Gnome #1 Created with Diamine Inkvent Inks

I was feeling extra creative and decided to try sketching a gnome. Here’s my first attempt using a few of the ink colors from my Diamine’s Inkvent calendar.

I used my Platinum Preppy filled with Platinum Carbon ink to draw the outlines of my gnome. For the hat I used Winter Spice. This is my top fave ink from the calendar. For the rim of the hat I used Vintage Copper. The nose required just a dabble of Party Time. The beard is made up of random wash lines using Ash. As you can see, the Carbon ink did not budge or smear when water was applied on top.

For the body I used Subzero and finished with the shoes in Festive Joy.

Inks: Diamine Ash, Winter Spice, Vintage Copper, Party Time, Subzero, and Festive Joy.

Pens: TWSBI GO Stub 1.1. TWSBI Eco Stub 1.1. TWSBI Swipe Stub 1.1. Pilot Prera CM. Esterbrook Estie Stub 1.1.

Journal: Stillman & Bern Alpha

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

Currently Inked

Here are my currently inked pens. I’ve been doing well in keeping my goal of having a handful of pens inked at one time. Sometimes a pen friend will ask a question and I’ll immediately ink up a pen to show the writing experience. So far, I’ve managed to keep variety of different ink colors available for my personal writing.

Here’s the list of ink colors:

The Rohrer & Klingner inks are fast becoming one of my favorite ink brands. Their ink colors are vibrant and stunning and they make beautiful ink washes.

Happy Wednesday!

Spring Cleaning and Spring Colors

I did not want to go a whole week without posting an entry on my blog. I’ve been busy with Spring cleaning in my studio and tackling other rooms in our house. I have also been creating several pieces of watercolor artwork that are taking some to finish as I need to let the paintings dry between the layers of paint I’ve applied.

I have also been enjoying the warmer weather in our area and getting into the change of season. I thought it would be a great time to start taking a few of my fountain pens out of rotation.

Earlier this week, I ended up cleaning about a dozen pens. Many of them I used for my pen and ink artwork. Most of my pens had a few drops of ink left in their barrels and I wanted to replace the darker colors with lighter and brighter colors. For now, the pens will remain empty as I’m focusing on my watercolor skills.

I needed a few pens to use for journaling and for setting up my BUJO (bullet journaling) for the month of April. Here are my three currently inked EDWs (everyday writers) that I could not wait to share. They happen to also be my three favorite fountain pen brands.

My Spring trio of pens (L-R): Platinum Century 3776, Franklin-Christoph #31, and Pilot Custom Heritage 92

It worked out that my Platinum and Pilot pens were a perfect match to go with my Candystone pen from Franklin-Christoph.

Cleaning out the old ink from Candystone

When I received Candystone a few weeks ago, I had filled it with Sydney Lavender. The previous picture shows the section with nib and feed sitting in a glass stuffed with paper towels. The colors in the paper towel confirms why this ink color is a perfect match with this pen. I went ahead and refilled my pen with the same color.


  • Platinum Century 3776 Nice Lilas (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Red Lipstick
  • Franklin-Christoph #31 Candystone (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Sydney Lavender
  • Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Transparent Blue (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Tokyo Blue Denim

A Whimsical Shell

A few weeks ago, I had created a quick sketch of a shell. It was sitting in my art journal waiting for me to apply some color. Today, I finally got around to painting this shell with some bright and happy colors. This is what I came up with:

My colorful pen and ink wash sketch

I started with this pencil sketch. Notice my pencil lines are too dark.

My rough pencil sketch.

Once the sketch was complete, I used my Preppy with Carbon ink and created a few permanent lines to represent some dark areas. I used my kneaded eraser to gently remove some of my pencil lines.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures while I was applying the layers of colored inks.

Here’s the final results:

Look at all the lovely shimmering particles!

Several of my pen friends have mentioned that this colorful whimsical artwork has brought some joy in their lives during their days of gray skies and mounds of snow. I hope the happy colors are doing the same for you. Maybe just a little?

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 and Platinum Prefountes with 03 Medium nibs

Inks: Jacques Herbin Vert Atlantide. Robert Oster Rose Gold Antiqua, Heart of Gold, Sydney Lavender, Saguaro Green, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta

Carrying Case for My Pen and Ink Wash Tools

I have a lot of TWSBI GOs! I mainly use them to create my fountain pen and ink artwork. The Stub 1.1 nibs are fantastic to use as I can create thin and wide lines from a single nib.

