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

Getting My Sketching Mojo Back with a Pumpkin and a Prompt

After eight months of sketching non-stop with my fountain pens and inks, my creativity finally went missing. For the last two months, I was hoping it would come back. It has slowly. I try not to force it. There are some days when I feel as though I should be doing something creative, but all I do is stare at a blank page for a few minutes. Then I would close my art journal and carry on with my other daily activities.

My Graphite Sketch

When I get stuck in a creative rut, I always fall back to sketching with my favorite art medium using graphite pencils. I used my mechanical pencil to sketch out an outline. I used my 2.0mm clutch pencil to create the dark lines and shading. I used my blending tortillon to blend/smudge the graphite onto my paper and to soften the harsh lines.

My Pen & Ink Wash Sketch

A few days later, I created a pen & ink wash sketch of my pumpkin. I used my Copic Multiliner to sketch the outline and also added contour lines to create the darker areas of the pumpkin. I used two fountain pen ink colors Oklahoma City and Steely Days for the pumpkin. For the stem, I used Kansas City and Melon Tea. For the shadow area under the pumpkin, I used Oklahoma City and then dabbed a bit of Thunderstorm and used my water brush to blend out and away.

My Watercolor Sketch

I was toying with the idea of getting back into using my watercolor paints for my artwork. Why not, right? I pulled out my Sennelier watercolor set and enjoyed my time mixing my paint colors. I used mostly a wet on dry technique since the paper I was using could only take light washes. For the last layer, I used a damp brush with my teal paint mix and created a few contour strokes to enhance the shape of my pumpkin.

Challenge: Find a pumpkin to use in your sketches. Use a picture if you can’t find a real or fake pumpkin. Use your pencil to create a graphite sketch. Then use your fountain pens and ink to create the second pumpkin sketch. If you have another art medium available (watercolor, charcoal, pastel, etc) create a third sketch.

My Art Journals:

Leda Art Supply Medium-size (5.7″x8.25″) with graphite pencils.

Stillman & Birn Alpha 7.5″x7.5″ softcover with fountain pen & ink.

hand●book journal co. 5.5″x5.5″ square with watercolor paints.

My Art Mediums:

Graphite – Pentel Energize Pencil with 0.7mm HB lead and Staedtler Clutch Pencil 925 35-20 with 2.0mm HB lead.

Fountain Pens & Inks – TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Robert Oster Oklahoma City, Steely Days, Kansas City, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm

Watercolor Mixes: Sennelier French Artists Watercolor Travel Set (12). Lemon Yellow and Sepia to create yellow ochre. Ultramarine Deep and Sepia to create dark brown. Forest Green and Ultramarine Deep to create teal green.

Watercolor Brushes: Escoda 1548 Versatil Series Artist Watercolor Travel size 4 & 6

Workshop Prompt – Labor Day Weekend

Update (09/04): I started this sketch after I went grocery shopping and I picked up a few bottles of gluten free sauces. The colorful bottles caught my eye and I picked up my pencil and fountain pens and started to sketch.

From my two page spread, you can see I used a different style or flow going from left to right and curving up a bit. For the open white space, I plan on writing something about this dish or writing down the recipe.

It’s still a work in progress.

I have to admit that my sketching mojo has been a bit MIA (missing in action) for the last few weeks. I occasionally get in this sketching funk and sometimes it takes changing out ink colors in my art pens (TWSBI GOs) to get going again. My plan is to dump the remaining shimmering inks in my art pens and pick out some lovely Robert Oster ink colors. Okay…back to my original post.

Original post:

The prompt for the next several days is to sketch a theme that relates to what you will be doing over this holiday weekend. It could be items on your to-do-list, fun projects/hobbies, foods you enjoy, a place your are visiting, etc.

Challenge #1: Create a two page spread of your weekend activities. Think of the things you might be doing with friends and/or family or by yourself. Sketch one or a few items a day and build your story/theme.

I’ll be working on my own two page spread and post my updates in this blog post over the next few days. I will more than likely create a rough sketch with my pencil that will outline my theme for my long weekend. I have not decided whether I will I include just one day or cover three days on my two page spread. The possibilities are endless.

I will start my sketching process by thinking of the story I want to tell and figuring out a style to use. Will it look like a collage of items or random sketches across the paper? Or will I follow a pattern and place my sketches clockwise across the two pages?

Here is a previous two page spread I created back in July. My theme/story shows random objects with curved shapes spread across both pages in my journal. My objects are connected with the lines I drew through most of my objects.

Here’s another two page spread I did back in May. My theme/story was how much I enjoyed my time at my local coffee shop and capturing a colorful scene by using most of my fountain pen inks I brought with me.

Here’s a sample of my one page sketch where I documented my morning food consumption. I had continued onto the next page with more foodie activities later that day. I need to look for my art journal to take a picture of what that two page spread looked like. In the meantime, this should give you an idea of my New Year’s Eve Day Foodie theme.

I’m adding the following picture of a sketch I did at the beach. This is an example of my “window” view sketch of the beach and the ripples of water.

