Test drive

Happy New Year! I hope this is a better one for all of us!

I’m happy that my first post of the year is an urban sketch, one done from my car studio, while parked near the lake in Pointe Claire Village. We’ve been waiting for a good snowfall which finally happened on Saturday, so urban scenes are looking a little nicer than a few weeks ago when the landscape was varying shades of grey and brown.

I took my favourite pen out for a test drive to see how it worked on location. Today it’s filled with Platinum Carbon ink which dries quicker than the Noodler’s Black that it was filled with last week (thanks Kate B. for that tip!), and that’s important because I went out with the intention of trying an ink/wash combo.

Something I am trying to get used to with a pen that releases a lot of ink is to keep my drawing hand elevated from the paper so I don’t smudge it. The thing I liked best today is that after I did my initial ink drawing (no pencil on this) and then added wash, I was able to go back to the ink drawing to accentuate some of the lines. The pen goes easily over the damp paper without clogging, and in fact the thicker lines are quite dark and rich. It may be hard to see because the sketch is a double-page spread, but below is a detail of the evergreens with the pen lines on top of dampish watercolour washes.

39 Comments on “Test drive”

  1. Iona says:

    Happy new year Shari, may this year be a much less eventful one! Or at least good events. 🙂
    Love to see an ink and wash sketch, it’s great, you’re so good at it.
    I really like platinum carbon ink too, in the desk pen and my fude pen, and yes I’ve experimented with damp and really wet paper, the ink does crazy things! It’s such fun to experiment, isn’t it?


    • Iona, I love to experiment, yes!! Today I am teaching a class on Zoom. I just found this amazing purple ink in my drawer that turns periwinkle blue when you dilute it. I will be using that today!! I also just bought some de Atramentis ink for this new pen because it dries really quickly. Have fun with your experiments too. And Happy New Year!


  2. Sharon Monson says:

    Happy New Year,Shari. Love the sketch and glad you’re back! I’m waiting for my new pen-they probably have to restock-can’t wait to use it. Sharon


  3. Charles Friedman says:

    I don’t know if your sketches intimidate me or inspire me, but I do learn.
    Thank you and best wishes for the new year.


  4. Yvonne Carpenter says:

    Love everything about the sketch Shari! Lines, colors, composition! This pen is a “keeper”! I am still waiting for Charles to send me the missing pen, but all is good – I will be patient! Regarding fast drying inks, I have always had terrible luck with Noodler’s to the point that I gave up on it all together (and I am in Colorado at 6500 feet and super dry weather!!!). I started using DeAtramentis Document Black a couple of years ago which is a German ink and waterproof. It is also safe for all fountain pens. I am a little scared of Carbon Ink as if you do not use your pen for a few days, it dries and requires a complete de-assembly and wash to make it go again (and some pens do not allow for a total de-assembly!). DeAtramentis dries very fast so by the time I am done with inking, and get my palette in position and water in the container it is already dry – no waiting! If the nib gets dry due to not using it for a few days, I simply dip it in water and shake it and Bam! starts right up. (PS: counting the days for the Snow class, lol!)


    • Thanks so much for the great advice Yvonne. So many sketchers recommend deAtramentis inks. I just ordered some. It’s not easy to come by in Canada so I ordered it from the US. Hope it gets here soon! And hope you get your pen soon too.


  5. I bought one of those a few years ago and could not get it to write. Maybe I should dig it out and see what I can do. The one you have might be an improved model.. dip pens nibs are wonderful to sketch with, but I don’t want to hold an open bottle/sample of ink.. looks like it is working for you! Yay.. Eileen HNY!


  6. Mercedes says:

    Excellent information everyone. I thought it was just me, or my paper as to why the Noodlers ink, which is supposed to be waterproof, would not dry fast enough. I would have to wait at least to the next day to apply watercolour. Trying to locate deArtementis here in my area of Canada, (Toronto). Happy New Year. Thank you Shari for all the wonderful gifts you have given us.


    • HI Mercedes, Thanks so much for writing! And Happy New Year.
      I think we all have this same problem with the Noodler’s ink. I tried, with no luck, to find de Atramentis in Canada. Finally I gave in and I ordered some from the US. If you find a Canadian supplier, please share!!


  7. murraylh says:

    Love it!Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S9, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone


  8. SWhari, does the pen use cartridge or bottled ink?


  9. Jeff Gold says:

    Beautiful! I really like the way you composed it over the two pages. And those power lines…YES! The bit of yellow on the left in the sky really warms it up and helps balance with the warm color of the house.


  10. Cynthia Wahlstrom says:

    Love your sketch! I am fairly new to sketching so any information about products and their usage is helpful. Thank you for sharing!


  11. Happy New Year! I’m glad you were able to take your pen out for a run…and show us a great sketch of the area. It definitely looks like winter!


  12. Bernadette says:

    Very nice…snow helps liven up city and country scenes. Winter snow helps everything look brighter. Great composition with house, car parked out front and someone heading toward the door.
    Your pen and watercolor washes are lovely. It’s been years since I’ve used a pen for drawing. It’s very inspiring. Thanks for sharing


  13. Laura Kate says:

    Love the sketch. Is the water in the background Lake Ontario or St. Laurence Seaway? (I guess my geographic knowledge of Montreal is weak.)


  14. Nancy Poist says:

    Happy New Year, Shari! I love what you have done with your new pen. This is a lovely snow scene and you captured the atmosphere so perfectly that I can feel the crisp, fresh air. Makes me recall my snowy days living in the North. Thanks!


    • Nancy, so nice to hear from you. If you want a little cold blast of winter, I can bottle it up and send it down to you. It certainly is cold enough today to do that.
      I hope all is well with you.


  15. Susan says:

    I love how this is monotone except for the color on the house and a simple echoe of it on the utility pole. Beautiful.


  16. Judy Sopher says:

    I also love this painting. About the ink, I used Nooodlers the other day.it was supposed to be waterproof and it was not. Maybe it would be in an hour or so. I switched to DeAtraments Document ink which was better. But I may try the Platinum Carabon. Do you wash out your penout when you finish the drawing?


    • Hi Judy. There is a lot of discussion about inks lately because of the pen. The consensus seems to be that de Atramentis is the fastest drying. Platinum Carbon is #2 and Noodler’s comes in last. Very slow to dry.
      As for the pen cleaning, I do it about once a week when I fill it. That works fine so far.


  17. KJ says:

    Growing up in the Midwest, your have captured the feeling of a cold snowy day in winter.
    Great water color / pen accents.


  18. Linda Murray says:

    Love this Shari! It is so reminiscent of back home. You could be on any gravel, back road in Iowa and come across this scene. You painted it perfect. Thanks for a peek of winter that I don’t see anymore. Happy New Years and many thanks for all the inspiration!! 👍


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