A Quick Watercolor Wreath & Inky Prompt

As a result of cleaning out the majority of my TWSBI GOs, I now have four (4) pens inked and they are not the colors I need for a wreath sketch. I may end up doing a monochromatic wreath with the remaining ink colors I have. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I painted a simple watercolor wreath using my Sennelier paint set. I mixed a few colors to get the different variations of green. The more I use this paint set, the more I’m enjoying the properties of this brand of paint. It’s so easy to re-wet the paint pans. The colors are bold and bright. Very little paint goes a long way.

I’m enjoying my sable blend travel brush. I can create fine lines and it does a lovely job with blending colors on my paper. This sable blend holds a decent amount of water/paint and keeps a lovely point. It’s now the brush I reach for most often when creating my watercolor sketches.

Prompt: Sketch a wreath. Here are a few suggestions: greens & berries, Christmas ornaments, floral, candy canes, bows, lights, etc.

Paint: Sennelier Alizarin Crimson, French Vermilion, Ultramarine Deep, Forest Green, and Lemon Yellow.

Brush: Rosemary & Co Pocket Sable Blend with tapered point (R13) from Art Toolkit. This is a size 8 brush.

Journal: Canson Artist Series Watercolor spiral bound A5 (5.5″x8.5″)

Another Two Sketches: Two Different Mediums

This morning I was in the mood to sketch a scene. When I get into these moods I “just do it” and see what happens.

I’m still learning to paint loosely so I can create something in less than 30 minutes. That way I can feel like I’ve accomplished something in a small amount of time.

I created this painting without doing an initial pencil sketch and without looking at a picture. I took my paint brush and dipped it into my paint pans and painted away on my paper. It felt a bit “freeing” to paint like this. It only took me less than 10 minutes to complete. I could get used to this way of painting.

For this first painting exercise, I used my granulating paints from Daniel Smith and Schmincke.

I then decided to sketch out another beach scene and this time I used my fountain pens and inks.

I have to include this picture of my work in progress. I used blue painter’s tape to tape off an outline or window for my scenes. I ran out of tape for my pen & ink sketch and had to borrow a piece from my watercolor sketch. No time to look for tape. Have to keep going.

For my pen & ink sketch, I used a similar process by not creating the initial pencil sketch. I used my fountain pens and water brush and quickly completed my second beach scene.

I’m finding that it takes a bit more thought when I create my pen and ink wash artwork. Once I commit my ink to paper, that’s where the ink will stay. I can move some amount of color with my water brush, but basically some variation of the color stays where I’ve initially placed the nib to paper. That’s why I feel as though my sky is looking a bit strange. I got carried away and also forgot that I was working with ink.

Unlike inks, it’s easier to manipulate watercolor paints as I can blot/lift to lighten the color before it dries.

I forgot to mention that I’m using a watercolor journal from Canson for my test sketches. My beach scene sketches are on the backside of the first page. I wanted to see if the backside of this watercolor paper could be used.

Tip: Adding a color legend to my sketches. A few weeks from now, I won’t remember the colors I used.

Watercolor: Schmincke Galaxy Blue and Galaxy Brown. Daniel Smith Primatek Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Genuine, Jadeite Genuine, Fuchsite Genuine, and Bronzite Genuine.

Fountain Pen Inks: Robert Oster Steely Days, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City. Diamine Shimmering Enchanted Ocean. Van Dieman’s Ink Devil’s Kitchen.

Fountain Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Brushes: Pentel Water Brush

Paint Pans: Art Toolkit standard stainless steel pans

Journal: Canson Artist Series Watercolor Cold Press 140lb/300g (5.5″x8.5″) 20 sheets

Creating My Own Watercolor Swatch Cards

A few weeks ago I had re-swatched all of my bottles of Robert Oster Signature fountain pen inks. An idea came to me that I should do something similar with all of my tubes of Daniel Smith watercolor paints.

I looked around on the Internet and could not find a decent swatch card system to use. I tried using my Col-o-ring cards, but the paper was a bit too thin to handle the amount of water and paint I use. Being the creative person that I am, I did come up with a brilliant solution.

