Beginner Guidance Needed

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Beginner Guidance Needed

Postby DavidS » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:52 pm

Hello Everyone, I am a beinning sketcher and have been following the forum for a few months. I am probably one of the most unartistic people but like to sketch. I like following the Urban Sketchers website. My sketches are poor but I guess you could say I am enthusistic if nothing else. I would like to get better and am ambitious to do so. When I go to an art store I am overwhelmed. I would like to put together a simple urban sketch kit. I am hoping I can tell you what I am planning below and maybe you could comment on my plan? I want my kit to be simple and something I can carry easily. Ideally I would like to do pen sketches and highlight with watercolor. I have only been doing pen sketches to date with Pitt pens, Pilot V5 and V7 pens and a basic moleskine notebook. I have no one to ask with experience about this so I thought I may be able to ask you. Here is what I am thinking:

Strathmore Visual Watercolor Notebook 5x8

Faber Castell Pitt Pens - Black - S,F,B,M - already have.

Pilot V5 and V7 black pens - already have - I know these smear with watercolor so probably won't use with watercolor and will use Pitt pens instead.

Watercolor Paint - I am thinking of setting up a small Altoids tin like I saw online with 6 or 8 or 12 basic colors. I would use the Daniel Smith brand. I would also get a mix chart.

Brushes - I am lost here. What brand and sizes should I get? Would like to get good shorter handled brushes. Someone told me to get a 4 round, 8 round, and a one inch mop wash brush. I see many urban sketchers online using a flat angled brush about 1/4" wide. Can you tell me 4 or 5 brushes I should get and brand?

I am not sure what a wash is! I assume this is just wetting the watercolor paper with water where I will apply paint? Correct?

I will find a small cup size container to carry some water in. I assume one uses this obviously for painting but also to clean brushes for watercolor.

Lastly, I will need something to carry my brushes in so they don't get damaged.

Do I have this generally right?

Thank you for your guidance!

Dave
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Re: Beginner Guidance Needed

Postby Andre Jute » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:10 am

A wash is water or colour (generally a dilute washed across the page or part of your image as a background, a fill (final colour) or a glaze (layered colour for effects).

You really need only one brush. I'll return to it. First you must settle other parameters.

Carrying water is a nuisance, This is what I mean about nuisance. The book is A5, roughly 6x8 inches closed, and the gear is too much to hold in your hands when you're standing up, which I think is the ideal, and the limiting factor.
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You might have to carry a board or a stand (I have a photographic tripod and a piece of glass with quick release slide glued to the back but rarely carry it because my bike provides enough space to rest stuff -- see also Matthew's adapted bike, much fancier than my setup, while Russ, the founder of this forum, has a board for clipping gear to).

It is possible to simplify the kit, with halfpans of colour, as used in my little postcard sized pochade box below, but you still have to carry water.
Image

The brushes shown with my kits are Da Vinci Series 1503 portable sables. There's an interview with me about them at
http://www.parkablogs.com/content/plein ... andre-jute
You need only one brush, if it is large and well-pointed like the 1503. For your size sketchbook I suggest either size 6 or size 8. The 10 will be too large, the 4 not fast enough for outdoor sketching. These brushes come selfcontained and are carried in your kit without special containers, as you can see in the link. I don't like using sables on halfpans because I think that will wear them; I like tubes with sables.

You can buy a palette with a water tank. I have this one, but don't find it convenient enough to use often:
Image
Others like it, though. The brush with it is uselessly small; you have to carry your own.

I suggest you start with a water brush. It is cheap and convenient and many professionals use them for all their plein air work. You can get round water brushes but I currently love a flat Zig H2O "chisel" in my most used sketching kit. This isn't that brush, but look how convenient the whole affair is, book and brush and paintbox being the entire kit, except for a piece of kitchen roll in my other hand.
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This is my most used kit, the entire kit, everything, fitting in a 6x4in tin, a convenient pocket size, and it is made possible by the water brush:
Image
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When you've got the hang of sketching and kit-making with a water brush, you can buy an expensive sable travel brush. Until then you will very likely just waste your money on the wrong shape, size, brand, etc.

