This morning, I gathered a few of my fountain pens and my sketch journal and placed them in my messenger bag. I ended up at a coffee shop I’ve been meaning to visit and never had a chance to stop in. It turned out to be one of the best coffee shop and sketching experience I’ve encountered.
Inside the shop I saw lots of open space with plenty of tables and chairs. Lots of folks wandered in and out of the shop and grabbed their coffees to go. A few folks, who sat towards the back of the shop, were busy working on their laptops. I was receiving positive vibes here.
I sat at a table in the middle of the coffee shop and started sketching what was immediately in front of me: my cup of coffee and my sugary treat. Then I looked around and saw the display cabinet at the back of the shop. There were colorful cups and bags of coffee on display. I felt a challenge hit me and I started sketching the back wall.
When I stopped to see my progress, I felt there was something missing in my sketch. I looked around and saw a vase with some blue and yellow flowers on the counter and I thought adding a floral scene would be a perfect way to finish my sketch.
I’ve been seeing lots of self improvements over the last few weeks. I am no longer hiding at the back table and sketching. My art supplies are spread out across the table for everyone to see. I’m becoming more efficient with my observations and sketching less which results in less lines to erase. It could be I’m getting better at memorizing what I see. Also, I find myself smiling more while I’m creating my artwork.
Pens used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Pilot Prera with CM nib. Faber-Castell Hexo with Medium nib. Lamy Al Star with Cursive nib. Copic Multiliner with 0.1mm tip (permanent ink).
Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost and Hail Storm. Robert Oster Heart of Gold, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Glitz, Golden Ivy, Enchanted Ocean, Seize the Night, and All the Best.
Sometime last year I created two beach sketches. One was a watercolor sketch in my watercolor journal. The other was a pen & ink sketch created in a different art journal.
This year, I thought it would be fun to create another one. This time I used one sketch book to create the two art samples.
Here’s a side-by-side view using the two different mediums.
The left side was created using my fountain pens and inks. The right side was created using my watercolor pans of colors.
I have several watercolor palettes in my collection and I chose a palette where I thought the colors would be similar to the fountain pen inks I used. During my watercolor session, it was amazing to see how close I could capture the colors I used in my pen & ink sketch.
My pen & ink sketch took less than an hour to create. I used three layers to build up the colors and contrast.
My watercolor sketch took a few hours to create. I started with the lightest colors first and built each layer using a darker color. I also had to wait for each layer to dry completely before I could paint additional colors. That is why it took so long to finish this piece.
I love working with this watercolor paper. It can handle the brush strokes and all the water I lay down on this paper. There is hardly any paper buckling and no bleed through on the back side of the paper.
Pens: Platinum Preppy in 02 (extra fine nib) with Carbon ink. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs
Inks: Diamine Candle Light, Vintage Copper, & Black Ivy. Robert Oster Thunderstorm
Watercolor Paints: Art Philosophy Confections Palette: Apple, White Mocha, Pistachio Cream, mix of Blackberry and Pecan (grays), and a mixture of Key Lime and Blueberry (teal)
I started this sketch a few weeks ago and for some reason I had to stop working on it. It’s an unfinished piece that’s been sitting in my journal.
Here is my pencil sketch. This was a rare moment where I remembered to take pictures.
I used my fine line pens to redraw the lines I wanted to keep. I used my eraser to remove the unwanted and stray lines. I left out some of the roof tiles and brick work to let the viewer fill in their own details.
I used the Winter Spice color to fill in some of the roof areas.
I cleaned a few of my GOs and filled them with different ink colors. I’m hoping my mojo for this sketch will come back so I can finish this piece. My fingers are crossed.
Pens: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib. Copic Multiliner SP in 0.1mm & 0.3mm.
Inks: Robert Oster Thunderstorm. Van Dieman’s Ink Eucalyptus Regnans and Styx Valley Forest Green. Diamine Amaranth, Vintage Copper, Winter Spice, and Storm.
Is it a door? Is it a chair? Is it a garden table?
I started with a pencil sketch and drew in the major lines or outlines of the various objects. I used my Copic fine line pen (0.7mm) and went over the main areas I wanted to include in my sketch. I used my Copic fine line pen (0.1mm) to add in some details and also to create some shadows.
By the time I’m finished my initial sketch, I had an idea which ink colors I wanted to use in my final sketch.
I’ve enjoyed using Winter Spice and I’ve had my pen filled with this ink color since last December when I was doing my daily Inkvent marathon of colors. Right now, the ink color is a bit too dark for my current sketching style. It was time to retire this color and clean out my pen. Finally!
It appears I have used too much Winter Spice in my sketch. I went overboard with this color, but look at the amazing green sheen. I should have left a bit more white on the paper. Lessons learned. I can always do another sketch using brighter colors.
Pens: Copic Multiliner SP in 0.1 and 0.7mm. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.
Inks: Colorverse Brane. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Robert Oster Blood Rose, Heart of Gold, and Thunderstorm. Diamine Cocoa Shimmer and Winter Spice.
Here’s a quick pen & ink sketch I created this morning. I’m in the midst of testing out some art papers for a project I’m working on and I drew a blank on what to sketch. I saw a few vials of ink sitting in a small glass jar and I thought this would be something quick and easy to complete.