I remembered I had a few Canson journals left over from my pen & ink workshops and I knew the paper in that journal could handle a decent amount of water and paint. I grabbed my paper trimmer and my corner cutter and I was ready to do some paper cutting.

Since I was familiar with the 2″x4″ Col-o-ring size card, I thought that would be a good size to start with. After doing my initial watercolor swatch tests, I decided the card was a bit too wide. I did another swatch card test and found a 1.5″x4″ size card was perfect for my watercolor swatching needs and I had enough room to write down important color information. This smaller size also allowed me to cut a few more pieces from a single sheet of paper.

I used my Arteza water brush to paint out the colors on my swatch cards. I used my Platinum Preppy filled with Carbon ink to write out the paint color information.

Here’s a picture of my corner cutter. There are three slots (small, medium, & large) for three different size corners. The illustration on top of the gray hand press shows what the corners would look like for each size.

For my swatch cards, I decided to use the (S)mall corner cutter setting to give my cards a smaller or narrow curved corner.

The mixed media paper handled my watercolor mixture well. The paper does buckle slightly when wet. After the paper dries, it straightens out on its own.

Since I was in a paper cutting mood, I went ahead and created my own Col-o-ring-like swatch cards for my fountain pen inks. Good thing I keep several pads of mixed media and drawing paper in my art paper stash.

In the following picture, I used the “L” or large corner cutter. I placed the corner of my paper into the slot and pressed down on the gray handle to cut out a curved corner.

Can you tell from the picture below, which card was the one I created?

I created the card on the right. The one on the left is from Col-o-ring.

My Swatch Card Tools

Journal: Canson Artist Series Mixed Media spiral bound (5.5″x8.5″)

Paper Trimmer: Fiskars Surecut Portable Paper Trimmer

Corner Cutter: Sunstar Kadomaru Pro, Corner Cutter (S4765036) S-M-L

Single hole punch

Small loose leaf binder ring

Sketching with My Lamy Ballpoint Pen

I set out to do an experiment with all the ballpoint, rollerball, and gel pens I found in and around my studio desk. What did I uncover? I immediately eliminated the SWAG pens I received from various trade shows I’ve attended over the years. Their inks dried up fast inside the pen and were deemed unusable. They were basically disposable plastic pens. You know what I’m referring to.

I had a few name brand pens in my possession. I created a sample page where I sketched with the pens and then apply my fountain pen inks over the initial sketch. I also created sample lines and then applied water over the lines to get a better idea of how the ink reacted with water.

My gel pens and rollerball pens basically smeared when I applied water to the lines.

I was surprised to see my Retro51 ballpoint ink react the way it did with water.

My Cross, Parker, and Lamy ballpoint pens handled the water a bit better.

Here’s my Lamy ballpoint pen collection which includes the Al Star in Green, Vista in Clear, and Al Star in Cosmic.

My Lamy ballpoint trio

My Lamy writes smooth across the different art papers I use. So far, no skipping or fading. The Vista model has a thinner grip section than the Al-Star. I do like the clear body showing off my ink refill.

I keep my Lamy ballpoint pens in my art journal and in my art pen case. I can find my refills (M16) at most online pen shops. They come in Fine, Medium, and Broad tips.

My Lamy ballpoint pen is fast becoming my favorite cool tool for creating quick sketches with a fairly permanent ink. The pen colors they come in are really lovely.

Ballpoint Pens: Lamy Al Star in Green and Cosmic with Fine tip. Lamy Vista Clear with Fine tip.

Journal: Canson Mixed Media A5.

Green Kingfisher Green – Anderillium Inks

Green Kingfisher Green reminds me of a medium olive green color. I can see several underlying colors which include light dusty gold and bright cyan blue. I’m thinking there’s another color, but won’t know for sure until I sketch with this gorgeous ink color.

This is another ink color I had a hard time photographing. The olive green color is a tad bit lighter than what my writing sample shows. There is some shading that shows up while writing with my TWSBI GO with medium nib.

