Monday, October 16, 2017

New Toy - Custom Fountain Pen

Saturday before last, my husband and I checked out a store near us that specializes in miniatures called In a Nutshell Miniatures & More.  We went in to see what they might have to go along with my miniature bears I love using as sketching models.

While in the shop, we discovered they also offer custom made pens, razors, and other items where wood and/or acrylic is turned making the barrels or handles to various objects.

I had been inquiring if anyone knew of a person who made custom pens for some time.  I even started getting a catalog that offers the materials and tools to create them hoping my oldest son would take an interest as he loves working with wood and also creates various things out of plastic.  I'm sure if he had time, he'd jump on it but his job, family, and car restoration pretty much takes up all his time.

Anyways.........totally unexpected, I walk into a shop that offers exactly what I was hoping for.

Terry and I returned to the shop this past Saturday to meet Steve Kondo (In a Nutshell Pens and Turnings, Tavares, FL), who makes these pens.  He brought several in for me to see to include extra fine nibs I prefer to use when sketching.  Once I chose a pen style I liked, Mr. Kondo put in an extra fine nib in place of the one that came with it and I really liked how it tested out on paper at the shop.

This pen is different in the way the cap fits on either end.  The cap is magnetic and I loved the pattern on the pen barrel.  What's really nice is that no two pens are alike when turning the blanks for the finished bodies.  You definitely end up with a pen that is truly unique.




The pen comes with a plunger style converter I've never seen before.  All of my converters are twist piston converters.  I thought that was unique.  Plus the pen will take ink cartridges as well.  The nib I chose is a #5 EF two toned steel nib which is from a German company.

Once I got home, I took the pen on a trial run sketching in my Stillman & Birn Beta journal.  The nib feels good on paper but may need some time "breaking in" if there is such a thing.  I didn't clean the nib before using it so it might just be oils on the nib when manufactured.  For someone like me who uses a light pressure when sketching, this nib's ink flow is hit and miss but with any pressure the ink flows nicely.  I might need to change to a lubricating ink but for right now I'll continue with the ink I like most which is the Noodler's Lexington Gray ink.

As a sketcher, the hit and miss ink flow is truly not a bad thing.  I have a tendency to forget to use lost and found lines and a nib that does it for me can only be a plus........LOL  It definitely worked to my advantage when sketching the conure head :-)



Color version using Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils dry and wet brush to blend the colors.


I've already told my husband I'd like to have a custom made ballpoint pen as I enjoy sketching in ballpoint as well.  Plus I learned today that Mr. Kondo also makes dip pen holders.  Can't wait to get these various sketching tools and show off to my sketching pals !!!!





2017 Inktober Days 9 through 15

This continues my study on birds..........



New family member named Mango.  He's a Pineapple Green Cheek Conure who's 3 months old.  He's going to be quite the character presenting us with lots of joy and challenges. 



Those nights I can't find a normally scheduled TV show I like watching (or listening to), I'll flip through channels that air older shows like Ion and USA or turn to Netflix or Hulu.  Came across Chicago PD and thought I'd try it out since I enjoy shows like Law and Order, NCIS, and Criminal Minds.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Autumn Theme Sketching

Not specifically worked for Inktober but additional procreate sketches plus one transferred to journal and painted with watercolor.

The angel was part of a still life set up at our art center for Open Studio Friday last week.  The theme was Fall/Autumn.


These scarecrow figurines are from a collection I have here at home which fit nicely for a Fall/Autumn theme. 

Don't know where my brain was when I put the date on the digital.  I put the year for the day........ooops.


Stillman & Birn Beta journal / Lamy Safari / Lexy Gray ink



2017 Inktober Days 5 through 8

Continuing my bird study for inktober:

Days 5 through 8






Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Inktober 2017 Days 3 and 4 and Other

Day 3 - Worked two sketches



Day 4 - Basic bird skull - different angle



Just playing around with procreate and coloring.   Part of a Halloween salt and pepper shaker set.





Monday, October 2, 2017

Inktober 2017

Although I've decided to join in with the Inktober challenge craze, I'm not exactly following it as it should be followed.  I've basically joined in solely for motivation trying to get back into my sketching after a month where I lacked the interest in doing much of anything.

