Day #3 with Ash

So far, I’ve been extremely happy with the Diamine Inkvent colors. Okay, I’ve only swatched two inks. There’s been a few OMG-moments especially when I apply water to my swatches.

Today, I was not surprised to see a true “standard” ink. Especially with an ink called Ash.

Inkvent Day #3: Ash

I just noticed Diamine’s labeling system includes the ink’s color on the label. Like this label shows an actual gray color.

Here’s my writing sample for Day #3. This is definitely a gray color. There is some shading and that’s about it.

When I add some water to my swatch card, that’s when I can see the ink’s personality.

Here’s a better view of my swatch. There’s a tiny bit of blue and a bit of blush undertone colors showing.

A quick pen & ink sketch on mixed media paper:

Overall this is an interesting ink color. With my stub 1.1 nib, the ink shows some shading qualities. I was on the fence when I first saw this color. As I’m using it more and more, it has grown on me.

Ink: Diamine Ash (standard)

Pen: TWSBI Swipe with Stub 1.1 nib

Journal: GLP Creations Tomoe River Paper (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #2 Includes Lots of Shimmer and Sheen!

Today we are in for a lovely ink surprise! It’s a beautiful green ink with lots of shimmer and sheen.

Inkvent Day #2: Diamine Garland

The label on the side of the bottle shows this Garland ink includes some shimmer and sheen.

Check out this next picture I took. Do you see it?

There are bright bits of blue shimmer sitting at the bottom of my tiny bottle. I already know I’m in for a real treat.

Let’s take a look at my swatch card and writing sample. Looking straight on I can see what looks like halos of red which makes my writing appear to glow a bit. Depending on the lighting, my swatch card shows a dark teal green ink color.

Here’s a close up of my writing sample that shows the gorgeous red sheen with bits of blue shimmers.

I’m saving the best picture for last. This is one stunning swatch card I have in my possession. Sigh! 🤩

From my writing samples, I can see bits of the teal green ink color surrounded by the red sheen and sprinkles of blue shimmer. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Here’s a quick pen & ink sketch on mixed media paper:

I’m thoroughly enjoying this lovely ink color and I’m looking forward to using this in some of my pen & ink artwork. This is definitely on my wish list and I hope Diamine produces this color in their larger bottle.

Ink: Diamine Garland (shimmer & sheen)

Pens Used: TWSBI ECO Green with Stub 1.1 nib. Glass dip pen. Automatic Pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with Tomoe River Paper (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media Paper

Happy Diamine Inkvent December and Day 1!

You’ve read in a previous post that I was able to get my hands on the Diamine Inkvent 2021 Calendar and I was anxiously waiting to bust open the bottles of ink. Well today is the first day of December and it’s only appropriate for me to share with you my first swatch (out of 25 colors). This will be a first for me as I will be posting an ink color each day until the 25th of December.

The front of my Inkvent Calendar box shows the numbers (1-25) and the perforated outlines representing the individual doors with the tiny bottles of ink behind them.

Here’s the back of the box.

I did open the top of the box and pulled out the plastic tray that holds the bottles of ink. Oooops! Two tiny bottles jumped out and landed on my desk. Uh-oh! I quickly figured out which day they belonged to and placed them in the tray. Box is now closed. Lesson learned. Must not open the box again. 🤣

Inkvent Day #1: Seize the Night

It’s not easy to open each door. I used the blade of my scissors to carefully “trace” the outline of the door and used my Cricut weeding tool to pull the door open.

Here is the bottle of ink behind Door #1. Can you hear me squealing with delight?

For those of you who are not partaking in the Inkvent calendar, I wanted to show the size of this tiny bottle (12 ml) in comparison to a bottle of Robert Oster ink (50 ml).

It took some effort to remove the plastic wrap from the tiny plastic bottle. Each bottle is labeled with the ink name in the front and on the side it shows the ink’s type. For Seize the Night, they called this a standard ink.

Here is a picture of my swatch samples and writing sample.

At first, the ink looks like an average brown/bronze ink. Until, I look at the ink from my swatch card at an angle. Do you see it? This ink appears to have a “vintage brass-like” sheen.

My writing sample showed very little specs of sheen.

Here’s a close up of my swatch card.

