Creating Sketches While Traveling

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.

Waterbrushes, Nahvalur Original Plus, Pilot Custom 823, Platinum Preppy (02), mechanical pencil, and TWSBI pens in my Rickshaw case

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″)

Current Travel Fountain Pen Case

I brought a dozen of my artsy fountain pens with me in my Maxpedition case. I tried to cover the gamut of colors I would need to create my artwork. I used my Maxpedition case as my basic traveling “art case” to carry all of my art supplies including various water brushes in different sizes, swatch cards, paper towels, fountain pens, permanent fine line markers, and my portable watercolor palettes. I think of this as a “home base” case where I can pick and choose what supplies I want to use or take with me on the go. One day I might want to take my fountain pens with me. Another day I might want to take my watercolor paints with me.

To help me carry my essentials with me, I brought along my Rickshaw/Nock case to carry a few pens and accessories in a smaller bag. From the dozen fountain pens I brought with me, I had to narrow down my choice of colors to take on the go.

I’m able to stagger my pens in this case and zip it close. There’s a front pocket that could hold a slim journal or in my case, it conveniently holds my shop towels.

I bought this Rickshaw/Nock case a few months ago when Rickshaw was introducing this new case style with an awesome introductory price. I’m in love with this case!

Looking back, I should have bought another one in a printed fabric. Little did I know that I would fall head over heals with this case.

I’ve been sketching daily while on travel. Mostly carrying around my Rickshaw/Nock case with me. This comes in handy when I’m sitting at smaller tables and space is limited for me to spread out my case, journals, and pens.

Case: Rickshaw Nock Sinclair Model R in Black/Aqua.

Pens: Nahvalur Original Plus Melacara Purple (stub 1.1). Pilot Custom 823 Amber (Fine). Platinum Preppy 02 Extra Fine nib. TWSBI Go Stub 1.1 nib.

Inks: DeAtramentis Document Ink in Grey. Sailor Shikiori Tokiwa-Matsu. Robert Oster African Gold, Melon Tea, Blood Rose, Steely Days, Sydney Darling Harbour, and Thunderstorm

Other: Pentel water brushes in Small and Medium tips. Pentel Energize mechanical pencil with 0.7mm HB lead.

Happy New Year! Updated: a Permanent Ink & a New Journal

A few years ago, I had purchased a few bottles of DeAtramentis Document ink colors and used them for writing in my journals. I never thought about using them for creating outlines for my sketches. Until today.

I started with a pencil sketch and then sketched over my pencil lines with my Preppy filled with DeAtramentis Document Grey ink. I’m happy to report this ink performed well with my inky washes.

This is a neutral-grey ink color which creates lighter colored lines that are not as harsh as the Carbon black color. The ink dried quickly and when I applied my color wash over the ink it performed the same way as my Carbon ink.

I came across a new-to-me watercolor journal from Hahnemuhle. This white and slightly textured paper is 100% alpha-cellulose and it handled my fountain pens and inks brilliantly. This paper allowed me to create some lovely washes of color. I used quite a bit of water in my sketch and from the backside there was no ghosting or bleed through. Also, I did not experience any buckling or wrinkling in the paper while I was applying my inky washes.

This small journal contains 30 sheets of paper which makes it a thin journal. I can easily slip this into my slim messenger bag.

I placed my TWSBI strategically where I was supposed to write something about my sketching adventure. Some days I have no idea what to write and I’ll wait til the next day to write something while I’m sipping on my coffee.

The following picture shows the size of my journal in comparison to my fountain pens.

This Hahnemuhle journal has a stiff textured cover and an elastic band to wrap around the cover when it’s closed.

I have to mention the cover feels a bit rough. It’s definitely not going to slip out of my hand.

I purchased this smaller size journal to keep in my messenger bag for when I’m out and about and have an opportunity to create quick sketches. This could also be used to document my adventures while traveling.

I’m looking forward to a new year with new sketching adventures and new sketching prompts to share. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Permanent Ink: DeAtramentis Document Grey

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost (shimmer). Robert Oster African Gold, Melon Tea, Sydney Lavender, Steely Days, Eucalyptus Leaf, Blood Rose (shimmer), and Thunderstorm.

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Platinum Preppy with 02 (EF) nib. Pilot Custom 823 Amber with Fine nib. Jinhao x159 Black with Fine nib.

Water Brush: Pentel Water Brush

Journal: Hahnemuhle Watercolor Book A6 (4.1″x5.8″) 200gsm, 30 sheets/60 pages

Swatch Card for September

I’ve been pulling out my fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and cleaning them out. A few have been in use since May and I thought it was time to rotate the colors out and try some new inks.

I used a 4″x6″ watercolor paper post card to create my swatch card. So far, this includes 19 inky colors I am currently using for this month. These inky colors reside in my TWSBIs, Pilot, Opus 88, Nahvalur, and Indy pens. That includes about a dozen TWSBI GOs.

I am still missing a few colors like a golden yellow which I will add to my currently inked collection in the next day or so.

I keep my swatch card with me in my art bag along with my fountain pens and inks. There are times when I forget what inky colors I have ready to go for my sketches or when I’m trying to find the right inky shade for a particular sketch.

Post Card: Tumuarta Watercolor Post Card 4″x6″ 140lb/300gsm cold press

Pens: turnt pen co “Grisham 13” in Peach Agate (Bob Dupras) with Fine nib. Pilot Custom 742 with Soft Fine <SF> nib. Nahvalur Original Plus in Melacara Purple with Stub nib.

My Inky Vials

Here’s a quick pen & ink sketch I created this morning. I’m in the midst of testing out some art papers for a project I’m working on and I drew a blank on what to sketch. I saw a few vials of ink sitting in a small glass jar and I thought this would be something quick and easy to complete.

