Swingin’ The Dream

Another page from my sketchbook, created as part of Liz Steel‘s excellent Sketchbook Design course. Went on a run and saw a makeshift outdoors synagogue in the park. Prayers take place outside now, as we’re in lockdown number three.

Saw an RSC and Young Vic production about “Swingin’ the Dream” a 1939 musical that had a star studded cast and seemingly checked all the boxes for success (jazz musicals and Shakespeare were popular at the time, so why not create a mashup of the two?), yet tanked and was canned after only 13 performances. What is fascinating isn’t just the failure itself, but that there is so little evidence of the musical ever existing. A musical number and a Pyramus and Thesbe scene are all that is left. The evening I saw was a one off, but it piqued my curiosity enough for me to want to learn more and see more about it. You can read more about the production here and here.

Material list: Stillman & Birn A5 Beta, Schminke watercolours, Lamy Safari (medium and fine nibs), Lamy Joy 1.1 nib, Noodler’s Lexington Grey and Noodler’s Black.

Oranges, Bananas and maison kayser

A sketch of an orange, a banana, a narcissus flowering, Maison Kayser and a Viennoise au Chocolat
Bananas, orange, narcissus and Viennoise – an eclectic page

This page, created for Liz Steel‘s Sketchbook Design course, is about secondary sketches and borders, and has a little hidden colour block in it. The original spread was a little lacklustre and disjointed. The Viennoise in the corner looked particularly sad. Adding a secondary sketch of the Maison Kayser bakery (where I bought it), with a touch of blue and bluish grey to the background really brought it to life.

The bananas and orange got a shadow which serves more as a grey colour block, making their warm colours more prominent. Adding borders in Noodler’s Lexington Grey (to the bananas and orange watercolour) and Noodler’s Black (to the narcissus) was the final touch that pulled this page together.

I’m enjoying the course very much, even though the past two weeks have been personally hectic. I’ve been working on a short story to submit to a competition (got it done in time and accepted), and some bad news regarding the health of a family member have meant less sketching time than I would have liked. Hopefully the coming weeks will be better.

By the way, the local branch of Maison Kayser, in Tel Aviv’s port (I haven’t visited the Rothschild one yet), is excellent. Their vanilla chocolate chip danish, sandwiches, and baguettes are sublime, and it’s a fun place to visit. They had the misfortune of opening after the pandemic started, but they seem to be managing well, so I think we’ll be seeing them around for a good while yet.

Drawn on a Stillman & Birn Beta, with Lamy fountain pens, Noodler’s ink and Schminke watercolours.

comfort pasta

Comfort Pasta Sketchbook Page

I think that there’s nothing better than plain pasta or pasta with a little cheese if you’re not feeling your best: it’s perhaps the ultimate comfort food.
I created this page as part of my Sketchbook Design course with Liz Steel, and this one is all about exploring how to use text as part of my page design. Gave Rohrer & Kilngner Helianthus ink a spin, which is also something that I decided to experiment with. Like many yellow/orange inks it tends to crystallize on the nib and feed, so I’m “sacrificing” a Pelikan Pelikano for the effort. Pelikanos are great beginners pens that don’t get much love in the community probably because they are less ubiqutous than Lamy Safaris and their standard nib offering is a Pelikan medium which is very wide. If you’re an artist I recommend purchasing one (with a converter), as they have less tendency to dry out (with permanent inks) than Lamy Safaris and they indestructible workhorses that have very smooth (and wide) nibs.

Drawing made with Schmincke watercolours on a Stillman & Birn Beta which I’m still on the fence about. It’s better than the Alpha for watercolour washes, but it’s still not great, and it’s not great for pen and ink or fineliners. Also the glue connecting the sections isn’t the best, as it needs forcing apart once you hit a new section, and oftentimes leaves an unseemly tear in the middle. The sketchbooks are good, I just wish that the sections were sewn together and that the paper would lean into being watercolour paper more – so that they would be perfect. However, changes like these would mean a price increase, which would make them unappealing, since a large part of the Stillman & Birn softcover sketchbook appeal is their price. In the end it’s a nice sketchbook that I don’t feel too precious about, which is the main point, and is why I’ll continue using it.

