What's in you're tackle box?
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    Smile What's in you're tackle box?

    this question may belong in the lounge, but it is art related so I think It may best be suited here.

    Anyway, I opened up my art box, and I found that my pencil tip needed sharpening so I pulled out my rug cutter/box cutter and began to shave it's wood. Then I thought to myself, "I wonder what other odd tools other people use".
    I mean, I don't have an exacto knife in my box, and prefer the weight and power of the box cutter, so I use that instead. It's also cheaper.
    I've heard that artists are sort of improvisational geniuses when it comes to making use of "tools" so I'm wondering what other oddities people use.
    For instance,
    I met a man who was using shoe polish when he ran out of black paint.
    I once used a coffee for a monochromatic water color.
    Instead of an art box, I've seen many people buy tackle boxes that look almost identical.
    I keep many of my art supplies in an arts and crafts/ bead separator.
    Then of course there's the famous hair spray versus store brand fixative debate.

    What have you Macgyvered recently? Do you have any tools or mediums that are not "normal"? tools or mediums that are unconventional?
    and what's the story behind it?


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    I don't use any weird media or anything...but I use Ziploc bags instead of pencil cases. It started when in high school exams we had to use them so that the teachers could make sure we weren't cheating by bringing in notes or anything. I like using them still because they are small, makes it faster for me to grab what I need since I can see through it, and when it inevitably gets dirty from graphite dust and whatnot, I can throw it out and use a new one.

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    I made a set of brush holders for my drafting table out of a piece of craft wood I had left over from a past project and clothespins. Wood glue the clothespin to the skinny piece of board, then I attached it to my table with a super sized binder clip. Now when I have a couple of brushes out for work, I can just put them in there instead of holding them or setting them down in my (very limited) taboret space. Holds fairly thick brush handles too, since the clothespin can still be opened and closed.

    Before I found a decent watercolor sketchbook, I took a bunch of unused 18 x 24 watercolor paper that I couldn't transport to my new place, and cut them down and put them into a book I made out of some old chip board I had. Secured them with a binder clip.

    Had come into inheriting some bristol paper pads from a friend when they didn't need it anymore, and since I had a glut of bristol at the time, I took some more chip board and made a sketchbook out of them, stitched and bound.

    semi-art related, but I use a binder clip to keep headphone wires tidy and out of the way. Also used a binder clip with a broken pencil to make a peg for my mahl stick.

    I'm noticing an obsession with binder clips in my projects...

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    My new favorite tool is kneaded eraser onna stick... Makes drawing detailed comics SO much easier!

    Also I've been using plastic plates as palettes for years - cheap and convenient. Works for me because I tend to have multiple palettes in use at the same time.

    And I've variously used toothpicks, feathers (both ends), toothbrushes and Q-tips to apply paint. And then there were the times before I had a projector when I was pouncing drawings for transfer with a sewing pin - slow and painful in the extreme.

    Last edited by QueenGwenevere; December 4th, 2012 at 03:14 PM.
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    I occasionally really like drawing with a twig and ink or watercolor. I'll post one or two when I get a chance.

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    I've probably purchased one of every thing that the art store even sells since I became a tattoo artist and I always go back to a few basic tools for drawing and painting for drawing I have a mechanical lead holder with non photo blue leads and a 4h, hb, and 4b pencils, for painting I use the standard stuff for oils but I do have a thing for filberts I love filbert brushes.

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    Recently I haven't Macgyvered much. I used to have a a watercolor set made of a an Altoids type tin and bottle caps to separate the paints before I was gifted a small watercolor field set. I also used to use the glass table back at home with a desk lamp underneath as my light box before I moved out and bought a cheaper lightbox. I still use twigs, toothbrushes, and other assorted "brushes" in my art but that's more intentional.

