Monday, December 31, 2012

Platinum Carbon Pen Ink Sketches

It's been a week since I've posted anything.  This should help make up for it :-))

All sketches done with the Platinum Carbon pen with Black ink in the no-name sketchbook.  The little bear door stop was also done with the Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink.

Out of all these sketches, my favorite page is top left with the dogwood and building.  Next favorite is the flowers in the bowl followed by the simple palm landscape.

Least favorite are the mushrooms (don't think I really did all that great in shading) followed by the man and child.

Rendering people is difficult enough for me but then add the challenge working with pen and ink.....ohhh boy!!   Just means more practice :-))  The one plus is that I feel I came close with overall shapes and proportions.  It's in the shading I don't care for.  The guy looks super hairy (especially his leg) as does the child with the hatching and cross hatching I tried to use conveying shadows.  Plus I should have pulled the dark on the guys shirt more towards center of back (not leave so much sun-lit area......easy enough to fix).

The little bear doorstop is a neutral where I don't necessarily like the results nor do I dislike the results.

When I sit down to do anything.......I have this idea of what I hope to achieve (as I'm sure most do).  I may already have an image in my head and it's that preconceived idea I use to critique my own results.........sharing feelings and thoughts in what I may have done to my own liking and that which I don't care for and why.

I do feel great that I'm still putting pen to paper as I am even if some of the sketches might not stand up to my own personal standards.  :-))

Monday, December 24, 2012

Snowman Mishap

Several people under facebook have been posting photos of snowmen standing on their heads.  While I was waiting for two of my sons to come out for dinner, I did this graphite and ink sketch for kicks and giggles what I would imagine happening if I tried to build one standing on its head.  :-))

Was done in the Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook using a Derwent Light Wash HB pencil, stump, and the Pilot Prera and Lexy Gray ink.  (Mostly graphite)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snow and Memories

Our first snowfall for the season and we ended up with maybe 2 to 3 inches.  Not bad but I could have gone for more!!

Today it's sunny with deep shadows of all the trees stretching across the blanket of snow.  To me this is one of the neatest sights!!  Fresh, crisp air so inviting until you step outside for any period of time :-))  Just feels like it cleanses the lungs.

I love living up on this hill top away from traffic and city dwellings, as it's absolutely gorgeous!!!  The only thing one might see besides the shadows are the foot prints of some of our forest residents and dark speckles of seed hulls that have fallen from the bird feeders.

As I sit mesmerized looking outside my window, I go back in time when the boys were young having snowball fights and building snowmen.  This scene before me and the memories inspired me for today's sketch.  All from imagination using the no-name sketchbook and my Pilot Prera with Lexy Gray ink.

Wasn't really sure how I would go about depicting snow with pen and ink but I think I achieved it OK thinking on terms of how I might do so with brush and watercolor.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas

Mr. Hanging Ho Ho I crafted many years ago when my three sons were all little boys.  It's made out of a wood shaped egg and wood cup holder pegs.  He was painted using acrylics (back in my acrylic painting days).

One has to have a strong Christmas tree to hold these babies up due to the weight.  But so much fun watching the arms and legs swing if the tree is bumped.

I sketched this little guy before in graphite a couple years ago along with several other hand crafted ornaments I treasure similar to this one.

This time I decided I wanted to try him in pen and ink adding a bit of artistic license having him hold an item.  In this case a miniature tree and making him look like he was hanging from a limb.

Here are the steps as I worked on him using my Pilot Prera and Lexington Gray ink in the sketchbook my granddaughters gave me (the no-name sketchbook).

Next is strictly some digital fun using the finished pen and ink, adobe photoshop elements and my Wacum electronic tablet and pen.  Color was added to make him look like he actually does in real life plus an added decorating touch to the tree he's holding.

I've decided to use this as one of my Christmas cards.....

So Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!!!! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

It's officially the next day as I sit up watching movies and TV.  One of those nights where I'm having trouble going to sleep.  Wind is blowing hard as Draco comes closer with the potential of a little snow over the next 24 hours and my youngest dog on edge.........gonna be a long night!

One of the movies I just finished watching was The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  As I played the movie, I would pause it now and then and do some sketching.  The page was finished about an hour after I finished the movie.

I used the Pilot Prera with Lexington Gran ink in the no-name sketchbook.  The writing was added with the Noodler's Flex and Lexy Gray ink.

Normally I don't watch tear jerker movies but this was definitely a heart warming story.  Glad I broke my personal rule for not watching movies that can cause tears.

This was fun :-))

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rockport Texas Near Boat Docks

Not sure how I feel about this one at the moment.  I first started out with the Pilot Prera and Lexington Gray ink.  Then used the Platinum Carbon pen with Black ink.

As I view it, it's difficult to tell the difference between water and land areas.  Plus such a large area to try and cover with ink.  This sketchbook is approx 9 x 12.  Definitely would have been easier with watercolor (or even graphite) but I'm determined to continue on with my ink sketches in this sketchbook I've dedicated to straight pen and ink.

My perspective is off with eye level not being right in relation with distant water and land.  I probably should have only done the land and water area in the foreground and left the back ground off.  Live and learn :-))

Plus side..........another day of sketching - mistakes and all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rock Studies using Platinum Carbon Pen

Talk about an eye-opener with this pen!!!  Compared to the Pilot Prera and the Noodler's Flex using Lexington Gray ink, this pen and the black ink that comes with the pen is a real contrast.

Even in the sketchbook where my other two pens skip across the paper, this Platinum glides smoothly and evenly.  The results being bold compared to what I've been achieving thus far.

Except for the long handle, which I plan to cut down, I absolutely love how the pen handles and nib lays down ink.  Gonna be another favorite of mine once I get used to the bold darkness of the ink. 

Here's a photo I took while at the Texas Coast.  This is what I'm using as a reference for the sketches above.

Working the rocks, I find myself getting lost a bit from one rock to the next and working the lights and darks.  Just going to take more practice :-))

Rock Studies

A very dear friend and mentor, Hany, shares his work with me on a regular basis to include all medias as well as digital sketches.  He's been using a new Wacom Cintiq 24HD tablet working on various rock studies of late.

One of my favorites that he recently shared was this from a series of photos he took.

Following his example, I attempted to do a rock study in my sketchbook.  It's not exact but very similar.  With his permission, here is what I produced.  I was trying a different pen this time..........the Pigma Micron 03.  I really liked the various line values I was able to achieve with this pen.  I find myself rather timid with pen and ink trying to work light to dark if the pen and paper allows it.  The sketchbook I'm using for this study is still the one the granddaughters got me for my birthday.

My next post will be more rock studies but using yet another pen called the Platinum Carbon with black cartridge ink. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Seashore Birds in Rockport Texas

During our stay in Rockport, we made a trip to Aransas Wildlife Refuge.  Now that turned out to be a long drive for nothing.

Due to the drought conditions, there just wasn't much to see there.  We did see one alligator and while we were driving scared up two small doe; but other than that we didn't even see much in the way of birds.  And the worst of that trip was getting out walking down a trail only to be completely covered in black mosquitoes.  THAT WAS AWFUL.  We ran back to the car swatting at them trying to get them off before getting in the car.  Unfortunately we ended up taxiing several until we opened the windows to force them out.  Rest of the adventure was basically driving around the park saving ourselves from becoming more mosquito food.

We were at the refuge for a couple of hours and then decided to go on back to Rockport.  What we learned that day and the rest of our trip was that we didn't need to travel any distance to see wildlife.  It was all around us right there where we were staying and fishing.

This page only shows three of several variety birds we came across.

Pilot Prera with the Lexington Gray ink and no-name sketchbook.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rockport Beach Access Fee

I've been going back through my photos of our trip to Rockport Texas.  We had such a nice time there that doing these sketches takes me back as if reliving that trip.

