Another Two Sketches: Two Different Mediums

This morning I was in the mood to sketch a scene. When I get into these moods I “just do it” and see what happens.

I’m still learning to paint loosely so I can create something in less than 30 minutes. That way I can feel like I’ve accomplished something in a small amount of time.

I created this painting without doing an initial pencil sketch and without looking at a picture. I took my paint brush and dipped it into my paint pans and painted away on my paper. It felt a bit “freeing” to paint like this. It only took me less than 10 minutes to complete. I could get used to this way of painting.

For this first painting exercise, I used my granulating paints from Daniel Smith and Schmincke.

I then decided to sketch out another beach scene and this time I used my fountain pens and inks.

I have to include this picture of my work in progress. I used blue painter’s tape to tape off an outline or window for my scenes. I ran out of tape for my pen & ink sketch and had to borrow a piece from my watercolor sketch. No time to look for tape. Have to keep going.

For my pen & ink sketch, I used a similar process by not creating the initial pencil sketch. I used my fountain pens and water brush and quickly completed my second beach scene.

I’m finding that it takes a bit more thought when I create my pen and ink wash artwork. Once I commit my ink to paper, that’s where the ink will stay. I can move some amount of color with my water brush, but basically some variation of the color stays where I’ve initially placed the nib to paper. That’s why I feel as though my sky is looking a bit strange. I got carried away and also forgot that I was working with ink.

Unlike inks, it’s easier to manipulate watercolor paints as I can blot/lift to lighten the color before it dries.

I forgot to mention that I’m using a watercolor journal from Canson for my test sketches. My beach scene sketches are on the backside of the first page. I wanted to see if the backside of this watercolor paper could be used.

Tip: Adding a color legend to my sketches. A few weeks from now, I won’t remember the colors I used.

Watercolor: Schmincke Galaxy Blue and Galaxy Brown. Daniel Smith Primatek Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Genuine, Jadeite Genuine, Fuchsite Genuine, and Bronzite Genuine.

Fountain Pen Inks: Robert Oster Steely Days, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City. Diamine Shimmering Enchanted Ocean. Van Dieman’s Ink Devil’s Kitchen.

Fountain Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Brushes: Pentel Water Brush

Paint Pans: Art Toolkit standard stainless steel pans

Journal: Canson Artist Series Watercolor Cold Press 140lb/300g (5.5″x8.5″) 20 sheets

Circles: Two Mediums, a Prompt, and Some Tips

I had a “circles” template I found in my art supply stash. I came up with a brilliant idea to create a two page spread of circles in various sizes. Before going crazy and adding my colors, I decided to split my two page spread into the left side for watercolors and the right side for my fountain pen inks.

I did go crazy and selected random colors to fill my circles. I was having too much fun!

Fountain Pen Inks

Here’s the right side of my page with just the fountain pen inks I used.

In some circles I took my fountain pen and drew an outline. I took my water brush and touched the breather hole of my fountain pen to draw out a bit of color. I painted inside my circle and also touched the outline to pulled the color into my circle. I tried to leave a bit of white or light color areas to represent the highlight of my circle. I also cleaned my water brush (wiping on clean towel) and gently brushed out the color where I wanted my highlight to be. A clean q-tip could be used to dab out the slightly wet color.

Sydney Lavender is my go to purple ink color. This ink’s personality really shows off its underlying inky colors when water reacts to the ink.

In the following circle, I created an outline for 2/3 of the circle or the edge that’s away from the highlight. This is another beautiful ink with lots of personality. Another favorite of mine called Steely Days.

This lovely green ink, Oklahoma City, is a wonderful surprise and appears to be bright and earthy at the same time. Another top favorite.

This pink color had been on my wishlist for sometime, but I always passed it up for other vibrant inky colors. I was so happy to receive this gift from a very special inky friend. It’s a lovely muted pink color with a tiny bit of blue. It appears to lean a bit towards a rosy purple color. It’s gorgeous!

Here’s my favorite shimmering pink ink color, Blood Rose. My painted circle came out bright and lovely. I’ve always enjoyed how this ink reacts to water. It’s a beautiful color to use for floral pen & ink sketches.

Watercolors

This left side of my page represents three (3) different brands of watercolor paints I used: Daniel Smith, Schmincke, and Sennelier. This was more or less a “test” page for me as I wanted to show off the different characteristics of certain lines of paints.

