Welcome to my blog! This blog is dedicated to blogging about my art, my struggles as I try to become a regularly working artist, and useful information and tips that I learn along the way. My hope is that this blog can become a resource for other emerging artists; a combination of empathy and useful resources to help them through the beginning of their career.


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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another Mistake

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes”
-  Oscar Wilde

This week I discovered that I had made a doozy of a mistake that only a beginning artist would make. One of those mistakes that gives you that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and causes those desperate, racing, thoughts as you try to deny it, justify it, and fix it all at the same time.

The discovery of a mistake always seems to have that horrible, sinking moment of realization. Mine happened as I was coloring a drawing. I pulled out my battered piece of paper that has all the test swatches I’ve made with each of my Prismacolor markers and decided upon a pretty grey blue that I had not yet used. I pulled out the marker and started to make a swatch on a scrap paper like I always do. The color was a bright, dark blue. Assuming I had just used the wrong marker on my original swatch I did the same thing with another marker, and another, and another. Realizing that something was wrong I did what any sensible person would do. I pushed the sinking feeling down somewhere into my toes where I could ignore it and finished the drawing.

That night, unable to ignore the problem anymore, I did the research on my markers that I should have done long ago and discovered that they are not lightfast. Now I was faced with a summer of upcoming shows and nothing but drawings that were fading away. I toyed with the idea that I could still sell the drawings and just warn people of the problem, but decided that even though I’m just beginning, I don’t want to sell people a bad product. I likened selling art that can’t be exposed to light to selling umbrellas that can’t be used in the rain.

Panicked, I went to the store and bought all new India Inks (spending money that needed to be used on framing) and spent two days trying to make them work. I had used India inks in school but that was six years ago and that muscle seemed to have atrophied along with the lesson on knowing your materials. After two days I had calmed down considerably and found a solution that was much better. For now, I will sell high quality prints (archival and lightfast) of my color drawings, and revisit the black and white drawings that I’ve been meaning to start doing again anyway.

I believe that every mistake is useful. This mistake is especially useful for a few reasons. It helped bring me down a notch just as I was starting to feel pretty good about myself (a useful thing when you begin to think that you are more professional than you are), it forced me to learn about my materials, and eventually it will help me to evolve as an artist as I experiment with my new India inks.

It also helped to cement a lesson that I have learned in the past about planning before events. If I hadn’t have given myself that extra time that I’ve learned that I need, I wouldn’t have had time to fix the problem and I would have been selling shoddy artwork at my upcoming event. Thank goodness for past mistakes. Without them I wouldn’t be able to handle my current ones.

Useful websites:

http://www.astm.org/COMMIT/D01_MSkalkaVersion_Final.pdf- ASTM provides technical standards for a million things. This link is to a pdf of an overview of standards for artist coloring materials. You should be aware that these standards exist and know a little bit about them so that you can ask about them when you are buying your pens, markers, paints, or inks.  

http://www.amien.org/forums/  - This is website isn’t super user friendly but if you are willing to search through their forums you can find some great information about the quality of the products you are using in your artwork. I was able to find useful info on markers.

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