It’s been a busy couple weeks with post-opening catch up (for everything I put on hold during my framing work), the holidays, and being knocked out by a cold which forced me to take real¬†weekend (a restful one- I felt like I went into hibernation). Anyways, I’m feeling better and coming out of my den now to share a new technique I’ve started playing with.

Ink and watercolor is one of my favorite mediums to use for field sketching- I’ve always loved how I can explore a composition gesturally and how my pen marks are a map for my progress. The addition of watercolor washes illuminate my sketch, giving it dimension and liveliness. If conditions aren’t conducive to watercolor, I make shorthand notes add paint later under shelter.

Sketching with waterproof ink is standard for me, my first love being Staedtler Mars Matic technical drafting pens (I like the size range from 0.13mm tip – 0.35mm tip). The light touch the nibs demand and their uniform lines appeal to me, but I am finally using the pens less as, well, they’re fussy. Fussy doesn’t do well in the field- the pens don’t like an extreme change in temperature, altitude, and also clog easily with grit. Which is fair enough since they’re designed for the studio. I’ve since been using the Staedtler Mars Professional pen and Pigma Micron pens more, both of which have waterproof inks.

A couple weeks ago, though, I picked up a Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen (I generally prefer non-disposable tools- but sometimes I just feel like experimenting. I sketched as usual, enjoying the broad and variable marks from the nib tip, and began to add my watercolor on top. What fun! The pen bleeds, but not so much as to interfere with the watercolor paint. The sketch is more painterly as the record of ink dissolves into paint.

From the corner of E. Galer St. and Federal Ave E, Nov 19, 2008. 11" x 8.5"
From the corner of E. Galer St. and Federal Ave E, Nov 19, 2008. 11″ x 8.5″
University of Washington From Frosh Pond, Nov 19, 2008, 11" x 8.5"
University of Washington From Frosh Pond, Nov 19, 2008, 11″ x 8.5″