I was wrong. I sketched the first vial on the left and had to leave to take my mom out and run a few errands. Four hours later I attempted to finish my sketch. My other vials were looking a bit out of proportion.
Did I mention we had lunch at Cava’s and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal? Maybe my happy tummy was making me feel a bit lethargic. Hahaha!
One thing about shooting a picture straight on is the lack of sparkly details. I had to take another picture from a different angle.
Pens: Copic Multiliner SP 0.1mm. Pilot Prera Red with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib. TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.
Inks: Colorverse Brane. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Glitz, Cocoa Shimmer, Vintage Copper, and Starlit Sea.
When I saw a picture of a house with an interesting roof tile, I thought it would be too challenging to sketch and so I put the picture in the bottom of my pile to sketch later. Something was telling me to just roll up my sleeve and create the sketch. I often remind myself to push away the negative thoughts and self doubts and just do it. I’m sure I’m not the only that goes through this.
One key point I mention in my pen & ink workshop is not to compare your artistic skills with someone else. Many years ago, I used to struggle with this. I would see a watercolor painting and say to myself I want to paint just like that artist. Weeks later I would struggle, be disappointed, and stop painting.
When I started using fountains pens as a tool to create my artwork, I found an artistic style that was unique to me. With each new challenge I tackled, I gained much more experience and comfort to the way I sketched.
I was taken back at how simple it was to sketch the basic lines. I started with a rough sketch using with my pencil. I used my Copic pens to sketch over my pencil lines and areas I wanted to define. The remaining lines were erased.
The fun part of my sketching process is figuring out what inky colors I will use. I currently have a dozen TWSBI GOs filled with various ink colors. I make sure to have a color variety that includes reds, blues, yellows and other colors that fall in between.
As I apply my ink to paper, I’m constantly reminding myself to leave enough white space (paper). I’m also reminding myself to add darker colors for contrast and to add more depth.
I plan on recreating this sketch within the next three months to see how much my artistic style has changed.
Pens: Copic Multiliner SP 0.7mm and 0.1mm. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.
Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Colorverse Brane (glistening). Robert Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper and Winter Spice.
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″
I have been following a few artists and seeing lots of door sketches in my social media feed. I thought to myself I should give this a try. This self-inflicted challenge will help me get closer to (and comfortable with) sketching outside.
I picked up my chunky pocket journal and started sketching with my pencil. Once I had the main lines sketched, I went over the lines with my Copic pen. I wanted the doors to be my main focus. I used my Copic pen to add some curves and lines to give an illusion of wooden doors. For the surrounding areas I thought “less was better” and tried not to go into too much detail. Any remaining pencil lines that I could see on my paper were erased.
Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of my initial sketch to share with you. Once I get into my artwork, it’s hard for me to stop and remember to take a picture. I want to fill my paper with lovely inky colors immediately.
When I’m sketching with my fountain pen inks, I use whatever colors are in my TWSBIs. I tend to do my own thing and ignore color themes, color temperatures (warm or cold), and color theory. It makes it so much easier to just go with the flow and use what I currently have.
I have to give a shout out to my Copic pens. I like how they lay down a nice consistent line on my paper. I have not had any issues with this pigment ink smearing. Plus the pen feels good in my hand when I’m sketching and writing.
Pens used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Copic Multiliner SP in 0.1.
Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost and Eucalyptus Regnans. Robert Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine Candle Light, Vintage Copper, and Winter Spice (Red Inkvent).
Oh my! I completed only one blog post for the whole month of February. I blame this blog-silence on my creativity. My creativity tends to come and go. Right now it has been going full force and I’m having a blast with it. I’ve been creating my pen & ink art on a daily basis. Some days I’m creating practice sketches and most days I’m creating real artwork. I’m in a happy state of mind.
I’m now finding some time to blog again and I’ve noticed my writing skills are a bit lacking. Bear with me as I try to remember how to write and punctuate my sentences correctly. I’m sure all of this will come back to me. Like riding a bicycle, right?
As I mentioned before I’ve been focusing on my pen & ink sketches and techniques. I’ve been working in two of my Stillman & Birn Alpha journals. The larger one is a soft cover in a size A5 (5.5″x8.5″) and I covered it with a few of my stickers I created using my Cricut Maker. The smaller black journal has a hardbound cover in a size 4″x6″. It’s a chunky pocket size journal and as you can see I have yet to decorate the cover.
I’ve been using my smaller journal for quick sketches and for sketching smaller objects. Also I’m using it to test new sketches or techniques. It’s so nice to work on smaller paper with immediate gratification.
A few weeks ago I made a transition from sketching gnomes to sketching buildings. I’ve been wanting to learn something new and “Urban Sketching” kept appearing on my radar. Actually, I’ve been wanting to do this type of sketching, but chickened out as I was not ready to sit outside and sketch buildings or sit in a coffee shop and sketch the surroundings. I was not ready to sit and sketch in public. For now, I’ve been practicing by sketching from photos.
