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08 March 2010 @ 04:49 pm
The Auroch Autarch  

A lot of people ask me about materials and techniques that I employ, and I've always really enjoyed it when other artists let me peek in on their process, so let's sweat the details together shall we?

First off, even before we get into materials, I think it's important to respect your art and anyone who may want to purchase it. You art is your legacy and if you're lucky it will last longer than you, you bag of decomposing bones. Although I wouldn't classify myself as a "Gear Person" you know the type; has to have the finest this and most expensive that, however, drawing on a used pizza box with a ballpoint pen isn't going to cut it either. It's important to use acid free papers and light-fast inks, your future-self will thank your past-self for doing it.

First I draw a rough on animation paper using a red col-erase pencil and a soft graphite pencil (5B). Animation paper is fine-toothed and very thin, made for light boxing. As you can see I get pretty sloppy, and that's the way I like it. I don't ink directly on my rough and I find this gives me the freedom to make mistakes and take chances. If I start inking and don't like how it's turning out *crunch* off it goes in the wastebasket and it doesn't matter because I still have my rough. I always ink the faces first, because if you screw up the face your drawings are done for. Oh, and I hate white-out and rarely use the stuff.

The paper I use when inking is from these sketchbooks that I purchase at my local art supply store. It's nothing fancy but it's acid-free and has the perfect medium-tooth for dry brush and it's 73lb, so it's thin enough to light box with. The ink is applied with a #2 Winsor & Newton University Series, they have synthetic bristles so they're inexpensive and durable. The ink I use is Speedball Super Black India Ink, when opening a new bottle I leave it uncapped for about a week to thicken it. I use a post-it note stuck near my art to wipe any excess ink off the brush, very important when applying a dry brush technique.

The overall theme to my work area is "Organized Chaos". That's my table-top animation desk that I use to do all my work on (there's a light behind it for light boxing). Non-permanent scotch tape is important to tape up your art so it doesn't fall down all the time. Also the natural-light lightbulbs for your desk are fantastic, they're easy on the eyes and makes your colours so much truer.

Thanks everybody for your continual support and now that I've shown you mine let's see yours.
eyepatchmcgeeeyepatchmcgee on March 9th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
MAN I love this drawing,I dragged my boyfriend over to the computer to show him cause I loved it so much haha! It's cool to see your process. I should post mine too!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
I'm glad you like it! You should post your process too, it's always neat to see.
Arithmetica: muchaslavarkonaarithmetica on March 9th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
I love seeing photos of other people's work areas. You're about as messy and cluttered as I am when it comes to your working space :P
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, clutter just happens when you don't have much space. My husband works on the other side of the table. The art desk that my animation table in on is actually a door on it's side with a smooth surface on it. It's hinged on a couple of 2x4's.
jordyn f bochonyfrontninja on March 9th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
WOW! This is incredible, Dart. I can't stop looking at this drawing. It makes me want to draw better.

Your workspace is what my workspace aspires to be.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC)
Thanks Jordyn! Yer so nice!
jasoncmjasoncm on March 9th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
I LOVE red col-erase. I can't work in non-photo blue, for whatever reason, but scarlet red rocks.

Thanks for naming your brush -- I've never tried that one, I'll have to check it out.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
Funny, I'm the same way too, I just can't rock the blue. It's gotta be red.

They're good brushes, I've been very happy with them so far.
mr_lambimr_lambi on March 9th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Lovely work here, man. And your desk is so cool, I want to sit at it!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
Sure, come on over! I might put you to work though.
Oncological Horror: yayart!tumorhead on March 9th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
Hell yeah I love your warrior women! Fabulous pic!

