On the way to work – A bridge

In primo piano

On the way to work -  A bridge

On the way to work -  Speaking mainly of a bridge over a way that I pass every single day. It’s my connection for the rest of the world, believe it or not.

And I like it, I like it so much. Why exactly I don’t know. But I suppose to love this way because it changes suddenly and very often on my eyes.

It rains on November? The Bridge is flooded. Look at that earthy tone on the right, the day after are green covered in many grasses and yellow flowers.
And what about that tree on the left? Well just few days after is starting to become more green and full of leaves.

Yes, sometimes we love something that catches our attention for unknown reasons. Do you happen to you also?

 

On the way to work bridge 01

Other strange facts is that I sketched this bridge based on a bad picture taken while I was on my scooter. It is clearly seen because I’m on the street. I think this is another way to take a visual note, when something flashes in your mind and you cannot sketch live for several reasons!

I sketched this two pages of my Stillman and Birn Beta completely in half an hour, slowly like I like to do when I have some time. I started to draw the outlines with my Lamy Safari filled with Platinum Carbon. Slight return of my faithful workhorse. Then I went with the washes and I used my Winsor&Newton Artists’ watercolors. And because I was at home I sketched used this time the best brushes I have. Strange they are in a travel format but. Well they are  the Escoda Reserva Sable Travel Set. They are fantastic and I can only say that they really improved my washing. And coming from daily use of waterbrushes is not easy.

Cheers!

 

Military Green Lighthouse

Military Green Lighthouse

My office is luckily near the sea, and just few meters from the sea there is this military green lighthouse. It’s small, it’s like a two people room with a powerful lantern over it.
I have sketched many times this subject  like here recently, but not alone, and from distance.
You know, when you are going closer to some subjects, you always find a surprise in a way or another.

I made this sketch in two sessions.

On the first session I took a chair with me and I enjoyed a lot the sketching of the outlines and the washing of the sky. I was so amazed of the sky and the subject that in my forty minutes of my sketching session I spent at least 30 minutes in enjoying and appreciating the scene. Trying in the same time to memorize as many interesting details as possible. I ended the sketching of this military green lighthouse with the outlines and some washes for the sky and the sea, that I left almost untouched on the second session.
I felt pretty uncomfortable, since I was spreading  all my materials on the grass but I really enjoyed a lot. I finished taking a couple of pictures with my phone.

On the second session this military green lighthouse became alive with several light washes on it, on the ladders and on the ground. Plus minor details and quick blackening on the deeper sides with my black brush pen.
I was also finishing this sketch on the table as you can see in the pictures, trying to figure out the rest relying on memory> I just took a look very shortly on my p[pictures saved on my phone, but having done almost everything I relied most of all on my memory and my earlier feeling.
And it was also raining outside so this is another reason I finished sketching indoor.
military green lighthouse 02

As you can see in these ) I’m trying to use a slight different weapons from the usual
It took two sessions to complete these sketch.

In few words I’m trying to use less the waterbrushes and more the classic brushes bringing to me the water. It’s more difficult for many reasons, but gives me plenty more satisfaction and gives also stronger and vivid colors. and I can also make better washes and layers, that’s for sure. At least to my sketches I feel like that.
In this case I used the three of the Escoda Travel set (size #3, #6 and #12) inside a case that I hand-made in oiled leather.With this I’m not saying that I’m dropping the water brushes, often they are so comfortable and they works so good that for sketch quickies they are unsurpassed.

military green lighthouse 01

But I’m willing to use them less.

The equipment used for this sketch is my workhorse the Lamy Safari with EF nib filled with Platinum Carbon Ink. watercolors are the faithful Winsor and Newton and the paper is a Stillman&Birn Beta notebook.

 

Sketching My Cat Sleeping Close to Me

Sketching My Cat Sleeping Close to Me

Sketching My Cat Sleeping Close to Me.

I’ve sketched several times our cat, but this time I felt different, because our cat is not a cuddly cat.
Our cat has a sweet name, Amelie (like Amelie in the wonderful movie), a gorgeous white hair, soft paws. But it’s nasty as Bengal tiger. Amelie it is not definitively a cat that you can cuddle like in the movies or cartoons.
We live with Amelie, but we suppose to be the guests not this white ball.

I was sitting on the couch while emptying my backpack. And I was enjoying recapping all the (too much…) stuff I carry everyday. And I felt very comfortable. Suddenly the cat arrived to me, purring as there was no tomorrow, and slowing caressing me in circular motions. At the end Amelie seated near to me and took all the strange feline positions possible. Then my cat started sleeping.

That’s the way because I felt weird. Because I received cuddle from our beloved white beast, and seeing my cat sleeping near to me made me so happy.

Luckily, very luckily I was emptying my back pack and I found immediately my Essential monochrome sketching kit. I thought also that I ever needed something else.