I’m a decent sketcher when it comes to objects that sit on a table or desk. Like what I have for breakfast, my fountain pens, gnomes (from my mind), shells, flowers, etc. This is all good until I get bored. This is why I’m jumping on the Urban Sketching band wagon. Broadening my horizons. Learning something new and most importantly challenging myself.
I’ve attempted to sketch buildings and sometimes they come out wonky or flat looking. I hope to change that with lots of practice. Here’s my sketch of a simple building using my Copic Multiliner SP markers in 0.5 and 0.1.
I decided to use only two fountain pen ink colors in this pen & ink sketch. Black Ivy is turning out to be a new favorite color for me. You can see in my swatch how the ink starts out as a dark color with a red sheen and when I apply water to the ink it turns into this lovely green color.
I built up the layers of colors. At some point my paper started to buckle from the multiple layers I added.
My small journal sat on my desk for a few hours and the paper eventually settled down and flattened itself.
I enjoy using this journal and paper for my pen & ink art. It’s somewhat durable and accepts the many layers of colors I lay down. The only time I’ve had any bleed through was when I was “scrubbing” the paper with my water brush a bit too much. Other than that, I’ve been quite happy with this journal brand.
I’ll be back to share more sketches.
Pens used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Copic Multiliner SP in 0.5mm and 0.1mm.
Inks: Diamine Black Ivy (Red Inkvent Calendar). Robert Oster Thunderstorm.
As a few of you know, I enjoy using my Platinum Preppy (02) with Platinum Carbon ink to create my initial pen & ink sketches. I was struggling a bit and recently had a fall-out-of-love feeling with my Preppy. I found my Preppy fountain pen a bit too sharp to use on my Stillman & Birn Journal paper. I was not able to create some fine, continuous, and clean lines on my slightly textured art paper.
I dug around in my art drawers looking for a “pen” with permanent ink. I have a bunch of Sakura Microns, but they have brush tips that I used for my calligraphy. I finally came across a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen I had purchased several years ago. I was amazed that this pen still had some ink and I was able to do a few sketches including this gnome.
In the above sketch, I used my PITT fine liner pen with black ink to sketch the outline of my gnome. I also used the pen to add in some lines in the gnome’s beard. Sadly when the ink ran out of my PITT pen I had to dispose of it.
I watched a few art lessons and saw an interesting art pen other artists used for their sketches. This particular fine liner pen uses pigment ink and is waterproof. It’s the Copic Multiliner SP and it’s made in Japan.
This pen comes in 10 different nib sizes including a brush nib. The sizes start from a very, very fine 0.03mm to a 0.7mm line size. It took me awhile to figure out which nib size to get and I ended up getting three different pens in 0.1, 0.3, & 0.5 nib sizes. Copic also carries their Multiliner SP pens in a 10-pen set with all the different sizes one could need to sketch with.
Once my pens arrived I could not wait to try them out. I did a writing sample to compare the different the nib sizes. Initially, the 0.3 and 0.5 nibs appear to write very similar on my paper. When I looked at the nibs close up, I could see the 0.3 nib was slightly smaller than the 0.5 nib.
I can definitely see the 0.1 nib writes extremely fine compared to the other two sizes I have. Depending on the paper I use, my Copic pen with 0.1 nib makes a tiny noise when I sketch with it. Maybe I need to lighten my grip on the pen and put less pressure on the paper. I’ve read a few comments where other artists mention how delicate the finer nibs are especially the 0.03 and 0.05 nibs. My pen with 0.1 nib might fall into this category.
Here’s a close up picture of the Copic nibs. You can definitely see how delicate the 0.1mm nib is. The 0.5 and the 0.3 nibs are very close in size, but you can see a slight difference.
Here’s my colorful gnome sketch where I used my Copic Multiliner SP to draw the outline of the gnome and a few lines around the beard.
I used my 0.1mm pen to outline the beard.
Here’s a pen & ink sketch of my fountain pen using my Platinum Preppy to create the outline of sketch. Notice the broken lines on the paper (left side) and in my fountain pen sketch.
The Copic Multiliner SP pens have an aluminum body. It’s lightweight and feels good in my hand. You will notice that I have been calling the Copic pen’s tip…a nib. That’s because the nibs are replaceable and can be pulled out of the pen. That is so cool! The ink inside the aluminum body contains a black ink cartridge that can also be replaced. When the ink runs out all I need to do is pull out the cartridge and put in a new one. I saw the spare nibs and ink cartridges are available online. It will be interesting to see if my local art shop carries them as well.
I can now say I’m a Copic Multiliner SP fan. I like the clean lines this pen creates on the various art papers I use. It’s a pigment ink pen. The ink is water- and Copic-proof meaning it will not smear when water or other Copic alcohol-based pens are used to draw over this ink. I like the idea I can replace or swap around the different size nibs. I also like the ability to replace the black ink cartridge when needed.
Fountain Pens: Lamy 2000 Makrolon with EF nib. TWSBI Swipe Salmon with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Platinum Preppy with 02 nib.
Fine Liner Pens: Faber-Castell PITT artist pen in size S with black Indian ink. Copic Multiliner SP in sizes 0.1, 0.3, & 0.5 with black pigment ink.