It was not too hard to find comparable inky colors from my collection. They each have their own personalities especially when using different papers. You can see how my swatching process has changed over the years.

Another look at my sketch along with my swatch card together.

I had to pull out my watercolor paint swatches to help identify that tan/beige color that kept appearing in my artwork.

My Thoughts:

As I sketch more with fountain pen inks, I’m finding certain colors appeal to me more than others. If I had to choose a green color, I would gravitate more towards the olive green color.

This ink leans more towards the wet side. It’s not gushing wet (like Van Dieman’s Inks), but it’s also not dry.

I am having too much fun with this lovely olive green ink. I might put off the next ink color for a few days so I can write my TWSBI GO dry. Hahaha!

I’m adding this ink color to my wish list. Yes, I know I have other olive green ink colors in my collection for writing. I would get this for sketching. It has some unique qualities.

Look at the explosion of colors that appear when I add water to the inky splat on my paper towel. The blue is close to a light cyan blue color.

The ink is still damp and I can see remnants of olive green around the edges
The ink is dry and the golden orange color appears

Pen Used: TWSBI Go with Medium nib

Ink: Anderillium Green Kingfisher Green

Journals Used: Canson Artist Series Mix Media. GLP Creations The Author TRP 68gsm Dot Grid. Stillman & Birn Alpha.

Indigo Bunting Blue – Anderillium Inks

A few weeks ago, I thought I was missing a color from the Anderillium samples I received. I initially swatched 15 inky colors. I checked the packing slip and I counted 16 sample vials.

This morning I took out my sample vials and placed them on my desk for a quick photo op. I looked inside the supposedly empty box and found the missing vial of ink stuck in between some bubble wrap. I now feel as though all is good in my world and I can now proceed to chat about the inks.

I quickly did a swatch of this (supposedly missing) ink and immediately enjoyed seeing this dusty blue color. A very calm and enjoyable color.

I did a quick sketch to see how well the ink interacts with water. It’s gorgeous!

Before I get too far into this fun adventure, I have to come up with a plan on how to best present the Anderillium inks on my blog. I think I will do a quick sketch and then follow up with a writing sample. If this sounds familiar it’s because I did a similar process for the Diamine Inkvent Calendar.

This ink color dries a bit lighter than what my writing sample shows

This ink has some lovely shading and no sheen.

I’m sure it will be helpful to include other swatch colors I have for comparisons.

Looks like this will work. Short and sweet, right?

My Thoughts: After using this ink for two days, I find I’m using this color for sketching. It’s a decent color for writing, but after looking back on the paragraphs I wrote I do wish the ink was a tad bit darker. It’s a lovely wet ink with lovely shading.

Pen Used: TWSBI Go with Medium nib

Ink: Anderillium Indigo Bunting Blue

Journals Used: Canson Artist Series Mix Media. GLP Creations The Author TRP 68gsm Dot Grid. Stillman & Birn Alpha.

It’s Fude Nib Time!

A little over two years ago my friend “M” sent me a package. Inside was a gorgeous and ornate fountain pen.

My initial thoughts on this pen was how wet and how broad this fude nib was! At that time I was into Extra Fine and Fine nib fountain pens. As you can imagine I was thrilled, but also a bit curious about this nib.

The Fude nib or bent nib

I’ve inked and tried this pen a few times. Initially, I found the pen to be quite slender. I think this is the skinniest fountain pen I have in my collection.

Platinum Prefounte, Duke Ruby, & Platinum Preppy

The pen weighs about 35 grams. The cap and body appears to be made of brass with a black lacquer finish. It’s a snap-cap pen which I prefer to use for my artwork as I can quickly remove the cap and start sketching.

It took some time for me to really appreciate what a fude nib can do. I follow a few artists on their creative adventures and found they keep a fude nib pen in their art bag.

With renewed interest, I pulled out my Duke pen and filled it with Smokescreen. I was feeling a bit creative and wanted to use this fountain pen to sketch with. I left my pencils and permanent fine tip pens on my studio desk. I went outside with my sketchbook and my fude fountain pen filled with ink and started sketching.