The Schmincke colors are represented by the “Galaxy” name. These are super granulating paint colors. Unfortunately, my paper did not have enough texture to show off what I call underlying colors or mixes for each Galaxy color. It does show off the granulation of the main color.

I used a few of my Daniel Smith PrimaTek colors which is represented with the “Genuine” in the name. I absolutely enjoy using these special granulating paints made from natural minerals and pigments. Jadeite Genuine is a gorgeous color. It’s made from the mineral called jade. Its fountain pen inky cousin would be Oklahoma City.

My Sennelier paint colors (lower half of the page) are a bit more vibrant and transparent in color based on the pan set I have. I found my Sennelier paint pans were the easiest to rewet.

Prompt: Create your shapes (circles, ellipses, squares) and practice coloring in your shapes with your fountain pen inks. Remember to leave the lightest areas for your highlights. See if you can create your colored shapes in two layers of color or less. Remember to let each layer dry before adding more color.

Tip #1: You might see a “bloom” appear inside of your shape. This happens when you add too much water/color to an area that is damp or nearly dry. The water/color has no where to go, but “bloom” out. Let the bloom dry. You can always add another layer of color on top of the bloom. If you are not sure what a “bloom” looks like, take a look at my French Vermilion circle in my previous picture.

Tip #2: When a water brush is filled with water, the brush tip will remain wet all the time. I no longer squeeze my water brush. Squeezing a water brush will force additional water onto the tip of the brush. It also requires frequent refilling of water.

I keep a small jar of water on my studio desk. If I need more water on my brush tip, I will put my brush tip into my water jar. I can also quickly clean my brush tip by dipping it into some water.

Tip #3: Keep a clean towel (paper, shop towel, Viva cloth) nearby. I use mine to wipe my brush tip clean or remove excess water.

Fountain Pen Inks: Robert Oster Sydney Lavender, Napa, Blood Rose, Steely Days, Aussie Gold, Oklahoma City, Cherry Blossom, and Sepia Nights. Colorverse Mariner 4 and Hayabusa. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost and Enchanted Woods.

Watercolor Paints: Daniel Smith Perylene Green, Cascade Green, Lemon Yellow, Quinacridone Sienna, Rhondonite Genuine, Jadeite Genuine, Mayan Blue Genuine. Schmincke Super Granulating in Galaxy Blue, Galaxy Pink, Galaxy Violet, and Galaxy Brown. Sennelier Carmine, French Vermilion, Phthalo Green Light, Phthalo Blue, Dioxazine Purple, and Forest Green.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta A5 Softbound

Creating My Own Watercolor Swatch Cards

A few weeks ago I had re-swatched all of my bottles of Robert Oster Signature fountain pen inks. An idea came to me that I should do something similar with all of my tubes of Daniel Smith watercolor paints.

I looked around on the Internet and could not find a decent swatch card system to use. I tried using my Col-o-ring cards, but the paper was a bit too thin to handle the amount of water and paint I use. Being the creative person that I am, I did come up with a brilliant solution.

I remembered I had a few Canson journals left over from my pen & ink workshops and I knew the paper in that journal could handle a decent amount of water and paint. I grabbed my paper trimmer and my corner cutter and I was ready to do some paper cutting.

Since I was familiar with the 2″x4″ Col-o-ring size card, I thought that would be a good size to start with. After doing my initial watercolor swatch tests, I decided the card was a bit too wide. I did another swatch card test and found a 1.5″x4″ size card was perfect for my watercolor swatching needs and I had enough room to write down important color information. This smaller size also allowed me to cut a few more pieces from a single sheet of paper.

I used my Arteza water brush to paint out the colors on my swatch cards. I used my Platinum Preppy filled with Carbon ink to write out the paint color information.

Here’s a picture of my corner cutter. There are three slots (small, medium, & large) for three different size corners. The illustration on top of the gray hand press shows what the corners would look like for each size.

For my swatch cards, I decided to use the (S)mall corner cutter setting to give my cards a smaller or narrow curved corner.

The mixed media paper handled my watercolor mixture well. The paper does buckle slightly when wet. After the paper dries, it straightens out on its own.

Since I was in a paper cutting mood, I went ahead and created my own Col-o-ring-like swatch cards for my fountain pen inks. Good thing I keep several pads of mixed media and drawing paper in my art paper stash.

In the following picture, I used the “L” or large corner cutter. I placed the corner of my paper into the slot and pressed down on the gray handle to cut out a curved corner.