This ink color is hard to photograph. Especially with my writing sample. Is this a purple ink? Or a brown-bronze ink? When I added water to the ink swatch a reddish purple color appeared on my swatch card. It then dried to a purple hue. Yes, I was scratching my head on this one. I set my card aside to let it dry and did not see the color had changed.

I’ve changed my mind on this ink color. I would say this is a purple ink bronze ink with purple undertones and with a bit of vintage brass sheen. The more I write with this ink, the more I see a dark purple ink color on my paper.

Here’s my quick pen & ink sketch on mixed media paper:

Ink: Diamine Seize the Night (standard)

Pens Used: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib. Glass dip pen. Automatic Pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with Tomoe River Paper (68gms)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

My Cricut World

There’s another hobby I’ve been experimenting with that involves a bit of designing. When I’m not playing with my fountain pens and inks or watercolor paints, I’m spending time with my Cricut machine.

Last year I started out with the cute little Cricut Joy. I used mine mainly for cutting small pieces of vinyls, but many folks used it for cutting fancy cards. I initially purchased about four rolls of the Cricut Joy Smart Vinyl to get familiar with their removable and permanent vinyls. Their Joy Smart Vinyls can be used without a mat and loads nicely into the Joy.

I immediately graduated to the larger and wider rolls of vinyl (save $) and learned to cut and trim my own vinyl pieces to avoid waste. I used my compact Fiskars trimmer to cut my vinyl pieces. This was a valuable tool to have especially when I needed to trim pieces accurately and trimmed the edges straight. The straight edges allowed me to line up and place the vinyl onto my mat.

My Fiskars SureCut with TripleTrack rail system and Titanium coated blade

I never had the need to purchase the Cricut subscription. I already have experience with using Photoshop and Illustrator. It was easier for me to create, edit, or clean up designs and uploaded them into Cricut’s software called Design Space.

I definitely fell into the vinyl cutting rabbit hole.

A few months ago, I bought a Cricut Maker on sale. Basically I graduated to a bigger machine that could do so much more. Compared to my Joy, the Maker is a huge machine. It’s wider and heavier. It took me awhile to get used to my Maker as the mat (12″x12″) is much larger than the one used with my Cricut Joy (4.5″x6.5″).

With my new Maker, I wanted to create my own stickers. I tried out different printable vinyl papers and created stickers of my artwork.

I’ve been busy cutting vinyl for Christmas gifts. I’m not able to post pictures of them right now, but I will share some other projects I’ve been working on.

Recent Projects:

Here’s my Cricut Maker cutting out a design on one of my favorite textured vinyl.

After this fancy vinyl is cut, you can barely see the design.

Once I adjusted the angle of my desk light, you can now see the image that was cut.

I prefer not to waste my favorite vinyl. You can see from the pieces (below) there’s more than an inch of vinyl that can be reused for smaller projects.

I trimmed my cut vinyl pieces down with my Fiskar trimmer and make sure I do not cut into the design.

Here are the leftover pieces that can be reused for future projects.

Now I’m ready to weed my vinyl. For my initial weeding process I removed what I call the main background.

Some intricate designs required additional weeding. Here I removed the vinyl from inside of the turtle design.

There might be an opportunity to reuse the weeded out vinyl. I grabbed an old backing sheet and placed the discarded portion of the vinyl for future reuse. You can see the hibiscus flower on the turtle’s body (right) was just too pretty to throw away.

Here’s a picture of my discarded vinyl pieces from my weeding process. This went into the trash.

The next step was to apply the transfer sheet over my vinyl designs. I used my squeegee scraper and scraped the transfer sheet down over my vinyl design. The white sheet of paper shown below is my parchment paper. It’s amazing that my transfer sheet and vinyl does not stick to this paper at all.

I also used my squeegee to scrape the backside of my vinyl or backing paper. I then carefully and slowly peeled away the backing paper from the transfer sheet and vinyl. You can see from the following picture that I pulled from a sharp angle versus pulling straight up. This is an important tip I’ve learned and have not had any issues.

For the next step I needed to clean the surface of my metal mug before I applied the vinyl.

I used rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and cleaned the surface. Here’s my plastic container I picked up from the Dollar Tree. Underneath the lid is a pump-like surface where I place my cotton pad and press down for the alcohol to come up and wet the pad. Yes, I had to add a vinyl label. Isn’t it cute?!

