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 Whimsical House

Sometimes I just feel a bit whimsical. Enjoy!

Pens: TWSBI Swipe in Coral with Stub 1.1 nib. Uni Pin Fine Line pen in 0.1 and 0.3mm.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Egypte. Robert Oster Heart of Gold and Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper, Amaranth, Cocoa Shimmer, and Winter Spice.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover 4″x6″

Spring is Definitely in the Air with Opus 88

I was able to snag an Opus 88 fountain pen called Love in Bloom. I originally pre-ordered it with a Medium nib and received an email from the retailer that they had a Fine and a Broad nib available and could send it immediately. I shifted gears and went with a Fine nib.

Opus 88 Omar, Opus 88 Mini, & Lamy 2000

After a few days of delays which included waiting for my pen to be shipped, then delivered to wrong address, and finally received, I was able to fill my new pen with Summer Purple.

My Opus 88 is definitely a mini pen and measures about 4-5/8 inches or 117.3mm in length and weighs around 24grams. It’s a tiny bit shorter than my TWSBI Vac Mini, Pilot Stargazer, and Pilot Prera.

TWSBI Vac Mini, Pilot Stargazer, Opus 88 Mini, Sailor Pro Gear Haruzora, & Pilot Prera

After I checked the nib with a loupe, I had a gut feeling that this pen would have a dry writing experience. I originally filled my pen with Van Dieman’s Ink Parrot Fish (shimmering) and it immediately clogged my pen. That was a bad idea. I emptied the ink into a vial to reuse in another pen. I flushed my new pen with some water and went to Plan B and Summer Purple.

Summer Purple had been on my inky wishlist and I finally had a bottle sent to me a few weeks ago. Yes, it sat on my studio desk and patiently waited for a swatch to be made and the right pen to be filled.

Summer Purple is a gorgeous ink color. It’s a pinky-purple color with a lovely golden sheen. This color reminds me of the bright colored eggplant you would find in Asia and not the dark purple ones here in the US.

This pen and ink combination makes me very happy.

I have a good feeling that this ink will make its way into one of my TWSBI GOs and I’m looking forward to sketching with this gorgeous ink color.

The Opus 88 Mini does not post. Yes, I tried to post my pen and the cap flew off immediately. Some pen-folks may not enjoy writing with this short pen. In my hand, I can feel that it is a short and stubby pen. The tapered section is shorter than my Omar and holds a #5 JoWo nib. Personally, I would have preferred a #6 nib on this small sized pen.

It’s a cute mini pen. It’s a pocket pen. It’s a travel pen. It’s small enough to fit in most pen cases. It’s an eyedropper pen that holds a large amount of ink. It’s a pen that looks absolutely lovely on my desk. I’m sure there will be more mini pen designs in the near future.

Pen: Opus 88 Mini Pocket Pen in Love in Bloom (Endless Pens Exclusive 2022) with Fine nib

Ink: Kaweco Summer Purple

Paper: Rhodia

My Narwhal 2022 LE Fountain Pen

Back in 2019, I attended my first pen show The DC Fountain Pen Super Show. I stumbled upon Narwhal’s table and purchased two of their original piston filling pens in Hippocampus Purple and Merman Green. During that time I did not realize it was Narwhal’s first pen show as an exhibitor as well as their first launch of their Original Series.

My initial attraction to the Narwhal original pen was their nibs. Who could not adore the lovely & cute narwhal logo engraved into their nib? At the show, they introduced the four pen colors: Poseidon Blue, Yellow Tang, and the two others I mentioned in the previous paragraph. I tried out each pen color and had a hard time deciding which colors to get. I was happy I went with my gut instinct and purchased the purple and green pens. I went back to their table a few hours later and their pens were sold out.

Hippocampus Purple
Merman Green

The Narwhal nibs are manufactured in-house. Yes, I do find their nibs to be a bit stiff with a pleasant writing experience. I have so many fountain pens with JoWo or Bock nibs that I have become comfortable with their consistent and familiar writing experiences. Narwhal’s nibs are a nice change for me and provides me with a unique writing experience.

