argos: (snowy argos)
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Fox Blues for Aerofox
Prismacolor artist pens, watercolor wash
Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor postcard 6x4 in. cold press

"Am I blue? Am I blue?
Ain't these tears in my eyes tellin' you?"

Aerofox is down, and we all feel for him. I started thinking about that old 1929 standard, first recorded by Ethel Waters but since covered by dozens and dozens of singers. Possibly you think of Billie Holiday, or Cher, or even Batman singing it.

It took me about two weeks to firm up the ideas that are smooshed into this tiny postcard. Aero collects and restores old radios, especially Zenith. His prize is a 1936 Stratosphere, which fits perfectly timewise with that song. I went digging for reference photos of the Stratosphere, which turned out to be easy to find on the web. The actual drawing was sketched out in pencil and only took about 40 minutes or so since the postcard format limits detail.

I then inked it comic book style using artist pens by Prismacolor and Faber Castell. The Prismacolors I have go down to finer sizes, but the Faber Castell Pitt has blacker ink and I'll probably get some finer Pitts eventually. I admit these are an improvement over the old dip pen and India ink bottle I used to use. Sharp, clear lines, and no splatter or drips can't be beat. Copic makes some similar pens that take ink cartridges and should last even longer...

After inking I let it dry for a few minutes before cleaning off the pencil remnants with a vinyl eraser. That's another improvement over the old standby ArtGum I think. Fewer crumbs and less prone to leave any grease on the paper (that will resist the watercolor if present.)

I used only three brushes: a no. 6 for the broad washes, a no. 4 for details, and a very fine liner for fur textures. The paints were an inexpensive set of dry cake watercolor (Reeves) that I plan to try for outdoor sketching once the weather stabilizes.

I'd originally intended to include the lyrics of the song, but it was going to make the image too cluttered. I'll probably quote them on the back of the postcard before mailing it (in a sturdy envelope of course.) A fun little project for a snowy day. Hope it helps to cheer my friend a bit.

"Am I blue? You'd be too,
If each plan
With your man
Done fell through."

For those of you who have somehow avoided hearing this old song by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke, I urge you to look it up. Billie Holiday has the classic performance everyone should hear, but several renditions are readily obtainable on the net.
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August 2012

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