Rice Paper and Bamboo Pens

Once I finally got myself into the studio, it was easy to work because I received a shipment of art supplies the other day full of three pads of rice paper, and some bamboo pens to keep me busy. I haven’t used bamboo pens before; I noticed them in the catalog when I was ordering the rice paper and figured it couldn’t hurt to see if they might be useful to my process.

I was able to complete many drawings today, mostly because I was able to loosen up and work more quickly and also because I had enough rice paper that I didn’t feel guilty about going through so much of it. Already I can see that the brush warm ups I’ve been doing on newsprint have been helping. The large brush is feeling more familiar and comfortable, and I felt like I was able to keep the strokes more simple and deliberate, rather than trying to pad them with extra strokes that don’t contribute.

Additionally, the pads of rice paper I ordered are a huge improvement from those 2 sheets that I bought from Utrecht. I realized today that the sheets from Utrecht were simply too thick, and for that reason I wasn’t able to allow the ink to bleed as much as I wanted to. The paper I used today was significantly thinner, allowing for the ink to spread much more fluidly. In some ways the bleeding can get inconvenient, as I find it challenging to get sufficient detail when I paint the figures. I think though in the scheme of things, the bleeding is a characteristic I want to maintain in the images.

I did also try two compositions that are more vertical. It was nice to work on a larger scale and to really let the large brush breath and push out as much as it wants to. The only slightly uncomfortable part of the process was having to work on the floor because the paper is so large. I’ll just have to make myself get used to that.

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