The month of April has turned into a busy month for me and I haven’t had much time for sketching. I was staring at all my currently inked fountain pens (two dozen) and knew I would not have time to use them. So, I ended up dumping the inks and cleaning all the pens except for one that I used for my bullet journal (BUJO) and journaling.
When I had a few creative minutes available, I brought out my watercolor paints and created a few sketches. Right now, this is quick and easy solution for me to keep my sketching momentum going as well as interest.
The first sketch was a scene from my trip to our local farmer’s market. Most of this was from memory and I wanted to create a two page spread with loose sketches. I used my Preppy filled with Document Urban Grey permanent ink. I mentioned a few times before, I’m enjoying this lighter grey ink color for outlining my sketches. I used a water brush to apply the water color paints straight from my pans onto my paper.
I’m trying to keep my sketches light and using a lot of white space (highlights) from the paper.
Later in the month I found a few minutes to create another sketch of a few flowers blooming in our garden. Again, I used my Preppy with Urban Grey ink for the outlines and I used my water color paints for this sketch.
Prompt: I recommend taking a trip to your local farmer’s market. Take pictures of the different stalls and offerings. Create a sketch that combines several items you’ve seen and sketch/incorporate into a two page spread.
Pen: Platinum Preppy 02 Extra Fine nib
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Urban Grey (permanent)
Watercolor: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor paint
A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I went on a trip. I made sure to set aside some time to figure out what art supplies I would pack and take with me for our adventure.
I thought about how I wanted to record this journey. Do I bring my watercolor paints and brushes? Or do I bring my fountain pens and inks? Or do I bring both?
I laid out my favorite supplies including my fave Maxpedition case and my new Rickshaw/Nock case. Based on my past traveling experiences I knew these would be the two cases to bring and it would be easy to figure out what supplies will fit in the cases.
After going back and forth between the two mediums, I knew I would not enjoy our trip if I could not decide what main art medium to use to capture our adventures. I decided it was best to bring my fountains pens and inks in my Maxpedition case. I used my Rickshaw case to carry just the essentials when I was out and about with my slender messenger bag.
I carried with me a slender A5 journal and wrote about our adventures each day. I was keeping a daily travel log. I found it was easier to write or jot down key points from our adventures as I sipped my coffee in the morning or while we sat in front of a fire pit enjoying the early evening weather.
I also included my A5 mixed media art journal for my pen & ink washes. Both journals fit inside my Lochby Field Journal.
Each day, I recorded objects and things that were easy to sketch. Sometimes I would have 5-15 minutes to quickly sketch something with my pencil or permanent pen.
In my two page spread (above), I created a variety of sketches from ideas in my head. Each object had Thunderstorm incorporated into the sketch which brought the sketches together or created a bit of harmony.
It was handy to have my Rickshaw case filled with my essential supplies as I was able to create quick sketches on the go. Yes, that meant I had to narrow down my choices to six inky colors to take with me.
My Pilot Custom 823 was filled with Hailstorm. I used this ink for writing in my journals. It’s a dark green color that leans more towards blue.
For this trip, I decided to fill a Preppy with a permanent Grey ink color. I used this Preppy mostly for the outlines in my sketches. I do like using this lighter color for my outlines versus using the bold black Carbon ink color.
For my peach sketch, I did not have an orange ink color with me. I used Blood Rose and African Gold and blended/dabbed the colors a bit on my paper. Again, Thunderstorm makes another appearance in each of my sketching scenes.
Here’s an example of a quick sketch I created in my art journal. I had about ten minutes to sketch a few things and not enough time to add my fountain pen inky colors to all of my sketches. I find it’s okay to leave out the colors and add them back in for another day. I can also go back into my travel log and find other things to add to my sketch and add the colors when I have the time.
I know the pages in my art journal looks a bit bare and there are quite a few blank areas in between my sketches. They are my invisible placeholders for when I will go back and write a story about my adventures.
Pens: Pilot Custom 823 in Amber w/Fine nib. Nahvalur Original Plus in Melacara Purple w/Stub nib. Platinum Preppy (02) Extra Fine nib. TWSBI Swipe w/Stub nib. TWSBI GOs w/Stub nibs.
Inks: DeAtramentis Document Ink in Grey. Van Dieman’s Ink Hailstorm and Anna’s Hummingbird Wing (shimmer). Robert Oster Sydney Lavender, Steely Days, Melon Tea, African Gold, Blood Rose, Sydney Darling Harbour, and Thunderstorm.
