Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CJ Ink and Wash - Testing on Stillman & Birn Alpha

This one I worked a little at a time over the last couple of days.

Objective was to sketch each cork with pen and ink and immediately take a soft Kolinsky round with plain water and brush over the ink..............both water soluble and water proof ink.

What I found working this little experiment is that even water proof ink can wash out a least proven on this paper if ink hasn't settled yet into the fiber of the paper.  Chances are had I waited for several minutes, the water proof ink sample might not have washed out at all.

Each illustration is about 2 inches high.

At first glance, it's easy to see how wild the Rotring pen and ink washes out.  I even tried using just a damp brush rather than wet.  It was hard to control on this scale.  I've done other larger sketches in the past managing to somewhat keep the ink from going wild like it did here.

The Lamy with it's original blue ink cartridge went wild too when a damp brush was used.  However, it was easier to control than the Rotring.

The Dip Pen and #41 Brown and Stabilo Green washed out beautifully even with the brush loaded with a bit more water than I used with the Rotring or Lamy.  I really like how the Stabilo water soluble pens perform.

The Hero and the Noodler's Flex with Lexington Ink both ended up with a bit of shading when the wet brush was applied.  Had I allowed that ink to really settle into the paper, it might not have done so.

Same with the Platinum Carbon and it's original black cartridge.

The Micron is what definitely surprised me.  Although still washed out and I made sure my water and brush were clean before brushing over the ink.  I tried to capture with the scan and enlarging.  Not sure if you can see the faint shading with the illustration but it's there.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What's You Looking At?! - Ink and Wash - Stillman & Birn Zeta

Still working through Cathy Johnson's Ink and Wash mini course, I chose to use a dip pen and Noodler's #41 Brown ink in my new Stillman & Birn Zeta Journal.

I really had a lot of fun with this one.  The subject in itself for me was fun.  I sit outside on the porch and this wooden wind chime hangs to the left of where I sit.  It always seems the backside is to me (can turn all the way around as it hangs from a thick thread) and it makes me laugh with the way the neck and head turns as if looking back.  I did exaggerate a bit the turning of the head but what comes to mind is this guy saying "What's you looking at?!"

Best part was playing with this dip pen with the shape nib as seen in the illustration.  I have no idea where I picked it up but it's a load of fun to use.  The Noodler's #41 Brown is water resistant and bullet proof (which I'm still unsure just what that means); and stated under specifications on the Goulet Pen site it's slow to dry.   Add the type paper (Zeta) with internal and external sizing, the ink sits a while allowing you time to take a damp or wet brush and pull the color for shading.

Most is done with the ink to include the shading but added a little blue for the distant tubes and yellow for the beak plus a touch of Quin Bt Orange in the back area..

For this one I was going to sit outside and work the sketch to include the ink and wash.  No way!!!  At best I managed a quick rough pencil sketch using an HB mechanical pencil and then forced to return to the comfort of my table inside (reason noted on the page below).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

In Celebration of Our First Hummingbird Here in WV

Last week we put out our hummingbird with sugar water and the others empty until evidence we needed to fill them all.

Today our first hummingbird appeared!!!  :-)

And also today is the first I've opened my new Stillman & Birn Zeta journal.  It's ironic I chose to do a watercolor sketch of a hummingbird for the first page same day as one actually shows up.  It was while finishing up the sketch my husband calls out "hummer alert, hummer alert." 

Some of you may remember this sketch I did months ago strictly in pen and ink in the handmade journal one of my friends from Africa sent me years ago.  The paper in that journal is brown made of animal dung plus whatever else goes into it.

Steps painting the hummingbird in my new journal:

1)  With HB mechanical pencil, worked a light sketch of the hummer sitting behind a rock on the bannister of our porch;
2)  Rock first, applied water and then dropped in a variation of Fr Ultramarine and Bt Sienna;
3)  While damp, spattered some paint;
4)  Hit the damp wash with a light spray of plain water and allowed to dry;
5)  Worked the hummingbird same way with water first and dropping in color.  Used a darker tone of the rock color mixes plus Aliz Crimson and Holbein Bamboo Green;
6)  Added the suggestion of the wood bannister with variation of the rock color mix leaning towards brown;
7)  Spattered again on wood and also the rock;
8)  After all was completely dry, used a dip pen and Noodler's #41 Brown for the wood and my Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink just in a few areas for added detail.

This new Stillman & Birn Zeta paper is everything I hoped it would be!!!  I love the Epsilon but had wished it was a heavier paper for how I work my watercolor sketches.  The Zeta is just that!!!  It's like painting on hot pressed watercolor paper with wet washes taking a while to dry giving ample time to work wet in the colors I used lifted easily.  Glazing or laying additional washes on top was a breeze. 

With the Zeta, I should be able to paint on both front and back of the pages and scan without problems.  I look forward to being able to do that for 2-page spreads in the future :-)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CJ Ink and Wash - Using Hero 578

Here is another quick ink and wash still playing with the Hero 578 (bent nib) pen and Lexington Gray ink.

