Friday, May 30, 2014

Why I like Daler-Rowney Graduate Metallic Acrylic paints #Daler-Rowney #Acrylics

I've grown very fond of my Daler-Rowney Graduate Metallic paints.  I thought about writing a full-blown review, but ,really, the reasons I like them are so simple that I think just listing them will impress you more.

Craft Warehouse sells them for $1.96 for a 75 ml tube.  They run $3-$4 most other places I've seen them. Cheap in price, but not in quality.  They paint is creamy, and easy to spread with brush or palette knife.

Even though they are cheap, student-grade paints, and highly transparent, the pigment is strong.

Did I mention that the colors are transparent? To the point where the pearl white is almost invisible.  You can get holographic effects by applying the lighter colors over darker paints.

Usually shiny or shimmery media doesn't scan or photo well.  These Graduate acrylics scan and photo beautifully, even when paired with other reflective media such as Gellyroll pens.

They come in Metallic Red, Metallic Pink, Metallic Blue, Metallic Green, Metallic Yellow, Metallic Brown, and (not shown) Metallic Black Pearl and Metallic White Pearl.  They also have non-metallic colors.  I haven't played with those yet--I'm making myself use up the paints I have before I buy more.  But I will be buying them sooner or later.

Nothing is perfect is it?  The one thing I don't like about these paints is that the tubes are big and fat.  Once you've used some of it up, you get a vacuum-effect going, and it's hard to control the amount of paint you get when you squeeze it out.  I've even considered emptying the paint into jars because I've squirted so much out unexpectedly.  As it is, I make sure I have extra scrap paper or other projects handy, so I can use up the paint I didn't intend to squirt out.

That's it, but I think that's enough, don't you?

Journal52: Week 21 Prompt-Mandala

I know.  My mandala doesn't look very impressive.  But.  It's holographic!  Twist it in the light just right and a whole different mandala appears!  My great-nieces (5 & 7) were SO impressed!

I'm not big on mandalas.  I love seeing what others do, but have never had much interest in drawing them myself.  So for this prompt I grabbed the Quasi-stencils I won from Artist Cellar a while ago, and used one for the dotted background, and two for the blue mandala.

How did I get the holograph?  I used Daler-Rowney's Graduate Metallic acrylic in pearl-white with my last stencil.  All their metallics are very transparent, and the pearl white is almost invisible.  Until you hold it so the light can catch the sheen.  It's a cheap thrill, but it's fun, lol!

Friday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Three tiles with color
Ben Kwok Template-Giraffe (must be a member of Ornation Creation on Facebook)

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Eliminate Stress with Art Journaling
Mixed Media Collage Art Collaborative Project 1

mixed-media backgrounds: secrets using resist techniques
Watercolor Tricks with Copic Various Ink & Multiliners
Music Hall Shadow Box Tutorial

Jetpens giveaway-Raymay Davinci System Binder; Kaweco Fountain Pen & Converter; J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite Fountain Pen Ink
Just Jingle Giveaway Week

word of the day: pyrogravure

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Watercolor for the Fun of It: Getting Started by John Lovett #Strathmore #watercolor #JohnLovett

Besides the class in watercolor that I am currently taking, I've been going through my watercolor books and going through some of the exercises.

This exercise came from a book by John Lovett, 'Watercolor for the Fun of It: Getting Started'.   I love the examples in the book.  Unfortunately, it has some printing errors.  There is one section of the book where several paragraphs start in the middle or end of a sentence.  Most of the lost wordage is exposition, extra explanation, and I've had no trouble telling what is going on.  I love John's style and the examples and exercises in the book, so even though I had checked the book out of the library and was aware of the problem, I bought the book anyway.

I don't have all the colors that John uses and substituted in some places.  I added extra fish and did some thing with the water that weren't in the exercise.  Normally, I wouldn't sign something I painted from an exercise without putting the author's name below, but in this case, I think I changed things enough.  I still credit John every time I show it to someone.

Thursday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Tangle Patterns: How to draw TURN

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
12 Free Art Journaling Courses to Stretch Your Creativity
Art Journal: 5 Mantras for Spiritual Healing
Terri Sproul Free Art Journal Class - video

Faber Castell Gelatos VIDEO: Dripping Technique
Let’s Paint Impatiens - video
Gelli™ Printing on Textured Paper

Monday Goodie Bag | Grand Bazaar Scrapbook Collection giveaway

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Playing with Shape Tape and Watercolor Techniques #Strathmore #FrogTape #Watercolor

I've been taking a class in watercolor from Kathy Delumpa Allegri, where we are learning techniques ala Jeanette Carbonetti, who wrote the 'Tao of Watercolor'.  It's a very loose style, where you apply the paint and then follow where it leads.

