Friday, November 15, 2019

Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty...

Well, greenish-blue, actually. This may seem a somewhat odd post, but I want to talk briefly about putty. Poster putty. The stuff many of us use to hold our rings to the page while we spin gears around them.

When I first got started with Wild Gears I made a trip to Hobby Lobby to get the associated supplies I thought I needed. A set of mechanical pencils, some spiral bound art paper books, and some poster putty. I didn't recognize the brand on the putty I bought and it's best forgotten anyway. It turned out to be rubbish. It didn't stick all that well and yet somehow managed to leave little bits of itself behind that were not easy to remove.

Not expecting it to be much different, I ordered some Elmer's Poster Tack on the off chance it might be better. It was night and day difference better. It stuck. It came off clean. If any little bit didn't come off clean, rolling a ball of it over the remnants pulled them right up. Fantastic stuff. I'm still using some of the bits of that package almost three years later. It seems an odd thing to rave about, but I can't speak highly enough about it.

But that isn't what motivated this post. I've been experimenting with some Wild Gears techniques that involve sliding one ring around another, one tooth at a time. It can get incredibly tedious and progress can be slow. One of the things slowing me down was having to lift the ring by the edge to slide it over one tooth. Sometimes I could get a good grip and lift it easily, other times, most of the time, it took two or three false starts before I could pry it off the page and slide it over, all the while taking care not to pop it out completely to where I'd lose my place.

Eventually it occurred that what I needed was a handle on the ring to provide better purchase and speed the lifting. Enter a small lump of greenish-blue putty. I pressed a lump of putty onto the top of the ring, leaving enough sticking up so I could easily grab it. Instant handle. It's obviously not the most secure handle in the world, but it works, it's easily moved when the lift point is on a different side of the ring, and it has saved me a LOT of time. I'd venture my current drawing is proceeding at least three times faster than it was pre-putty. It was so noticeably faster I felt compelled to stop drawing and write this post.

So two takeaways here. One, Elmer's Poster Tack gets my highest recommendation. Two, if you have a ring or gear you need to move a lot on a particular drawing, use putty to make a handle to assist with the lifting. You'll thank me later.

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