I also love seeing artists' studio spaces, so thanks for sharing! It's such a colorful happy sanctuary of whirling colors and florishing pencils.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. Sometimes it seems more like a prison of whirling colours and flourishing pencils.
Hugosersugg on March 9th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
Arrghh, that drawing so good! Thanks for letting us see how the sausage gets made. Of course, unlike in that famous adage, in this case, peeking behind the scenes whets one's appetite. I'm heartened by the fact that you're roughs are so "sloppy"; whenever I see artwork by people of your caliber, I imagine that it just springs fully realized from their brush on the first attempt and that only talentless hacks like me have to sweat and redraw. I usually don't ink on my originals either. That's good advice there about the faces. And when you say "white out" are you speaking specifically of the brand name stuff or just any white covering medium? I find that white gouache works really well for covering up mistakes and/or for getting fine details. I have a raging case of studio envy. My work area looks so crappy and meager, and now I have a cat that jumps up on my desk and knocks stuff over. Grrrr.....
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
There's nothing more frightening than a blank, white page (sometimes a shot of brandy can help with that though). Drawing for me is usually a fluctuation of anxiety, dread, frustration, extreme egoism and severe self doubt.

Sometimes I use white ink for certain effects or for covering mistakes on work that is to be reproduced, but for one-offs, something that could be feasibly hung on a wall, I don't like to use it.

I could write pages about art that has been destroyed by cats.

And please don't call yourself a talentless hack, it makes me angry.
(no subject) - sersugg on March 10th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - r_dart on March 12th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Hark!  A Vagrantbeatonna on March 9th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
I loved this post! So great!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks Kate!
Brian Evinouevinou_art on March 9th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
What a wicked drawing! That bull's face is one pissed off dude!

Great studio space! I collect a lot of original artwork, whats that on your walls there?
Brian Evinouevinou_art on March 9th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
I mean what are those originals on your wall?
(no subject) - r_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I have a bit of tendonitis in my right arm, so I find inking with brushes has helped a lot with that, as you don't have to exert any pressure on the paper as you do with pens.
fearlessfosdickfearlessfosdick on March 9th, 2010 03:01 am (UTC)
There's so much to love about this drawing! The expressions and the chunky muscles on the bull are my favorite. Thanks for the process post!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks Steve!
Stan Martinopractice_cactus on March 9th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC)
More chubby warrior!! Great flow.
As someone who loves seeing them also, I thank you for the work station and progress sketch.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Well, your posts showing your puppet-making process are a real inspiration.
Darryl Ayo Brathwaitenervousystem on March 9th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
Superblack is The Gawd. I've heard arguments for Black Magic, but I can't see the appeal. Superblack is less like putting on black and more like applying Null-and-Void to a surface. It's black.

That's a fantastic workspace. I need to get my area at least half as methodical and organized as what you've got. I can see the efficiency in your set up!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
Ha Ha! I've never tried Black Magic, but your totally right, I haven't found a better ink than Super Black.
A.D.Puchalskiiamdollface on March 9th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
People always want to come up and see my studio. If mine looked like yours I might let them. My work surface is a drawing board and the half of my $99 Ikea love seat that I'm not sitting on.

That is an inspired piece of work you've posted. Lovely!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

Well, ya know, Chester Brown drew most of his comics on a board while sitting in bed, so wherever there's a will there's a way.
.a jorb well done.: || i fear no monsters ||rakugaking on March 9th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
thank you so much for posting your process =) it's always great to see how someone works! i'm really impressed with your drybrush technique -- the way you render the textures in your pieces is fantastic. i'd like to try this out for myself one day!

and finally, very nice set up! it seems like a place that fosters a creative atmosphere.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Thank so much! Drybrush can be more time consuming than regular inking, but I like the soft edges you can get with it and it's surprisingly forgiving.
Thaily Brimstonethaily on March 9th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC)
Gah, you have so much stuff. I just wanna rifle through all the little glas jars on those shelves there, and all the pencils.

My place is so much emptier compared to yours :P


But I keep most of my art supplies in cabinets and boxes, if nothing else to protect it from the dust from my birds.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
Did you make that cool looking sculpture on your desk? Is that a hare?

Thanks for the photo, it's a great example of extreme differences in creative work spaces. Your's look so clean *sigh*.
(no subject) - thaily on March 10th, 2010 10:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
Thank so much!
AVIV spelled backwards is VIVA.aviv_really on March 9th, 2010 10:20 am (UTC)
Ohhh.. inking faces first... That's clever! Never thought of that. Thanks for the tip.