Can you tell from the picture below, which card was the one I created?

I created the card on the right. The one on the left is from Col-o-ring.

My Swatch Card Tools

Journal: Canson Artist Series Mixed Media spiral bound (5.5″x8.5″)

Paper Trimmer: Fiskars Surecut Portable Paper Trimmer

Corner Cutter: Sunstar Kadomaru Pro, Corner Cutter (S4765036) S-M-L

Single hole punch

Small loose leaf binder ring

Leaves: Pen & Ink Wash with Robert Oster Signature Fountain Pen Inks

I had a few minutes last night to create a quick pen & ink wash sketch of some leaves. Mostly from memory and using the available fountain pen inks in my TWSBI GOs.

I had cleaned out a few GOs that were almost empty including an orange ink that I could have used for this week’s inky leaves. Oh well. I took my creative license and pulled out a few Robert Oster inky colors that I had ready to go. As some of you know, when the sketching mojo hits, I have to grab what I have and let the creativity flow.

For my first layer of color, I started out with the gold ink color for the base or foundation color. I had to work quickly while the paper was still damp with the gold inky color and used the other colors to kind of blend in and let the colors mix a tiny bit on the paper.

Tips/Tricks: I touched my water brush to the breather hole of my fountain pen to grab some color and lightly dabble the color onto my leaves. If the inky color is too dark, I would dab once on a towel to remove some ink before applying the color to my paper.

For my top right leaf, I actually like how the Napa (burgundy) ink color blended with my Aussie Gold and Oklahoma City (green) colors.

For the other two leaves, I used a bit of Kansas City (brown) around the edges of the leaves. This brown ink is a lovely wet ink and I had to be careful not to inundate the leaf with too much brown color. That’s why you’ll see light strokes of color and I used my water brush to blend out or away from my lines. For the final layer of color, I added more gold ink to make the leaves glow.

I used Thunderstorm for the cast shadows. I would normally pull in the leaf’s color(s) into the cast shadow, but I decided not to in this sketch. I think just using Thunderstorm made the leaves pop off the page a bit more.

It took me two to three layers of colors to create my pen & ink wash sketch. If I’m not blending the colors on paper, I do let each layer dry before I apply additional inky colors. Otherwise, certain colors will bleed more and could create an unwanted color mix.

Last night, it was a nice break from my long watercolor sketching sessions and I enjoyed how quickly I could create my artwork using my fountain pens and inks.

Inks: Robert Oster Aussie Gold, Kansas City, Napa, Oklahoma City, and Thunderstorm

Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Pen & Ink Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softbound A5 (5.5″x8.5″) 150gsm 46 sheets/92 pages

My Small Palette

So far, you have seen my medium size metal palette container that I’ve been using for the last few weeks. I spent some quality time with this palette and enjoyed carrying it around with me. I did find my “Meedan” metal container to be a bit limiting as I could not comfortably add additional paint pans to the middle row. My picture shows two pans wedged in there, but it’s just sitting on the edge between my other pans. The metal brackets were too close and as a result my pans would not “fit” in the middle.

While I like this medium size container palette, I mostly use it on my studio desk and also to store all of my pans filled with colors. Makes it easier to go to one container and pull out the colors I need to use.

For a more portable and smaller urban sketching metal container, I came across this lovely container from Looneng. I selected to have eight (8) empty full pans included with my container. I did not have any empty full pans in my art stash and I know this will come in handy later.

This metal container met all my requirements for a portable watercolor palette. First, there is three mixing wells on the left side cover. Other brands have two large wells. On the right side flap, there are six small mixing wells.

Here’s a major requirement for me, having the ability to place six (6) additional paint pans in the middle row. You’ll notice the empty paint pans are turned in portrait mode. That’s a total of 18 pans that can be stored in this container.

I created a custom swatch card that fits in my container. Here I have my three primary warm colors on the left side and my three primary cool colors on the right side.

This week, I had lunch at a local sushi restaurant. My watercolor sketch is mostly from memory and just playing around with mixing colors. This sketch shows my first layer of colors. A work in progress.

I’m also using an Arteza water brush that works brilliantly with my watercolor paint pans. You can see my brush tip has darkened with use. This is normal. I use my Pentel water brushes for my pen & ink artwork. I have a future blog post I am working on explaining the difference/feel of these two water brush brands. Stay tuned!

