Jul 17, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #51 - The Karisma Enigma

I'd like to talk about some art materials today. It seems to me that an artist is on a constant journey of refinement when it comes to the tools they use. Along the way they will try out new things, give them a try, absorb them into their toolkit if they like them, or purge them if they don't make a good fit. Sometimes they will find a tool that completely trumps their existing tool, so it rapidly replaces the old one.
I used to be mad for finding the right tools, not necessarily the most expensive, nor what the other guys and gals are using, but I tried everything I could find, hoping to discover the secret formula, my own kind of artist's alchemical gold, as if the right mix of materials and tools would equal skill beyond my level. How silly of me. But now, it's all about how it feels in my hand and what results it gives me and how they work in with my style. Some tools I would never use again, but some I use every day and almost rely on!

Back in 2001, I bought a Karismacolor Berol Karisma White 938 pencil. I bought it in Edinburgh while I was living there. If I could go back in time, I would stock up on that pencil, enough for a lifetime. It is by far the best white pencil I have ever come across, and I've tried a lot. The line has long been discontinued and the pencils are getting difficult and expensive to find, to the point where people are selling used ones online for good money.

I still have that pencil I bought over 12 years ago, I have been using it really sparingly for the last half-dozen years because I know how good it is. It is just the perfect balance of chalk and oil. Some pencils can be waaaay too chalky and don't glide along the surface, it is almost like nails on a blackboard. Other pencils, such as Derwents, I find far too oily, the pencil barely makes a mark and it feels too fake, as though it were made of wax. But the Karisma pencil is just so good. It is smooth and pronounced and is brilliant for highlighting. My particular pencil is down to about 9cm in length. I'm going to have to buy one of those pencil extenders soon.

Another of my favourite tools is a Papermate E Racer, which is essentially an eraser pen. It too has been discontinued. I've been using these guys for a very long time, at least 15 years I think. I'm not sure if the new brands use the same eraser refill, so I might have to try and find some E Racer refills somewhere too, but I hear they are getting hard to find too.
Why!!!! Why, oh why do they discontinue brands that I like!

100 Heads in 100 Days #51 / 31 Day Drawing Challenge #17
Sir Daniel Fortesque
Today's 31 Day Drawing Challenge is irresistible... Favourite Game Character.
I was really torn with who to depict. I nearly went for a Hobbe from Fable, nearly went Ben Finn (voiced fantastically by the great Simon Pegg) from it too! Heck, Reaver would have been fun as well.
But, instead, I went for Sir Dan Fortesque from the Playstation 1 game, Medievil. My brothers and I played that game a lot back in the day. It is one of those games that has a really fantastic vibe that flows through every element, from the graphics (albeit incredibly dated) all the way through the design to the music. I still play that game every now and then. It's still a lot of fun, but you have to be careful, it's one of those games that involves a healthy dose of walking along precarious ledges, cliffs, walkways and bridges, and the controls are really touchy; one tiny move can mean instant death!

Me Fact #51
I'm 6'1. I slouch though, so I probably only look 5'11. My father always told me to sit up straight, I probably should have listened.

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