This little building is located across the street to the crab tower I posted yesterday.  We were considering going to the Rockport beach until we got there seeing there was an access fee just to walk on the beach.  According to reviews, it's a very nice clean beach and I guess that's what the fee is for to help maintain.  But we opted out considering there were so many other places we could walk and explore without having to pay to do so.

This page was done using the Pilot Prera (F) for the lighter ink lines and then a Noodler's Flex (same ink) for the darker areas.  On this sketchbook paper the nibs skip so one can obtain real light shading with the ink.  A plus in many ways.  It's taken some getting use to but I'm adapting and trying to utilize in a positive way what some might see as a negative.

Getting perspective right with all the angles is still an issue for me but I figure the more I practice, the easier it will become.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Revisiting Rockport and Aransas Pass, Texas

For this page I decided to do a quick sketch of some buildings we saw across the bay area when we were heading for the Aransas Port Ferry.  It was done using the Pilot Prera and Lexy Gray. 

Bottom sketch is using both Pilot Prera for light ink work and the Noodler's Flex with Lexy Gray ink for the darker line work and shading.

Still using the same sketchbook the girls gave me for my birthday.

Not mentioned in the notes on the page, there is a large Rockport Park to the right but there was an admission fee to get in so we didn't go there.  Not sure why a fee as there was only beach area there that we could see.  Instead we just parked across the street where there was some ground area with benches and this crab over-looking the bay/inlet area.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Baby Alpacas - Graphite and Pen and Ink

Yesterday I didn't feel up to using pen and instead completed this top sketch using my Staedtler 925 09 HB mechanical pencil.

The top alpaca in graphite is the first baby born to my cousin's family last month (11/30/12).   It's white and tan in color.  My cousin's family already had nine with baby making ten.

The bottom alpaca (reddish brown) was born this month (12/09/12) making #11.  They still have yet another due in the Spring.

Second illustration was completed today using pen and ink.  I initially used a Pilot Prera (F) with Lexington Gray ink and went back with a Noodler's Flex with same color ink that has a larger nib giving me the darker lines.

Both done in the no-brand-name sketchbook.

Alpacas are new to me and my cousin explained they are in the Llama and camel family originally from Peru, Chili.  They are mainly raised for their fleece but also known for their meat in South America.  They normally have a very sweet gentle nature but like with any creature......some are more so than others.  Some alpacas friendlier towards humans compared to others.  When upset they are known to spit as a means of defense/offense but primarily towards other alpacas.

The alpacas my cousin own appear to be super sweet and gentle according to what she shared with me and the photos she has shared with different family include very young children.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wood Pilings - Pen and Ink

Although I wasn't exactly in a mind-set to do any sketching, I made myself do so and glad I did.  I definitely felt better after I finished this page.

This was a good subject as it wasn't too mind-bending :-))  I went through photos from my Texas trip and sketched a small portion of what was showing in one photo.

Done while watching TV in the no-brand name sketchbook and Pilot Prera with Lexy Gray ink.

I couldn't focus as I needed when rendering the rope.  Was having trouble with right side fighting the left side of the brain where I was sketching what I thought it should look like rather than focusing on what I was actually seeing.  (Probably distracted with the TV on with a show I kept getting drawn into while trying to do this sketch.........ooops.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cartoon Sketch of My Week

Four out of five days this week (resulting in about 6 to 8 hours) will be spent sitting in a waiting room and dentist chair (mainly dentist chair).  The positive...........getting it over with rather than spread out over several weeks. 

This cartoon is what I have to look forward to but not what I've actually had done .......... yet.  Consultation for this part of all the work I'm having done is today.  Whoopie (laughing).

