View Full Version : Refilled sketchbook - mainly black and white

01-10-2011, 04:42 AM
Felt a strong urge to start a new sketchbook, so I selected one I made over a year ago - time to put it to use.

To make the book I refilled an old book cover with light blue / grey Canson colour card. Reusing the cover saves me one step when making my books - one day I'll buy the supplies and do the whole thing, but for now this makes it easy while I practice sewing signatures etc. I was after something thicker to try, but next time I'll look for a nicer paper. I will mainly be using black and white mediums, such as prismacolor pencils, gel pens etc. Page size around 16 x 25 cm, around 94 pages all up, so plenty of work to do.:D

test pages to see what works...

first sketch pages, done this afternoon...gel pens



01-10-2011, 05:13 AM
Hey Chris - I really like the gel pens - the white just glows! I like the spheres on the right hand side page - it jumps right off the page. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with in this one ;)

01-10-2011, 05:49 AM
Thanks Jackie. The RHS sphere is prismacolor - they give a quicker, smoother result, but overall I think I prefer the pens when sketching like a wild thing. Plenty more pages, hopefully I'll find some other mediums to add as I go.

I don't think I mentioned this above, but I plan using this book only for outdoor sketching (apart from those test pages).


01-10-2011, 09:46 AM
love the gel pen sketches. . . very cool that you make your own books.

When I went hiking at the lake with the dogs this weekend, I was really wishing that I had a little sketchbook with me. I have to go to lake one day without them and give it a whirl. Seeing your trees and stuff always motivates me in that direction. Nice work!!!

01-10-2011, 10:05 AM
Very nice Chris! Love the trees done with the gel pens. I have a few of them but I don't think I have white. The black and white on the pale b/g look really cool. I'm curious to know what you do with the pages you remove from the cover before you re-use it. Do you still keep the pages together as a journal, or what?

01-10-2011, 11:32 AM
Wow Chris, just when I relegated my gel pens to the drawer you put these fabulous sketches up. Perhaps I should reevaluate my gel pens.

01-10-2011, 06:49 PM
Thanks very much Rainy, Jean, Margo.

Rainy - probably a bit hard to sketch with dogs in tow. :cat: I'm glad you feel motivated to take your sketchbook outdoors; it can be fun, depending on the weather.

Jean - this was an old non-fiction book, I probably threw the pages away once I cut the cover away.

Also, it was misleading to say I use black and white gel pens - often it is only white gel pen with any old black pen/marker. (I don't see an advantage to black gel pens over other pens.)

Margo - I am not a big fan of gel pens, but I find white ones are good to use on toned paper. (Not perfect - I'm always on the lookout for something better if anyone has suggestions for a white pen).


01-10-2011, 07:39 PM
Great sketches.

Don't know if it's any better or not, have never tried it myself, but ran across acrylic ink that can be used in a technical pen that is an opaque (supposedly) white.

01-11-2011, 05:59 AM
Thanks Debby.

I don't do tech pens!:D I have some pigmented white ink, but the pigment settles so quickly I have given up on it for most purposes. Not convenient for outdoors.


01-11-2011, 09:29 AM
Oh, I love the linework with added white.

Joan T
01-11-2011, 12:04 PM
Chris - Those trees done with the gel pens are wonderful. Great detail and I love the white touches!!

01-11-2011, 02:07 PM
Oh, yum, love the gel pen sketches :)

01-11-2011, 08:06 PM
How about white charcoal pencils? I often use them instead of the white in my hard pastel pencil set.

01-12-2011, 02:05 AM
Thanks everyone. The white certainly can help, but is easy to overdo I think.

Candace, I don't usually like stuff that smudges in my sketchbooks. I have some of those pencils which I use for drawings on paper, they do make a nice white.

01-12-2011, 07:55 PM
I love these drawings of the trees. Nice touch.


01-16-2011, 08:39 PM
I love these drawings of the trees. Nice touch.


Thanks Diana, now I just need to get back to this book.


01-17-2011, 07:07 PM
After too long a break, I finally have a new sketch. My wife and I went for an early morning drive to the coast this morning. I also attempted a watercolour sketch, and did this one with black pen / white gel pen in the times I was waiting for the wc to dry.

One day I want to do some studies of the pandanus trees, they sure are hard to get right in a sketch - not enough careful observation I think.



01-19-2011, 07:59 PM
Thursday morning sketchgroup started again today, but thanks to rain it was a small turnout. This year we are alternating between the seaside and the local botanic gardens - the extra variety should be nice.

Two from today, black pen and white gel pen...



01-19-2011, 08:25 PM
These are great. I really like seeing your 2 pen sketches.