This was all the fountain pens I took with me on our trip around the Caribbean: Pentel water brushes, TWSBI GOs, and Pilot Custom 823.

Depending on my palette of colors, I can have anywhere from 5 to 20 pens inked at one time. When I travel, I try to limit the quantity to under 10. A manageable number and easy to keep track of. I attempted to use a regular fountain pen case to store and carry my GOs, but found the case somewhat bulky and the elastics that held my pens in place was a nuisance.

I saw a few pen and pencil cases that ranged from flat to round shapes. Nothing peaked my interest until I came across a fabric storage pouch on Amazon. This pen/pencil case or pouch has two zippered access areas. Plenty of storage options for my art tools.

Durable and soft fabric zippered case.

Under the top zipper is the main compartment. There’s two small side pockets to hold my kneaded eraser, clips, mini spray bottle, pencil leads and small accessories. The main area can hold my 15 TWSBI GOs and six Platinum Prefounte pens. That’s the most number of pens I currently have in this pouch when I took the pictures. There’s room to also store my folded shop towels.

My TWSBI GOs and Platinum Prefountes

Unzipping the side zipper reveals a storage flap with elastic holders. Here I have my Platinum Preppy with Carbon ink, Kaweco 0.7mm pencil, click eraser, Pentel mechanical pencil, Pentel water brush, and a Uni-ball Signo gel pen. From the side opening, I have access to the main compartment where my GOs and Prefounte fountain pens are located.

The design of this case allows me store a huge number of pens and accessories.

When I unzip the two zippers, I have full access to all the storage areas. I love how I can I can see all my tools and accessories. Easy to grab the colors and tools I need to create my artwork. When I’m done, I can quickly gather my art tools and place them back in my pouch.

Easy access to all my drawing tools

This is my main case for travel and for carrying around in my house. I’ve had it for over a year now. The fabric felt a bit stiff at first, but after a few weeks of use it’s more soft and pliable.

Look at what came out of my pen case!

I’m sorting through my currently inked pen collection and identifying colors I will not be using for the next few weeks. So far I have removed four pens. Hope to have more pens available as soon as I finish a few pieces of art.

Enjoy your weekend!

Benu Euphorias and My Pen and Ink Sketches

Here’s my tropical trio: Bora Bora, Tropical Voyage, and Big Wave

Some of you might remember I received my first Benu as a Christmas gift from my Hubby. I fell in love with the beautiful colors of my Bora Bora. The turquoise tropical blue color with silver and gold shimmering particles reminded me of the Caribbean. The medium nib writes smooth and wet and handles shimmering inks beautifully.

Edit: Here’s a tidbit of information. I was doing some research on Benu pens and found that the cap threads are square. So, naturally I unscrewed the cap from my Benu and took out my trusty loupe to see the threads on the body of the pen. Yes! I can see the squared off threads which would normally be rounded in most fountain pens. This square thread form shape has the lowest friction and it is hard to fabricate in a pen design. It’s also the most efficient thread form to screw a cap on.

Besides using my Benu for writing, I also enjoy using it as a tool to sketch with in my pen and ink wash artwork. That says a lot about this pen. I know I mentioned this before, but I could write for hours with this pen. Yes, it fits in my hand and has a nice long grip/section. It’s lightweight and sometimes I felt like I was holding a pencil. I naturally gravitated towards using it to sketch with.

My first Benu: Bora Bora

I sketched my first Benu using my fountain pen inks and a bit of iridescent watercolor to bring out the sparkles in my pen.

I was keeping an eye out for another Benu called Tropical Voyage and eventually added that one to my collection. Can you see a theme developing? There’s actually two themes: tropical pen names and the lovely shades of blue.

My second Benu: Tropical Voyage
My pen and ink version of my pen.
Here are the physical pens I used for my Tropical Voyage sketch.

In my art journal I now have a page devoted to my Benu artwork. I originally had planned to sketch my Everyday Writers or EDWs on this page, but my Euphorias were so colorful and beautiful it was inevitable to have a page dedicated to them.

As I was typing up a draft of this blog post, I received my third Euphoria. I was torn between the Big Wave and the glittering Vodka on the Rocks. I wanted to keep with my tropical theme. After much thought, I decided the Vodka was a bit over the top with all that glitter and too sparkly for me. Can you believe that? Too sparkly for me? Hahaha!

So here’s my Big Wave and all it’s beautiful shimmering tiny particles. It reminds me of a frothy shimmering surf. Be sure the click the arrows in the picture to see the slideshow.

