Posts tagged ‘pen’

“Three French Hens”

Hard to believe it’s that time again.   Thanksgiving will be here in less than a week and then it’ll be Christmas.

I just completed “Three French Hens,” my seventh illustration for the Twelve Days of Christmas series.  My medium was watercolor pencil, and a Faber Castel fine line pen to outline all of the images.

Three French Hens

In keeping with the overall whimsical theme, I depicted three rather disturbed French hens around a dinner table at a nice restaurant. The waiter lifts the lid of the main dish only to be stunned by the sight of a roasted chicken on a platter. His reaction is mild compared to that of the three hens. The one sitting closest to him faints backwards after the reveal, while the other hen on the opposing side clucks at the waiter in outrage. The third one seated in the middle is so overcome with emotion that she leaps up in the air to physically pass her “compliments” to the chef.

The biggest struggle? Working with a lot of color. I forgot what a pain it was. It took me longer to determine the actual colors to use then it did to apply them to the work.

All in all, the struggle was well worth it and I am proud to have another completed work for my series.  Only five more days to go!

Sermons Notes From The Right Brain

For the past couple of years I’ve been a church doodler.   It all started out with scribbling on the church programs using a black Faber-Castell brush pen. I liked the challenge of drawing within the limited white spaces of the bulletin.  When I finished, the doodles looked as if they were part of the print!

As of recent, I’ve converted to a small sketch book. What prompted the change was that the one time that I really felt like doodling during the service. I didn’t have a church program nor did I have any old ones stashed away.  I did, however, find a random piece of paper and immediately started using that.  It was fun being able to draw on a blank space without being hindered by surrounding print.

I’ve been using the same pens that I used for life drawing (see previous post), often interchanging colors as I write out the words.   The sketches are made to further drive the point of the sermon.  It’s been a lot of fun doodling notes in a sketchpad and it’s even captured the attention of some of  the ministerial staff.

So here are a few weeks’ worth of my notes!  Enjoy!

Sermon Notes 4.27.14

Sermon Notes 4.27.14a

Sermon Notes 5.4.14

Sermon Notes 5.4.14a

Sermon Notes 5.11.14

Sermon Notes 5.11.14a

Sermon Notes 5.18.14

Sermon Notes 5.18.14a

Sermon Notes 5.25.14

Sermon Notes 5.25.14a

Sermon Notes 5.25.14b

How Mighty Is The Pen?

For the past few months I’ve attended weekly free life drawing sessions hosted by Twenty-Two, a combined bar and gallery.  I practically break my neck to get there early in order to find the best seat.

For several weeks now I’ve been drawing the human form in pen.  Pen is scary and yet wonderful at the same time.  It gives the work some boldness, like an inked comic book.   To me it’s an unforgiving medium leaving little, if any room for mistakes. Ultimately, I had to attack it fearlessly with the understanding that I was going to make errors.  It was that feeling of, “Yeah, I screwed that up, so WHAT?”  It’s very liberating.

An artist who frequently works in pen told me that if you make a mistake, you just draw around it.  Well I took his advice to heart and drew around a LOT of stuff, although over time I seem to be doing less of that.  I’m nowhere near perfect with the pen, but I’m improving.  I’m also taking my time by studying the subject a little more in order to improve my accuracy.

One of my favorite things to do is to use crosshatching to define shading on the model and folds in the fabric covered props.  I can control how light or how dark I want to make the subject by drawing the crosshatching lines tight together or further apart.


Nude leaning  Nude one leg pose  Sitting nude

reclining nude1   recliningnude2

 Here are my tools,  a set of  four ballpoint pens  that I purchased from Office Depot.  Initially I was drawing the model in one color, however lately, I’ve been experimenting by using two different colors.





Making Phone Art

A few weeks ago, I recently upgraded to a new phone – a Samsung Galaxy S3.  No, it’s not the latest model but it’s light years away from my old phone and it was $30. Who could turn that down?

So here’s what got me all excited about this phone. It has this feature called S-memo where you can jot down memos by either typing or handwriting (or more like finger writing).  The handwriting option has different strokes including pencil, pen, brush and even highlighter. You can choose from many different colors and if a certain palette isn’t available, you can create one.

As an artist this is the coolest thing, and I don’t have to use an online app that would eat up my data usage. I truly have been amusing myself and it’s kind of changed the way I sketch. So much for scribbling on church bulletins. Now I can just scribble on the phone and upload my renderings to Facebook or Twitter!

Here are a couple of things I did. Mostly simple stuff.

wpid-S-Memo_03.jpg   wpid-S-Memo_02.jpg


I decided to look for an online editing program if I wanted to get really fancy,  and lo and behold, I found the Pixlr application.  The phone app is obviously more limited than the standard online program but it’s still pretty useful.

wpid-S-Memo_01_20130613064308873.jpg     wpid-S-Memo_06_20130614085124512.jpg

While this will never truly replace drawing utensils and a sketchpad, it’s still a convenient thing to have if you don’t want to carry around  a lot of stuff.  Pencils and pencils, don’t be jealous!

Separation Anxiety and Random Doodling

I was reading a blog the other day and the author was talking about taking sermon notes during church services.  He also wrote about a particular pen that he used for writing and he felt that there was no other kind like it.

I can relate to that.  In my case, it happens to be a black Faber-Castell brush tip artist pen with India ink.  I’m not an expert at using the brush pen but I am getting the hang of it.  Brush pens are cool because you can control the thickness of the lines by applying the right pressure or angle.  Also, there is something incredibly amazing about using a black pen on a white surface.  I call it clarity.

I do use the pen to take sermon notes, but most of all I doodle with it like crazy.  Doodling helps me process things better.  I will tear up a church bulletin in a minute with my pen.  Oh, and I have to draw on a church bulletin.  I like the challenge of drawing around the printed area and using what little white space is left.  Lately, however, I find myself drawing on top of the print altogether.

I knew I was obsessed with my pen when I wouldn’t leave the house without making sure that it was in my purse.

One time during a meeting I was using it to take notes (and doodles) when someone next to me asked to borrow it for a second to jot something down.  I thought, this pen?  Surely, he didn’t mean it.  I didn’t want to fumble around in my purse for another so I reluctantly handed it over.

I could see and hear him scratching away furiously on his paper with my pen.  This unnerved me to the point that I had to look away towards the direction of the person who was speaking.  The scratching seemed to grow louder and louder and all I kept saying to myself was, just focus on the speaker!   Eventually, the pen was returned and there was no harm done, but those few seconds seemed like an eternity.

It goes to show you that when you use a particular tool on a frequent basis it becomes an extension of yourself.  I compare it to warriors and their swords. I would imagine that initial their reaction would have been the same as mine if asked the same type of question, except maybe there would be laughter, or dismemberment.

Here is some of my chicken scratch that I’ve drawn on the church bulletin.  I’ve made better ones, but many have been discarded to keep the clutter down to a minimum.   Our bulletins are printed in black and white and the pen designs integrate well enough that you would think that they were already there before.


Sadly, the pen is getting low on ink and the depth isn’t there like it used to be.  I need to go buy another one or possibly several.  I’m glad it’s not the only one of its kind!

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