Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2018 Inktober - Recap

Well..........I've completed another year's Inktober challenge with a different objective than most.  Primary object was to practice hatching and other ink marks for texture, form, and value.

With this practice, I found there are certain hatching techniques I prefer over others.  I'm not a big fan of cross hatching as the diamond and square pattern that creates doesn't settle well with me unless needed to depict a particular pattern ......... like cloth.  I don't care for it to depict value unless I need near black areas.  Instead I would rather keep going over with same directional hatch marks or use stippling.  Stippling and/or tiny tick line marks are two of my favorites.

Tapping into some imagination and creativity with several of my sketches, I've come to really appreciate what illustrators face when designing anything from children's books to game characters.  A LOT of thought and work goes into that.  For me it can be a strain on the   Capturing something I see in front of me is much easier but at least if I push myself, I know now that I do have the ability to imagine and create fantasy, though they might be.  :-)

This year as mentioned in previous post(s), I grabbed my Ipad and Apple pencil to work the Inktober Challenge.  Taking it a bit further so I have a paper copy, I set my sketches up in page format to print and bind together (to be stitched with a simple pamphlet stitch) and keep in one of my fabric midori style journals.

NOW I need to decide on what I want to do for November and December.  Do I take a break or do I set myself another challenge?

Flower Arrangement

This is a loose painting inspired by my Inktober sketch I worked from a pattern on my night shirt. 

Strathmore 500 watercolor paper.

Also brought out my smaller natural brushes I haven't played with in a very long time.....this painting using a Silver Black Velvet #6 round.   Feels so strange compared to the synthetics and water brushes I've been using. 

2018 Inktober - Final Day

This says it all.......

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Loosening Up a Bit and Some Color

After all the sketches I've worked for Inktober, I needed to loosen up a bit and play with some color.

Worked on a scrap piece of Strathmore 500 watercolor paper...

This next is working in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook both in color and with ballpoint.  Just messing around.

2018 Inktober - Day 30

Today's Inktober sketch - Painted rocks I did last year set up in a basket with a washcloth nest.  Representing types of coffee and caffeine content :-)

Monday, October 29, 2018

2018 Inktober - Days 23 - 29

Throughout the Inktober challenge, I have primarily worked in just black and white.   Although I love just pen and black ink, now and then I find I need to see some color.    :-)

Only two more days........

Monday, October 22, 2018

2018 Inktober - Days 20-22

Catching up with posting my daily Inktober sketches:

Pattern from one of my night shirts:

Couldn't resist this next one placing one of my mini bears in a bottle I have (not literally).

Using one of my dragon trinkets, representing headaches I get all the time.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Knobby Gourd Practice

Several days ago I stopped at a Church where they have pumpkins set up from an Organization called The Pumpkin Patch.  Proceeds go towards the Church and the Elementary School nearby.

I picked up a star shaped gourd and on this page practicing how to capture the knobby looking bumps on it.

Not sure how long this thing will last before getting soft or rotting out as I know nothing about gourds.  I just think they are so neat looking with all the various shapes and colors.

Using a Micron 005 in my Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.

Free Fruit for Kids Program

Yesterday my sister shared where her Kroger's grocery store had a fruit display set up offering kids free fruit.  I thought that was a fantastic idea generating my desire to sketch about it.

After some research this morning (after I worked my journal page), I learned that not all Kroger stores participate in this program.  I also learned they are not the only grocery chain to offer this.  Giant Food, Safeway,  Piggly Wiggly, Target and several other chains (I'm not familiar with) also participate in this program but depends on location.

And from various sources I've read, this program looks to have been started sometime back in 2016 with more and more stores popping up joining in with the program since then.

Kudos to all those places who DO offer this for our children!!  :-)

Friday, October 19, 2018

What Motivates You With Your Art?

Although I try to sketch every day, there are spells I hit where I just don't feel like it or life gets in the way of doing so.  With me......if I let those spells drag out, I tend to find excuses not to get started back into it. 

To help motivate myself, I set several goals each year and look for various times/opportunities I know will help re-ignite that spark if in a slump.  These are not in any specific order or importance.

The 365 Sketch a Year Goal - Rather than making this too rigid to allow for days life gets in the way or I just don't feel up to sketching, I set a 365 sketch per year goal versus sketching every day for 365 days.

I met this particular goal by the end of May :-)

Monthly Goal Between Friends - This one is where a friend/sister in the UK and I alternate months setting a monthly goal.  We decide subject and normally require at least six illustrations in various mediums each month.  So far I've been able to keep up with only two months remaining.

Inktober - I always look forward to October for this challenge.  I may not follow the prompt list but I like the challenge of producing an ink sketch each day of the month.  The purpose for me is to hone my skills with hatching and cross hatching or other means of producing form and tone values within a sketch (like stippling).  This includes digital sketching.

