May 11, 2014 § 1 Comment
Sorry for not posting for a very long time, but well, life was busy :).
Anyway, as the first post after a long break I thought about something nice for all of you. How about turning your own handwriting into a font? Wouldn’t that be nice for personalized (printed) letters and things like that?
I used to do that regularly many years back. Back then I would use a special software that was quite pricey by that time, yet it still took a lot of time and tweaking to get an acceptable result. The good thing is nowadays you do not really need any kind of special software (at least not if you do not want to create something exquisitely and fancy), there are websites that will transform your writing into .ttf (true type font) and .otf (open type font) for free.
So how do we go about it?
- Go to one of these websites like http://www.myscriptfont.com or http://www.paintfont.com
- Create your font. If you’re language isn’t English make sure you use a template that will allow you to add every kind of special character your language has. There are also templates for mathematical symbols and so on.
- Print out your template and fill in the letters. There are guiding lines to help you get all characters in approximately the same height and length. It’s advisable to work with a bold black pen, to make sure that the characters will be read correctly by the software.
- Scan your template sheet(s) in 300 dpi and in greyscale. Save the file as either .jpg or .tif. Make sure that the file isn’t bigger than 2MB, because most websites won’t accept larger files.
- Upload it to the website, choose the type of font you want and don’t forget to give it a nice catching name aaaaaaand
- You’re done! 🙂
PS: Please don’t forget that you will have to install the new font into your computer’s font library, before you will be able to use it with your text editing or graphic programs.
August 23, 2010 § 1 Comment
It has been brought to my attention that there are a few people who do not dare to use the pen cap for changing the nibs, because they are afraid that this method could ruin their nibs. Please rest assured that as long as you don’t exert too much force while pushing the cap onto the nib nothing bad will happen.
Anyway, for those who prefer a method other than using the pen cap or their fingers for pulling off the nib, here is the tape method.
Yet, please let me state beforehand that I do not recommend this method. Some tapes don’t adhere well enough to the nib to get it off, especially if you haven’t cleaned off the ink properly, whereas other tapes are horribly sticky and tend to leave glue residue on your nib. Be careful, if this residue gets into the part of the ink flowing system of your nib it will be ruined.
The right way to use sticky tape would be to cut a piece to this length, like illustrated in the picture below. Most tapes will be wider than that, so you might have to cut the tape in half. Gently clean the nib and make sure there isn’t any ink (or water if you have just cleaned your pen) on the nib before applying the tape. Then pull gently on the tape until the nib slides off.
What not to do:
Don’t apply the tape over the ink flowing part of the nib. That would be the parts I’ve marked red in the following picture:
In the best case the ink therein will spread under the tape causing it not to stick to the nib, yet in the worst case glue residue from the sticky tape might clog up your ink flow. And believe me, it’s very difficult to get glue out of a nib, most likely you will have to get a new one.
September 22, 2008 § 12 Comments
Sorry for not updating my blog in a long time, but I have been on holidays the last couple of weeks and far away from my computer :).
Nevertheless it was nice to find some new comments here … and I’ll try my best to answer your questions.
So, what exactly is an ink eraser? It’s a tool to erase (erasable) blue ink.
Most ink erasers will basically look like that:
It has two different tips, one is a white/clear fiber tip which is used for erasing:
whereas the other tip is a blue fine-liner tip used for writing.
Now, let’s say you wrote something and made a mistake, just like that
you can erase the wrong parts using the white tip
And afterwards correct it, using the blue writing tip
It’s very easy ^^!
Ink eraser work only with erasable inks and at this time there are only blue ink colors that are erasable. You should be able to buy ink erasers in all those shops that carry pens and erasable inks or you could just try ebay, too.
Ink erasers are meant for those people who write with pens, however, there are of course even some weird and creative ideas for those who love to sketch with their pen. You can correct little mistakes in your line drawings (if you really care for…) or you can do negative drawings just like the one below 😉
June 28, 2008 § 6 Comments
There are quite a few reasons why I like oil pastels (OPs). Here are a few of them:
- bold colors (see the little sketch above, left: colored pencil, middle: oil pastel, right: pastel crayon)
- they are easy to apply and easy to use (no cleaning of brushes, no dangerous solvents, etc.)