Paint: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors

Metal Paint Palette: Looneng Empty Watercolor Palette. Select to include 8 empty full pans or 14 empty half pans.

Paint Pans: Meeden clear half pans

Swatch card: Arches Cold Press 140lb/300gsm paper cut down to size

Water brush: Arteza Water Brush Pen (assorted tips) in Medium

Journal: Stillman & Birn Beta Softcover A5 (5.5″x8.5″) 270gsm 25 sheets/50 pages

How Much Water Do I Need for Watercolor?

I have an issue with using too much water with my watercolor paints. I know I’ve said it before, but I wanted to mention it again for the purpose of this blog post.

I ran across a YouTube video from one of a few artists I follow. I enjoyed watching Jenna talk about how much water to use with watercolor paints. It was a game changer to see what I’ve been doing wrong for several years. What is the right mixture of water and paint color? What technique is the right one to use? Dry on wet? Wet on Wet?

I watched the video all the way to the end. That was hard for me as I wanted to jump in and create my own paint samples. I had to stop myself and breathe and watch/learn without doing.

As I watched the video for the second time, I was actually following along. Yes, I had to stop the video several times so I could “catch up” and paint along.

In the top row, I painted my circles using a dry-on-wet technique. My tea sample is what I would typically paint for my base color. Also, this shows I have the tendency to use too much water when I’m painting and mixing my colors. I have to remind myself to dab my brush on my towel before applying my brush to the paint or paper. By the time I get to the butter consistency sample, this is basically lots of paint and very little water. You can see my brush strokes around the edges.

In the second row I used the wet-on-wet technique and my butter consistency had less dispersion in the water and the color is a bit more controlled. The color is also quite saturated and bold. The tea/coffee consistency produced the most dispersion and ends up being a lighter color.

This was a wonderful exercise for me to go through and I learned a lot about water control. I think I was afraid to use the initial bold watercolor washes for my first layers. I sometimes forget that my watercolor sketches will dry lighter. I just have to remind myself not to overthink what I’m doing and just put paint to paper and let it go.

I’ve included the link below of the YouTube video that has been a huge help in my watercolor journey.

Paint: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor – Prussian Blue

Paint Brush: Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece Travel Brush #8

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha 7.5″x7.5″ softcover

YouTube: Jenna Rainey – The Answer to Water Control Problems

Sketching with My Lamy Ballpoint Pen

I set out to do an experiment with all the ballpoint, rollerball, and gel pens I found in and around my studio desk. What did I uncover? I immediately eliminated the SWAG pens I received from various trade shows I’ve attended over the years. Their inks dried up fast inside the pen and were deemed unusable. They were basically disposable plastic pens. You know what I’m referring to.

I had a few name brand pens in my possession. I created a sample page where I sketched with the pens and then apply my fountain pen inks over the initial sketch. I also created sample lines and then applied water over the lines to get a better idea of how the ink reacted with water.

My gel pens and rollerball pens basically smeared when I applied water to the lines.

I was surprised to see my Retro51 ballpoint ink react the way it did with water.

My Cross, Parker, and Lamy ballpoint pens handled the water a bit better.

Here’s my Lamy ballpoint pen collection which includes the Al Star in Green, Vista in Clear, and Al Star in Cosmic.

My Lamy ballpoint trio

My Lamy writes smooth across the different art papers I use. So far, no skipping or fading. The Vista model has a thinner grip section than the Al-Star. I do like the clear body showing off my ink refill.

I keep my Lamy ballpoint pens in my art journal and in my art pen case. I can find my refills (M16) at most online pen shops. They come in Fine, Medium, and Broad tips.

My Lamy ballpoint pen is fast becoming my favorite cool tool for creating quick sketches with a fairly permanent ink. The pen colors they come in are really lovely.

Ballpoint Pens: Lamy Al Star in Green and Cosmic with Fine tip. Lamy Vista Clear with Fine tip.

Journal: Canson Mixed Media A5.

A Quick Q & A for Today

(Update 03/23/22: I was asked another question related to the Avery labels I use. See * below)

I’m absolutely thrilled to see some wonderful feedback and comments about my art adventures and my blog. It’s always wonderful to share experiences and insights as well as ask questions.

I thought I would spend a few minutes answering a few questions that came up within the last week or so.