I was wrong. I sketched the first vial on the left and had to leave to take my mom out and run a few errands. Four hours later I attempted to finish my sketch. My other vials were looking a bit out of proportion.

Did I mention we had lunch at Cava’s and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal? Maybe my happy tummy was making me feel a bit lethargic. Hahaha!

One thing about shooting a picture straight on is the lack of sparkly details. I had to take another picture from a different angle.

Pens: Copic Multiliner SP 0.1mm. Pilot Prera Red with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib. TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Glitz, Cocoa Shimmer, Vintage Copper, and Starlit Sea.

Paper: Hahnemuhle Watercolor Postcards 230g/m (105lbs) 4.1″x5.8″ cold press

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

Day # 12: My Pen and Ink Combo

Ink: Diamine Stargazer

Stargazer is a beautiful blue ink with shimmer and sheen.

There’s a lot of blue shimmering particles in my bottle.

When I saw the name on this bottle of ink, I knew I had to pair this ink with my Pilot Stargazer pen. As I was writing in my journal, I was in awe at the amount of sheen I was seeing. My handwriting appears to glow on the page.

Check out my swatch card! If you can get past the sheen, the ink leans towards a teal blue color.

It’s hard to describe this ink color by just looking at my handwriting sample. It looks like a dark blue ink with plenty of red sheen.

Where did all my shimmer go?

This ink creates a lovely bold wash on paper with red sheen around the edges.

Stargazer is a lovely dark blue ink. Depending on the lighting, it can lean towards a dark teal blue. This ink produces a wonderful bright red sheen with blue shimmers. Another color for my wish list.

Ink: Diamine Stargazer (shimmer & sheen)

Pens: Pilot Stargazer Black with Medium nib. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #11: Let’s Party with Diamine!

Special note: I have to say Diamine has been capturing my heart with this calendar of beautiful inks. I enjoy playing with the colors and seeing each ink’s potential. It’s been an exciting journey and I have a chance to create some sketches along the way (more coming). Are we ready to party?

Inkvent Day #11: Diamine Party Time

Typically, I prefer for a pinky ink to have some sheen or shimmer. This one has some shimmer.

Party Time appears to have purplish particulates at the bottom of my bottle.

Check out this lovely and bright ink color! From my writing sample and swatch, the shimmers leans a bit towards blue. I matched this gorgeous ink with my lovely Pilot Prera with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib. The CM nib helps my handwriting look a bit more festive.

Here’s a close up of my writing. The shimmers appear to be metallic blue. I really enjoy using my CM nib for writing.

My swatch shows the bright blue shimmery particulates along with a subtle copper-like sheen. I think I need to put on my sunglasses for this.

Here are some swatches to compare this ink color with. Now a few may wonder why would I add the Vinta Makopa swatch to this comparison. If you remove the intense sheen, it’s underlying color appears to be similar to Party Time.

Let’s take a look at Raspberry Rose from Day #8 and compare it to Party Time. Interesting when you put two colors together and see which color leans more towards red or pink or purple, etc.

This pink ink produces a lovely ink wash and the color appears to pop off the paper.

So far, I’ve seen several descriptions for this pinky ink color: rose, magenta, raspberry, and even rhubarb. From other pictures on social media, I’ve seen a light pink ink to a dusky pink color.

I would say this is a gorgeous “red-purple-pink” color with bright metallic blue shimmers and a bit of coppery sheen. After saying “Wow” several times (to myself) about this ink, I’m adding this to my wish list for a larger bottle. It’s a unique color for me and creates a wonderful ink wash for my artwork.

Ink: Diamine Party Time (shimmer)

Pens: Pilot Prera Pink with CM (calligraphy medium) nib. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Just Three Pens for Now and Other Things

We are just a few days away from the month of December and I have something brewing in my studio. Well not literally brewing, but it’s something that is sitting inside a brown box and waiting for December 1st to arrive. I ordered this at the end of August and received it at the end of September. So for two whole months the excitement has been building up. That’s all I will say. For now. ūüėÉ

I’m also contemplating doing a sketch/drawing a day in December. We will see how that works out as I’ll need to allocate two hours a day depending on the art medium I use. Lots of ideas and very little time to do all of my favorite hobbies. Sigh!

I wanted to share my three currently inked pens: Leonardo, Pilot, and Visconti.

I would classify these three pens as the oldest pens I have in my collection. I purchased them when I first fell into this fountain pen rabbit-hole. I thought it would be a great time to bring them into my pen rotation. They are amazing and fine writing tools. They write beautifully on all types of paper I use including plain notebook paper.

I had three bottles of ink sitting on my desk and it was easy to figure out my matching pen and ink scheme. As I’m typing this post, I’m wondering if Pilot will ever come out with other pen colors in their 823 model. I could easily enjoy an olive green or a copper colored 823. That would be so cool!

Earlier this week I was dabbling with Urban Sketching. Mostly from photographs I’ve taken. It’s a different style of sketching for me and basically learning to look and sketch quickly. I’m learning to loosen up and not worry about the details or shapes too much.

I’m hoping to take this new sketching adventure outside and in the public areas. Since it’s around 40-something degrees outside, learning to sketch quickly would be most beneficial. Now that I’m thinking about it, sitting in a warm car and sketching sounds even better. ūü§£

Pens: Leonardo Momento Zero Pietra Marina (Fine). Pilot Custom 823 Amber (Fine). Visconti Vertigo Orange (Fine)

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Tamar Pinot Noir and Eucalyptus Regnans. Robert Oster Aussie Brown.

Paper: Rhodia

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….