^ First page done with my fancy new pencil and paper! The pencil is a German-made Staedtler Technico 2mm Lead Holder (kind of a mechanical pencil that holds whole pencil leads--I'm using "HB" leads, sort of a soft but not too soft variety), and the paper is French-made Arches Watercolor Paper, specifically the Bright White 140lb Hot Press variety; it's expensive stuff, but my local art store actually has a relatively great rate on it, and if I cut carefully I can get 4 A* pages out of a single 22"x30" sheet, so it only comes out to about $1/page, which ain't bad for what lots of people seem to think is the bestest paper in the world.
So far this stuff seems to be helping. The 2mm leads are softer and much thicker than the 0.5mm H leads I'd been using in my old mechanical pencil, and the paper is a lot tougher, so I can do a lot of sketching and erasing, and experimenting with light and dark at the pencil stage before having to commit to ink. It's a very good set-up for detailed modelling, actually, which could potentially get me wasting a lot of time since the pencils are mostly erased later anyway, replaced by ink. ;) For instance, in sketching out this page I really got into rendering the face seen in the television monitor, even though I knew I was going to cover it in black ink:
But what that did do was force me to get the rest of the head worked out pretty well, so maybe that wasn't such a waste of time after all.
The Arches paper has this really nice, almost cloth-like feel to it; it isn't the zippy tang I liked in the old acidic sketchpad I first started testing ink wash on, but it's quite a pleasurable surface to work on in its own way--so much nicer than the dead, spongy feel of that cheap Bristol I tried a while back (I'm still kind of curious to see what Strathmore's top-line Bristol is like, although it costs over $1/page, and I can't see it being better than the Arches stuff). And black ink on it has an almost velvety quality, ooh. And not least of all, it doesn't rumple up when it gets wet, which is quite handy when working with ink wash!
But actually what I wanted to talk about today was
Starcrash! How have I never seen this movie? An Italian-produced spaghetti sci-fi, it was pumped out in 1979, ie as quickly as possible after the amazing success of 1977's Star Wars. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on particular movie-viewing needs), it was bad. Real bad. How bad? Well, the trailer starts out with "You are about to be hurled..."