general inquires:

Short shorts.

1.  How tall are you?

6 ft 3 in, yes, I know this has nothing to do with art, but it is–by far, the most frequently asked question I’ve received in my life.

2.  I love your work, will you design a tattoo for me?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions from people who know me in real life. It’s very flattering. The idea that someone appreciates my work enough that they want it permanently on their skin, is really neat. However, I generally have to decline. Most of my work is layered or mixed media, which means it loses a lot of its aesthetic appeal when I try to work within the restrictions of tattooing. I’ve found if people go to a reputable tattoo artist with their ideas, the artist will be much better at meeting their needs than me. Tattoo art is tricky because a lot of factors need to be considered in the development of a design, including how ink will bleed over time, skin tone, tentative location on the body, etc.

3.  Do you sell your work?

Heck yes, I do! But I am currently reworking the best way to make it available online.

art supplies:

1.  What type of glue or adhesives do you use?

Matte Medium— (Liquitex or Golden)  I use this for my generally adhesive

Gel Matte Medium–(Liquitex or Golden)  This is ideal for gluing on heavier papers and objects (postcards, photos, shells, etc.)

Gloss Varnish–(Liquitex) I use this as my final topcoat to give my mixed media works a striking glossy finish.

UV Protective coating–(Golden) This helps protect imagery from sun damage.

2.  What sort of ink and markers do you use?

I love Faber-Castell India ink pens. Over the years I have tried a lot of pens and markers attempting to find the one that would work best for me. I’ve been using these for years now, and I love them–the tips are available in various sizes, and the ink is water-resistant (so they don’t bleed). They are fairly long-lasting compared to other fine art markers I’ve tried.  For calligraphy/drawing inks, I like Windsor Newton or Higgins. The Windsor Newton inks tend to be more translucent, which can be very fun.

Cut-out imagery

Cut-out imagery

3.  Where do you get your copyright-free imagery?

I love Dover clip art books. Dover has a large variety of copyright-free imagery books of different themes. (Such as Butterflies, Vintage travel posters, Women, Hands and Children’s illustration)

Copyright-free imagery help artists to avoid messy copyright issues and legal complications.  Many often also provide a disc of the images in the books, allowing the artist to reprint, resize, or otherwise alter the images. These files are also ideal for artist working in digital printmaking, or digital visual journaling.

4.  Can you recommend some less expensive art supplies that I can just try out and play with?

Absolutely! Everyone can make art and everyone should have some form of creative outlet. When you are just getting back into art, or just making art for the joy of creating there are less expensive options.

Here are some of your basics that you may find worthwhile:

Cheaper mixed media art supplies–

Mod Podge:  This works well as a glue alternative to standard school glue or glue stick. Use thin layers to prevent papers from warping.  Also, the matte (in my experience) seems to be more prone to peeling than the gloss (I liked the gloss one better) .

perfectly messyAcrylic Paint:  When buying paint, it is generally a good idea to stick with fairly reputable name brands.  However, if you are just starting out and want to play, look for the term Student Grade (as opposed to Artist or Professional Grade) on art supplies. These should meet your needs and be less expensive.

If you are just starting out, I recommend buying a few colors (maybe four, that go well together).  Of course, if you want to try with some cheap paint just to get a feel for painting, go for it.  Do what feels right to you.  I do recommend using a few nicer brushes though.

Paintbrushes:  You will want a combination of sizes and widths (maybe a thin brush, fan brush and a wider bristle brush like .5″ or 1″), variety helps you to find which style of brush works best for you. I prefer synthetic bristles. Nice brushes can get very expensive. If you are just starting out, I try purchasing mid-range brushes, not too cheap, but also not too expensive.

Paintbrushes (as well as the paper you are working on) do have a surprising effect on the quality of your finished work. I don’t think art should necessarily be made for what it will be as a finished piece. However, to best enjoy the process of creating, it helps if your tools work well to blend color, create lines, etc.

49Canvas (pre- stretched) or Canvas Board:  I like to buy pre-streched and primed canvases (because I have no desire to spend my time building wooden frames, stretching, mounting, and priming canvas on my own–but if that is something that appeals to you, awesome! Make canvases.  That is a pretty cool skill to have). I also prefer canvas to canvas boards or panels because they are easier to hang.

