Monday, September 24, 2012

Sketchbook Project 2013, part 2: Pembroke

Part 1

Door 2: Wall Passage, Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the UK.

Henry VIII (yup, that one) spent his childhood here. It's a big, worn, drafty old place, with an enormous cave in the lower levels that dates back to prehistoric times. Pembroke is a tiny town that basically has this huge castle, its huge moat (actually a millpond that extends into a small lake, which proceeds to run into a river that goes 97 miles to the sea), and the ruins of a mill that's older than the castle.

I remember it because this is the first holiday I was ever on which I planned, organised and paid for all by myself. It's also the only holiday I've ever been on by myself. I stayed in an old coaching inn and walked round and round the castle and millpond for three days and felt boring and happy and utterly relaxed. I met a couple of Filipino caregivers, which strengthens my belief that we have infiltrated every level of service everywhere.

I also got catcalled by a car full of redheaded boys. Is this a thing that happens a lot in Wales?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

the secret life of things

 More catalogue silliness with the pathetically non-solid Cavallini & Co. ink.
The chairs, the chairs of CB2. Lots of pipe legs in watery ink. The fake rattan weave texture was really fun to draw.

And done in the equally shitty sepia ink, my J. Alfred Prufrock tribute. Actually I drew/painted this whole thing oriented vertically, and only noticed it looked a lot better rotated 90% left. (Or, as actually happened, tossed it randomly on the bed and saw it looked better in passing.)

I would love to turn this second one into a postcard, or landscape notebook, or some other item of stationery.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Going through my aunt's junk mail is like living a fantasy life in which I'm a character from Revenge or Gossip Girl. West Elm, J. Crew, Athleta, the MoMA Store...where I'm from, catalogues are almost unheard of, so it's like having free magazines dropped off at your doorstep every day.

Today all my stuff arrived from the US, so I spent the day going through it. You've guessed why I'm posting about it here: sketchblogging!

I don't know what it is about West Elm catalogues that makes me want to draw inanimate objects till my vision blurs. I shouldn't question it, I guess.

 The dearth of dip pens in this country forced my to try and work with one of my weird skinny crow quills and forgo my usual death grip near the point. That and the fragility of the nib itself means a lot of variation in the line and a slight unpredictability.

Also, one of the inks I brought back is 'black' ink from Cavallini and Co. Black my foot! Look at those tea drawings! There's a 'sepia' which isn't much better...both inks are watery, with grainy, uneven pigment in the thicker lines. I ended up liking the effect. I think I can play with colourising in Photoshop to get various illustration effects with these inks.
This other ink, which just arrived today, is Visconti and seems to be a much better colour and consistency. You can see the difference. I'm still using my Noodler's Bulletproof Black for my book project though--it's sticky and takes a while to dry, but it's the most gorgeous black I've ever seen in an ink.

So today was an adventure in 'working with what you've got'. It was unexpectedly productive and fun though; I'll work on spending more days like this.