It took me about 15 minutes to complete this piece. This turned out to be a loose sketch as the Smokescreen ink with the fude nib had no issues laying down color on my paper. I literally went with the flow in my sketch.

I’m enjoying the broad strokes this pen creates. The line thickness reminds me of my TWSBI stub nibs. This pen can also create fine lines when I hold the pen between 45 to 90 degrees over the paper. The line is even finer when I turn the nib upside down and write with it.

Here’s my writing sample and a look at the different line variations this pen can produce.

At around a 40 degree angle or less, the line width reminds me of a Stub 1.1 nib. At 45 degrees and higher, the line width gets narrower and close to a Fine nib. At a slightly less than 90 degree angle, the line reminds me of an Extra Fine nib. When I turn the nib upside down, it produces a consistent and slightly narrower Extra Fine line.

There is a learning curve to handling this pen. For me, I had to be cognizant of how I was holding the pen in my hand. For sketching, I found if I held the pen like a paint brush (around the top of the section) I could control the stroke sizes easier. The key here was holding the pen loosely. The other thing I had to think about is what angle the pen & nib was over the paper. Did I want to create a broad stroke or a fine line? After a few inky refills and some practice sessions, I finally became one with this pen.

Overall, this is a smooth nib to write and sketch with. It’s a sturdy nib and well made. The smooth grip area has a slightly textured feel that I hardly notice in my hand. It does keep my fingers from sliding down the section.

Now that I understand the Fude nib’s capabilities, I’m having a blast sketching and writing with this pen.

The decorative filigree and a man-made ruby bling on the cap

Thank you “M” for introducing me to this wonderful and gorgeous fountain pen. Sorry it took so long for me to really appreciate how well this pen sketches and writes.

Note: I have an inexpensive Sailor Fude nib pen arriving soon. I am looking forward to seeing how this light weight pen performs in my sketching adventures and how it compares to the Duke Fude pen. Stay tuned!

Pen: Duke Ruby with Fude nib

Ink: Robert Oster Smokescreen

Paper: Rhodia

Journal: Canson Artist Mixed Media sketchbook

Random Sketch of a Wall

It appears I’m going through a shimmery-sparkly ink phase. I noticed most of my art fountain pens are filled with shimmering inks. I have to admit I enjoy seeing the shimmering particles in my sketches and especially when I’m moving my paper around at different angles.

I still have a few Diamine Inkvent inks in my GOs that were filled from last December when I was blogging about the daily ink colors. Yes, three months later and my pens are still writing. One yellow ink color (Candle Light) has slowly become a dislike for me. I felt as though the yellow leaning orange color was not working in my sketches. So that pen finally went into my cleaning bin.

I looked for another yellow color to add to my palette and went with Heart of Gold. This is a lovely and bright shimmering gold ink color. More shimmers!

For the last few weeks, my focus has been sketching buildings and I’m currently experimenting with a few shimmering brown colors that I have in my collection. Winter Spice has been fun to sketch with and leaves behind a lovely combination of green sheen and blue shimmers on my paper. It has a lot of personality for a brown ink.

I went ahead and filled another empty GO with Cocoa Shimmer. This is a lovely warm brown ink color with gold shimmers. A lovely subtle brown color. In my sketch above, I accidentally picked up Winter Spice and used it on the middle section of the wood. When I saw what I had done, I decided to use Cocoa Shimmer for the remaining wooden structure. It will be interesting to see how these two colors work together in my future sketches.

From the picture above you can see I’ve switched to a different journal for this sketch. I was trying out a wire bound Canson sketch journal for an upcoming project I’m working on. So far, it’s working nicely.

Pens: Copic Multiliner SP in 0.7 and 0.1mm. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Colorverse Brane (Glistening). Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper, Winter Spice, and Cocoa Shimmer.

Journal: Canson Artist Mixed Media 138lb (224g) 5.5″ x 8.5″