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Zoo Time: Touching Wonder

How I started the New Year.

Choosing a Pen for Writing (and Sketching) in Your Visual Journal

In this post I take a look at the pens I use and which papers I use them on, and why.


Commercially Made Sketchbooks: Hand•book Journals


Above: ©2009 Roberta Avidor. This New York City view of water towers atop buildings is from the visual journal Roberta keeps in a Hand•book Journal. Here she sketches with a black Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer Aquarelle colored pencil and Sennelier pan watercolors. (This sketch is from a large-sized journal which is around 6 x 9 inches.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Today we have fabulous GUEST ART! Eye candy. The images in today’s post are by one of my favorite artists, my friend Roberta Avidor. She is an illustrator of immense talent. She has a quick sense of humor and is kind and supportive. She keeps one of the most visually stunning visual journals I’ve ever seen. Along with her husband Ken, she is great fun on sketch outs. (Ken also keeps an amazing visual journal. He was my first Profile Friday.) You can see more of her work at her website and here.


Better News than Yesterday

Left: A lightfast test of some black ink pens—Pentel Tradio Fountain Pen, Staedtler Pigment Liner (which I knew was lightfast but threw it on as a sort of test of my test; and it was an almost dried out pen that I grabbed to make my swatch); the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (ditto about knowing it wouldn't fade); a Payne's Gray Koh-I-nor Nexus Studio Pens (which I tested because sometimes companies are great at making black inks lightfast but not color ones; sure enough this company is great at both). Click on the image for an enlargement. There was no fading on any of these inks.

I know yesterday was a bit tough, all that fading, all those thoughts of hours spent creating artwork that isn't going to look the same in about, oh a week (just kidding); but you get the idea.

Today I remembered to post a test with a happier result. The caption above lists the various pens I was testing. I purchased them all at Wet Paint in St. Paul, but the links I've provided so you can see photos, are from other vendors. You decide (we know I want you to buy locally from WP!).


Quality Time


Left: Sketches of Sophie, from my journal. (Journal page 6.25 x 9.25; spread 12.5 inches wide.) Sophie is a long-haired black dachshund. Trying to find the body parts under all that fluffy hair is a challenge. She has a very long, thin muzzle. I was just finishing her rump when the pups brought their wrestling nearby and landing on her, causing her to move. "What do you do now?" asked Jackie, who was sitting next to me. "Start another drawing," I said smiling. That really isn't any hardship. (Initially I wrote Sophie with an "f" because I know someone who spells her name that way. On top of the recto page there is a little sketch of Buster's butt that didn't get developed because he moved, and moved, and moved;  but he has a perfect little stance and a wonderful pattern of tan meeting the black on his rear and his hind legs. Another time.) Nexus Ebony Black pen on Nideggen paper. Click the image to see an enlargement.

Friday night I had dinner with a group of friends. A few years ago the five of us tried to get together to discuss books on a monthly basis, but one or the other of us would always not read the book (typically it was me; I read a lot but I like to read what I want to read, and it feels too much like graduate school to have to talk about a book; I failed miserably at “book club”) so now we just get together. Good food (we all bring a part of the dinner) and good conversation. That suits me. (Some people still talk about books they’ve been reading and I add those books to my list.)

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