Shaun Johnston British, now living in Hudson Valley NY Email address
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Erasable sketch tablet
Idea--a sketching medium almost as fast as thinking, on which sketches can be cycled through very quickly, that leaves behind the least residue in material. An example in black and white is using charcoal sticks on gray paper: sketches can be torn out of a pad and kept, or photographed and then rubbed out readying the same sheet for a new sketch. I prefer to photograph sketches and keep just the photos. To achieve the equivalent in color I have created for myself a tablet on which I use colored chalks.
As an exercise I copied an image by Chagall. My copy on the tablet is palid but in Photoshop (right) I can create a print with much of the brilliance of the original. I can store hundreds of such prints compactly in a 3-hole binder, with no mess. I can also store stages in making a single sketch. I use Prang Freart colored paper chalks that I carve down to be blades with chisel ends. To these I add “handles” by wrapping the end with duct tape. These chalks come in a set of twelve for around $10, that I augment with a few pastels. Sketches can be partially wiped out to try alternative ideas, leaving a ghost easy to work over, see left below. If on wiping out an image a residue remains it can be obliterated by rubbing over with black and wiping again, see below right. I created my tablet by gluing a sheet of watercolor paper to a sheet of soft packing foam 3/8ths inch thick. That makes the paper responsive to the pressure of the chalks. The sheet of foam I glued onto foamcore. For rubbing out I use a face cloth, keeping it saturated with chalk rubbing. The face bottom right was sketched in seconds as a test. The tablet is working for me as a lightning sketch medium.