new book beginnings ~ db

Orca sketches

The very first study, January 10, 2009.

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Yesterday, I cleaned the studio; I haven’t seen the top of my desk in many months. Today, a year and 8 months or so after starting work on the roughs, I’ll begin work on the finals. I find this a terrifying prospect. I’ve spent the entire development stage planning for this, deciding on approach, plotting colours. Thinking about paper, materials, medium. Doing little experiments along the way to try to figure stuff out. This is the point where hopes are either dashed or realised. Potential quashed or surpassed. All possible approaches will be narrowed down to one solution and that’s, quite frankly, frightening. So I’m going to procrastinate for a while longer by writing this blog post.

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3B’s get their own jar – they’re my favourite so there are lots of them.

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Cleaning the studio cleans my brain. It’s amazing how the boxes of stuff, even those tucked out of sight, can still clutter up my mind. Stuff is burdensome. But at the same time, I have a hard time not accumulating studio things. I admit, materials and paper languish in bins for years until I rediscover them and get around to using them but I’m not sure I see a way around that. Last night, I saved myself a trip to the art supply store by discovering a box of forgotten pastels. Struck by the need to experiment with different paper types requires a supply on hand, before the mood and available time vanishes. The solution comes down to regular inventory and careful, labeled storage.

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Inventory also means sorting through the pens, and figuring out which ones have run dry. I hate throwing out pens. First and most important reason – the thought of adding more plastic garbage to wherever plastic garbage ends up, makes me feel a little ill. Second reason – when I find a pen I like, I’d like it to last me a lifetime. It’s frustrating finding just the perfect one, with just the perfect nib, that makes just the perfect line and feels just right in my hand, only to have it shortly run out of ink and then discover the model has been discontinued.

It’s really hard to find refillable pens these days without going to a specialty store or investing and arm and a leg. After the pilot (pictured above) ran out, I refused to buy another disposable, plastic pen, opting instead to get a refillable lamy, which I really like. It is, however, still plastic.

I discovered, in my cleaning and sorting, that I had kept the dry pilot, as well as a couple of used up Koh-I-Noor Nexus. After a bit of fiddling, I found I was able to take them apart and refill them. It says much for how many long hours I’ve spent locked in the studio that I found this exceedingly exciting. Simple pleasures, I tell ya.

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So now I have inky fingers, but I have some of my preferred drawing materials back. The next job is to figure out how to fix the lid on my grandfather’s old inkwell from the 20’s.

Actually, the next job is to start finishing this book.

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