I received a question about removing the nib unit from a Maiora Posillipo fountain pen. I pulled out my pen and tried to unscrew the nib unit from the section, but it would not budge. I answered the question with a “no” and then realized that I might be wrong. I went back through my blog to find out that the answer should have been a “yes” and here’s the result:

I used a piece of my grippy rubber liner (shelves) and gently unscrewed the nib unit from the section.

Another question that came up was about the labels I use for my TWSBI GO fountain pens. I use the Avery 5408 – 3/4″ round white labels. Besides identifying the ink in my GOs, I’ve also used the stickers on the lids of my ink sample vials. I’ve also used the stickers to label the tops of my ink boxes (e.g. Van Dieman’s Inks).

*An additional label question came up related to how do I keep the labels on my pens. Here’s a tip. Once I apply the label to my pen, I place my thumb over the label for about 30-60 seconds. This heats the adhesive on the label a bit and the label adheres to the pen.

The next question is related to issues with pen/nib drying out or having hard starts. The questions I received were related to Maiora Impronte and I want to add I have had issues with another pen brand model.

Let me begin by saying I hardly ever have any issues with a pen drying out or having hard starts. If I do, it’s more than likely because of a cap problem. That’s based on my personal experience and a consistent pattern I’ve seen.

My Maiora Impronte Posillipo had an issue with hard starts within an hour of receiving the new pen. I wrote with it for a few days and I documented the issues I was having. I provided writing samples and pictures of my cap: a rubber disc inside was not secured and there was a hole where the clip goes into the cap. Yafa Brands was able to resolve it by replacing the cap with a new one. You can read about this on my blog by looking for “Category” on the right side of my blog and click on the drop down menu and look for “Maiora” or you can click here to get the same information: https://susiegstudio.com/category/maiora/ .

The other cap issue I have is with one of my Conklin All American pens. I have several of them, but one of them always has a hard start. I’m sure it has to do with air going into the area where the clip connects into the cap. When I use a different colored cap on the pen, the pen writes fine. I found a work around.

For those of you who have pens with hard starts, the problem may or may not be with your nib. I would check your cap first to see if there are any openings or holes. Do you see daylight or feel any air when you blow into the cap? That’s where I would start before touching the nib.

Before I go, I thought I would add this picture from this morning. I cleaned out 12 fountain pens I had inked from last year’s workshop. I placed some paper towels in a jam jar and placed the nearly clean nib units on the paper towel to draw out the remaining ink.

A lovely tie-dye pattern from Robert Oster Thunderstorm ink.

My Maiora Impronte OS Posillipo – the Good/the Bad

Update (05/24): I have received a package from Yafa. They sent me the wrong cap and it appears to be the regular size cap for their smaller Maiora Impronte pen. Unbelievable! I contacted the online pen shop and the solution is to return both (my defective OS cap and their regular replacement cap) to Yafa along with a nice letter. It looks like it will be sometime in June when I’ll get to use my pen again. Not a happy camper right now.

Update (05/22): In a few days I will be receiving a new cap from Yafa Brands. I cleaned my pen and have been patiently waiting to use it again. I can’t wait to see what this new cap looks like. Stay tuned!

Maiora is an Italian fountain pen manufacturer based in Naples, Italy and is managed by former co-founder and president of Delta Pen Company, Nino Marino. Maiora also produces fountain pens under the Netunno brand. I have to mention here that the other former co-founder of Delta was Ciro Matrone. Ciro and Salvatore Matrone (Ciro’s son) are the brain child behind Leonardo Officina Italiano Pens. To me, the Maiora pens remind me of my Leonardos and look a bit similar, but are quite different.

I saw a few Maiora Impronte OS pens on my social media feed. Someone had posted a picture of their Posillipo pen and the colors reminded me of the Caribbean waters. Yes, I’m a sucker for island and water related colors.

My Maiora Impronte OS in Posillipo

I did a bit of research to find out the meaning behind this color’s name. Posillipo is a town located near the coastal region of Naples. This pens’s blue and green flecks represent the surrounding waters and the rolling hills of this coastal town in Italy.

I’ve had this Posillipo for a couple of weeks and I wanted to share what I love about this pen, the good and the bad.

The Good:

The pen is made from hand turned solid resin bars and the pen’s clip is machined from solid brass and then hand polished. The pen has a curved grip/section which is made from the same matching resin as the barrel and cap. It has a really nice feel and my fingers rest comfortably in the curved section. I’m starting to prefer this kind of grip.