In a seeming change of subject, Frog Tape just came out with a brand of tape, 'Shape Tape'.  I was intrigued with the idea of using it for art journaling and crafting.  In a sudden moment of whimsy, I had the idea of using it to create a framed shape around a watercolor painting.

I had a rough idea of an urban scene--wondering if something could be done using the 'Tao' style with buildings.  I worked up some very runny colors--Gamboge, Quinacridone Rust and Phthalocyanine Green and let it drip, charging in some colors down the page.  Then I picked out shapes to be windows and doors and highlights and, of course, the fella with the umbrella.

I like it, even though the perspective is totally distorted.  I think the Shape Tape framing lets me get away with it--you sort of expect distorted.  The tape wasn't totally sucessful--it did let some paint seep in, but again, funky.  You can get away with things when you get funky.

Possibly, I'll try this again, now that I have an idea where I want to go.  Even though the idea is to have very loose control and let the paint do what paint will do, you can guide things a bit, and I think I could take what I like from this and make it better.

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

How to draw tanglepattern Locar - video

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Finishing an Art Journal -  video
The Precinct Prompt: Draw yourself as the animal you'd most like to be

Stencils Plus Compressed Sponges Equals Silhouette Rubber Stamps
My Hero with VIDEO: Watercoloring ONE LAYER
How to sharpen a drawing's focus

Giveaway Week Day 1: $15 gift certificate to Avery Elle 
Yellow/Blog giveaway-stitchwork bag
Xyron and Quick Quotes Blog Hop - Day 2
Pencil Week Giveaway, A Palomino Sampler

Gyotaku-Dead fish create beautiful art

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review of the Banditapple Carnet Pocket Book Size Limited Edition #Banditapple #notebook #LifeImitatesDoodles

The Banditapple Carnet looks unassuming.  Just a notebook with a cardstock cover.   It looks handmade--because it is.  You might not even give it a second glance if you saw it in a store.  Too bad if you didn't, because it's a pretty nifty notebook.

Before I go any further, I want to apologize to the Banditapple company.  They had a very generous limited time offer, giving away free copies of their notebooks, open to anyone willing to pay S&H.  That is how I received my copy, quite some time ago.  I fully meant to write a review, but I was busy when it arrived, and set it aside.  I'm not usually one of those 'out of sight, out of mind' kind of people, but in this case, I forgot I had the notebook.

Better late than never, right?

Sizes: Pocket Book Size Limited Edition (approx 4.1 x 5.8 in, 105 x 148 mm) Also comes in Handy (4.33in x 8.25in, 11cm x 21cm) and Peewee (3.5in x 5.5in, 9cm x 14cm)
Formats: Blank, Weekly Planner, Graph, Lined
Cover Colors: Finland Pine, Manuka Honey, Gingerbread, Hanoi Red, Charcoal
No. Pages: 64 (32 sheets)
Paper Weight: 80 gsm of Heritage paper
Binding: Sewn
Ink: Soy

NOTE: I am reviewing the Blank Format with Finland Pine cover in the Pocket Book Size, Limited Editon.

Look & Feel
The Banditapple Carnet (don't you love that name?) has a plain cover with a linen-like texture.  I don't think my scan shows it properly, but it does give you a sense of how much texture there is. You can feel it, slightly.

The cardstock isn't very heavy.  I would hesitate to carry it loose in my purse for fear of creasing and possibly tearing.  If you have pockets large enough, or interior pockets in your purse, it would be okay.

What I think is nice about the plain cover is that someone who prefers plain and sober has it, but the cover could also be customized easily for anyone that wants something flashier.  The cardstock would be suitable for a wide range of media.

The one thing that immediately stood out for me was the binding.

Most pocket sized notebooks are bound as one signature.  That is, each page is folded.  One sheet is folded inside the first one, then the next into the second, and so on, in this case, with 32 sheets.  Then the sheets are bound somehow, usually stapled, sewn and then glued into a cover.

With the Banditapple Carnet the cover is made the top sheet of the signature, sewn right along with the pages.  You can see from the photo above that the stitching is even and neat.  You don't see it inside, except for the very middle of the book (which would be the bottom sheet of the signature).