Cases: Maxpedition Beefy Pocket Organizer in Olive Green. Rickshaw Nock Sinclair model R in Black/Aqua.
Other: Pentel Energize Mechanical Pencil with 0.7mm HB lead. Pentel Water Brushes with small and medium size tips.
Art Journal: Stillman & Birn softcover Alpha A5 (5.5″x8.5″)
Edited 12/26/22: I had to pull this post early this morning and work on adding additional pictures, better details of my sketching process and do some major edits to what I originally posted. I was one tired puppy when I pushed the original blog post last night. My apologies. Here’s my updated post.
For the past two weeks I was busy with my watercolor paints and fountain pens & inks. When I had a rare “down time” moment, I made sure to spend it on sketching. Mostly, it was Christmas related sketches.
Watercolor: Holly & Berry
I created a quick holly & berry sketch.
I ended up using my porcelain palette so I could make batches of color ahead of time and not worry about running out of color while in the middle of painting.
My approach to this painting was to paint a section of my sketch one at a time and to allow each layer of color to dry completely.
The technique I used was wet-on-wet.
I painted one side of the leaf.
I then moved on to the other leaves and painted the left side.
Before I can paint the remaining sides of my leaves, I used a quick test to check by using the back of my clean hand and touch the areas I painted. If it’s cool to the touch, the paint is still damp. If it’s warm to the touch, the paint has dried.
When the first leaf had dried, I added paint to the right side.
I continued to paint the remaining sections of the leaves.
I waited for my leaves to completely dry before I moved on to my berries.
I painted one berry at a time and waited for each berry to dry before I painted the next one.
I forgot to show my test strip I created. This allowed me to see how the colors would “get along” with each other.
Here’s my final watercolor painting with the shadows. I used a blend of Neutral Tint and the associated paint color of the object. Under the leaves there’s a hint of green with the Neutral Tint color.
Pen & Ink Wash: Holly & Berry
After I finished my watercolor painting, I went ahead and filled a bunch of my TWSBI GOs with several different ink colors. I was anxious to sketch something with my pens. A light bulb went off in my head and I thought I would create another holly and berry sketch using my GOs with fountain pen inks.
I quickly pencil sketched another holly and berry on my watercolor paper. Instead of working on the leaves first, I decided to start with the berries.
Since my fountain pen inks dried fairly quickly, it allowed me to fill in the colors quickly and move on to different areas of my sketch.
I wasn’t paying too much attention to my uncapping of my pens, until I saw an inky spot or two that appeared on my paper.
For the leaves I used a lighter green color (Oklahoma City) for the edges and for the dark areas of the leaves (shadows).
Once the leaves were completely dried, I used a medium green (Eucalyptus Leaf) to add more color to the leaves and darkened the shadows a bit more. I left some highlights here and there in the leaves to show some bending. They no longer look flat like in the previous pictures.
For the berries, I used Blood Rose and added layers of color to the darker areas. I made sure to keep the highlights white by not adding color. The last layer of color was added along the back side edges of the berries.
Sketch some berries and holly leaves. Feel free to use different color inks. Try reversing the colors and use green for the berries and red for the leaves. Think outside the box in regards to colors.
Unlike my watercolor sketches taking days to complete, my pen & ink sketch takes less than an hour to complete.
I’m glad I took a break from my pen & ink sketches to spend more time with my watercolor paints and brushes. I found I was a bit rusty and had to remind myself to be patient and let my paintings dry. Also, I had to relearn a few techniques like using less water to get a milk or creamy mix of color versus a watery tea mix.
Use the back of your clean hand to see if the paper is dry or not. A cool touch means the paper is still damp. A warm touch means the paper is dry.
I hope everyone is staying warm today and enjoying their time with friends and family.
Paper: Bee Watercolor (100% cotton)
Palette: Porcelain Flower with 7-wells 4-5/8″ x 4-5/8″ x 1/2″
Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor in Sap Green, Cascade Green, Perylene Green, Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Perylene Violet, and Neutral Tint
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer), Oklahoma City, and Eucalyptus Leaf
Pens: TWSBI Go with Stub 1.1 nib. Jinhao x159 in Black with Fine nib.
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
I had a “circles” template I found in my art supply stash. I came up with a brilliant idea to create a two page spread of circles in various sizes. Before going crazy and adding my colors, I decided to split my two page spread into the left side for watercolors and the right side for my fountain pen inks.
