Last night while I was on a Netflix binge watching The Killing, I decided to multitask by actively binging on all the newly released font downloads as well. Not to say that these are unusual activities for me, but this was however, the first time I took an interest in the Dingbats category. Dingbats, known as the “printer’s ornament,” are generally nothing more than small symbols used to dolly up a body of text with a fancy bullet or spacer. At least that’s how I’ve always thought of them. So why then were there so many options available in this outdated category? In today’s technology, who is using dingbats and how are they using them creatively? Right now I just think of them as nicely curated clip art packages but I’m eager on finding some creative uses for them in the future! Anyways, since the show I’m watching has a lot of empty/eerie lake scenes, it only made sense for me to dust off my Lake Anna, Virginia pictures from last year and add some Deer Dingbats as ghosts into the mix. I’m lovingly calling these “The Ghosts Outdoors.” ♥
This is the time of year that I like to stock up on new art supplies. With all this gift shopping for others, it’s hard not to jump on sales and get some nice things for myself. I first learned how to paint using Liquitex Professional Paints, a spoiled perk of being in an advanced art program in high school. Yet, during college and the years after, I couldn’t justify blowing $10 per tube of my own money on the nice stuff anymore. That is of course not the problem on Black Friday! And I got 12 tubes for $45! Yeah, I am pretty proud of my new acquisition. Also picked up the lovely box table easel photographed below and bunch of new large sized canvases. All the other art supplies photographed, I’ve already had before. But on a rainy day like today, they were all just looking so pretty in front of the window that I had to photograph them too. Especially in the case of my Russian Watercolor Paint Set. A close friend from childhood brought them as a gift for me when she came to visit America a couple of years ago and I just love them. Actually, I haven’t used them yet as you might be able to tell. But their packaging makes me think of individually wrapped chocolate candies or something and I just can’t bear to unwrap and ruin them. Not to mention they are the only Russian Art supplies I own and I have a bad habit of treasuring things instead of using them sometimes… I’m working on it though. ♥
Since we got lucky with a little snow fall here in the DC area, I was finally able to take a few winter-y pictures of the icy pine trees for the month of December. Too bad I was only outside for the duration of the time it took to heat up my car before I went into work. Hopefully there will be more opportunities to put my camera to practice this winter. In the mean time, please enjoy the free December desktop wallpapers I made with my photos!
Made for 1680 x 1050 screens.
Taken with my Canon 30D. 50mm Lens.
Edited in Lightroom 4.
1. $20 – Prismacolor Sketching and Drawing Pencil Set <<LINK>>
Whether a student or a professional, a good set of pencils are always necessary to have. It also doesn’t hurt that this set includes a sharpener and erasers in an organized tin.
2. $15 – Strathmore Hardbound Toned Gray Sketchbook – 8.5 x 11 inches <<LINK>>
This was the most recent sketchbook I’ve purchased. I love the tone and feel of the paper, especially when used with light colored pencils. The drawings just seem to naturally pop right off the page. Once I fill up the 128 pages, I will likely buy this sketchbook again (after all, it does also comes in tan!)
3. $25 – Sketch Folio (Case for Sketchbook and Supplies) <<LINK>>
It might not be glamorous but for the sketch artist on the go, this is a great solution for having everything one needs in one convenient place. This would make packing for trips or being prepared for spontaneous adventures a breeze! Not to mention, it is generally agreed upon that an artist should have a habit of sketching frequently and to have a sketchbook and your favorite drawing tools by your side at all times aids in cultivating such a habit. I think this folio would certainly help with that.
4. $11 – Prismacolor Fine Line Markers (Set of 5 Black Pens) <<LINK>>
I have this set and I love it! It’s ideal for crisp lines and detail work. Prismacolor can do no wrong and that’s why I’m a fan of all of their products!
5. $13-$32 (depending on size) Cachet Earthbound/Hardbound Portfolio <<LINK>>
I actually have a hard time finding these now unlike I once used to in my local area’s art supply stores. I like that these are simple and flat hardbound art and drawing protectors. Sure they can be used as presentation books and portfolios but I just like using them as holders for my past drawings or newly purchased fine art paper. I recommend getting the larger sizes, since for small drawings and paper sizes I am just as content using regular office supply folders.
6. $24 – NEW Brush Sharpies in 12 Assorted Colors <<LINK>>
I grew up using Sharpies. I still love Sharpies. I have a giant color-coded collection of Sharpie Markers and Pens. The fact that they came out with the new Brush Tip Sharpies collection is kind of a big deal (at least to me). It’s right up there with Prismacolor releasing brush tip versions of their fabulous marker collection. So whether you can’t afford the more professional brand of markers or are just a loyal fan to the Sharpie brand, this set is a must-have stocking stuffer of 2013.
