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Another Look at the Handbook Watercolor Journal

Things change over time. It’s a fact when you use art materials. Papers may be made for 400 years at a mill, but over your lifetime any paper you change will have subtle if not significant changes. The same is true for paints, and brushes. Some ingredients for paints might become scarce or no longer […]


Working in the Smooth Zeta Soft-bound Journal from Stillman & Birn

A couple months ago I picked up a Stillman & Birn Soft Cover Zeta Book. I don’t use Stillman & Birn books. I don’t care for the way they make their hardcover books and their papers are either too lightweight, or in other ways not responsive to the way I work. With so many other […]

Portrait 1

Making A Color Chart To Test My 2017 Fall Watercolor Box

Recently I purchased the new fall Schmincke Pan Watercolor Set at Wet Paint. This contains different colors than the one I purchased in the spring, added colors to, and then took to the Minnesota State Fair. While recovering from bronchitis I had some time on my hands so I decided to make a color chart […]

8 x 10 inch pen and watercolor sketch on Fluid 100 140 Hot Press watercolor paper using the Molotow masking pen. You can see areas where I applied mask in the bandana, beard, and shirt. I was using the 4mm tip (I couldn't find the finer tip) and working loosely. If you want finer lines you can  purchase a refilled and use a toothpick, brush, or other tool, to apply this liquid mask.

Useful Tools: The Molotow Grafx Art Masking Liquid Pump Marker

If you paint in watercolor, inks, or acrylics, chances are at some point you’ve tried to mask something off so that you could retain the white of your paper, or an earlier color that you had laid down.  Artists use lots of products for masking—tape is the obvious one, especially if you want to create […]


Different Types of Brush Pens for Different Results

I write lots of posts about the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and the various squeezy barreled brush Pens that Pentel makes. The beauty of those pens is the real brush tip with synthetic hairs. These individual hairs allow you to get broken strokes that play up the texture of the paper and add an emotional […]

My friend Terri Wentzka took this photo of me as I sketched a turkey at the Fair, using my portable "table." The entire table is attached to a monopod. The brush holder is in the top right corner of the table.

Making a Simple Brush Holder for Your Travel Brushes

This year at the Fair I wanted to use real brushes with water, not water brushes, when painting.  Since I stand when I sketch it meant I had to have a way to put all my supplies and journal on one work surface. Dick and I made up a prototype “travel table” using plastic corrugated […]

The pan holder base that is removeable from the box. Notice that there is more space from the edge of one of the holders to the edge of the base than on the left. By sawing off the edge on the left I increased the distance on the right, allowing me to friction fit additional pans in that channel when the base was positioned in the box. The pans were held between the edge of the metal strip and the box edge on the left (when the base was in place). Because of the rounded corners in the box this allowed 5 additional pans to fit. So three rows of seven half pans and one row of five half pans mean I could fit 26 half pans into this box.

Fitting More Pans in a Square Metal Palette from Schmincke

As the Minnesota State Fair approaches of course I’ve been testing pigments and making choices on what gear I’ll be taking to the Fair for sketching. Today I’m posting about adapting my favorite metal palette box to contain more pans of paint—because sometimes you need more pans. I’ve been a fan of the Schmincke metal […]


Project Friday: A Bit More on Brush Pens

To wrap up Brush Pen week I was going to go on an on about the brush pen some more, but I realized that in 2015 I wrote a post that includes a video on brush pens from Jet Pens as well as a bunch of links to various brush pen posts in my blog. […]

12 x 16 inch quick sketch with the Pentel Brush Pen with pigmented ink (squeezy barrel) and watercolors.  This is on Nostalgie paper from Hahnemühle.

Thoughts on The Issues Involved in Using Brush Pens

If you’ve never used a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (PPBP) before getting it going might be a little confusing at first. You need to unscrew the top from the barrel and insert the Pentel ink cartridge. There is a little cylindrical opening at one end of the cartridge. That’s the top. You need to push […]

This portrait was also made using the water-soluble color brush. I love the way you can pull shading out of the line. Sometimes I stroke the tip of the brush pen with my water brush and pick up diluted ink so that I can apply shading without a line on the paper.

My Love Affair with the Pentel Brush Pen

I love the brush pen so much that I write about it almost constantly. Every so often I make a concerted effort to get people to try it. That’s what this week is about. My blog posts are all brush-pen related. I’d like to begin by mentioning that I didn’t always like the brush pen. […]

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