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    I've built a pochade (painting) box out of a cigar box. I use dish drying racks for drying racks for small paintings and I use a baby changing table for my palette stand next to my easel. My favorite is my video tripod case which hold my easel and all my outdoor gear cause it looks cool when I walk into a room to demo with it slung over my shoulder like David Carrradine from the old Kung Fu TV series

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yulai View Post
    I also used to use the glass table back at home with a desk lamp underneath as my light box before I moved out and bought a cheaper lightbox.
    I remember my dad made me a light box once out of plexiglass and plywood and a regular lightbulb... It didn't work so great though, mostly you got bright light right over the bulb and not enough light everywhere else. Then there was always the trick of taping drawings to the window as a makeshift light box... (That actually works okay.)

    Speaking of unorthodox drawing materials, back in the days when us kids would go skinny-dipping in the river I used to draw with rocks... On other rocks. The place we swam had bits of brick, some kind of soft yellow rock, chalky white rocks and old bits of charcoal, and big smooth rocks for drawing on. You could actually get quite a bit of variety. Totally stone-age, but fun.

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    I taped perspective drawings to the wall, because my desk was too small to fit the vanishing points...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    Using [this] to teach myself digital. Cobbled it together out of stuff I could find. There was a another less beat up version, but it died and had to use that to make this. Not complaining, since it obviously works and can run most things just fine (PS works surprisingly well for 1 gig of ram. And I can at least use steam as a chat client, me trying to show that person I'm talkin' to this).

    The 'story' is that I have no dosh, my former computer died, I've been scrapping by with what I can. Not the worst thing that could've happened, honestly, and my trusty as all hell Intuos 3 still works and works quite well, so I'm rather thankful fer that.

    For real media I'm using tea, coffee, and other such things to substitute for paints. Can't really show those, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Speaking of unorthodox drawing materials, back in the days when us kids would go skinny-dipping in the river I used to draw with rocks... On other rocks. The place we swam had bits of brick, some kind of soft yellow rock, chalky white rocks and old bits of charcoal, and big smooth rocks for drawing on. You could actually get quite a bit of variety. Totally stone-age, but fun.
    I remember doing this while I was a kid. Using white rocks to draw on pavement and grey/black ones or smooth stones to draw slightly less white lines, giving an idea of a small bit of value (even if you didn't know what it was at the time). It always made for the best crude pictures despite chalk being more colorful and vibrant. AND limited in supply.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who did this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by themegagod View Post
    I mean, I don't have an exacto knife in my box, and prefer the weight and power of the box cutter, so I use that instead. It's also cheaper.
    In my hands, heavy and powerful means a lot of broken leads. I prefer light and sharp. I used to use small snap-blade knives, but when I used up the last blade I bought Swann-Morton disposable scalpels, partly for the surgical-sharp blade, partly for the light plastic handle.

    I ground a Games Workshop sculpting tool down from a Lecron shape to something a bit more like a Zahle/Wax 5, taking off square and jagged edges and general uselessness in the process. Impex JE68 'microfine' knife blades are also handy for wee wargaming-scale sculpts, along with pins, needles, paper embossers, brass tubes, the usual shaped wood, etc.
    I had a thought about using sugru for custom clay-shaper-style tool tips, but I still have to get around to that. (how to fix it securely on a handle?) Ditto teflon, though others are getting on well with that.

    I once started a 'watch me make a pochade box' topic, but it didn't get far past stage one.

    ...which is only my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Speaking of unorthodox drawing materials, back in the days when us kids would go skinny-dipping in the river I used to draw with rocks... On other rocks. The place we swam had bits of brick, some kind of soft yellow rock, chalky white rocks and old bits of charcoal, and big smooth rocks for drawing on.
    "Kids these days with their fancy computers and pencils! In my day, we had to draw with ROCKS! On OTHER ROCKS!"


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  17. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    back in the days when us kids would go skinny-dipping in the river
    what no cut off jean shorts back in the day?lol .....you know the kind that's not allowed at public pools lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    what no cut off jean shorts back in the day?lol .....you know the kind that's not allowed at public pools lol.
    Clothes are too mainstream.