I did go crazy and selected random colors to fill my circles. I was having too much fun!
Fountain Pen Inks
Here’s the right side of my page with just the fountain pen inks I used.
In some circles I took my fountain pen and drew an outline. I took my water brush and touched the breather hole of my fountain pen to draw out a bit of color. I painted inside my circle and also touched the outline to pulled the color into my circle. I tried to leave a bit of white or light color areas to represent the highlight of my circle. I also cleaned my water brush (wiping on clean towel) and gently brushed out the color where I wanted my highlight to be. A clean q-tip could be used to dab out the slightly wet color.
Sydney Lavender is my go to purple ink color. This ink’s personality really shows off its underlying inky colors when water reacts to the ink.
In the following circle, I created an outline for 2/3 of the circle or the edge that’s away from the highlight. This is another beautiful ink with lots of personality. Another favorite of mine called Steely Days.
This lovely green ink, Oklahoma City, is a wonderful surprise and appears to be bright and earthy at the same time. Another top favorite.
This pink color had been on my wishlist for sometime, but I always passed it up for other vibrant inky colors. I was so happy to receive this gift from a very special inky friend. It’s a lovely muted pink color with a tiny bit of blue. It appears to lean a bit towards a rosy purple color. It’s gorgeous!
Here’s my favorite shimmering pink ink color, Blood Rose. My painted circle came out bright and lovely. I’ve always enjoyed how this ink reacts to water. It’s a beautiful color to use for floral pen & ink sketches.
This left side of my page represents three (3) different brands of watercolor paints I used: Daniel Smith, Schmincke, and Sennelier. This was more or less a “test” page for me as I wanted to show off the different characteristics of certain lines of paints.
The Schmincke colors are represented by the “Galaxy” name. These are super granulating paint colors. Unfortunately, my paper did not have enough texture to show off what I call underlying colors or mixes for each Galaxy color. It does show off the granulation of the main color.
I used a few of my Daniel Smith PrimaTek colors which is represented with the “Genuine” in the name. I absolutely enjoy using these special granulating paints made from natural minerals and pigments. Jadeite Genuine is a gorgeous color. It’s made from the mineral called jade. Its fountain pen inky cousin would be Oklahoma City.
My Sennelier paint colors (lower half of the page) are a bit more vibrant and transparent in color based on the pan set I have. I found my Sennelier paint pans were the easiest to rewet.
Prompt: Create your shapes (circles, ellipses, squares) and practice coloring in your shapes with your fountain pen inks. Remember to leave the lightest areas for your highlights. See if you can create your colored shapes in two layers of color or less. Remember to let each layer dry before adding more color.
Tip #1: You might see a “bloom” appear inside of your shape. This happens when you add too much water/color to an area that is damp or nearly dry. The water/color has no where to go, but “bloom” out. Let the bloom dry. You can always add another layer of color on top of the bloom. If you are not sure what a “bloom” looks like, take a look at my French Vermilion circle in my previous picture.
Tip #2: When a water brush is filled with water, the brush tip will remain wet all the time. I no longer squeeze my water brush. Squeezing a water brush will force additional water onto the tip of the brush. It also requires frequent refilling of water.
I keep a small jar of water on my studio desk. If I need more water on my brush tip, I will put my brush tip into my water jar. I can also quickly clean my brush tip by dipping it into some water.
Tip #3: Keep a clean towel (paper, shop towel, Viva cloth) nearby. I use mine to wipe my brush tip clean or remove excess water.
Fountain Pen Inks: Robert Oster Sydney Lavender, Napa, Blood Rose, Steely Days, Aussie Gold, Oklahoma City, Cherry Blossom, and Sepia Nights. Colorverse Mariner 4 and Hayabusa. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost and Enchanted Woods.
Watercolor Paints: Daniel Smith Perylene Green, Cascade Green, Lemon Yellow, Quinacridone Sienna, Rhondonite Genuine, Jadeite Genuine, Mayan Blue Genuine. Schmincke Super Granulating in Galaxy Blue, Galaxy Pink, Galaxy Violet, and Galaxy Brown. Sennelier Carmine, French Vermilion, Phthalo Green Light, Phthalo Blue, Dioxazine Purple, and Forest Green.
A little over a week ago I had posted a sushi watercolor I sketch I started with my smaller watercolor palette.
