Sunday, December 28, 2014

Konrad Bengal Tiger Pen

This is another pen I received for Christmas in yesterday's mail.  This one I knew would be quite a challenge to capture the colors and the patterns in the body.  I used one sketchbook (Daler Rowney) for trial and error and then the Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal for the final.

I found using the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils to be my best bet.  Especially with the black swirls.  I first worked dry using the brighter yellow and then Cad Orange and taking a damp brush over the colors to gently blend.  I went back over again dry with Cad Orange and Cad Orange Dark building up the darker tones in areas and again blended with damp brush.

Next I worked the black swirls blending some of the lines with a just damp brush and leaving others dry.

Again I added more yellow and orange going over some areas of the black to help make them look like they were within the body gently blending with an almost dry brush (all water squeezed out of it).  For my darkest orange, I tipped my brush with the pencil color and worked that in between the swirls.

Next to final touch was gently going over the edges of the pen parts blending some of the black near the edges into the orange.  I used a "tickling" approach with brush to paper so not to blend too much.

Once I knew it was completely dry, I went over a few black line in the swirl pattern with my Lamy Safari EF nib pen with Lexington Grey ink.  

This was really relaxing and fun to do.  I actually surprised myself achieving the results that I did.

Trial and Error..........

Final Illustration............

Photo including the actual pen for comparison...........Depending upon how the light hits the pen, it might look more yellow or it might look darker orange.  I love the pearlescent (is that even a word???) look of these acrylic pens.

Quick Watercolor Sketch of my Gift from Clare

Here is a quick sketch I worked documenting my gift from Santa Clare :-)

I'm a little off on my color choice............well actually quite a bit off.  I might try this again at a later time.  I also want to try and capture the leather look using a different method.  Just haven't quite figured out how I might do that yet.

Strathmore Visual Watercolor Sketchbook

Friday, December 26, 2014

Santa Clare from the UK

I'm sitting here very emotional after Terry brought in the mail that was delivered rather late today.  In the mail was a little package from the UK where my "sister from across the pond" lives.

The note Clare included was......

"I saw this and instantly thought of you!"

Talk about being touched!!!

It's handmade and only 3.5 x 4.5" in size closed.  It's beautiful!!!  The leather is so soft too! 

I'm truly going to enjoy using this little gem!!!!

New Pilot Namiki Falcon

My Christmas Gift to myself...................The Pilot Namiki Falcon Soft Fine Nib

What a gem of a pen!!!!  I first dipped the nib in ink just to test it before filling it up.  Wrote beautifully just dipping the nib.  Then filled the included converter with Noodler's Black ink.

I used the Falcon for the basic shapes of the pen parts but used my Lamy Safari EF nib for the shading.  I wanted the EF so I could slowly build up the black color of the pen because it's a bit of a dryer feed plus definitely finer lines.

I finished the black off with the Falcon.

Using the barrel part, I scanned along the way to show how I built up the body color.

Strathmore Soft Cover Ivory sketchbook

I tried to replicate the exact lighting effects on the parts with only the nib/feed and converter portion showing a definite light line.
Looking a llittle flat, I decided to add more light in the other two parts of the pen using a charcoal white pencil and a little water based marker pen.  I'm not sure which I like best but at least I have a scan of before and after.  I can always go back over and darken those light lines if I find I really don't like it.

Although I could have anchored by adding shadows, I just didn't feel like messing with them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Additional Pens to my Collection

Here is another page I just finished in my Stillman & Birn Beta I have dedicated to charts, materials and supplies.

The Pilot Parallel pen I picked up some time ago but was months before opening it.  I've played a little with it both writing and sketching and found the 1.5 nib fun to sketch with.

The newest pens are the Himalayan Red Konrad and the Coral Lamy Safari which is a special edition color.

This makes two Lamy Safaris now, each with a different nib size..........this new one is with a fine nib.  I like the EF I have in my original Lamy; however, it can be quite scratchy.  I like it though for shading in pen and ink due to the super fine lines it creates.

