A Simple Floral Sketch & Prompt

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.

No need to remove nib unit from pen. Showing placement on towel with small soft brush

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.

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

Toothbrush: Oral B Soft Child-size

Merry Christmas! Updates: Sketching in Two Different Mediums and a Prompt

Holly & Berry: Pen & ink wash sketch

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.

Prompt

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.

Summary/Comments/Tips

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.

Bath Time for My Poor TWSBI GOs

As many of you know, I really enjoy using my TWSBI GOs for sketching with my fountain pen inks. I typically keep a dozen or more GOs filled with a variety of colors. Sometime this year, I had about 15 pens filled with shimmering inks at one time. Many of my favorite inks would stay in my pens until I nearly run out of ink. This would range from a week to several months.

I recently pulled out my GOs and noticed some crustiness around the feed and section. It may have been two weeks or more since I’ve last used them as I have been busy with my watercolor hobby. It was a reminder that it was time to clean my pens and prep them for my next inky color rotations for the new year.

After I cleaned my GOs by pumping water in and out of the body, I could still see remnants of shimmering particles in the feed. I knew I had to do some major cleaning.

I Googled “how to remove TWSBI GO/Eco nibs” and found a YouTube video. The video stressed about being careful when pulling the nib and feed out as the feed could be easily damaged.

While using my rubber grip, I carefully placed my fingers on the nib’s shoulders and pulled out my nib and feed from the section/body. I made sure not to apply too much pressure while grabbing the nib and feed.

Once I separated the nib from the feed, I could see the shimmering remnants left on the back side of my nib and all over the feed.

There’s also remnants of shimmer on the front side of my nib where the nib meets the section.

To get into the nooks and crannies of my feed, I used an extra soft toothbrush (child size) to remove the shimmering particles. I dipped both brush and feed into some water and and gently brushed in and out of the feed’s teeth. It took a few dips into the water to finally get the feed clean.

Here’s what my clean feed looks like and the shimmering remnants left on my towel and brush.

It’s easy to put the nib back onto the feed. The feed has a slight cutout where the nib slides over and stops into position. It’s easy to slide the nib and feed into the section. There might be some slight twisting involved with the nib/feed as there is a small protruding tab inside the section. With the GO’s clear section it’s easy to see when the nib and feed is situated in place.

Since I was on a roll, I went ahead and grabbed a bunch of empty GOs from my cleaning bin and pulled out the nibs and feed and gave them a good clean. Now my artsy pens are ready for my next color rotation.

I highly recommend watching one or two videos on how to remove and replace the nib and feed on your TWSBI GOs/ECOs. I ran across one video that showed what a damaged feed looked like. Just remember to pull the nib/feed out by grabbing the shoulders of the nib and pull it straight out of the section.

Pen: TWSBI Go with stub 1.1 nib

Toothbrush: Oral B Child size with extra soft bristles

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.