Currently Browsing: Niji Waterbrush 9 articles


Sketch Night at the Bell in March

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Pentel’s Aquash Brush Pigment Ink Filled Brush

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Minnesota State Fair Prep—#7: Sketching Animals (or People) at the Fair

050829CCow Left: Sketch of a cow from my 2005 State Fair Journal. Pen sketch with gouache wash on prepainted 8 x 8 inch square cards made of 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper. This cow was in the birthing barn and I stood on bleachers to look down into its pen. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This post continues the Minnesota State Fair Prep Series begun on August 12.

Everyone who knows me knows that the big draw for me about the State Fair (no pun intended) is the way you can get up close and personal with the animals and sketch them. There are huge barns filled with pens and stalls, each filled with animals competing to be the best in their category.

Everyone who knows me also knows I’m a carnivore (just take me out for barbequed ribs if you want to understand what this means). Yes I am sketching animals that I eat. I don’t have a problem with this. If you do, please stop reading and come back to my blog on another day. (Some of my friends are vegetarians. I was a vegetarian for 18 months once. It isn’t going to happen again. I deal with my carnivore nature and my love of animals by asking questions and by supporting humane farming practices.)

I have a great deal of respect for Minnesota farmers. They work hard, in difficult situations, to create a living for their families, supply quality food for the country’s citizens, and deal with the vagaries and risks of farm life. I have had wonderful conversations with farmers about how they work, how they raise animals and crops. When I am at the Fair and talking to them I believe my role is to listen and learn. In all the years I have been going to the Fair I have never met a farmer who didn’t respect his animals. I have been privileged to hear stories about families who have farmed for generations.


Jury Duty


Above: The first page spread I completed during my recent stint in the jury pool. I was working in a journal I made with Nideggen paper (6.5 x 8.5 inches, approx), using a fresh .1 Staedtler Pigment Liner, and Schmincke Gouache in light washes (with the Niji waterbrush). The gentleman on the verso page was sleeping when I walked in. He was snoring loudly, alternating between wet and dry noises. I worried about sleep apnea! Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Last week I had jury duty. For a self-employed person this can be quite a juggling act. For me it meant working doubly hard the previous 3 weeks to clear time. (It’s one of the reasons I don’t take vacations.) Despite having always been a registered voter I had never been called before. I was always glad of this because of work, and because of the dogs (who were used to me being around 24/7 and could have been left alone, but would have been disgruntled). When my summons came my first thought was, well at least I’ll get it over with before the cycling season starts! (I was determined to be positive.)


SketchCrawl in the Twin Cities

Left: Penguin at the Como Zoo from one of my journals. Just one of the many subjects you'll have available if you join us on the SketchCrawl. Click the image to view an enlargement.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 is the next scheduled SketchCrawl.

What is SketchCrawl?  It's a world-wide drawing marathon event founded by Enrico Casarosa. It's held all over, wherever even just one sketcher goes out to sketch. If you aren't in the Twin Cities and want to organize something in your area see how to participate here

Ken and Roberta Avidor and I have been talking about getting a group together to participate in the Twin Cities. It looks like we have some interested folks: we pitched it to the MCBA Visual Journal Collective last night before the meeting started.

So here's our plan. If you are a sketcher in the Twin Cities area and want to join us, please do. You don't have to be a member of the Collective, and you don't have to do anything more than have a desire to sketch out in public, have some fun, and, well for our event, enjoy cake, but more on that in a moment.


It Only Takes A Moment

Left: 2-minute brush sketch of a bunny sitting at the far end of the yard. Schmincke gouache with a Niji waterbrush, on Velin Arches (formerly Arches Text Wove) paper, 6.5 x 8 inch (approx) journal. Click on the image to see an enlargement. (The text was written with a Staedtler Pigment Liner after the bunny hopped away.)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, over and over, because it's good for me to hear it too. It only takes a moment to make a journal entry!

Yesterday after running errands I looked out the window and saw a bunny sitting happily in the dwindling sunlight. I wasn't sure how long it would stay there and it was too far away, and back lit, for me to get clear details, but I ran to get my gouache palette and Niji Waterbrush and just painted a quick impression in my journal, in less than 2 minutes. You always have time for that.


A Trip to the Allergist’s


Above: Journal spread sketched in the Allergist's office while I was waiting the obligatory 30 minutes after my allergy shots. Page size is approx. 6 x 8 inches; spread 12 x 8 inches. Click on the image for an enlargement.

Yesterday marked the end of a crazy week. I was looking forward to a relaxing time at the Allergist's sketching in the waiting room—but there weren't any people there. Finally a lovely young woman appeared, but she kept getting up and disappearing. (When you are in the injection waiting room you look through a small doorway into the main waiting room and your view is limited. People walk in and out of the "frame," so to speak. I ended up having to write more notes than I usually do on such a visit, to fill up my time.)

A couple notes about the spread:


Pentel Brush Pens: The Pocket Brush and the Color Brush


Above the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and the Pentel Color Brush (top, gray cap; the cap color denotes ink color). Note that the orange tape around the Pocket Brush Pen is just something I do to identify old pens from their younger siblings.

I get a lot of questions about which Pentel brush pen I am using. Consequently I try to always be specific when I post a journal page using one of these tools on my website journal postings

This post is my attempt to be even more crystal clear about these two pens and their attributes so that if you are interested in trying a brush pen you can know exactly what you are getting, and what results or working capabilities you can expect.


Journaling in the Cold


Left: Outdoor sketch at 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Carved lion head beneath a window sill, Pipestone, MN, 2004. (One of my prepainted background-watercolor paper cards I used on this trip.) Click on the image to enlarge.

It has definitely turned cold here in Minnesota. This morning (12.09.08 is when I’m actually writing this) there is a glorious blue sky but it’s only 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of a 14 mph wind the weather man is telling me it feels like 2. We’ve also had some snow so it is quite lovely outside.

Still it is interesting to note that it is warmer in Base Arturo Pratt (Antarctica) today than it is here: 37. Of course it’s the start of their summer. (Oh, and why do I know the temperature at Base Arturo Pratt? Well I keep it on my desk along with other places I have either visited and want to return to like Paris, or places I want to go, like BAP.)

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