Stillman & Birn Alpha series journal.

Pen and ink first followed by the watercolor wash.

W&N:  Fr Ultra, Cob Blu, Raw Sienna, Bt Sienna, Light Red

#10 Round

The Light Red and Fr Ultra were used in the distant land area.  Cobalt was used only in the sky.

The boat is using the figure 8 method of drawing boats. 

All from imagination starting with the boat and then I just added elements around it to complete the illustration.

Friday, April 12, 2013

CJ Ink and Wash Exercise 3

The exercises I'm doing is not exact or in order to the exercises as listed in Cathy Johnson's Ink and Wash mini course.  Don't want to give everything away that's included in the course or follow things exact with my posting publicly ;-)

For this exercise, I purchased a new pen trying it out in the Stillman & Birn Alpha series journal.

It's the Hero 578 purchased through

The pen is a solid but heavy pen compared to what I've ever handled.  Not sure I could sit for a long period of time sketching or writing with it as it would bother my hand (which I have a history of problems with).  BUT.........I find this pen to be a lot of fun sketching with.

The nib is a bent nib that depending upon the angle the pen is held can deliver a thin to thick line of ink.  If you follow the link above, you can view what this pen looks like to include a close-up of the bent nib.

This illustration shows the variation in line thickness I achieved with a watercolor wash over top after the vine was sketched.  Ink dried quickly on the alpha paper surface (vellum).  Ink used is Noodler's Lexington Gray.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cathy Johnson's (CJ) Ink and Wash Exercise 2

After playing with several pens just to see how they made marks on paper, I worked my first true exercise.

And the pen I chose wasn't even tested on the previous exercise as I forgot I had dip pens with two different type nibs.

Here are the steps I worked choosing a knife and sheath as my subject that belonged to my dad for many many years given to my husband when dad passed in 2007:

1)  Pencil using a Twist Erase mechanical pencil
2)  Dip Pen with Noodler's #41 Brown ink
3)  #10 Round taking water to the ink lines.  Notice how subtle the ink washes out.
4)  W&N Bt Sienna and Fr Ultramarine for the watercolor wash and #10 Round
5)  Dip Pen with Noodler's #41 Brown ink in some areas for final detailing.

* The little nib illustration is using the Pilot Prera pen with Lexington Gray ink; as is the writing on the page.  My pen was low on ink so was misbehaving a bit putting down ink.

Page in the Stillman & Birn Alpha series journal.


Cathy Johnson's Ink and Wash Mini Course

Although I have been working quite a lot with ink and wash for some time now, I jumped on Cathy Johnson's new mini course.

This lady is a jewel and I love her various ways of teaching between the books she has out, DVD courses, DVD course downloads, Online Classes, YouTube Videos, and her self paced Mini Courses.

Her work is spontaneous and her teaching methods extremely down to earth full of great examples for incentive.  To me her approach reaching out to folks is beautifully encouraging.  I think what strikes me the most about her is the fact she doesn't push her way as the only way to do things.  She shares her experience helping to lead or direct but leaving it up to the individual to be free with their own personal expression in handling the materials, tools, and methods she covers. 

If interested in this course or any of her other courses and instruction, please check out the following:

Ink and Wash Mini Course 

Other Mini Courses and Online Workshops

Cathy Johnson's Books through Amazon

YouTube Videos

Instructional CDs/DVDs

It's because of this lady I have changed direction by working in art journals.  To me this has proven to be the most gratifying for myself.  Fun and relaxing without all the fears of getting everything so perfect.  To be more spontaneous and free to express whatever one might wish to on any given day.  Learning it's OK and in fact a positive to make mistakes from which we truly learn from. 

Getting back to the mini course, I decided to take the newest she just released yesterday.........Ink and Wash.  I have received the first lesson which includes a pdf file and links to videos as well as links to some of the pens she happens to mention.

So far after reading through the first lesson, I've dug out my various pens and decided to do a quick play with them.  This is just the beginning..........a rough idea on standard paper before diving into my journal book.  From this I plan to sit and map out how I want to proceed practicing with the information provided in her first lesson.

Last Week's Doctor's Visit

Not much to say about this as it states on the page.  A lot of people sketch their surroundings when in a doctor's office..........I chose to sketch what I was there for.

Graphite - Mechanical pencil (HB) in Epsilon journal.  Stump used for the shading.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stillman & Birn's New Blog

Stillman & Birn has a new blog that has just gone live.  To learn more about their art journal books plus view examples of what people are doing with them, you may wish to check them out.

I personally have come to love their brand of journals over and above any others I've worked in.  If you've been following my blog, you know I've been working in their Beta, Alpha, and Epsilon series.  Their newest series that has only recently been shipped out to retailers is called the Zeta.  I haven't tried it yet but from what I'm reading and seeing from those who have tested the paper, I'm going to love it!

To follow their blog and learn more about this fantastic line of journal books, do check out the following:

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