You mention an angled brush. This could be an angled shader, a dagger or a sword. It requres more skill to use than a round brush. You can get one later in the place of a straight rigger or liner. I like the Rosemary & Co red sable and synthetic mix sword, Series 770, in the 1/2in size, which in my studio is always among the brushes in my hand as a liner and a squiggler for whatever interesting marks are required.
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You can make a whole small painting with it, and I have in the studio, but unfortunately the travel version Rosemary offers is the very smallest size which in my slash and dash style is useless even on postcards. Rosemary also offers a 1/4in angled shader as a travel brush, but again, a bit small for an all-purpose brush for me. What with Rosemary's hefty postage charge, buying a single brush from her is a bit expensive, and Jackson's in London, who gives free delivery worldwide on brush-only orders over 20 pounds sterling, doesn't carry her full range.

Which leads to a another tip: Jackson's series 1205 Tajmyr sable is the same brush as Escoda's Reserva Tajmyr series 1212 -- but at a hefty discount; wait for the sales early next year and you'll be surprised how cheap first class sables can be! I have several and they're brilliant. If you buy a Jackson's series 1205 round, you can go up to a size 10 for your size sketchbook and that killer point will still let you do fine work.
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Not travel brushes though, but all you need to protect your brush is to keep and use the piece of plastic tubing in which it is shipped, to answer another of your questions.

If you want a brush that can handle a bit more rough wear, Jackson's series 7xx Icon sable and synthetic mix is a well-priced high quality brush that looks to be made for them by Rosemary (though Jackson's don't carry the really useful sword we discussed above). I have a set of several types (the Icon large beavertail flats are the best 2 and 3 inch flats you can buy for a reasonable price). The quills are different from the standard ferrule brushes; if you fancy the fiber, the quills look very professional; I've noticed that when the local painters visit me, they always pick up my quills first. Also, there's a useful set for your size of work and up to quarter imperial available at a decent saving on buying the brushes individually:
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Re: Beginner Guidance Needed

Postby DavidS » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:07 pm

Thanks Andre for the very helpful reply to my post!! I will follow your advice and appreciate you taking the time to point me in the right direction.
Thank You!
Dave
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Re: Beginner Guidance Needed

Postby Andre Jute » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:54 pm

The Winsor & Newton field box, discussed above, on sale for Black Friday at a terrific price. The Cotman colours in it are thought by many to be the best student grade, better than some other people's artist grades.
https://www.artsupplies.co.uk/item-cotman-field-box.htm
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Re: Beginner Guidance Needed

Postby burf » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:35 pm

Thanks Andre.

Please comment on the paper as well, if possible. Thank you once again.
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Re: Beginner Guidance Needed

Postby Andre Jute » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:42 am

Paper is real simple. A sketcher uses little because his sketches are usually not bigger than A4/letter size and most often half that size, so he can afford to use the best. Buy one Imperial sheet each of Bockingford, Arches Aquarelle, Saunders Waterford and Fabriano Artistico COLD PRESS (medium surface texture) paper. Then fold and tear the sheets down to spreads of your preferred size, and bind your own sketchbooks. I don't have time to find it now but in this thread
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2163
there is a post about the grain direction of watercolour paper, which you need to know before you can make your own sketchbook. If you will work extensively in ink or fancy painting botanicals, also buy a sheet of Fabriano Artistico HOT PRESS (smooth) paper to test. All of these are acid-free, archival papers used by professionals; all except Bockingford are 100% cotton. All are good for wet and dry media. With some experience you can then choose among these papers later the one which suits you. I show one method of making a book at
http://coolmainpress.com/andrepaintings ... rhome.html
and a simpiification at
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2163&start=240#p20744
and Matthew and Alitogata show ways of making a traditional sewn book on this forum; check their threads and posts. Covers can be whatever you like; I show the way to make a reusable leather cover at
http://coolmainpress.com/andrepaintings ... cover.html
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Re: Beginner Guidance Needed

Postby Alitogata » Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:14 pm

What are you cooking here?? :)
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