Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Day Nine

This is another book that I found on Amazon. Inchose three examples from this book based on their simplicity. I decided to use colored pencils for this particular page.

The above is the before image. Blogger aeems to be acting up so this will be a shorter blog post until I can figure what is going on.

Overall I am very happy with the way it turned out. I would have changed a couple of color choices but can live with the final product.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day Eight

Today’s coloring assignment was another page from the Deck the Halls Coloring Book. This is similar to the page I did here .  That example was colored using alcohol inks so I wanted to see how the Crayola Super Thins would do.



As you can see the coverage is similar to the alcohol inks and the transparency is similar as well. Because the ornaments were very detailed, I decided to apply a color wash over the entire ornament, including the black parts. There were no problems in doing so.

I am happy with the way that the markers performed. My two complaints are that the markers are not labeled with color names so you have no way of referencing a particular color. Also, the marker tubes are perfectly round and they roll everywhere—not a good thing when trying to color on a moving train.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Day Seven

This is a book that I have been very excited to use. The artist is an illustrator from the team that produces products for the company of Linda &Harriet.. The illustrations feature some of my favorite broad/thick line styles for coloring. I purchased my copy at Blick but it is also available from Amazon.

After yesterday’s experiment with the crayons, I wanted to see what effects this type of paper would have in terms of color saturation and coverage. Because the paper is a deluxe watercolor paper, it has a texture or tooth. I think that it is possibly a cold-pressed paper which will have some effect on how the waxy crayon will distribute across the page.

I used a variety of blending and layering techniques to try and see how they would be affected.  The red peony was colored using five different shades of red. Because of the lack of color value between the colors used, there is very little shading or effects. The darker colors were added first and the lighter colors were added on top.

The yellow peony was created differently. Five colors were used as well. The darker color was added on the outer petal and the lighter colors were added until the petal was fully colored. The fifth and lightest color was applied over the entire petal as a general wash.

The leaves were all colored using the same six crayons. Each branch was colored using a light, medium and dark value. The variation occurs in the sequence in which the colors were applied. The colors were rotated for each separate branch of leaves. To get this variation, colors were applied randomly with the last color applied as a wash.

I also wanted to see if I could create an ombré effect for the background. You can see the clear delineation of the three colors but the colors would not blend at the lines of separation.

I highly recommend this book and to be honest it will probably be the only adult coloring book that I will complete in its entirety--although I would prefer to call it a DIY Artist’s Book. I will continue to experiment with the book to see how wetter media including all types of markers and watercolors will do with this paper. I will probably order a second book to have on-hand so once the experiments are concluded I can color a copy for my personal use.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day Six

Today's coloring assignment is the last installment of the Color a Day Calendar discussed yesterday. Today, I wanted to test the quality of the new Crayola crayon formula. The company is now producing a waxier product with less pigment. This is both a blessing and a curse. The extra waxiness allows for an easier coloring experience but the medium upon which it is placed has a effect on the color saturation and blending capabilities.

The texture of the paper has a slight glossy texture and you can see here that the color isn't evenly distributed across the image. once a wax layer is placed down there is no way to blend it with another color or to layer color. Tomorrow, I will text out the crayons on a watercolor paper to see the effects.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Day Five

Today's coloring challenge is two pages from a 2018 Page a Day Coloring Calendar that I bought on Amazon. This is the perfect way to get your daily dose of coloring done. Each page is about 5 1/4 inches by 4 3/8 inches. The coloring area is about 3 1/8 inches by 3 3/4 inches. The paper is thin but holds up well to colored pencils and markers. The paper is very porous so blending might be an issue for some. I used the Crayola Super Thins. I would be interested to see how my Copic Markers would do. I hope to get the chance to try crayons on the third sheet that I brought along. This would make a great gift for the coloring enthusiast in your family. The back side of each sheet could be used as scratch paper but there is a lot of bleed through with the markers although there wasn't any feathering of color when using the water based markers. I will let you know how the Copic Markers do when I return from the tour. There are a variety of styles presented in the calendar and the small size is great without getting overwhelming should the pattern be overly complicated.

January 1 Before
January 1 After (with colored pencils)
January 2 After (with markers)
As you can see in the second example, the layering of color works with some colors better than other colors. For the leaves, the light green was applied first and the darker green afterwards. The effect turned out more streaky than layered. For the flower leaves, the yellow was applied first and the orange and ochre applied afterwards with better results.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Day Four

Today's coloring assignment was chosen by Bethanie, a 10 year old young lady from the Twin Cities. Her parents gave her permission to come visit me in the observation car. She only wanted to watch because she isn't a good colorer. She looked through the materials and chose this gingerbread house and she chose all of the colors used. We used pencils because the train was rocking a lot and the markers would have made it difficult to color the smaller/intricate parts.