Very nice bullfight you got going there.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)

Yeah, when people look at an image they spend about 90% of that time looking at the face and take in the background peripherally. So you have to make sure that face "reads" well.
James Lloydpuddingsock on March 9th, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC)
Lovely post. I've visited many times, but I still wanted a proper look at the working process. Clean, efficient, super results... while my own modus operandi very much resembles a drunken trans-gender operation with a butter knife.
Hey, I like that even in the wide shot of your workspace you can still see the big cock I drew!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, you. Your work is like a laser cutting into an eyeball; clean and flawless.

That big cock is my favourite, I stare at it for hours.
soothinghorror on March 9th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
You're so awesome Rebecca. Can I be your official stalker? ;)
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Really! I've always wanted a stalker!
J ROCKderbyartist on March 9th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
That beast's neck flap kinda freaks me out! And I love your cluttered desk!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Ah, the freaky dewlap! It does look kind of labial doesn't it?
Tammy Lee: Food!tammylee on March 9th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
Love your set up! Is that a sword I see peeking out?
Great tip about the sticky note to wipe off excess ink. I'm going to have to try that!

Edit: I had meant to add, I use a denim lapcloth I made from an old pair of jeans to wipe off excess ink from my brushes and nibs. And because my studio has carpet I lay down surgical um... sheets? But they're not huge, maybe two feet by four feet. They are liquid resistant so if I spill something I can mop it up and it doesn't soak through to my carpet.

Edited at 2010-03-09 04:45 pm (UTC)
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Ha Ha! You noticed my TP tube and cardboard sword! I was having a hard time figuring out hand positions for sword holding, so I whipped that up.

That's good tip for a wiping cloth, more environmentally friendly than mine. Thanks for sharing.
(Anonymous) on March 9th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the insight.
It's always a pleasure to that other people work in a similar way to oneself. I use a regular light table, any ordinary thin suitable paper, a brown pencil for original drafts, then HB pencil to firm up. Then it's off and on the light table until I get a satisfactory result.

Then we part company, I scan it into the computer, clean it up, and then work digitally.

I'd like to send you a photograph of my studio but it's the whole house - much to my wife's annoyance. The lightbox moves around from room to room. As for drawing, I sometimes lie in the bed sketching, or the floor or couch of the sunny front room, kitchen table, and sometimes the upstairs office. My kids have taken it over - that's why I'm temporarily studio-less.

I work from a laptop which can end up being used in all the same places although I have a large fat screen monitor (on stacked books) and a Wacom tablet ready on the front room table to plug it into. The scanner lives upstairs surrounded by the kids.

One thing you missed in your post is the initial concept which is scribbled wherever. Does it work like my process? On the back of an envelope, a corner of a notepad, on the minutes of a meeting, and is not at all necessarily like the finished product. And then perversely, sometimes, the final product doesn't work unless it's exactly like the original scribble.

Sorry I'm anonymous, I don't sign up with these tracking accounts. If this link survives you can track me here. http://www.stooryduster.co.uk/
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 9th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the insight.
Thanks for the great comment. I check out your sight, your work is hilarious. You're completely right, that an artist's workspace is where ever that artist happens to be.

The idea for this particular piece came to me pretty much full realized, but you're right again, I usually have a scrap, or a post-it note with a super quick, chicken scratched scribble that has an energy to it that can never be recaptured.

Thanks for sharing your artistic experience with us.
Re: Thanks for the insight. - (Anonymous) on March 23rd, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ana Skyfishanaskyfish on March 11th, 2010 11:06 am (UTC)
Anybody with a Viva Knievel poster and a The Rita sticker is alright by me! Somehow I lost the USB cord for the camera, but I'll try to get a work area picture up this week.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 12th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
There's also a page from an old porn magazine with Johnny Cash as a women. Looking forward to your pics.
Maxine Frankdandydevildog on March 12th, 2010 09:39 am (UTC)
Completly gorgeous and beautifully inked. I love your warrior ladies to death. I love seeing artists' process, you rock for sharing yours with your adoring public.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on March 12th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks Max! My warrior ladies love you to death too.