Sketching Around Me

This morning, I gathered a few of my fountain pens and my sketch journal and placed them in my messenger bag. I ended up at a coffee shop I’ve been meaning to visit and never had a chance to stop in. It turned out to be one of the best coffee shop and sketching experience I’ve encountered.

Inside the shop I saw lots of open space with plenty of tables and chairs. Lots of folks wandered in and out of the shop and grabbed their coffees to go. A few folks, who sat towards the back of the shop, were busy working on their laptops. I was receiving positive vibes here.

I sat at a table in the middle of the coffee shop and started sketching what was immediately in front of me: my cup of coffee and my sugary treat. Then I looked around and saw the display cabinet at the back of the shop. There were colorful cups and bags of coffee on display. I felt a challenge hit me and I started sketching the back wall.

When I stopped to see my progress, I felt there was something missing in my sketch. I looked around and saw a vase with some blue and yellow flowers on the counter and I thought adding a floral scene would be a perfect way to finish my sketch.

I’ve been seeing lots of self improvements over the last few weeks. I am no longer hiding at the back table and sketching. My art supplies are spread out across the table for everyone to see. I’m becoming more efficient with my observations and sketching less which results in less lines to erase. It could be I’m getting better at memorizing what I see. Also, I find myself smiling more while I’m creating my artwork.

Pens used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Pilot Prera with CM nib. Faber-Castell Hexo with Medium nib. Lamy Al Star with Cursive nib. Copic Multiliner with 0.1mm tip (permanent ink).

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost and Hail Storm. Robert Oster Heart of Gold, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Glitz, Golden Ivy, Enchanted Ocean, Seize the Night, and All the Best.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softbound A5

One Subject and Two Different Art Mediums

Sometime last year I created two beach sketches. One was a watercolor sketch in my watercolor journal. The other was a pen & ink sketch created in a different art journal.

This year, I thought it would be fun to create another one. This time I used one sketch book to create the two art samples.

Here’s a side-by-side view using the two different mediums.

The left side was created using my fountain pens and inks. The right side was created using my watercolor pans of colors.

I have several watercolor palettes in my collection and I chose a palette where I thought the colors would be similar to the fountain pen inks I used. During my watercolor session, it was amazing to see how close I could capture the colors I used in my pen & ink sketch.

My pen & ink sketch took less than an hour to create. I used three layers to build up the colors and contrast.

My watercolor sketch took a few hours to create. I started with the lightest colors first and built each layer using a darker color. I also had to wait for each layer to dry completely before I could paint additional colors. That is why it took so long to finish this piece.

I love working with this watercolor paper. It can handle the brush strokes and all the water I lay down on this paper. There is hardly any paper buckling and no bleed through on the back side of the paper.

Pens: Platinum Preppy in 02 (extra fine nib) with Carbon ink. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Diamine Candle Light, Vintage Copper, & Black Ivy. Robert Oster Thunderstorm

Watercolor Paints: Art Philosophy Confections Palette: Apple, White Mocha, Pistachio Cream, mix of Blackberry and Pecan (grays), and a mixture of Key Lime and Blueberry (teal)

Journal: Franklin-Christoph Watercolor VN

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph Vagabond NWF

My Garden Gnome

It’s been amazing to see our gardens turn colorful in the last two weeks. Lots of “sticks” now have green buds and leaves. Many of our perennial plants have flowers on them. This was a great opportunity for me to take my camera outside and capture what was in our garden. A future blog post will be forthcoming with plenty of pictures.

In the meantime, I thought it would be appropriate to sketch a garden gnome.

Have I mentioned how much I’ve been enjoying the Diamine shimmering inks? Gorgeous ink colors and they are working beautifully in my pen & ink sketches.

Speaking of Diamine inks, the online retailers are starting to carry the larger bottles of ink from the Diamine Red Inkvent calendar. So, run to your fave fountain pen & ink retailer and grab your bottles of ink. No need to wait for me to make my purchase as I have to put my ink purchases on hold for a bit. I had an emergency to take care of this week which resulted in my priorities being rearranged.

Okay, back to my garden gnome showing lots of shimmering goodness. I liked how well my Golden Ivy and Starlit Sea colors worked together in my sketch.

I believe this is the first time, I’ve managed to have a dozen of my TWSBI GOs filled with shimmering ink colors. Minus one pen which is primarily filled with Thunderstorm. I use Thunderstorm for my shadows and that ink color has been used in most of my sketches.

Remember to take some time and enjoy the beauty around you.

Pens: Uni Pin Fine Line pen in 0.5mm and 0.1mm tip. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Colorverse Brane. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Red Lustre, Brandy Dazzle, Frosted Orchid, Golden Ivy, and Starlit Sea.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha 4″ x 6″ Hardcover

My Mushroom House

In my creative art experiences I enjoy experimenting with different types of art paper. Using fountain pens and inks allows me to use a variety from mixed media to watercolor type papers. When I come across a perfect pen & ink & paper combination I experience a lot of joy in creating my artwork. Here is one of them.

I had cleaned out some of my TWSBIs and filled them with more shimmering ink colors. I made a mistake in my swatch sample on the back of this post card paper. Apparently in my excitement I picked up the wrong GO pen that had Enchanted Ocean ink. That blue color is not in my sketch. Oooops!

There are so many shimmering particles in my sketch.

Pens: TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Red Lustre, Brandy Dazzle, and Cocoa Shimmer.

Paper: Strathmore Watercolor Postcard 4″x 6″

An Unfinished House

I started this sketch a few weeks ago and for some reason I had to stop working on it. It’s an unfinished piece that’s been sitting in my journal.

Here is my pencil sketch. This was a rare moment where I remembered to take pictures.