01-19-2011, 09:15 PM
These are great. I really like seeing your 2 pen sketches.
Thanks Debby. Plenty more pages to go....:thumbsup:

01-19-2011, 10:46 PM
really enjoy your black and white pen drawings. . . they are so cool. Love your pen lines on that last group

01-19-2011, 11:27 PM
I like these! The pandanus trees (the 3rd pic up, no title) remind me of the child's poem portion, "They sailed away for a year and a day to the land where the bong trees grow." This, Chris, IS a bong tree if ever I have spotted one ! :cat:

01-20-2011, 01:27 AM
Nice sketches here, Chris! Somehow I missed this when you started the thread...now I'm subscribed for future post.

01-20-2011, 03:26 AM
Thanks for the nice comments. This morning was a great way to spend a couple of hours - I was limited with subjects, had to stay in a shelter shed out of the rain. Hopefully I can get some more variety as the book progresses...:D

Candace, I'm looking for a photo of the pandanus, they are quite unusual.

01-20-2011, 03:54 AM
Looked through my photos, found one of a local pandanus - this one is quite vigorous and bushy, others are sparser and more gnarled. Note the huge aerial roots (?) - these can be about as long as your leg, as round as your wrist/forearm. They seem well suited to growing on rocky shorelines. They get large fruiting bodies on them, about the size of a human head, which is interesting. Possibly also known as a screw pine, and can now also be called a bong tree.:D



01-20-2011, 04:11 AM
Love the trees sketches!

01-20-2011, 05:48 PM
Thanks for the photo. That is one weird tree. Amazing what nature comes up with.

01-21-2011, 12:37 AM
We have a small houseplant in a similar tho much simpler shape here (real name long forgotton) which I refer to as a "hairdo tree" because of the crazy spikey fronds. LOVE your photo! Looks like the unusual things seen in Hawaii. And I thought Australia was only known for unique animals!

01-21-2011, 05:50 PM
I enjoyed looking at your drawings. I've never made up my own books and have to say you are my envy there! Do you do this and deal with the floods at the same time?
Have fun, Dave

01-23-2011, 06:54 PM
Thanks for stopping by everyone.:clap:

Candace, these may be the same trees as Hawaii, they are spread around the Pacific I think.

Dave, I've had plenty of practice sewing pages together for my books, one day I'll work on the cover side of things. I made this book over a year ago, but it would have been an ideal activity while waiting for the water to go away.

01-23-2011, 07:52 PM
Yesterday I got out, filled in a few pages. Used my prismacolor pencils as well as the pens. Trying out two images on one page, borders etc. Also trying to add different subjects.

View down my street, builder supplier sheds ...

Trees in local parks, and a hint of my house, if you can make it out.:D

The local river - bottom image is looking down the river towards a sugar mill


01-23-2011, 08:11 PM
great sketches, Chris. . . I love how you are using the borders. I have been doing that with my zentangles but did not think of doing with other sketches. May have to try.

The boat scenes are wonderful, I especially admire the boat tied up under the tree. . . love that one.

01-23-2011, 09:31 PM
Love your style. Thanks for the photo of the cool foliage :)

01-23-2011, 09:54 PM
These are great. Really liking your sketch style.

01-23-2011, 11:58 PM
I don't trust my eyes or monitor- is your paper blue or gray or in between? I like it. I did a fast cafe scene sketch on what looks like your color and liked it a lot. I keep thinking I shouldn't like blue paper but I don't know why!

01-24-2011, 12:00 AM
duh... just found your first post with blue-gray Canson stated. Thanks.

01-25-2011, 01:39 AM
Nicely done, Chris! I like the view of your house - looks like you have a great place to feed the local bird population, being right in the trees!

01-25-2011, 06:42 AM
Thank you all. I usually like my sketching style as well, and even when I don't like the result sketching makes me very happy.

Candace, glad you found your answer, I haven't come up with a better term for the colour yet. You never know what you will like 'til you try I suppose.

John, lots of birds visit around here. I don't feed them directly, but they can find plenty of food I suspect. Sometimes I get a heron wandering around catching little lizards, they are fun to watch hunting.

01-26-2011, 08:47 PM
Thursday morning sketching - local botanic gardens, mainly around the Japanese gardens this week.

Obligatory lantern!:D Pen and black prismacolor...

Rocks, hedge etc around pond...pens

Top - another part of the pond...bottom - view across the lake ... pens

Footnote: the first two images show a strip of white, this is a support piece of paper I glued in my book between signatures - the seams were tearing open, so I repaired it following video instructions on Roz Stendahl's helpful blog (http://rozwoundup.typepad.com/) (check it out if you don't know about it, lots of journal type info).

I mentioned in the first post the paper was no good, this is the reason why. Anyway, I have got through my first signature, only seven to go.:thumbsup:

01-27-2011, 10:29 PM
Great sketches.

Roz's blog is great. So informative. Her information got me making my own sketchbooks and journals.

