Thursday, February 13, 2014

Looking Sharp


I finished the paint tubes! These were fun. They look like they're standing around, maybe gossiping about the other colors. :~) I don't know. The things your mind does when you're sitting, sitting, sitting, and drawing. Maybe they don't like the greens, or blues. 

I actually had this idea last year and was going to make it into a Christmas card. I have some reference shot of green tubes too. I still like the idea. Maybe this year ...



This is 7" x 7", done mostly with Polychromos, and some other brands for the reds.

These were an experiment on Arches Hot Press, which I've never used before. I like it about 99% as much as I like Stonehenge, so that's pretty good. I seemed to get little 'flecks' or spots of color, especially after a couple of layers, which I didn't like. Not sure what that's all about - something about the paper surface, obviously, but I couldn't tell you what. There's not as much tooth on the paper as with Stonehenge, but for something like this, which didn't take too many layers, it was fine. I will use it again!





But THIS is what I really wanted to share. I bought myself a new pencil sharpener. 
ITS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER BOUGHT IN MY LIFE. 



The Bostitch Super Pro 6 electric. Its a little (OK, maybe a lot) pricey, but if you do a search you can find the best deal. (I'm always amazed at the difference in price for these kinds of things.) I got mine on ebay for significantly less than some retailers. They go from $70 or so to over $100 (with most selling for $80-something), so it pays to shop around!

I've been using an Xacto School Pro for 5 or 6 years. When it was new, I thought it was great. Gradually, over time, it got duller, and duller, and was eating more pencils (mostly Prismacolors), until it just became a wood chipper. Even my harder pencils like Polychromos were breaking in it. 

I had stopped using Prismacolors altogether for the past couple of years, because at first I just thought they had gone downhill. I had heard about them changing their manufacturing, moving things to Mexico, and had several people say they were experiencing problems. So I thought it was just the pencils. Then when my other pencils started to break too, I realized it was time for a new sharpener.

So let me illustrate.
On the left here we have the new Bostitch, and on the right, the old Xacto.




And here are two Prismacolors, both of which were sharpened in the sharpener they're modeling in front of. 


HEL-LO!!! Do you see what I'm talking about?
Let's do it again with two more pencils, shall we?




I could do this all day long. The old sharpener takes them to a really dull point, then CRACK! off snaps the lead. The new one just zips it into a needle-like point, lickety-split. Its a beautiful thing.




The only thing you have to be careful with is that it doesn't have an 'auto-stop'. Which means it will just keep going, if you let it.

So now after I've re-sharpened all - I don't even know how many - hundreds! - of Prismacolors, I have an art 'to-do' list as long as my arm. It will be a joy to 'color' again!


1 comment:

Laura Pond said...

I have been using the same electric sharpener that I received in 1972. It works better than any of the newer products on the market. Hope it never breaks.