Thursday, April 30, 2015

Painting in the Sheaves #watercolor #StillmanAndBirn #Yarka

Another painting exercise I did in my Gamma Stillman & Birn, that I found in Kory Fluckiger's
 "Watercolor for the First Time' was this one of sheaves of wheat.

It's a very simple painting but pleasant to do. Very meditative. It didn't pick up in the scan, but the background is a pale blue wash.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Down by the Seashore #Watercolor #WatercolorForTheFirstTime

In the two weeks between watercolor classes, I did some exercises from a book I picked up at the library "Watercolor for the First Time' by Kory Fluckiger.  The book was a little more basic than I really needed but made for good practice.

When I do these exercises, I always try to change things compositionally, often changing some elements, such as colors or objects in the painting.  This lesson was about painting seashells, but I looked some pictures from the morguefile, and chose different shells, and placed them in different parts of the composition.

I did this painting in 5.5 x 8.5 Gamma Stillman & Birn.  The Gamma paper is a little smooth, more like a hot-press, but still accepts light washes.  I worked it to it's limit, but it held up well.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Elements of Elephant #StillmanAndBirn #LunarBlue #Zentangle

On Monday's post I shared a watercolor painting that I did using Daniel Smith's Lunar Blue.  I wanted to play with it some more, so I covered a couple of pages in my Stillman and Birn Delta sketchbook, and set about to discover how it does as a background for Zentangle-Inspired Art.

I'm not as pleased with the results as I thought I would be, but I've got another page to play with, and I learned a lot from this one.

The Lunar Blue gives the impression of great texture.  All those wrinkles are an illusion, though.  I covered the entire page, then dropped color wet-into-wet here and there. And then I spattered.  I like the look of the spatter, but wishes I hadn't done it once I got started.

This elephant, and the one in the lower left corner, popped out at me right off.  I saw the other two as I was tangling.  So there was no doubt in my mind that this was going to be an elephant-themed page, lol.

So what problems did I encounter?  You can probably see it in the photo above.  If you use enough pigment, and apply it after the page is already saturated with color, Lunar Blue becomes quite a dark gray.  That means it fights for dominance over the black ink pen that I used (Ohto Graphic Liners in varying sizes).  The page is just too busy.

I tried to overcome this by going very heavy with the ink, knowing it probably wouldn't work, but hoping for a pleasant surprise.  I shouldn't do that, lol.  

Once I finished tangling, I used a Sakura Moonlight Fluorescent Pink Gelly Roll pen to get more of a value range and help the tangles stand out. But that elephant still didn't work.

Reluctantly, I glazed him with a light wash of Zinc White.  That helped him stand out, but ugly? Oh yeah.  I lifted away a little of the glaze, but saw that it was just getting uglier, and decided to let it go, lessons learned.

I know to keep my Lunar Blue lighter if I want to add black ink line work.  Definitely no splatter.  The other page is lighter than this one, but still too dark for black ink.  The pink gel pen showed up much better, but based on my watercolor painting on Monday I think a full of transparent colors is a better choice.  I probably won't get that done until the weekend, but hopefully I'll have more adventures with Lunar Blue to share with you next week.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Streaming in Lunar Blue #DanielSmith #Watercolor #Yarka

Are you familiar with watercolor paints that granulate? Some paints are formulated so that they have particles of different weights.  When you use them on a paper with tooth, like watercolor paper, then the heavier particles fall into the deeper parts of the paper, while the lighter particles stay on top.

Daniel Smith's Lunar Blue is one of these paints.  According to the amount of water you use, you get anything from a charcoal gray to robin's egg blue peppered with black speckles.  It's a lovely paint, but one that takes a degree of practice to use reliably.  How much water to you use to get the color you want? When you use so much water, it's hard to control the blossoms and backruns, so do you just use them, or keep trying to avoid them?

I've been playing with the color over the last few days, hoping to get a better feel for using it.

I started this piece by simply covering the paper with a wash of Lunar Blue.  I didn't have an actual idea in mind, though I was thinking there would probaby be rocks involved.

