One Subject and Two Different Art Mediums

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)

Journal: Franklin-Christoph Watercolor VN

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph Vagabond NWF

My BUJO (Bullet Journal)

I have a BUJO that I use on a daily basis. I started this back in August 2020. I would do a page a day of my to-do lists, reminders to drink water, exercise, declutter, organize, run errands, etc. I would decorate each day with stickers and add thin strips of washi tape around the edges of the paper.

That lasted a week. As my days got busier, I had less time for decorating. My detailed lists became brief and shorter.

As time went on, I continued to create my daily pages and tried out different formats that made more sense to me and my lifestyle.

My monthly calendar page changed from pre-printed calendars to a two page spread that I drew out with my fountain pens and inks.

My daily pages were a waste of space and I was able to come up with another configuration of putting all seven days across a two page spread. That made a huge difference in my ability to see the whole week at a time.

It was back in early 2021 that I started this monthly and weekly configuration you see here from the two pictures. As I have limited space, no stickers or washi tapes are used. I might occasionally sneak in a sketch or two.

The little red cups I sketched out are reminders to drink water throughout the morning and afternoon.

I also record the weather outside (sunny, cloudy, rainy) and the temperature for the day. This activity allows me to do a bit of sketching in my daily BUJO.

My Stalogy journal holds a lot of pages and can get chunky as a result of all the washi tape and sticker applications. It’s a lovely journal I can leave open on my desk and the pages lay flat.

Pens: TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans with Fine nib. Pilot Prera Red with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Vert Atlantide. Diamine Pink Glitz.

Journal: Stalogy 365 Editor in B6 with Navie Travels Journal cover

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″

Decorating My Art Journal

Several blog posts ago, I mentioned that my black chunky pocket art journal had a bare cover. It’s been bothering me. All of my other art journals have some sort of personalization in the form of stickers of my artwork or some vinyl designs.

I attempted to use my Cricut Joy (mini) to cut out some small vinyl designs, but was having a problem with it my since the last Cricut updates. I can make a bluetooth connection, but after 2-4 minutes I would lose connectivity. It’s an absolute pain when the Joy is in the middle of cutting and it loses connectivity. I’ve had a few vinyls that were cut on the wonky side or unplanned cuts into the middle of the designs. I hope the next Cricut updates will fix this connectivity issue with my Joy as I had this similar issue late last year. It’s really disheartening when I can’t use my cute little Cricut Joy.

I ended up using my reliable Cricut Maker to cut my vinyl decals. Using my huge 12″x12″ mat for my small 2″x4″ vinyl pieces was a bit of an overkill, but it worked flawlessly.

Did I mention how much I love my Maker?! It’s a wonderful machine to use and works brilliantly. Okay, back to decorating my journal cover.

I wanted to dedicate this chunky journal for my pen & ink art sketches. I have a bad habit of reaching for the nearest art journal and start doing my artsy thing and hours later realize that I did a watercolor sketch in my pen & ink journal or vice versa.

I created my design (text & images) in the Cricut Design Space software. I ended up with 5 layers or 5 basic project cuts as I was using different vinyl types and colors. In the following picture, I used my transfer tape to add the vinyl letters (first cut project).

I slowly peel off the transfer tape (at an angle) from my journal cover.

I was so excited about decorating/applying my vinyls and was not paying attention to what I was suppose to be doing. I centered my title on the cover and forgot I was suppose to add a fountain pen vinyl image next to it. Good thing I will be adding some other colorful images to my cover. Maybe no one will notice.

When I was designing my cover in the Cricut software, I forgot to straighten my fountain pen image before cutting the vinyl for it. This represented my second project cut. I took my transfer tape and lined it up parallel with my fountain pen vinyl and removed it from the vinyl backing paper.

It made it easier to position and apply the fountain pen vinyl design onto my journal cover.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to photograph and share pictures of my transfer tape in this blog post. You can see it’s looking a bit abused and had lots of lint stuck to it. I’ve been using this same piece of tape for several projects now and it still has quite a bit of tacky adhesive on it.

I wanted to add some splash of colors to my black journal cover. I cut out some ink splat images (project cut 3, 4 & 5) in different sizes using my metallic vinyl. The vinyl colors reminded me of Diamine Vintage Copper, Subzero, and Pink Ice.

Check out my chunky art journal! My cover no longer looks plain and I can easily identify the use for my pen & ink sketches.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover (4″x6″)

Vinyl Cutter: Cricut Maker

Vinyls used:

  • Pen & Ink lettering (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Bronze)
  • Fountain Pen (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Champagne)
  • Ink Splats (Paper Studio Removable Vinyl in Metallic Blue, Metallic Pink, and Metallic Copper)

Using a Fine Liner Pen in My Pen & Ink Sketches

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.

