Getting My Sketching Mojo Back with a Pumpkin and a Prompt

After eight months of sketching non-stop with my fountain pens and inks, my creativity finally went missing. For the last two months, I was hoping it would come back. It has slowly. I try not to force it. There are some days when I feel as though I should be doing something creative, but all I do is stare at a blank page for a few minutes. Then I would close my art journal and carry on with my other daily activities.

My Graphite Sketch

When I get stuck in a creative rut, I always fall back to sketching with my favorite art medium using graphite pencils. I used my mechanical pencil to sketch out an outline. I used my 2.0mm clutch pencil to create the dark lines and shading. I used my blending tortillon to blend/smudge the graphite onto my paper and to soften the harsh lines.

My Pen & Ink Wash Sketch

A few days later, I created a pen & ink wash sketch of my pumpkin. I used my Copic Multiliner to sketch the outline and also added contour lines to create the darker areas of the pumpkin. I used two fountain pen ink colors Oklahoma City and Steely Days for the pumpkin. For the stem, I used Kansas City and Melon Tea. For the shadow area under the pumpkin, I used Oklahoma City and then dabbed a bit of Thunderstorm and used my water brush to blend out and away.

My Watercolor Sketch

I was toying with the idea of getting back into using my watercolor paints for my artwork. Why not, right? I pulled out my Sennelier watercolor set and enjoyed my time mixing my paint colors. I used mostly a wet on dry technique since the paper I was using could only take light washes. For the last layer, I used a damp brush with my teal paint mix and created a few contour strokes to enhance the shape of my pumpkin.

Challenge: Find a pumpkin to use in your sketches. Use a picture if you can’t find a real or fake pumpkin. Use your pencil to create a graphite sketch. Then use your fountain pens and ink to create the second pumpkin sketch. If you have another art medium available (watercolor, charcoal, pastel, etc) create a third sketch.

My Art Journals:

Leda Art Supply Medium-size (5.7″x8.25″) with graphite pencils.

Stillman & Birn Alpha 7.5″x7.5″ softcover with fountain pen & ink.

hand●book journal co. 5.5″x5.5″ square with watercolor paints.

My Art Mediums:

Graphite – Pentel Energize Pencil with 0.7mm HB lead and Staedtler Clutch Pencil 925 35-20 with 2.0mm HB lead.

Fountain Pens & Inks – TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Robert Oster Oklahoma City, Steely Days, Kansas City, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm

Watercolor Mixes: Sennelier French Artists Watercolor Travel Set (12). Lemon Yellow and Sepia to create yellow ochre. Ultramarine Deep and Sepia to create dark brown. Forest Green and Ultramarine Deep to create teal green.

Watercolor Brushes: Escoda 1548 Versatil Series Artist Watercolor Travel size 4 & 6

Anderillium Inks – Cephalopod Series

For this blog post I will be covering the remaining eight ink colors from Anderillium Inks and representing their Cephalopod series. A few of their bright ink colors brought a smile to my face. Here’s my writing samples from this series where I wrote a brief summary about the ink or cephalopod’s name.

Here are my swatch cards representing the eight ink colors. You can see some sheen in a few of the colors.

Here’s some inky swatches I found from my swatch card collection that came close to or matched the Anderillium Ink colors.

Flapjack Octopus Orange is a bright orange ink color with some lovely shading. I have a handful of orange ink colors and these two, Damili and Shoreline Gold, were the closest in color.

Vampire Squid Red is a wonderful medium red ink color with a bit of gold sheen. If I did not already have Sushi and Tassie Salmon, I would probably get a bottle of this ink color.

Bobtail Squid Green is in between Subline and Green Lime and leans more towards Green Lime.

Spiral Green is a lovely bright medium green ink color with a tiny bit of dark red sheen along the edges. I was able to get a close match with Green Green and Midori.

Blue Ringed Octopus is a tiny bit darker than Australian Opal Blue and Australian Sky Blue. It shows a bit of red sheen around the edges.

Flying Squid Blue is a close match to Soda Pop Blue and Asa Blue. It’s a medium blue ink with a bit of red sheen and is similar to Soda Pop Blue.

Collosal Squid Dark is a unique ink color with some black sheen. It’s a medium dark teal green color and quite different from Eroded Bronze and Velvet Storm.

Cuttlefish Brown is a lovely medium brown ink color and is a close match between Melon Tea and Bronze. Cuttlefish has some black sheen which makes it look like a dark brown ink color in my writing sample.