This stitching does two very important things.  First, it tells you something about the paper.  Stitching is fairly invasive and a poor, quality paper will fray, split or tear.  The size and sharpness of the needle counts, but I yanked and held the book by one of the middle pages and bounced it around.  There was no give, no further fraying of the paper.  It's very good stitching, and well-made paper.  Note that well-made doesn't always mean pen friendly, but it does in this case.  More about that later.

The second thing the stitching does is allow the pages to lie flat, and to be completely folded back.

At first, the pages have some spring, and need to be held down to be completely flat.  But if you fold the book back all the way and then close it, it relaxes the stitching just enough to get rid of that spring.  You may need to repeat this procedure at different places throughout the notebook for all pages to lie flat.

The paper is smooth, but not slick and has a hard surface.  It's thin and flexible. Almost like very thin slices of cardstock, but not quite.

The color is white, more a 'natural' white, than a bright white.

The notebook is very light, and flexible enough to fold in half length-wise, if you don't care about possible creases in the cover.

Written Example
Please forgive the ugly writing.  It is in no way the paper.  I was using my non-dominant hand.

I had no problem with feathering, and all my fountain pens slid across the page easily, even though I'm heavy-handed with my non-dominant hand.  There was the slightest of show-through and a single dot of bleed-through where I saturated the cicrle of Noodler's Heart of Darkness.  Neither were dark enough to pick up with a scan.

I would consider the paper to be fountain pen friendly, which means it will handle ball-point and gel pen as well.  The only drawback were the drying times.  That's a normal trade-off with paper that doesn't bleed-through, but I felt it was an even longer dry time than usual.

Fountain Pen Drawing
Continuing on with the fountain pens, I did some Zentangle®-Inspired Art.  The colors are bright, but not brilliant.

This time, I was able to scan the show-through and bleed-through.  All the bleed-through occurred in areas where I added wet ink to still-wet areas, which is pretty common.  Considering how thin the paper is, this is impressive.

Wet Media-Watercolor
I was also impressed with my tests using watercolor.  I used color both straight from the tube, and with washes.  Having already seen that wet on wet ink did bleed through, I didn't use that method for this test.

I found the paper handled watercolor nicely.  There was some curling at the corners, and some waving in the paper--not enough that I could consider it dimpling.  The color moved well.  You can see there is some streaking, but that's where I was using paint straight from the tube, and the paint wasn't well-distributed on my brush.

I used clear water and lifted paint is some areas with no pilling.  The paper didn't go back to white, but did give a sedimentary look (a sort of salt and pepper effect, only with color).  I also did a little glazing (applying a second watery layer of color over a dry area of color) and got a nice deepening of color.

The texture of the paper didn't change much (it usually does once wet).  It picked up a bit of a crackling sound, but again--not much. (If you are one of those people who really digs that crackling sound, this might not be the paper for you!)

While I couldn't recommend this as a notebook for watercolor studies, you could use watercolor as a regular medium.  You'd want to be careful with wet on wet techniques if you planned to use the back of the page, and you would get more curl and dimpling, but not as much as you might expect with paper this thin.

Alcohol Marker Example
Got lemons? Make Lemonade.  Got marker bleed-through? Make Bleedthrumanade!

It is pretty much a given that unless you have specially treated paper, the color from alcohol markers (Sharpies, Copics, etc) will bleed through to back of your paper.  A while back, I began taking advantage of this, using the same color base for two separate drawings.  I call these Bleedthrumanades (for more about that, see my how-to).

On the front of the page, the color is bright but not brilliant.  I used Pigma Micron technical pen for the line work and Sakura white Gellyroll for highlights (neither of these show on the back of the page).

For the back of the page, I again used the Micron and Gellyroll pens to create a totally different drawing.

I'd say the color bleed-through was about 95%.  It was almost as bright as the front.  The edges weren't as crisp, but that's always the case.

I usually put a protector sheet underneath so the next page in the book won't have spots.  As it turns out, I wouldn't have needed to, because not one spot carried through.  I would have expected about 25% carry-through.

The Banditapple Carnet is a sturdy, well-made notebook that goes for an affordable price.  I wasn't able to find a price for the Pocket size, but the Handy sells for $4.50 and the PeeWee sells for $3.50.

The paper is fountain pen and watercolor friendly, though I wouldn't use wet on wet methods.

