In August someone shared a video of Karlyn Holman demonstrating how to use the "Elegant Writer" calligraphy marker made by Speedball. Karlyn is a fantastic artist and creates demos for Cheap Joes Art Stuff - a widely popular store for artists' supplies frequented by the Pieces of 8 if we are in their neighborhood - Asheville, Boone or Charlotte, NC! (They once loaded us up with some free supplies because they asked if we were there to paint - of course we were - but they meant to paint in their class that people had paid for. We can be so naive. And appreciative!)
Anyway, the artist was so good, as was the video, that I decided to give these markers a try. They come in sets of four or you can buy them individually. I bought one, the 1.3 mm tip and started drawing with it at one of our Pieces of 8 weekly meetings at Ralph's Art Supply. We were drawing cups! The magic of this marker is that if you wet what you've drawn with it, it oozes (yes it oozes) all kinds of marvelous colors. Totally beautiful blues, pinks and greens. That makes it awful and totally non-elegant if you worked hours on some beautiful calligraphy piece only to splash a drop of water on it. But, if as in the video, you wanted to wet it, then all kinds of FUN happens.
I love all the little squiggles happening on their own and the pretty mauve and blue shadows.
I made three more small 8x10s using the pen and wetting my paper afterwards. I realized why they were popular with people who make those pre-painted brightly colored journals. Stored the pen away with my colored pencils for journaling and got on with other things.
But, thinking they would be fun for the Pieces of 8 to experiment with in 2016 (we like to experiment but we call it a "challenge"), I ordered sets through Ralph's Art Supply that I was going to give them all today at our annual Christmas party. Which, unfortunately, I had to miss due to a bad cold. So, this is their notice, sets are waiting for you.
Hope you will all have FUN experimenting. Here's is what I learned...
First of all, they only run when first "activated" by painting over them with water. Once a spot has spread, it doesn't spread again. It's really great for creating a background by painting around your object. Here's the start of one after activating, at the end I've put the final version of this in. (I deliberately left the center of the flowers blank so that I could put some pure yellow in and draw the stamens with a marker that doesn't bleed.)
You can sprinkle salt into any wet area for a grainy effect - shown above.
Then there's the fact that you can lightly spray your piece to get all sorts of lovely "bleeds" running every which way, especially if you tip and turn your paper.
You can carefully go over fine areas with a thin brush to keep them from spreading later. This is vital if you want to keep areas for pure color later. And I love how the colors that run are perfect for leaves!
And that's another great thing, you can paint or color over them. I've used gouache for all of these, but watercolor, acrylic, inks, colored pencils and markers will all work.
And you can go back and add new areas and bleed them. (Here I went back and added some background leaves with a Micron and others with the Elegant Writer. Then I sprayed water on it to get all the little spreading splotches.)
Or, in my case, where I want detail to not get all fun and wonky, I use a Micron pen over top. They don't bleed - ever! Below, the final centers on the lilies were drawn with a Micron pen.
Here's a link to that inspiring video if you've got 25 minutes to spare.
And my dear Pieces - I missed you all greatly today! Hope to see you all before next year!