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  Bienfang Raritan <3<3<3 & bonus artNov 11, 2011 12:11 AM PST | url | discuss | + share
Added 1 new A* page:After resisting the urge for years, I caved in today and put grotesquely large, colorful social networking buttons on the site, just above this news article. ^^ Yep! I've been having more and more fun of late chatting with people on A*'s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and deviantART pages lately, and now I want...more! Yarm! So click the big colorful buttons which in theory you will not be able to resist, and come join me and the people who were perceptive enough to notice the tiny, black and white buttons that have been there for a while under the comics--or maybe they even saw the text (what's that?) links on the "about" page! Anyway now there are buttons we can't avoid looking at, grrrrrreat. Click click!
The new drawing paper came today and holy wow! It is amazing. It is Bienfang Raritan drawing paper, and compared to the Strathmore Bristol I'd been using, it is light as a feather, white as snow, toothy as a chihuahua, and crisp as fresh potato chips. Working on Bristol, with its hard, absorbent surface for the past number of weeks, I'd started to think I'd already worn out my brush, and/or that I'd never be anything but a very clumsy inker, as I just couldn't seem to get much done in the way of precision work. But today with the Raritan I found myself diving into details, joyfully painting little tiny things with the single longest bristle of my brush. The bristles move friskily across this paper's surface, even if there's just one of them carrying the load, and,'s good! :D Painting on this stuff is much more fun than on the Bristol, the results are much more crisp and vibrant (whiter whites, and blacker, more even blacks), and golly if I don't just <3 it to death! Yes I am marrying Raritan this weekend in a small private ceremony. >_>
Okay maybe John Q LAW won't allow that, but anyway I did manage to do an extra bonus drawing for you today--my practice with the new pad of paper:
(There's a smaller version in the episode 13 gallery here if you want to zoom out a bit.)
I also tried one of my sea sponges for the first time, rather soaking it in white ink to see if I could squeeze out some interesting star effect. It kinda worked! Very Kirby Krackle-ish, in fact, although that wasn't quite what I'd intended--methinks I need a lighter touch with the delicate sponge! Still it looks kind of neat, I suppose, and I'll have to try some more in the future.
Also I'm thinking I may ditch that big plate collar thingy on Selenis' space suit, it kind of just gets in the way. :P
Oh but the paper! As I was saying it's very white, as I think you can see--none of the slightly yellow tinge the "vellum" Bristol had, and far whiter than my 15-year-old+ pad of Raritan I've had since my art college days--I guess that thing really *did* yellow quite a bit in the intervening decade and a half. =o Fortunately the manufacturers seem to have kept the good--the strong, lively surface--and fixed the bad, as the modern Raritan is now acid-free, which means it shouldn't yellow in our lifetimes (ah, mortality!). It doesn't come in 11x17" size like the Bristol did, which also happens to be what fits in my scanner, so the pages I'm painting on are now HAND CUT--well at least on or three two sides :p--from larger 18x24" sheets; I get two pages out of one sheet, how's that for economy? :)
And speaking of the manufacturers, it appears that Bienfang changed owners since 15 years ago, as the new pad has the "Speedball" logo on it; their site (that link above) doesn't say exactly when they acquired Bienfang, but anyway some time in the past 15 years, I guess. Speedball seem to be best known for their black India ink, and their dip pens: back in 1915 it was when Seattle (:D) sign letterer Ross F. George took his new pen design to the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company in Camden, New Jersey, and the soon-to-be-famed "Speedball" pen was born. Speedball became independent from the parent Hunt company in 1997.
The excitement! And according to their site, "Sebastian Bienfang founded the Bienfang Paper Company in a loft in New York City" in 1926, importing fine papers for the American market. I wonder if the "Raritan" came from somewhere in particular, originally. Awesome paper country, I guess!
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