Trying My Hand at Sketching a Double Door

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).

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

Day 4 at the Pen Show

Last night I was looking for my Ink Journal and could not find it. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw it was in the room, but it was no where to be found this morning. Did I accidentally pack it away in my car last night?

Good thing I had another blank journal with me. A different brand, but the page size was the same. I planned on punching “disc” holes later and creating a disc-bound journal so I can swap around the pages and organize them by ink manufacturers.

After an early breakfast and seeing Hubby off (a work day for him), I went back to the ink tables to see if I was missing any ink swatches. I kept walking by this one table that had some interesting ink bottles that I never saw before. I took a seat and looked at the labels on the bottle. They looked like Akkerman ink names. Yes! I grabbed a sheet of leftover paper and wrote the name “Akkerman” for those who will be following behind me and wondering the same.

The Akkerman inks were bold and bright. I noticed my efficient ink swatching process was bogging down. It took me awhile to write out the ink names. Then I noticed most of the bottles had a number on them and so I had to go back write in the numbers in my journal. I stopped swatching long enough to take a selfie.

It was getting late and I still had to pack a few things, drop off my suit case in my car, gather my workshop supply bags, and check out of my room. Whew!

An hour later and back at the pen show venue, I had some time to walk around and take additional pictures.

I was so glad to see an array of Robert Oster Signature ink colors at the Vanness table.

Private Reserve had a table that included the new Infinity line of ink colors. I do not recall seeing any of their new shimmering inks on the table.

Here is Pen Realm:

The crowds were smaller than the day before and I had some time to try a few pens.

I saw the Platinum 3776 Century test pens and decided to do another writing sample. The testing station was missing the UEF and Music pens.

I stopped by Dromgoole’s table and saw a Leonardo Momento Zero Grande in Golden Rule with an Elastic nib. I had to try it out. What a gorgeous pen and nib combination! That pen wrote beautifully across the paper.

I headed towards the back wall and stopped by the Visconti table. I must have had the deer in head lights look and wasn’t sure what I wanted to try. I was handed a Homo Sapien Dark Age with an 18k medium nib to try. OMG! I fell in love with this pen! It was so comfortable to hold in my hand and the grip warmed up nicely in my fingers. This is what fellow Visconti pen-folks were talking about! Now, I know that feeling! That pen has made its way to the top of my list. Sigh!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this wonderful pen. I do have a writing sample to share:

I made my way to the Esterbrook table and asked about Gena’s Journaler nib. I was given the new Estie Sea Glass pen with the Journaler nib to try out.

This Journaler nib was a wet writer with a smooth writing experience. I might be biased, but I think I prefer the Franklin-Christoph SIG nib. The Journaler nib did not create that “I must have this nib” experience for me.

I made my way back into the small ballroom and spent some time chatting with the exhibitors. Did I mention I really enjoyed my time in this room?

Mythic pens:

Hinze pens:

There was a lot to see at Hinze’s tables. So many wonderful and colorful pens!

At the Devine Island Design table, they were introducing a new pen model at this show:

This dyed Abalone ballpoint pen caught my eye. Apparently if I wanted this Abalone pen, they could convert it into a fountain pen. Something to think about.


Earlier this year, I had purchased a multi-colored Pocket Six pen from Ian. I was glad to see him here in person and showing all his lovely pen colors.

After my workshop was finished, I quickly packed my workshop gear and headed back to the pen show venue one last time.

Many of the Exhibitors had started to take down their exhibits and tables.

Many Exhibitors were still busy with potential customers and last minute sales.

I walked by Stylosuite and Les was still busy with two customers. Les had mentioned that I was his first customer at the start of the show on Friday. Since then he was always busy helping folks find the right flex nib and pen. It did not hurt that I highly recommended his pens/nibs. Les had mentioned to me that he would stay late to help a customer get the right pen.

I made my way out the double glass doors and headed to the garage. I was sad to leave the Pen Show. I had a wonderful time meeting many of the Exhibitors and pen folks sitting at the ink tables. I also made many new friends. There was a lot of learning and sharing of information about fountain pens and inks that weekend. Even Hubby commented and was amazed by the number of Exhibitors on hand and the number of people showing up for this event. He’s an amazing husband and very supportive of my creative adventures. He braved the Saturday crowds to find me a beautiful fountain pen. I could not ask for anything more.

Day 3 at the Pen Show

Conveniently located near the entrance to the small ballroom…if you need cash right away!

I was up early again and had another early breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I made sure I had extra protein (eggs) for another long day. I was pretty sure a lot of people would be showing up for today’s show.

Before I forget, there were signs posted at the entrance into the show. It was good to see everyone wearing a mask.

After my breakfast I headed back to the ink tables to see what I missed from the previous morning.