I used my fine line pens to redraw the lines I wanted to keep. I used my eraser to remove the unwanted and stray lines. I left out some of the roof tiles and brick work to let the viewer fill in their own details.

I used the Winter Spice color to fill in some of the roof areas.

I cleaned a few of my GOs and filled them with different ink colors. I’m hoping my mojo for this sketch will come back so I can finish this piece. My fingers are crossed.

Pens: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib. Copic Multiliner SP in 0.1mm & 0.3mm.

Inks: Robert Oster Thunderstorm. Van Dieman’s Ink Eucalyptus Regnans and Styx Valley Forest Green. Diamine Amaranth, Vintage Copper, Winter Spice, and Storm.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha 5.5″x8.5″

A Garden Table?

Is it a door? Is it a chair? Is it a garden table?

I started with a pencil sketch and drew in the major lines or outlines of the various objects. I used my Copic fine line pen (0.7mm) and went over the main areas I wanted to include in my sketch. I used my Copic fine line pen (0.1mm) to add in some details and also to create some shadows.

By the time I’m finished my initial sketch, I had an idea which ink colors I wanted to use in my final sketch.

I’ve enjoyed using Winter Spice and I’ve had my pen filled with this ink color since last December when I was doing my daily Inkvent marathon of colors. Right now, the ink color is a bit too dark for my current sketching style. It was time to retire this color and clean out my pen. Finally!

It appears I have used too much Winter Spice in my sketch. I went overboard with this color, but look at the amazing green sheen. I should have left a bit more white on the paper. Lessons learned. I can always do another sketch using brighter colors.

Pens: Copic Multiliner SP in 0.1 and 0.7mm. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Robert Oster Blood Rose, Heart of Gold, and Thunderstorm. Diamine Cocoa Shimmer and Winter Spice.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover 4″x6″

Happy Easter Weekend!

I created my own version of Easter eggs!

Pens: Uni Pin Fine Line pen in 0.3mm. TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Egypte. Kaweco Summer Purple. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Glitz, Subzero, and Starlit Sea.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover 4″x6″

It’s Fude Nib Time!

A little over two years ago my friend “M” sent me a package. Inside was a gorgeous and ornate fountain pen.

My initial thoughts on this pen was how wet and how broad this fude nib was! At that time I was into Extra Fine and Fine nib fountain pens. As you can imagine I was thrilled, but also a bit curious about this nib.

The Fude nib or bent nib

I’ve inked and tried this pen a few times. Initially, I found the pen to be quite slender. I think this is the skinniest fountain pen I have in my collection.

Platinum Prefounte, Duke Ruby, & Platinum Preppy

The pen weighs about 35 grams. The cap and body appears to be made of brass with a black lacquer finish. It’s a snap-cap pen which I prefer to use for my artwork as I can quickly remove the cap and start sketching.

It took some time for me to really appreciate what a fude nib can do. I follow a few artists on their creative adventures and found they keep a fude nib pen in their art bag.

With renewed interest, I pulled out my Duke pen and filled it with Smokescreen. I was feeling a bit creative and wanted to use this fountain pen to sketch with. I left my pencils and permanent fine tip pens on my studio desk. I went outside with my sketchbook and my fude fountain pen filled with ink and started sketching.

It took me about 15 minutes to complete this piece. This turned out to be a loose sketch as the Smokescreen ink with the fude nib had no issues laying down color on my paper. I literally went with the flow in my sketch.

I’m enjoying the broad strokes this pen creates. The line thickness reminds me of my TWSBI stub nibs. This pen can also create fine lines when I hold the pen between 45 to 90 degrees over the paper. The line is even finer when I turn the nib upside down and write with it.

Here’s my writing sample and a look at the different line variations this pen can produce.

At around a 40 degree angle or less, the line width reminds me of a Stub 1.1 nib. At 45 degrees and higher, the line width gets narrower and close to a Fine nib. At a slightly less than 90 degree angle, the line reminds me of an Extra Fine nib. When I turn the nib upside down, it produces a consistent and slightly narrower Extra Fine line.

There is a learning curve to handling this pen. For me, I had to be cognizant of how I was holding the pen in my hand. For sketching, I found if I held the pen like a paint brush (around the top of the section) I could control the stroke sizes easier. The key here was holding the pen loosely. The other thing I had to think about is what angle the pen & nib was over the paper. Did I want to create a broad stroke or a fine line? After a few inky refills and some practice sessions, I finally became one with this pen.

Overall, this is a smooth nib to write and sketch with. It’s a sturdy nib and well made. The smooth grip area has a slightly textured feel that I hardly notice in my hand. It does keep my fingers from sliding down the section.

Now that I understand the Fude nib’s capabilities, I’m having a blast sketching and writing with this pen.

The decorative filigree and a man-made ruby bling on the cap

Thank you “M” for introducing me to this wonderful and gorgeous fountain pen. Sorry it took so long for me to really appreciate how well this pen sketches and writes.

Note: I have an inexpensive Sailor Fude nib pen arriving soon. I am looking forward to seeing how this light weight pen performs in my sketching adventures and how it compares to the Duke Fude pen. Stay tuned!

Pen: Duke Ruby with Fude nib

Ink: Robert Oster Smokescreen

Paper: Rhodia

Journal: Canson Artist Mixed Media sketchbook

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

My Whimsical House

Sometimes I just feel a bit whimsical. Enjoy!

Pens: TWSBI Swipe in Coral with Stub 1.1 nib. Uni Pin Fine Line pen in 0.1 and 0.3mm.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Egypte. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper, Amaranth, Cocoa Shimmer, and Winter Spice.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover 4″x6″