- they don’t dry too fast, there is no need to hurry (vs. acrylic paint)
- you can paint dark over light and light over dark
- you can carry them anywhere
Although OPs are no new medium, they aren’t as common and wide spread as other drawing and painting mediums, so that’s why I’m doing this little FAQ consisting of questions I have been asked often.
Q: I’ve recently bought myself a little set of oil pastels and would like to paint with them, however, I have a very hard time trying to blend them. Why?
A: Most probably you got yourself the wrong kind of oil pastels. There are basically two kinds of OPs: artist grade (which can be blended) and student grade (which cannot really be blended well). There are only a few artist grade brands that are really recommendable if you want to paint with oil pastels:
- Sennelier oil pastels
- Hohlbein artist grade oil pastels
- Caran d’Ache “neopastel”
- Cray-Pas “specialists” (be careful, don’t confound them with the “expressionists” – the latter being student grade!)
- Erengi (a new brand, haven’t tried them yet, just mention them here to have this list complete)
All the other oil pastels are to be considered student grade, even if they claim to be “artists oil pastels”.
Q: What is the difference between artist grade and student grade oil pastels?
A: Actually I could give you a lot of answers on this one, but let me give you this comparison instead: if you are drawing with an artist grade OP it feels as if you were drawing with a lipstick whereas a student grade oil pastels feels more like a wax crayon.
Q: Unfortunately, it seems I’ve bought a student grade oil pastel set, is there no way to make them work? I’ve read somewhere that OPs can be solved with turps?
A: Yes, you can solve them with turps – to a certain degree. However, I doubt that the results will look smooth or nice, more likely you’ll end up ruining your painting surface. The best advice I can give you is save yourself an unnecessary expense and frustrating painting results by getting proper pastels from the very beginning. It’s true that artist grade oil pastels are so much more expensive, but you don’t need to buy a whole set at once. It’s a good idea to try to buy some colors from each brand so that you can try all of them out and see which brand you like best :).
Q: What tools do I need besides the oil pastels?
A: It’s alwayd advisable to get yourself a tool for spreading and blending the oil pastels. You might either get some Colour Shaper ™ or Clay Shaper ™ or you might as well take a firm eraser and shape him into the kind of form you prefer.
Q: What kind of support is advisable for oil pastels?
A: You can take almost any support you like. Most artists I know prefer Colorfix ™ papers or supports that have been primed with pastel primers. I for example like to paint on small pieces of framing mattes that I have primed before with pastel-ground. You could also take canvas or any kind of sturdy paper/board. Look for a surface that has a little bit of tooth.
Q: Do I need to seal my finished paintings with something? They feel so wet/sticky even days after, when are they going to be dry?
A: It is said that oil pastels never dry, however, those artist who work with this medium have found out, that the surface of an oil pastel painting will feel dry after a few months (which means it will be touch dry on the surface). You do not need to seal or fix your painting with anything, however, you might consider framing it behind glass for an optimal protection.
For more information on oil pastels, please visit: wetcanvas – getting started in oil pastels
March 16, 2008 § 5 Comments
Today is a big day – it’s my blog’s 1st birthday. Yet instead of a piece of cake I will offer you a tiny oil pastel tutorial. Enjoy!
The painting shown here was done for the February 2008 Oil Pastel Challenge on WetCanvas. Thank you very much Angela for this beautiful shot!
The first thing I need to know before starting a painting is the composition. In this case I decided to put this little horse into a nightly landscape and in order to show more of the night sky I decided to work on a vertical format.
I know that there are plenty of artists out there who can start painting right away and will always get a gorgeous result, but I need to have made up my mind completely before I can start to paint. I need to see the finished piece clearly in front of my inner eyes.
The photo above shows you how I usually start the paintings: I transfer the most important lines using either charcoal or white chalk, depending on the color of my support. No details for me at this stage.
Next step is choosing the right colors for this painting. I’ve made a color chart for that purpose, since one cannot always tell the color from looking at the pastel itself.
There’s really no need to choose the same colors as in your ref picture, just make sure, that you choose corresponding values and that the colors you choose match well together. Most of my paintings have stong complementary contrasts, but not all of them. This one here is almost monochromatic as one usually does not perceive colors by night (without artificial lighting).
That’s what I came up with. Basically 3 colors: pale yellows, light pinks and two blues. The olive green is just meant for adding some darker accents where necessary.