The weakest point is the cover, which is plain and thin enough to bend easily.  On the other hand, some people like plain, and it can easily be customized.  As it is flexible, it can be rolled in half to fit in smaller pockets and purses, if one doesn't care about creases.

This notebook will become a daily carry for my purse, but I'll be sure to put it in an interior pocket.

Banditapple Carnet notebooks can be found online from Goulet Pens.  I'm not aware of any other outlets that carry it in the U.S. at this time.  If you are aware of any, please let me know.

Disclaimer:  I received this Banditapple Carnet free as part of a limited time offer.  I was not asked to review it, nor did I receive any other compensation for doing so.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Other Reviews
Rants of the Archer
Notebook Stories
The Well-Appointed Desk
A Penchant for Paper

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Whirl - VIDEO
Tangle Patterns: How to draw ROEL

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
The Documented Life Project Week 22-Draw, paint or sketch a house

Improve Your Painting: 3 Tips For Capturing Shadows in Painting
Making stencil images with lemon juice
I am free - a free art journaling mixed media tutorial

Dina Wakley Media Blog Hop--Win a Set of Paints and Mediums
Chance to win a Scraps of Elegance "Cape May Holiday" Main Kit & addons (not sure when this ends)

Carnival of Creativity 5/25/14

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Journal52 Prompt 20-Book Inspired #Journal52 #ArtJournalPrompt #ArtJournaling

Can you believe that Journal52 has been going on for 20 weeks now?

This weeks prompt was very dear to my heart...but I was already working on two other projects.  I wanted to work on the prompt but at the same time, I didn't want to pull my energy from the other projects.  I was trying to work out some ideas, and I wanted all my thoughts there.

So, I fell back on my old standby.  Words.  I like this method.  You can vary the way you box in the words without spending too much time deciding how you'll do it.  Doing a project this way every few weeks also ties the journal together, giving it a cohesiveness that might be lacking if you change styles often.

 I already had some splatters of paint from other projects on the page.  I whipped out the yellow Montana Marker and colored the page in about two seconds.  I chose Sakura Gellyrolls for the words and book covers.  I wish I had used something else for the words.  They look good in real life, but don't scan well.

As a child, I used to visit the library on Friday, check out 9-12 books and read them all over the week-end.  Most of these titles, I read over and over.  I read everything.  I was born with a cleft palette and as part of my speech therapy, my doctors taught me to read when I was three.  By the time I hit 1st grade I was reading my mother's Perry Mason and Zane Grey westerns.  It didn't matter.  If it was bound between covers and wasn't physically removed from my hands--I read it.

Thursday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Ben Kwok template: Buffalo (must belong to Facebook group Ornation Creation)
How to draw tanglepattern Braze - video

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
The Writing Reader Prompt #1031: Pocket Change

Introduction to Drawing: Tips To Help You Learn to Draw Animals
That Black Magic technique, updated
Light Source Basics: Part 4, Visualizing Cast Shadows
Fun & Easy Watercolor Butterfly Doily Craft

Review and Giveaway: Leuchtturm Notebooks… and Sketchbook
Jetpens giveaway-chance to win a passport holder, Field Notes 3-pack & Zebra Sarasa -Instagram

Tuesday’s Tool: Gelatos vs Water-Soluble Oil Pastels (this would not apply to traditional oil pastels)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Tangle Patterns: How to draw SWIRLY
How to draw tanglepattern Kathy's Dilemma-video

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Art Journal — Finger Painting and Silliness

Gelli Print Jewelry tutorial
Usable Art: Mixed Media Papier Mâché Containers
Traditional Origami Cup Pattern

Win this Delta Horsepower fountain pen from Fontoplumo and FPGeeks
Collaboration 100th post Giveaway at The Pencil Case Blog-Carved pen holder
Jennifer Grace Creates-win a 7 Dots Studio Illumination Collection Kit
G. Lalo Coreale Notecards And A Giveaway
Stamp N Paint Video Launch, Stampendous Giveaway Day 1

'Art Activity Cards' Instant Download Printable from Miraculous Mosquito
Faber-Castell international drawing competition "Neon Skylines"

Journal52 Prompt 19-Photography #Journal52 #ArtJournalPrompt #ArtJournaling

I had just finished up my Art Dolls with Popsicle Paws project (for the how-to on making these dolls, see my Frog Dog Studio post) when I saw the prompt for Journal52 that week was photography.  I had already printed out the photo I took for my how-to post (using photo paper from the Dollar Store), so I thought--what the heck.  Recycling part of one projects makes it easier to do more projects!