Once the initial wash died, I added more Lunar Blue, picking out the shapes, and kept adding more layers of the color until I was satisfied with my boulders.  By this time, I knew I wanted the shallows of a stream.

Switching to my Yarka St. Petersburg pan set,  I painted the fish with Titians. Then I mixed Lemon, Naples Yellow, and Raw Sienna into a thin brew, and stroked across the page, leaving areas where the Lunar Blue was uncovered.

Once that dried, I added Chromium Oxide Green where I wanted the impression of deeper, more opaque water.  I finished off adding a little Cerulean Blue here and there.

Now, the problem with starting out with no plan is that something usually isn't quite right.  In this case, I need some white ripples.  I took an exacto knife and scraped a few.  Then I broke the taboo about adding white, and used it to imply falls of water.  I don't feel the least guilty about using white, either, so I've seen people hit the ceiling at the thought of such a thing, lol.  I'm pleased with this piece, and I've learned something.  Now, I can plan a similar work and more properly leave white or mask where I want to keep it.

I have two photos that I took at the Leach Gardens that I want to paint and now I have an idea how I'll do it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Journal52 Prompt Week 15: Cards #Journal52 #ArtJournal #StillmanAndBirn

I decided to try an experiment this week, and while I don't love the way it turned out, it's okay, and has given me some ideas for other projects.

I had a page with splashes of paint from another project, so I used a Montana Marker with Shock Dark Blue paint to cover it up.  Then I used Derwent Metallic Water-soluble colored pencils to draw my cards.


Colored pencil can be a good choice to color on a dark background.  Not all of them are equal in this respect.  Some brands are better than others, and some colors are better.  Lighter colors such as white, yellow, pink, light blue, etc. are the best choice.  I knew from experience that these metallic pencils did a decent job if I didn't use water on them.

Metallic colors tend to appear differently according to the light, and I found that overall, the drawing was too dark.  I wasn't quite happy with this, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

Water-soluble means that pigment--in this case the color left on the page from the pencil lead--will soften and spread, usually changing color somewhat and reflecting the light differently.  I knew that the colors would become too dark for the background if I used water, but 'water-soluble' pigments will change with almost any liquid, not just water.

I wondered what would happen if I used white acrylic paint to blend the colors.  I knew that it would lighten the colors, and I suspected it would create some texture, because the color wouldn't blend as smoothly with the more tacky acrylic paint.

In the interests of scientific and artistic experimentation, I decided to try it.  I chose Zinc White rather than Titanium White, because Zinc is more transparent and I felt it would tint rather than just cover over the colors.  I used Golden's Fluid acrylic because it's easier to control how thick the application is, and I wanted it to be very thin.

As I suspected, rather than getting a layer of white, I got layers of lighter tints--pink, light teal, etc.  Because the paint was applied so thinly, it dried almost immediately.  I could have laid down a smoother layer, but deliberately brushed the paint while it was tacky.  This added to the texture, leaving streaks so that I got sort of a painted wood effect.

I used my J. Herbin brush tip Creapen to add the linework patterns in the background.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Uniformity Too #StillmanAndBirn #Sakura #Zentangle

On Monday, I posted one of my drawings and how I used the idea of a uniform to determine what elements I would add, and the patterns I would use.

Today's drawing is done using the same method for choosing patterns and deciding what I would include in my drawing.  Yet the two drawings couldn't be more different.

I started with a base of Shock Dark Blue acrylic paint, which wasn't as good of a choice as my Shock Orange from the other painting (applied with Montana Acrylic Paint markers).  Black ink does show up, but grays out and become indistinct.  To make up for this, I decided to use two colors of Sakura's Moonlight Gelly Roll pens--Fluorescent Yellow and Fluorescent Vermilion.  My white Gelly Roll pen was out of ink (oh no!), so I used Zinc White acrylic paint applied with a 1/4 inch flat brush.

There is a black splotch on this.  I don't know what that is. It's a mysterious thing that appeared in the night and won't go away.