The new Konrad is slightly larger than the original Konrads of a year ago.  These acrylic pens come in a variety of really nice colors.  I love the pearl look to some of them.  With the Himalayan Red, I switched out the original #6 Flex nib with a Goulet Two-toned non-flex Fine nib.  I really like how it writes and moves on the paper when sketching.

I've tried to capture the colors as close as possible.  The coral was the most difficult and I couldn't begin to remember what pigments I used mixed together to finally reach what I did.

I am presently awaiting two more pens and I think I'll call it quits for awhile.  I'll not share what new ones are one their way just yet ;-)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Ink Comparison Charts

Most of my sketchbooks and journals are mixed with different mediums and different subjects.  One Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook I have managed to keep dedicated for supplies, materials used, color charts, etc.  These are the two most recent pages I have completed.

This first is comparing Microns Pens with the various Fountain pen nib sizes I have on hand.

This next page is a visual chart comparing twelve ink samples purchased through Goulet Pen Company.  All these are Noodlers' brand inks.  These little vials represent what the ink samples come in.  And although with several papers the Noodler's #41 Brown, Lexington Grey, and Black are more or less water proof, they will still bleed to some degree on some paper surfaces.  All were allowed to completely dry before taking a damp brush to the ink marks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter in Florida

After growing up and spending most of my life in the Northern part of the US, I always associated Winter time and Christmas being cold weather eagerly hoping for snow especially on Christmas Day.  Living in Florida just feels strange as if winter doesn't exist and making it difficult to "feel" Christmasy.  I feel like the season is more Spring to Summer than Winter.  Flowers are blooming, green grass, trees with all their leaves, warm temperatures and sunny skies, as well as all the bugs we were used to getting a break from during Winter back North.

And this time of year I looked forward to painting snow scenes and snowmen.  It's difficult to get myself psyched to do things like that when the weather doesn't fit.

Trying to work past all of that, I did manage this back on Thanksgiving Day when I would normally put up a tree and other decorations.  Our Christmas tree this year is a miniature palm with white lights and a few miniature balls hanging from it.  It's nice but again just feels strange. 

Most of the day is as I listed along side of this sketch I worked.  The closest to a snowman we'll ever see here down South.

Sketches Playing with Different Pens

Playing catch-up again.  These pages are playing with various pens I have working in Strathmore Soft Color sketchbook with ivory or cream colored paper.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Grab and Go Sketching Kits

Not that I've done much on the go sketching or painting, I do have a couple kits set up ready to go.  One day I hope to get out and about sketching on location.

One that I will probably grab first is a simple strap on sketch caddy found on Amazon.  It has an elastic band that fits over the front  hard cover of a portrait format sketchbook.  This one in particular is the small which fits a book cover up to 10 inches long.  The large fits from 10" to 12".

For a very simple kit, a Micron pen, Mechanical Pencil, Stump for shading, and eraser.  That leaves the bottom left pocket for something small and the zippered compartment for whatever.

Second Alternative is including a small watercolor kit with half pans in the zipper compartment, along with a Waterbrush, Fountain Pen, plus the same as shown above.

Here it is strapped to the front hard cover of my journal/sketchbook.

Complete kit strapped on and  ready to go.

Another Kit I came up with was using a neck strapped passport case.  Nothing fancy but it provides a neat small kit setup.

This kit would include another type folding palette which I customized plus a thin 3 x 5 sketchbook.
Also a Water Brush, Micron Pen, eraser, pencil sharpener for a back up small regular penci.l.

This is the other small folding palette I gutted and fixed up mostly with full pans and a few half pans of colors that might come in handy but I don't use much.  It has a piece of sponge in the corner, a travel brush as well as a small Water Brush that breaks down in half to fit.

 Here is the finished kit ready to go...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pens, Pencils, and Brushes..........Oh My

It's amazing what one can collect through the years and not even realize it.  I've been busy going through boxes and totes trying to see just what I have.  And this is AFTER I gave art supplies away to the college art department over a year ago.