The nibs: 0.5mm, 0.3mm, and 0.1mm

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.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardbound (4″x6″)

Year End Thoughts for 2021

So I ran out of time to do a pictorial collage of all the things I was involved in this year. One could say I was all over the place. Sometimes the mood or an idea would hit me and I would switch gears on the fly. This month had been an extremely busy time for me as I had to take care of year end tasks and long to-do-lists . I also had 30+ blog post entries for the month of December. Yes, I had a lot of inks to chat about as well as share a few pieces of my artwork.

I started the year creating lots of pen & ink artwork. That was mostly because I had too many fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and I had the overwhelming urge to just sketch with my fountain pens. It also helped that I sketched my pens dry. Used up more ink!

I also entered an art contest over at Pen Chalet. I received honorable mention for my Sedona sketch using the three Robert Oster Exclusive Pen Chalet ink colors: Sedona Red, Saguaro Green, and Monsoon Sky. They used my artwork to create some stickers.

I also started 2021 with a lovely Benu Euphoria called Bora Bora that Hubby gave me for a Christmas present at the end of 2020. I also ventured into and acquired a few unique fountain pens made by a few boutique pen turners.

I played around with pointed pen calligraphy and tried out different flex nibs. I attempted to do my daily calligraphy practice until I got bored. This hobby likes to come and go throughout the year.

I did a few reviews on fountain pens (Esterbrook, Franklin-Christoph, Pilot, Opus88, SchonDSGN, Maiora), inks (Vinta Inks, Birmingham Pen Co, Private Reserve, Rohrer & Klingner, Van Dieman’s), papers and journals, graphite pencil holders, watercolor paints, paint palettes, carrying cases/pouches, and art tools that caught my interest.

Let’s not forget my fiber arts where I remembered to squeeze my yarns and fabrics as they were feeling neglected from the lack of attention. This was the result of having too many hobbies and therefore no blog posts were created in this area.

I was invited to teach a pen & ink wash workshop at the DC Pen Show. The one workshop turned into three workshops. I felt blessed to be able to share what I know about fountain pens and inks and how to create art with these tools. Oh and use up more ink! ūüėā

I had some time to get back into my Cricut hobby. I created lots of stickers of my artwork, personalized many water containers, mugs, coasters, journals, and accessories. I also ventured into engraving acrylic (future blog post).

In my artwork, I tend to see too many details and want to sketch everything I see. I made an effort this year to practice sketching loosely and quickly. I just focused on the main shapes and what was important to show on paper. This way of sketching is something I’ve always wanted to do well with and this will take me into another adventure in the new year.

Here is my last artwork for 2021. This morning I spent a few minutes with “drawing my day” or DMD which I will refer to in my future blog posts. My theme for this morning was what I had for breakfast. My hope is to do a daily sketch of my day. Practice sketching techniques and develop my muscle memory. Fill up a page or two. Write a description. Tell a story.

Pens: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon in Primary Manipulation 4 (F-C Fine nib) and Peacock (Esterbrook Medium nib). Lamy 2000 in Makrolon with Extra Fine nib.

Inks: Rober Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine: Seize the Night, Winter Spice, Candle Light, Party Time, & All the Best. Van Dieman’s Ink: Morning Mist, Parrot Fish, and Devil’s Kitchen.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Journal Cover: Lochby Field Journal

Double Wired Journal Notebook

(Edit: I forgot to mention I purchased my journal for $5 + tax. I need to remember that not everyone is familiar with some of stores I have access to).

I was at my local “Five Below” store and came across this journal/notebook. I was rubbing my hand across the paper (because that is what fountain pen folks do) to get an idea how smooth this paper was. I decided to give this notebook a try with my fountain pens and inks.

Here is the front cover with a cool looking design.

Here is the back of the cover.

This journal is 6.875″ x 10″ and about 3/4″ thick. This notebook contains 240 pages of lined paper. The front and back cover appears to be made of thick cardboard.

Overall, it feels like a chunky journal especially with the double wired spine.

Here is my test page written with some of the Diamine Inkvent calendar inks and my fountain pens with wet nibs. The shading and shimmers definitely appear on this paper.

Upon closer inspection, I can definitely see the shimmer from Vintage Copper and the sheen from Stargazer and Ruby Blues with this paper.

I can also see the shading from Candle Light and Raspberry Rose. Winter Spice is showing off a bit of shimmer.