And unless stated otherwise, I will be using Procreate to create my sketches.  I want to better understand this app and the use of the apple pencil with pen options and pressure sensitivity. 

What I've decided to do to begin this challenge is to study and sketch what I can about birds and bird anatomy.  Hoping to help hone my skills in understanding feather patterns, body/head proportions, feather direction, etc.  I often feel my birds look too stiff so maybe this might help if I truly understand the subject.  And once I have a better understanding I hope it helps me when choosing to simplify with color..........knowing what best to leave out and what to include.

For the 31 days, my subject matter might change but for now I'm leaning towards anything related to our feathered friends.



Day 1 Inktober - Only sketched the words or heading for this challenge.  This was an exercise on pen pressure and pen size.


Day 2 Inktober - Today I've started the actual sketching after days viewing one of my books by John Muir Laws and watching two of his workshop videos a couple of times each.


Bringing September 2017 Up to Date

WOW.........didn't realize I missed the entire month of September sharing any of my work.  But then there really hasn't been that much to share.

For the month, I do have these four sketches:

Stillman & Birn Beta / Lamy w/Lexy Gray Ink - This first sketch was created for a flyer sent out to members of the Leesburg Art League.  We planned an Open Studio Friday event where the members created a Frida Kahlo scarecrow for the yearly scarecrow event downtown.


Procreate sketches:




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Procreate - Serious Attempt at Adding and Blending Color

As I continue researching all I can with the Procreate app, watching videos, and testing out what I am picking up.......I decided to try a more serious attempt at adding and blending color.  My goal is to make it mimic watercolor (not oil or other mediums) because my favorite paint medium is watercolor due to its transparency.

I used one of my 75 Day Ink Challenge sketches for this attempt.  I've yet to work through the pen brushes to my liking in Procreate.  I have much better control with a fountain pen on paper.  Anyways......I decided to import this sketch I did for the challenge and add color using Procreate.

This was challenging and lots of fun.  I found a brush I purchased in a package download I like created by another artist which blends colors together beautifully.  The brush is called MattyB-ink-wet_blend brush.  And I chose to use an airbrush - medium hard brush that is one of the default brushes in the app.  Another default brush used was a texture brush labeled "Water" which I used in the background and same brush selected as an eraser.  You can use the brushes by stamping the stylus or by moving it across the screen like you would on paper.

There's a smudge tool in the app but I definitely prefer using the above mentioned blending brush.  To me there's more control over the blending process.  I would stamp color on and then run the brush across the screen to blend it in short choppy back and forth strokes.





Monday, August 21, 2017

Digital Painting - Photoshop Elements - Turmoil

With me playing with the Ipad Pro and Procreate, it brought back memories of a piece I did several years ago using Photoshop Elements and a Wacom Intuos tablet.

This digital painting reflects what I was feeling at the time.  I was in a very dark place dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil.  I worked this and a poem to go with it too personal to share.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Digital Sketch / Painting and New Toys

In the past I have played a bit with digital sketching and painting.  What I used was photoshop elements to create those pieces and a wacom tablet/pen.  Although I have enjoyed digital art, for me it was a little cumbersome working on the attached wacom tablet and not directly on a screen surface where the drawing is actually showing or being produced.

Last week I purchased the Ipad Pro along with the Apple Pencil.  I am blown away with how nice it is working directly on a screen and with an electronic pencil (stylus) as precise as the apple pencil is proving to be.  I love the feel and balance to the apple pencil and where that tip hits the screen, the line marks are right where they should be.  Unlike using Adonit Stylus I found lagged and was off from where the tip hit the screen.

And although I have several art apps on my Ipad (Air before the Pro), I seldom played with them.  For some reason when I got the Ipad Pro, I chose to start playing with Procreate.  Maybe because of all the videos I've seen out there showing tips and tricks and example artwork being created.  Not really sure why but that's the app I decided to start practicing with.

Here are examples of what I've been doing the past several days.  There's a lot to learn with Procreate.  Lots of brush choices and techniques to work through.  My favorite so far are the graphite brushes to include a few I've learned to make myself.  It's nice having an app and electronic brush choices that look like true graphite............and what's nice.......no smearing as I work..........LOL.  I don't have to spray these to keep the graphite from smudging or smearing nor do I end up wearing graphite all over hand and fingers.

