Stabilo Tone (AKA Woody) Zoo Tests

July 30, 2009


Above: The Lesser Kudu at Como Zoo and Conservatory, St. Paul, MN. Stabilo Tone (Woody) sketch on "The Great Canadian Sketchbook" paper, 9 x 12 inches. (There is some deliberate smudging around the face, he has a bit of a double chin thing going on.)

Since Sunday of this week I have been posting about Stabilo Tones, a now defunct art product—giant, fat watersoluble wax crayon in a wooden pencil body—that I love, but which is now available in only 12 or so colors as "the Woody." (And those colors do not include the grays I was using to draw dogs with earlier in the week! None of my favorite colors, except a dark blue and a purple have survived in the slimmed down line).


Left: if someone shows up on Sunday with their pet Giraffe I just might be able to fake it—the baby giraffe at the Como zoo sketched with a blue Stabilo Woody on the smooth paper (9 x 12 inches) of "The Great Canadian Sketchbook."

Well I've been deciding whether or not to use these pencils to sketch with on Sunday when I'll join two other artists at Wet Paint to sketch the pets that stop by during "Paws on Grand." Today, Liz (one of the other artists) and I went to Como to try out our materials.

What have I decided?

I know I'm committed to the 9 x 12 inch page size so I can focus on shapes and not detail. As to taking this larger sketchbook or larger sheets of paper to the State Fair (an additional consideration) I'm undecided. It was more stuff to carry around, and I needed a bigger backpack—at the Fair I'll have to put my paper away when I am eating! Do I like having something pull on my shoulders? (Usually I take a fanny pack and 5 x 7 or 4 x 6 inch journal cards.)

090729SpiderMonkRawCro' Right: my quick sketch (and you have to be ultra quick with the Spider Monkeys) of a Spider Monkey hanging, arm obviously extends out of frame above, body to the right; I think she must have been pregnant she had quite a large belly. Blue Stabilo Woody on smooth paper in "the Great Canadian Sketchbook." (9 x 12 inches.)

Do I like the paper in "the Great Canadian Sketchbook" for the Stabilo Tones? At first I didn't like working on this paper with the Stabilo Tones. It isn't as great as the Kunst & Papier soft-covered journal I used for those dog sketches (that paper was killer with this medium), but I got used to it and could live with it.

The drawings on Sunday will all have to be blue because I don't like any of the other Woody colors! I like to draw in blue so that's no problem for me, but judging on the reactions of some other folks blue is a bit of a hang up. Hmm. Well as I mentioned to Liz, if people don't like their free pet portraits we can always give them a complete refund!

Liz was working with the Stabilo All which I wrote about last week. She did an adorable sketch of a Spider Monkey that didn't look like a Dr. Seuss character!

090729LastMonkeyCropAlt Left: Sketch of another monkey variety, but this time using a Stabilo All which is a watersoluble wax colored pencil, which you can sharpen to a fine point like other pencils, allowing a finer line. Still in the 9 x 12 inch "The Great Canadian Sketchbook." Click on the image to view an enlargment.

I had a couple Stabilo All pencils (blue and brown) in my pocket just in case I wanted to have a sharper point to work with. I did my final two sketches of a monkey with a copper forehead and white chin and neck (didn't write down what he was—this sketching isn't as fun as journaling for me, I write a lot of interesting things down when I journal).

I found those sketches the most satisfying for me. I was ready, by that time for a finer line, and this monkey, while he didn't sit still for long, didn't jump around continuously like the Spider Monkeys. I like the unfinished nature of the sketch. It contains what I want and no more. It reminded me of all the fun I used to have when I got to draw Dottie every day.

Yep I really like the way the Stabilo All works on the smooth paper from "The Great Canadian Sketchbook," so I just might switch to that. And as we were packing up to head home Liz and I both admitted we'd have the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen in our pockets, just in case.

Oh, Jon Harl was kind enough to write in and warn me about Stabilo Alls getting melty in the heat when he used them in his work outside. Since it didn't get much more than 80 degrees F. if that, and we tended to stand in the shade, or in buildings where some animals were housed, my Stabilo All was just fine. I did notice that the Woodys tended to get a little slicker in application and this is something I need to think about for the State Fair. It can get quite warm in August in Minnesota, and it can get really warm in the State Fair barns! Thanks to Jon I'll be thinking about this in advance.

If you're in town, swing by Wet Paint on Sunday and have me sketch your pet! You'll find out what I decided to use.

  1. Reply

    AWESOME sketches and I really appreciate your thoughtful discussion of the *sob* now unavailable Tones… I must try not to hoard the colours I have left!

    I think the blue sketches work well, and anyone who whinges about their pet portrait being blue doesn’t deserve one!

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