Majority of the colors in this Cephalopod series are very similar to the colors I already have in my inky collection. They appear to be moderately wet inks. The bright colors are very appealing and I would not hesitate to use them in my artwork.

Inks: Anderillium Inks Cephalopod Series

Ink Journal: GLP Creations The Author Tomoe River Paper 68gsm

A Fabulous Year with Narwhal/Nahvalur

Nautilus Voyage in New Orleans

Earlier this year, I created a blog post about my sparkling limited edition Nautilus Voyage in New Orleans. I was so enamored with this sparkling beauty (I still am) and the way it wrote and felt in my hand that I created a pen & ink sketch.

The pen itself is a gorgeous design and well made. It’s a piston filler pen that has an inky window to show how much ink is left in my pen.

This pen with a Fine nib handles my shimmering inks well.

Exclusive Galen Demonstrator with Rose Gold Trim

My first stop at this year’s pen show was at the Galen table. As in a Thursday afternoon stop. While they were still unpacking their boxes around me. I was checking out their exclusive ink colors and was immediately drawn to their Prairie Green ink color from KWZ. I had them set the bottle of ink aside so I could check out their pen tray filled with demonstrator pens with rose gold trim. I had uncovered another Galen exclusive and this one was with Narwhal. I tried both the fine and medium nibs and had a hard time selecting a nib. After a few minutes I trusted my gut instinct and went with the smooth medium nib.

This turned out to be my sleeper pen purchase from the pen show. When I finally had some time to fill my pen with ink and write with it, it was then I realized how stunning this pen was. Sure it looks like a typical clear demonstrator, but it feels wonderful in my hand. The quality, the weight, and the attention to the details of this pen is just lovely. I can honestly say it feels delightful and a bit better than my TWSBI Diamond 580 pens.

To give you an idea on the weight between these two pens. My TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR weighs about 26.59 grams. My Narwhal x Galens pen weighs around 29.52 grams.

You can see in the picture how clear the cap is and I can clearly see my rose gold plated nib.

Original Plus (Melacara Purple and Azureous Blue)

During the pen show, Nahvalur did an unveiling of their newest pen called the Original Plus and in four different swirls of colors.

I was able to get two Original Plus pens in Melacara Purple and Azureous Blue. Both with stub nibs. Since the Original Plus is a vacuum filler pen and holds a lot of ink, it made more sense for me to go with a broader nib. Plus I had plans on using these pens to sketch with.

I naturally filled my Melacara pen with Robert Oster Sydney Lavender. I’m thinking of pairing my Azureous with Robert Oster Australis Hydra or the lovely Fire and Ice.

The Nahvalur Stub nib writes a bit bolder and wetter. It writes like a 1.1 stub nib on the down/vertical stroke. The horizontal stroke writes like a fine nib.

Nautilus Stylophora Berry

I remember seeing a few of these pens on Nahvalur’s table on the last day of the pen show as I was quickly walking around in search of bottles of inks. I made a mental note to stop by their table later in the day and I forgot to go back. This is what happens when I don’t write down my reminders on paper.

I happened to see a video of this pen in someone’s hand and noticed how lovely it looked in natural light. It was the same pen color I had seen as I quickly ran by Nahvalur’s table at the show. It’s that peripheral vision I have when I see something out of the corner of my eye that makes me stop for a minute before running off towards my inky mission.

Yes. I added this one to my collection. A much appreciated Labor Day sale along with a coupon and my saved up inky rewards helped lower the cost of this pen.

This is my first ebonite fountain pen. I did a bit of research and learned that this ebonite material is made of hard rubber. The rubber is vulcanized for prolonged periods of time. The end result is a hard, durable and highly chemical-resistant material. It also makes it wear resistant. I also read that when the pen is held in the hand, it gives off a warmth feeling. It does.

The combination of this berry color with rose gold trim is quite stunning along with the three port-hole like windows on the body of the pen. I’m finding an ink window is a must for piston filling pens.

This pen is hard to photograph. When the pen sits on my desk I can actually see the lines of berry color running throughout the cap and body. The section has a lovely ripple pattern of color.

I’m pretty sure this pen is a Nautilus model and not the Original Plus based on the information from their website. My box was mislabeled.

My Thoughts

Now that I have several Nahvalur nibs/pens in my collection, I can say their nibs are lovely wet writers. Their stub nibs appear to be a bit thicker and writes really wet. The feel of their stub nibs remind me a bit of my Pilot Custom 742 with a stub nib. While my Pilot stub nib feels really crisp around the edges, my Nahvalur stub nib has a lovely smooth feeling around the edges.