01-28-2011, 12:37 AM
Great sketches. . . btw, Roz is having a Strathmore VJ workshop coming up! I'm signed up for it, its free.

02-01-2011, 12:48 AM
Another great group of sketches, Chris!

02-01-2011, 08:02 PM
Thanks all, hopefully I'll have more to post soon. (If my scanner is working!:( )


02-01-2011, 11:02 PM
Chris...........loved all your sketches. The white gel is interesting...never tried one.....don't suppose they are archival??


02-02-2011, 10:36 PM
Thanks Ed - The white gel is interesting...never tried one.....don't suppose they are archival??

I have no idea, although they are fine for my sketchbook, which is the only place I will use them. There is nothing written on the pen to suggest they are permanent, archival or any such thing, but I did a search for info on the one I use (Uniball Signo Angelic) - all I could find is that the ink is acid free....

A couple more sketches from today's effort at a local beach....

#1 - black and grey copic markers, plus a little white gouache... a fellow sketcher, pandanus, and a high tide. (the markers don't bleed through this thick paper, so YEH!! I was happy.)

#2 - black pen boring tree "study"... (a little white gel pen too) - I didn't know which other sketch to post, my better half helped me make my decision - she said she likes my pen sketches.


02-03-2011, 01:39 AM
Hey! None of your work is boring! Even the simple tree study has good composition lines to it, making a "boring tree" into art. Your wife has good taste.

02-03-2011, 02:45 AM
great stuff Chris, these sketches are really effective on the toned paper, the gel pen just adds a nice touch ;)

Joan T
02-03-2011, 11:19 AM
Wonderful, wonderful sketches, Chris!!!! I hope things are OK by you. The reports about the storms make it look so bad. I hope you and the family are safe.

02-03-2011, 06:24 PM
Tree studies are NOT boring. I really like seeing your sketches of them. Always nice having a supportive spouse. Your wife picked a good sketch.

02-03-2011, 06:37 PM
Thanks for dropping in!:wave:

Candace - Thanks for the vote of confidence, I'll not think 'boring' again!:D
Your wife has good taste. I know....:angel:

Jackie - the white gel pens are magic I think.

Joan - I hope things are OK by you. The reports about the storms make it look so bad. Thank you, The storm was up in the north of the state, far away from myself and family. A lot of anguish for those caught up in the event, but luckily no loss of life.


02-03-2011, 06:38 PM
Debby, thank you too. You snuck in while I was looking the other way!:D

02-11-2011, 04:21 AM
A couple more from Thursday, sketching with the group at the local botanic gardens...

cut-off view of big old house moved to the gardens from a local sugar mill plantation...


a bit more of the house and the garden - pruned shrubs and hedges look interesting but hard to draw in pen, I ran out of time / patience so it isn't really finished...



02-11-2011, 01:13 PM
Somehow I forgot to subscribe to this thread, just read and looked through it all. I really enjoy the style of pen sketching you have done in this book. The grey color is very atmospheric in these. Looking at all of these has inspired me to spend a bit more time with my pens and evolving my mark making. The last sketch is very free and loose and so appealing for that!

02-11-2011, 06:39 PM
Thanks very much Margo, glad you found something in this lot.

Sometimes my pen gets a bit too free and loose, but at least I know what I was sketching!:D

02-11-2011, 06:49 PM
Oh Chris, I liked all of them! Just commented on the one that addresses what I feel I most need to do right now! That is the most wonderful part of these forums to me. You know in your heart there is something you need or want to do but it's sometimes hard to put your finger on and then bingo you see a sketch or a painting and you know what it is, a light bulb moment or whatever you want to call it! Thanks for the illumination!:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

02-11-2011, 06:51 PM
That must have been something moving a whole house. Looks like a large one.

The drawings are splendid. You have a way with black and white.

02-11-2011, 06:58 PM
I love drawing with a light and a dark on mid-toned paper! Isn't it about time that somebody made a stitch bound sketchbook like this for us, with nice heavy mid-toned paper?

What is Canson card? Is it like cardstock --- really smooth texture and weight like the Moleskine sketchbook?

Love your trees and beach scenes. Nice job with conveying texture.


02-11-2011, 08:18 PM
Thanks for your comments everyone.

Margo - thank you twice. Did I sound a bit funny, sorry if I did; blame the internet for a lack of nonverbal feedback.:wink2: Good luck chasing the elusive light! :wave:

Debby - sometimes I know a little bit about black and white, other times it seems not.:lol: Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Jamie - Thanks for drooping by. I suppose it is a type of cardstock, it is fairly heavy, 220gsm if I remember correctly, and has a bit of texture. Fine to draw on, it tends to buckle if wet (but does even out again as it dries), so I don't think it is sized much. I couldn't find any real info on the www about it, the Canson site seems hopeless. I found this stuff in my local art store, and it seemed fine for my book making experiment, cheaper and heavier than other toned paper available here.

