Tagged: grease pencil


Though my lodging accommodations in Cedar Falls may have lacked grace and refinement, downtown had plenty of charm. As I enjoyed a hot chocolate and baked goods made on the premises at Cup of Joe, I took much delight in the stylish quartet in the balcony. Pitt pens on Strathmore and three different whites, a Pitt Big Brush White, a white grease pencil, and an Uni Ball Signo.

Cali Zephyr

Passengers on the Fall Trek. Above, a very nice gentleman gets his first look at the Rockies.

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Amtrak, Metra, CTA, Megabus, Trailways, Uber….as long as my hands aren’t glued to a steering wheel, I’ll make my way around the country and fill my sketchbooks. Fountain pens, juiced up with Platinum Carbon, Pitt Artist Pens, grease pencils, aka the white China markers, ballpoint, the rare color pencil, gel pens, whatever, in ledger books, watercolor pads, Stillman & Birn, Strathmore, Clairefontaine, Tomoe River Paper and then some. Drawing from life, from nudes, landscapes, urban environments, transit passengers, dead animals, cemeteries, laundromats, drawing out of my head and out of my mind….just answering the calling and feeding the obsession.

MSP airport

For the 5th year, I will head out across the country, this time trekking down the middle, from the mountains to the Mississippi, over the Oglalla and amber waves of grain, to sketch and share craft and discoveries with a whole mess of folks. To follow my journey, go to: doncolleysroadtrip.com.

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The trek began with an 8 hour layover at the Twin Cities airport and  a late arrival in gorgeous Bozeman. From there I made it to the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument. Go. Hallowed ground. The markers indicating where the combatants fell give and amazing sense of the raging and rambling nature of the battle. From there, Sheridan, Wyo, and a long bus ride to Fargo, where the biplane was drawn at the Fargo Air Museum. The West has to be experienced by bus by car and by train with frequent stops.

All drawings executed with various fountain pens, Lamy Accent, Graf Von Faber-Castell Classic Ebony, using Platinum Carbon ink, grease pencil, and a ide array of F-C Pitt Artist Brush Pens in several types of sketchbooks: Strathmore toned sketchbooks, Moleskine landscape formate watercolor sketchbook, Stillman & Birn Epsilon, Tomoe River Paper sketchbook, and a ledger book from the 1950’s.

Mobile Library

Spent time in Millenium Park this weekend past and captured people stopping by the Sketchbook Project’s Mobile Library which was on a cross country tour from it’s home base in Brooklyn.

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Absolutely loving drawing in this Tomoe River Paper sketchbook. Mostly making use out of Pitt Artist Brush Pens but also dragging along 2 fountain pens, a LamyAccent and a Graf Von Faber-Castell Classic. Both have been great to work with and the Tomoe is customer tailored to showcase their wet, fluid lines. For the past year, I’ve used Platinum Carbon Ink for the fountain pens almost exclusively. Some of the really bold contours were drawn with a 1.5 Pitt Pen. A UniBall and a grease pencil round out the basic kit seen below on an unroll pen wrap.

pen roll

Cafe studies

Slowly coming out of the winter, tho I know in this part of the country it’s a big tease.

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What am I to do if I don’t loiter? Some artists comment,”You draw so fast!”. But if they watched me, they’d observe I’m anything but a blur. I may use techniques that achieve great effect, and I prefer to say I draw fluidly, but, it ain’t speed. Decisiveness rules the day. But, it still takes time. And, if your subject seems to be comfortable and settled into what they’re doing, enjoy what you’re doing. Slow down a bit, look more deliberately.

Perhaps it’s that I draw in ink and with pigmented pens, and use multiple nib sizes and brush nibs that cover rapidly. It might also have to do with not sketching in pencil first then switching to ink or paint. Once warmed up I might get to final contours and tones early in the process. Still, if you’re going to adorn a dress with flowers, or convincingly portray a head full of curly locks and beard stubble, time flows on, and easily enough, you’ve spent 20-30 minutes trying to capture a citizen enjoying a book while sipping away at a beverage.

I see the following tools used in the above drawings: various fountain pens, Pitt Artist Pens, white grease pencils (aka White China Markers) and White Big Brush Pitt Artist Pen. Papers would be: Strathmore toned paper, Yasutomo, Utrecht toned paper, Cachet Eartbound, different ledger books, Tomoe River Paper.

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