Once my mug had dried, I placed my vinyl and transfer sheet over my mug. I also placed a piece of parchment paper on either side of my vinyl to protect the vinyl designs I already had on either side of my mug.

I used my squeegee to scrape down the vinyl onto my mug.

I gently pulled the transfer sheet away.

Another tip I learned was the ability to reuse my transfer sheets. I placed it on the backing paper it came off of.

I used a piece of parchment paper to cover the vinyl and gave my mug a good scrape to make sure the vinyl stayed in place.

Here’s my hibiscus turtle.

I also added one to my hubby’s mug.

Here’s a design I used on my hubby’s water bottle.

I added another vinyl for a pop of color.

I will typically let the vinyl cure for about 3 days before using my mug/bottle.

Cricut Machine: Cricut Maker using Premium Textured Metallic material setting

Vinyl: Cricut Premium Vinyl Textured Metallic Permanent Glossy

Transfer Sheet: Cricut Strong Grip

Mat: Cricut Light Grip

Just Three Pens for Now and Other Things

We are just a few days away from the month of December and I have something brewing in my studio. Well not literally brewing, but it’s something that is sitting inside a brown box and waiting for December 1st to arrive. I ordered this at the end of August and received it at the end of September. So for two whole months the excitement has been building up. That’s all I will say. For now. 😃

I’m also contemplating doing a sketch/drawing a day in December. We will see how that works out as I’ll need to allocate two hours a day depending on the art medium I use. Lots of ideas and very little time to do all of my favorite hobbies. Sigh!

I wanted to share my three currently inked pens: Leonardo, Pilot, and Visconti.

I would classify these three pens as the oldest pens I have in my collection. I purchased them when I first fell into this fountain pen rabbit-hole. I thought it would be a great time to bring them into my pen rotation. They are amazing and fine writing tools. They write beautifully on all types of paper I use including plain notebook paper.

I had three bottles of ink sitting on my desk and it was easy to figure out my matching pen and ink scheme. As I’m typing this post, I’m wondering if Pilot will ever come out with other pen colors in their 823 model. I could easily enjoy an olive green or a copper colored 823. That would be so cool!

Earlier this week I was dabbling with Urban Sketching. Mostly from photographs I’ve taken. It’s a different style of sketching for me and basically learning to look and sketch quickly. I’m learning to loosen up and not worry about the details or shapes too much.

I’m hoping to take this new sketching adventure outside and in the public areas. Since it’s around 40-something degrees outside, learning to sketch quickly would be most beneficial. Now that I’m thinking about it, sitting in a warm car and sketching sounds even better. 🤣

Pens: Leonardo Momento Zero Pietra Marina (Fine). Pilot Custom 823 Amber (Fine). Visconti Vertigo Orange (Fine)

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Tamar Pinot Noir and Eucalyptus Regnans. Robert Oster Aussie Brown.

Paper: Rhodia

Another Van Dieman’s Ink – Tamar Pinot Noir Wine Red

Here’s the most recent fountain pen ink acquisition from Fountain Pen Day. It’s a Van Dieman’s Ink called Tamar Pinot Noir from their Original Colours of Tasmania series. It’s a beautiful red ink that is a subtle color and leans a bit towards brown. It’s a red that has some character with some shading and a tiny bit of sheen.

This has been on my wishlist for some time and was passed up several times as I selected other Van Dieman’s colors that had more sheen and/or shimmers. Now that I’ve gotten over the sheen mood (with much delight), it was time to try out what I call their basic ink colors.

It wasn’t too hard to find a fountain pen to go with this lovely ink. I thought it would be a great time to bring a few of my favorite pens back into my pen rotation. Here’s my Leonardo MZ in Pietra Marina. My Leonardo has a wonderful smooth nib and I can always count on having an enjoyable writing experience. It doesn’t hurt that the colors in this pen is gorgeous.

Okay, back to the ink! Depending on the lighting, this ink color appears to be a red wine color. When I pull my swatch card away from my lamp, the color appears to be more of a reddish coppery color. It reminds me of the underlying color in Private Reserve’s Copper Burst.

Here’s another sample swatch in my Stalogy ink journal.

It’s definitely a gorgeous red color. Not too dark and not too light. Just right!