Here is a small sketch done in prismacolour, b+w, which hopefully will show the texture - it is quite nice I think, not too regular or mechanical like Mi Tientes, say.


Not familiar with the Moleskins, so I can't compare. A ready made book would be nice, but it must be hard when everyone has different needs / likes.


02-11-2011, 08:23 PM
Thanks for the sample showing the texture. A great sketch. Your perspective looks real good.

02-11-2011, 08:24 PM
Nope Chris you sounded fine, as I can sometimes offend in real time without meaning too, I'm always worried I'm offending someone online when they can't see the expression on my face. I think you and Debby and I are following the same internet paths tonight, and I see we are still all on so it may continue, kind of like musical threads instead of chairs.

02-11-2011, 08:42 PM
Chris, love those building drawings. . . they are great.

02-11-2011, 08:44 PM
Thanks Debby - a 1/2 page sketch waiting for fish and chips.

Margo, this is actually morning for me, I better go say hello to my dogs before they start banging on the back door! I've had a lot of catching up to do, my fault for taking a break!

Rainy, you snuck in while I was typing this reply, thank you too.

Cheers (and enjoy the rest of your evening)

02-12-2011, 12:31 AM
Another great group of sketches, Chris! I really like the old plantation house.

Joan T
02-12-2011, 11:01 AM
Love the sketches you made at the gardens. The house with that railing is great, and the one of the foliage around the house is super. I like the street scene too. Good job on these.

02-13-2011, 03:17 AM
Thanks John and Joan.

In another thread John said he was waiting for Spring so he can get out sketching, I'm waiting for Autumn - if I don't get out early it is too hot at the moment, and I'm neglecting my books.


02-14-2011, 01:57 AM
Went shopping this morning and bought some more art supplies...one of the things I got was some Koh-I-Noor red chalk (5.6mm round, fits in holders I have had for years).

In between rain showers I got out and sketched a bit in my yard.

1) corner of my yard - that is meant to be a passionfruit vine on my fence, which climbs up into my trees, dropping yellow fruit all over. Between possums and my dogs we don't get to eat a lot of them, but they are nice and sweet.:D

My new red chalk seems to look alright on this paper, but is probably a bit thick for this size page. A touch of white prismacolor pencil. Fixed it with shellac afterwards.


2) another corner, another vine. This is a loofah, those spongy things you can buy to scrub your skin. The fruit shown here is about 35 cm / 14 in long, and 10 cm / 4 in diameter. When they dry out you can peel of the outer layer, shake out all the seeds, and scrub away! (I don't use them tho', my skin is lovely as is :D). Also a suggestion of some sort of lily????, just coming out in flower.

Dip pen, sepia ink, a touch of white prismacolor pencil.


As you can see my garden is a mess, but sometimes something useful pops up. These vines grow by themselves, it has been years since I originally planted these. I think the dogs sow the passionfruit, if you get my drift.:cat:


02-14-2011, 09:08 AM
great sketches, Chris. Man, I wish I cold capture the outside like you do. I'm just so not motivated to do landscapes much, they are hard for me. Like the bench scene. Yep, totally get your drift on the dog. We had one snag a whole tomato one time and ended up with a few tomato plants in the yard.

02-14-2011, 11:12 AM
Chris your garden sounds like mine! I have passion flowers that have gone totally wild and grew up the electric pole behind my garden and then across to a tall stand of bamboo. Not a one blooms on the screen I put up for them to grow across, and block the not so pretty house behind me! Yep the resowing of seeds. I have a guava bush out front and when the guavas are ripe and fall to the ground and burst my cat eats them. No doubt that is what the tree like things growing out back are.

These sketches are cool, the chalk is fine, you may just need to carry a little sharpener like I do. I cut down some paint stir sticks and stapled sandpaper on them and I have a sharpener for my chalks and charcoal! Of course you can buy them but if you have everything to hand they are pretty much free. Then you can use the dust to apply with a stomp or piece of sponge for a wider area of tone or color. A lovely trick I learned from a friend at life drawing.

02-14-2011, 12:10 PM
Hi Chris! I haven't been here for a while and I really love looking through this journal. LOVE the gel pens on the colored paper. I love getting a peek at what your part of the world looks like. Feels like I've been on a little mini-vacation.

02-14-2011, 07:21 PM
Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :wave: Your time is appreciated.

Rainy, I enjoy getting out and about. Over the years my landscape sketching has become easier (not necessarily better). The mild local weather is helpful (winter is probably the best time, nice light and less sunburn), as well as finding like minded souls to share the experience with. Not for everyone, but if you get some nice weather I recommend the experience.