I saw Barbara (one of the show managers) setting up a new ink table with Private Reserve Inks. Clearly she needed some help and I rolled up my sleeves which is a must if I’m anywhere near all things inky. I opened the boxes and then had to unseal the bottle tops and removed the caps and placed the bottles on the tables. My mind wasn’t too happy to see colors haphazardly strewn about on the table. I started to move the bottles around and arranged them by color. I tried to. Most of the bottles were full to the brim with ink and I had to be careful. I did manage to spill a doggie bowl full of pen flush across the table. Oooops! Initially it did not look like it was full of any liquid. That’s how clear the bowl was. Better that than valuable ink, right? Hahaha!

After rearranging the jars of ink, I grabbed my ink journal and proceeded to swatch all the Private Reserve colors in front of me.

I could sense people had started to arrive in the main hallway as the chatter of noise grew bigger. I checked my watch and the pen show had officially started for the public. I took a quick glance inside the main ballroom and could not believe the number of people.

I stopped by Stylosuite to say “good morning” to Les. A rare moment when his table was not busy.

Another picture of his beautiful pen displays.

As I walked around the tables and took pictures, one of the things I tried not to do is interfere or disturb people who were looking at pens. That’s why my pen pictures are scattered across several days during the long weekend.

Here are some Trenche pens on display:

The Laban tables were full of colorful and shiny pens.

Diplomat pens:

Diplomat Aeros


Esterbrook pens

I tried to walk around and get my laps in and steps counted, but even little ole me had a tough time walking through the crowds.

I wandered around the main hallway and snapped a couple of pictures where I could.

Taccia table:

Narwhal table:

Apparently I heard some folks missed or did not know about the small ballroom. I spent a lot of time in there.

Carolina Pen Company:

IronFeather Creative:

Riggs Pens:

I decided to head back to my room and unwind until it was time to haul my bags down to the meeting room for my second workshop.

In the meantime, I received a text from Hubby that he left the house and was on his way back to the hotel. I warned him about the crowds of pen-folks he might encounter.

Apparently at some point, the line to get into the pen show had extended to the double doors that led to/from the garage. I cannot confirm this, it’s just what I heard.

I was down in the meeting room getting the workshop setup when I see Hubby coming into the room. He asks “Okay, so what pen did you get?” Startled, my eyes must have gone big and wide as one of my workshop attendees started giggling. I immediately pull out my pen case and show Hubby my Stylosuite pen and the fancy flex nib. He thought that was the coolest thing. Before he left the meeting room, he mentioned that we were going shopping. I asked “where?” and he said upstairs. I was laughing as I thought we were going to the Mall.

After the workshop was finished, I quickly packed up my supplies and journals and headed up to the room. I had no idea what “shopping” meant to my Hubby and he does not like being around crowds.

Apparently he wanted to get me a fountain pen. I already knew which table I wanted to go back to. Hubby was brave as there still was a large crowd, but folks have told me it wasn’t as bad as the late morning/early afternoon crowd. We made our way to the small ballroom and we were in front of the Turnt Pen Co table.

Tim Crowe owner of Turnt Pen Co.

Besides creating/turning pens, Tim also creates his own blanks. They are absolutely beautiful and stunning.

I showed Hubby my PM 4 pen that I had purchased the day before and he loved the colors in that pen. That helped him figure out the next pen for me. Hubby saw a Peacock (Bob Dupras) pen with lovely swirls of blue and green. He said it reminded him of the Caribbean Sea. Tim immediately knew my process and asked which nib I wanted and installed it along with a converter into the pen. I did my imaginary writing and knew that all was well in my fountain pen world. Hubby purchased my Christmas present and not to be seen again until December 25th!

Now, that’s just plain rough for me for the next few months. Knowing there’s a new pen in the house and I can’t touch it. Hahaha!

Hubby wanted to leave the hotel and get some dinner. At that moment, I did not realize how good it felt to be outside. Besides having dry eyes from forgetting to blink while looking at all things pen and ink related, I was lacking my daily dose of Vitamin D.

I could not eat all of my meal. See the empty chip basket?

Later in the evening I started to pack up the supplies and clothes I no longer needed and packed a few things in my car. Less is better in the morning when I’m ready to check out.

More to come.

Day 2 at the Pen Show

Did this get your attention?

I was up early with Hubby and we went down to the hotel restaurant to have an early breakfast.

My gluten-free breakfast

After breakfast, I walked Hubby out to the garage as he was heading home for the day and then coming back the next day to check out the pen show and to take me out to dinner.

I had my ink journal with me and decided to head to the Ink Testing Tables to swatch some inks. Back in 2019, the ink tables were located in the small ballroom. This year, they had relocated the ink tables along the hallway outside the main ballroom. That was a brilliant idea! That meant the smaller ballroom had the custom pen turners and and fountain pen blank designers all in one room. How convenient!