My Nahvalur stub nib is actually wetter than my TWSBI stub nibs (Diamond, Eco, & GO).

I’ve read a few comments where folks do not like the stiff nibs. I actually enjoy the stiff nib writing experience. The Nahvalur nibs are quite smooth and put out a bit more ink than my comparable JoWo nibs.

I do want to add that I have enjoyed my Nahvalur fountain pens right out of their boxes with no need to adjust their nibs. That says a lot about a fountain pen manufacturer who produces their own nibs.

Pens: Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans with Fine nib. Narwhal-Galens exclusive in Rose Gold trim with Medium nib. Nahvalur Original Plus (vacuum filler) with Stub nib. Nahvalur Nautilus in Stylophora Berry with Fine nib.

You can find a review of my Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans and my Narwhal Original pen on my blog post here.

Workshop Prompt – One Fruit & One Dessert

Sketch Your Favorite Fruit:

Here I used two inky colors to give my blueberries a bit more depth. I also went from my initial pencil sketch right into my fountain pen & ink wash. I like the softer edges around my blueberries.

Here’s an example where I used a single inky color and I applied layers of color to my blueberries. A single layer of color is represented in the light blue areas of the fruit. The next darker layer is added to give the blueberries a bit more depth. Remember to leave some white space or lighter areas of your fruit.

Sketch Your Favorite Dessert:

Sketch you favorite dessert that includes your favorite fruit.

Have fun!

Anderillium Inks – Avian Series

I have fallen behind in my inky reviews. I need to play catch up and I will be writing future posts that will include several ink colors from the same ink manufacturer. So, let me continue with the Anderillium Inks samples I received a few months ago.

At the start of my Anderillium ink reviews, I talked about the following four inky colors from their Avian series.

Here’s a close up of my swatch cards.

I’ve included a link for each of the color I’ve already posted on my blog: Indigo Blue Bunting, Kingfisher Green, Roseate Spoonbill Pink, and Pompadour Cotinga Burgundy.

The next four colors in their Avian series includes a purple, grey, yellow, and a black ink color.

The purple, grey, and black colors appear to be somewhat dry inks.

I pulled out my swatch cards to see what other ink colors came close to the Anderillium colors. For Purple Gallinule, Night Shade and Dragon’s Night were the closest colors I had.

Shoebill Stork Grey is a basic flat gray ink color especially when compared to Australian Opal Gray and Earl Grey.

Gold Finch Yellow is a beautiful and bright yellow color with a bit of orange sheen. It’s a brighter than Yellow Sunrise or Aussie Gold.

Common Loon Black is more of a dark gray ink color when compared to a black ink like Shogun.

The Shoebill Stork Grey and the Common Loon Black appear to be drier inks compared to the other colors in this series.

I like their Indigo Bunting Blue, Kingfisher Green, Roseate Spoonbill Pink, Pompadour Cotinga Burgundy, and Goldfinch Yellow. I like the brighter colors and I could see using them in my pen & ink artwork. The other three colors are bit a flat and less interesting to use in my artwork.

For journaling and writing, I think all the inks write well and are readable.

I’ll be back with the remaining inky colors from Anderillium’s Cephalopod series. Stay tuned.

Inks: Anderillium Inks Avian Series

Ink Journal: GLP Creations The Author Tomoe River Paper 68gsm

Swatch Card for September

I’ve been pulling out my fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and cleaning them out. A few have been in use since May and I thought it was time to rotate the colors out and try some new inks.

I used a 4″x6″ watercolor paper post card to create my swatch card. So far, this includes 19 inky colors I am currently using for this month. These inky colors reside in my TWSBIs, Pilot, Opus 88, Nahvalur, and Indy pens. That includes about a dozen TWSBI GOs.

I am still missing a few colors like a golden yellow which I will add to my currently inked collection in the next day or so.

I keep my swatch card with me in my art bag along with my fountain pens and inks. There are times when I forget what inky colors I have ready to go for my sketches or when I’m trying to find the right inky shade for a particular sketch.

Post Card: Tumuarta Watercolor Post Card 4″x6″ 140lb/300gsm cold press

Pens: turnt pen co “Grisham 13” in Peach Agate (Bob Dupras) with Fine nib. Pilot Custom 742 with Soft Fine <SF> nib. Nahvalur Original Plus in Melacara Purple with Stub nib.