Margo - I'm a lazy artist, I don't like sharpening my drawing implements. One day I will get over these bad habits!:cat: I made myself some of the sandpaper blocks ages ago, hardly ever use them. What type of sharpener do you have for charcoal and chalk? I have pencil sharpeners, are they any good? Saving all the dust sounds like a great idea too, thanks for that tip.

Jean - feel free to visit any time.


02-15-2011, 02:31 AM
Another view in my yard; this tree is overdue for a pruning.

I sharpened my new 'red' chalk, but by the time I was finished it was blunt again - maybe I just need to use it on large sheets of paper. Also used black and white prismacolor pencils.


PS that white strip is a bit distracting, but it does mean I have used up another signature!

02-15-2011, 09:04 AM
beautiful form and modeling on the tree

02-15-2011, 02:29 PM
Cool tree Chris. For the really fine fall apart easy chalk I use the sandpaper blocks. I have tried pencil sharpeners on the charcoal and chalks in pencil form with varying degrees of success and I do use my pencil sharpner of the ones that go in the lead holders, they do seem to blunt rather quickly and you may be onto something about using them on larger sheets of paper where big strokes are welcome. But you don't know what works until you try it. One of the artists at a life drawing group I go to sharpens his with a sharp pen knife, but he also shows up with a pile already sharpened so when one gets dull he goes to the next one and then when we take a break he sharpens them all over again. He does get nice tight lines with them, but I am yet to be that organized. Probably much more problematic when you are doing plein air sketches. When I sharpen my charcoal pencils I do use a larger size sharpener and go very slowly or you break them off. I'm more fond of the charcoal pencils where you can unravel the string for that reason, you can still gently shape them in a sharpener if you go slow.

02-15-2011, 09:24 PM
Your garden scenes are wonderfully done, Chris! Chuckled at your story about the dogs. I had a dog way back in high school that loved to crunch ice cubes. That wasn't too unusual, except she would bury the ice cubes and then go back the next day and try to dig them up. She never did get it. I should have trained her to bury vegetables after hearing your success. :)

02-15-2011, 10:33 PM
Thanks Rainy, Margo, John. Hopefully I will get to the coast tomorrow for something more scenic.:D

Margo, your artist acquaintance seems to have the right idea, having a number of the same all ready to swap.

02-15-2011, 11:04 PM
No matter how your garden got planted, it looks lush and a little wild. :)

Great sketches of the foliage.

02-16-2011, 10:04 PM
Debby, my garden is out of control!:eek:

Only one from this morning sketch group at a local beach - got there late and then spent most of my time dabbling with watercolour.

Graphite and white prismacolor...I like sketching with graphite, but dislike the sheen it can get. Taking a leaf out of Vincent van Gogh's book (according to the online version of his letters (http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/)), I sprayed this with low fat milk when I got home (skim is probably better) - this acts as a fixative, and also reduces the shine. I think the use of skim milk as a fixative (and other stuff, like paint etc) goes back a long time before VIncent.

It does seems to work, I've done it before with no bad effects (yet), but the paper can get a funny smell for a while!:D)

Quoting from the English version of one of Vincent van Gogh's letters to his brother:
If I didn’t fix your drawing – or if I worked on it here and there after fixing it, so that there are some places with an unpleasant sheen – go ahead and pour a large glass of milk, or water and milk, over it and let it dry, and you’ll see that a peculiar dull black is produced, much stronger than one usually sees in a pencil drawing.

I didn't pour the milk over mine, I used my mouth atomiser.....then drank the rest of the milk. I need my calcium!


Sometimes I do go on, thanks for your patience!:lol:


02-17-2011, 10:08 AM
Cool sketch Chris and thanks for sharing the milk trick. It makes sense, spectrafix is made of casein which is a milk product.

02-17-2011, 08:52 PM
Nice sketch.

Milk as fixative... hmm... learn something new everyday.

02-18-2011, 12:58 AM
I love all the "limited palette" drawings. Milk as a fixative? Wow! Who knew? Skim? 2%? ... is it "archival" ? :) :) :)

02-23-2011, 09:35 PM
Thanks Margo, Debby, EP....

Milk archival???? Not sure, but I think it isn't too bad - except for the time I treated a piece of paper with milk for use with pastel (it gives the paper some tooth), and left it lying around in my shed, and cockroaches ate holes in it!

Here is a black and white pen sketch from the local botanic gardens - this house belonged to an aviation pioneer Bert Hinkler, (http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/bert_hinkler_bio.html) and was moved from England as a tourist attraction.



02-23-2011, 11:22 PM
OH, I like this version also. . . the watercolor one was great but this pen and wash is also very cool. I love the two colors and you added a wash looks like. what sort of pen/ink are you using that washes? Is it a fountain pen?