My Posillipo with silver clip and ring trim

I was happy to see the Maiora uses a threaded converter which is my favorite type of converter. This one is designed beautifully and well made. I had a lovely experience filling the converter with ink. That says a lot about the quality. Similar to my Leonardo Momento Zeros, there’s blind cap at the end of the barrel that allows quick access to the converter knob. The blind cap threads are metal.

Maiora uses JoWo #6 nibs. Swappable nib units? Yes! That means Franklin-Christoph, Esterbrook, Edison, Opus 88, Retro 51 and other pen manufacturers who use JoWo #6 nib units are swappable in my Maiora Impronte pen.

I took a picture of my pen disassembled. Notice the curved grip, the nib unit unscrewed and sitting in its section, the blind cap, and the lovely converter.

The nib is engraved with the Maiora logo and the converter has the etched name

Another nice feature of my Maiora pen is it can use the short or long standard international ink cartridges. I mentioned before I have a few boxes of the Jacques Herbin, Pelikan, and Waterman long ink cartridges that I like to use.

My Fine nib needed a slight adjustment as the tines appeared to be a bit off and I could feel the nib drag a bit on the paper (scratchy). After I realigned the tines, the nib wrote smoothly with just a tad bit of feedback. A lovely feeling for a Fine nib. It writes slightly wet and I filled my pen with Diamine Enchanted Ocean to show off all the shimmers.

The Bad:

Yes, there is a big issue with my Maiora Impronte OS. It’s with the cap. There’s a small opening where the clip attaches to the cap. That means air is flowing inside the cap. My beautiful Fine nib dries out in between writing sessions and overnight.

Picture of the opening where the clip is attached

There is also a floating rubber disk sitting inside at the end of the cap. It’s not secured and I’m not sure if it’s suppose to be there. When I twist my pen into the cap, the tip of the nib rubs against this rubber disk. After the first night when my pen sat on my desk, the tip of the nib (iridium) had developed some crust and the nib was covered with ink. It wrote for a bit and then I decided to clean off the gunk. It took several attempts to wipe it off and then I ended up dipping the nib into some water. I did the dipping into the water about three times before I could remove the ink completely from the nib and the iridium tipping was shiny again.

I sent this picture of the inside cap to the pen shop

After spending some quality time writing with my Maiora, I sent an email to the online pen shop and included a few pictures of my pen and my sample writing where I documented the issues. I received a response that included some options: request a new nib and a new cap. I provided additional pictures of the cap include a gap/opening where the clip joins the cap. I actually blew some air into the cap and sure enough the air came out of the cap.

I went ahead and requested a new cap. I did not request a new nib as my Fine nib writes beautifully and I have no issues with the nib. As a few of my pen friends know, when a beautiful writing nib is in my possession there is no letting go. My only problem with the pen was the cap and its two apparent issues. The pen shop is waiting to hear back from the distributor, Yafa Brands.

Why didn’t I return the whole pen? There were too many positive and feel good qualities I was experiencing with this particular pen. Besides checking off all of my pen requirement boxes, this nib writes beautifully. Plus the pen feels comfortable in my hand after several long writing sessions. I’ve become one with this pen minus the cap. Hahaha!

I will be back to post additional updates and the solution to this major cap problem.

Pen Comparisons:

I wanted to include a picture that shows my Esterbrook Estie OS and my lovely Maiora together. They are both “over sized” pens and look somewhat girthy, but they are extremely comfy pens to write with.

My Esterbrook Estie OS in Dreamer Purple and my Maiora Impronte OS in Posillipo

Since I’m displaying my current favorite pens, I thought I would add another favorite to the mix from Franklin-Christoph.

For comparison: Franklin-Christoph 31 (Candystone), Esterbrook Estie OS, and Maiora Impronte OS

After looking at this picture, I realize that my Candystone pen contains my favorite colors and it also incorporates the colors from the other two pens.

Tips/Additional Comments:

  • My Leonardo Momento Zero pens have friction fit Bock nibs. Leonardo included the Bock #6 nibs with their pens until earlier this year (2021) when they switched to JoWo #6 nibs. The JoWo nibs in the Leonardo pens are also friction fit meaning you can pull the nib and feed out to change the nib. The nib collar unit is still secured into the section. No unscrewing of the nib unit/collar on the Leonardo Momento Zeros.
  • I have no issues with using shimmering inks with a Fine nib as long as the feed and nib can handle it. Most of my JoWo nibs (Extra Fine, Fine, and wider nibs) do well with shimmering inks. If I can see daylight between the tines and through the tip of the nib, I know the shimmering ink will flow. I mostly use my Diamine Shimmertastic and Jacques Herbin shimmering inks with my Extra Fine and Fine nibs.

