Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Zebra F402 and F301 Ballpoint Pens

Tucked away in a drawer, I found these Zebra pens and thought I would check them out in two of the journals the Ink Joys did so poorly in.

Fabriano Venezia:

I would prefer a medium point for sketching but these fine points didn't do too badly!

I find the fine points take a bit more pressure to achieve the darker marks I need but I was able to get nice light to dark values similar to those I could get with the PaperMate Stick ballpoint pen (just takes longer and more strokes due to the fine lines).

The transition or blending of light to dark appears smooth.....not choppy and inconsistent like I found with the Ink Joy pens.

There can be slight skipping but not too bad.  At this point I'm not sure if the skipping and extra pressure is to be expected all the time or if because these pens have sat for a very long time possibly contributing to that.  I honestly wouldn't know unless I bought fresh new refills.

As for blobs, they happen but occasionally wiping the points on a paper towel helps keep them at a minimum.  Plus with a finer point, the blobs are smaller.

I would definitely use these for sketching.

UPDATE: after original blog post.  Worked an acorn with the F402 (black) and it definitely compares with the PaperMate Stick pen :-D


I tested these pens in the Handbook before I tried in the Venezia sketchbook.

With this paper, the pens only did OK.  With the fine points and paper texture, there was a bit more skipping and several ink blobs.  However, I did NOT wipe the pen points at any time like I occasionally did when sketching the knots in the Venezia sketchbook.

Even though I had a little trouble on this paper, I can work with these pens for sketching.  However, these would not be my first choice........not in this sketchbook.

Monday, October 15, 2018

PaperMate Ink Joy 500 RT Pens - Part 2

Rather than just testing on one other paper surface, I did so on two as mentioned below.  I really was hoping to find it was just the paper in the Handbook that brought out any flaws these pens might have.  Unfortunately, I found it's not just the Handbook.

This first is using Fabriano Venezia Drawing Journal Book.  The paper is a bit smoother than the Handbook.

Although the pens behaved a little better on this paper surface, I'm still not impressed and would not recommend for sketching on similar paper surfaces.  In fact, I wouldn't want to write with them either on similar papers.

Some of the color inks didn't do well with light to normal pressure.  I had to put more pressure to get my marks and some skipped.  My hand quickly felt fatigued because of the added pressure I had to use just for these simple test marks.

Several colors resulted in pooled ink blobs.  As noted on the page, I wiped the tip/point only once at the very beginning as I wanted to see how bad the ink would pool up (see closeup).

Closeup to problem areas:

This next test is using the PaperBlanks brand journal with unlined writing paper.  The surface is slick.

I found I could make marks with less pressure and no skipping.  Definitely more consistent compared to the other two papers I've tried these on.

Only slight ink blobbing and this time I didn't even wipe the tips/points.

If I used the PaperBlanks journal for sketching, it wouldn't be too frustrating.  The problem is the paper is thin and not meant to take wet media.  If just working pen and ink.........I MIGHT actually sketch with these pens.

Final thoughts...........These pens will probably end up in the bottom of a drawer seldom to never seeing the light of day...........lol

PaperMate Ink Joy 500 RT Pens - Part 1

After the good results I've had with the PaperMate stick pen I have, I purchased a package of Ink Joy 500 RTs in various colors as recommended by another sketcher and other reviews.

My testing was immediately after opening the package and removing the little bead the company puts on the points to keep them fresh.

For Part 1, I am using the Global Arts Handbook, which I've had good luck with the standard stick pen (by same company).

Initial feelings with Ink Joy 500 RT - DISAPPOINTED

1)  I had to scribble on paper now and then just to get the pen to make a mark on paper (even after they had been making marks on paper).  Sometimes I had to go over lines or marks several times before I could even get a mark to show.  This was more of a problem with the other than normal Blues, Blacks, and Reds; but, even my black pen gave me trouble.  (The right page in the heading shows I had trouble with the Black pen.)

Is it pen or paper?  That remains to be seen after I experiment on other paper.  (Part 2).

2)  I could not get a nice even hatching and couldn't transition from light to dark very easily.....not like I can with the stick pen shown above.

Example:   This shows how nicely I was able to hatch and transition from lighter to darker values without much effort..........almost like using a graphite pencil..........using the cheap PaperMate stick pen.  See the wood behind the foreground jug.

I was trying to achieve the same type of marks with the Ink Joys.  There was no way because the ink flow was inconsistent with some of the pens having to use a heavy pressure just to make a mark.

Note:  The Ink Joys AND the stick pen are the same point size......... 1.0 m

3)  These pens end up with a buildup of ink on the point easily and quickly.  I had to wipe the point often, which I find to be a pain.  If a blob ended up on the paper (which it did several times even wiping often), it could smear if not careful.  I only had to do that once in awhile with the stick pen and that was with heavy sketching as I did as shown above.

Close-up of some of the problem areas:

I rely on reviews before I spend money on anything.  I take time to read what people say.....especially the negative reviews.  At the same time, I know that what works for one person may not work for another.  Best to try yourself with the papers you use to see just how something might work.  Only problem.........you have to spend the money to find out :-(   I found the same problem with the Bic Crystal pens everyone raved about and I didn't much care for mainly because of the blobs.  Some ballpoints are worse than others with this issue.

We'll see how I feel when I try other papers.  To be Continued..................


While out walking Miya yesterday, Terry came across this cluster of acorns he knew I would love for sketching purposes.  Normally you find individuals laying on the ground........sometimes with caps on and sometimes not.  Might get lucky to find two and rarely three together still on a piece of limb; but, this cluster is a true find (for us anyways).

First I sketched using Procreate without color......using hatch marks for the shading.  then thought I would create a few layers of color. 

Technical and Fine Tip pen tools were used.