Also, there was a lot more room in the main hallway to jump from table to table to test out the inks from different ink manufacturers. One of the reasons for getting up early is I had the ink tables to myself. Each table had a few nib holders, q-tips, small pieces of paper to swatch on, empty cups for used q-tips, dog bowls filled with pen flush, and cups filled with water.

I came prepared with my ink journal, regular pen, and my water brush. I have my own efficient process for swatching inks and I don’t enjoy spending the time to clean out the nibs in between ink colors. That’s why I bring a ballpoint pen to write out the ink names in my journal. Time is of the essence when at the Pen Show. Hahaha!

I made sure I to swatch the Pilot Iroshizuku inks. The small bottles are so cute!

Pilot Iroshizuku inks…look at all the beautiful colors!
Noodler’s inks
J Herbin inks

I knew I only had a small amount of time to myself at the tables and selectively picked certain brands to swatch from. I still had two more days (early mornings) to circle back and get the remaining colors swatched.

I checked my watch and knew I had to walk around, get my laps in and stop by a few tables before getting ready for my workshops. I immediately headed over to the Franklin-Christoph table. Scott’s tables are alway busy with fellow pen folks.

One of the busiest tables during the show

I inquired about a specific pen model and saw a pen that caught my eye. It did not have a clip, but I was told I could have one installed and they could mail the pen to me. I decided it was time to do a few laps and not make a commitment as I had other tables to visit. My gut instinct told me to move away from this table. Little did I know there was something else for me a few tables down.

Who could not resist the colorful pens at the F-C table!

I strolled along the back wall past BG Artforms, Bexley, Wahl-Eversharp, ASC, and Bittner’s tables.

A few months ago, I read about some lovely flex pens from Stylosuite. I saw some gorgeous writings with the lovely line variations as well as the interesting nib with the cut outs. Based on my personal experience, I knew some modern nibs could flex a bit with some amount of pressure like my Pilot 912 with FA nib. After writing a few lines, my hand would get tired and my writing would get sloppy.

I came across a tray of lovely pens. They were absolutely gorgeous to look at. I immediately recognized a few brands. Can you name the brands in the following picture?

I introduced myself to Les (owner of Stylosuite) and took a seat at his table. I answered a few questions about my writing style and pens I tend to favor. Les handed me an Opus 88 Omar with a JoWo nib that had fancy cutouts along the nib’s shoulders and sides and a cut that goes past the breather hole. The minute I put pen to paper, I realized I became one with this pen! Very little pressure and effort was needed to make this pen write with broad lines on the downstroke. I immediately had that “rhythm” and bounce in my handwriting.

Les laid down a few more pens in front of me that had different nib sizes (Fine and Medium) and also one with a cursive italic nib. I tried them all, but I still came back to the first pen I tried. That Omar had the Stylosuite Extra Fine Xwing Harpoon nib. It was an extremely smooth writing experience. Les complemented me on my writing. I told him it was the pen and his lovely nib in my hand that allowed me to write effortlessly across the paper.

All the nibs I tried at his table kept up with my fast writing. Les modifies the nibs and then tunes it with the particular pen that will house the nib unit. This is important to remember and I do not plan on swapping this nib unit around with my other pens. His Xwing Harpoon nib was perfect with this particular Omar. Oh and let’s not forget that the Opus 88 Omar has a “tank” that holds a lot of ink!

Not knowing how Les handles purchases and orders, I asked if I could buy this particular pen. When you become one with a pen, it’s the one that you have to take with you, right?

My Stylosuite Extra Fine Xwing Harpoon nib! Stunning & gorgeous!

A writing sample with this flex nib with very little pressure. Amazing!

I was done with my shopping for the day. Or so I thought. I still had to get ready and grab my bags and head down to my meeting room to setup for my workshop.

After my first (of three) workshop was finished, I immediately packed up my supplies and papers and dropped them off in my room. I still had to do a few laps around the main venue and to also check out the small pen turners and pen blank designers in the small ballroom.

I took a few more pictures and then stumbled upon another table. Turnt Pen Co. His trays of pens were shouting my name. I slowly scanned each pen in their trays and came across one that caught my eye.

I asked and Tim confirmed that his pen was made from a Primary Manipulation 4 blank by Jonathon Brooks. I needed to feel the whole pen in my hand and Tim was gracious enough to install a JoWo #6 Stub 1.1 nib unit and a converter into the pen. He wanted to dip the pen in some ink and I told him no need to do that. I can sense how good a pen will be by just holding it in my hand and going through the motions of writing on paper.