02-23-2011, 11:28 PM
The Hinkler building is quite good! The white highlights are just the right amount of accent.

02-24-2011, 10:14 PM
Splendid sketch. You really have a way with white pen as an accent in your sketches. Marvelous.

02-25-2011, 09:04 PM
Thanks Rainy, Candace, Debby.

Rainy said and you added a wash looks like. what sort of pen/ink are you using that washes? Is it a fountain pen?

Well spotted, I'd forgotten about that - a friend had a waterbrush filled with dilute ink (I think), and wondered if I had seen this type of brush before. I had, but I used it to place the windows. The pen I used here was a Marvy Tough Ball 0.5 - not waterproof, as can be seen by the accidental waterdrop near the chimney!:D I don't usually wet the ink tho'. I bought a few of these pens years ago, and I've never seen them since; I like the ballpoint - I have refilled them with other ink as they run out, with various degrees of success. This might be my last one with the original ink I think. One day I will have to buy a fountain pen, I think I'd like the variation in line.


02-25-2011, 10:23 PM
Great use of white in the building - wonderful style!

02-26-2011, 12:06 AM
Hi Chris, I've fallen behind with the journals just lately and it has been a pleasure perusing the work - you've been so busy!

I really like your pen work - it has a lot of expression and freedom about it and I still rather like that white gel pen ;)

02-26-2011, 01:08 PM
Great sketch Chris. You should try a fountain pen, I'm sure you'd love them. My fav out of my pile is the Lamy Safari. Cheap as fountain pens go and virtually indestructible, be sure and get the converter so you can refill with ink of your choice.

02-28-2011, 04:06 AM
Thanks everyone.

John, Jackie - style, expression, freedom....hmm, not necessarily how I would describe it, but I like it! :D

Margo - I would like to get one of the Lamy fountain pens, I may have to look online since prices and availability are not real good here.


02-28-2011, 09:11 AM
It's been a while since I've looked at other sketchbooks here, maybe I'll be more active here now. I've always like your sketches on mid-tone paper with the white hilighting Chris, it works really well on that house.


02-28-2011, 11:30 AM
Chris there are quite a few sellers of Lamy on Amazon. Not sure about the shipping prices tho. A fun try it out pen is the Platinum Preppy from Japan, mega cheap and fun to use. I get mine from JetPens.

03-02-2011, 08:37 PM
David, thanks for stopping by.

Margo, I'll have to get looking while our dollar is high!

Back to the beach today for sketching. It didn't look promising for a while because of rain, which came and went intermittently, but it wasn't bad - a bit tricky because the light changed so much. No results that thrill me, but it was fun being there. Can't decide what to post, so I'll post one for each type of mediums I used.

1. Red chalk, white gouache, water brush - the ship started off silhouetted against white cloud, then dark cloud, then lost in a mist of rain during my sketch!


2. Black prismacolor, white chinagraph pencils, white gouache - a rocky spit / wall


3. black and white pen, a quick sketch done while attempting a watercolour sketch.



03-02-2011, 09:47 PM
These are all great. I like the one in the middle best with the rocks, waves and vegetation.

03-02-2011, 11:03 PM
great pen lines on that last one, I love those sorta almost scribble sketches. . . they are great. But that first one with the red chalk and water is my fav. Very cool color and the cloud is lovely.

03-02-2011, 11:41 PM
I like them all Chris, each one has a very different flavor. The red chalk and gouache together is a very striking combo. Is a chinagraph pencils what we call a china marker, oil based?

03-03-2011, 02:08 AM
Nice group of sketches, Chris! I like the one with the ship - great sense of space.

03-03-2011, 06:45 PM
Thanks everyone for your comments. That red chalk is looking redder the more I use it, especially on this blue/gray paper - when I first bought it I thought it was more brown.

Margo, sounds like the same pencil, it can write on glass etc.

Joan T
03-05-2011, 10:41 AM
Wonderful new sketches!!! I like the way the red chalk is working in your hands. I had to laugh at using skim milk as a fixative...and I thought it was best with Oreos. lol

03-05-2011, 10:31 PM
Thanks Joan. Milk is great, goes with everything. :D

03-07-2011, 12:31 PM
Chris and Joan you are starting to sound like a commercial for the Milk producers association:lol:

03-10-2011, 07:53 PM
Margo, I would gladly accept dairy goods as payment!:D

Back to the botanic gardens yesterday morning. The weather was so nice, and the location so peaceful, I almost started snoozing in my chair! I did manage a few sketches tho', here are two.

red chalk and white gouache, black prismacolor


black prismacolor



03-10-2011, 09:20 PM
Cool looking vegetation. The red, white and black is striking.

03-11-2011, 11:11 AM
ditto on what Debby said! I really like what is developing with your application of these materials.