Next step is blocking in the main colors of the background. I always start with the background that makes it so much easier to find the right color and value for the main subject. And as you will notice, too, when looking at the upper left corner I also start blending the OPs almost immediately as I like a smooth and even surface, almost like an oil painting.
That’s what the painting looks like after having blended all the colors in the background. Now I can start working on the horse. I decided to leave the dark color of the background as the darkest value on the horse and just added lighter colors where necessary and this was the result:
January 27, 2008 § 1 Comment
This time it’s an tutorial for portraits using oil pastels.
Join the class and watch Pat as she goes along doing the portrait of a young girl.
I’ve started this portrait as well. And it’s almost finished (I’m going to show it to you as soon as I got new batteries for my camera). This was the preliminary sketch:
(oil pastel and pencil on selfmade pastelboard)
January 24, 2008 § 28 Comments
[This article + much more can be found as a separate page now:
When it comes to sketching with fountain pens, I do prefer my Lamy pens, since their abillity to write in almost each position is legendary.
Recently I noticed that more and more people seem to be interested in them, but only few know the facts, so I decided to write this little tutorial. I really hope that it will be of help to some of you and if you still have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask me, chances that I might know the answer aren’t that bad :).
A little bit of background information on Lamy. Lamy is a German company (located in Heidelberg btw) that produces high quality writing instruments and accessories, mainly fountain pens. In Germany kids at school write only with fountain pens (and non waterproof, erasable ink) and Lamy has probably been the most popular brand among them for many years now.
To meet the demands of all of their customers, the company regularly produces pens in new colors, styles, materials, etc. The insides of these pens and the nibs stay very much the same, it’s only colors and materials that vary. Oh, and yes, the prices, of course ;).
Here’s just a little part of my private Lamy collection:
What I consider more important than the outward style of the pen, is the nib:
Nibs can be bought separately (every nib will suit every pen – they are all built in the same way!) and they come in different sizes. There is also a special nib for the left-handed, its size being medium (nice for writing, but perhaps a little bit large for sketching?), although AFAIK most left-handed people won’t face any trouble using the regular nibs.
You can get your pen with these nibs:
- EF (extra fine)
- F (fine)
- M (medium)
- MK (medium kursive/ballpoint tip)
- B (bold)
- LH (left-handed, medium)
- Calligraphy-nibs (1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm)
For sketching you should try the EF nib or F, depending on what you like better. Nibs are made either of steel (black or silver) or of gold (F,M,B only). I’ve never observed any differences between the black steel nibs and the silvery steel nibs, but there is a big difference between the steel nibs and the gold nibs, the latter being much more elastic and thus more pleasant to write with. Unfortunately the gold nibs do not come in EF, they would be gorgeous for sketching :).
How to change nibs.
Get your pen and a nib. Since changing nibs is a little bit messy, you might also want to wear some disposable gloves and get a piece of scratch paper to work upon.
Turn your pen upside down:
The pale pink circle indicates the spot where you should place the cap…
…push the cap gently down with one of your hands while pulling the pen with your other hand…
…this should remove the nib from the pen. Clean the removed nib with warm water (never use soap or anything else for cleaning, just warm water) and carefully dry it with the help of a tissue.
Now get your pen and gently slide-in the new nib…
… until it has reached its final position.
Congrats, you’re done :)!
How to fill your pen with ink.
Now, if you are going to sketch with your pen, you surely will like to have a waterproof ink and since the ink that is supplied with your Lamy isn’t waterproof at all, it’s time to replace it with a water-resistant ink like Noodler’s.
There are two possibilities for doing this.
The safe method would be, to get a converter, to fill it with ink and use it in your pen. It isn’t difficult to handle, the only thing I do object about the converter is that it tends to suck up too much air and too little ink and it’s an annoying procedure to fill and refill this thingie until it’s acceptable filled.
The second method is to use a disposable syringe to refill your ink cartridge. Well, I assume that you are all old enough to know that you should be very careful while working with a syringe. Always reclose it immediately after using. And don’t let your children/pets/whatever play with them. The advantages of this technique is that it is much cheaper and that you will have more ink in your pen. (Check the photo for size comparison between ink cartridge and converter.)
Now you should be ready to start working with your new pen. Enjoy!