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I have a small clearer's caddy—the type of handled open-topped case that people who clean efficiently (professionals and other efficient folks) use to carry their cleaning products and tools from one room to the next. These are available in hardware and home stores, as well as online. This one cost about US$ 8. I cut stiff cardboard dividers to insert into the two main wells. These are held in place with tape on both sides so that they don't move. (See the side of the white pen area.) By keeping similar colors together I can reach quickly for a new pen as needed. Because the caddy is a caddy it has a handle (center piece as you look down). I can pick it up and move from room to room with my markers and use them anywhere I want. (Center partition on the topside contains masking and washi tapes for a project I was working on.)

Storing My Montana Acrylic Markers

I am frequently asked how I store my Montana Acrylic Markers. As you can see from the photo I use a cleaner’s caddy.  I cut stiff cardboard dividers to insert into the two main wells. These dividers are held in place with tape on both sides so that they don’t move. (See the side of […]

Mixed media sketch on Zeta—Pentel Dye-based brush pen, water brush, watercolor, acrylic marker background and collage. On most smooth papers I've used the dye-based ink of this particular Pentel brush pen lifts off well and creates interesting effects. That wasn't the case on this paper. Lifting this water-soluble ink on this paper was problematic and even gentle attempts led to pilling of the surface.

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

Today is part four of a multi-part series on the Stillman & Birn (S&B) smooth surface Zeta journals. You can read part one here. This post deals with some mix-media approaches and some pros and cons I discovered about this paper. You can read part two here. In this post I write a bit  more […]

Using the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush pen in FB on the smooth Zeta paper. The lines are crisp, the pen is a bit draggy on this surface.

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

This is part two of a multi-part review of the Stillman & Birn (SB) Smooth Zeta Soft-bound journal. You can see part one here. Today I wanted to look at two approaches for which the smooth heavyweight Zeta is suited. Mixed Media Because of its weight the paper is particularly suited to collage and mixed […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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. […]

Here's a detail of the test sketch. Look for the great granulation of the Cobalt Azure.

A New Square Paint Palette From Schmincke

I can’t help myself, my favorite palette box is the Schmincke Square pan box. Since 2000, I’ve been using them for my larger travel palettes of watercolor and gouache—filling them with the paints I want to use. Then for a long time the square box hasn’t been available. (I’ve actually been afraid of loosing my existing […]

Saying Good-bye To Rubber Stamping?

Left: Six stacks of drawers and a couple boxes of materials waiting for the pick up. (Materials on the table are from an aborted trip I couldn't take because of an injury—I didn't even worry about putting that stuff away, I was that focused on sending the stamps to their new home.) The boxes contain the […]

Links of Possible Interest: Supplies at Wet Paint and a Gigapan of the 30 Birds in 30 Days Show

A Gigapan view of 30 Birds in 30 Days and a link to my art materials recommendations at Wet Paint

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Speaking of Pigeons: My First Visit to this Year’s State Fair

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Above: No this isn't a pigeon, this is my first sketch on my first trip to this year's Minnesota State Fair. I walked into the Swine barn at 10:52 a.m. (running late) and met this pig, who was napping, but kept opening his eye and twirling his ears around, listening to all the barn sounds. A 9 x 7 inch, 300 lb. hot press Fabriano Artistico journal card, with Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils used dry. I was just getting used to this card size and these pencils on this paper. I wasn't really interested in drawing the pen as the light strokes there suggest, but the pig looked like it was floating, without that. I miss my definitive ink lines, but I pushed forward because I love experiements and a challange. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Yesterday I did make it to the Fair to test out my new selection of materials. As mentioned in the caption above, I decided this year to go with pencils and not use pens for sketching. This still seems very odd to me, but after the above warm up sketch, I had some good moments. The main difficulty for me is that at 9 x 7 the card size is a bit too large for me when working with pencil. I need to fill up the space quickly and the pencil doesn't do that, the way I use pencils. We'll see, as we move into other visits I may come to love these cards.

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