I am happy with the way it turned out. Granted it is a little more finicky than I prefer but that is what this whole Coloring Tour is about. By getting out of my comfort zone, I get to develop new techniques including learning to color on a moving train. What pains me is how self-critical a 10 year old can be. She didn't like the original color of the marshmallow trees in front of the house and she wanted to stop and start on a different picture. I showed her how layering a different color on top of the first color would get a different color. I also showed her how to test a color on a scrap of paper to see if it was the color she wanted. She was afraid that she ruined the picture. I also told her that since it was her picture she was the only one she had to please.

After we finished, she got up to leave and I told her not to forget to take her picture with her. She didn't realize that she got to keep the picture. I signed it and gave it to her and she literally skipped to her seat.

The coloring book is one of three complete coloring books I brought along. Most of the other pages are just samples. This book has a variety of styles from which to choose and are very fitting of the holiday season. I purchased my copy on Amazon.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Day Three

Today I am traveling from Chicago to Seattle. I wanted a shorter project to work on the train so I could work on several projects over the course of the ride. I found this box of holiday cards on Amazon from the ArtEclect Studio. I decided to use my Crayola Super Tips Markers because I wanted to work on technique.

First, I wanted to test to see if the markers could layer. I tried the light base/darker overlay technique but the colors just don't layer. Y can see the effects on the polka dot bow and the bells. The colors just don't blend.

Second. because the tips are domed. I wanted to see the effects of using just the tip to draw fine lines and the side of the maker to draw thicker lines. As you can see, it is very easy to get good effects by changing the pressure and the angle of the marker which is good for me since I can't live without a plaid background.

My only reservation about the card is that the paper is a little flimsy (probably about 60 lb stock). The envelopes are super thin and come in red and green. I would probably use my own envelope to give some heft to the mailing.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Day Two

Today was spent in Chicago. The train arrived at 10:45 AM and went to my hotel. Expedia inexplicably cancelled my reservation but the nice people at the Kinzie Hotel not only fixed things for me but they let me check in early. The night is dedicated to seeing some of my friends
perform in the musical Hamilton (Chicago cast). Tomorrow afternoon I leave for Seattle.

Today's coloring assignment was a loose page from one of my Michael's purchases that I have mentioned before. I used the Crayola Super Thins markers which are water based. Unfortunately, Ihaven't tried layering them yet but I do miss my alcohol style markers. But this exercise is good for me because it forces me to develop different techniques and style.

This is a Mandela style image. I like it when the artist provides some guidelines on a color palette and suggestions on how the image should be filled in. of course, these are only suggestions. I took my supplies to a Starbucks on Grand Street and took a table and started coloring. A couple of people asked me what I was doing but chose not to join in.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Day One

I don't know why people don't travel by train more often. I understand about the time needed but look at all of this space.

There is even a foot rest.

There even is a leg rest and your seat almost reclines to a horizontal position. 

Today's coloring assignment came from this book that I got from Amazon. It has a variety of image styles. I chose a simple design because I didn't know what to expect on the train and how I would be received. I chose colored pencils because that was the easiest option especially with the rocking motion of the train. A couple of people asked me about what I was doing but no one wanted to join in. The train had delays so people weren't in the best of moods.

Day One completed. Now overnight in Chicago and on to Seattle.

Monday, December 4, 2017

On the Road

Well. This is everything I have for the next 22 days. I just hope I have enough of everything that I need but I will figure it out if I need to. I probably have way too many supplies but that is the learning curve when you are doing something new.

I will be able to mail things home if it becomes too burdensome on the road. I have spent more time planning the coloring activities than on personal preparation. I am very lucky to be in a situation that I can just buy things on the road in the event that I haven't planned properly or have left something out. I know I have the important things like belts, socks, cuff links and bow tie. As for the minutiae, I will figure it out.

I am happy to say that I am not over packed in terms of luggage. The backpack is fairly full. It has most of the coloring supplies and the daily needs. There is plenty of room in the duffle bag and the suitcase. I plan on buying postcards along the way but other than that, I don't plan on buying anything new. If I need a hoodie or an extra tshirt I will have room for it. 

In planning on my clothing, I was able to keep to a basic palette of blue so I can mix and match different shirts, jeans, dress shirts, and t-shirts. I am taking one bulky sweater and a heavy pea coat. I figure that I can layer if I need to but most of my time will be on the train. Most of the cities that I will be visiting will be in CA or the South where the weather is still fairly temperate.  The only cities that I am worried about are Seattle and Chicago but I figure that I have enough layers to be comfortable should I go out and venture around.

The next post you will see with either be from Chicago or on the train. I really do hope you  are able to follow along.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Tour Book

Front cover

When I worked for an entertainment company, I was the one that was in charge of putting together the "Tour Book." The Tour Book is a handy distillation of all of the necessary information regarding transportation, housing, and daily itineraries.  Since I will be departing on my own tour, I decided to make my own Tour Book for my travels.

