It was back in February that I shared my work-in-progress sewing machine pen & ink sketch. I finished it a few weeks ago and I wanted to wait until I posted my three-part series on my sewing conservation adventures to finally post this completed sketch with my vintage machine.
I knew I needed space to capture my machine and I created my initial sketch across two pages in my art journal.
I sketched this over a few days in my studio. I used my artist creative license to capture what I wanted. I tried to sketch the basic shapes and I ended up sitting in front of my machine and seeing different angles each day. On paper, some areas appeared to be the correct perspective while other areas captured another. I decided to just go with it and this ended up being a unique sketch for me.
Since I was using my creative license, I decided to leave out a few details and just use a wash of color. I left out the details in the oval brass logo. I also left out the “Singer” brand name over the light housing.
To bring a bit more life to my sketch, I did add in the some bright golden ink to represent the decals around the sewing machine bed and to give a pop of color. My machine shows faded silver and gold decals and my creative license allowed me to show a brighter yellow swirls of color.
As I was creating the initial sketch, I forgot to center my machine across the two pages. To fill in the blank space on the right side of my page, I added a few spools of thread.
I enjoyed using Thunderstorm for the blue/black wash on the body and the bed of my machine. Instead of using a dull black ink color, the underlying inky colors of Thunderstorm added quite a bit of personality to my sketch.
Pens: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI Swipe with Stub 1.1 nib. Platinum Preppy with 02 Extra Fine nib.
Inks: Robert Oster Thunderstorm, Blood Rose, Steely Days, African Gold, and Melon Tea. Van Dieman’s Inks Morning Frost. DeAtramentis Document Grey.
I wanted to provide one more Jinhao x159 blog post for those who are interested in how their Extra Fine nibs behave.
I had written in my previous blog post that I already have the Avocado Green version of this pen with an Extra Fine nib and it wrote like a wet EF. I was curious to see if another EF nib would write the same way. I went ahead and ordered the orange version.
After my orange pen arrived, I checked the nib with my loupe. I could tell the nib was going to write well. I examined the feed and found the familiar blue ink that Jinaho uses to check their nib’s writing experience. I removed the section from the body and dropped in some water and let it run through the feed until the water came out clear.
I filled my orange pen with Brandy Dazzle and did a writing sample comparison. My sample shows my orange pen writes a bit finer than my green pen.
The nib writes smooth with just a tiny bit of feedback.
The line differences between these two Extra Fine nibs could be the result of the different inks I’m using. I find Oklahoma City to be a bit on the wet side and Brandy Dazzle to be a tad bit drier.
I’m happy to see the EF nibs, in general, write well on non-fountain pen paper and shows no bleed through. I have several desk journals I’ve been saving for my finer nib pens.
The EF nibs can handle shimmering inks without any issues.
Pens: Jinhao x159 with Extra Fine nibs in Orange and Dark Green
Inks: Diamine Brandy Dazzle (shimmer) and Robert Oster Oklahoma City
Journal: GLP Creations The Author Tomoe River Paper 68gsm
Back in December of last year, I shared a blog post about my lovely Jinhao x159s. I started out with two of their basic pen colors that were readily available: a dark blue with gold trim and the basic black resin color with silver trim.
I mentioned at that time, I saw an Avocado green and a few other colors would be available at the beginning of this year.
Fast forward to now and here is a picture of my current Jinhao x159 family.
The avocado green color is quite pretty. I’m also thinking about adding the orange pen color later this year.
My writing sample shows the top three written with a fine nib and the last one written with an extra fine nib.
My four x159s with fine nibs (blue, black, avocado, and red) have unique personalities. The are all smooth nibs, but I can see they write with different personalities. My Wine Red writes the finest (but still wet) and my Black pen writes the wettest.
I was curious about Jinhao’s extra fine nib and how well it would perform with my writing and sketching. I decided to add a Dark Green color with gold trim. When I received this pen, I could see remnants of blue ink that had dried on the feed. I was glad to see that Jinhao tested my EF nib before packaging and shipping. I gave my pen a good rinse and filled it with some lovely olive green ink called Oklahoma City.
The EF nib is smooth with a tiny bit of feedback. It writes like a dry fine nib. Just slightly narrower than my Wine Red fine nib pen.
I’ve been leaning towards the gold trim as it comes with the two tone gold and silver nib.
I wonder if Jinhao will produce additional colors. I could use a purple and a teal pen color to match my favorite ink colors.
Pens: Jinhao x159 in Black, Dark Blue, Avocado Green, and Wine Red with Fine nibs. Jinhao x159 in Dark Green with Extra Fine nib.
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer) and Oklahoma City. Diamine Enchanted Ocean (shimmer). Van Dieman’s Ink Devil’s Kitchen.
I finally got around to finishing my floral page in my art journal. In my last blog post I had created a helleborus flower as that was the only blooming flower in our garden. A few days later, additional flowers were blooming including miniature daffodils.
