I don't have any art education - im self taught - and it shows! When it comes to learning new techniques, drawing new things or trying new approaches it takes a considerable amount of effort because I'm just clueless at many occasions. It is easy to stick to what you know how to do - much harder to something new. But I dont mind, somehow I manage to finish things which always isn't a given. I have tons of drawings from my early days - not many of them are finished. Now, I get more pride just to bring a conclusion to an artpiece Ive been working on for a long time.
I use quite simple, basic items to do my art - here's pretty much all I need:
Things start with a sketch. Well, to be precise - not quite. Things start with and idea. Usually not a very grand or original idea - if its up to me - but an idea altogether. But mostly I'm lucky - customer has usually an idea what they want and its a real big help. Sometimes very detailed, sometimes just broad guidelines - but its a starting point anyhow. Then comes the sketch where I try to grow the idea and give it life.
It can be a rough sketch:
Or it can be just a detail of the bigger picture:
But a sketch anyway. After that Sepulcral cover I've been drawing much more detailed sketches which seems to be helpful. In addition to the details I get a much better feeling how the final piece would look like. Nothing fancy when sketching, just a HB pencil - and a 2B to bring out the details. I could use much harder pencils but somehow I just tend to break the paper with them so I just stick to my trusty HB.
I do sketches either A4 or A3 - it depends. Like I mentioned in my earlier blog posts - I like it big. It gives me freedom. Details. Continuity. Lots of things. Bigger the better.
I re-draw the sketch to my (roughly) A2 size paper and start inking from there. Just basic Indian ink and a size 4 brush. I bought smaller size brushes but I never actually use them. Size 4 can hold decent amount of ink in it, so I dont have to constantly dip my brush to get more ink - and if its a good quality brush, its actully good enough size for details too (given that you're painting on a big enough paper!).
Ive yet to find a successor to my green brush - its amazingly durable, its been in my hands trough every single of my works Ive done with ink! I can't believe its still working - I've bought couple new brushes but they hardly seem last one session - let alone thru the entire work. And they've been made of badger or whatnot! Sadly, can't even remember where I got that green brush or let alone what's it made of...
Paper I use is bit more thicker than normal watercolour paper. I really don't know what is proper good quality paper for this kind of art - I just check that the ink "smudge" is minimal - so it goes where I want it to go. Paper just has to be thick enough to handle all that ink and not too coarse so It wont affect details. I have a wooden tablet where I tape down the paper - and it stays there until its finished.
I dont like ink pens a lot (well I do like them, just that Im not any good with them) but I still use them - mostly just to give few finishing touches, sharpening few edges, giving some soft shadows. Usually not much - just to give the "final touch".
My pencil pouch is self-made - from a sleeve of a Bundeswehr combat shirt!
I will go into detail of the actual techniques - how my sketching goes from idea to actual art and how the inking progresses from start to finish - little later. But other than that, this is how I work - or atleast the tools that I work with.