I have found these screw post bindings very useful. Because you can vary the depth of the book, being able to add and subtract pages as necessary is very helpful. For mine, I decided on a black book cloth spine so it wouldn't show dirt while it was being handled on a daily basis. The decorative paper on the front and back covers is a gold and silver metallic flecked Yuzo paper from my travels to Japan.

The end sheets are a crane paper done in the same color palette. I decided on this paper to bring luck to the tour as the upward flying crane symbolized good luck.

End Sheets
The book is divided in sections with each section dedication to a stop on the tour. Within each section there will be the train/flight schedule, local map and hotel information (including reservation number and hotel address).  Each divider is scored one inch for the left margin in order to allow for easier turning. Also, on the back of each divider is an envelope to hold the loose pieces of paper associated with being on tour (e.g., receipts, meal tickets, plane tickets, etc). The envelope is stapled to allow for easy removal once the tour is over and receipts need to be processed for an expense report.


Handy Envelope
The above divider is the section divider to indicate the beginning of the trip. The remaining dividers are tabbed for reference purposes and indicate each stop. The beauty of this type of book is that you can rearrange the sections by moving the older sections of the trip to the back of the book and this way you will always have the current stop on top of your book. If you don't want to go through that trouble you can simply leave the book as is until the tour is over.

Tabs and Dividers
This is one of my favorite book structures because you can add/remove pages as necessary. I also carry extra pages to add as I collect memories along the way. Since I deal with paper products, I put all of the pieces of paper into my tour book. Tickets, menus, cards, postcards, etc. all get added to my book. I usually carry rolls of washi tape to temporarily adhere these pieces onto the page until I decide permanently use them. I usually use the rolls of washi tape that I don't like for this purpose since many times it will be thrown away once I decide how to I want to use the paper pieces later. I hope to share more of my tour book as the tour progresses.

Countdown: Three sleeps and then I am on the road.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Updated Tour Schedule

UPDATED Itinerary (as of November 30, 2017)
Changes in Bold

Dec 4 Depart NYC
Dec 5 Arrive Chicago
Dec 6 Depart Chicago
Dec 8 Arrive Seattle
Dec 9 Depart Seattle
Dec 10 Arrive Sacramento
Dec 11 Depart Sacramento
Dec 12 Arrive Denver
Dec 14 Depart Denver
Dec 15 Arrive Chicago
Dec 16 Depart Chicago
Dec 17 Arrive Dallas
Dec 18 Depart Dallas
Dec 18 Arrive San Antonio
Dec 20 Depart San Antonio
Dec 20 Arrive Houston
Dec 24 Depart Houston
Dec 24 Arrive New Orleans
Dec 25 Depart New Orleans
Dec 26 Arrive NYC

Wax Seals

Merry Christmas with red/gold marbling

For my personal Christmas cards, I decided to apply a wax seal to the flap side of the envelope. I wanted something a little bit special for my cards this year. By applying the seal, I incurred the added 21 cent surcharge for special handling. Since the card and envelope is less than one ounce, the special handling makes the postage 70 cents. For my friends and family, I am OK with that.

Since I had several cards to send, I rotated three different stamps so they could cool down between envelopes. While one was cooling off, a different stamp was being used on the next envelope. All of the stamps came from Get Marked Etsy Store.

Since the envelopes were a light green, I wanted to play around with the red and gold sealing wax. I also wanted to  try a marbling effect on some of the seals. The three stamps are Merry Christmas, Joy and Christmas Bouquet.

Merry Christmas with gold only
Christmas Bouquet with red only
Joy with red and gold marbling
I think my favorite combination is the last example. Here the proportions are two-thirds red to one third gold. I like the deep color of the red with the gold highlights. The first example is equal parts red and gold. In the future, if I plan on using just one color, I will dip the stamp in a stamp pad to add color similar to the examples here.

I really do think it adds an eloquent touch to an envelope and it is special enough that people will appreciate the effort.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Personal Christmas Cards

For my personal Christmas cards this year, I returned to my stained glass Twelve Days of Christmas series. This is the ninth year so it was time for Nine Ladies Dancing. The theme was greens and reds. I used a new tri-fold frame this year. In previous years, I used an oval frame. As the colored images were getting busier with the larger number of subjects, I decided to cut a rounded rectangular frame so more of the image could be seen. I am very happy with the change. The card itself is pine green in color.

The insert is made from a printed piece of silver and gold flecked paper from Japan that is mounted on a sage green card stock.

Here is the card with a battery operated tea light.