This was another page where I had slathered on drips and drabs of leftover paint.  I'd also glued down a strip of printed art tissue long before I knew what I'd be putting on the page.

After tearing around the art dolls to get rough edges for my photo,  I glued it down with Polymer medium.  I squeezed out a little of Daler-Rowney's Academy Metallic Blue and Metallic Pink acrylic paints, which are very transparent, and spread them out to unify the color.  I used the blue around the photo and the pink on the photo paper, spreading it out to mix with the blue.

I used a black Sharpie brush tip for the words, and outlined them with Sakura Moonlight Pink gellyroll.  Then I added some doodles in the middle, and shading around the dolls with a silver Shadow gellyroll.  I finished with more doodles using the pink gellyroll.  There's a lot of color vibration going on in this one, lol.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Morning Mist in the Trees #Watercolor, #KDAllegriArt, #SchutNoblesse

I'm taking a watercolor class from  Kathy Delumpa Allegri (KD Allegri Art ).  Just got home from today's session.  We're learning to use the style ala Jeanne Carbonetti's 'Tao of Watercolor'.

I'm using a Schut Noblesse Watercolor pad -- I'll be hosting a giveaway for three of those in August.

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Ben Kwok template: Grizzly Bear (must belong to Facebook group Ornation Creation)
Mixed media Zentangle Video
Lookies Tangle Pattern
Weekly Zentangle Challenge #168

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Art Journal Every Day: Limited to Ten

The Documented Life Project Week 21 Challenge - Add embroidery or embroidery floss to your page
A positive week – daily Project Life printables

Happy Happy #Cre8time Washi Tape Party with Unscripted Sketches #257
Mixed Media Fun: Wax, Watercolor, Stencils, Stamping and Sprays
Art Journal - Paint Over (video)

Almost full bottles of fountain pen ink
TADA Handcrafted Letterpress Notebook review


Carnival of Creativity 5/18/14

Monday, May 19, 2014

Seahorse in Scribbler Too #ScribblerToo, #LifeImitatesDoodles

We drove to the Oregon Coast on my birthday for dinner and a movie.  I saw some little seahorses in the restaurant gift shoppe and thought it would be fun to do one up in Scribbler Too.

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Sorry for the lack of link lists last week.  We were having internet problems, that wouldn't let me post (or comment) on Blogger.  I'm hoping things are back to normal now, though the problem has seemed to be fixed only to occur again.  If I disappear for a few days again, this time you'll know why!

Weekly Zentangle Challenge #168-winner announced. Challenge delayed until tomorrow due to holiday
Weekly Zentangle Roundup #173

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
No Excuses Art Weekly Sprout #14: Turquoise
Journal52 Prompt-Week 20: Book Inspiration

Using Mixed-Media Supplies: Free Guide to Alcohol Ink, Gel Medium and Other Supplies for Mixed-Media Art

Graphic 45 Monday giveaway
Button Lovers Giveaway

Friday, May 16, 2014

Journal 52 Prompt 18-Creative Hands #Journal52, #ArtJournal, #ArtJournaling

I haven't been very good about posting my Journal 52 pages.  I've been keeping up nicely, but just not posting them.  In some cases, it's because I'm going to use a page as an example for a review I'm working on, but a couple I just haven't felt were done.  I'm pretty sure I'll go back and work on them some more.

I think this one is done though.

I traced my hand onto cardboard and then cut out the inside to make a hand outline.

I painted the background with Holbein Matte Primary Red, Primary Blue and Primary Yellow acrylic paint.

Then I painted the hand outline with a metallic blue and then tangled everywhere with a white gellyroll pen.

To finish off I used a red gel ink pen to write creative hands and do a little outlining.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review of the Sharpie Brush Tip Permanent Marker #Sharpie #JetPens #Zentangle

It has been a long time since I used a Sharpie marker.  They are an alcohol marker, which means a strong smell, and I've always found the colors to be more opaque than I personally like.  However, times change and while the original Sharpie is still around, there are several new versions.

When I saw that there was a brush tip version, I had to try them out.  I saw that Jetpens carried them, so I bought the basic 4 color set-Black, Blue, Green and Red, (no yellow!  How can you have the basics without yellow? Sorry. Personal bugaboo of mine), as well as singles in Yellow, Brown, and Purple.  Since then I've added Orange and Lime Green (not pictured).