Sketchcrawls with Friends - During the cooler months we try to schedule about 4 outings a month.  During the hotter months, we strive for at least 2 outings a month.  Most I have participated but there have been several due to health reasons that kept me from physically going out.  But even if I don't go out, I still try to sketch something of the place scheduled from photos I've taken from previous outings at the same locations.

Testing New and Old Supplies - Nothing motivates me like learning about new materials.  I love testing and playing with new papers, new pens, new inks, etc. etc.  AND if nothing new, I'll bring out materials and supplies that tend to take a backseat to my normal choices color pencils, pastel pencils, watercolor pencils, NeoColor II Crayons, etc.

Recording Gifts, Keepsakes, and Other Treasures - Anytime I receive a gift or one of the family members finds something out and about they think I'd like to sketch, I try to record them in one of my journals. 

I'm also a big kid at heart with stuffed animals calling out to me to sketch and paint from time to time.  Even those I've had for years.  They all have sentimental value which makes them special to sketch when nothing else strikes my fancy.

Difficult/Challenging Subjects -  From time to time I like to set personal challenges to face my fears with certain subjects I tend to multi petal flowers, facial features, people in general, etc.  Another subject is buildings (except old barns) because all the detail boggles my brain.  I try to challenge myself to work through all the detail but have to be in the right frame of mind to do so.

One such challenge I've done a couple of times is Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Ink Challenge.  It may be time to do it again because I still don't feel comfortable jumping in with pen only.  Eventually I MIGHT get past that (or not).  :-)

Helping Someone Out - This is another major motivator for me.  If I learn someone is struggling with a particular subject or medium, there's something inside of me that wants to try and help if I can.  Maybe work through on my own taking camera shots or scans and sometimes videos of my process hoping it might help another person out. 

Mental/Emotional Therapy - When I need to focus on something positive or to release myself from stress and turmoil and sometimes physical pain, I look to and try to lose myself in my journals.......if I can.  If I can concentrate on a drawing, it's a sweet escape for a little while.

New Places - I don't get out too often but when I do, I love to record places I've been.  Most often from photos I take for the purpose of sketching/painting later at home. 

Social Media, Blogs, Art Websites, Books, Videos - Even when I'm in an actual slump, I spend hours every day looking at what others have done.  I follow certain art groups on Facebook, search the web for artists and their works, maybe grab a book off my shelf, view a DVD or check out YouTube watching others work through their sketches and paintings (tutorials).  I don't think there's a day that goes by I don't have sketching and painting on my

And now that I've mentioned what helps motivate me, here are those situations that do not:

Special Requests and Commissions - Asking me to paint or sketch a particular subject someone wants me to do to especially include adding a $$ amount to it.  I just won't do it.  I'm happy to share something I've already done as a gift but as soon as a $$ amount is mentioned or a special request is made, I avoid it like the plague.

Competitions and Shows - This is something I just won't subject myself to.  It's too stressful and for me takes the joy out of wanting to do any type of artwork.  I already struggle in the confidence department so to subject my work being judged and/or thank you.  Been there, experienced that and one major reason I changed to keeping artist journals instead of full size drawings and paintings.  I no longer feel I have to try to impress or please anyone but myself.  By working in a journal, I'm free to do what I want, how I want......and learning to accept and even embrace my imperfections.  The only judge I have to be concerned with is my inner critic and I've finally learned to tell it to back

Prompt Lists - I'm just not one who enjoys following a prompt list.  I don't like trying to decide what to sketch that fits that particular prompt.  Instead something has to call out to me and I never know from day to day what that might be.  If something doesn't interest me at that moment, I just can't bring myself to bother.

When I'm Really Sick - I just want to sleep.........ha ha.

2018 Inktober - Days 18 and 19

This one is thinking of my youngest granddaughter.  When she was last here, she left behind this little stuffed monkey.  My Granddaughter's nickname by her dad is Monkey.  As long as this guy is sitting around, I feel Morgan is here with me instead of over 900 miles away.

Printed out on watercolor background:

And of course, using Opal as a model representing the

Adding a layer of color:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Back to Some Watercolor Sketches

Hubby brought in a couple of rose hips for me to sketch.  I have yet to see red rose hips as other people paint.............maybe one day I'll actually come across some other than green or brown.

Using Strathmore 500 paper - as noted on page, I started out with a fountain pen and had to change to the Sharpie pen due to how long the ink was taking to dry from the Sailor Fude.

Also on Strathmore 500 paper, using Sharpie pen.  I have gnomes on the brain after creating two gnome gardens :-D

2018 Inktober - Days 15-17

This catches me up to date with the Inktober challenge.  :-D

From seeing the moss that hangs in our tree....

Back to a little imagination....

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

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 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.

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