I’ve been taking reference pictures for future use. I do this as time flies by quickly and when I’m ready to sketch again, the flowering blooms have long expired.
Luckily, both my helleborus and daffodils are still blooming around our gardens. This morning I stepped outside to look at our miniature daffodils before I sketched the remaining flowers in my art journal.
I like adding the hazy and blurry colors in the background of my sketches. It gives me the feeling that there are other flowers in the background without adding any details.
Pens: Platinum Preppy 02 Extra Fine nib. Jinhao x159 Wine Red with Fine nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.
Inks: Robert Oster Heart of Gold (shimmer), Blood Rose (shimmer), and African Gold. Van Dieman’s Ink Anna’s Hummingbird Wing (shimmer), KWZ/Galen Leather Prairie Green (shimmer), and DeAtramentis Document Grey.
I’ve been writing my Jinhao fountain pens dry. Literally, I would run out of ink while in the middle of writing a sentence. My x159 pens are lovely wet writers and I’ve also been using them for creating my pen & ink sketches.
My favorite pinky red ink color to sketch with is Blood Rose. Yes, it’s a shimmering ink. My Wine Red x159 has been filled with this lovely color since I received it and turns out to be on its third refill of the same color. This might be the perfect pen & ink combination for me.
In my black x159, I filled my pen with the lovely Prairie Green shimmering ink color. My shimmering inks have been flowing well in my Jinhao’s.
I’m finding Blood Rose and Prairie Green are two lovely colors that work well together and perfect for floral sketches. The inks react beautifully with water on my sketch paper and they create lovely washes of color.
For the last few weeks, I have seen some blooming beauties in our gardens. A pop of color here and there. The flowering colors range from white with green edges to a light green to a deep burgundy/purple.
I decided it was time to start sketching again. I created this loose sketch of a Helleborus flower in my art journal.
I used my Document Grey ink to sketch the outline of my flower. I used Blood Rose for the flower’s petals and Prairie Green for the leaves and stem. To create the subtle colors in the background, I wet the paper around the flower and I dropped in some color using my water brush. I was careful not to blend the colors together or I would end up with a muddy mix.
Since I’m sketching with lighter inky colors, I’m thinking about using Document Urban Grey to create the lighter color outlines of my floral sketches.
Prompt: Go outside and see what is blooming in your yard, at a park, or at your local garden center. Take a picture or two of the flower. Create a pen & ink sketch. Don’t worry about the details. Focus on the shape(s) of your flower and petals. Create another sketch using a different ink color for the flower.
Cleaning Note & Tip: When I’m refilling the same ink into the same pen, I do clean my pen before refilling. Especially, when I’m using shimmering inks. I place a towel under my pen (with feed facing up) and I use my soft toothbrush dipped in water and gently clean out the feed and the underside of the nib. I will dip my toothbrush several times into water and then onto my feed/nib. The towel underneath will pull the water and remaining sparkly particles out from the nib. I’m often amazed how much shimmering particles come out of the feed/nib.
Pens: Jinhao x159 Wine Red in gold trim with Fine nib. Jinhao x159 Black in silver trim with Fine nib. Platinum Preppy 02 Extra Fine nib.
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer), KWZ & Galen Leather exclusive Prairie Green (shimmer), and DeAtramentis Document Grey.
I took my pencil sketch and using my permanent gray ink, I sketched over my pencil lines that I wanted to keep. In some areas I straightened out the previous broken lines I had drawn. I also added in more details where needed. After my permanent ink had dried on my paper, I used my kneaded eraser to remove my pencil lines. Right now, my sketch looks flat and almost like a cartoon.
I left my inky sketch alone for a few days while I decided which colors to use for my inky washes.
I came back to my sketch armed with my TWSBI Swipe filled with Thunderstorm and started my pen & ink wash process. Thunderstorm has been my go to black/blue inky color for when I need to sketch something in black and also for creating shadows around and under my object. It’s a lovely color to use and it has quite a bit of personality as you can see in my sketch below.
I was careful to not inundate my sketch by dumping a lot of dark color onto my paper. It’s harder to “lift” dark colors let alone “lift” fountain pen ink off of my paper. With my first layer of color I applied a light or watered down color wash. To avoid creating a flat sketch, I made sure to leave some lighter color or the white of my paper as highlights. I am always looking for my light source. I let the first layer dry completely before attempting to apply the second layer of color.
When I apply my second layer of color, I can now focus on areas that are quite a bit darker. I think about the shadows within my object. Where are the darkest parts of my object. By applying the different values of a color, I can create a sense of “roundness” to my object. I can also make certain parts of my object appear closer to me like the numbered dial on my tension knob, the golden logo patch, or the horizontal light covering in the arm of my machine.
I used Morning Frost on the silvery pieces of my object like the throat plate, parts of the tension dial/discs, thread spindle, stitch regulator, bobbin winding system, and for the hand wheel/pulley.