Here’s my final painting. I used ultramarine blue for the rice sketch. For the shadows, I used a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna and blended out with just Ultramarine Blue. For the tuna I used Quinacridone Rose and for the salmon I used a mix of Quinacridone Sienna and Nickel Azo Yellow. For the avocado and the wasabi I used a mix of Sap Green and Nickel Azo Yellow. For the ginger I used a mix of Nickelt Azo Yellow and Burnt Sienna.
For the chopsticks, I used Neutral Tint and then added Pearlescent White to give the sticks some sparkling highlights.
I enjoyed using my Arteza water brush to mix and apply the paint. I used a small jar of water to dip my water brush into and quickly remove any remnants of paint. It was also helpful to grab some water out of the jar instead of squeezing water out of the brush and eventually refilling my brush at the sink.
Using my water brush allowed me to paint bold sweeping colors onto my paper and apply less layers.
You’ll notice my in my journal the dried glue is exposed where my page split. This happens occasionally in my journals as a result of the signatures being being glued together. I have found this one particular nuisance in my current journal. In my other journals it’s not as noticeable.
Edit 11/05: I added a picture of my watercolor leaf sketch to be used as an example/reference.
I sat outside with my art journal and sketched a few leaves that I found in our yard. I thought this would make a lovely sketching prompt for the next few days or week.
If you haven’t sketched a leaf before, look around outside and find one or two leaves that have a simple shape. Identify the basic shape(s) of the leaf and sketch the outline. Next, sketch in the veins of the leaf. Don’t forget to add any cast shadows you see under the leaf.
Here’s a quick watercolor sketch of my leaf.
Besides the typical fall colors you see in the leaves try using a unique inky color or even use your favorite ink colors. How about a teal leaf? Or a pinky rose leaf? Or a multi-color leaf?
Challenge: to help get into the daily sketching mindset, find a different leaf each day and sketch it.
I have an issue with using too much water with my watercolor paints. I know I’ve said it before, but I wanted to mention it again for the purpose of this blog post.
I ran across a YouTube video from one of a few artists I follow. I enjoyed watching Jenna talk about how much water to use with watercolor paints. It was a game changer to see what I’ve been doing wrong for several years. What is the right mixture of water and paint color? What technique is the right one to use? Dry on wet? Wet on Wet?
I watched the video all the way to the end. That was hard for me as I wanted to jump in and create my own paint samples. I had to stop myself and breathe and watch/learn without doing.
As I watched the video for the second time, I was actually following along. Yes, I had to stop the video several times so I could “catch up” and paint along.
In the top row, I painted my circles using a dry-on-wet technique. My tea sample is what I would typically paint for my base color. Also, this shows I have the tendency to use too much water when I’m painting and mixing my colors. I have to remind myself to dab my brush on my towel before applying my brush to the paint or paper. By the time I get to the butter consistency sample, this is basically lots of paint and very little water. You can see my brush strokes around the edges.
In the second row I used the wet-on-wet technique and my butter consistency had less dispersion in the water and the color is a bit more controlled. The color is also quite saturated and bold. The tea/coffee consistency produced the most dispersion and ends up being a lighter color.
This was a wonderful exercise for me to go through and I learned a lot about water control. I think I was afraid to use the initial bold watercolor washes for my first layers. I sometimes forget that my watercolor sketches will dry lighter. I just have to remind myself not to overthink what I’m doing and just put paint to paper and let it go.
I’ve included the link below of the YouTube video that has been a huge help in my watercolor journey.
Paint: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor – Prussian Blue
Paint Brush: Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece Travel Brush #8
I was playing around in my art journal and came up with an idea of sketching pumpkins using my paint colors that I would mix on my own. Once I painted my watercolor pumpkins, I had a brilliant idea of sketching another set of pumpkins using my fountain pen inks.
The larger pumpkins were created using my watercolor paints. The smaller pumpkins I created using my fountain pens and inks.
It wasn’t too hard to figure out which fountain pen ink would match my orange pumpkin.
Steel Days was a decent match with my teal pumpkin.
For a purple ink color, my go to inky color is Sydney Lavender. This lovely color has a lot of personality. If you enjoy creating pen & ink washes as much as I do (poking my workshop attendees), I would definitely get this lovely purple ink color.
Watercolor Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors (I forgot to document the color mixes)
Inks: My pumpkins were created using Vinta Inks Damili and Robert Oster Steely Days and Sydney Lavender. For my writing I used Dominant Industry Autumn Forest.