Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black and White and a Little More

These past couple of weeks, I've been posting images of Irish dog breeds on my Face Book page, and that meant going back to some note card designs I did a few years ago.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Way back in high school, I went through a phase when I only wanted to work in black and white. I was hugely lucky to have had an enlightened and patient art teacher who let me go my dark way unimpeded.  All he said was that one day I'd discover colour and that I'd never look back.  Then one day, mid year, he sat down beside me and casually began to paint gorgeous colourful Japanese inspired flowers in watercolour.  Naturally, I became hooked on these pretty, elegant images and wanted to do some too.  He was right, I fell in love with colour and have never looked back.  Thank you dear Mr. Lap.
Fast forward to art school and I found myself thrown back into black and white - ink work.  I discovered the fun of it all over again.

Years later, when I was doing my note card collection, I did it in ink because I wanted to print them at home and we didn't have a colour printer.  The cards were popular and I sold a LOT of notecards

                                                         Black Russian Terrier

But before long,  I was craving colour again, and as colour printing had now become something I could do at home, I looked for a way that I could  do the cards in colour without starting all over again.  I had over a hundred images to consider!  So I began to use a watercolour wash over the ink.  I loved the look and so did my customers.

                                Welsh Terrier

I've been asked about using watercolour over ink . . .  does it 'bleed', or run when the water hits it?  The answer is not if you use the correct ink.  I used to use an expensive Rapidograph pen that you need to fill with a good waterproof ink.  But these pens are high maintenance and need to be emptied and the nib cleaned after every use.  At that point, I wasn't into super maintenance of my art tools, and eventually I let ink dry in it, so it was a case of buying a  a new pen.  As my  ink work was minimal now, I switched to a Pigma Micron pen and as it has waterproof ink, it worked out quite well.  With this medium, you  have to remember to let the ink dry thoroughly and to keep the watercolour to a light veil of colour,  to let the ink show through.  It has a light, bright look all it's own that I still enjoy.  Many of these cards are still in my active file, so they have weathered the years well.  If you decide to give this medium a try, I'm sure you'll have fun with it.

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