Sand 'n" Sketch

Frank's Tips and Thoughts for 2017


April 12, 2017


How time flies... When I discovered this little gem in Dec of 2013.  I was casually sanding some scratches from a piece of Art that I was working on for my Daughter (Two Penny Jewelry).  Typically I do my sanding under water to to prevent airborne particles in my workspace. While I was sanding, the phone rang and it was my Mother, I continued to sand under the water hoping it wasn't too distracting and a few seconds later I noticed that my rock was above the water line. When I gazed down at the image infront of me I was shocked! And excited! 


This is the first picture I created when I discovered this Sand'n'sketch.














I was stunned at the 3D design that it created as I floated the sandpaper over the rock.  I set the first piece aside and tried a few more and discovered that I was hooked and I couldn't stop playing with the different designs and quickly had to find more rock.  


Jan 2014 














When I started I would spend 2 to 3 hours everyday trying to perfect this Art. Before I discovered this I was a very bad at painting pictures or drawing for that matter, still am on paper.  But with practice I learned how to make pretty decent mountains, trees, birds, and abstracts using this process. 


I decided I had to give this discovery a name and looking at most of my pieces the name Mystic Mountain Beauty came to mind.  How I arrived at that was because most of the scenes on my rocks had mountains in them, they appeared to be Mystical and very Beautiful. It gave me a calming feeling.  So Mystic Mountain Beauty ( MMB) was born.


In the beginning I could only do solo items, trees by themsleves, mountains, etc until I figured out I had to layer things to put them all together.  I could create a very nice sky scene and the mountains were a breeze but I was spending too long perfecting these that my ink ( Whitepowder from the sanding process) was drying too quickly and I would distort the picture everytime.











I practiced regularly doing 3 items only, the sky, mountains and tree/s very quickly (within 1 minute) and that worked very well.  Eventually I completed a scene with no flaws.  So I continued using this method and added 1 more item (a bird, Bear, fence, river etc.) each time.  


I sold my first piece in Jan. 2014 to a good friend of mine (Dean). He say something in that piece and had to have it.  He also helped me by believing in me and giving me the inspiration to pursue my discovery. Thanks Dean !!













2014 was my year to improve and promote.  It was in the fall of 2014 that I felt more comfortable with my results and decided to share the sketches at Christmas markets and try and sell what I created.  Most people would just stand there and stare at my pieces they couldn't comprehend how I did it.  I decided that I had to do demos to illustrate the process.  If I had 10 cents from everyone that gave me a positive feedback on my MMB Art, I would be a very rich man today.  Their feedback inspired me to continue with this journey.


Like fine wines my pieces improved with age.  I spent 6 months trying to figure out how to protect the image from being damaged if someone touched it. I discovered a fixative that was very safe to use and gave me the results I needed. But I still needed a coating that would ultimately protect the image. After spending 6 months and lots of $$ I finally put together the correct product and process.


In 2015 someone asked if could make a scene with a blue moon.  I practiced using blue ink from a pen and it worked.  Then I tried Pastels and it made the process easier to work with and clean up. Since that day I have almost abandoned the black & white pictures and I've been adding colour to most of my sketches.  Sometimes just a hint of one color and others multiple colors. Adding color has given life to my skies and rivers.










Also in 2015, I started selling art kits for the do it yourselfers.  This is when I created a new Website and chose the name Sand 'n' Sketch to promote it.   I provided a rock, sandpaper and all the fixings to create your own masterpiece.  Still selling them today.


Now that I caught you up to the history of Mystic Mountain Beauty/ Sand 'n' Sketch. I will be sharing all my tips and hints so that you can fall in love with this New Art Form as much as I did.


Tips 2013 - 2017 


. Before you start try and create a comfortable work setting.


. The harder you press on the rock with the sandpaper the more white   powder is released from the rock.  More powder... better results.  


. Using the lower grit sandpaper (240 grit) at the beginning will help       raise the white powder quicker.  Use the higher grit sandpaper (400     grit) for creating the image.  Both work, so you'll have to experiment     and find the one that works best for you.


. Your rock will start drying from the top down, so keep that in mind        when working on it.


. Try to keep the surface clean, any debris will prevent the sandpaper  from flowing easily and make it more difficult to draw.  


. If you see bubbles while sanding it may be because the water is  contaminated with an oily substance or your sandpaper is not the  right grit. (150 grit and lower).


. A windy environment will cause the art to dry very quickly.


. Experiment with different tools to make different designs.  I tried  everything I could get my hands on.  Just about anything will work, I  found that an item that was made of rubber or plastic created some  funky  designs. Use your fingers.  Draw the alphabet to see what  happens with different shapes. 


. I found that the faster I moved my hand, the results improved as far  as the 3D effect. Just let the sandpaper float on top of the rock and  apply different levels of pressure to create crisp 3D images


. Adding color is very simple.  Make sure you have the right  consistency of water and whitepowder.  When thats just right add a  streak of say blue or purple pastel at the top for the sky and swish the  sandpaper in that area very quickly one or two swipes is all you need  and you should see a beautiful sky image.  This will require a little  practice.  I  will have a video our very soon that should show you how  I do it.


Apr 17, 2017


.  Check your sandpaper periodically.  I fold my sandpaper in half twice.  This gives me a 2-3 inch square to sketch with. If you find that when creating your art and the image looks like it always wet unfold your sandpaper and dry it on your sponge.   Water will accumulates in the fold of the sandpaper it will wick the water on to your rock when drawing.  Just unfold and dry and continue.




Stay tuned I will continue to post tips as soon as I get a chance.