When I first saw the Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans, I knew it had to be a DiamondCast resin by McKenzie Penworks. I already have two Esterbrook Estie pens with the McKenzie DiamondCast resins and they are stunning pens. I knew this one would be too.

The colors in my New Orleans pen includes dark purple, golden yellow, and dark teal green. Definitely reminds me of Mardi Gras colors.

I love the shape and weight of my Voyage pen. This is my first pen with a rounded top and rounded bottom. The tapered section has a slight lip towards the end where the feed/nib goes into the pen and is very comfortable to hold while writing. When uncapped, the pen is well balanced in my hand. I wanted to add my pen does not post. Good thing as it would make the pen back heavy.

The overall diameter of this pen is not too slender and not too bulky. The pen weighs roughly around 33-36 grams depending on the specs you find. Not a lightweight pen at all. I have to mention again my pen is well balanced in my hand. For me, it feels like the perfect pen to hold.

My New Orleans was a lovely surprise when I received it. I was happy to see a small dispersion of the golden yellow color scattered around the pen. I believe having the dark purple and dark teal resin against the yellow plated gold trim creates a lovely contrast.

The Narwhal Voyage has an oversized piston filling tank and an ink window where I can see how much ink I have left in my pen. The piston knob has a nice smooth and solid feel while turning. Overall, it’s a well made pen.

My lovely pen has a unique writing personality. The Fine nib produces a smooth writing experience with just a hint of feedback. My sparkling pen needed a shimmering ink and I went with my fave ink Vert Atlantide.

The other colors in the Narwhal Voyage collection includes Shanghai and New York City. Each color collection is limited to 500 pieces. Personally I thought New Orleans had the most depth of colors with lots of sparkles. Do you like how I phrased that? I could not say colorful as that description would belong to the New York City pen color with bright swirls of white, blue, and orange. Shanghai appears to be dark blue with subtle hints of turquoise. It appears to be a dark colored pen in normal light.

Another Narwhal Voyage color that is available exclusively through Atlas Stationers is Chicago and has swirls of predominantly red with hints of blue and white colors.

Before I forget, I need to mention that I’ve seen various retailers calling this pen model Nautilus Voyage or Nautilus Voyager. When I look at the boxes (outer and inner) my pen came in, it says Narwhal Voyage. I think I will stick to that naming convention.

Here’s a picture of my Narwhal with my other favorite fountain pens to show a size comparison.

Lamy 2k, Franklin-Christoph 31, Narwhal Voyage, Esterbrook Estie OS, and TWSBI Diamond 580

Pen: Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans (gold, purple & green) with Fine nib

Ink: Jacques Herbin Vert Atlantide

Paper: Rhodia

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″

My TWSBI Swipes!

I was certain that I had wrote about my Swipes in a blog entry from last year. I was not able to find it. I did find a draft and I apparently forgot to hit the publish button. I thought I would take what I wrote last year and combine it with my current post for today. That way you can see the progression and thoughts I had about this pen model from TWSBI. Here we go starting with the blog post that did not get published.

Last Year (August 2021):

I purchased my first two (Smoke & Prussian Blue) at the 2021 DC Pen Show. I had to go to two different pen retailers (Vanness & Lemure Inks) to find my favorite Stub 1.1 nibs. The Swipes sold out quickly during the show.

When I initially had the Swipe in my hand, I was “on the fence” as to whether I liked it or not. That was weird for me. Normally, I know within a minute if I really like the pen or if it’s just okie dokie.

I love what I call my “art” fountain pens with a snap cap. Which is why I enjoy using my TWSBI GOs. My other snap cap go-to pens include the Platinum Preppy and Prefounte and my Pilot Preras. So the Swipe definitely falls into this snap cap category.

The Swipe includes two different types of converters and an ink cartridge. They hold a decent amount of ink, more so than the standard converters and standard ink cartridges. That’s a plus in my book.