Journal Comic: Cheap Art Supplies

Used a Bic Crystal ballpoint pen, a set of Stabilo Pastel highlighters and a pocket Moleskine sketchbook to create this journal comic. Was inspired to use things that I already had laying around, not in use, to fill in a page in a long abandoned sketchbook. I was actually surprised at how relatively well the highlighters worked here.

Vengeful Fortress Part 2: More Thoughts on Stillman and Birn Epsilon

You can find part 1 here. You can see that there is a slight bit of show through with the Stillman and Birn Epsilon, but at only 150 gsm that’s to be expected.

The show through is most pronounced in the area between the goblin’s sword and the text above him.

I decided to play a bit more with ink colours and wider nibs here, so that’s a Sailor medium stub nib and Diamine Inkvent Blue Edition Candy Cane ink for spells and effects:

There’s no show through for the ink, and though it may not seem that way, there was no spreading. Also, if you like granulating watercolour effects, the Stillman and Birn Epsilon paper seems to be a champ for that.

Expressive Cats

I’ve had a rough week, hence the lack of posts. Here are some cat cartoons I created for your enjoyment while I get ready for more substantial updates.

Cat Tales

I’m in the process of testing out a set of Uni-ball Pin fineliners and I thought that I’d share a few test runs with the pens. The linework is done with the Ubi-ball Pin fineliners (0.1, 0.3 and 0.5 in black and grey) and the rest is with Deleter Neopiko-Line-3 pens (2.0 and a brush pen) and Faber-Castell Pitt brush pens.

My parents’ cats are very expressive and fun to draw. The cat above is super mellow, and the cat below is gorgeous but not happy to see you.

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 2

Diamine Inkvent Calendar is an advent calendar with a tiny (7ml) bottle of ink behind 24 windows, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th window. All the inks are limited edition, and only available through this calendar. You can read more about the calendar here.

So what’s behind door number 2?

 

Day 2’s limited edition ink is Diamine Candy Cane. It’s a standard ink, midway between Diamine Amaranth and Diamine Coral, both excellent and unique pink inks. This ink shades a lot, even in a fine Lamy Safari (Coral) pen. It’s a dark enough pink to be readable, but still not something that I would recommend for an office setting. It’s great for personal correspondence, Christmas cards, and journalling.

The bottle is so tiny and cute.

The bottle is made of glass and is delightful, but a bit impractical for use. You need a cartridge converter or a syringe to fill a pen with this ink, or you can just use it with a dip pen or a brush.

Look at that shading! Yes, this was drawn on a Kanso Sasshi 3.5” x 5.5” Tomoe River Paper notebook, and Tomoe River paper makes everything pop, but even on “regular” Rhodia paper you can notice the shading. That’s not always true for such bright and light shades, like pink or coral.

If you enjoy the looks of this ink, I think that there’s a good chance that you’ll love Diamine Coral (it’s such an optimistic colour) or Diamine Amaranth (which is also a delicious looking ink, but darker than Diamine Candy Cane).

Diamine Inkvent Calendar Day 1: Blue Peppermint

Diamine Inkvent Calendar is an advent calendar with a tiny (7ml) bottle of ink behind 24 windows, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th window. All the inks are limited edition, and only available through this calendar, which I already feel is going to be a shame. I want more of today’s Blue Peppermint ink, and we’re only on day one. You can read more about the calendar here.

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This was drawn on a Kanso Sasshi 3.5” x 5.5” Tomoe River Paper notebook, using a Lamy AL-Star Pacific fine nib fountain pen. Peppermint Blue shades a lot, even not on Tomoe River Paper, and it shimmers (which I just can’t seem to capture) with silver sparkles. It seemed appropriate for today’s topic.

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The bottle is tiny and very cute. This is an ink that I’d love to see in Diamine’s regular lineup (or even available for purchase as a seasonal 30ml bottle), and it’s very winter appropriate.