Did a sketch last night, loved it, wanted to do a watercolor of it. Despaired of getting sketch from Bristol to decent watercolor paper. Can’t really lighttable onto anything heavy enough to withstand my abuse, like Crescent board. Never had much luck with transfer paper. (I’m wiggly.) Have spent the last few years painstakingly redrawing everything when I wanted to paint it. Sick of it. We can put a man on the moon, etc, so why am I redrawing like a technologically defunct peasant? Might as well be scribbling on cave walls, for god’s sake. This stage adds nothing whatsoever to the piece, and usually detracts, as I’m a fairly imperfect Xerox machine and it mostly just loses spontenaiety.
Sat, staring into space, contemplating the related problem that I’ve had for awhile–I sketch much better on the computer than I do by hand, but I would like to do more physical originals because there’s a fair amount of moolah in the sale of an original, and, to be honest, I’m experienced enough at computer coloring that I don’t get surprised by it much anymore, so I’d like to do more real media, while still sketching digitally. Can’t watercolor on a print, because inkjet ink is water soluable. Never liked markers. Pipe dream? Drummed fingers for a bit. Contemplated. My newly carved out studio space is glorious and has solved many problems, such as “Where do I put my drink?” and “How do I keep the gesso out of the couch cushions?” Is this a problem that can be solved by more space? Well…maybe…
Went out to art supply store. Drove past church from childhood, where I learned that religion was tedious and best weaseled out of. Not sure how I felt about that. Visited art supply store, pretty sure I felt good about that. Plunked down forty bucks on a cheap opaque projector. Took it home, narrowly avoiding clutches of art supplies needing a good home. (Eeeevil art supplies…) Spent a few happy minutes focusing random things on the studio walls, tried transfering my sketch to my nice heavy watercolor board. Hmmm. 3 x 3 bed on the projector means that I can fit…a chunk of the head on the wall. Hmm, 11 x 14 divided by 3 x 3…uh…damn, I guess my math teacher didn’t lie to me after all when she said artists used geometry. Well, a decade too late to apologize now. Can I work around this? Well, yes, but it’s a pain in the ass and involves wiggling the projector and my paper all over hell. Realized that, like photography, camera obscura, and digital art, anyone who claims this is “cheating” has obviously not realized what a pain in the ass it is. Philistines. Wondered vaguely how all the various wildlife artists who use this method to transfer sketches and bits of photo manage. Wonder how Boris Vallejo and Olivia manage. Decide they probably got better projectors, or used that arcane technology, the slide. Have never made a slide. Not about to start now. Hmm.
Husband comes in, studies problem from all angles, tightens screws on the table being used as a projector stand (wiggly furniture is, to him, symptomatic of some kind of moral decay.) Eyes projector bed. Eyes wall. Eyes me. Says “You know, you might have better luck scanning your sketch, printing it out three inches high at the highest resolution you can, and seeing if you can’t fit the whole thing in there rather than keep moving it around and refocusing it.”
Sounds like complete insanity–I mean, shrink an 11 x 14 down to a 3 x 3 so that I can blow it up to a 16 x 20? Madness! Try it anyway, since it takes about five minutes in Photoshop and I’m not really looking forward to the wiggling. I just need the lines, after all, it’s not like I need some kind of delicate color variations matched on my wall. My printer claims it can do up to 1440 dpi. Will believe it when I see it.
Works beautifully. Go, James. Go Epson. Transfer sketch, paint sketch, feel at peace with universe. Technology is a beautiful thing. Decide to share technique with world. It’s not any good for extremely intricate stuff, but for simply transfering your basic line drawing to a painting surface, it beat the hell out’ve any other methods I’ve played with, and has the advantage of re-sizeability over transfer paper. Tomorrow, we’ll see if it works with a digital sketch. I love having studio space. If I’d tried this in the last place, I would’ve had to hold the thing in my lap, lay on my back on the coffee table, and do the transfer drawing with my toes, and there are some things I won’t do without a performance art grant.