Swatch Card for September

I’ve been pulling out my fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and cleaning them out. A few have been in use since May and I thought it was time to rotate the colors out and try some new inks.

I used a 4″x6″ watercolor paper post card to create my swatch card. So far, this includes 19 inky colors I am currently using for this month. These inky colors reside in my TWSBIs, Pilot, Opus 88, Nahvalur, and Indy pens. That includes about a dozen TWSBI GOs.

I am still missing a few colors like a golden yellow which I will add to my currently inked collection in the next day or so.

I keep my swatch card with me in my art bag along with my fountain pens and inks. There are times when I forget what inky colors I have ready to go for my sketches or when I’m trying to find the right inky shade for a particular sketch.

Post Card: Tumuarta Watercolor Post Card 4″x6″ 140lb/300gsm cold press

Pens: turnt pen co “Grisham 13” in Peach Agate (Bob Dupras) with Fine nib. Pilot Custom 742 with Soft Fine <SF> nib. Nahvalur Original Plus in Melacara Purple with Stub nib.

My Favorite Dip Nib Holder

I first came upon River City Pen Company during last year’s DC Pen Show. Richard had several trays of fountain pens and I zeroed-in on one fountain pen that had a silver turtle roll stop on the cap. It was tempting, but I had to pass as my budget was small and I had already purchased two pens from another pen maker. I kept glancing over at Richard’s table and made a mental note to visit his website.

One day, I was perusing my social media feed and stumbled upon a few unique and interesting dip nib holders made from a lovely resin. Lovely swirls of colors with bits of chatoyancy and shimmer.

The shimmering stars were starting to align when I saw River City Pen Company was selling the special dip nib holders. I was clicking through Richard’s pictures on IG and one resin immediately grabbed my attention.

I went to his website and saw all the lovely resin offerings. I saw Barrier Reef was still available and I immediately knew that was meant for me. Yes, all the shimmering stars were now perfectly aligned.

I could not wait to receive my nib holder. I had put my remaining Anderillium inky reviews on hold (writing sample and sketches). My Kakimori stainless steel nib was patiently waiting to be used in my new nib holder. I know I could have used my old beat up Tachikawa nib holder, but why use plain wood when I can use something really colorful.

Look at this lovely combination!

I was not surprised to find Richard’s nib holder fit beautifully in my hand. The grip area is roughly 10.75mm which is in my favorite grip size range. The length is around 140mm or 5.5 inches in length. My nib holder weighs about 16 grams without the nib. With the Kakimori nib installed the total weight is around 19.5 grams.

Enough of the specs, let’s move on to the writing experience.

Just as I suspected, the nib holder feels as though I have a fountain pen in my hand. There is something familiar about it and it just feels like I’m at home with it.

Some of you are probably wondering what is that strange nib I’m using. It’s a stainless steel nib that has groves in it. I was able to write the small paragraph in the previous picture with half a dip. Meaning, I only dipped the nib in ink half way up the nib. That is quite a bit of writing for a dip nib. I will provide a review of this nib (and the brass one) a bit later.

I was wondering what other nibs I could use and I decided to place my Tachikawa G-nib in my nib holder. The G-nib fits perfectly.

I am so happy to be able to use this with my G-nibs. I have other nibs I need to try and I will update this blog post to include the nibs that fit.

For now, I’m using fountain pen inks with my Kakimori nib and this nib holder for writing and sketching. I’m also using this combo for testing ink colors. I can actually get this nib and holder into the bottom of my sample ink vials without any issues. I am one happy camper!

I do want to mention any inky residuals on the nib holder is easily wiped away with a towel. Just like a fountain pen.

Take a look at the available dip nib holders at River City Pen Company.

Pen: Dip Nib Holder by River City Pen Company in Barrier Reef

Nibs: Kakimori Stainless Steel Nib. Tachikawa G nib.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Devil’s Kitchen. Robert Oster Australian Blue Opal.

Papers: Rhodia Dot Grid and Graph

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

An Unfinished House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Garden Table?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover 4″x6″

My Inky Vials

Here’s a quick pen & ink sketch I created this morning. I’m in the midst of testing out some art papers for a project I’m working on and I drew a blank on what to sketch. I saw a few vials of ink sitting in a small glass jar and I thought this would be something quick and easy to complete.

I was wrong. I sketched the first vial on the left and had to leave to take my mom out and run a few errands. Four hours later I attempted to finish my sketch. My other vials were looking a bit out of proportion.

Did I mention we had lunch at Cava’s and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal? Maybe my happy tummy was making me feel a bit lethargic. Hahaha!

One thing about shooting a picture straight on is the lack of sparkly details. I had to take another picture from a different angle.

Pens: Copic Multiliner SP 0.1mm. Pilot Prera Red with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib. TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Glitz, Cocoa Shimmer, Vintage Copper, and Starlit Sea.