I like how this paper shows off the ink’s color and characteristics. Hardly any feathering on the paper.

Here’s the backside of my test page. No bleed through at all. I was surprised even writing with my Stub 1.1 nibs. I would have expected to see “dots” where my nib stayed on the paper a bit longer.

I like the wider spiral on this journal. I have no issues flipping pages back and forth. Have you ever had a spiral notebook that was difficult to flip through?

I like the stiff thick cardboard covers that protects the paper in this journal. Also, I like how I can fold the pages back and can write on one side of the page at a time. The stiff cardboard provides a nice sturdy surface to write on.

For the price and the amount of pages in this journal I think this is a great buy.

Pen: Conklin Duragraph Brushed Titanium with Rose Gold trim and Omniflex nib.

Inks: Various inks from Diamine 2021 Inkvent Calendar

Journal: Five Below lined with 240 pages.

Something Fun – Stickers

I have been radio silent for the last 20+ days. I mentioned I had a few projects I was working on and it involved creating some artwork and of course, promoting it. The month of July has gone by quickly for me. A lot of work has been involved and I’m having so much fun seeing everything come together over the last few weeks.

One of the cool things on my “to do list” was having stickers made from my artwork. It was hard to narrow down the pieces I had worked on. I finally selected my duck boots and I’m more than thrilled with the results.

I had created this piece when Hubby and I took off for a weekend trip earlier this year and I took my TWSBI GOs filled with shimmering inks. We were expecting to have rain showers all weekend and I thought some sparkling inks would help brighten a cloudy weekend. Also, I find I’m more creative when I’m sketching with pens filled with shimmering inks.

Duck Boots sketch and sticker

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Diamine Cocoa Shimmer. Robert Oster Heart of Gold, Melon Tea, Saguaro Green, and Thunderstorm.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta

Another Quick Pen & Ink Sketch – Calla Lily

I’ve been trying to sketch something everyday and build up what I call my muscle memory. Some days I have only 15-30 minutes to complete a sketch. To help keep me motivated through the week, I will spend an hour and sketch a few objects in my journal to be “painted” when I have time. This helps when I have moments where I do not know what to sketch. I can just flip through a few pages and select something based on the amount of time I have to create a pen & ink sketch.

I always start with a loose pencil sketch. Once I have the overall shapes in place, I redraw a few lines with my Platinum Preppy filled with Platinum Carbon ink. It’s a permanent ink that dries quickly.

For my Calla Lily, I drew a few lines with my Carbon inked pen. I try to avoid creating continuous lines in my final sketch.

Once the permanent ink lines are drawn, I take an eraser and gently erase the unwanted pencil lines from my sketch.

Before I begin adding color to my flower, I look for the direction of light and the shadows that are casted onto the flower. Once I figure it out, I start adding the dark color to the dark areas of the flower. My Lily is starting take life and not look as flat on the paper.

I build up the flower by creating layers of color and keeping the “highlights” in certain areas of the Lily

I add lines of color to show the curves of the Lily.

I try to keep my sketches simple and try not to overdue by adding too many layers of colors.

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Robert Oster Lipstick Red, Jade, and Thunderstorm

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta

Swatching My Way Back into Watercolors

I know I’ve spent some time talking about my fountain pens and fountain pen inks. Okay, it’s been a few months of pen and ink ramblings. That’s because I’ve made several new friends in the fountain pen world and wanted to share with them my experiences, research, and pen & ink artwork. Also my creative mojo has been going full speed ahead which means I will be venturing into my other creative hobbies.

It takes a bit longer for me to create a painting versus doing a quick pen & ink sketch. There’s a bit of “setup time” involved with watercolors since I do not have a designated space for painting. In my tote, I have my palette of colors, my porcelain mixing dish, my travel/portable brushes, my sketching tools, my collapsible water container, and small sheets of watercolor paper. When I’m working with pen & ink, I only have to carry my fountain pens, a water brush, and my journal with me.

In a previous post I mentioned about swatching the dots on my Daniel Smith dot sheets into rectangle shapes of color. I decided to take it a step further and created color swatches in my watercolor art journal. So here are the 238 colors in my journal pages:

Look how bright the yellow colors are!
I love the two pages of earth tone colors
A close up of the shimmering paints

As you can see, I created the blocks of colors without any guidelines and tried my best to keep them straight and almost lined up. Creating the swatches helped get me back into the watercolor frame of mind and getting reacquainted with my brushes, paint, and paper.

I started a small painting over the weekend and I will be back to share a quick picture in a new post.

Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors (Dot Sheets)

Brush: Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece #8

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta Spiral Bound