As with my orange uniform--I'm not drawing a uniform.  But I'm using the elements of a uniform, buttons, pockets, ribbons, fabric weave, and seams to give me aid in deciding what to put into my non-objective/abstract drawing.  Because I'm not drawing a uniform, I put these elements where-ever I want, heedless, of where they'd actually be on the real item.

I started with the neckcloth and collar, less fancy and brocaded this time.

I decided to put buttons in two places this time, but I did use a similar pattern.

My pocket actually turned to look more like a window, but that's okay.

My ribbon ended up more like a kerchief, but that's fitting because this is a very informal kind of uniform...

...with zigzag seams...

... and a blend of plaid, checks and piping for fabric.

All very uniform.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Uniformity #StillmanAndBirn #Sakura #Zentangle

Aha! I bet I fooled you.

Did you think this post would be about ways to draw something so you'd get uniform results?  Or did you know me well enough to know that is

In fact, I thought this drawing would be a good one to show you exactly the opposite. Well, obliquely the opposite.  This post isn't about the techniques I used to draw of color, but the method I used to make decisions about what to draw.

Sometimes, it's hard to get going, or decide what to put down next.  I did this one day when I was a bit flustered over remodeling problems, and just sort of blank-minded.  I've often mentioned that I usually start drawing and then decide what I'm going to do.  That happened here, and for once, in a way that I can easily share.  If you're interested, read on below.

This drawing was done in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook.  I started with a base of Shock Orange Montana marker acrylic paint, drew the line work with a J. Herbin brush pen, and add the highlights with a Sakura Moonlight yellow gellyroll pen.  The orange was a good choice, because it is light enough that linework shows up easily, but dark enough that highlights really stand out.

So starting with the orange paint already dry, I added some lines at the top, which made me think of fabric, and since I was at the top I thought of hanging fabric, like curtains, and I started lacy type patterns.

But I didn't really want to do curtains.  For some reason, on that day, curtains just seemed like too much effort.  they wouldn't have been, but that doesn't matter.  Sometimes, your mood dictates things a certain way, and you have to go with it.

So I looked again and thought the fabric-y lines seemed more like a neckcloth, and those were epaulets at the side.  You know, like part of a uniform that Napoleon might have worn (he would have never worn a uniform like this--but just go with it, lol).  I didn't want to draw a uniform.  But where curtains are more simple in design, uniforms gave me lots to work with.

Understand--I did NOT want to draw a uniform, I wanted the elements of a uniform to give structure to what I was drawing. And here's how that works.

Uniforms often have vests or stiff collar points  or chokers..  Never mind that I already had a neck cloth.  I added another neck thingee of some kind with lots of embellishment.  I chose patterns that made me think of lace and stiff brocade.

And uniforms have buttons.  I chose a pattern that made me think of the debossed metallic patterns on buttons.

And seams.  The pattern is self-explanatory, though I could have gone with a zig-zag or chain or lots of other type stitching.

And, of course, I couldn't forget pockets. Pockets with embellishments...

I realized I was being too literal, placing all these things where they might actually be on a uniform.  I did NOT want to draw a uniform.  So I placed my ribbons down below the pockets.  I decided not to use a pattern for these (even though I hadn't added the 'wool' effect yet).

I had enough things that could be found ON a uniform, so now I decided to focus on WHAT a uniform might be made from--wool and some kind of weave.  Oh, this would be FINE uniform. Just smashing!

My page was pretty much done.  And you know what?  It looked way too much like a uniform, lol.  I decided to add some depth, so I darkened a few areas and shaded it to look like a pathway.

But, if you didn't see a uniform in the finished drawing, you probably do now, no matter what.

I'm going to do another drawing using the same steps, but I'm going to free myself when it comes to placement of the elements.  Hopefully, I'll have it to share on Thursday.  I want to show you how you could use this method to help you make decisions and come up with a different drawing every time.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Journal52 2015 Week 14: Sweet Treats #Journal52 #ArtJournal #Zentangle

Ah! A journal prompt that struck a chord!  Week 14's Journal52 prompt was Sweet Treats, and I immediately had an idea for the way I wanted to go with it.

Rather than focusing on the sweet things themselves, I wanted to explore the patterns, Zentangle®-style, that you might find in Sweet Treats.