Ink: Van Dieman’s Ink Tamar Pinot Noir Wine Red from the Original Colours of Tasmania

Fountain Pen: Leonardo Momento Zero in Pietra Marine (Fine nib)

Journal: Stalogy 365

Sketching with Graphite

(Edit: Added additional information & pictures of the graphite leads used with my clutch pencils)

I have to confess. I did partake in one of the sales on Fountain Pen Day. It was not a fountain pen purchase, but a clutch pencil that I had my eye on. Who knew that one of my fave fountain pen shops carried clutch pencils. More on that in a few minutes.

To make sure I was keeping with the fountain pen theme on that day, I purchased a bottle of Van Dieman’s red ink that was on my wish list. It’s part of their Original Colors of Tasmania ink series. It’s a gorgeous reddish ink color and I paired it with one of my Leonardo MZ fountain pens. Ink swatches will be in my next ink review post.

Back to my non-fountain pen purchase. I have a thing for the Koh-i-Noor clutch pencils and I have managed to collect a few in different colors and styles. This new one is quite unique and it did not hurt that it came in a beautiful blue color with gold trim. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

Can you see why I was attracted to this pencil? This metal clutch pencil holder has some heft and weight. The weight reminds me of brass. It is chunky looking and easy to hold in my hand. I noticed I have a looser grip with this style of pencil. Here’s a picture of my new blue pencil sitting in between my two standard looking clutch lead holders.

My clutch pencil holder uses the 5.6mm graphite leads and they typically come in the softer lead offerings: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B. I pulled out the included lead from my pencil and could not find any markings and I assumed it was an HB or 2B.

I used my new pencil to create this initial grape sketch. Yes, I’m still in the grape sketching phase.

This HB/2B lead produced some hard lines in my sketch. I used my two other clutch pencils with softer leads (e.g. 6B) and was able to blend the hard lines and soften the grapes. You can see a difference in the following picture.

Graphite Leads:

I wanted to add that the Koh-i-Noor graphite leads come in two lengths: 80mm and 120mm. Each box contains six (6) leads and you’ll notice the longer leads need extra protection and come in a plastic box.

Here’s what the leads look like outside of their boxes.

Here are the leads next to my clutch pencils. My Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340 Clutch Pencil (bottom) can take both lead sizes and retracts them fully into the clutch holder.

My new clutch holder can easily take the 80mm lead size and retracts fully in the clutch holder. The 120mm lead can also be used, but when fully retracted the lead will still show/protrude from the clutch. For me it’s not an issue as I store my pencils in a wrap case. It might an issue for those who carry their pencils in their pockets or in a purse/backpack.

I really enjoy using my clutch pencils as I can easily swap out different lead types. I can use sepia, charcoal, and chalk leads as well as metallic and “magic” leads for sketches that require color.

Clutch Pencil: Koh-i-Noor Mechanical Drop Clutch Lead Holder in Blue with 5.6mm x 80mm Lead (HB or 2B)

Journal: Leda Art Sketch Book

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

I’ve been intentionally staying away from my computer today and avoiding the pen sales that are popping up everywhere. That’s why I’m late in wishing my fellow fountain pen friends a Happy Fountain Pen Day!

I thought I would celebrate by sharing a sketch I did from last year. Lovely pens and wonderful writing experiences.

Here’s my currently inked pens. Yes, only three filled with ink. I’m doing well in managing this goal. Easier to clean three pens versus a dozen or more.

I still have a few Van Dieman’s Ink swatches to share with you. When I was playing with my new inks a few weeks ago I took some pictures as a reminder to update my blog. At that same time, my watercolor mojo was found and needed some attention. This is what happens when I have too many fun hobbies fighting for my time in my studio.

I have to say I did spend a few minutes checking out the fountain pen deals. I allowed myself to put one in a cart and then removed it five minutes later. I’m getting good at this. Hahaha!

Hope you are having a fantastic Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

Pumpkins & Acorns in Watercolor

I finally finished my watercolor painting. I know from my previous post I was rather vague or did not show a complete picture of my artwork. I was testing out a new watercolor paper (journal) from Franklin-Christoph and wanted to see how well the paper held up to the copious amount of water and paint I used. Here is my setup from this morning:

The last few layers of colors involved adding the shadows underneath the objects. Before my pumpkins looked as though they were floating on the paper. Now, they should look a bit more grounded. That’s what I was hoping for.

