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.

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.

Follow the Butterfly

Here’s a sketch I’m working on today. This is a work in progress. I have to remind myself not to get caught up in the details and sketch loosely.

Pens: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI Swipe with Stub 1.1 nib. Lamy Vista Black SE with Cursive nib. Lamy Al Star Ballpoint pen.

Inks: Robert Oster Heart of Gold. Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Shogun. Ferris Wheel Press Roaring Patina Black. Diamine Frosted Orchid, Pink Ice, and Starlit Sea.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softbound A5

On a Lamy Adventure

This month appears to be my Lamy month for writing and sketching. Right now I have a few Lamy pens inked in nib sizes Fine, Medium, and Stub 1.1. While I enjoy writing with my Fine nib, I do find I’m spending more time with my Stub nib. The line variations are not dramatic, but subtle and I like that my handwriting style has a bit of flair.

I’ve mentioned a few times before, I use my TWSBI GOs for sketching and I rarely use them for writing. Probably because they are chunky pens. My Lamy’s are comfortable in my hand for extended periods of writing time. I now include them in my sketching kit. I enjoy my pens more when I can use them for both writing and sketching. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my GOs as they are very durable and hold quite a bit of ink and of course easy to clean.

I was watching a Goulet video when they introduced their special edition Lamy Vista Black. It’s the first time that Lamy has worked with a retailer in the US to produce an exclusive fountain pen. There are a few unique features with this pen that are different than the regular available Vista. First, the included converter is black. Notice I highlighted the word included. I checked a few sites and the regular Vista does not include a converter. With this SE version, they included a black ink cartridge instead of their standard blue cartridge.

The clip trim is black PVD coating. The nib that comes with the pen is a black steel nib. My Medium nib is a lovely and smooth writing experience. My Lamy Vista weighs in around 20 grams with the included converter filled with ink.

All of my low-end Lamy fountain pens are the AL Star and LX models. This Vista is my first plastic like pen from Lamy. The edges on the body of the Vista feels a tiny bit sharper and a bit more pronounced than my AL Star pens. I like the demonstrator look of this pen. I can see the shimmers settling around the feed.

For the past three years, I’ve learned to appreciate my Lamy pens. A big plus for me is the ability to swap around their nibs. It doesn’t hurt that they come in various pen colors that I can easily match with my ink colors. I like the large metal pen clips and of course the snap cap capability.

I’m looking forward to swapping my Medium nib for the black Lamy Cursive nib. Now, to keep on writing.

Pen: Lamy Vista Black SE (Goulet) with Medium nib

Ink: Jacques Herbin Shogun

Paper: Rhodia

My Lamy Gift Set

In my last post, I had my Lamy Marron filled with my lovely black ink called Shogun. I thought I would do a blog post about this special gift set I received.

This set included a lovely A5 hardbound journal with a beautiful rose gold geometric pattern. For this post, I will do a quick review of each product.

My Lamy Journal

I hate to admit this, but I only spent a few seconds checking out my new pen. I immediately gravitated towards my new journal to check out the lovely pages. I did some research and read the paper is acid free, bleed proof, and fountain pen ink friendly. It has two bookmark ribbons in black and bright neon green. It has 192 pages. The last eight pages in the journal have perforations to allow you to remove the sheets. There’s an elastic pen loop and a pocket in the back of the journal. The paper weight is around 92gsm. There is also an elastic closure to secure your closed journal.

After I opened my new journal I was surprised to see the lined paper. Yes, this is my first Lamy journal. From what I read on Lamy’s site, this paper is unique for those wishing to preserve personal notes in the form of handwriting.

The unique lines in this journal are interesting and would make a lovely practice journal for handwriting.

Before I start writing in a new journal, I always create an inky test page on the last two pages in the journal. That serves two purpose. First, I like to keep track of what inks I use in the journal and also see if there is any ghosting or bleed through. Second, after writing my first entry on my inky test page, the journal is no longer new and I can start journaling or sketching. I know, it’s a mind game I play with myself, but it does help me overcome the blank pages staring back at me. Hahaha!

From my inky test page, I do notice some bleed through on the backside of the page. Mostly it came from writing with my stub nib pens like my Pilot 742 SU and my TWSBI Swipe Stub 1.1. I can also see a few dots where my nib lingered a bit longer on the paper and showed up on the other side. So much for bleed proof paper.

With the paper having the unique lines, I was more conscious about the way I wrote in my journal. I took my time writing and in the end my handwriting turned out consistent and legible.

The only issue I have with this journal is the problematic bleed through. Maybe I’m suppose to use a Lamy with an extra fine nib with this journal. If anyone has a similar or different experience with this journal paper, let me know.

My Lamy LX Marron with Fine nib

Okay, back to my Lamy pen. The pen is made from lightweight aluminum with an anodized finish. The Marron color is a lovely dark brown color with bronze accents/trims. It’s a beautiful pen. What makes the LX model different than the AL Star model is the trim and the nib. On the top of the cap it’s the same trim color used in the clip and it looks like shiny metal.

The Lamy LX pen has a glossy black PVD nib with laser engraved Lamy name and nib size. The section is a bit more transparent than the AL Star model.

I’m finding the Lamy nibs work perfectly with shimmering inks.

This Lamy pen is a snap cap which makes it a perfect art tool to use in creating my artwork.

My Lamy came with a blue ink cartridge. A converter has to be purchased separately. Luckily I keep a few spares on hand.

