Archive for the ‘Watercolor Supplies’ Category

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Lessons From 2021 And Plans For 2022

12/30/2021

2021 was my year to reorganize and consolidate making the most of what was on hand. The result was a lean kit of basic tools that make writing a pleasure.

Honestly, it was pretty simple. Selling pens financed the purchase of four inexpensive Chinese models one of which has become my favorite daily writer. A contaminated bottle of a favorite ink was replaced. Paper purchases included identical replacements for completed journals along with paper for two A5 loose-leaf notebooks. Hardly adventurous, but it was satisfying to use familiar tools. All of this led to more writing and less fiddling. And that’s a good thing.

Writing more slowly improved my letter forms and my hand was less stressed during rare longer sessions. My softer touch created less drag so extra-fine nibs were less scratchy making them useful again.

Lessons from 2021 that will apply to 2022:

  • Sell pens that will never receive the love they deserve.
  • If a pen doesn’t thrill me but I am not ready to sell it, there is a drawer where pens-in-waiting can commiserate. In the future, it might be perfect for my needs.
  • Converter fillers with satisfying nibs are best for me. Keep no more than three to five filled at a time including pens for testing ink.
  • If an ink is terrific, keep using it! Iroshizuku syo-ro in a fine fude is #1 these days with eighteen refills in recent months. Platinum Classic Lavender Black is getting a lot of love, too.
  • Stick to my paper niche of Tomoe River 52gsm, a planner with MD paper, and only an occasional tryst with a new brand.
  • Write slowly with a soft touch and don’t worry about how my writing looks so long as it is legible.
  • Handwritten notes spark ideas for my websites so do it daily if only a sentence or two.

2022 plans include only one new addition, a watercolor journal. In the past, notes, swatches, sketches, palette ideas went in all kinds of places including unrelated notebooks, my personal journal, backs of envelopes, napkins. You name it and I wrote and painted on it. Time to change my ways most likely with a Stillman & Birn Beta or Zeta Sketchbook. Both have paper that will handle watercolor swatches and sketches as well as notes made with fountain pens and pencils. A single notebook is all I will need.

On a different subject, social media can be entertaining if sometimes brutal as I experienced when a narcissistic, delusional FB bully attacked me. Anyway, no one and no topic is worth being the target of that kind of abuse. The lesson here is to trust my instincts and ignore or block people sooner. I am worth it and so are you. On the plus side, this episode encouraged me to reevaluate and expand my plans in a way that I would not have done without the bully’s attack. Instead of doing less, I am doing more. Ironic, eh?

Now you know how my 2021 tool selection evolved as well as the year’s life lesson. The opposite may be better for you with lots of pens, constantly changing inks, a huge variety of notebooks and paper, and handwriting that does not need tweaking. You might even like interacting with a bully. Hey, whatever makes you happy!

Lastly, I learned that I have a namesake. Cute, eh?

Margana, the Camel

 

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On My Desk – July 2021

07/31/2021

Five fountain pens were my tools of choice for July. It was a stub and fude month with a varied assortment of inks. Iroshizuku and Herbin contributed two each with a Diamine ink for the fifth. The Delike New Moon fude got the most love and a review should be finished in a couple of days.

Not pictured is the pink Tombow MONOgraph 0.5mm mechanical pencil with Uni Nano Dia HB lead. Its companion is a MUJI hard type, black plastic eraser.

In the category of non-writing tools are a Metro Stylus, a Silver Black Velvet 3/4″ flat brush, and a Princeton Neptune 1/2″ square wash brush. A cinnamon oatmeal cookie scented candle, an e.l.f. cooling under eye refresh rollerball plus four rolls of washi tape round things out. Oh, and lots of photos so I am never alone.

What’s on your desk?

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Links To Inks, Pens, and Watercolor Supplies

06/01/2021

Getting back into the swing of things after a long holiday weekend…

From the archives:

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Friday Links And Clever Spy Pens

07/17/2020

Despite the temptation to think that lockdown days are all alike, retaining optimism for the coming weekend adds a little spiciness to Saturday and Sunday. A few pen links should start things off right.

From the archives:

Five years on, this passport cover continues to have a place in my life. It is no longer available but there are several at Amazon that might entice me to add a second notebook to my writing routine. The Traveler’s Notebooks tucked inside are good with fountain pen ink, Uniball-Signos, graphite as well as a variety of felt tips and gel pens. The paper is thin but will tolerate a light wash of watercolor. In other words, I can use any tool on my desk. Having no restrictions suits me just fine.