Diameter  - Grip: 14.5 mm,
Ink: Nontoxic, Permanent, Fade, Water-resistant
Colors: Brown, Berry, Black, Blue, Green, Turquoise, Lime Green, Orange, Magenta, Purple, Red, Yellow
Tip: Length -11.4 mm, Material - Felt,  Replaceable - No

Look and Feel
The Sharpie Brush Tip marker looks very similar to the original Sharpie marker.  When I opened it, I was greeted with the same alcohol smell, which I find stronger than with alcohol markers like Copics or Spectrum Noirs.  The price is cheaper though, so that might be a good trade off for many.

As with most alcohol markers, Sharpies write on almost any surface, not just paper.

It is similar in size to the original marker, with similar styling-gray body, color-matching tip, plastic clip that is part of the cap.

The tip is quite different than with the original style.  There are two kinds of brush tip.  One is a solid, spongy felt and the other has actual separate bristles.  The Sharpie is the felt kind.

It is much longer than the original tip, more flexible, and I think it covers large areas much faster.

With any alcohol marker, there is the problem of streaking and the problem of color bleeding through to the back of the page.

Alcohol ink is 'self-shading', that is the color becomes darker when you add a wet layer over dry.  Streaking is caused because the ink dries so fast on most papers that you are, in essence, shading when you overlap your strokes.  The paper you use makes a big (BIG) difference.  Some papers keep the ink on the surface longer, which keeps them wet and you don't get as much streaking.  You can get specially treated papers for markers.  Some thicker papers work well.  You can also work in circles which evens out the overlapping so the streaks don't show as much.

I think these brush tip markers streak less because you can use the side to cover larger areas faster, thus avoiding layering wet over dry.

The specially treated papers prevent the ink from bleeding-through to the back and other pages, but most paper will have color bleeding to the back.  The Sharpie brush-tip is no different in that respect.

The colors were more vibrant than those I remembered, though still tending to the opaque so if you layers colors you're more likely to cover over rather than get a visual blend of both colors.  It does differ-some colors are slightly more transparent.  If the ink is still wet, you can get some blending, but for the most part you'll need to buy the secondary (green, purple, etc) colors rather than mix colors.

In one aspect, the Sharpie brush tip fails as a brush tip.  I expect a brush tip to give me line variation as I change the angle, and push down on the tip.  I was able to get slight variation, but it was hard to control.  Some people might do better, especially with practice.

I used my non-dominant hand for much of my testing which makes me heavier-handed than usual.  As a result I found that the tips on one of the marker got a little mushy and the fine point frayed a bit.

Writing Example

I found the brush tips a bit difficult to write with, forcing me to a larger font size than I usually write with.  Some slight variation in line is possible, but difficult to achieve.

I used a fountain pen friendly paper that is not marker specialty as sort of a control, so you can see what the bleed through is like.

This will vary considerably by paper, so testing is the best plan.

Drawing Examples 

I was using my non-dominant hand when I painted this piece using the squirkling technique.  The Sharpies were excellent for it giving me a nice impressionistic style.  Looking at this you can get a good feel for the transparency and blending of the colors.

I mentioned earlier that Sharpies will write over almost anything.  This is an example where I painted a background with acrylic paint, then drew with gel ink pens and laid down some Washi tape, finishing by coloring over them with the Sharpies.  Even though the Sharpies are largely opaque they became more transparent on the slick surface almost to the point of having no color, in some cases.  

I like the effect.  The gel pen ink dissolved somewhat under the Sharpies, but you can still see them a bit. 

I wouldn't buy the Sharpie brush tip expecting to get the flexibility of a brush tip.  It is more flexible than the original Sharpie tip, and having more length, it gives faster, more even coverage.  I think it is easier on the wrist than some markers.

The line it gives is broad, so it isn't the marker for those who want fine lines.  It is an excellent marker for bold, broad strokes however.

It you have a heavy hand (tend to press down hard while writing or drawing) you might wear these markers out quickly, but that will be the case for most markers, especially brush tips.

These are great markers for use over acrylic paint or other media because they'll write on almost anything.

I haven't used Sharpies for a long time, and they still won't be my go to markers.  But I'll be keeping some of these brush tips in my craft bag now.