And so far there are two pen brush choices I like.......both pressure sensitive giving me thin and thick lines depending on how much pressure I apply or the tilt of the apple pencil.

First sketch just getting a feel for a few of the pen brush choices in Procreate.



Stress relief sketch illustrating how I feel setting up new gadgets.  This was done while trying to finish setting up the Ipad Pro since I set it up as new rather than using the Ipad Air backup to mirror what I had on it.  I had to do a lot of manual copying of photos and certain data on the Ipad Air as I didn't want all the same stuff on the new Ipad.  Hubby got the Ipad Air once I made sure I had what I needed off of it and before he reset back to factory settings.



Next quick sketch getting a feel for the pressure sensitivity of the apple pencil and brush choices


Playing with a new graphite brush I actually learned to create myself.



Some serious sketching using the graphite brushes



Next is trying my hand at understanding color application........trying to mimic watercolor.  Color is a whole different ballgame and a lot to learn and practice to achieve likeness of particular mediums.  You work in layers for blending and textures of various color so I'm not sure just how much time I'll dedicate to working through that.  I primarily wanted to do more pen and ink and graphite sketching digitally but will be nice to have some knowledge if I want to add a bit of color for added umph to the sketch.






Friday, August 11, 2017

75 Day Challenge - The FINAL Three Days

Although some days I struggled to do any sketching, I managed to once again achieve this goal without giving up.

This is actually my third go with this challenge.  I met the first one years ago back in 2011, tried again a couple years ago giving up around Day 20 and again this year.  I was determined not to give up this time although in reality I WAS tempted.

Day 73 - This one took several hours (off and on) of what I first thought was a huge bee.  Turns out it's called a Florida Bee Killer which is truth is a fly.  I first worked on the bee and then the pole.  What took so long was all the detailing ...... particularly the stippling.  But I found it to be quite relaxing rather than tedious.


Day 74 - Quick sketch of a fox seen at the Homosassa Wildlife Park


Day 75 - FINAL Day - Sketch of two young boys playing at Homosassa Wildlife Park.  One had a zip lock bag of what looked like popcorn.  The other was busy climbing the rocks :-)  With this sketch being the last of this challenge,  I decided to slap some color on using watercolor.




For the complete gallery of all sketches for this challenge can be viewed here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sbwatercolors/sets/72157682251842103

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

75 Day Challenge - Days 66 through 72

Here is where I am at with the challenge with only three more days remaining.  All were done using the Lamy Safari.  The more I use that pen, the more I love it because of better control I have on ink being laid down on paper.


Day 66 - When nothing else jumps out at me to sketch, I can always sketch my little bears - S&B Beta


Day 67 - Revisiting past sketch ideas but laid out differently on the page - S&B Beta


Day 68 - From a trip we made to Crystal River - S&B Beta


Day 69 - Salvaging through a drawer of odds and ends looking for sketch ideas - S&B Beta


Day 70 - From trip to Barberville Pioneer Village - S&B Beta


Day 71 - Figurines I have for Autumn - sketched on the back of a statement and cut/glued to journal page.


Day 72 - From photos I have of a Betta I used to have after moving here to Florida.  Sketched on the back of a statement and cut/glued to journal page.




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Creepy Crawly Seen

While on the sketchcrawl last Friday, a good friend and art pal pointed out this insect crawling on the ground.  Neither of us really new what it was except a very large looking ant.  I'd never seen one before.

I sat and watched it as it crawled towards me and over to the tree I was sitting close to.  I was super intrigued by the size and the gorgeous vivid red color and texture.

After returning home, I went online to research just what kind of ant this was.  It was really interesting to learn that this "ant" is an actual wasp.  Although it might be a wasp, the name of this is the Red Velvet Ant.  Females do not have wings and crawl.  Only the males have wings.  They range in size from 1/2 inch to 1 and 1/4th inch.  The one we saw was closer to the smaller end of the size scale.  Their sting is known to pack quite a nasty wallop and this insect's nick name is called the Cow Killer (although I didn't find any reference that this was actually true).

Worked in the Beta journal using Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils.  Steps shown.




Ooops...........just realized I spelled Albrecht wrong on my step sheet.


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