Diplomat Excellence is an A+

A Diplomat pen appeared on my radar two years ago. I was mesmerized by the striking wave pattern and I knew the nib would be beautiful to write with. I remembered watching a Goulet video and there was a two minute segment on this pen. At the time I thought it was expensive for a steel nib pen and so I waited. A few months ago I received an email from Vanness advertising their Diplomat Gift sets on sale. Naturally, I looked at what was on sale and I was surprised to see the Wave Guilloche set at a really good price.

This Diplomat pen feels like it should be my grail fountain pen. The quality, the lovely workmanship and attention to detail, the weight, how it feels in my hand, how beautifully it writes, and I could go on and on about this lovely fountain pen.

When I first received this pen, I filled it with Diamine Storm. Five days later, I wrote until the converter was almost dry. From what I can remember, I’ve never done that before.

I quickly filled my Waves Guilloche with Diamine All the Best and continued to write several pages in my journal. Yes, there was a lot of joy while writing with this lovely pen and ink combination.

I rarely do this (not cleaning between refills), but felt the need to keep writing

I enjoy the 1/4 turn to remove the cap from the pen. It’s a gratifying feel to put the cap on and to remove it. Also, it helps to have this easy cap removal when I need to jot down my notes quickly.

This metal pen weighs around 43.75 grams with the included converter filled with ink.

The pen can be posted and it posts deeply on the body. I could write a full page in my journal before my hand gets a tiny bit tired. It also has to do with how I hold my pen. If I hold it closer towards the nib, I can feel some back weight issues. The further up and away from the nib, the pen (posted) feels comfortable and a bit more balanced.

The wavy silver stripes on the pen creates an unusual pattern of shimmer while I twirl my pen. When I use my loupe, I can see the engraved silver wavy pattern into the matte black (guilloche engraved). When I run my fingers over it, I just feel a subtle hint of smooth tiny ridges. It’s barely noticeable with the lacquer coating.

The pen has a spring loaded clip. A really, really nice feature and I like how this pens slips in and out of my pen case with the clip gliding smoothly over the elastic bands.

I could not resist a quick sketch of my lovely fountain pen.

Pen: Diplomat Excellence A+ Waves Guilloche with Fine nib

Ink: Diamine All the Best (Shimmer & Sheen)

Paper: Rhodia

Art Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha A5

Workshop Prompt – Labor Day Weekend

Update (09/04): I started this sketch after I went grocery shopping and I picked up a few bottles of gluten free sauces. The colorful bottles caught my eye and I picked up my pencil and fountain pens and started to sketch.

From my two page spread, you can see I used a different style or flow going from left to right and curving up a bit. For the open white space, I plan on writing something about this dish or writing down the recipe.

It’s still a work in progress.

I have to admit that my sketching mojo has been a bit MIA (missing in action) for the last few weeks. I occasionally get in this sketching funk and sometimes it takes changing out ink colors in my art pens (TWSBI GOs) to get going again. My plan is to dump the remaining shimmering inks in my art pens and pick out some lovely Robert Oster ink colors. Okay…back to my original post.

Original post:

The prompt for the next several days is to sketch a theme that relates to what you will be doing over this holiday weekend. It could be items on your to-do-list, fun projects/hobbies, foods you enjoy, a place your are visiting, etc.

Challenge #1: Create a two page spread of your weekend activities. Think of the things you might be doing with friends and/or family or by yourself. Sketch one or a few items a day and build your story/theme.

I’ll be working on my own two page spread and post my updates in this blog post over the next few days. I will more than likely create a rough sketch with my pencil that will outline my theme for my long weekend. I have not decided whether I will I include just one day or cover three days on my two page spread. The possibilities are endless.

I will start my sketching process by thinking of the story I want to tell and figuring out a style to use. Will it look like a collage of items or random sketches across the paper? Or will I follow a pattern and place my sketches clockwise across the two pages?

Here is a previous two page spread I created back in July. My theme/story shows random objects with curved shapes spread across both pages in my journal. My objects are connected with the lines I drew through most of my objects.

Here’s another two page spread I did back in May. My theme/story was how much I enjoyed my time at my local coffee shop and capturing a colorful scene by using most of my fountain pen inks I brought with me.

Here’s a sample of my one page sketch where I documented my morning food consumption. I had continued onto the next page with more foodie activities later that day. I need to look for my art journal to take a picture of what that two page spread looked like. In the meantime, this should give you an idea of my New Year’s Eve Day Foodie theme.

I’m adding the following picture of a sketch I did at the beach. This is an example of my “window” view sketch of the beach and the ripples of water.

