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The Pelikan P200 Is Not What You Would Expect

04/02/2014

Whoa! Pelikan has announced a new cartridge model and Edelstein cartridges to go with it!

 

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Jackson’s Professional Watercolours

04/02/2014

Jackson’s Art Supplies sent a box of Jackson’s Professional Watercolours months ago and it has been a real pleasure getting acquainted. Whether the assembled kit or a custom set based on your specifications, the paint is artist quality and reasonably priced which makes it suited to the novice as well as the pro.

My box of full pan watercolors:

471 Chinese White PW4 PW6 – Series 2
103 Lemon Yellow PY3 – Series 2
129 Naples Yellow PY 35, PW4, PW6 – Series 2
160 Cadmium Red Light PR108 – Series 5
187 Genuine Carmine PV19
257 French Ultramarine Blue PB29 – Series 2
277 Phthalo Green Deep B.S. PG7, PB 15 – Series 2
282 Hooker’s Green PG7, PY83 – Series 2
362 Burnt Sienna PBr7 – Series 1
382 Venetian Red PR101, PY43 – Series 1
424 Payne’s Grey PBk7, PB15, PV19 – Series 2
445 Ivory Black PBk9 – Series 1

Highly pigmented watercolors can be toned down by adding another color like Neutral Tint, but muted or less saturated colors cannot be made brighter. Artist quality paints contain more pigment which is one of the best reasons to purchase them. All of the paints in my Jackson’s kit are very saturated though Burnt Sienna took more effort than the others to reach its full potential.

The plastic pans that hold the paints are identical to those from Daniel Smith, so they will fit many boxes besides those from Jackson’s. There is a sticky label with the item number, color name, and pigment formula on the bottom of each pan. Each color arrived individually packaged in a tiny plastic bag. It’s up to you to assemble the pans in whatever order suits your style. The plastic tray comes out easily so the box can be thoroughly cleaned without harm to the paint. There is a slot for a full-sized brush and four wells for mixing colors. The box opens flat so it is well set up for painting on the road.

My kit came with a different set of paints than the set pictured on the website. However, you can get the same light-weight metal tin free when you order your own selection of colors. It’s the best deal I’ve seen for a custom palette.

Jackson’s Watercolours are preserved with honey in addition to the usual gum arabic. Just as it can make the paint flow better, honey can cause it to harden more slowly. For those who fill pans with tube paint to set up their own kits, note that the paint may stay soft longer than you might expect. Store your kit in a horizontal position so the paint doesn’t migrate. The formed cakes don’t flow unbidden, but the surface can stay moist for days.

Like other brands of paint, Jackson’s did benefit from pre-wetting. A light spritz of distilled water from a spay bottle and a minute later, the colors were ready to go, fully saturated and at their peak. Jackson’s Watercolours have a lovely depth and brilliance. They mix easily for lively colors and produce clear pastels when diluted. Genuine Carmine is the only color used for the flowers which demonstrates the range it can achieve.

The blue blob was painted with French Ultramarine, Phthalo Green Deep, and Hooker’s Green to see how the colors would flow together.

The trees were painted to play with the range and to test a couple of new brushes. The center painting was done with an Isabey #0 Mop while the others were done with a variety of brushes. The 6 x 9″ paper for the left and middle paintings is Canson XL Aquarelle 300gsm. The sketch on the right is on a scrap of junk paper. The main colors are Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Red Light, French Ultramarine, Hooker’s Green, Burnt Sienna and Payne’s Gray.

Often I put together a simple palette with three paints and then let the resulting mixes suggest the subject. Mediterranean landscape on a stormy day? Desert at dawn? Mountain range in autumn? Tea and biscuits on a cafe table? Three colors are all it takes. There are no limits save skill at execution. Make it an abstract or loose interpretation, especially in a journal, and skill becomes less a factor.

If color moves you, then make that the focus. All you need is a watercolor kit like Jackson’s, a brush for washes, a detail brush, paper and a cup of water. It really is as simple as that. Add a fountain pen with a neutral ink to put words on your painting and you’ll have a mixed media composition. You may not consider yourself an artist or painter, but you are a creative person as your journal will attest.

My thanks to Jackson’s Art Supplies for sending the watercolor kit and giving me the opportunity to explore what their paints can do. My doodle journal will never be the same.

Note that the last image is watercolor on Tomoe River paper, but done with a dry brush since the paper is very thin. Still I must say it held up well with only a tiny amount of buckling that was easily pressed out tucked in a book.

