ll describe the results in a minute. First I want to admit that the rest of today I paid dearly for that indulgence. When I finally laid down after playing with the brushes, and really, that only took about 20 minutes!, I fell down hard. I even fell asleep for two hours from which I have not awakened properly. Ever since I’ve woken from that sleep I’ve wanted to eat carbohydrates (and have done so). I forgot to drink water. I forgot to go to the toilet. I forgot to put the central heating on, I’ve been cold all day. Miserable even. Groggy too.
I have not been able to do anything that involves the brain or the heart. No thinking, no drawing, no knitting, no social interaction on the internet. Not even talk to my husband.
I did take a bath -which broke me even more, energy wise- but only because I had to. I am visiting my doctor tomorrow and … well… I wasn’t very presentable… olifactorial speaking…
Ah, the social pressure to smell flowery… As if my doctor cares. Or even notices, as he will be sitting across from me, behind a desk, not interested in my actual physique at all. Only in the functional representations of it on paper.
So my dear, listen to yourself, if you have concluded that one of the few things you MUST do on a day is laying down and rest after you’ve had your one hour activity in the morning, then DO SO. Stop messing about!

Here’s the brushplay that made me do it:

Such a joy!
The skills and techniques I’ve developed doing Japanese brushwork (sumi-é) are welcomed by these brushes. Even though they are different from Japanese brushes. My Japanese brushes I only use on rice paper, which is smooth.
These kolinsky and nylon brushes I’d use on paper. They do very well with the drawing ink. I recognize some of the loading characteristics I know from my Japanese brushes. It was a joy to do!

I look forward to playing some more. Even ink a drawing I made earlier in pencil. Just for the fun of it. Playing with the ink, with the thickness of the line, it is really fun.
I do need to get to know these brushes much better of course. They do not do what I expect or want them to. But most of them are excellent tools, behaving much better than any ordinary brush I’ve ever used.

Reading at the comic-tools blog I discovered that a lot of people are put of of brushes because of substandard commercial brushes. I sure can tell these brushes from Rosemary&co are in another league.

I also am reading 20-questions-to-cartoonists and I am delighted to learn that there are other people who have a rough time getting themselves to the drawing table. They invent all kinds of procrastinations. But when they dó finally sit down and bring a pencil of brush to the paper, they are deliriously happy.
I’ve never read about these experiences. They are exactly like mine. It’s a ridiculous thing, to postpone the thing you like to do most. I am glad to read I am not alone.
With me there’s a bit of an extra difficulty in that I only have that one hour in the morning. If I hide and procrastinate only for that little while, the opportunity for that day is gone.
Now, at evening, I am full of plans and good intentions. I will sit down tomorrow and draw!
But it’s such another story in the morning…

get up, visit doctor
drink tea
rest or DRAW
get things and drive to the cabin

get up
visit apple tree nursery

get up
vacuum or clean sheets on bed

shitshitshit, there needs to be new food cooked on Saturday! Chicken soup for the rest of the week probably.
shitshit, I’ll be too tired to do it on Saturday. Will postpone it till Sunday. But then one of the other things has to go: the drawing or the vacuuming (which is really necessary and also important to make me feel good in the cabin for the rest of the week)(or shall I just go back to the city for another week? That gives all other kinds of practical problems… which are solvable).
shit, this really isn’t easy.


five jobs: Started to draw (no pictures yet)

I have begun to draw. The beginning of my job as an illustrator, I hope. One of my five jobs.

This is a weird job. I can’t sit at the table at 9 in the morning, get my stuff and start working. Drawing for me is done in that minute between other things you want to do. I have to do my day and have a notebook handy and just when I’m about to get up and make some tea, I stop myself and instead draw for 45 seconds.

There has to be absolutely no pressure. Of course I started to dream up future publications and merchandize immediately which made the no-pressure-thing pretty obvious pretty quick. When the world emporium ambitions started, my scetchbook stayed empty or had just a few schematic drawings. “I’ll fill in the details later” is a red flag for me. That means I’m thinking, not drawing.

No dreaming of publications at any time because not only does it kill my drawing I’ll also alter my work to what I perceive to be the publics preferences. Right now I need to draw for fun. Draw something because the subject interests me. Because spacial relations interest me. Because lines interest me. They do, they do, they do.

I’ve been at it for a few days now and some old familiar feelings have sprouted. The feelings I know from back when I was an artist. Things like these:

  1. there’s a buzz. A restlessness. It lingers all day (and night). My mind is preoccupied with art, it is always in the back of my mind. I have to juggle this restlessness with the ones I experience from too much chocolate, too little hormones, too much Copper and the legal procedures about that darn manure factory they’re planning across the road.
  2. I see more. Everywhere I look I see lines and textures and subjects. And beauty. It’s a wonderful eye to have.
  3. The need to adjust the compass constantly. For example, I have to remind myself that not every art that is possible needs to become in existence. It’s ok to not draw something that would be beautiful and/or loved by others. Take a breath, take it easy. Another example: I tend to turn away from things that really fascinate me and go to safer things. These safer things I make into style exercises and I convince myself that that’s important. I need to stop this ratio-cackle and just draw for the fun of drawing. Last example: the inner critic. A well known voice for many people. It looks at what’s in my notebook and finds it appalling. Childish. It probably is. But that’s no reason to criticize it. I’ll need a lot of practice anyway, to find my own style. AND I need to accept my own hand of drawing, not try to draw like some of the artists I admire.

Really fascinating subjects: alternative stories to well known fairytales. Or something weird I saw in Dublin. But they are hard to render onto paper. Because it all has to come from the mind. There’s no model.

Easier and safer subjects and just as much fun: drawing the cat. In various styles. Or taking interesting artists and studying their work (with a pencil).

Well, this is what I’m doing. In between things.

Here’s an artist I’m looking at at the moment: Kay Nielsen

wonderful compositions.

pictures by Amber Case, caseorganic on flickr

ps that inner critic is a drag. It also gives me lip about how this blog is looking. With all the words. When pictures are so much easier to look at. Well….