Paper: Hahnemuhle Watercolor Postcards 230g/m (105lbs) 4.1″x5.8″ cold press

My First Pickup Truck Sketch

I was flipping through my sketch journal and came across a truck sketch I had done a few weeks ago. My sketch journal is basically my daily/weekly art diary and so this page was somewhere in between my sketches of buildings. I must have been bored one day and wanted to sketch something different with curves.

I left quite a bit of white space in my sketch. Sometimes less is better.

Pens: Copic Multiliner SP in 0.5mm. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost, Eucalyptus Regnans, & Styx Valley Forest Green. Robert Oster Blood Rose & Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Ice, Amaranth, & Vintage Copper.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha B5 (5.5″ x 8.5″)

A Simple House Sketch

When I saw a picture of a house with an interesting roof tile, I thought it would be too challenging to sketch and so I put the picture in the bottom of my pile to sketch later. Something was telling me to just roll up my sleeve and create the sketch. I often remind myself to push away the negative thoughts and self doubts and just do it. I’m sure I’m not the only that goes through this.

One key point I mention in my pen & ink workshop is not to compare your artistic skills with someone else. Many years ago, I used to struggle with this. I would see a watercolor painting and say to myself I want to paint just like that artist. Weeks later I would struggle, be disappointed, and stop painting.

When I started using fountains pens as a tool to create my artwork, I found an artistic style that was unique to me. With each new challenge I tackled, I gained much more experience and comfort to the way I sketched.

I was taken back at how simple it was to sketch the basic lines. I started with a rough sketch using with my pencil. I used my Copic pens to sketch over my pencil lines and areas I wanted to define. The remaining lines were erased.

The fun part of my sketching process is figuring out what inky colors I will use. I currently have a dozen TWSBI GOs filled with various ink colors. I make sure to have a color variety that includes reds, blues, yellows and other colors that fall in between.

As I apply my ink to paper, I’m constantly reminding myself to leave enough white space (paper). I’m also reminding myself to add darker colors for contrast and to add more depth.

I plan on recreating this sketch within the next three months to see how much my artistic style has changed.

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

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Colorverse Brane (glistening). Robert Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper and Winter Spice.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha 5.5″ x 8.5″.

Random Sketch of a Wall

It appears I’m going through a shimmery-sparkly ink phase. I noticed most of my art fountain pens are filled with shimmering inks. I have to admit I enjoy seeing the shimmering particles in my sketches and especially when I’m moving my paper around at different angles.

I still have a few Diamine Inkvent inks in my GOs that were filled from last December when I was blogging about the daily ink colors. Yes, three months later and my pens are still writing. One yellow ink color (Candle Light) has slowly become a dislike for me. I felt as though the yellow leaning orange color was not working in my sketches. So that pen finally went into my cleaning bin.

I looked for another yellow color to add to my palette and went with Heart of Gold. This is a lovely and bright shimmering gold ink color. More shimmers!

For the last few weeks, my focus has been sketching buildings and I’m currently experimenting with a few shimmering brown colors that I have in my collection. Winter Spice has been fun to sketch with and leaves behind a lovely combination of green sheen and blue shimmers on my paper. It has a lot of personality for a brown ink.

I went ahead and filled another empty GO with Cocoa Shimmer. This is a lovely warm brown ink color with gold shimmers. A lovely subtle brown color. In my sketch above, I accidentally picked up Winter Spice and used it on the middle section of the wood. When I saw what I had done, I decided to use Cocoa Shimmer for the remaining wooden structure. It will be interesting to see how these two colors work together in my future sketches.

From the picture above you can see I’ve switched to a different journal for this sketch. I was trying out a wire bound Canson sketch journal for an upcoming project I’m working on. So far, it’s working nicely.

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

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Colorverse Brane (Glistening). Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper, Winter Spice, and Cocoa Shimmer.

Journal: Canson Artist Mixed Media 138lb (224g) 5.5″ x 8.5″

A Floral Bouquet

I used to be afraid of putting shimmering inks in my fountain pens and for awhile I was missing out on some gorgeous sparkling ink colors. Now, the shimmers are part of my daily writing in my BUJO and sketching journals. The flowers in my sketch were created with shimmering inks.

My TWSBI Diamond in the middle has been inked with Diamine Pink Ice since December 20, 2021. It’s been writing and sketching flawlessly since then.

I lay my fountain pens flat on my desk or flat in my pen case or flat in my art pouch. The only time I notice a nib (TWSBI GO) is having issues is when the nib has been pointing nib up in my art pouch for a few days. I take a drop or two of water over the nib (breather hole) and give it a good wipe on my damp paper towel and the ink is flowing again. For difficult dried nibs, I might have to repeat this process a few more times as well as write squiggly lines on a piece paper to get the the ink to flow again.

My favorite shimmering inks are Diamine, Jacques Herbin, Van Dieman’s Inks, and Robert Oster.

Image Source: A bouquet of flowers from my Hubby. ūü•į

Pens: TWSBI Diamond 580 AL in Rose with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Inks Eucalyptus Regnans and Morning Frost. Diamine Pink Ice, Vintage Copper, Winter Spice, and Storm. Robert Oster Thunderstorm.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softbound 5.5″ x 8.5″