Category Archives: In the studio

Green Inspiration In Illustration

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I’ve been obsessing about house plants for the last few months or so. It started with an article I read about how having plants in your work space can increase productivity. I read that a long time ago. Since I read that article, I had been trying to bring in plants. It didn’t work out to well, until recently.

I started my collection with just the elephant ears and bamboo in one water filled vase . They surprisingly thrived. And so did the mosquitoes that were nesting in my beautiful mini water garden. Gross. Allan wanted me to get rid of the plants. I compromised. I moved the bamboo into an old glass 7UP bottle. The narrow bottle neck took care of the mosquito problem while keeping the bamboo in water. I moved the elephant ears in to a Jack Daniel’s Coffee tin with dirt I snagged from a plant outside.

Since then, I’ve found more containers to fill with dirt and plants from our yard. I even bought a little plant from Home Depot. That was a disappointment though. It brought aphids with it. Thankfully I caught it before it turned into a furry white epidemic spreading to my precious boonie plants. Even after saving it from the aphids the poor little guy shriveled in to a sad pile. I probably should’ve changed out the soil and gave it some of the love filled local dirt.

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Elephant ears are definitely my favorite. I love the huge leaves. I also love these neni leaves that I can grow in itty bitty jars, like the one above. Most of the plants are in the living room of my apartment. I keep the bamboo and the small elephant ears in my art space though. The coffee tin elephant ears outgrew their spot in the studio – from 2 leaves to 4 going on 5.

I’m not sure if the indoor plant life has increased my productivity, but the plants have been an inspiration. They’ve been showing up in my art and doodles a lot.

Do you have any tips for keeping houseplants happy and healthy? What are your favorite house plants? I’d love to hear if about it.

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My water color story + Supply Review of Watercolor Confections by Prima

July is World Watercolor Month! Learn more about how that came about and the great cause it supports over at Doodlewash. In celebration of World Watercolor Month and my return to blogging, I’m going to do a bunch of watercolor related reviews and posts throughout July.

For the longest time I was intimidated by watercolor paints. Watercolor painting did not come naturally to me and, unlike acrylics, if you mess up you can’t just paint over your oops. It only gets worse if you try. Because of that I mainly painted in acrylics and when I started focusing on illustration I gravitated to ink. When I decided I wanted more color options in my illustrations I added Copic Markers and then Derwent’s Inktense pencils. Both are amazing, but pricey. I needed something for washes that wouldn’t leave me feeling reluctant about wasting product. So I finally ended up buying a really inexpensive school grade set of watercolors. I tried tubes to start, but cheap tubes were just not working for me, so I moved on to pans.

My cheapy watercolors were great to mess around with – watercolor blobs – and I actually used them for the work I did for my solo exhibit a couple years ago. I even used those same watercolors, with ink and Copics, to illustrate a children’s book. I’ll tell you more about the book in a future post. They served me very well, especially considering the price.

 

A few months ago I saw an art supply review on You Tube for Prima’s Watercolor Confections. I’m not going to lie here, what really attracted me to them was the packaging. Many of the affordable watercolor pan sets I see come in white plastic packaging and they usually have a poorly designed sticker on them. The Watercolor Confections come in a plain black tin, no branding at all, and it manages to still offer mixing / palette space while maintaining that minimalist look. It’s a form and function win.

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There are three sets available: The Classics, Decadent Pies, and Tropicals. I was gifted The Classics shortly after watching that review. The 12 pans come individually wrapped and you just pop them back into their slots after unwrapping them. They do slide around a bit if you have them in your bag. It’s not a big deal, but it would be cool if Prima made the pans a bit more snug in the tin. Of course you could just put some double sided tape down and fix it yourself. Did I do that? Nope. Not yet.

On to the real meat of the review, are the actual paints any good? I like them. The color variety of The Classics works for me. They’re pigmented well, but maintain that sweet water color transparency. Some colors are definitely more intense than others. I haven’t had them long enough to tell you how they rank in permanence. I will use them for illustration projects that will mostly end up digitized, so that isn’t the biggest concern for me. Overall I’m a fan of the product and I’d love to get my hands on the Tropicals and Decadent Pies sets. The sets are around $18 – $27, depending on where you purchase them. I know you can find them on Amazon, that way you can compare prices.

Working on some #watercolorblobs. I really like this #primawatercolor set.

A post shared by Drea Nicole Grajek (@illusdreted) on

 

I haven’t tried any other Prima products, but I noticed that they also sell watercolor pencils, water brushes, and watercolor panels. Have you tried any of their products? I’d love to know if they might be worth looking in to.