I started sketching with my fude pen, very loosely. The paws was taking some strange figures like a python in the rain forest. Very loose sketching, my cat sleeping was absolutely not caring about me.

my cat sleeping 03

Then later, once realized that the feline fury was really sleeping (or telling to me that…) I also went for a calm and relaxed sketching.
You know, having this chance, in a shadowed room, comfortably seated and with this white beloved cat sleeping it’s an unbelievable chance to get.

So I sketched these two loved pages of my cat sleeping.

cat sleeping 01 cat sleeping 02

I was also very happy to make such a minimal sketch with a minimal equipment. A Staedtler pigmented pen and a Moleskine Pocket sketchbook. And just a little touch of a Platinum Fude Pen.
I enjoyed a lot, really a lot, and I will remember that quiet and purr moments for all my life.

 

 

Ps: going to finish this Moleskine, I can’t see to start the Stillman&Birn Alpha or a Gamma in 4″x6″. So far the best pocket sketchbooks around!

Five Minutes Park, five minutes Sketch

Five Minutes Park, five minutes Sketch

Five Minutes Park. Five minutes Sketch. That’s all I can draw in five minutes with my baby tightly secured in the rear sits.

It’s Sunday, parked near a gas station, lots of car ahead me and a fabulous sunny day>
I didn’t hesitate a moment and I pulled out my Essential Monochrome Sketching Kit. Now even more minimalist. I have just one Pigma, one fude pen and one Staedtler as spare pen. I don’t even remember the size of them…

five minutes sketch

Not finished, I’d really wanted to finish it, and it’s far to be completed. Nothing more. Just used the Staedtler Pen and a lot of patience while trying to stay focused.

I’d like to finish as soon as possible this Moleskine Sketchbook pocket so I can have the chance to start at the soonest  new Stillman & Birn Alpha or Gamma in 4″x6″ size. Far better because if I decide to make some washes of watercolour at least I can do it. Here not.
Cheers

At the port side before undergoing a surgery

At the port side before undergoing a surgery

Some days ago I was at the port side before undergoing a surgery. Nothing serious but important. I was slight in advance for this appointment, so I went around the city with my scooter like a mad beetle.
Probably I was searching for an inspiration or to breathe good air before having my cuts.
In the search of inspiration I was wasting some of the advance time gained.

And as happens often to me I end close to the sea and the water. My favorite element.
In this case the port side of my city.
So I left my scooter. And I walked only few meters from it when I saw these two young guys. I was making a lot of movies in my mind, why they are here instead going to school, a story about a young love. First words and hugs under a sunny day near the seaport.
Movies like that. They are happening to me anytime I see some interesting people to me. I try to figure out their lives from they gestures, eyes or from some details.

So I stared standing near a bollard and I quick sketched this scene only with pencil over my ever ready Stillman&Birn beta sketchbook. I draw the main lines. I was trying to record as much as possible with my eyes and my heart.
But I took the same a horrible snapshot of the moment also with my iPhone and I left the place.

at the port side 01

Once home, the day after I went to make some more lines with my Lamy Safari back again with full Platinum Carbon Ink. I was quite suffering and I probably left some details. The picture I took with the mobile was not much helpful.

I’m honest, looking after the drawing seems I overworked a bit. I used also some new brushes but still not happy completely. I’m just happy that I used my watercolors like a baby rookie.
So this experience at the port side ended. And so also the surgery.

 

Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks – My way

Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks – My way

Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks – My way. A cheap skate, funny, easy way.
The story above all is like that.

I bought several bamboo pens, so I can use them with my India Inks and colored designer inks (a bit less). I like Sennelier India Ink and Winsor and Newton Ink overall.
I like them a lot, and I like also to roll up my sleeves and to do by my self as soon as possible. And making art material DYI is something so dams sexy! Add that I (and my wife) love japanese, chinese, vietnamese, thailandese… We love each asian food and we have plenty of bamboo chopsticks obviously. Some of them are also very precious.
I also like sharp knives (and I use them daily for many reasons, first of all I like to cook) like very grown child male.

Ok, so let’s start with the ingredients for this Bamboo Pen Tutorial. (my waaaaay).
Only two in my case. :)

  1. A sharp knife, I mean razor-sharp. I used my Victorinox Spartan, my EDC. This is mandatory. Sharp. Sharp means safe, as opposite many people thinks. I use the smaller blade. You don’t need anything bigger. Just sharp. It’s on how you use it, and size don’t matter.
  2. Bamboo Chopsticks. I have in square section and in round section. Find just what you have close. I love squares but everything is fine. I will use mostly the thicker side. Nothing stops you to use the thinner section.

Optional a good sharpener . And if you want to be seriously cool you must have a leather strop, that I have obviously hand-made by me.

OK, let’s start with this bamboo pen tutorial from chopsticks. These are the tools. Easy substitutes: sharp knife with a scalpel or anything is scary sharp. Bamboo is tough.

Bamboo Pen Tutorial 01

Start to make some indentations on the top of the bamboo pen.
Start from around 4cm (1,5″) from the top of the chopstick. Make the bigger indentation as you like. I do like that: I drive the point of the knife at about 45 degrees, then I cut the wood chip with another perpendicular cut. Voila. I made the other two dents from two cuts of 45 degrees. Feel free to experiment and to have fun, please!

Purpose of these dents, I suppose they will help a little in bending when writing but overall they can also serve as reservoirs. I suppose. I just like them. In some japanese bamboo sticks there is no indentation just a small hole.
You can make one or three maximum. Try what’s the best for you. I love odd numbers. The fourth indentation is just my start of further flattening the point.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 02

Now it’s time to shape the point from the side. Shave not cut. Go slowly and take your time. Shave until you have a regular cut. It’s not mandatory but if you make a slope I think it’s better than a straight angle. Shave this shape accurately.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 03

 

Now make a shape of the point. Larger point, larger writing or sketching. Smaller point, small writing. If you want, also bore a hole in the biggest dent. I made it with the awl of the multitool.Bamboo Pen Tutorial 04

Now it’s time to go slower. Make a flat shaving for at least 1cm (0.3″) from the point. This gives some springiness if you like it. The longer the flat,  the softer is the point. I like to stay in the middle. Experiment. Is cheap and funny. About the thickness of the end point I’d say min 1,5mm (1/16″).

In this bamboo pen tutorial you should again experiment and find your way. I’m giving only some suggestion okay? Nothing written in stone and absolutely not following anything else that my imagination.
Now also bore a hole in the same direction of the other small hole on the top. I used the awl of the Victorinox. What a great invention this tool…

Bamboo Pen Tutorial 05

Shave and refine this bamboo point. Do it slowly. Don’t over do it. Well it’s cheap but it also take some time. Now it time to check the sharpness. The knife must be sharp. Strop you blade. Set the chopstick over a wooden base or a poly cutter. Something that help you to not cut your table or to ruin the sharpness of the blade.
It’s time now to drive the point of the knife from the hole previously bored to the end point in a straight line. Like a fountain pen. You will have a nice line that will help the ink to flow.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 06

It’s time now to enjoy your production. I made three bamboo pens in less than 15 minutes. They have different points. Large, small and one is cheap calligraphy point, with a 45 degrees cut on the end. I had a lot of fun my friends! And I started to draw and to sketch with ink over my Stillman and Birn Beta. It accepts everything, even my ugly sketches!
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 07

Then later I even colored this page with my faithful Winsor and Newton watercolors. I washed this sketch easily and quickly during my lunch break.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 10

Do you liked my Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks?
And please, don’t worry about mistakes… Have fun!!

Let me know!

My hand made leather case for watercolors

My hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit

Well the story is short but the making is so long. I made this hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit because my wife wanted something to hold with elegance.
You know, she’s not posh but she likes a lot to have good things. If we add that I promised her also a hand made leather bag since years, it’s easy to spot the target.

So I hand made this leather case for watercolors and sketching kit. I made it flatter. In my travels and in my daily commutes I feel better when I store my art things in a flatter way. Moreover, it’s made by durable leather, it’s also finished with my leather balm recipe and it’s made with whole lotta love (ciao Led Zeppelin!).

My hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit 01

This is the real set, with a Winsor & Newton Watercolor Sketcher Box, a Moleskine Watercolor, two of my favorite Kuretake Water brushes (a large and a detailer), and a Staedtler Pigmented Pen or a Faber Castell Pitt Pen. I think that inside this hand made leather case for watercolors and the sketching kit are well saved.
I like in this way. Definitively.

My hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit 08

I love modularity and as far as I can all my projects, I make them to be  used in many ways.
For instance I’m willing to make another one for me and to fill the case like that in the picture below. Full of fountain pens, pens, brushes, water brushes, held vertically. Whatever. Vertically is better no questions.

My hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit 02

I love my personal travel concept that means also basically “go for the easiest way, done sturdy, easy replaceable and no metals”. Further looking on my travel concept are here. For this reason I am keeping using elastic bands for closure: easy to find anywhere in the world, and if you don’t find them you can use even a dental floss. It works.

But jokes apart, this is also a very effective choice. So if you overfill, no buttons and easy to pen and close in a snap (or two) always.

Large pen pencil holder sketch kit 05

My hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit 05

Some details of the hand stitching, the saddle stitching.

Well, I think this My hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit is also beautiful on itself. What do you think about?

My hand made leather case for watercolors and sketching kit 06

Cheers!