Disclaimer: I bought these markers from Jetpens because I wanted to try them out.  Jetpens did not ask me to review them or even know I intended to do so.  I've linked to their site because I like their service, their prices are competitive, they have items that are hard to find elsewhere in the U.S., they have fast delivery and free shipping for purchases over $25.  They are one of my go-to stores. Your mileage may vary, and I always recommend comparing prices.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Playing with Pergamano #FrogDogStudio #AmazingCraftingProducts

I found the May Frog Dog Studio kit so thrilling, I did two projects using the contents and some products for the Amazing Crafting Products by the Alumilite Corporation.

I hope you'll pop over to the Frog Dog Studio blog and see how I used the Parchment Pergamano technique to create this journal cover.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Do you see what I see? #FountainPenRevolution, #Dill #Zentangle

I think most drawings looks better from one direction or the other, whether you intend them to or not.

However, there are exceptions.  Recently, I was using an eyedropper to fill a fountain pen, and I wiped off the dropper on a piece of scrap paper.  I rather liked the blobs I made, so did some tangling on it with the Dilli and Serwex 162 fountain pens that I reviewed yesterday.

Usually, I turn the piece around and determine which way I like best, but this time I couldn't decide, so I thought I'd let you choose. I saw something different in each version.

Tree House with Top Hat
Streets of Paris

Interior with Loft and Doorway

Forest Microcosm

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review of the Dilli & Serwex 162 Fountain Pens #FountainPen #FPR_Dilli #Zentangle

A few weeks ago, there was a fountain pen review at the No Excuses Art blog.  It listed several entry-level fountain pens in the $6 to $32 dollar range and is a great reference if you're looking to dip your toes into this inky pool.

This is the dollar range for the fountain pens I collect, and the first pen on the list caught my eye.  The Dilli Fountain Pen from Fountain Pen Revolution (FPR).  At $15, I couldn't pass this up.  I was pleased to find that the S&H was only $3 flat-rate global shipping.  I ordered the red with an extra fine nib.  And to my surprise there was even a free pen in the package, a Serwex 162, included.  I'm not sure if that happens with every package or if I just ordered when there was a special going on.

The pens came loose in a padded envelope with no information except a flyer showing how to use the twist piston filling mechanism (a nice information piece).

The FPR Dilli Fountain Pen

Feed Mechanism: Twist Piston
Material: Translucent plastic body and cap
Other: metal clip, cap ring, screw on cap
Available Colors: Blue, Red, Green, and Clear
Length capped: 13.9cm (5.5”)
Length posted: 14.6cm (5.8”)
Section diameter: 9mm (0.35”)
Body diameter: 1.1cm (0.43”)
Weight: 14g (0.5oz)

Nib sizes Available: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Stub, Flex

Look and Feel
The translucent body of this pen lets you see how much ink is in the barrel (the term for this type of body is 'demonstrator pen').

The tip of the cap and the barrel both have black accents.  The cap screws on, which is nice, but I always forget and try to slide it off.

I have a terrible habit of playing with the metal clips on a pen, flipping them up and down, and I can tell that this one is doomed.  But for normal people and reasonable handling I think it is sturdy enough.

The nib is steel and has very little decoration.  I can't even quite make out what is on it.  That's fine with me--I'm more into the performance than the decoration on the nib, especially at this price level.

This is a nice-looking pen that would be at home mixed in with your ballpoints and gel pens.  It won't make you gasp or marvel at its beauty, but you certainly wouldn't be ashamed to have it sitting on your desk.

The pen is light, which makes it nice to carry.  It is plastic though, and feels as though it might crack easily, especially when empty.  There is a metal cap ring to help prevent them in the cap.  I think I would be sure to carry this pen in a case when traveling, though.

The fill mechanism is a twist piston, which means you twist the black tip and it sucks up the ink from the bottle.  The piston is built in, so you can't use cartridges with the pen.  I like this--it makes the pen easy to fill and to flush out the last bit of ink for cleaning or refilling with another ink.  It only took one twist cycle--3 or 4 twists--to fill the pen

There's always a drawback.  If you accidentally twist the piston when you don't mean to, you'll have ink all over.

Size-wise, this pen couldn't be better fit for my small hand.  It does feel more comfortable to me with the cap posted, so it might be too small for those with large hands.

It holds a decent amount of ink, but my similar sized Noodler's Ahab flex holds more.