The Swipe is 2gms lighter than the GO. The Swipe’s grip is 9mm while the GO’s grip is around 10mm. The Swipe is also a noticeably thinner in the body and not chunky like the GO.

The GO material feels a bit more substantial in my hand and maybe a bit more durable.

It will be interesting to see if TWSBI produces this new model in other colors. I could see going crazy with some bright colors. That’s just my thoughts.

It’s only been a little over a week and I think I need to spend a bit more time with my TWSBI Swipes. Spending some time writing in my journals and sketching with them.

Today:

Apparently, I must have had an inkling or gut instinct that TWSBI would be coming out with Swipes in bright colors.

Now, I have had six months to figure out if I like the Swipes or not. I do like them. I find the Swipes to be a bargain. The pen is packaged with a rather large black ink cartridge. It also comes with two ink converters. One is a traditional twist converter and the other is a spring-loaded/plunger type converter. Like the TWSBI ink cartridge, the converters hold a large amount of ink.

In my Swipes, I prefer to use the spring-loaded plunger type converter. I find it’s easier to fill and clean. That’s one of the reasons why I like my GOs so much with it’s spring plunger.

I was so happy get a brightly colored Swipe pen that I had to do a sketch. I filled my pen with Cornaline d’Egypte.

I managed to get a nice fill of shimmers in my pen.

When I saw that TWSBI was coming out with another Swipe color, I knew I had to get that color as well. When I received this Pear Green pen, I was torn between filling it with Rohrer & Klingner Alt Goldgrun or Colorverse Brane ink. When I use my TWSBIs I tend to fill it with shimmering ink.

I’m sad to admit that it took me a year to open my new bottle of Brane. It’s a beautiful and bright olive green color with a tiny bit of blue sheen and lots of shading. The shimmering particles look like metallic green sparkles. It’s a stunning ink color.

If the shimmers were removed from Brane, I think the remaining color is very close to Alt Goldgrun. They are both gorgeous ink colors and Brane looks to be a tiny bit darker in color.

For me, the shimmering sparkles in Brane makes the ink color a better choice over Alt Goldgrun. Also Brane feels like a wetter ink.

I know a few folks dislike the GOs because they look and feel chunky. I think the Swipe is a great alternative.

Pens: TWSBI Swipes in Smoke, Prussian Blue, Salmon, & Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Egypte. Colorverse Brane (Glistening)

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover 4″x6″

Paper: Rhodia

My Favorite Diamine Red Inkvent Calendar Colors

So I’ve been wanting to do a blog post about my favorite fountain pen inks from the Diamine Red Inkvent Calendar. When I think about my favorites, it’s because the ink color looks great in my writing journal and also looks great in my pen & ink artwork.

Top view of my ink swatches

It’s rare that I will have two pens filled with the same ink color. If I do, it’s because I want to write with it and I typically will write with an Extra Fine or Fine nib pen. You already know that I enjoy sketching with my TWSBI GOs with stub nibs and so one of them will get the same ink color. I enjoy using my stub nib pens for sketching as I can get two different line variations from one nib.

Slightly angled view of my swatches to show off the sheen and shimmers

One morning while I was sipping my coffee, I went through my ink swatches from the Red Inkvent Calendar. I was narrowing down my choices and came up with a list of my favorite colors. I read somewhere and saw pictures that Diamine was manufacturing big bottles of ink from their calendar. I think April is the magic month when we might see some of the colors. It’s always good to plan ahead and figure out the faves. Right?

I decided to put my favorite colors together for a group photo. I wanted to show how uniquely different the blue colors are next to each other.

My favorite 10 ink colors each have unique personalities and nine of them have shimmers. Black Ivy (no shimmers & lots of sheen) is lovely dark green ink color. When I use the ink in my pen & ink sketches, the ink changes towards a teal/turquoise color.