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Sometimes A Rollerball Beats A Fountain Pen

01/21/2020

Yes, you read that right. Sometimes a fountain pen isn’t the best choice, especially when a pen might be idle for months at a time. Recently, I became acquainted with the Uni-ball Signo 307, a gel pen that suits such situations admirably.

The 307 was recommended for use with watercolors due to its permanence and saturated black color. Unlike some gel ink, the Signo does not produce globs that dry slowly. It is smooth, archival, and skip-free. According to Uni-ball, the 307 contains “Super Ink™ that protects against water, fade, and fraud.” In addition, rollerball pen tips do not fray or wear down on textured watercolor paper like felt tips do. The combination of permanence and durability makes the 307 a useful addition to my collection of watercolor tools. It is a bonus that it fills my need for a maintenance-free, always read to write pen.

It is comfortable in the hand, extremely light weight, and should tolerate normal use easily. It has been many years since I used a rollerball and it is good to see there has been improvement in the quality of the ink.

My 307 has a medium 0.7 nib that comes with black, red or blue ink. The kicker is that it requires absolutely no pressure to write a consistent line. My hand is very happy with it even if it is an inexpensive plastic pen. My fountain pens aren’t remotely jealous. The little stinkers have no fear of being replaced by a no-class upstart. Have they been raised right or what?

You don’t have to take my word for it. The Pen Addict posted a review in 2015 if you want to learn more from a trusted source.

On Amazon, I bought several to keep in locations where I write only on occasion but don’t always have a fountain pen handy. Note that there is an earlier model 207 that does not seem to have the same ink though it is a smooth writer. It does come in more colors if that is important for your needs.

Inkophile is an Amazon Affiliate. If you buy through these links, I get a tiny commission that will help finance new products to review.

Signo 0.7mm black ink

Signo 0.7mm assorted color set

Signo 0.5mm black ink

Signo 0.5mm assorted color set

Signo 307 Refills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bee Paper Can Be Quirky

12/16/2019

For those of you who play with watercolors, note that Bee Paper can have an issue that is frustrating. My former recommendation now comes with a caveat.

On the plus side, Bee is 100% cotton and 140 lb/300gsm just like any good quality watercolor paper. Cotton brings out the full range and depth of color that paint has to offer and the 140 lb. weight will reduce warping. That’s all to the good.

The best paper will cost more than student grade or pulp content paper, but to be sure, the investment is worth it. Cost-wise, Bee is at the low end for cotton paper. For swatches, brush practice or color exploration, it is perfectly fine. Just don’t be surprised if the paint does not perform as it should.

My issue with Bee paper is how it accepts the paint. Sizing prevents watercolor paper from absorbing too much fluid. Instead, the color remains on top of the surface where it pools, puddles and mingles with its neighbors in intriguing ways. Sizing is an essential component of good paper. When inadequately or improperly applied, paint blotches and flows in ugly, spidery lines like the worst feathering you ever saw from fountain pen ink and then some.

To demonstrate Bee Paper’s quirky behavior, the edge shows an irregular border that should have been smooth and even, just as the paint appears elsewhere.

The back of the paper reveals that paint soaked through. We may tolerate that with fountain pen ink, but it should not happen with watercolor paper especially when the paint is lightly applied. In the center of the same sheet, there is a 6mm by 3mm spot that did not take paint normally and bled through to the back of the paper. All of the problems would have been eliminated by a more consistent application of sizing.

Not every sheet has this issue but who wants to get well into a painting only to find the paper is flawed and the effort ruined. Note that Bee is fine for practice and experimentation, especially with new brushes and paints. My stock won’t go to waste. It will have its uses and eventually get replaced.

In the future, I will stick with Arches and Fabriano Artistico. They are readily available in the U.S. and never disappoint. A number of other companies offer 100% cotton paper and are worthy of consideration as well. Putting aside one brand is no great loss when there is such a variety of others from which to choose. 

Two Trees on Bee Paper

Brush practice with watercolors on Bee Paper scraps. Blue tree is 8.2 x 11cm. Autumn tree is 6.8 x 11.4cm.

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Sunday Reads: Iroshizuku, Lamy And A Drama Queen

07/21/2019

Unlike those silly drama queens seeking attention from social media, this baby’s got the right moves – not too much victim but just enough to earn appreciation for a well-executed whine…

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