Pen: Lamy LX Marron with Fine nib

Ink: Jacques Herbin Shogun

Journal: Lamy A5 hardbound with rose gold geometric pattern

My First Bottle of Black Ink (Dye Based)

I can’t say how many bottles of ink I have in my collection. I’ve lost track at number 130-something. I have a few boutique ink brands that I had to try out like Birmingham and Franklin-Christoph. I have my go to brands like Diamine, Robert Oster, Van Dieman’s Inks, and Jacques Herbin.

I noticed I was lacking a basic black ink color. I do have a bottle of the Platinum Carbon ink, but that is a pigmented/permanent ink that I use primarily for sketching.

I recently purchased my first bottle of black (dye based) ink and it happens to have two beautiful shimmering particles.

Here is my lovely Jacques Herbin 1670 Shogun by Kenzo Takada & E3. They call this a twilight-colored ink which represents a beautiful night of stars and is coated with red and gold shimmering particulates.

This black ink is gorgeous in person. In normal lighting and looking at my writing sample straight on, this ink looks like an average black color.

Upon further inspection and looking from a different angle I can see the red shimmers. To me it looks pink in normal light, but when I take it outside the red definitely pops on my paper along with the gold shimmers.

I never thought I would be excited about a black ink color.

To me, it’s a subtle black ink. I’ve seen a few folks comment that it’s dark brown. From my swatch and writing sample, I do not see any brown at all. This ink has a lovely flow in my Lamy pen. The sparkles are subtle and beautiful at the same time.

I’ve been writing for a bit and the shimmers still appear in every line I write.

Pen: Lamy LX Marron with Fine nib

Ink: Jacques Herbin 1670 Shogun by Kenzo Takada

Paper: Rhodia

Journal: Stalogy 365 Editor’s Series

A Lamy Cursive Nib

A few weeks back, I saw on my media feed something about a new Lamy nib arriving. Naturally, I went to investigate what all this chatter was about.

I must say that when I first saw this nib, I thought to myself this was one beautiful and unusual nib. Who could not resist the laser engraved writing on this nib. Most importantly check out the the nib’s unique design.

It’s a black PVD coated steel nib. They are hand shaped and perfectly aligned.

I’ve read this new replacement nib was designed for writing Chinese and Japanese “running script” cursive. The lines it creates is between a Lamy Fine and Extra Fine nibs. Personally, I feel it leans more towards a Lamy Fine nib. I’ll need to write with this nib a bit more and see if my statement is correct. The horizontal strokes are suppose to be a bit wider than the vertical strokes. They definitely are as you can see in my writing sample.

This new Lamy replacement nib came at a perfect time for me. I’ve been bringing my Lamy’s back into my pen rotation and I’ve been enjoying my time with them especially in creating my pen & ink artwork.

Pen: Lamy AL Star Black with Lamy Cursive nib

Ink: Diamine Blue Pearl (shimmering)

Paper: Rhodia

Spring is Definitely in the Air with Opus 88

I was able to snag an Opus 88 fountain pen called Love in Bloom. I originally pre-ordered it with a Medium nib and received an email from the retailer that they had a Fine and a Broad nib available and could send it immediately. I shifted gears and went with a Fine nib.

Opus 88 Omar, Opus 88 Mini, & Lamy 2000

After a few days of delays which included waiting for my pen to be shipped, then delivered to wrong address, and finally received, I was able to fill my new pen with Summer Purple.

My Opus 88 is definitely a mini pen and measures about 4-5/8 inches or 117.3mm in length and weighs around 24grams. It’s a tiny bit shorter than my TWSBI Vac Mini, Pilot Stargazer, and Pilot Prera.

TWSBI Vac Mini, Pilot Stargazer, Opus 88 Mini, Sailor Pro Gear Haruzora, & Pilot Prera

After I checked the nib with a loupe, I had a gut feeling that this pen would have a dry writing experience. I originally filled my pen with Van Dieman’s Ink Parrot Fish (shimmering) and it immediately clogged my pen. That was a bad idea. I emptied the ink into a vial to reuse in another pen. I flushed my new pen with some water and went to Plan B and Summer Purple.

Summer Purple had been on my inky wishlist and I finally had a bottle sent to me a few weeks ago. Yes, it sat on my studio desk and patiently waited for a swatch to be made and the right pen to be filled.

Summer Purple is a gorgeous ink color. It’s a pinky-purple color with a lovely golden sheen. This color reminds me of the bright colored eggplant you would find in Asia and not the dark purple ones here in the US.

This pen and ink combination makes me very happy.

I have a good feeling that this ink will make its way into one of my TWSBI GOs and I’m looking forward to sketching with this gorgeous ink color.

The Opus 88 Mini does not post. Yes, I tried to post my pen and the cap flew off immediately. Some pen-folks may not enjoy writing with this short pen. In my hand, I can feel that it is a short and stubby pen. The tapered section is shorter than my Omar and holds a #5 JoWo nib. Personally, I would have preferred a #6 nib on this small sized pen.

It’s a cute mini pen. It’s a pocket pen. It’s a travel pen. It’s small enough to fit in most pen cases. It’s an eyedropper pen that holds a large amount of ink. It’s a pen that looks absolutely lovely on my desk. I’m sure there will be more mini pen designs in the near future.

Pen: Opus 88 Mini Pocket Pen in Love in Bloom (Endless Pens Exclusive 2022) with Fine nib

Ink: Kaweco Summer Purple

Paper: Rhodia

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