Cafe Sketch

A quick sketch with some added watercolour from a cafe stop today. I still struggle with the idea of only adding highlights with watercolour rather than ‘colouring in’ my sketches.

Coffee drinkers at the Italian Bakery, pen and ink and watercolour, 12 May 2015

Coffee drinkers at the Italian Bakery, pen and ink and watercolour, 12 May 2015

What I was really happy with when I made this sketch, was the performance of my modified Duke 209 fountain pen. Despite making progress in getting a thicker line with the modifications I’d made several weeks ago, the ink flow overall was still poor and very intermittent. The brand of ink I was using (Windsor and Newton Calligraphy Ink) was drying up between the ink cartridge and the nib. I was at the point of chucking the pen out but decided that maybe the problem was the ink not the pen! I put Noodlers Bulletproof Black into the cartridge and right away the ink was flowing. The ink has kept flowing even when I don’t use the pen for several days. I’d like to also pass on a tip I saw on someone’s video clip (possibly one from The Pen Habit) of turning the pen over and drawing with the top of the nib to get those fine lines – weird but it works. If this pen continues to deliver as it did today I’ll be very happy indeed.

Fountain pen fever, it’s contagious!

I think I’m succumbing to the early stages of a sadly common sketching phenomenon, the urge to collect fountain pens. It started innocently enough. I saw some drawings I liked made using a fountain pen and before I thought about it there was my first black Lamy Safari. It was lovely to draw with and soon became indispensable. Then I lost it! A desperate trip to the local pen shop and I was able to secure a bright yellow replacement – all the harder to lose – so I hope.

Then came the inks, you know what happened. Not content with what came with the pen I started researching what inks other people were using. Noodlers Bulletproof was the ink I kept hearing about, particularly the Bulletproof black which is considered to be the one waterproof pigment ink that can be used in my fountain pen, without clogging it up irreparably. One problem, apparently the Australian supplier isn’t supplying anymore, so I had to check out online suppliers from overseas. So now here I am with three bottles of Noodlers inks.

Noodler's inks testing, Black, the just about unpronounceable Squeteague and La Reine Mauve

Noodler’s inks testing, Black, the just about unpronounceable Squeteague and La Reine Mauve

Now I was a bit surprised and not a bit disappointed that the Black and the Squeteague did show some bleeding when I washed some water over them. La Reine Mauve, which was the ‘freshest’ at the time of testing, did no such thing (good breeding will out!).

Hooray! my Black Lamy Safari pen has been found hiding in a dark crevice under some books. Now I have two fountain pens going at the same time. I filled the second pen with La Reine Mauve, as I thought it would be a more ‘useable’ colour than the jade-green Squeteague. You’d think that would be enough, but then I began reading blogs about pens with ‘fude’ or bent nibs. Before I knew it I had purchased a Duke 209 stainless steel pen with the ‘fude’ nib. It’s OK I say, it’s not at all expensive on E-bay.

Now the Duke pen comes with its own blue ink which shades towards a deep violet.  A bit odd but not too bad, if I was going to write with it. So next time I’m at the art supply shop I just have a cruise past the ink display and the next thing I know I’m heading out the door with two more bottles of ink. This time it’s Windsor and Newton Calligraphy ink in Indian Red and Sepia. Both of these colours have the advantage of being ones that I use in my watercolour palette, so I’m sure I’ll be more comfortable drawing with them.

Windsor and Newton calligraphy inks, Indian Red and Sepia and the Duke 209 fude nib using the blue ink cartridge it comes with

Windsor and Newton calligraphy inks, Indian Red and Sepia and the Duke 209 fude nib using the blue ink cartridge it comes with

So now I have three fountain pens to play with. I plan to stop there for a while and spend some time getting to know and use what I have already. Fingers crossed!

 

 

 

Cafe Wednesday – going postal

It’s that time of the week again, back to the cafe, this time with watersoluble pencils. I’ve been really happy using my watersoluble graphite, but that relies on using brushes which doesn’t allow for the quick lines I’m trying to use. So after checking out some of the gear being used by the other sketchers in our first sketchcrawl it was off to the art supply shop and away with some Derwent Watersoluble Sketching pencils.

Testing the Derwent watersoluble sketching pencils

Testing the Derwent watersoluble sketching pencils

We bought a 6 tin which has 2 of each HB, 4B and 8B, which are designated light, medium and dark wash. This suited us well as my partner and I could split the tin and get one set of pencils each. An added bonus was the tin itself which my partner has snaffled to use to carry his pencils and other bits around in.

So here is my first sketch using the pencils. There is also some other colour from my Duke fountain pen, but that’s another story for another post.

Post box and advertising signs, watersoluble pencil and ink, 11 February 2015

Post box and advertising signs, watersoluble pencil and ink, 11 February 2015