The above pictures are simple sketches of what can be captured with your fountain pens and inks. Keep sketching and building your muscle memory. You can always start with a pencil sketch and add new sketches each day. You can also go back and use your fountain pen inks and create the washes later.

Challenge #2: Create a two page spread of a scene. It could be your front porch, your patio, your favorite shop, favorite restaurant, favorite vacation spot, etc.

I created the following sketch back in 2019. This was my first attempt at creating a two page spread. I used a combination of my fountain pen inks and watercolors to create the front entrance of a house I visited while on the island of Nevis.

Remember to take some time for yourself. Enjoy your sketching time. You have creative license to add or remove details. Perfection does not exist. No death grips. Have fun!

If you have a hard time getting motivated, don’t forget to review your handout(s) from my workshop. There might be something in there that will get you started in the right direction. Let me know if you have any questions.

Journals: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softcover A5. Travelogue handbook 5.5″x5.5″.

Fountain pens shown: turnt pen co. Pynchon in PM4 (Brooks). Lamy 2000 Makrolon. turnt pen co. Pynchon in Peacock (Dupras). TWSBI GOs.

Follow the Butterfly

Here’s a sketch I’m working on today. This is a work in progress. I have to remind myself not to get caught up in the details and sketch loosely.

Pens: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI Swipe with Stub 1.1 nib. Lamy Vista Black SE with Cursive nib. Lamy Al Star Ballpoint pen.

Inks: Robert Oster Heart of Gold. Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Shogun. Ferris Wheel Press Roaring Patina Black. Diamine Frosted Orchid, Pink Ice, and Starlit Sea.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softbound A5

Green Kingfisher Green – Anderillium Inks

Green Kingfisher Green reminds me of a medium olive green color. I can see several underlying colors which include light dusty gold and bright cyan blue. I’m thinking there’s another color, but won’t know for sure until I sketch with this gorgeous ink color.

This is another ink color I had a hard time photographing. The olive green color is a tad bit lighter than what my writing sample shows. There is some shading that shows up while writing with my TWSBI GO with medium nib.

It was not too hard to find comparable inky colors from my collection. They each have their own personalities especially when using different papers. You can see how my swatching process has changed over the years.

Another look at my sketch along with my swatch card together.

I had to pull out my watercolor paint swatches to help identify that tan/beige color that kept appearing in my artwork.

My Thoughts:

As I sketch more with fountain pen inks, I’m finding certain colors appeal to me more than others. If I had to choose a green color, I would gravitate more towards the olive green color.

This ink leans more towards the wet side. It’s not gushing wet (like Van Dieman’s Inks), but it’s also not dry.

I am having too much fun with this lovely olive green ink. I might put off the next ink color for a few days so I can write my TWSBI GO dry. Hahaha!

I’m adding this ink color to my wish list. Yes, I know I have other olive green ink colors in my collection for writing. I would get this for sketching. It has some unique qualities.

Look at the explosion of colors that appear when I add water to the inky splat on my paper towel. The blue is close to a light cyan blue color.

The ink is still damp and I can see remnants of olive green around the edges
The ink is dry and the golden orange color appears

Pen Used: TWSBI Go with Medium nib

Ink: Anderillium Green Kingfisher Green

Journals Used: Canson Artist Series Mix Media. GLP Creations The Author TRP 68gsm Dot Grid. Stillman & Birn Alpha.

Indigo Bunting Blue – Anderillium Inks

A few weeks ago, I thought I was missing a color from the Anderillium samples I received. I initially swatched 15 inky colors. I checked the packing slip and I counted 16 sample vials.

This morning I took out my sample vials and placed them on my desk for a quick photo op. I looked inside the supposedly empty box and found the missing vial of ink stuck in between some bubble wrap. I now feel as though all is good in my world and I can now proceed to chat about the inks.

I quickly did a swatch of this (supposedly missing) ink and immediately enjoyed seeing this dusty blue color. A very calm and enjoyable color.

I did a quick sketch to see how well the ink interacts with water. It’s gorgeous!

Before I get too far into this fun adventure, I have to come up with a plan on how to best present the Anderillium inks on my blog. I think I will do a quick sketch and then follow up with a writing sample. If this sounds familiar it’s because I did a similar process for the Diamine Inkvent Calendar.

This ink color dries a bit lighter than what my writing sample shows

This ink has some lovely shading and no sheen.

I’m sure it will be helpful to include other swatch colors I have for comparisons.

Looks like this will work. Short and sweet, right?

My Thoughts: After using this ink for two days, I find I’m using this color for sketching. It’s a decent color for writing, but after looking back on the paragraphs I wrote I do wish the ink was a tad bit darker. It’s a lovely wet ink with lovely shading.

Pen Used: TWSBI Go with Medium nib

Ink: Anderillium Indigo Bunting Blue

Journals Used: Canson Artist Series Mix Media. GLP Creations The Author TRP 68gsm Dot Grid. Stillman & Birn Alpha.

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

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″