Added 2 new A* pages:The first attempt at 22 was a real wash-out (which none shall see! unless you buy the original of 22, which has it on the back, because why waste paper? :P) and I was generally frustrated with gray ink washes, so there's some unadulterated ol' black and white for you. I even briefly went on a web search for stick-on tone sheets, but man those are pricey! Anyway they probably don't scan that well. Then I was messing around with generating halftone dot patterns in Photoshop until I came to my senses. :P|
A contributing factor to this momentary confusion may have been today's new brush! Yeah, I already got a new brush at the beginning of the week, the Yasutomo "Haboku Artist Brush," size S ("Small"), which was way bigger than the European sable brushes I'd been using, but yesterday evening I got to thinking... If this bigger brush was better, maybe I should try the biggest Haboku, size "X" (they go S, M, L, X). So I got one! It was about $13 instead of $8, but that's still a pretty good bargain in the ink brush world; sable brushes, come to think of it, seem to scale up in price almost exponentially as you go larger. As you can see here, the Haboku X is about half-again as large as the S--the head of the X is about 1 and 7/8 inches long:
And yeah I cut off the end again for balance. Although I noticed some things over the past few days with the S that also probably apply to the X as far as I can tell so far:
- Trying to hold these larger brushes like I'd hold a pencil or small brush makes my wrist hurt for some reason, so it's actually been more comfortable to let my elbow and hand up off the table somewhat. Still working on exactly the best way to hold 'em, but it's getting better gradually.
- I mentioned some red color rubbing off the S brush on the first day; I think that's a sort of undercoating on the brushes, not the actual outer layer of paint on their handle--but that outer layer of paint doesn't quite cover the brush end of the bamboo, so I think a little reddish stuff bled off there. I didn't see it again after the first day.
- I also mentioned losing at least a half-dozen of the outer horse hairs on the first day with the S brush. Fortunately I didn't notice any more falling out in the succeeding days, and in fact I didn't see any fall out of the X brush. So that's encouraging as far as their potential longevity is concerned. And since synthetic bristles tend to be pretty durable, and the Japanese-style inward-pointing conical tips naturally hold their shape well, I'm thinking these brushes may prove fairly long lasting--but we'll see.
- I noticed a single, unpacked Haboku Stroke Brush at the store, sort of laying next to the packaged Haboku Artist Brushes. Remember, I was saying earlier in the week that the Stroke Brushes look pretty much identical as far as their shape and head go, but they're like four times as expensive for some reason. This bristles of this one certainly felt just like those of the Artist Brushes, so I'm still not sure what their deal is; it was only about twice the price of an Artist Brush, though. I wonder if they're sort of being phased out in favor of the Artist Brushes, which may be directed more at the English-speaking market, since they have English printed down their sides rather than Japanese (or Chinese?) characters.
- The handle of the X was much easier to cut than that of the S, even though the bamboo used in the X's handle is thicker--but it cut evenly rather than splintering like the thinner bamboo of the S's handle did.
- The S was so "thirsty" that when I dipped it in ink, I could see the little bubbles on the ink's surface getting sucked over and into the brush!
One reader suggested these brush size upgrades mean I'm probably heading for the big time in terms of brush footage. ;) The X is prrrrrrobably about as big as I can handle, really; come to think of it, part of my problem with the washes earlier was probably just because I sucked up too much ink wash into the brush, and it was kind of going all over the place on the paper. Gotta watch that.
And in any case, I'm not aware of any larger brushes made stiff like the Haboku brushes; I've seen these big, white, fist-sized Japanese brushes around, but they're all floppy--like the one in that video, in fact, which is apparently all horsehair; and the horsehair outer coating on the Haboku is indeed pretty floppy on its own, but works great when backed with the stronger inner core of synthetic bristles.