Sunday, March 10, 2013

More watersoluble grahite tools: Viarco ArtGraf Holiday Bundle

Got this Jerry's holiday bundle of Viarco ArtGraf watersoluble graphite and carbon products and a 6"X12" Fluid Watercolor Paper (140 gsm) easy block (its 15 sheets are glued only on both long sides for easy removal) during one of their special discount promotions with free shipping. Thus this whole bundle cost me as much as a single 20 g ArtGraf tin.  We have already reviewed the tin and soft stick, so we'll focus on the new tailor shape ArtGraf Black Carbon.  Reminiscent of the square color chalks used by tailors to mark fabric, this block of soft carbon feels quite solid and waxy like a crayon. Using its corner and sides you could create a wide variety of marks and strokes suitable for large scale work, so it is a pretty effective drawing and shading tool. While it might stain fingers just from holding it, being watersoluble it cleans pretty easy with soap and water.  Its dark marks are quite responsive to the addition of water yielding rich dark black and grey washes.  Luckily I found a small resealable bag that perfectly fits the carbon block, so I can store it in it safely nice and dry until needed. The ArtGraf soft stick is also a responsive sketching tool that readily dissolve with the aid of a water loaded brush. The corners of its square profile can render fine detail, and the sides can be used to lay down broad strokes for shading and toning the paper.  In the sample test below it generally produced lighter greyscale washes that the carbon block.
Recommended.  Worth trying for their unique format that opens creative opportunities for drawing and creating grey scale washes anywhere with a minimal set up.  A waterbrush or couple of watercolor brushes and source of water would be all you need to turn a graphite or carbon sketch into a sumi-like painting.  The compact size of these ArtGraf tablet and sticks makes them a good choice for field sketching kits. Might be a good idea to also take a long a small pan (1/4 oz) of The Masters Brush cleaner to clean your brushes if you do not want them stained with graphite or carbon powder.  Just swishing the soiled brushes in clean water did not seem to remove the graphite stains from the bristles.  A bit of lather and some gentle rubbing between two fingers, and the brush heads were restored to their original pristine condition.

No comments: