The holidays aren’t over yet. We have one more festive day to celebrate before we start a new and hopefully a much better year but in the meantime I hope everyone had a pleasant as possible Christmas. This year, to my surprise, Santa brought me a new technical pen for Christmas. When I got it I was excited yet a bit hesitant. You see, I have a history with technical pens and it’s not good. My first experience with these finicky things came by way of a set of Koh-I-Noor pens. Initially they were great for creating amazing stipple drawings. I loved how I could get more uniformed dots and I liked how the ink had a bit of a glossy finish when it dried. Besides being my first set of technical pens, Koh-I-Noor holds a special place in my heart for being the pens I used to create one of my most memorable drawings, “Kneeling Man” (shown below), which was based off of the cover of Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth.
Outside of that the set was a nightmare when it came to maintenance and cleaning. If you didn’t use them frequently and keep them clean, the ink would harden, making them difficult to use and clean. This was something I wasn’t particularly good at keeping up with. Within two years my pens were pretty much unusable due to unuse and my lack of maintenance skills. After that experience a decade passed before I ventured out into the world of technical pens again and tried the Rotring Rapidiograph. This pen was different from the Koh-I-Noor in that instead of having a reservoir for ink that needed to be filled manually with a billion parts to clean, it had a small cartridge of ink that you simply inserted into the barrel, shake it a few times and voila, you’re ready to start drawing. This was great. Less mess and parts to clean when refilling ink. And for a while I loved my Rapidiograph but the wonderfulness didn’t last long. Instead of having issues with maintenance and cleaning, I had issues with ink flow and the needle in the nib. I ended up having to buy another Rapidiograph only to have the same problem and mind you, these aren’t cheap pens. Depending on where you get them from and what size you get, you’re looking at spending $25-$35 per pen. So if you’re not fortunate enough to be one of those artists who is raking in the dough from their work, having to fork out $30 every time a pen malfunctions for some odd or unknown reason becomes frustrating and costly.
After spending $75 total on two Rotring Radiographs then turned out to be faulty, I said to hell with it and started searching for drawing tools more feasible to my bank account. That’s when I discovered Pigma Microns and have been using them ever since. For $13 I can get six pens in a set (that’s about $2 per pen). They have felt tips and are filled with archival pigmented ink. I have no worries about leaking ink, malfunctioning nibs or inconsistent ink flow. Over time though the felt nib wears down and the pen eventually runs out requiring the need for a new one but at $2 per pop it doesn’t feel no where near the expense as the more fancy technical pens out there. But because of that you do get this sense of feeling less professional especially when you see more of the big named ink slingers using pens like Rotring while noticing that the so called amateurs and “kiddies” are using Microns. Funny how perception can effect how you feel about your own work which is why you need to be careful as to how much attention you give to what other artists are doing. So here I am once again trying out a Rotring. This time it’s a Isograph rather than a Rapidiograph. The difference is that the Isograph uses a reservoir instead of a cartridge which means I have a little bit of clean up to do when I have the refill it. And unlike the Microns, which I don’t have to worry about ink hardening or inconsistent flow from lack of use, I’m going have to be mindful of how I store this Isograph and make sure I use it frequently in order to avoid ink flow issues. In order words, this damn pen in high maintenance. 😒 But hey, on the good side, I didn’t pay for it and so far, when drawing the ink is more richly black, maybe a little too black. Anyhoo, I will still be using my Microns along side my new Rotring. Maybe, as they say, “Third times a charm”, since this is my third time on this merry go round. Maybe this time I’ll become a believer or at the least, this Rotring will become a valuable asset to my arsenal of art supplies…or not. If this thing crashes and burns on me I’m not going to mourn the loss but simply toss it in the trash and no longer give any thought to these fancy technical pens.
Welcome to December, the busiest and biggest holiday month of the year and I’m already tuckered out from wrestling with Christmas decorations over the weekend. It’s not like me to get all wrapped up in the Christmas spirit but this year all the cheer that I can squeeze in is warranted to lift the mood of what has been a pretty difficult 9 months for all of us. I won’t bombard you with random photos but just know that my living room looks more like a 70’s disco than a Nativity scene. I’ve gone all festive with the lights and to my surprise my hubby doesn’t mind. I guess he’s also been needing a little cheering up. So we’ve both taken to spending our evenings in the dark watching the blinking lights and eating gingersnap cookies. (I’m too lazy to make gingerbread cookies.) It really doesn’t take much to put a smile on our faces. 🙂 In the meanwhile I’ve expanded my line of handmade illustrated pocket journals by adding “Magdala” to my growing collection. This makes three sets and three singles that I now have available for those who enjoy unique handmade stationary goods. I’ve also managed to get through my creative block to start fiddling around with an idea I’ve been mulling over this for a week now. There’s a little sketch of what I have in mind below. I still wanted to do something involving a mouse so I’ve worked that in and added some other little creatures. This piece will be a bit more involved since I’m working with more than just one or two elements. I’m also debating on whether to make this an ACEO drawing or make it a bit larger. I’m leaning towards larger but it would be interesting to see if I can make the idea work on a small scale. I’ll just have to get to work and let the drawing unfold as it will. Be sure to check back to see how things turn our. Or never miss out on my latest finished drawings and handmade items by getting updates straight to your inbox when you sign up for my store newsletter at: Art of Q. Rumbley Newsletter. Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy. 🙂
Have you ever experienced a creative block? I was in the process of working on some sketch ideas for a composition involving a wood mouse with pine cones and acorns when I just couldn’t…I just couldn’t bring myself to draw. I figured I needed a break because I understand that as an artist this happens at times but this has been going on for three weeks now and I’m struggling to create. I haven’t been drawing and have little desire to do so. Fortunately I had a few line drawings made out on art cards stashed away from a year ago that over the past week I’ve been able to at least bring myself to start inking. I used to kick myself for starting drawings that I don’t finish but now I see the benefit of that; I may have moments just like this, where I have a creative block and can’t bring myself to draw to work on a new project. Having something that has already been drawn up and just needs to be inked allows me to bring myself out of my slump without taxing what little creative juice I have. This is one of the pieces I had stashed away from some time ago. I haven’t done any figure drawings in a while so I thought the change might be helpful. So far I got the background finished, which actually is my favorite part to ink, but I still have yet to come up with a name for this. I was inking it while listening to a podcast on the necessity of art and beauty from a Catholic perspective where the discussion turned to Mary Magdalene and now it’s stuck in my head to call it “Before Magdala” or something like that. It’s just a working title but I do like the idea of calling in Magdala. Anywho, have you ever experienced a creative block and if so, what are some things you do to get out of it?
New to my growing line of stationery are my handmade Tree Frog Blank Pocket Journal Set. I sliced, folded and threaded these up over the weekend and they’re now available for your quick notes, doodles and rambling thoughts. I just adore tree frogs so these journals so far are my favorite, I even made a set for myself. So be sure to check them out at my online store and get yourself a set or two. 🙂
Well I now have this little cutie all finished and ready for a new home. It was fun working on this but I think, for now, I’ve had my fill of tree frogs. Still got my Tree Frog journal sets to complete but after that I’ll be looking for a new subject to tackle. Feel free to drop some suggestions for new creatures to ink in the comments section. 🙂