While I’m creating my pen & ink wash, I have to remind myself to be a bit spontaneous and less controlling with my sketch. There are times when it’s harder to control where the ink color goes. I make the best of it and most of the time I create wonderful inky surprises.
I have also learned to know when to stop. Since I was using a mixed media paper versus a heavier watercolor paper, I noticed my second layer of inky wash was disturbing the paper’s surface. Small areas of my paper developed a “rash” while the paper was still wet. That was my clue to stop work in that area as the surface had been compromised. Once the paper is dry, the rashes miraculously disappear.
In case you’ve forgotten, this is where my pen & ink sketch started from. My quick pencil sketch.
Once I start sketching, I forget about properly centering my object on the page or in this case across two pages. To help remove the white space on the right side, I added the bobbin and two spools of thread. I intentionally left one of the spools half-off the page to balance out the left side where I ran out of space for the machine’s bed extension.
Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. TWSBI Swipe with Stub 1.1 nib. Platinum Preppy with 02 Extra Fine nib.
Inks: Robert Oster Thunderstorm, African Gold, Steely Days, Melon Tea, and Blood Rose. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. DeAtramentis Document Grey (Preppy).
Pencil: Pentel Energize mechanical with 0.7mm HB lead
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.
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″)
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.
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
Edited 12/26/22: I had to pull this post early this morning and work on adding additional pictures, better details of my sketching process and do some major edits to what I originally posted. I was one tired puppy when I pushed the original blog post last night. My apologies. Here’s my updated post.
For the past two weeks I was busy with my watercolor paints and fountain pens & inks. When I had a rare “down time” moment, I made sure to spend it on sketching. Mostly, it was Christmas related sketches.
Watercolor: Holly & Berry
I created a quick holly & berry sketch.
I ended up using my porcelain palette so I could make batches of color ahead of time and not worry about running out of color while in the middle of painting.
My approach to this painting was to paint a section of my sketch one at a time and to allow each layer of color to dry completely.
The technique I used was wet-on-wet.
I painted one side of the leaf.
I then moved on to the other leaves and painted the left side.
Before I can paint the remaining sides of my leaves, I used a quick test to check by using the back of my clean hand and touch the areas I painted. If it’s cool to the touch, the paint is still damp. If it’s warm to the touch, the paint has dried.
When the first leaf had dried, I added paint to the right side.
I continued to paint the remaining sections of the leaves.
I waited for my leaves to completely dry before I moved on to my berries.
I painted one berry at a time and waited for each berry to dry before I painted the next one.
I forgot to show my test strip I created. This allowed me to see how the colors would “get along” with each other.
Here’s my final watercolor painting with the shadows. I used a blend of Neutral Tint and the associated paint color of the object. Under the leaves there’s a hint of green with the Neutral Tint color.
Pen & Ink Wash: Holly & Berry
After I finished my watercolor painting, I went ahead and filled a bunch of my TWSBI GOs with several different ink colors. I was anxious to sketch something with my pens. A light bulb went off in my head and I thought I would create another holly and berry sketch using my GOs with fountain pen inks.
I quickly pencil sketched another holly and berry on my watercolor paper. Instead of working on the leaves first, I decided to start with the berries.
Since my fountain pen inks dried fairly quickly, it allowed me to fill in the colors quickly and move on to different areas of my sketch.
I wasn’t paying too much attention to my uncapping of my pens, until I saw an inky spot or two that appeared on my paper.
For the leaves I used a lighter green color (Oklahoma City) for the edges and for the dark areas of the leaves (shadows).
Once the leaves were completely dried, I used a medium green (Eucalyptus Leaf) to add more color to the leaves and darkened the shadows a bit more. I left some highlights here and there in the leaves to show some bending. They no longer look flat like in the previous pictures.
For the berries, I used Blood Rose and added layers of color to the darker areas. I made sure to keep the highlights white by not adding color. The last layer of color was added along the back side edges of the berries.
Sketch some berries and holly leaves. Feel free to use different color inks. Try reversing the colors and use green for the berries and red for the leaves. Think outside the box in regards to colors.
Unlike my watercolor sketches taking days to complete, my pen & ink sketch takes less than an hour to complete.
I’m glad I took a break from my pen & ink sketches to spend more time with my watercolor paints and brushes. I found I was a bit rusty and had to remind myself to be patient and let my paintings dry. Also, I had to relearn a few techniques like using less water to get a milk or creamy mix of color versus a watery tea mix.
Use the back of your clean hand to see if the paper is dry or not. A cool touch means the paper is still damp. A warm touch means the paper is dry.
I hope everyone is staying warm today and enjoying their time with friends and family.
Paper: Bee Watercolor (100% cotton)
Palette: Porcelain Flower with 7-wells 4-5/8″ x 4-5/8″ x 1/2″
Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor in Sap Green, Cascade Green, Perylene Green, Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Perylene Violet, and Neutral Tint
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer), Oklahoma City, and Eucalyptus Leaf
Pens: TWSBI Go with Stub 1.1 nib. Jinhao x159 in Black with Fine nib.