After I finished the sketch on the Ipad, I decided to work a few more in my journal ...... using the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook. 

Sailor Fude fountain pen and cartridge ink that came with it (water soluble) and ballpoint for shading (top two) plus two more with ink wash and watercolor (no ballpoint).  I held the pen so the nib was upside down.  For me I have better control this way.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Still On a Roll Sketching

I figure I'll run out of steam before too long with all the sketching I'm doing; but, in the meantime, I'm going with it until the next slump or "recharge" period hits.

Anytime I'm out near the water, I'm always drawn to cypress knees.  Love when seeing them in large groups as it just looks like people standing around or walking along the base of the trees.  And because there are always large and small grouped together, it reminds me of families.

While sitting at my desk, I decided to sketch a portion of a bookshelf near by.  I set up a small bookshelf to hold my finished journals....separating them from all the "work in progress" journals I have on another shelving unit behind me.  I chose to sketch part of the bottom shelf that only had a few items on it like art DVDs.  I wasn't sure how I would approach the crystal bowl with blue aquarium rocks and as I sketched, decided to just suggest it. 

2018 Inktober - Days 12 - 14

I was in the mood to sketch trees so for two of my days, that is what I worked on.  One with a bit of imagination and one more realistic.

The Cicada was out on our front porch and thought would be great subject to sketch following the trees.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Today's Ballpoint Sketches - Bear and Brown Anole

So far I've tried using the custom ballpoint pen and a cheap PaperMate stick pen.  The custom ballpoint with the refill in it may be great for writing but not so much for sketching as it seems to skip easily on some paper surfaces when sketching.  The PaperMate is a darker ink and so far seems to work just fine on paper surfaces I've used.  The only thing I have to be careful of are slight tiny blobs which do not occur very often.

This is worked in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook with the PaperMate.  Using only pen and ink.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Inktober 2018 - Days 10 and 11

Still working my Inktober sketches using Procreate.

This Was Fun and Relaxing - Ballpoint Sketching

I may have to rethink my use of fountain pens or even microns.  Where I hesitate wanting to sketch directly with either of those two type pens, I'm finding with a ballpoint, I am much more relaxed enjoying the process.  I'll have to play a bit but maybe can work the two together (ballpoint plus other type of pens).  Just not sure how oil based and dye based inks will work together as I'm still trying to understand the make-up of various inks.

I love the softness of the ballpoint.  I love the fact one can go very light and then go back darker once the initial lines are put down on paper.  The lighter lines are easy to cover and blend in even if off a bit as the drawing progresses and corrections made.  I love the soft building of values as well.  The variation in value is a major plus.  Next best thing to working with graphite and without the smudging :-D

This is using a cheap PaperMate stick 1.0 m pen with black ink.  I felt fine jumping in with the pen and throughout the drawing process.  I could probably take this further but think I'll stop here.  And I MAY take color to it but for now leaving as is.

There are some areas with little tiny blobs or pooling of ink when touching point to paper and that happened even after wiping on a paper towel.  I guess that's the one thing one has to work with using ballpoint and oil based ink (from what I'm understanding and seeing first hand).  I can handle that little bit.  Will have to experiment with different ballpoints and brands to see if one brand or type is more problematic than the other.

Worked in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Inktober 2018 - Day 9 and Extra

Inktober - Day 9

Ballpoint in Fabriano Venezia sketchbook - worked last night.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Inktober 2018 - Days 6 - 8 Plus Extra

Here are those sketches for Inktober........days 6, 7, and 8.

This one is working in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook using the Green Fude which I believe is 55 degree angle bent nib.  I find it awkward to handle compared to the Blue which is at a 40 degree angle.

Also worked in the Venezia sketchbook using a Sharpie pen.

I tend to avoid grabbing this sketchbook because of a promise I made not to use pencil before ink (in this particular sketchbook).  No matter how many times, how many challenges I work with straight on pen and ink, I'm still not comfortable doing so.  I guess as a positive..............if I want a more spontaneous and looser look, then leave the pencil out of it..........lol  However, on the negative side of that.......I don't really enjoy the process as I'm on edge the entire time my pen moves across the paper surface........often with shaky fingers that can show in my line work.  When using pencil first, I feel free and more at ease to then grab the ink pen making smoother lines.

Many say the more I do it, the more confident I'll feel.  You'd think after the last several years my challenging myself to pen/ink only, I'd start feeling that confidence.  Hmmmm......not happening yet.

This one is worked on Fabriano Artistico Soft 140 lb paper.  It's one of the gnomes in my fairy garden I recently set up.  The actual figurine holds a sign saying welcome but I chose to change it in my illustration.  And as a change of pace, I used an angular flat for painting rather than a round I normally grab.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Inktober 2018 - Day 5 and Other

Today's inktober sketch and two others I've completed.

Inktober - Day 5

Other sketches completed:

The frog is a trinket I have and decided to add a bit of creativity with the sketching supplies added.

Found three feathers outside by the car and worked this sketch adding beads for a little more interest.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Inktober 2018 Days 1-4

I've decided to go again this year with the Inktober Challenge.  This year's will be using the Procreate drawing/paint app on the Ipad (as I did last year).  I'm still trying to hone my skills with digital sketching with the brush tools I tend to favor.

When complete, I plan to print off and place in one of my fabric artist travel sketchbooks held together by the elastic bands.

Some of what I plan to do will be those prompts that jump out at me from the Inktober 2018 prompt list.  The remaining are just ideas that hit me and what interests me most.

Main Tool Brushes Used:

Fine - mainly for hatching
Technical - main sketch
Studio - when I need to emphasize an area or want to use pressure sensitive for line thickness and small areas of solid fill.
Stipple - shading or filling in an area without it being solid black.  Also pressure sensitive producing lighter and darker dots.

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