Naturally, I had to do a quick sketch of my pen. I decided to do a test sketch to see how the ink colors and iridescent watercolors play together. I wanted to make sure I could capture the glittering frothy surf.

My quick practice pen and ink wash test sketch.

Here’s my writing samples from my Euphorias. All three are filled with shimmering inks.

My trio and writing samples and some gorgeous shimmering inks!

Here’s what the page from my art journal looks like:

My completed sketch of my Benu trios.

Here’s another picture to show off the glittering sparkles:


My process of integrating my fountain pen inks and iridescent watercolor paints has greatly improved since my first Benu pen sketch. I do the initial sketch with my inks and let them dry completely. I add the iridescent color(s) and gently apply the sparkling wash over the areas. I try not to disturb the paper too much, otherwise I will lift the ink and move it around on the paper and get a mix of unwanted colors.

My palette of Daniel Smith Iridescent watercolors. This covers just about all the shimmering colors I need.

Bora Bora Sketch:

Pens used: Conklin Endura Abalone with JoWo Omniflex nib. Platinum Prefounte 05 Medium nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks used: Diamine Enchanted Ocean and Tropical Glow. Robert Oster Carbon Fire, Heart of Gold, and Thunderstorm.

Watercolor used: Daniel Smith Iridescent Pearl White and Aztec Gold

Tropical Voyage Sketch:

Pens used: Benu Euphorias Bora Bora and Tropical Voyage with Medium nibs. Conklin Duragraph Matte Black with Rainbow Trim Goulet Exclusive LE (JoWo Omniflex nib). Platinum Prefounte 05 Medium nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks used: Diamine Arabian Nights, Golden Ivy, and Tropical Glow. Robert Oster Sydney Lavender, Blue Moon, and Thunderstorm.

Big Wave Sketch:

Pens used: Benu Euphoria Big Wave with Medium nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks used: Diamine Starlit Sea. JHerbin Bleu de Minuit. Robert Oster Blue River, Carbon Fire, and Thunderstorm.

Watercolor: Daniel Smith Iridescent Pearl White and Pearl Shimmer

Journal: Stillman and Birn Zeta

A Vibrant Floral Pen and Ink Wash

My Floral & Vase pen and ink wash sketch

I used to be a wedding photographer many years ago. While I enjoyed the creative aspects and challenges, I did not enjoy having additional roles as hostess, seamstress, and assistant. I was hired to be a photographer. Not a last minute seamstress or a get things done at last minute assistant. Yes, I no longer photograph weddings.

When I grabbed a picture from my “to sketch” pile of photographs it conjured up memories of when I took that particular picture. This sketch I did last night brought back memories as a wedding photographer. It was a simple vase full of colorful flowers.

For this floral sketch, I used a lot of ink colors. I had pulled out 10 fountains pens with various ink colors and used all the colors I selected.

My Benu Euphoria in Tropical Voyage and TWSBI GOs.

My favorite brands of ink for sketching is currently: Jacques Herbin, Diamine, and Robert Oster. Especially the shimmering inks from JHerbin & Diamine. I mentioned that wet inks are great for ink and water washes as the “lines” I lay down blend nicely with my watercolor paper.

Close up picture showing some shimmers

Late last year, Robert Oster Sydney Lavender was a late addition to my ink collection. It blends beautifully with Diamine Arabian Nights (shimmer) ink.

A close up of my beautiful Benu pen. Look at all the sparkles in the flowers.

I’ve been enjoying my Benu Euphoria pens. Besides writing in my journals, I love using them for my artwork. The medium nibs lay down a nice amount of ink. Plus the pens are gorgeous to look at.

Pens: Benu Euphoria Tropical Voyage with Medium nib. Platinum Prefounte with (05) Medium nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Diamine Arabian Nights. Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Egypte and Vert Atlantide. Robert Oster Sedona Red, Charred Hickory, Sydney Lavender, Melon Tea, Thunderstorm, Heart of Gold, and Saguaro Green.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta (cold press)

Monochromatic Pen and Ink Sketch

I have a picture I took a few years ago from a charcoal art class I attended. It’s a still life that incorporated two bottles, a mug, and some fabric. My art instructor placed several objects (pottery, bottles, styrofoam shapes, etc) on several tables. She told me I could sit at any table. I was drawn to this simple composition that incorporated the use of odd numbers (two bottles and a mug) and the draped and folded fabric. It was the most challenging table compared to the other still life tables she had set up for the class. While the other students chose the easier objects to sketch, I wanted to create something that would challenge my brain.