The clocks represent to me the long hours I'm having to spend in one of those "lounge" chairs being examined, poked at, and worked on :-))

I can only blame myself though as I drag my feet year after year seeing a dentist.  I wonder just how many people like me are guilty of that?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Son's Christmas Wish List

I managed Day 8 with a little sketching.  Wasn't really up to it and I'm not sure how today and tomorrow will go.  Undergoing some extensive dental work I don't look forward to and my initial visit yesterday was draining!!!

Decided to doodle some items one of my son's has on his Christmas wish list..........nothing elaborate........just some simple doodling using the Pilot Prera and Lexy gray.  Still using the sketchbook gifted to me.  :-))

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Country Mail - Pen and Ink

Here is Day #7 so far with the pen and ink sketching.

Unlike living in town or city, our mail boxes are along the main road rather than in front of our houses.  We sit on top of a steep hill off of a gravel side road, up a steep gravel/dirt curvy drive with our mail box in amongst a nest of boxes at bottom of hill.  It's about 1/4th mile from the house.  So for us, watching for the mail is no longer something to look forward to.

Plus out here there's confusion between physical address and mailing address.  Mail is put in wrong boxes or returned as undeliverable.  Many of the rural routes are being given actual names and that too causes confusion for the mail carriers.  Lots of fun :-((      So we've gone paperless with most of our financial statements and the rest is re-routed to house in town where two of my sons live.  I may check our mail box out here once a month and normally just full of junk mail.

Sketch done in no-brand-name sketchbook with Pilot Prera and Lexy Gray.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Good Ole Country Living

My day yesterday included sitting at the Toyota service department while a problem was being fixed that happened all of a sudden.

Thursday while out running around my SUV's heating blower fan started making a horrible thumping sound.  My car is only a year old and sits most of the time as I rarely go it really took me by surprise.  And of all days it had to be the coldest day we've had so far.

Get home and immediately called Toyota.  They said not to run the fan and I needed to have it looked at as soon as possible so I grabbed the first appointment I could get.

Ten minutes into sitting in the waiting room, I get called back into the shop to see what we were dealing with...............a large nicely built nest pulled out where my cabin filter sits.  Then the tech says inside the dash in the middle of the blower fan unit sits a mouse............dead of course after being caught in the fan unit.

An hour or so later and $160 poorer, I'm on the road headed home.

Never knew this but was told if I turn the inside air circulation button to recirculate rather than outside fresh air, it closes some hatch or whatever and will help keep critters out.  At least it wasn't a snake :-))

Pilot Prera used in the No-name brand sketchbook.

Lucky Bamboo Plant - Day 5 Pen & Ink Sketch

So far have completed five days pen and ink sketches.  This is another of the Lucky Bamboo plant.

I was off on the glass vase (as noted on the page).  Was good practice with rocks and the glass itself.

Worked in the no-name sketchbook using the Noodler's Flex and Lexy Gray ink.  Think I'm ready to move back to the Pilot Prera.

Started the sketch while watching TV late Thursday night but was too caught up in the shows and put it down.  Worked the majority yesterday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today's Pen and Ink - Christmas Doodling

I'm not exactly committing myself to another 75 Day Challenge but taking one day at a time.  If it turns out I do go 75 days with an ink sketch each day.........great ;-)  If not...........that's OK too :-))

This sheet done in the Unknown sketchbook from my granddaughters using a Noodler's Flex and Lexy Gray ink.

For some reason this page really caused me grief achieving dark filled in areas with my pen not wanting to lay ink down very well.   I may have to rethink filling the entire sketchbook with pen and ink and try other dry media instead.

Rudie Wood Carving Sketch

Rudie is made of wood (no cloth on him.......all carved to look like clothing); and has LED lights as well as the fiber optic lights.  I decided to do a graphite sketch of him using a bit of artistic license not including lights or the skies he was holding.  Instead he's holding cinnamon sticks :-))

I really had trouble with the scarf and even the hat.  Trying to make them both look like cloth but I struggled with the folds.  My brain was saying it should look one way when the wood carving of these said something totally different.  So I was a bit lost when trying to put down on paper.

Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook
Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink (used in a few areas just to give a little extra dark)
Derwent 9B graphite pencil

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pen and Ink Sketches

Back in October, my two granddaughters presented me with some art goodies for my birthday.  One of the gifts was a large spiral sketchbook picked up at one of the local stores.

The paper is definitely not artist grade paper and a bit of a challenge to work in......however, I'm enjoying the challenge.  Plus.... each week when the girls come to stay with me in the afternoons, they check to see if I have started using their gifts.  I had to do something as I sure didn't want to hurt their feelings even with the multiple sketchbooks I have currently going.

One of the pluses I'm finding to this paper is the fact my pen skips across the surface allowing for super light / fine lines as I work the illustrations with ink only.  I can slowly build up the tones by going over the areas several times.  It's definitely easier to build up than it is to take away ink ;-)

The negative is the pen nib picks up paper dust and I have to wipe it now and then.  Not too big of a deal though and happens mostly with the Pilot Prera than it does with the Noodler's Flex pen.

I may dedicate this sketchbook to pen and ink only.

Another Christmas Card Idea

Still thinking about the granddaughters playing with Christmas  card ideas they might like.

Epsilon series Stillman and Birn sketchbook

Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink

W&N pigments - Winsor Blue (Red), Lemon Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Opera Pink, Bt Umber, Bt Sienna, Raw Sienna, and Perm Aliz.

I wrote the "Merry Christmas" with an Elegant Writer calligraphy pen but if I print off cards, I'll probably use Photoshop and a selected font to add the greeting portion of the card.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mini Christmas Tree

This one is a combination of pen and ink finished off with three different pencils.......HB, 4B, and 9B

Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rendering the Hand in Graphite

From simple contour sketching to shading ..........

Using a mechanical pencil, I first sketched a simple contour shape of my hand.  Then I took a paper stump and pulled the graphite shading giving form.  If I needed to go darker, I scribbled graphite on a separate piece of paper rubbing the paper stump in it and then back to the hand.  Or you can go back over gently with the pencil lead itself and then blending it out with the paper stump.  I worked these both ways until I achieved the look I was hoping for.

Side Note:  Have a putty eraser handy as it can be used not only for erasing areas you don't care for but as a great "tool" for adding highlights. 

Also sometimes I might want a nice evenly shaded area but might end up with a spot or two that's darker than the rest.............take your putty eraser and shape one end about the size of the area that's too dark and then just lightly touch eraser over the spot.  Many times it will lift just enough to make that spot blend in with the rest of the shading without messing up the tone you want (that's surrounding the dark blotch). If need be, gently "dab" the area again.

Done on cartridge paper:

Went with less lines for wrinkles on this next one........

Worked the finger and thumb in the same way. 

Practicing Snow and Trees

Painting snow USED to come fairly easy for me but I'm definitely feeling a bit rusty now.  I've decided I need to return to some basics again to especially include composition. 

Here are two pages where I'm just messing around practicing. 

Both pages in the Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbooks using W&N pigments.  Winsor Blue (Red), Fr Ultra, Indigo, Raw Sienna, and Bt Sienna.

#8 Round,  #4 Round, 1/2" flat, 3/8" Angular Flat (trying various ways to make the trees)

Not looking at anything but instead just using some imagination as I put down paint.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Something a bit different.........

Stillman & Birn Alpha

#8 Round

Winsor & Newton:  Winsor Blue (Red), Winsor Lemon, Raw Sienna, Bt Sienna, and Perm Aliz

Left is the page I painted and the right using PS Elements to put the pieces together.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Bunny Buddy

Here's a sketch I did tonight ................

Derwent HB in Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook

I really like the vellum surface for graphite work!

Started out using the side of the pencil lead for a roughed in sketch outline and then defined once satisfied with the proportions. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Holiday Preparation Soon to Begin

Newest graphite sketch...............