Then a very familiar sensation hit me! I became one with this pen! It’s a similar feeling as I had with the Stylosuite pen, but that pen will be used for my fancy handwriting. My Turnt pen was about the “whole package” for an EDW (everyday writer) including comfort, balance, and weight. Could I write with this pen for hours? Yes! This feeling almost reminded me of holding a Franklin-Christoph pen in my hand. It was that good! The writing experience was just lovely and it did not hurt that this particular Turnt pen was just absolutely stunning. I can’t believe I managed to get a PM4 pen that was on my wish list. The stars were definitely in alignment and I was meant to be at Turnt’s table. I was so thrilled to have met Tim. (Thank you Tim for a wonderful pen show experience and I enjoyed chatting with you!)

After my second purchase for the day, I had to wear “blinders” and walk by many more tables. I did see some fun Esterbrook patches with the lovely Aqua Fun! theme and the Esterbrook clip. Next thing I knew I was given a lovely Esterbrook tote bag, washi tape, and a plain white nautical hat to along with my purchase. When I was wearing the hat the next day, Hubby said I looked like I belonged on Gilligan’s Island! Yeah, I’m not sharing any pictures of me wearing the hat. Hahaha!

My Esterbrook accessories

I was so tired from the day’s activities that I ordered a meal to go from the lounge and spent some quiet time in my room. I ended up practicing my fancy handwriting with my Stylosuite pen and twirling my Turnt PM4 pen. Okay, not at the same time.

Here are additional pictures I forgot to add when I published this post.

More to come….

Day 1 at the Pen Show

I wanted to share this bit of information. I was able to empty a bottle of Robert Oster Thunderstorm. My first empty fountain pen ink bottle. A milestone for me!

Now to get back to my normal post.

It was a gorgeous day to travel to the 2021 Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow. The temperature was in the low 80s with hardly any humidity. Normally, the whole month of August makes me “glow” and my hair is the first sign to go flat against my head. Not today and most likely for the remaining week and weekend. Traffic was light as I made my way over to the Marriott. The hotel was kind enough to have my room ready when I arrived. A good thing as I had a lot of bags to unload from my car and I wanted to get settled in the room before Hubby arrived.

Several trips later and my car unloaded, I quickly sent a text to Hubby. He was joining me later in the early evening. In the meantime, I was happy to see a long desk/table in our room as I had to spread out all of my workshop supplies and organized them so I could grab and go for each session.

I made my way to the main ballroom of the hotel to see if there were any fountain pen and ink activities I needed to be aware of. I went to the registration desk, introduced myself, and met the wonderful pen show managers, Barbara and Jeff. I received my badges and a bottle of Monteverde Bob’s Blue Ink. Bob Johnson passed away last year and his sister Barbara and his nephew Jeff took over the responsibility of running the DC Pen Show.

I reconfirmed the meeting room I had for the next few days and I was off to go exploring. The show tables in the main venue were setup and arranged in long rows. A few Exhibitors were starting to setup their assigned tables. At the right side of the ballroom wall and in the far corner I could see the Franklin-Christoph staff setting up their tables.

Along the left wall and center is the Kenro (e.g. Esterbrook) table which I was able to visit later in the show and try out Gina’s Journaler nib. More on that in another post.

Hubby texted me to say he was out front and not sure where to park. The front of the hotel has a small turnaround area with limited outdoor parking. There were folks who were waiting in line to unload their boxes of supplies for their exhibits.

I did not realize how hungry I was from all the running around I did from the time I left home until I unpacked my car at the hotel. Yes, I have to include a “foodie” picture of my gluten-free meal: Fish Tacos! I took a bite into my first taco and was so enamored I could have a meal that tasted close to normal. It was that good! I let Hubby take a bite of my delicious taco and he said I was not getting that one back! Hahaha! Good thing I had two more tacos to savor and not share with him.

I was not too worried about counting my calories for this long weekend. I knew I was going to get in a lot of steps and my Fitbit would be extremely happy with me. I made sure I was getting my protein and drank plenty of water.

A Sketching Prompt for This Weekend

I’m back to writing on my blog again. For the past 2-1/2 months I have been busy working on a workshop program for the 2021 Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow. What started out as an idea for one workshop immediately multiplied into three. I wanted to provide an opportunity for those attending any of the three show days to attend my workshop. I was busy creating several workshop outlines and figuring out the best way to show and share my passion for fountains pens and inks.

For those of you who participated in my workshop, thank you for attending. There was a lot of information and experiences we shared and I personally had a wonderful time seeing each of you develop your own creative pieces of art.

As promised, here is this weekend’s prompt: DESSERT

To help you out, here’s a sketch I did a few weeks ago when I was thinking of cake and ice cream.

What is your favorite dessert?


  1. No death grips!
  2. We have 358 days until the next DC Pen Show!

Pens Used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks Used: Robert Oster Whisper Red, Sydney Darling Harbour, African Gold, and Thunderstorm