The above pictures are simple sketches of what can be captured with your fountain pens and inks. Keep sketching and building your muscle memory. You can always start with a pencil sketch and add new sketches each day. You can also go back and use your fountain pen inks and create the washes later.

Challenge #2: Create a two page spread of a scene. It could be your front porch, your patio, your favorite shop, favorite restaurant, favorite vacation spot, etc.

I created the following sketch back in 2019. This was my first attempt at creating a two page spread. I used a combination of my fountain pen inks and watercolors to create the front entrance of a house I visited while on the island of Nevis.

Remember to take some time for yourself. Enjoy your sketching time. You have creative license to add or remove details. Perfection does not exist. No death grips. Have fun!

If you have a hard time getting motivated, don’t forget to review your handout(s) from my workshop. There might be something in there that will get you started in the right direction. Let me know if you have any questions.

Journals: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softcover A5. Travelogue handbook 5.5″x5.5″.

Fountain pens shown: turnt pen co. Pynchon in PM4 (Brooks). Lamy 2000 Makrolon. turnt pen co. Pynchon in Peacock (Dupras). TWSBI GOs.

Dominant Industry Inks

I came across Dominant Industry Inks a few weeks ago when I kept seeing two lovely ink colors appear on my social media feed.

Dominant Industry inks is based in South Korea. They designed the inks for their unique colors and effects. Their 25ml bottles are packaged in a cardboard box and includes a cloth dust bag and a single use pipette.

The heavy and unique shaped bottles look lovely sitting on my desk.

Strangely, I could not find a company website to get more details about their inks or any information about the company.

After looking at all the available ink colors, I narrowed down my choices to two Pearl ink colors called Sunset and Autumn Forest.

The Sunset ink is an unusual dusty purple ink that leans a bit towards rose. There are pink and blue undertone colors along with a rose gold shimmer. I feel as though the shimmers makes the purple ink lean a bit more towards pink.

I went through my ink swatches and the colors that came close to Sunset was Robert Oster Velvet Crush and Taccia Murasaki.

The Autumn Forest ink color is a unique ink color. I say that as it depends on what paper you use this ink on. On my swatch card, the ink appears to be a medium gray ink color. This ink has a pink and a bit of blue undertone colors as well as rose gold shimmer. Depending on the lighting, the ink color could also be considered gray-brown.

It’s interesting to look at other people’s swatches and see some green in their ink. I do not see any green at all.

I also went through my ink swatches to see what other colors I have that come close to Autumn Forest. I came up with a winner. Diamine Ash from the Red Inkvent Calendar. It’s very close match minus the shimmering particles.

The colors are gorgeous in my inky washes. For journal writing, I will use the inks in my broader nib pens. I prefer Autumn Forest over Sunset for readability. Sunset is a bit too light for me to write with.

Inks: Dominant Industry Sunset and Autumn Forest

Pens: Franklin-Christoph #31 Candystone with HPS Flex EF nib. Lamy LX Marron with Stub 1.1 nib.

Journals: GLP Creations The Author TRP 68gsm. Stalogy B6 Editor’s Series 365.

Workshop Prompt – Water Brush Sketch

Update: A question was asked about how I created the shadows underneath my objects. I’ve updated this post to include my answer. Look for the “*” paragraph.

I thought it would be a good time to sketch an art tool that we all have on hand, a water brush.

I started my sketch using my mechanical pencil.

I used my fine point pen with permanent ink to sketch over the lines I wanted to keep in my drawing.

After I gently erased my unwanted pencil lines, I applied my inky wash. I decided to use Sepia Nights for the main areas of my water brush and the shadow underneath my brush. I used Thunderstorm for the dark components inside my brush and added a tiny bit to my shadow to give my sketch a bit more depth.

* To create the shadows under my object, I leave a bit of highlight (white of the paper). I take my pen with same ink color as my object and sketch a line around the underside of my object. This creates a reflective shadow of my object. I dab a tiny bit of Thunderstorm where I think the shadows are the darkest. I slowly swipe my water brush across the two colors and pull the colors down and away from the object. This technique takes a bit of practice, but well worth the effort.

The following picture shows what my sketches look like in my art journal.

Try sketching your water brush. You have creative license on how much detail you want to include. For your first sketch use a blue ink color for your wash.

Challenge: create another sketch of your water brush and use a different ink color for your wash. This additional practice will help in observing your object a bit more and where the highlights and shadows are versus trying to copy the color of your object.

Pens used: Copic Multiliner with 0.1mm tip. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Robert Oster Sepia Nights and Thunderstorm

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softcover A5