Stillman & Birn Alpha series sketchbook

Derwent HB pencil

My granddaughters were playing with my little wooden manikin yesterday and my wanting to sketch something, I chose to sketch this guy in the pose they left him in.

As I was working the manikin, I wasn't sure what to do with him.  Somehow I wanted to make a complete scene but was lost at first in what that might be.

Then it came to me as I reached the legs what I could do..............make him look like he's standing behind a table so I lightly sketched that in.

Next I had to decide what to do with his arms and hands as they were positioned.  So not to have to erase what I'd already sketched ......... I decided on something like a rope might fit well.

Thanksgiving evening I normally pull out our Christmas tree so my thoughts were with my sketch as well as what I'd be doing this evening.  That's when the rest of the sketch came together.  Decided to add a hat that would denote the holiday season that begins tonight and then the tree that would go with what might pass as garland for the tree. 

The manikin to me looks like he's standing there holding the garland asking if the viewer thinks it will be long enough to put on the tree :-))

Side Note:   I didn't  put in legs or feet as I wasn't sure with the angle I put the table in how to do it without it looking funny.  I tried a few light sketches of feet and it was a no go............So he's bottomless.  The angle of the table is like I'm above looking down so honestly wonder if any of his legs or feet would show anyways.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Playing with Dolls

Tonight I was in the mood for some graphite sketching and decided to play with a doll :-))

Taking this plant poke doll made out of miniature pots, I worked these rough sketches using a Derwent 4B water soluble pencil (dry) in my Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook.

Using a bit of artistic license I decided to try a few different things like the doll on the left (as you view it) where I replaced the mini pot legs with one larger pot to look like a long dress.

At first I used a stump to smudge the shading/shadows but wasn't real happy with how it looked I went back over using the side of my pencil lead. Here is the final results.

I started at top right working to the left and then the bottom.  The top right is a bit rough as I worked my first one.  Then the other two I felt a little more at ease with results being a bit more refined.

Christmas Card Possibility

Yesterday I worked on a Christmas card idea for my two granddaughters.  Trying to decide on what I might want to paint, I thumbed through the catalog I receive from the Artist's Club.  In the most recent issue were these wood ornaments with cute little critters that grabbed my eye.

Taking from several ornament examples .........this is what I came up with...the three cute figures together behind a package as if presenting it to the girls :-))

Another idea might be to take the illustration and place to the left on a landscape format card with written wishes to the right.  I'll have to play with that.

Watercolor sketch done in my Epsilon series sketchbook using W&N pigments.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Main Fountain Pens

These are my four main fountain pens out of five I have on hand.

Didn't include the Noodler's Konrad as I'm not all that keen on it although it might come in handy for writing in general.  The nib is too thick for my liking with regards to sketching.

The Pilot Prera is definitely my favorite with the F nib.  One filled with a water soluble ink (Namiki Black) and the other with Lexington Gray.  This gray (to me) is a nice subtle dark gray I find works nicely with watercolor.  Not real stark where it stands out competing with the color later applied.

The Noodler's Flex (original) was my first fountain pen.  I enjoyed using it but didn't quite like the ink I put in..........too dark (Noodler's Black).  Once the cartridge is empty, I plan to fill it with either the Namiki Black or the Lexington Gray.  The nib is not as fine as the Prera......putting down thicker lines.

Now the Lamy I haven't done much with as of yet.  It has the original blue ink cartridge that came with the pen.  That too will be filled with another ink once the cart is empty.........just haven't decided which ink I'll use in it.

Winsor & Newton pigments used - Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red) (both Prera pens using these two pigments - one leaning more towards the yellow and the other more towards the blue), and Permanent Alizarin Crimson.  The lamy was done first with the water soluble ink washing it out and then going back over with some Paynes Gray.

#8 Round for all but the Lamy pen.  Used a 3/8" Angular Flat for the Lamy since I worked the ink into a wash and later applying some watercolor.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon series sketchbook

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