I've written up a bit about my process and why I chose the mediums I did.  The mediums in question are a J. Herbin brush pen, and Derwent Metallic Water-soluble colored pencils in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook.

To start with, I called up photos of 'Sweets' on the internet, and looked for the some patterns.  I decided to base my format on a box of chocolates, but I took some of my patterns from cookies and pies.  I didn't use Zentangle patterns, per se, but most of the patterns I came up with can be found as Zentangle patterns.

For my line work, I use a J. Herbin Brush pen.  My reasons for that choice:

1) Waterproof black ink
2) The variety of line I can get with a brush tip pen
3) The feel of using a brush tip pen
4) The ink in these pens will go over colored pencil
5) I wanted to remind everyone that I'm giving away 4 of these pens this week.  Giveaway ends this Sunday, 4/12 at 11:59 PDT. There is also a full review of the pen.

I thought about leaving the page black & white, but decided I wanted color.  But I wanted soft color, that wouldn't compete with the linework.  I decided to go with Derwent Metallic Water-soluble colored pencils.

You can see just by looking at the lead in these pencils that the color tones are muted.  As with any metallic colors, you may run into difficulties with value.  In other words, because of the way they reflect light, they will all seem to have the same degree of brightness, giving little sense of contrast even between a dark blue and a light yellow.

When you add water to what you've drawn, the colors deepen, darken and blend.  There still isn't much contrast between the colors themselves, but there is contrast between the dry colored pencil, and the color that has water added.  You can see the difference in the photo below.  The wet areas are darker, have more even coverage, and reflect the light differently.  I only used one color, but got a sense of contrast.

Even the wet colors are still soft and muted though, making the line work the main focus.

One other thing to keep in mind when using ANY colored pencil over pen or paint is that they are waxy and will leave a 'haze' over what you are coloring. You see the difference in the photo below?  Some of the black lines seem lighter than others.  All the lines are from the same pen.  But some were colored over and some were not.

You have some options for dealing with this haze.

1) Avoid the lines while coloring with the pencils.  But this can result in unwanted white spots, where you try to avoid touching the lines.
2) Re-ink over the colored pencil to darken the lines.  But this can be a waste of expensive ink.
3) Color with the pencils first, then add the inked in lines.  This is easy enough for area of large fill, but you don't always know where color will go until you have the lines.
4) Draw the lines lightly with one of the colored pencils, color everything and then ink.  However, not all pens will draw over colored pencil, and wax build up can even ruin your pen.
5) Just leave the haze and don't worry about it.

Have I frightened you, lol?  It sounds more complicated than it is, but you should take some care when combining pen and colored pencil, so that you don't ruin your pens.

Because of possible wax build-up, I seldom use method 4.  I often use a combination of the other methods.  There is an advantage to having the haze in some areas.  The lines look lighter, which provides some contrast and makes objects seem more distant, thus increasing a sense of depth.

Usually, with colored pencils, I draw my outlines but wait to fill in the larger areas.
I add the colored pencil avoiding some lines, but covering others where I might want a sense of depth.  I add water if I'm going to do so, and let everything dry.  If my lines are really fine, I just color over them because it's too complicated to try and avoid them.  Life is compromise, after all!

Depending on the pen I'm using I may darken some areas that were colored over.  I try to keep this to a minimum, even with my J. Herbin pen, in order to keep the wax from building up and clogging the tip.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Journal52 2015 Week 13: Spring Clean #Journal52 #ArtJournal #GelliPlate

I mentioned on Tuesday that I'd been having problems with inspiration when doing the Journal52 prompts.

I did get some ideas when it came to the Spring Cleaning prompt, but the problem was that I didn't want to do any of them.  I thought about it for a while.  It would be silly to do something I didn't want to do.  That isn't the reason for the prompts or why I'm doing them.

So, thought about what I did want to do.  I've been doing a lot of watercolor painting, so I wanted to do something different.  I hadn't been doing anything with texture for a while, and I did want to do something with a 3D feel.  I had some patterned squares that I'd done for practice with my 3Doodler pen.  I wanted to use those.  The plastic from the 3Doodler pen doesn't stick to paper though, so I knew I'd have to use something to glue it down.