My Collection of Pencils:

Out of those in this photo, I tend to grab for the mechanical pencils first.  The Derwent Wash pencils second (right side second group down of three pencils) and the Mars Lumograph (top right group) when I think about it.  The charcoal/pencil set is new and I picked that up for the charcoal in the set.

From top to bottom:  Albrecht Durer Water Soluble Pencils; Graphitint Water Soluble Pencils; Derwent Drawing Pencils Water Soluble; and Intense Water Soluble Pencils.

In case - Derwent Watercolor Pencils and in the bag - Polychromos Color Pencils (non water soluble)

Derwent Colorsoft Color Pencils - Non Water Soluble

Stabilo Pastel Pencils - which I seldom take out to use due to the chalkiness.

Pens of all Types:

For the longest time, my go to pen has been the Pilot Prera (Clear body with green accents).  Another of my favorites is the Platinum Carbon.  I've added the Parallel Pens with my favorite being the 1.5mm for sketching.

From the time I took these photographs, I've been working with each pen trying to get to know each better.  Two in particular being the Konrad and the Lamy.

The Metropolitans I purchased for the nibs only because you can use those nibs in the Preras.  The pens were as much if not less than the nibs by themselves.  The pens are metal (which is nice) but hurt my hand so as much as I'd like to like them, I can't.

Dip Pens I like using when wanting to try various different inks and not wanting to load a fountain pen with the inks.  Most of these nibs I'll never try much less use but there are some I enjoy sketching with.

To the left are Uniball UM 151 roller pens in two different sizes.....28 and .38.  Then there are the white pens none of which I really care for.  To the right Bic Crystal ballpoints I tried for sketching.  They are OK if you don't mind wiping blobs off the points that can end up on the paper.

Showing the Bic Crystals with cap color versus the actual ink color.  Pretty close.

Also found these Zebra Fine ballpoints.  Also includes a black pen not showing here.  I found they skipped on the paper surface of one of my favorite sketchbooks.  I guess they might come in handy for something.  A bit too fine for my liking with writing.

These are the Stabilo water soluble pens and are fun to play with.  I haven't used them too often but something I want to do in the near future.

Most of these are various colors of Pitt Brush pens.  I haven't used these much at all.  Some are sets of various size points which I do use............mainly the black and sometimes the Siennas.

Top are Tombow Marker Pens in various colors.  I use the black most often.  To the left are Zig brush pens I haven't tried yet.  And then there are the different color Scroll pens............again I haven't tried.

These were purchased with the intent to learn calligraphy but it really never peaked my interest enough to follow through.  Instead I found they can be fun to use sketching.  Unfortunately some of the colors just don't fit the subjects I like to sketch.

Good ole Microns.  One of my top favorites in the disposable pen line.

For a really neat water soluble ink experience, the Rotring pens are fun to sketch with.  The ink seems to explode when a wet brush is taken to the lines drawn on paper.


I have brushes from back 30 years ago when I used to work with acrylic paints.  Then my collection started growing when I was introduced to watercolor first with Susan Scheewe brushes and then the list just grew as I tried various brands, types, and specialty brushes.

When painting fine art pieces in watercolor, I grew to like my sables but I bounce back and forth between the sables and the synthetics I have now working in my journals.  The jar with the bird house pattern is my day to day go to for brushes but normally I use three basic ones...........#6 or #8 Sable Round, #6 Synthetic Round, and my 3/8" Angular Flat.  But I do use the others depending upon the subject, the paper surface, or the medium I'm using.  I definitely stick with the synthetic brushes when working with ink and wash as I have no idea what the ink might do to the sable.

My brush collection also grew when I thought about teaching classes and wanted to offer good quality brushes to those I worked with.  Many of the extras were donated to the College Art Department but I still have a few I kept as backups (like I really need to worry about that!).  :-)

As for paints.............that will be a post all in itself!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mixed Subjects - Pen and Ink plus Watercolor - Alpha Journal

All worked in the Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook.

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