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    This thread reminded me of my ancient 1970s Rotring Isograph pens, handed down from my engineer dad, sitting in my kit box. Ill have to get them out and clean all the hardened ink out of them and have a go. I used to spend weeks drawing fantastically detailed pictures of cities and things as a kid with my trusty .2mm. Good times!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I occasionally really like drawing with a twig and ink or watercolor. I'll post one or two when I get a chance.
    We have used twig + ink at my life drawing class. Its definitely one of my favourites too.

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    I yanked the handles out of some disposable foam brushes and use the foam as pencil-tip protectors for travelling. I also have an art-supply rack jerry-rigged out of plywood and PVC pipe to keep pencils, brushes, and such in. My sculpting tools live in a small coffee can.

    In order to avoid the minimal copy fee at the library, I used to trace drawings from books onto polyester drafting film, then take the film home and retrace the drawings onto paper (using the ol' window light table), then wash the film with alcohol so it could be re-used.

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    I like to mix ink with black acrylic, gives a very strong, popping yet smooth black for bigger paintings. I have also taken a liking to white markers on tinted or dark paper for underdrawings or just to add another dimension. I too like rapidographs but I use them for drafting and lately for taking notes since I like my handwriting with them.

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    This is such a fantastic question. I dont think I have a very interesting set of tools though. My tool area is my top drawer at my desk. In there, I have a wad of a kneaded eraser, mechanical pencils, and I always accumulate pieces of paper folded in half. I use them to put under my hand when drawing so I don't smear the graphite, but the reason I have so many is because I always have new ideas and I write on them. So I end up having my graphite shield covered in notes. So I have many interesting half-folded papers floating around my work area covered in writing.

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    wow, so many great improvisations to utilize, so little time!

    I once tried to use a television/ computer monitor to act as a light box. the computer monitor worked best- but still to disastrous results. I was only like ten and had never used a real light box yet, not even sure if I had yet known they existed, so I think it wasn't a terrible idea.. just not a very good idea either.

    I have a cut in half water bottle with a set of rocks in it's base I use to hold my dry brushes in (handles down bristles up) to protect the brushes as I'm Working.

    I use a bit of cut screen in a water filled coffee can to clean my brushes.

    when I didn't have a drawing board nor easel, I used an old plastic box's cover and some tape to support my larger drawings.

    when drawing outside with rocks, I've also used berries and sticks to add color. the berries's "pigment" didn't move very much, and though most twigs and sticks' bark made some really nice reddish tones, they faded really quickly.

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    Reading this thread makes me realize I don't have much that is jerry-rigged or unusual hahaha. The oddest things I have are probably a couple twigs of charcoal I made in class, half a tube of hand-made paint, and window screen material for smoothing out sculptures. The three plaster casts I have I casted myself though from silicone molds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by themegagod View Post
    when drawing outside with rocks, I've also used berries and sticks to add color. the berries's "pigment" didn't move very much, and though most twigs and sticks' bark made some really nice reddish tones, they faded really quickly.
    I did once try making pigment out of tiger lily and day lily pollen, but it didn't really work... The pollen stains noses and fingers bright yellow and orange, so I figured it must work as a pigment, but no dice.

    At least with berries you can eat the leftovers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    I did once try making pigment out of tiger lily and day lily pollen, but it didn't really work... The pollen stains noses and fingers bright yellow and orange, so I figured it must work as a pigment, but no dice.

    At least with berries you can eat the leftovers.
    Heh, when I was a kid I used to like to paint my lips with lily stigmas, they left a really nice red tone. I snipped all of them in our yard, my aunt and grandma got quite mad.

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    Keep oil paints, brushes, watercolor, and the odd pencil or two in my art boxes. I keep my markers, drawing pencils, bamboo reeds, and inks in a old humidor case on my desk. I keep my exacto knife in a separate pencil cup on the opposite side of my desk because I am paranoid about cap accidentally coming off while reaching for else in front of it or behind it. I also have a slim metal pencil case that I use to carry pencils with me.

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