03-17-2011, 07:09 AM
Thanks Debby and Margo.:thumbsup:

Not sure where my time is going, at least I got something today - sketching at the coast. But I didn't touch the red chalk or gouache; back to black and white.

1) view down on to beach - my first double page spread in this book, too large for my scanner to show the whole thing. The missing bits are on the bottom and right hand side, mainly ocean - seems to upset the composition. Black and white colour pencils...


2) looking towards a couple of sketchers (see #3 to see where I sketched this from :D)
Black and white pen...


3) sketching from position shown in #2, looking back to where I was sketching #2 (does that make sense???)
Back to pencils...



03-17-2011, 09:17 AM
Hi Chris,

Some really nice scenes. . . I love how you sketched the sketches in one area and then moved and sketched from another area. Both the colored pencils and pens are nice. . . I think the pencils give a softer more dreamy effect to that last one. The beach scene spread is a favorite. I've not done full page spreads myself yet and always admire when others do them. Most of my sketchbooks have been the wire ones which don't lend themselves to as much but just broke out a new Handbook 6 x 6 and might try it.

03-17-2011, 11:15 AM
Glad to be vicariously back in the swamp and coast, so to speak, courtesy of you Chris! All these are very nice as usual. I like the idea of sketching from the same location looking in different directions - sort of a personal diorama type thing. The red, white and black piece really does have a unique and good look to it.

03-17-2011, 12:41 PM
Nice beach scenes. Like the two perspectives on the fellow sketchers.

03-17-2011, 02:42 PM
I like these too, very interesting how the grey paper creates a different tone depending on how much pencil work is applied. Hmm I think I have some gray paper somewhere in my stash...

03-17-2011, 03:09 PM
Hi Seejay, very nice sketches. You must know you are very lucky to live in a place that is warm right now. Being in Canada, even though it is March, and spring is popping up in various places, we are now at the freezing point and have been slightly warmer where the ice and snow have been melting!!! Yesterday looked colder out that it really was due to being overcast with a white sky...same today, but last night a skiff of snow blew in??? I guess, as there was fresh snow on the ramp outside when I let the dog out to pee before bed!!! There is forecast of more snow..up to 4cm (almost 2 inches of snow...) In previous years, a major snow storm could be expected sometime in March, even April...1991 was the year of a major snowstorm in our area April30-May1.... I had often helped my husband with his contract work sorting and delivering mail to small towns and then a new route was started to deliver mail to group mail boxes. It was like a whiteout going, and the road was slippery...the car ended up in the ditch. A snow plow came by, and the guy said he would be back shortly on his way through. So I waited, then his snowplow died pulling me out (it was going to anyway, he said) so I had to wait for the 2nd one...Finally got out, and the sun was shining!!! Got to the next small town, and ended up stuck in the mud!!!. One of the guys we delivered mail to in his box happened by, so he pulled me out with his truck. Carried on back to the highway and the next town, and the sun was shining brightly like a very warm spring day!!!! After that, the snow had melted off the roads when I went back to our small town !!! So, am waiting (hopefully patiently) for summer!!! Hope your winter is better that ours!!!
I really like the idea of journalling. Have to get a specific time to do so, so it would get done every day!!! Your sketches are encouraging me more. Thanks so much. Well onto some pastel work for homework with Johannes Vloothuis free online weekend course. I have 15 - 20 mins, grab a bit of lunch and take the dog for a vet visit...check-up and claw-clipping I hope. 'Talk' with you soon, Thanks again, Pixieartist

03-17-2011, 11:14 PM
Thanks all!:clap: Moving around while sketching is an excuse to see what everyone else is doing.

Rainy, I've started doing some timed tonal sketches as an exercise - according to the author of the old book that recommends it, it may help me to focus on the simple shapes, and avoid details until later in the drawing. I wasn't deliberately trying that here, but it may have influenced my pencil sketches. I bought a few Conte crayons today, maybe they will find there way into my book, then it may be too dreamy!:D

John, maybe I can work on a panorama diorama?;)

Debby, it was a nice morning, everyone was busy.

Margo, different pencils seem to change things...plus my scanning may be dodgy!:D

Pixieartist - by your standard it may be considered warm here all year round. No snow, even frosts are rare. If it goes below 10 degrees Celcius it's a cold day.:D One of the sketching group spends half the year here, during our summer, and then lives in Canada for your summer. Maybe the best of both worlds?


03-17-2011, 11:23 PM
Dropped my wife off for an appointment this morning, and went sketching by the local river while waiting. Hopefully not too many posts for you...

1) gum tree and view over river


2) view up river, bridge. Dead bare mangrove on front left, and fresh growth on another mangrove, front right - victims of our recent floods, it will take a while for the mangroves to recover.



