A custom-made sketcher holster

(cliquem aqui para a versão em Português)

Fellow sketcher and frequent workshop student Zé Resende has many talents. Working with leather is one that she acquired while on the Riga 2019 Winter Sketching School, in a workshop by Liene Ligere. When she started posting her excellent designs, I knew I had to have one! She made mine according to precise measurements and functionality indications and combined them into a sleek look and feel that feels natural to wear.

The design is a simple combination of two strips of leather, stitched into a vertical pouch, fitting around 7 to 8 art tools – pens, pencils, brushes, water spray – deep enough to hold them in place, but shallow enough to access all tools in an instant. The largest strip folds over the top of the tool pouch, covering the tools, and locks in place, sliding into a small band, attached to the pouch by two small bronze rivets. There’s two smaller pouches – one in the front, for paper tissues, and one in the back, for business cards. Two clips hang out from the top corners, where the main leather strip folds, to hang the pouch from the waist belt loops. The touch of luxury: Zé stamped my initials to the cover!

The handiwork is precise and robust, and it performs very well. Takes away the issues about carrying around your art stuff. It’s always accessible, and at height of the hand, just like a wild west revolver holster. With it on my waist, I feel like I can draw faster (pun intended!) than anyone else west of the Tejo! This clipping method allows for crouching or sitting without flipping the pouch, and potentially spilling all the sketching tools on the ground.

This is the work of a proper artisan! It’s a well crafted, stylish item that compels you to cherish it throughout a lifetime. It suits all kinds of occasions – I use it for my work in the Wedding Sketchers, but also for informal sketch meetings and travels. Its sensorial appeal – the looks, the color, the texture, even the faint smell of the locally bought Moroccan leather – as well as its usefulness, have the potential of turning this noble leather pouch into a lifelong artist’s tool and companion.

Many thanks for your art and your craft ! Also thank you to photographer Patrícia Canastreiro for this photoshoot.

 

Um coldre de desenhador personalizado

(click here for the English review)

A companheira de desenhos e aluna frequente nas minhas oficinas Zé Resende tem muitos talentos. Trabalhar cabedal foi um dos que ela adquiriu na Winter Sketching School 2019 em Riga, numa oficina da Liene Ligere. Quando ela começou a publicar os seus designs incríveis de bolsas, soube que tinha de ter uma! Ela fez a minha de acordo com medidas e funcionalidades precisas, e combinou-as num design e aspecto coerente que flui bem.

O design é uma combinação simples de duas tiras de cabedal, cosidas à forma de uma bolsa vertical, onde cabem 7 a 8 canetas, lápis, pincéis ou spray – profunda o suficiente para os conter, mas não tanto que não se consiga pegar numa caneta sem dificuldade. A tira mais comprida dobra sobre o topo das ferramentas de desenho, protegendo-as e trancando-se ao deslizar por baixo de uma tira rebitada. Tem duas bolsas mais pequenas – uma na frente, para guardanapos de papel, e outra na parte de trás, para cartões de visita. Dois grampos estão fixos aos cantos superiores, onde a tira principal dobra, para fixar a bolsa às presilhas das calças. O toque de luxo: a Zé estampou as minhas iniciais na parte da frente!

O trabalho está incrivelmente preciso e robusto, e desempenha muito bem. Acaba com as confusões de andar com a tralha de material de desenho atrás. Está sempre acessível, e à altura da mão, mesmo como aqueles coldres de revólver do velho oeste. Com a bolsa à minha cintura, sinto que consigo desenhar mais rápido que a própria sombra! Este método de fixação às calças permite agachar e sentar sem que a bolsa incline e espalhe os pincéis pelo chão.

É um verdadeiro trabalho de artesã! A bolsa é um objecto bem trabalhado, com estilo e que nos leva a acarinhá-lo ao longo de uma vida de desenhos. Adapta-se a muitas ocasiões – eu uso-o no meu trabalho com os Wedding Sketchers, mas também para encontros de desenho e viagens. O seu apelo sensorial – o aspecto, a cor, a textura, mesmo o ligeiro cheiro do cabedal Marroquino – bem como a sua utilidade, têm o potencial de tornar esta nobre bolsa de couro numa ferramenta e companheira de vida de um artista.

Muito obrigado pela tua arte e talento ! Obrigado também à Patrícia Canastreiro pelas fotografias.

10×10 Al-Andalusk 2020

I’m very honored and happy to be part of the excellent roster of instructors in the Al-Andalusk 10×10 workshop programme, in September, alongside Inma SerranoCélia BurgosGabriel de la Riva PérezNelson Paciência and Vicente Sardinha! It’s going to be an intense but fulfilling weekend of sketching in sunny Sevilla. Find out more in Al-Andalusk facebook page to find out more, or send an email to alandalusk18@gmail.com. Venga!

Estou muito honrado e feliz de fazer parte do excelente plantel de formadores no programa de oficinas 10×10 dos Al-Andalusk, em Setembro, ao lado de Inma SerranoCélia BurgosGabriel de la Riva PérezNelson Paciência e Vicente Sardinha! Vai ser um fim de semana de desenho intenso mas recompensador, na solarenga Sevilha. Visitem a página facebook dos Al-Andalusk para descobrir mais, ou enviem um email para alandalusk18@gmail.com. Venga!