I also added a bit more color to the curve of the objects to make them look rounded and give more depth.

To keep a consistent feel in my artwork, I used my favorite yellow color called Nickel Azo Yellow to mix the final paint colors. I mixed that yellow paint with Alizarin Crimson to create a soft orange color. I mixed the same yellow with Cascade Green (fave color) to create a pretty olive green color. I do enjoy mixing colors together to see the cool surprises I can create. Like creating the olive green color.

You can see in my middle pumpkin I used the orange with a bit of green (colors used from the other two pumpkins) to create a bit of harmony in my painting. While I was thinking about this, I also added a bit of orange to the green pumpkin.

For the acorns I included both orange and green colors since they sit in between the orange and green pumpkins.

For the shadows, I used Neutral Tint in the darker areas and added dabs of the associated pumpkins colors to show a bit of its reflective color. I use this technique quite a bit in both of my pen & ink and watercolor artwork.

Another composition item I think about while planning my artwork is numbers or quantity. Odd numbers make an artwork look visually pleasing. It also forces your eyes to move around the artwork. I also think about odd numbers when I take my pictures.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time using this watercolor journal. There’s over a dozen layers of colors and the paper has held up well. No noticeable ripples on the backside of the paper. Love this bound watercolor journal concept with 100% cotton paper. It fits nicely in my Franklin-Christoph VN Vagabond NWF Notebook Cover or a normal traveler’s notebook cover. This journal size is about 4.3″x 8.25″.

Remember I mentioned the epiphany I had in my previous post? It was about using less water in my watercolor paintings. This made a huge difference especially when using this new journal paper. I did notice when I used too much water, the paper would produce spots in the overly wet areas. You can see it on the orange pumpkin (far left).

My favorite watercolor paper is Arches and I’ve never had any issues with that paper brand. I wished Arches still created a journal with their papers. I have one from early 2000 that I stumbled across and will eventually use it (when I get better). In the meantime, F-C’s journal is perfect for my practice and to take along with me on my travels.

In regards to using this paper with fountain pen inks, I have done a few test sketches and I’m not too happy with the results. I might need to spend another week and perhaps change up my pen & ink techniques to see if this paper changes my mind. I will definitely be back to share my thoughts on this and also a few pictures and let you, my readers, decide how to use this journal with pen and inks.

My paper thoughts: Does a decent job with watercolor paints

Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors

Brushes: Cheap Joes American Journey Round #2, #4, and #6

Palettes: Art Toolkit by Expeditionary Art Folio Palette (large) with paint pans and Pocket Palette (regular) with mixing pans

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph VN Vagabond NWF Notebook Cover

Watercolor Journal: Franklin-Christoph VN Watercolor Refill

Watercolor Epiphany!

I’ve been struggling with watercolor painting. I was not getting the instant gratification like I would receive when I completed a pen & ink sketch. My watercolor creations were just mediocre and appeared lifeless. I felt as though I was in an endless loop of creating some paintings and then never completing them. I would also fall back to creating my artwork using my trusty fountain pens and inks.

Today I had an overwhelming desire to do a watercolor painting. Several things came into play with this desire. First, I had received the new Franklin-Christoph watercolor journals and could not wait to try this paper out. This new journal can be used with watercolors, guache, and pen and inks. I thought I would start out testing this paper with my watercolor paints and then do another test using my fountain pens and ink. A review will be forthcoming later this week.

Second, I had just completed a few pen & ink sketches of pumpkins and acorns and I wanted to see what I could do using my watercolor paints. That would require some color mixing techniques as well playing with different colors which I enjoy doing.

I spent less time thinking about the process (a good thing) and just started sketching with my pencil. Next thing I knew I was mixing paint colors and then applying paint to paper.

Somewhere along the layers of paint I was laying down, I experienced a huge epiphany in what I was doing. I used smaller round brushes like #6 and #4. I used less water in mixing and wetting my paper. My painting came to life.

Here’s a sneak peak from this morning’s session. I know it’s a partial shot of my painting. It’s still a work in progress.

At this point, I’m really happy about what I uncovered and I feel as though I can move forward in this creative adventure.

I had another realization this morning. I was mixing my watercolor paints and creating colors that I currently have in my TWSBI GO fountain pens. I am having too much fun!