Here’s a slightly angled view to show off some of the ink’s characteristics better:

Here are the individual photos of my faves and in no particular order:

My 10 favorite colors shown in the above photo collage represents the colors I’ve used for both writing and sketching. I’ve been happy with the colors and how they look on a variety of papers I have used to write and sketch with. Most of the calendar colors spoke to me. Some colors shouted more than the others. Hahaha!

I’m almost certain that Vintage Copper will come in a larger bottle. That was a color I saw in one of Diamine’s picture. I had to zoom in closer and take off my glasses to see the labels.

I have to admit, this was the first time I spent some quality time with Diamine inks. I was happy to spend the last few months filling & testing their calendar inks in my collection of fountains pens and in my TWSBI GOs. It gave me a better appreciation for their ink’s quality and gorgeous colors.

In case you missed all the colors, here’s my sketch using all the Diamine inks from the calendar:

Inks: Diamine Red Inkvent Calendar.

Decorating My Art Journal

Several blog posts ago, I mentioned that my black chunky pocket art journal had a bare cover. It’s been bothering me. All of my other art journals have some sort of personalization in the form of stickers of my artwork or some vinyl designs.

I attempted to use my Cricut Joy (mini) to cut out some small vinyl designs, but was having a problem with it my since the last Cricut updates. I can make a bluetooth connection, but after 2-4 minutes I would lose connectivity. It’s an absolute pain when the Joy is in the middle of cutting and it loses connectivity. I’ve had a few vinyls that were cut on the wonky side or unplanned cuts into the middle of the designs. I hope the next Cricut updates will fix this connectivity issue with my Joy as I had this similar issue late last year. It’s really disheartening when I can’t use my cute little Cricut Joy.

I ended up using my reliable Cricut Maker to cut my vinyl decals. Using my huge 12″x12″ mat for my small 2″x4″ vinyl pieces was a bit of an overkill, but it worked flawlessly.

Did I mention how much I love my Maker?! It’s a wonderful machine to use and works brilliantly. Okay, back to decorating my journal cover.

I wanted to dedicate this chunky journal for my pen & ink art sketches. I have a bad habit of reaching for the nearest art journal and start doing my artsy thing and hours later realize that I did a watercolor sketch in my pen & ink journal or vice versa.

I created my design (text & images) in the Cricut Design Space software. I ended up with 5 layers or 5 basic project cuts as I was using different vinyl types and colors. In the following picture, I used my transfer tape to add the vinyl letters (first cut project).

I slowly peel off the transfer tape (at an angle) from my journal cover.

I was so excited about decorating/applying my vinyls and was not paying attention to what I was suppose to be doing. I centered my title on the cover and forgot I was suppose to add a fountain pen vinyl image next to it. Good thing I will be adding some other colorful images to my cover. Maybe no one will notice.

When I was designing my cover in the Cricut software, I forgot to straighten my fountain pen image before cutting the vinyl for it. This represented my second project cut. I took my transfer tape and lined it up parallel with my fountain pen vinyl and removed it from the vinyl backing paper.

It made it easier to position and apply the fountain pen vinyl design onto my journal cover.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to photograph and share pictures of my transfer tape in this blog post. You can see it’s looking a bit abused and had lots of lint stuck to it. I’ve been using this same piece of tape for several projects now and it still has quite a bit of tacky adhesive on it.

I wanted to add some splash of colors to my black journal cover. I cut out some ink splat images (project cut 3, 4 & 5) in different sizes using my metallic vinyl. The vinyl colors reminded me of Diamine Vintage Copper, Subzero, and Pink Ice.

Check out my chunky art journal! My cover no longer looks plain and I can easily identify the use for my pen & ink sketches.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover (4″x6″)

Vinyl Cutter: Cricut Maker

Vinyls used:

  • Pen & Ink lettering (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Bronze)
  • Fountain Pen (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Champagne)
  • Ink Splats (Paper Studio Removable Vinyl in Metallic Blue, Metallic Pink, and Metallic Copper)