Before leaving the topic of Graphitints I wanted to make a comment about the blog comments, or some of them, because several people writing in had questions and I wasn't sure how best to address them. So I'm going to do that in this post rather than answer the individual emails. This might not be protocol for blogs but it is going to work for me this morning, while I also work out some more features of this blogging software.
1. When buying art materials realize that a lot of companies don't care that what they are selling isn't archival because there is a huge buying population that also doesn't care. (We need to find that buying
population on Craig's list and sell them our Graphitints!) It isn't even a bad thing. The company is filling a need. It's just not your need. Look for words like "craft," "student," "academy," "professional," or "illustrators," or "great for illustration," or other words that indicate the product is smashingly fun. Copy writers need to have some way to sell the product and fun sells. Student grade is obvious in its implications. And as for professional illustrators, well we all know that work is supposed to be fugitive, look at Daumier! (Really, tongue out of cheek, go look at Daumier!) Happily some illustrators, like Daumier, worked with archival media, but Illustration work has always been thought of as more ephemeral and fugitive: make it, shoot it, reproduce it, and move on. I was stunned to see original children's book illustrations by a famous illustrator done with Dr. PH Martin's concentrated dyes! These were very popular in the 1970s and airbrush friendly. They were also already fading in the originals. But we have the books. Anyway, the point is it's always buyer beware.
2. Derwent, a complete disclosure about my relationship with the company: My first colored pencils were Derwent Artist Pencils. A box of 12. I still have the tattered box with several pencils missing. I got these when I was a child in Australia and when we returned to the U.S. I couldn't get them any more. I longed for Derwents and instead had to change brands. Years later, the global market being what it was growing to be I could get them and did. I think Derwent is a good company. I want to think it is a great company. I went to their factory in England's Lake District on my honeymoon. (Sadly we only got to see a diaorama type display and I doubt anything was being made there.) All the days of my life I'll probably continue to buy and test Derwent products. (I still use the same toothpaste I've used since childhood.)
3. Someone asked what type of hot press paper I use. That's a sticky question right now because I am changing brands, trying new ones even as I type (literally there is a painting drying on the table next to me). I'll be writing more about this paper brand switch in the coming weeks. To simplify for now I'll just say that the hot press paper I normally used was Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. Hot Press watercolor (either extra white or traditional). I have a little of this left in the flat file. No new batches have come into the paper store I frequent so I don't know if this paper is changing. (Their cold press has changed: see my article on tearing down Fabriano in the PAGES list. More about this paper is also coming.) So if you go out and buy Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. Hot Press watercolor I can't with confidence believe you will be working on the same paper I have in my flat file. If you are, you'll be very, very happy indeed. I typically do my State Fair journals on cards made of this paper. I don't have my 2008 State Fair Journal up yet, but the 2007 State Fair Journal is up. That's Minnesota, for folks who don't know what state I'm talking about.
4. If you purchase art materials that are NOT archival or lightfast, don't despair. We all live and learn. Burn through them quickly, use them with abandon. You'll learn something in the process that you can take with you, and you'll also free yourself up; become that much more capable of dealing with the blank page; it won't even phase you. Just remember to take some photos or make some scans. Ditto if you give the materials to kids, because kid art should be saved and frankly kids already are just fine with the blank page. Better yet, make an assemblage of some sort with the materials.