Lit card
Here is the lit card in the dark. The idea of this series was developed when I first moved to New York City. My first Christmas here, I didn't have the space or money to decorate my apartment for the holidays. I wanted something to put on "the mantle" to evoke the holidays so I designed these cards. When I have been in NYC for the holidays, they have been a tradition. Some of my friends have collected the entire series and display them every year. Three more years and they will be completed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Christmas Cards Swap Bot

Option One for Outer card

This year, I signed up for several swap-bot Christmas card exchanges. I continued a tradition that started several years ago. I purchase holiday cards without a sentiment inside the card. I print out my own greeting and then use it as an insert inside the blank card. I tie the insert with holiday butcher's string to attach it to the card. I have always been concerned with the lack of recycling of holiday cards. While some of my crafty friends will find some way to re-purpose the card, many people will just throw them away or, if  I'm lucky, recycle them.

By using this insert method, the recipient can then re-use the card the following year by removing the insert and putting the card in a standard A2 envelope.  This year, there were two options for the outer card--an ornament or a Noel card.

Added insert
As an added bonus, I also include a small card and envelope from Papyrus. My rationale is this--if I am allowed one ounce to use for a Forever postage stamp, why not send one ounce of material. With the added card and envelope, I was still well under the one ounce limit. There were also two options for the additional card--a Christmas tree made of stars or a snowflake.

Option One for added card
Option Two for outer card
Option Two for added card
Two notes:
One--when tying the insert to the outer card, you have the option of having the bow on the outside or inside of the card. While I prefer to have the bow on the outside of the card, because I was mailing these card, I wanted to make sure that the knot and bow wouldn't interfere with the sorting machine that the post office uses. The added bulk of having the know on the outside of the card can add additional bulk that might get snagged in the machine.

Two--because many people sign up for multiple Christmas card swaps, there are chances that you will get a repeated swap partner. This is the main reason why there were two options for each choice of outer and additional card. In the past, I had one partner get incensed that I had the gall to send a duplicate card to her during a Christmas swap.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Coloring Across America Tour

OK Folks. Reservations have been made, tickets have been purchased and hotels book. The Coloring Across America Tour will begin in 7 days. I am taking my coloring books and supplies across the Nation to introduce/re-introduce people to the Joys of Coloring. I will be posting specifics of the tour here and sharing photos on Facebook (Coloring Across America Tour) and Instagram (russromano, #coloringacrossamerica). Here is the schedule (subject to last minute itinerary changes).

Dec 4 Depart NYC
Dec 5 Arrive Chicago
Dec 6 Depart Chicago
Dec 8 Arrive Seattle
Dec 9 Depart Seattle
Dec 10 Arrive Sacramento
Dec 11 Depart Sacramento
Dec 12 Arrive Denver
Dec 14 Depart Denver
Dec 15 Arrive Chicago
Dec 16 Depart Chicago
Dec 17 Arrive Dallas
Dec 18 Depart Dallas
Dec 18 Arrive San Antonio
Dec 20 Depart San Antonio
Dec 20 Arrive Houston
Dec 23 Depart Houston
Dec 23 Arrive San Antonio
Dec 24 Depart San Antonio
Dec 25 Arrive Chicago
Dec 26 Depart Chicago
Dec 27 Arrive NYC

I hope you will follow along.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Coloring for the Holidays 3

For today's entry, I wanted to explain some of the descriptive terms that I used when discussing coloring book pages. The first style is what I call the "thin line" style. These are the bulk of the current adult coloring book pages. These are thinner lines and usually appear "free style" which means there is no discernible pattern to the images. The difficulty with this style of image is it can be very unforgiving when using some markers. These are best used for non-wet techniques.

Thin line, free style
The second style is the Zentangle style where every inch of the image is decorated. It is a very busy pattern and you need to decide if large swatches of color will be applied or if every individual section will be colored. I don't find this style very comforting and tend to get overwhelmed with coloring and the composition. Sometimes, I will refer to this as a micro-pattern.

Zentangle Style or Micro-pattern
The third style is what I call a repetitive pattern. This is very similar to wallpaper. Once you decide on the color palette and how to color the individual objects then the rest is just application of color. Sometimes the individual components will be micro-patterned (as is the case below).

Repetitive pattern

The fourth style is the Mandala style. This is a largely repetitive, geometric and symmetrical pattern that radiates around  a center image. Similar to the repetitive pattern above, once you figure out your color pattern the rest is simply repetition. For example, the ovals below would be one color throughout the image, the leaf pattern would be repeated throughout. While the patterns do not necessarily have to be repeated and could be done free style, the pleasing nature of the visual occurs when the patterns are repeated.

Mandala Style
The fifth style was discussed earlier in the week and that is the Lettering/Font style. For this style, the primary image is based on a writing/lettering/font style.

Lettering Style
The last style is what is typical remembered as a coloring book style. Large thick lines that either can be repetitive or free style. When we think of old school coloring, this is the style we remember.

Thick line Style

That is it for this week. I will be back on Monday with another review.