Ah! I hadn't done anything with a glue gun, for a while.  I was set and ready to go.

As with the last prompt, I decided to use a background that I made using a Gelli Arts gel printing plate,

The thing with these printing plates is that you can get several prints using the same paint.  I had just a little bit of color left, mostly the Primary blue acrylic paint, so I smoothed it out and ran a comb in circles to get some pattern.

A little bit of yuck color (where I mixed the red, blue and yellow together) was left, and I wanted something a little brighter, so I covered the entire page with red and teal acrylic paint.  Teal is a more opaque paint, so it covered almost completely where I applied that.  The red paint was more transparent and allowed the circular pattern to show through.

That's one thing about art journaling.  You do a lot of layering, and often, you cover up a good portion of what you've already done.  You don't have to do that, but the whole point of art journaling is the doing.  It doesn't matter if you cover things up when you're in the flow.  That also means if you don't like something--layer over it.  BUT, if you cover over something you like, you still had the pleasure of creating that something.  Feel free when you art journal.  Don't get involved with what's good or bad--just let it flow.

I know I went on about the yuck color in my backgrounds.  But I knew why that color happened, and I wanted to explain it so those unfamiliar with color theory would know how to avoid it, or realize why it was happening in there work.

Being in the flow at this point, I forgot to take further photos, but once my paint was dry, I laid down the 3Doodle plastic pieces and moved them around the page to decide on my layout.

I used several pieces of the plastic. Little snippets that I cut off to smooth things out, and shapes that I did for practice.  Once I knew where I wanted them, I used the glue gun to glue them down.  They don't show up too well in the photo. but in real life, the colors show through the glue.

Once the glue dried, I once again used my J. Herbin Brush Pen (I'm giving away 4 of these this week-go here to enter.  Giveaway ends 4/12 at 11:59 PDT) and Sakura's Gellyroll pens, namely metallic gold and silver and Moonlight florescent yellow.

So over all what does this page have to do with Spring Cleaning?  I actually forgot what the prompt was while I was doing the page, lol.  But I think the gelly roll doodles look a bit like streams of water from a hose, so I'll say this is a picture of bits and pieces being washed away in the process of Spring Cleaning.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Journal52 2015 Week 12: Inspiration Board #Journal52 #ArtJournal #GelliPlate

I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm having trouble getting inspired by the Journal52 prompts.  Possibly, it's because I'm taking watercolor classes, and my focus is on watercolor.  I do that--get mono-mania-minded on one thing to the point where everything becomes difficult.

So with the prompt 'Inspiration Board', I was feeling no inspiration.  However, I had a couple of backgrounds in my journal, that I'd created with a Gelli Arts monoprinting plate, and one of my fallbacks is to simply use words, so I pulled out my Sakura gellyrolls and used a variety of words and doodles to 'inspire' it up.

I've written a bit about my process below.

If you are unfamiliar with the Gelli Arts gel printing plate, it's block of a thickened jello-like substance--more solid than jello, but it looks and feels like it.  You can put almost any non-alcohol medium on this plate, make patterns in the medium, and then press paper to it, and you get a print on your paper.  This leads to all sorts of fun.

You can make temporary versions of these plates using actual jello with glycerin and a few other things.  Just google 'DIY monoprinting plate' or something similar and you'll find lots of tutorials.  If you like printing with it, then I recommend buying one of the permanent plates.

So I smeared areas of Primary Red, Primary Blue, and Primary Yellow acrylic paint on my plate.  This was a mistake, and I should have known better.  If you mix the three primary colors together you get mud.  You can mix two of them together and get beautiful hues, but add in that third and yuck.

I had visions of carefully mixing two colors on one side of the plate and the other two on the far side.  But-ha ha--me and carefully?

It didn't go too bad.  I did get a couple areas of yuck, especially with the yellow.

I made patterns in the paint by running a comb through it, from side to side.  Then I ran the comb between the line in some areas.

I had disks I made from Amazing Casting Resin, and I pressed those into the paint to get little designs.