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Another Off-Topic Post – Tabletop Game Day!

04/02/2014

Plan ahead, folks: Saturday is International Tabletop Day! Stock up on munchies and gather a few friends for the universal joy of playing games with real boards and pieces. Yes, board games, the type that responds to hand motions in ways a computer never will. Those boxes of bits and pieces may have been gathering dust for ages, but Saturday could be the perfect time to dust them off and have a bit of good, clean fun. Are you game?

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This Is Totally Off-Topic But It’s Grilled Cheese Month!

04/01/2014

April is National Grilled Cheese Month. Americans love their bacon, but for my money,the grilled cheese sandwich is the better comfort food. There are dozens of ways to enhance the traditional cheddar on white bread grilled in butter that my mom used to serve with tomato soup. How do you make your grilled cheese sandwich memorable?

Check out 30 Amazing Grilled Cheese Sandwiches if you need a little inspiration.

 

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Two Giveaways And A Few Links

03/30/2014

My talented friends Mia, Gentian and Leigh have been hard at work and it shows…

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The Internet Is Filled With Them

03/29/2014

It happens from time to time. Someone comes along who just has to diss your efforts. This time it was an adios over format, the subtext of which is that the content on Inkophile isn’t worth a click to read. Oh, it was dressed up with other insincere junk, but when someone says he is leaving as a “mater (sic) of values and principle”, you know you are being trashed for lacking them. Sheesh.

A blog can be a time consuming endeavor. Some posts take more than twenty hours to research and write. There is one in the works that will exceed a hundred hours due to extensive product testing. When readers click a link to an individual post, that indicates the subject was of interest and is something about which I should write more often. Comments have the same effect. Hence, continuing to write posts has value especially when it is clear in which subjects readers have an interest.

Recently, posts about paper topped ink reviews for number of clicks. I had no idea this was going on until I happened to see the stats. With over 860,000 page views, it really is useful to know which subjects have the most appeal. So clicking links is how you help shape this blog.

Those clicks also inform retailers and manufacturers which products interest you as the result of a mention or review. This affects which products are submitted for review as well as what sort of products retailers stock. That sounds like a win for everyone.

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite Ink

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I Cheated But Just A Little

03/28/2014

Taking a cue from my Colorful Background post, I sploshed some blue and green watercolors on a page in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook. Unlike the artist who made the video in my post, I didn’t want to write on the painting so I cheated, but just a little.

The trick was to make the words temporary without obscuring the background painting. After a few so-so ideas, I remembered a packet of translucent vellum that disappeared years ago. It took some time to locate, but provided the perfect solution.

With a Pilot Prera/Plumix Italic and Noodler’s Black ink, I wrote the Eurythmics lyric several times on the vellum until it looked suitable. A little paper tearing produced uneven edges that echoed the watercolor. Then I made another written piece using a Uchida Gold Opaque Paint Marker. With a Scotch Wrinkle-Free Glue Stick, I attached the written words to the watercolor. Lastly, a swath of gold dots on the left side and the page was complete.

The Daniel Smith watercolors are from my basic palette and include Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, and Green Gold with a touch of Ultramarine Blue. I may have inadvertently dipped my brush in Sap Green on one pass, so that could be added to the list or not.

Epsilon paper is 150gsm so it can handle a fair amount of liquid, but it still required quick work to keep things fresh and flowing. The Isabey Petit Gris Mop brush from Leigh was perfect for the loose wash. It holds a huge amount of paint and added to the fun of getting the colors to mingle on the paper.

If you aren’t into painting, a similar background effect can be achieved with wide or brush markers. The latter works extremely well when held horizontally, almost parallel to the paper. Another option is to doodle with Sharpies and write with a fountain pen over your design.

If you want to write with a fountain pen more than paint colorful backgrounds, Jet Pens has a fun palette that could be used to create a pale wash of color over which ink will stand out nicely. More about the Yasutomo Niji Pearlescent set next week, but it could make a good starting point paired with a waterbrush. It does take a few drops of water to get the paint thick enough to put down significant color. However, a less saturated look might be just the thing to make your writing stand out on the page.

Whatever way you go, writing over a colorful background adds pizazz to your words. If it inspires you to write, so much the better. Play with it and have fun. That’s what should happen with all artistic endeavors.

Speaking of having fun, I think I’ll add a few more gold dots. One can never have too much gold, right?

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