But, when just starting out, canvas boards are noticeably less expensive. You can even get them cheaper in packs of 5 or so. Note: If you do end up with a piece on canvas board that you want to hang, but don’t want to go through the process of framing–honestly, hot-glueing or super-glueing a piece of yarn or twine on the back works just fine.

Water-soluble Art Pencils:  These are not a necessity, but they are very fun for drawing, mixed media works, and art journaling. You can buy your standard Crayola-type kids’ watercolor colored pencils to give you an idea of how they work, and how fun they can be.

Oil Pastels: These are basically awesome crayons for adults. The are very pigmented and smooth. The aren’t great for fine line work, but they are great for coloring large areas, creating texture, color blending or working in a more expressionist or impressionist-inspired style. This is a product I recommend getting the student grade, as opposed to the cheapest option.  The cheapest ones will just seem very waxy like crayons.

Shiva Paint Sticks are amazing if you like playing with thick colors and texture. They do tend to get a little more pricey, but if you find you are loving oil pastels or like messy expressive work, they might be worth the investment.

Drawing Pencils:  For those of you who are more detail-oriented, like fine line work, gradation and shading, etc. However, if you like drawing or sketching in the slightest, these are well worth the minimal investment. The graphite in drawing pencils has different levels of hard or softness. So, a little variety in drawing pencils (perhaps a 5B, 2B, HB, 2H, 5H) will give you a nice sample of what pencils are capable of.

I also like to shop clearance or sale sections of art supply stores, craft stores and scrapbooking stores.  You may find little odds and ends that can be interesting to try in mixed media works, collages or art journaling.

other art-ness:

1.  What are some decent books or resources that might be useful?

I’m still struggling through the world, attempting to gain notice as an emerging artist. So, I’m by no means the end all of insightful artistic information. However, I firmly belief in sharing the love, positivity and passion of art. Therefore, despite my limited scope of art resource knowledge,  I’m happy to share several books and magazine publications I have found useful in my career development. This world is vast and there is room for all of us lovely creative humans.

Taking the Leap, by Cay Lang
Taking the Leap, by Cay Lang

Taking the Leap by Cay Lang (2006): I love this book.  It was required reading for one of my college art classes, and I still refer back to it.  Some of the information is a little out-dated (like photographing for and labeling slides), but most of the information is still very relevant and easily understandable

Professional Artist magazine (Formally called Art Calendar): I preferred their old name, because it felt less pretentious and daunting.  However, regardless of this magazine’s title, I highly recommend reading it, or at least taking some time to wander about the website.  They have many practical articles about a plethora of issues relevant to any artist.  The site also features exhibition opportunity listings.

Artist's Way
Artist’s Way

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: I recommend this book to almost everyone.  It is a book consisting of twelve chapters, and the reader does one chapter a week.  If you are curious you can read more about my personal experiences with The Artist’s Way here.  I did it on a whim, and I am so very grateful I did.  I can’t even explain this process, really–but it basically helped to evolve me into a more positive mindset, which has had fantastic results in my developing career as an artist.  Also, I highly recommend purchasing the book in paperback or hardcover.  I found there were many sections I wanted to underline, or make notes in the margins, etc.

2.  I used to be creative, but I’m not anymore (or) I used to draw and I miss it (or) I wish I were creative it looks fun (or) I want to make art, but I don’t really consider myself a real artist or anything…

I know this isn’t a question. However, it’s something I hear a lot. And it’s something that is important to address. Humans are creative, and it’s important for everyone to have a creative outlet. Something in our lives that we do simply because it makes our hearts happy–because we can get lost in the beauty of the process.

You can enjoy playing guitar, but you don’t have to be a professional musician for it to be worth your time. If you love golf, but aren’t going to qualify for the PGA anytime soon, those early morning on the greens are still enjoyable. If singing makes your heart giddy, you can still have your weekly karaoke girls night, even if you aren’t going to be quitting your day job.

This is the same thing, if you like making art–make art. You don’t have to be ‘amazing’, you don’t have to consider yourself an artist. You don’t even have have to let another living human see it (but show it to your dog, dogs are great, they won’t judge you).

Just make art because it makes your soul happy.  You have nothing to prove to anyone.

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