This was my finished background.  As I said--there was some yuck colors, and it came out a bit dark.  The dark isn't necessarily bad, but it does require more planning to work on.

The yuck was the worst in the upper left, so I put some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and scrubbed a bit. This has the result of making the yuck color even yuckier, but it also makes it lighter, and therefore a little easier to work on.

The rest was just writing and drawing.  I used my J. Herbin Brush Pen (I'm giving away 4 of these this week-go here to enter.  Giveaway ends 4/12 at 11:59 PDT) and Sakura's Gellyroll pens, namely metallic gold and silver and Moonlight florescent yellow.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review of the J. Herbin CreaPen #CreaPen #Exaclair #JHerbin

The generous Exaclair, Inc. is allowing me to host another Giveaway.  Five winners will receive one of these J. Herbin CreaPens! You can find out how to enter at the end of this post.

Clippable: No
Material: Plastic
Ink Refillable: Yes
Pen Length: Capped -17.2 cm/6.77 in; Posted - 20.1 cm/7.91; Uncapped 16.9 cm/6.65
Ink Color: Black (also comes in Brown, Purple, Blue & Green)
Brush Tip: Synthetic Hair Bristle
Brush Tip Length: 13 mm/0.51 in

Look & Feel
The body and cap are both plastic in black with the name CREAPEN and some swirls in gold.

The tip is a synthetic bristle (as opposed to animal hair or flexible felt tip).  It starts out white but soon takes on the color of the ink.  I've had a few different brush pens, and the length on this one seems to be on the shorter side of the spectrum.   That isn't a matter of good or bad, but it does affect how the pen writes.  Some will prefer this length while others will prefer a longer one.

I couldn't get my camera to capture it, but, as with most bristle tip brush pens, there are a few hairs of different length than the rest.

This allows you to push down or use the side of the brush for a nice fat line, or to hold the pen perpendicular to the paper and get a thin line.  Usually there are only a few of the longest bristles.  The length of these few dictate how thin a line you can get.  For comparison, if I was using a fabric-tipped pen like the Pigma Micron, I'd say you could get a .03 line, but a .05 would be much easier.

The CreaPen is refillable and comes with three cartridges (the one pictured here has brown ink rather than black--it photographed better).  The refill packs come with four cartridges.  At the wider end, there is a ball bearing that you push onto the pen in order to insert the cartridge.  

I had no problem inserting the cartridge.  The instructions recommend letting the pen sit capped, with brush side down to let the ink flow.  I only had to do so for a couple of minutes.  The reason I have brown as well as black cartridges is because I like the pen well enough to order a second one (that I paid for) so I could have another color.  With both pens, the cartridges inserted easily, and the ink was flowing after a few minutes.

I'm nearing the end of second black cartridge, and with both, as the cartridge neared empty, the bristles tended to splay a bit, making it hard to get a thin line.  I have found this to be a problem with other bristle-type brushes, but not all.  Up to this point, I had no problem with skipping or specks in the line, even when drawing over a waxy substance such as colored pencil.

The black ink is along the line of a dark charcoal.  I'm not actually reviewing the brown ink except to let you know there are other colors.

You do get some shading with thick strokes.  At first, I got very fine spikes where I turned the brush and had trouble tapering my strokes to a thin finish. But I feel that is more a matter of getting a feel for the pen, than an inherent flaw in the pen.

The first thing that impressed me when I picked up the pen was how light it is.  The plastic body seemed fragile. That makes this a good choice for someone who needs a lighter pen, but possibly not a good one for someone who tends to have a powerful grip when they write or draw.  With the problems I've had with my wrist lately, I like the extreme lightness, but I think it will be a concern for others.

Using a brush pen can take some practice.  Even if you've used one before, each brand is different.  I won't say it's difficult--you just need to learn what happens with varying pressure, and how well the brush turns.  Good lighting definitely helps.  You need to see where the longer hairs are so you can hold the pen in the right direction to get thinner lines when you want them.

Brush pens are commonly used for calligraphy.  I don't use them that way often, but I always try them out.  I found this a reasonably easy pen for calligraphy.  I did this page as part of getting to know the pen, and felt I was getting the hang of it by the time I was done.

