Tag: pen and ink

gnarly tree ink drawing

Starting Fresh for Spring (plus new pen and ink work)

I took a break from art for a few days to get my studio (i.e., my bedroom) in order. I wasn’t really happy with the lighting in my space, so I made a change and swapped bedrooms with my daughter. I was also struggling with clutter overload, so I took the opportunity to dispose of a lot of excess stuff and completely reorganize. The changing of the seasons seemed like the perfect time to undertake the project.

My art supplies and personal possessions are much more manageable now, but the whole job took more than two days and it was exhausting. Unlike some of the glamorous studio tours I’ve seen, my room is very plain and simple and nothing special to look at (hence, no pictures!).

One thing I love about my new setup is that my scanner is next to my desk now, so I can use it whenever I want. I didn’t have a place for it before and I had to keep it in my basement, which made scanning a real chore. I also got a new Ottlite with an attached magnifying glass (which has already been coming in handy).

After I got everything set up, I had a massive scan-a-thon and rounded up some of my recent pen and ink work to show you all. Thanks for looking and enjoy!

pen and ink nature drawing
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Ink Medley (1/20/2018). Ink in Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook.
pen and ink tree sketch drawing
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Tree Sketch (2/28/2018). Ink and rubber stamps in large moleskine.
gnarly tree ink drawing
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Gnarly Tree. Ink in large moleskine.
pen and ink tree roots
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Tree Roots. Ink in Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook.
nature sketching

Review: Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica Pen

I recently came back from a trip to Washington, DC where I got to visit a Blick store. While I was there, I got some new pens, including the Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica Pen. This is a gel pen with a metal tip and acid-free, archival, water and fade resistant ink. It comes in five sizes, from 0.3 mm to 0.8 mm. I got the 0.3 mm size to try out because I usually go for the finest lines. Below is a nature study I did in my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook using this pen.

forest lily drawing
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Forest Lily. Ink and watercolor in watercolor moleskine.

I really like this pen for the following reasons:

  • It is smooth, even on coldpress watercolor paper. I didn’t notice any skipping, ink globs, or smearing. Reviewers on the Blick website noted some issues with globbing with the larger sizes.
  • The ink is very black and the side of the pen is clear so you can easily see how much ink is left.
  • Unlike felt tip fineliners where the nib tends to relax and get larger over time, the Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica has a tungsten carbide roller ball for a consistent line.

Things about this pen that I wish were different are:

  • I wish the ink were waterproof and not just water resistant. When I used watercolor over my drawing, the bleeding was minimal, but somewhat unpredictable as some areas bled more than others.
  • I wish this pen came in other colors besides just black. I would especially like a brown or sepia colored ink.
  • I wish refills were available instead of the whole pen being disposable.

Overall, this is a great pen and perfect for throwing into my purse when I don’t want to have to worry about making sure my fountain pen is freshly inked up. I’m thinking of buying a few more in the 0.3 mm size as well as trying out some of the larger sizes.

nature sketching
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Forest Lily in Progress. Ink in watercolor moleskine.
leaves marker sketch

Free Fun Friday at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

green leaves sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Green Leaves (7/28/2017). Waterproof ink and Inktense colored pencils in large moleskine.
leaves marker sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Under the Meyer Lemon Tree (7/28/2017). Stabilo Point 88 pens in large moleskine.

At the end of July, I took a day off from my studies to go out sketching at Tower Hill’s Free Fun Friday event (free admission for the public). As a member, I had never attended this event in the past before because I can attend anytime, but this time I was supposed to meet someone from the CPSA for a day of sketching. Unfortunately, I did not realize that there would be so many people that that facility would have to close the gates because there was no more parking.

In the end, the meeting never took place, but I did get to do some sketching on my own. Many people (at least 50) can up to me and either watched over my shoulder or struck up a conversation about my art. Many people would find this kind of attention anxiety provoking, but I didn’t mind it. I actually found it rewarding to talk to the kids about keeping a sketchbook and I think many of them were really inspired. I did find that I didn’t get as much sketching done as I would like because of the interruptions. I also made some pretty mundane sketches. I tried out my new Derwent Inktense colored pencils and did some experimenting with Stabilo Point 88 markers, which are both fairly new to me.