7. $28 – Blick Studio Tote <<LINK>>
There are a ton of storage totes out there for crafters and artists alike, I just happen to have my eye on this one. Nice and simple, perfect for storing and carrying paints and paint brushes.
8. $15 – Paper Pastries Pencil/Pen Roll <<LINK>>
Pencil pouches, boxes or rolls, I have no doubt every artist has their own preference for carrying their tools. However, I think any artist would love this fashionable pencil/pen case. It’s the best of both worlds with a closed pouch and a roll in one! Great price too! I have my eye on getting the pink or brown one.
Nice to Have:
9. $60 – Gestalten’s “A Life in Illustration – The Most Famous Illustrators and their Work” ISBN: 978-3-89955-485-4 <<LINK>>
These days it might be more convenient to read books on a Kindle or some other tablet, but when it comes to books on art, some are just meant to be printed, bound and physically handled. A lot of my art books that have become my prized possessions come from Gestalten’s Publishing. I don’t know what it is about them, I guess they just have a great eye for designing and editing their books. The same way one surfs Netflix for their newest releases, I surf Gestalten’s website for theirs. This book was recently released in August and I definitely have my eye on it. An insider’s look into the illustration career from today’s leading illustrators spread out over 256 full color pages filled with their best artworks. Sounds like a necessary installment for the personal art library if you ask me!
10. $28 – NEW First Volume of “Illustrator Essentials” Magazine <<LINK>>
From the makers of Computer Arts magazines in the UK, comes the first volume of Illustrator Essentials. Less like a magazine and more like a book, it is filled with tons of useful tutorials and pro tips. Word to the wise though, get your issue while you can (especially if you see it at your local bookstore in the states) because it gets progressively harder to get your hands on any of the UK’s Computer Arts compilation mags once they expire from the newsstands!
11. $13 – Botanicals Notebook Collection by Rifle Paper Company (set of 3) <<LINK>>
I know this one seems more for writers than for artists but I just love these little notebooks. They have a great light weight feel and I’m in love with the botanical illustrations on their covers. After all, even artists have notes and ideas worth jotting down and these little notebooks make great companions to an on-the-go sketchbook.
12. $22 – “Weapons of Mass Creation” Tote by Bianca Green <<LINK>>
For all those art supplies and books, it only makes sense to have a great tote worthy of carrying them all over town. This one not only has a graphic all creative types can appreciate but since it’s from Society6 you know your money is going towards the illustrator responsible for creating the work you love!
13. $50 – “The Purple Book: Sensuality and Symbolism in Contemporary Art & Illustration” ISBN: 9781780671253 <<LINK>>
Another fresh of the press book that’s on every illustrator’s wishlist. Filled with powder pink pages made of thick matte paper, this book houses the works of 21 contemporary illustrators (many of which are my personal favorites!) It’s a huge book both in size and in hype, and I worry if I don’t get my hands on this book soon it will sell out. And yes, that actually happens. Not all books end up half priced on Amazon. Instead, the coveted ones sell out and you’ll be lucky to find them even on eBay, but be prepared they will have a new hefty price tag attached.
14. $90 – Jot Touch 4 Stylus for iPad <<LINK>>
According to all the research I’ve done online, this is the only stylus worth having. Over 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity, Bluetooth 4.0, up to a month of battery life from a single charge and not to mention it also has the very useful feature of Palm Rejection so you can rest you hand on the screen while you work. There are even more features worth listing but I think I’ve said enough to rest my case.
15. $499+ – iPad <<LINK>>
Does this one even need explaining? It seems either everyone already owns an iPad or is like me and really wants one. The day I get one, I will surely download every drawing and artist related app available to it. Then I will blow everyone out of the water with beautiful images I’ll create using it. So Santa, if you can hear me, I’ve been really good this year. Just saying.
I had the privilege of getting a commission to paint a mural for my friend’s parents. We actually decided to have me paint it on a giant piece of canvas instead of the wall in case they decide to move that way they can take the painting with them. I decided to film the entire process from start to finish and put together a time lapse video for anyone curious enough to check it out! I have to say despite the long time it took to complete this project, I enjoyed working on it very much! It was definitely a learning experience as I have never stretched or painted anything quite so large before!
FINALLY THE VIDEO:
I feel that starting this blog is like a fresh start to life. Here I am twenty-five years-old and smack in the middle of the very cliche “quarter life crisis.” There are so many things that I want to achieve and I would like this blog not only to be my motivator for success but a way of recording my triumphs and tribulations. Hope you enjoy!