Watercolor exhibition / Exposição de aguarelas

I am very happy to announce my first solo exhibition of watercolors and sketchbooks!

Thanks to a generous invitation from the Orlando Ribeiro Municipal Library – to which I thank for the opportunity! – I will showcase some of my sketchbooks and several watercolor paintings done in the beginning of 2020. These will be available for purchase for the duration of the exhibition.

I would like to invite you to join me in the opening, for a bit of art, a snack and a a nice chat. Waiting for you in Telheiras, Lisboa, on April 18th, at 5pm. See you soon!


Estou muito feliz em anunciar-vos a minha primeira exposição de aguarelas e cadernos em nome individual!

Graças a um generoso convite da Biblioteca Municipal Orlando Ribeiro – a quem agradeço a oportunidade a disponibilidade – irei expor alguns dos meus diários gráficos e varias aguarelas feitas no início de 2020. Estas últimas estarão disponíveis para venda durante o período da exposição.

Gostaria de vos convidar a aparecerem na inauguração, para um pouco de arte, um petisco e dois dedos de conversa. Espero por vós em Telheiras, Lisboa, no dia 18 de Abril, às 17h. Até breve!

About the exhibition

The sketchbook is an introvert – a laboratory of techniques and ideas, light and textures, colors and styles. It’s our travel companion and an open spirit, where nothing is final or definite – mistake and incompleteness are a natural part of the experience of each page. It is a tool of memory and build up of knowledge.

The watercolor sheet is an extrovert – a territory where ideas are expressed to an audience and the sketchbook knowledge is distilled. Colors, water and brushes coordinate to build a coherent and consistent image.

This exhibition tells the story of a journey from introversion to extroversion, from the sketchbook to the watercolor sheet.


Sobre a exposição

O diário gráfico é introvertido – um laboratório de técnicas e ideias, luz e texturas, cores e estilos. Acompanha-nos nas viagens e é um espírito aberto, onde nada é final nem definitivo – o erro e a incompletude são parte natural na experiência de cada página. É uma ferramenta de memória e de acumulação de saberes.

A folha de aguarela é extrovertida – é um território onde as ideias são expressas a uma plateia e se destila a aprendizagem feita no diário. As cores, a água e os pincéis coordenam-se para construir uma imagem que procura ser consistente e consciente.

Esta exposição conta a história desta viagem da introversão à extroversão, do diário gráfico à folha de aguarela.

SM.LT Art Layflat Stonebook review

(cliquem aqui para a versão em Português da avaliação)

SM.LT‘s Layflat watercolor stonebook is a fun surprise to pull out of your backpack. The stone cover is a neat, whimsical feature that garners attention, but the true value of this sketchbook is in the fine watercolor paper inside. The Lithuanian manufacturer generously sent me one to try out last year, after their collaboration in mine and Pedro Alves’ workshop in Barcelona, and I’m finally ready to publish some results.

Outside

The feature that gives the name to the sketchbook is its real stone cover. It’s actually a thin slice of dark slate stone glued on a hard cardboard panel, both in the front and the back cover. The slate feels uncanny, in a fun sort of way. Like you’re carrying around a slab of stone to chisel a landscape from it. Also, this makes every sketchbook unique, as the texture and pattern of the slate is never the same.

Both paper and cover are cut together to the size of 195 x 195mm, in angled corners, with no cover overlap, which makes the sketchbook a bit fragile to carry around in a bag or backpack for long.

Its weakest spot is definitely in the spine: the seams are showing, covered and held together only by a layer of transparent glue. With time and use, the glue starts peeling away as a whole – in my case, after a month of use – exposing the seams to wear and tear.

Paper

Despite the unusual cover feature, the strongest feature of this sketchbook is inside, in the paper. 32 sheets of quality 300gsm watercolor cotton paper, with a slightly coarse texture – just the way I like it – but soft enough for a nib pen to glide over it acceptably. The texture works wonders with dry watercolor brushing. Wet-on-wet techniques also handle very well, although drying is quicker than in professional watercolor papers.

The water absorption capacity is pretty good. My sketches usually take between one and three layers of watercolor, and the white of the paper still shines through in the latter case.

The endsheets are the same kind of paper, so your sketches can go end-to-end in the page flow.

Pros final count

  • Affordable cotton paper sketchbook, for your watercolor dailies, or for making watercolor tests for later serious paintings.
  • Stone cover gives it a unique look and feel.
  • Square formats are usually very flexible.
  • Just small enough to carry around, but big enough to paint a large scene.
  • Opens flat.
  • Robust stitching

Cons final count

  • Spine protection subject to tearing away with transport and use.
  • Fragile angled corners.

Final veredict

The SM.LT Layflat Stonebook is a good introduction to heavy duty cotton paper sketchbooks. Although better cotton paper sketchbooks might be available in the market, the Layflat is still a very affordable one, and finds its niche between sketching and watercoloring. The titular stone feature just makes it a bit more appealing.