Nothing is more nerve wrecking then being in the middle of a drawing and having your pen dry out. Granted, the pens that I use, Sakura Microns, are relatively inexpensive and possible to find at a local craft store or online from Amazon, yet having to get out and go get more or wait a day or two for it to come in the mail, can slow down progress. Typically I buy six at a time so that I’m not buy pens too often. But every once in blue moon I get a dud; a pen that’s practically dried out when I get it or it dries out much quicker than usually. Instead of tossing it out I got to wondering if there’s a way to refill these things. One of my pens was sacrificed to my curiosity but luckily with some permanent ink on hand that I used for stamping and a pair of needle nose pliers, I found a way to refill my micron pens and it only takes just a few drops of ink to get the pen working again. Below is a brief video clip on how I do it. If you have some microns of your own that you haven’t thrown out yet, you can try this for yourself. You’ll need:
- a dried out micron pen
- a pair of needle nose pliers
- some permanent black ink, which is what microns take. I used Archival Permanent and Waterproof ink from Ranger Ink or you can get in from Amazon.
- a steady hand to gently pull the nib from the pen barrel.
I have yet to try this with colored ink so I don’t know how it would turn out but I suspect that things wouldn’t be any different. If anyone tries it I would be interested to know. Anyhoo, check out the brief video below on how I refill my micron pens.
Just a little fyi for you wonderful people who have been following my work. If it so happens that your not on WordPress that much but you would still like to stay up to date on my latest work, I also have a store newsletter I send out whenever I have a new piece of art in store, any sales, discounts or just some great news I want to share like a new project I’m excited about. Newsletters go out about 2-4 times a month, so you don’t have to worry about me blowing up your inbox or having your email shared with some third party, everything is confidential. The newsletters are pretty brief and simple, so be sure to sign up at the following link to stay up to date on new projects, latest available works and store sales. 😀 👉
Art of Q. Rumbley Newsletter
Quick note, when doing pen and ink drawings, be sure to test your paper. Not all papers are created equal even if they have the same specifications…so I’ve learned.
For my current peacock drawing I’m using Canson Classic Cream, 9×12, 90lb paper that’s heavy weight with a medium tooth surface good for charcoal, pastel, pencil and pen. I thought this would be no different from the Strathmore I typically use for smaller drawings, which is actually 80lb rather than 90lb yet everything else is the same as the piece of Canson I’m using. Unfortunately, I’m wrong. While testing out a shading technique on a scrap piece of Canson paper I discovered that if I hold the tip of my pen against the paper for 10-20 seconds the ink bleeds. I grabbed a piece of 9×12 Strathmore and did the same thing, no bleeding. Luckily I discovered this halfway through doing my base drawing rather than halfway through inking. Fortunately I have a 12×12 lightbox I can use to trace what I’ve completed so far of my drawing on to some Strathmore without having to recreate freehand all over again.
This may not seem like a big deal but trust me, it is. It makes all the difference between having a crisp and clean pointillism drawing and one that looks fuzzy and muddled. Plus the dots come through much sharper when doing prints. So if you’re into doing pen and ink art, whether your doing pointillism, hatching or line drawing, test your paper, you don’t want to end up with feathering or bleeding…unless you’re into that sort of thing. 😋
The path of a creative is a challenging one. I know I’ve said this before and more than likely I’ll probably say it again. I try to be polite about things but I’m not much for sugar coating. I never want to give anyone the impression being an artist or doing any kind of creative work for a living is easy. Far from it. I do enjoy my work though, which gives me a satisfaction that I never experienced doing anything else. But that satisfaction does come with some interesting challenges and some lasting life lessons. So here are three lessons I’ve learned that has helped to keep my ego grounded as an independent artist.
1. You’re not entitled to anyone’s attention. You may work hard. You may have exquisite skills in your craft. You may have even created the best masterpiece of the century. But no matter how amazing you may think your work is nobody is obligated to appreciate it or buy it. Sometimes you may have an inner hissy fit when you don’t get the recognition you think you deserve for your hard work but reality is, unless someone has requested or commissioned you to create the work, no one is really obligated to take notice of it. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. You spend hours, weeks, months maybe even years working on a piece. You finish. You put yourself out there by sharing it with the world. You wait in anticipation for a response, some form of recognition…and all you get are crickets. In such times you can either have a temper tantrum, slip into a soul crushing depression or get back to work on something new, giving it your best effort like you did on your last piece.
2. No matter how good you think you are, there will always be someone out there who is doing work that may be considered better than yours…always. Art is a pretty subjective field so being a great artist isn’t about competing with other artists. If you’re approaching your craft as some type of competition then you’re spending way too much time looking at the works of other artists and comparing yourself. The only artist you should be comparing yourself to is the artist you are today in comparison to the artist you were yesterday.
3. It’s impossible to create art that everyone will like or want to buy. Don’t sit around racking your brain trying to figure out what people will like. Trust me on this one, I used to do this all the time and it only leads to disappoinment and mediocre work. Nothing stifles creative energy than trying to appeal to the masses. Create work that makes you eager to come back to your easel. The kind of work that you try to fight off sleep for because you just don’t want to stop working. And then hone your own niche. Not everyone will like or be impressed with your work…but some will. And when you find them or they find you, be grateful because just as I mentioned in the first lesson, they’re not obligated to pay you any attention but they are and that’s a wonderful thing.
With that said, I just want to send out a heartfelt THANK YOU, to all of you who take the time out of your busy lives to follow, “like”, comment and buy my work. You play a big part in keeping me going and I truly appreciate your interest in art. Thank you.🙏😊
I can’t say I’m an avid reader on art. My personal library isn’t filled with magazines and books on artists or art related material. Nor do I keep up on the latest art trends and movements. Personally I have this thought that has burrowed its way deep into my brain and that’s that too much art ruins art. I don’t know where that came from and maybe it’s a bad idea to have stuck in your psyche as an artist but I just feel that being too deeply immersed in the art world may have too much of an influence on the art I create and therefore lead me away for my own authenticity. But every now and then I come across some gems of inspiration or a book that serves as a wellspring of artistic motivation that I just have to have for myself. Two of those gems…well, my only gems, are the books “Art Inc” by Lisa Congdon and “Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles To Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision” by Ian Roberts.
Art Inc is a wonderful gem of practical and inspirational information. It’s filled with short but insightful interviews with artists on how they make a living, tips on the ways in which you can sell your artwork, whether through galleries, online or licensing and it comes complete with a list of resources such as what platforms are available to sell online, printing services, professional organizations and many more useful resources that might be of interest to creatives.
Creative Authenticity is my art bible. Whenever I have doubts, feel unsure about my craft or the direction I want go, this is the one book I reach for. It brings together the spiritual, the philosophical and psychological aspects of being an artist into 16 principles that are easy to digest. I have to admit that it is because of this book I haven’t looked much further or else where for inspiration and solace. It’s full of rememberable quotes and encouraging words to help keep the creative fires burning when you feel your spirit getting low. I encourage any creative to give these books a look see but if they’re really not your cup of tea here’s a wonderful little article from Creative Boom that list other inspirational gems that as an artist you may be interested in adding to your personal library.
10 Great Books For Artists and Makers Launching A Creative Business.