While this was not the ideal situation for nature sketching, I think showing up at an event like this to sketch and hand out business cards would be a great marketing opportunity to try in the future.

mexican pond painting

Painting from Other People’s Travel Photos

mexican pond painting
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Exotic Swimming Hole. Ink, watercolor, and Inktense colored pencils, 7 x 5 inches.

A friend of mine took a trip to Mexico a few years ago and gave me permission to make a painting from one of his snapshots. I have been planning to make this little painting for ages now, but never got to it until now. I haven’t traveled in the past several years, but someday I would like to visit some beautiful locations and make some paintings like this in person.

I used a Pigma FB brush pen and went over it with juicy watercolor and some Inktense colored pencils. I removed all the people and buildings from the picture because I wanted a more peaceful and natural looking scene. This little painting was a lot of fun!

lake horizon sketch

One Year Ago Today: Nothing to do but Relax

lake horizon sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Slow Sketch (5/10/2016). Ink in large moleskine.

What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? -E. M. Forster

I’m looking back into my sketchbook from one year ago today. I made this little sketch while sitting on the wall by the shoreline looking out over the lake. The weather was very pleasant and I remember taking my time making the individual marks with the pen. On that day I had no commitments and nothing special to do. It was lovely.

orange butterfly drawing

Butterflies!

Over Spring Break I delved into my reference photo archive and sketched some butterflies. I have a nice collection of photos, some from the butterfly conservatory and some from outside. I tried to identify the butterflies in the last two sketches but had no luck. I did waste a few hours looking at photos of many beautiful varieties though.

swallowtail butterfly sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Swallowtail with Ragged Wings (3/4/2017). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.

orange butterfly drawing
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Orange, black, and white butterfly (3/6/2017). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Watercolor butterfly on leaf (3/8/2017). Watercolor and ink in large moleskine.
pen and ink roadside sketch

Sketching Rural Scenery

pen and ink roadside sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Roadside Sketch (8/27/2016). Pen and ink in large moleskine.
Crimson King Norway Maple sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Acer Platanoides ‘Crimson King’ (8/27/2016). Pen and ink in large moleskine.
These are some pen and ink sketches I made while sitting on the porch of a beautifully renovated old farmhouse. The late afternoon/early evening light made it a very interesting landscape to draw and observe. When I was drawing the wires (not accurately, of course), I remembered this informational blog post from James Gurney, although I didn’t recall the specifics.

spring landscape

Experiment with Bold Ink

My favorite waterproof black fineliners are Staedtler Pigment Liners and I have the four pack in the plastic case. I find that I go for the 0.01 size most often and use the 0.03 size on a limited basis. I very rarely use the larger 0.05 and 0.07. For this sketch, I decided to do the opposite and use primarily the larger sizes and the smaller sizes only for the details. I also broke out my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen which is great for laying on black areas very quickly with juicy ink.*

spring landscape

©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, View from the end of the path in springtime. Ink, watercolor and colored pencil in large moleskine.
Interestingly, I just came across this blog post from Brenda Swenson, where she discusses taking risks and trying out new things.

*I found that the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen bleeds a bit on the new moleskine paper and saturated both sides of the paper, but it did not soak through to the page underneath.

outdoor plants

Valuable Time Alone for Nature Sketching

To be alone with nature is to be one with nature. -Peter Ewart

I was able to get out of the house by myself for a few hours today. I used my time well and made three sketches. It was lovely.


garden doodle

Decorated Endpapers

garden doodle
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Garden Medley (June 2016). Faber Castell PITT Pens and gouache in large moleskine.

I’ve never decorated the front endpapers in any of my previous sketchbooks, although some people make a tradition of it. I decided to give it a try in my new moleskine, by making a series of mini sketches out in the garden over the month of June. I went outside in the evenings before it got too buggy and made a quick sketch or two using my colored PITT artist pens. I managed to capture a lot of the wild and cultivated things out there.