03-17-2011, 11:39 PM
You are creating a great record of the post-flood recovery. Keep it up. We all enjoy your work so much.

03-18-2011, 12:44 AM
Thanks for the vote of confidence Candace. I do my sketches for my own enjoyment, but if anyone else gets something from them that is great to know. I'm not sure how or why some things get into my sketches, but they usually bring back good memories of the time. I wonder what these will stir in my failing mind in a few years time? :D

I omitted mentioning that today is overcast, making the whole sky the source of light, thus making most of the water light as well - makes a muddy river look nice, but upon reflection (pun intended, sorry) it may also have appeared somewhat strange!

03-18-2011, 09:18 AM
Nice work, Chris. . . esp. the bridge piece. love how you do all the scenes around your area and you are so good at capturing outdoors.

03-18-2011, 03:06 PM
Great sketches. I enjoy the records of your surroundings that we get to see through your sketches. So, no, not too many. :)

03-18-2011, 05:26 PM
Too many sketches? NEVER!!! These are just great Chris! I've done more portraits of the trees off of my deck than people. I think my tree bark technique has loosened up since I've been looking at your tree sketches. Thanks for the influence!

03-18-2011, 09:12 PM
Thanks very much, Rainy, Debby, Margo.:cat:

Glad to hear you don't think I'm posting too many of these.


PS Margo, careful the art police don't charge you with drawing under the influence. (*groan* sorry:evil: )

03-18-2011, 09:21 PM
Pixieartist, you're making me feel better about the slow New England spring. Mud season now...

And Chris, it's never too many! They're a delight to see.

03-19-2011, 12:35 AM

03-19-2011, 12:42 AM
for once it is an unchargable influence!!!!!!!woohoo!!!!

03-19-2011, 03:19 AM
love your sketches Chris, i particularly love the gum trees....dont see them sketched very often
i must get myself to the gardens and take more advantage of the sites close by
thanks for the inspiration

03-20-2011, 05:59 AM
Hi to all of you. :) Thanks for your interesting comments.
Well the first day of spring is supposed to be today:wink2: (after I get up in the morning!!!) Forecast? more winter!!! It snowed a bit sometime before midnight??? And fog rolling in. Makes for a beautiful sight first thing in the am. Sat, almost bright blue sky (as in thin wispy? hazy clouds???) and hoar frost on the tree branches. Very nice. Won't be above freezing much til Wed???
Kema...sorry to hear of the mud...We'll be full of it soon, too, until the ground has warmed up enough to melt all the frost, the snow has also melted and soaked into the ground (unless the winds blow and blow evaporating all the moisture!!) Good excuse to draw/paint!!! but life does get in the way of that....housework, buy groceries, make food, laundry blah, blah, blah:rolleyes: :rolleyes: ... So happy painting anyway!!! :D
Seejay/Chris...Lucky you, for living there where it is warm!!! The idea of living there during Canada's winter is very appealing. Will have to save all my loose pennies. Might take a very long time, then I'll be too old to even think of travelling!!!:lol: :lol: Drat!:rolleyes:
Love your sketches, is very encouraging to me. I did bring a Moleskin Watercolor Notebook, 8 1/4 X 5" to work with me here. Haven't used it yet. Originally thought I would use an Essential notebook, probably 8 1/2 X 11"??? for journalling, but didn't bring it. I'll be able to 'move' back home when my week (actually 2 week) stint is finished. I get 2 weeks off. Then back here again!!! So, just have to get to it. I was given a round tuit once many years ago when I mentioned I would do whatever, when I got around to it!!! Must be procrastination. Time to boot it out the door and send it packing out to the pasture in the back 40!!!! (not sure what the 40 means...acres, perhaps???):lol: :lol: :lol:
It's almost 4 am!!! Gotta go!! Get to bed, so I can get up extra early to draw/paint!!!!:lol: :lol: :D :D . Wonder why I don't get to bed early??? Looking and reading other artist's posts, and answering them!!! No doubt!! Take care, have a good day!!! Pixieartist

03-20-2011, 09:13 AM
Nice job with massing those tree forms! This seems an ideal medium for those gray, overcast days, don't you think?


03-21-2011, 03:12 AM
Kema, thank you.

Margo :thumbsup:

Janine, thanks for having a look. The weather is getting better for sketching in our part of the world, please post if / when you get out there.

Pixieartist - thanks also, hopefully you and your sketchbook get together soon.

Jamie, Thank you. I'm trying to get away from lines a bit, more into tones - this combo does seem to be working for me at the moment. Lots more practice needed of course...

Cheers everyone

03-21-2011, 10:25 AM
Hey Chris! More great scenes from your area - really like the river and bridge scene. Never too many sketches - I really enjoy them, as others have said. I feel like I've gotten to know your area at least a bit, which is nice in that it's unlikely I'll ever get there in person.