The Serwex 162 Fountain Pen
There was no information included about the Serwex 162, and there is nothing on the Fountain Pen Revolution site, so I don't believe they actually sell the pen there, at least not regularly.   This means I don't have specs, but the pen also has a twist piston and is of a similar size and weight.

The color is a dull gray with silver accents, so like the Dilli, it will fit right in with your ballpoints and gel pens as far as looks.  Most people wouldn't give it a second look.

The nib is actually a little fancier, with deeper engraving and a more slimline shape.  The barrel is clear where the ink is stored, so you can see how much ink you have.  One cycle of twisting is enough to fill the pen.  I think the capacity is about the same as the Dilli.

Based on the writing, I would say this is a Fine nib size,

The pen writes smoothly.  Possibly more smoothly than the Dilli.  Unfortunately the ink blobs.
 I noticed the ink blobbed up on the nib when I filled it, so I was watchful.  It's infrequent enough that I haven't been able to tell for sure what sets it off, or where the ink is actually coming from. (I'm definitely not a Fountain Pen guru!)

The ink I used--Noodler's Heart of Darkness is thick and somewhat blobby in and of itself.  I suspect that with a drier ink there might not even be a problem.

I can live with it.  This was a free pen, and I am in no way complaining.  It doesn't happen often--twice in several hours of drawing.  I've seen the blob forming in time to pull the pen up and not get ink on my work.  My fingers got inky.  I'll be sure I'm not wearing good clothes when using the pen.

And I will continue to use it, because I love the way it draws.

Performance of the Dilli 

Writing Example - Diamine Chocolate Brown Ink

Writing Example - Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses

I found the writing to be extremely smooth--as good or better as any of my other fountain pens, including a couple that were almost twice the price.  There isn't a standard for nib sizes and my other two are finer, but I was able to get a nice, thin line.

Drawing Example- Rhodia DotGrid WebNotebook with Diamine Chocolate Brown Ink

Rhodia's Webnotebook paper is very smooth and considered fountain pen friendly.  The Dilli performed excellently, which is what I would have expected.

Drawing Example- Fabriano Tizano Aqua Paper with Diamine Chocolate Brown Ink

For my second example, I chose a lightly toothed paper similar to that used for Zentangle®.  The ink flow was smooth, no clogging or jamming or spitting.

Drawing Example - Textured paper with Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses Ink

My third paper had more tooth and rougher texture.  Still the pen performed smoothly with no skipping, clogging, spitting or feathering.

I'm not able to get too much line variation with this pen, which is to be expected with the extra fine nib.  There's no scratchiness at all.  I didn't expect to have any trouble with any of the papers I used, but one of my other extra fine nibs does.  Fountain Pen Revolution sells replacement nibs, and I'm of mind to get one for that pen!

Performance of the Serwex 162

From here, I'll let the photos speak.  This Serwex 162 has a slightly thicker line than Dilli which pushes me to bolder contrasts of dark and light.

Writing Example - Noodler's Heart of Darkness Ink

Drawing Example- Rhodia DotGrid WebNotebook with Noodler's Heart of Darkness Ink

Drawing Example- Fabriano Tizano Aqua Paper with Noodler's Heart of Darkness Ink

I'm impressed with both pens.  I'm not a fountain pen guru.  I lust after them all, but have restrained myself to pens in the starter price range, $8-$28, which gives me a good basis for evaluating both.  I'd rate the Dilli's performance as good or better than anything else I own.  The Serwex 162 would rate as high if not for the blobbing.

If fountain pens appeal to you based mainly on their physical beauty (and that's a good reason-some fountain pens are true works of art) these might not be the pens for you.  If you like a larger pen or want a large ink capacity, they might not be for you.

The Dilli is an excellent fountain pen for the price.  I think it would be good for either the fountain pen novice or the expert who wants a cheaper-price but good performance for testing inks.

The Serwex 162 has lovely performance except for the problem with blobs.  I'll let you know how it does with other inks.

I plan to buy another Dilli with a flex nib.  I'll let you know how it does.

Fountain Pen Revolution is based in India (where their pens are made) so shipping can take 10 days or more (more especially if Customs decides to inspect your package).  If you are planning to give one of their pens as a gift, plan accordingly.

Disclaimer:  I bought this FPR Dilli pen from Fountain Pen Revolution and decided to review it because I thought my readers should know about it.  Fountain Pen Revolution did not ask me to review it, and I received no compensation from anyone.  All opinions are my own.

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