It was easy for my eyes to say I can draw/sketch this simple mug. When I grabbed my piece of charcoal and started to draw the shapes, my brain said “this looks wonky” because my ovals looked more like circles, the top and bottom of the mug did not align, and the handle on my mug looked like one of Mickey’s ears. That’s what happened with my initial warm up sketch.

At the end of that charcoal class, I took a few pictures of this beautiful still life. I knew this would be “the one” picture I would use over and over for my practice study using graphite, pastels, oils, watercolor and now pen and ink.

I like using a single color to sketch/draw and create a monochromatic piece of art. This helps me understand the qualities of the medium I am using. With fountain pen inks, I get to see so many surprising colors appear on my watercolor paper that I might not see in my regular writing journals.

Here is my latest pen and ink wash sketch using a single ink color from Robert Oster.

Used my TWSBI 580 to create this monochromatic study.

The base ink color for Schwarz Rose looks like a dark green with rose gold shimmering particles. I sketched an outline using my Preppy with Carbon ink (water resistant). I drew the lines around the objects with the Schwarz Rose ink color and used my water brush to soften the lines a bit. After I let the paper dry, I went back in with bolder and darker lines to create the shadows. I took my water brush and “painted” over the dark areas and pulled the colors out over the paper.

I had to be careful not to overwork the areas with the dark ink. It’s harder to remove a dark color once I applied the ink to the paper. Plus when too much water is added, the color looks less saturated.

Once my sketch was dried, I was amazed to see other colors appear such as green-black, a few shades of teal, and rose pink.


Since the month of January was the month for shimmering inks, I ended up using a few of my shimmering inks in my sketches. Once water is applied to the shimmering inks, the shimmer particles will start to spread and collect in different areas of where the water has pooled. A few times the diluted shimmers might look faded on the paper. In the final layer of color, I go back with my shimmering inks and draw a few lines to bring back the highlights or shimmering effects on the object.

Pens: Platinum Preppy with 02 Extra Fine nib (Carbon ink). TWSBI Diamond 580ALR Prussian Blue with Medium nib

Ink: Robert Oster Shake ‘n Shimmy Schwarz Rose

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta (cold press 270 g/m)

Another Set of Exclusive Inks from Robert Oster

Edit: I’ve added a picture of my final pen and ink sketch below. Enjoy!

Just when I thought I was done with acquiring new inks, Robert Oster comes along and creates some new exciting and exclusive inks. The first set that I blogged about a few days ago was an exclusive trio that included Charred Hickory, Hemp, and Blue River.

From a previous blog post, new exclusive Robert Oster inks from Vanness.

Now, there’s another set of exclusive ink colors that includes some beautiful and saturated colors. The trio of colors are called: Sedona Red, Saguaro Green, and Monsoon Sky.

Here’s the new set of Robert Oster exclusive colors from Pen Chalet.

The colors in this new palette reminds me of my time spent in Arizona many years ago. Unfortunately it was not for vacation time, but for work. I had an opportunity to travel and spend a few weeks with a team of fellow co-workers.

We spent our days and nights working on a project and then we were given time off on the weekend to go exploring. I grabbed my rental car keys and my girlfriends and we headed to Sedona. The red rocks of Sedona took my breath away. I have pictures of my adventure, but unfortunately will have to dig deep into my archives to locate them. For now, my color swatches, writing samples, and artwork will have to suffice.

The new colors are bright and bold.

Swatch cards, writing samples and my Prefountes filled with beautiful ink colors!

The only non-inked art pens I had available were my Prefountes with fine nibs. Sometimes I find it harder to draw with finer nibs and create a good water wash of colors. Here’s my artwork:

Sagauro Green used for the cactus and greenery. Sedona Red for the red rocks. Monsoon Sky used for the sky (of course). I also used RO Thunderstorm and Heart of Gold.

I was surprised at the Monsoon Sky color. The label on the bottle looked like a dark blue color. Once I applied the ink to the paper, I found it leaned more towards a beautiful teal blue color.

My plan is to continue working on my artwork and adding more color especially in the sky. I’ll be back to post a finished version later this week.

Stay safe and have a great day!

Here’s my final Sedona sketch.

Pens: Platinum Prefountes with 03 Fine nibs and TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1

Inks: Robert Oster Sedona Red, Saguaro Green, Monsoon Sky, Heart of Gold, and Thunderstorm.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta