Inktober drawing kit

Thought I should give it ago this year….an ink drawing every day for month of October. Interesting challenge to resist the watercolours! So got out my fountain pens, gave them a clean. Then found that my favourite vintage Mont Blanc is broken – the threaded part of the barrel is breaking away – so that one is back in the drawer until I can get it fixed. So I’ve replaced it with a Rotring Art Pen (from one extreme to another!). I now have a range of nibs for both waterproof and non-waterproof ink:

  • Noodlers Konrad with flex nib filled with deAtramentis document black
  • Lamy Safari with medium nib with Lamy cartridge – so can splodge some water on it and move ink around
  • Rotring Art Pen broad nib with Mont Blanc permanent cartridges
  • Platinum Carbon with sepia cartridge
  • Pentel brushpens – black, grey
  • Pentel Sign pen – black
  • Waterbrush – to splodge around the non-permanent inks

Copper lamps

Sitting passing some time at the Senator furniture showroom in London. I’m waiting for the student work to arrive so that we can put their end of year exhibition up. It’s raining outside, and everyone is feeling a little damp. I’m sitting in one of the comfy felt booths, with coffee and sketchbook so thought I should put it to use.

Snail ate my Irises

Went out this morning and these Iris flower heads were lying on the ground. Stems nibbled through by naughty snails (or slugs)! So put them in a glass of water hoping they’ll flower and took the opportunity to draw them. This time in pencil, watercolour, colour pencils and some ink at the end. Really like using colour pencils in this bold scribble way.

Twingling Twingley

Any of you out there know the work of Jonathan Twingley? I’m in need of new ideas and insights so decided to take an online klass at Sketchbook Skool. Mr Twingley is one of the fakulty and his klass is an absolute hoot – totally liberating – would highly recommend this for anyone feeling stuck in a drawing rut. These two drawings are obvious mimicry of his work, but doing them was such pure fun – no worrying about getting it ‘right’. Can’t tell you how good they made me feel. Think I’m having an ah ha moment!

Brush pens and people

Had a great afternoon this week with the art group in Cafe de la Gare in Gourville, organised by Lulu Hancock. I go when I can to get a couple of hours of focused drawing time. Our model was Julie the bar owner, who was taking the pose of a Richard Diebenkorn painting. We were all working in different media and I chose to try and develop my use of brush pens, with a bit of colour pencil.

©jen grove
©jen grove

Decided to work in my sketchbook as that’s where I feel happiest at the moment – and these were just experiments. It’s a large (250 x 250) chunky Seawhite of Brighton book which is so forgiving for most media. The paper is heavy cartridge and takes wet media well and these Pentel Brush pens.

I managed to get a few drawings done – all quite quick, probably no longer than 15-20 minutes. No pencil set up, just Lamy Safari EF, and Lamy Joy F. The background is grey brush pen smudged with my finger whilst wet, as is the orange bag. Julie’s purple sweater is colour pencil. I’ve also used a black pentel brush pen for the darkest darks.

©jen grove
©jen grove
©jen grove
©jen grove

Drawing Julie above, I added more colour pencil to the brush pen which I think works really well – adds some texture. The brush pens are great for getting some strong tone down and for making the subject ping by filling the negative space around them. The colour pencil is good for adding detail and texture.

Then I decided to draw the drawers, which was quite easy as they were so focused on their own work that they weren’t moving around much either!

©jen grove
©jen grove
©jen grove
©jen grove

No page is wasted – just a few more to go and this sketchbook will be finished…

This is the equipment that I used…

Lamy, Pentel, Tombow, pencils
Lamy, Pentel, Tombow, pencils

The three brush pens on the right are Pentel, and are my favourites. By squeezing the body of the pen you can get more ink into the brush so can saturate the paper, and the brushes are very flexible. You can also buy refills for them. The next two (blue and ochre) are Tombow and are ok, but the brush is more rigid and you can’t control the flow. Next is the black Pentel brush pen which I love (again, refillable). The two fountain pens in the front are both Lamy – Safari with EF nib and Joy with F nib. The colour pencils in the plastic bag are a mixture of several makes. The Pentel brush pens come in a limited range of colours and they are all pretty punchy, the Tombow range of colours is much larger and more subtle.

Brush pens and colour pencil

This is a quick test of bright colour brush pen as base colour then working colour pencil on top. Really like the vibrancy that comes through especially if I use a complementary colour pencil on top. 

So a couple of drawings that are sort of trying this out but think I wasn’t brave enough with the colours. To be developed! 


New vibrant colours in watercolour palette


I’ve been getting bored with my usual watercolour palette. Partly due I think to having too many choices in it. So I’ve created another box, from a simple Muji plastic box, with just eight colours – three of which are greens. I’ve never ever used a ready mixed green in a palette but I’m starting to do more landscapes and thought it might make life a little easier to include a few.

Muji palette

In the box the colours look quite dull, but on paper they absolutely sparkle. The only problem is there are a mixture of makes – Daniel Smith (the two full size pans), Winsor and Newton, and Sennelier. I know the names of the DS and W+N paints, but only have a number for the Sennelier ones. But here is a photo of the palette with the info I have on the colours.

Muji colour swatches

My first two sketches with this palette have turned out really well – I’m loving the colour mixes I’m getting. Figs from the garden at the top of the page, and dead yellow roses…

Dead yellow roses

Kunst + Papier sketchbook

Starting new sketchbook – Kunst + Papier – a gift from my stepdaughter in Berlin. It’s thinner paper than I normally like, so not so good for watercolour, but will just about hold it. Very nice quality paper – natural colour, not bright white with a bit of tooth. So think I’ll use it for more pen and ink, and colour pencil drawings.

It’s been a while since I posted here – had a project on that’s been distracting me. But that’s all sorted now, so back to some sketching which is so nice.

Mixed media still life still life – ink, colour pencil and some water over water soluble pencil

Just cleaned the barn!A very tired Bruce – ink with turquoise watercolour