Thursday, July 16, 2015

Experiments with Sketching

Initial sketch in regular pencil
Before the hot weather arrived, before "summer" kicked in as a mind-set, I had a sudden urge for icecream served in a sugar cone. I don't know that I've ever bought cones to use at home, although I do remember my mother always having them on hand. They were the basic kind, a bit chewy if you took too long to licking away at the scoop(s) on top and the icecream crammed down inside started to melt. They were a bit tasteless too as I remember, but could have a satisfying crunch. They gave a restless child mobility, as mom handed me the prize and I could take off with it, no need to sit at the table until done. One less bowl and spoon needing to be washed as well. My first sugar cone was a revelation in flavor delight, probably had at a Baskin-Robbins (31 flavors!), my first waffle cone equally so, probably offered at a county fair. Either nearly rivaled the icecream in them for which one I was enjoying most.

Vintage icecream scoop

So I went off to buy a box of sugar cones and thought to sketch it in my comforts book. But then all these memories of the other kind of cone came flooding back, and I realized I'd be sketching the wrong kind of cone. So I searched the internet for an image to use, and was also reminded of the kind of scoop my mother had on hand. I haven't used one of these forever, having been given one of those metal ones that hold heat when you put it in hot water. Supposedly, the icecream will then not stick to it, come sliding right off. But I'm too impatient to wait for it to get hot enough, too impatient to heat it at all, not comfortable even when it sort of worked. Thinking I need to track down one with the metal piece that, when you push that lever with your thumb, tracks the bowl of the scoop, releasing the icecream without a glitch.

Adding water soluble graphite pencil

So with internet images before me, I worked on the initial sketches with regular pencil over a few days. Then it was time to experiment with some of my "liquid" media. First I played with my water soluble graphite pencils, a set that gives me options from dark to light. My childhood scoop had a black handle, so I chose the darkest pencil (8B) to lightly apply some graphite. I was amazed at how that bit on the paper darkened and filled in the spaces when touched with the barely damp brush. Can't say why these intrigue me so, but I am very much drawn to working with them. They are like magic. I used the lightest and next to lightest (HB and 2B) to shade the rest, trying to capture the reflections in the bowl that I was seeing in the photo I found.

Finishing with watercolor and Inktense color pencil

I took advantage of a special sale to add this traveling watercolor set to my arsenal, but had not tried it yet. I used it to color the cone and felt as stumped with the process as I did when I was using the cheaper watercolors in the art journal exercises. I eventually got the color down but it took a lot of time and trials. It was a relief to turn to my Derwent Inktense water soluble pencils to shade the background. I just did some light strokes with indigo, then went over the page with a damp brush. When you use so little pigment, you have to be more careful about blending, I soon found out. I changed my brush strokes which had followed those of the pencil to work around the shape of the icecream cone and you can see how that concentrated the color in a way different from the rest of the background. As a finishing touch, I added some purple to the icecream (I'd bought blueberry swirl to go with my sugar cones), laying down some fuchsia and indigo Inktense on a piece of parchment paper, then mixing them with a wet brush and applying to the sketch.

This was a good place to test all these things, and I am fairly happy with the outcome. Now all that is left is to pen my narrative onto the page.


Sherrie Spangler said...

It looks good enough to eat! I remember those ice cream scoopers from when I was a kid. they're still my favorite type.

The Idaho Beauty said...

It did come out pretty good, didn't it? Enough to make me hungry for icecream and I am currently all out! Wonder why you don't see this type of scoop much anymore?