Art Stuff

A few folks have asked which sketchbooks, pens, and general art media I prefer. Here’s a partial dive into what I use:

Sketchbooks – I regularly use several different sketchbooks depending on what I’m doing. For sewing plans, media experimentation, and more in-depth drawings/paintings, I LOVE the Shinola sketchbook. It has the exterior beauty of a Moleskine, but with higher quality paper. The paper is a crisp white with a bit of tooth and can actually hold wet media unlike Moleskines.

For my Logbook, I use a cheap notebook from Muji. This isn’t the exact one but it’s very similar. I love it because it’s cheap and kinda crappy, which almost eliminates the fear of the blank page.

To capture my patternmaking class notes and ideas, I use a Canson XL Mixed Media sketchbook. I always affix some fancy paper to the cover, like this Elizabeth Suzann packaging.

Ink Brushes – I use gray and black ink brushes for both shading and covering larger areas (and mistakes!).

Pencils – I haven’t been doing much with graphite lately. I made the conscious decision to draw mostly with ink because it forces me to slow down and commit to the mark. When I do use pencils, Blackwings live up to the hype.

Pens – I use a lot of pens but these Pentel Arts Tradio Stylo pens are super messy and fun to use in my logbook. For a while, I didn’t realize I was using just the refills, which were a pain to hold. Then when we were in Paris I found the case that they fit in.

Sharpies – For my logbook I use a variety pack of Sharpies. I like how they bleed through the cheap Muji pages of my logbook.

Watercolors – I use Case For Making watercolors which are handmade in San Francisco. I took two workshops with Alexis (owner) and most of my pans are from those workshops!

They really are the best watercolors. So much pigment!

I also do love a good Micron Pen. I use a combination of handmade bags and tins to carry these supplies with me.

My best advice for starting a drawing practice is to just start. Be fine with it not looking how you want immediately. It took me about three weeks of daily logs to find my style and I’m sure it will change. Draw your making plans! Drawing became more of daily thing for me when I started documenting all of my sewing plans in a sketchbook. There’s so much inspiration out there, it’s really helpful to capture it on paper. Also carry your sketchbook with you everywhere. I used to feel really self conscious about drawing out in public, but the truth is, no one is looking at you. And if they are, they’re probably interested in drawing too!

And read this article to re-frame your drawing mindset.

SHOOOZ

I bought this sandal making kit shortly after discovering Rachel Sees Snail Shoes on Instagram. At the moment of purchase, I felt entirely up for the challenge, but once it arrived, it stayed boxed up in a closet for probably two years.

I’m unsure of where that ‘can do’ attitude disappeared to, but the longer I waited, the more intimidating the project started to feel.

Then, Summer of Basics 2018 rolled around and I thought “just fricking do it, Sienna.” I then declared to the world of Instagram that handmade leather sandals would be my 4th make for the challenge. These were added as a fourth project because technically it’s a sewing and knitting/crochet challenge.

I blew through my three other planned makes and was feeling pretty good about tackling these shoes I’d put off for years. I cut everything out, did the fitting, marked everything, and felt great. The kit comes with pretty much everything you need including pattern pieces and thorough instructions. If you’ve ever made anything, I’m pretty sure you too could make these sandals.

Then we went on a week long trip abroad and immediately after I started the 2018-19 school year. So productivity plummeted and they sat partially assembled for weeks.

Finally, last week I plowed through the last few steps of gluing, skiving, attaching the foam soles, trimming, and adding laces. I don’t have the ability to sand down the edges (elbow grease just doesn’t cut it) so the foam bases are a little choppy, but whatever.

Each step is truly doable, it just takes a little slowing down and some foresight. The kit comes with contact glue, so it differs from sewing in that once the glue-y parts connect, it can’t be ripped off (easily anyway). And there are no do overs with leather.

Next time, I will size down. I compared a pair of sandals I wear often and the pattern pieces seemed like a match, however, these are definitely too large.

Have you ever wanted to make your own shoes?