I used a very smooth, clear vellum for my practice.   While it's easy to write on, it does make the ink appear lighter because it allows some light to come through the paper.

Making Marks
The next thing I tried was simply making marks, of different size and thickness, which led to quick doodles using the marks.  I used more than one layer of ink for the bear silhouette in the upper right, but all the rest of the lines were done with one stroke.

This was also done on the vellum.  It clearly shows the shading that occurs, but that may not happen on all papers.

Using the same vellum paper, I went on to do a complete drawing.  At this point, I was still having some problems getting the thinnest lines, but felt comfortable with everything else.  With further practice and good lighting, I think I'll do better with thinner lines, but I don't think thin lines are this pen's forte.

I moved to a mixed media paper that is bright white. The ink is darker, but it doesn't shade as much.

I wanted to test the ink to see if it was waterproof.  On a piece of scrap paper I discovered that if you wet the ink immediately, it does smear a bit.  After 1/2 hour or so, it seems pretty waterproof.  At the top of this drawing, I wet and rewetted the paint three times.  The paper got a bit mushy, but the ink didn't smear.  My scan didn't pick up the light blue paint for some reason, but the entire page was painted, using both wet into wet and wet over dry methods.

I re-inked the border after painting, to show the color at its darkest.  There is always hazing when you color over the ink (standard).  One of my favorite techniques is to draw some lines first, color, and then draw new lines, and/or draw over some of the existing lines.  The hazy lines seem farther in the distance while the darker lines come forward, so it's a subtle way to add some depth.

Colored Pencil
My heart was in my mouth for this one!

One of the hardest mediums to draw over is colored pencil.  It's waxy, and many inks will bead up.  The wax will build up on the tips and clog them--sometimes forever.  Worse, it can happen almost immediately. I have used other brush pens (bristle type--never fabric type) on colored pencil.  Some of them clogged and some didn't.  I was running the risk of ruining my pen.

I build up about four layers of color, blending some of it so it was quite waxy (my scan doesn't show it very well).

The ink went down as dark as it did without the colored pencil. I then added another layer or two, and re-inked some of the lines.  This left a haze over the ink.  I then re-inked some of the lines so you can see the difference in color.

It worked! There was no skipping or beading up of the ink. After finishing, I immediately drew something on a toothier paper and had no problems.  I did this both as a test, and also to try and remove any wax build-up on the bristles.

So, I did this, and yes, you can use this pen over colored pencil.  Should you?  Probably not. I'll only do so occasionally, myself.  You might not ever ruin the pen, but I suspect you'd shorten the life considerably if you did this very often.  It might be worth it to you, if black line work over colored pencil is really your thing (and it does look good).

Other Colors-Brown
So, I'm not reviewing the other colors of ink, but I had to show you the brown at least. It reminds me of J. Herbin's Terre de feu, a very earthy Burnt Sienna kind of color (not quite as red as it is showing up on my screen).

I also wanted to note that the brown ink was NOT water-proof or water-resistant.  It smeared no end when I added water, even if I waited a couple of days before wetting it.  However, when I used the two inks together I had little problem with smearing.

The construction of the pen seems fragile, but I do like how light it is.  Others may prefer a heavier pen.  The ink is light, as blacks go. The black ink is waterproof, though the brown isn't, and will write over colored pencil.

The manufacturer describes the ink as light-resistant so there may be fading, especially if the drawing is exposed to constant light.

Keeping in mind that I have experience with brush pens, I found it easy to get the hang of this pen, I wish it would make finer lines, but I have a real preference for fine lines.  I'd compare this to a .05 tip though with care, you can get a thinner line.

The pen is comfortable in my small hand and I enjoy using it enough, that I bought a second one so I'd have another ink color.

The Giveaway is now over. 

I received this J. Herbin CreaPen from Exaclair, Inc. for the purposes of reviewing and hosting this giveaway.  I received no other compensation and the second CreaPen I purchased with my own money.  All opinions expressed are my own and are as honest as I can make them.

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