Pen: Maiora Impronte OS Posillipo with Fine nib

Ink: Diamine Enchanted Ocean

Painting a Sea Shell Card and My DIY Watercolor Paint Palette Case

I collected a few sea shells from Hubby’s glass jar and I wanted to paint a special card for him. I spent a few minutes painting a practice piece and to warm up my fingers and hand.

My practice sketch and palette cases of colors

For the actual card, I decided not sketch the outlines with my carbon ink and fountain pen and instead used my watercolor paints to create the sea shells. I also added some shimmering colors over the shells to make them “pop” on the paper.

A simple card for Hubby

If you noticed in my pictures, I had a few of my pocket palette cases sitting on my desk where I was grabbing various paint colors and mixing them in my porcelain palette. I spent way too much time creating this card and found myself stopping and pausing while I was looking for colors across several palettes.

I’m always looking for ways to improve my processes or steps. What can I do to improve my prep or setup time before I paint? Or how can I consolidate my pans of paint into one case?

I realized I needed a larger metal palette case to hold my frequently used watercolor pans.

I was digging around my studio and saw a nice size metal case that contained a mini doodle kit I had received as a gift a few years ago. I enjoy reusing what I have and repurposing for my current needs. I knew this metal case would be large enough to hold all the colors I needed and still be portable.

My mini doodle case repurposed as a watercolor palette

Once I removed all the included art pencils, accessories, and the plastic tray I was left with an empty metal tin case. I measured the bottom of the case and started to research something called “magnetic sheets”. I started with adhesive magnetic sheets and decided the adhesive was not be an added bonus and more of an issue as the reviewers found the adhesive over time would eventually stop working. My mind knew that the thicker the magnet, the better it would stick to metal. I settled on the 4″x6″ size sheet and found a few 60 mil offerings in quantities of 10 or 25 sheets.

When my Marietta Magnets package of 10 magnetic sheets arrived I could not wait to create my custom palette case. This 60 mil magnetic sheet is slightly firm with a little flex. I was able to use a household scissor to trim the sheet from 4″ x 6″ down to a 3-3/4″ x 5-3/4″ size. I decided not to completely cover the bottom of my case with the magnetic sheet, but to leave a slight gap so I could easily remove the magnet if I needed to. I’m happy that I went with a thicker magnet as the pans stay in place. Mission accomplished.

Close up of the 60 mil magnet under the pans

I grabbed my pocket palettes and removed my frequently used paint colors. I placed the pans in my new custom case and rearranged them several times to figure out the best color groupings and arrangement to fit my needs.

My new custom palette case

Now a few of you are probably wondering how I can tell the colors apart as some of the pan colors look very similar. I came up with a system and labeled the back of the paint pans. I used my Avery 5422 labels to write out the colors and then cut up the labels to fit the pans. There was a good reason why I went with a stronger or thicker magnet as the labels cover up a bit more of the underside of the metal pans. The pans were sliding around a bit in my pocket palette with the thinner magnet. Now with my new custom case and stronger magnet, I do not have to worry about the pans moving around.

The labels on the back side of a few of my pans

I enjoy seeing all my colors and there is definitely more room for me to rearrange my pans and swap out different colors depending on what I’m painting.

I’m happy with the magnetic sheet I found and it’s working beautifully holding my pans in place.

I still have two Pocket Palettes that are used for my Iridescent paints and for my Primatek paints. I plan on reusing my other empty Pocket Palettes for other paints I have from Winsor & Newton and M. Graham.

Tip:

Any metal case can be converted into a palette case including an empty Altoid mint tin or a Kaweco metal tin.

The magnetic sheet should not be too flexible or too thin as there might not be enough holding power. I went with the 60 mil as I knew I had a label on the backside of my pans and label would sit between the magnet (palette) and metal (pan) reducing the magnet’s strength.

Metal Paint Pans: Art Tool Kit

Watercolor Paint: Daniel Smith Extra Fine

Brush: Cheap Joe’s American Journal travel brush #10

Porcelain Palette Dish: Home Goods or Tuesday Morning appetizer dish

Porcelain Flower Palette: Local art shop

Card: Strathmore Watercolor cards & envelopes, cold press, 5″ x 6.875″