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.



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.

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


Duck Fight

Duck Fight

There is a nice story behind this duck fight sketching.

I had some problems with my scooter. So I went to the mechanic to have some repairs and maintenance. It was not that far from the park we usually go on Sunday. Having some minutes spare while my wife was driving to pick me up. So I reached the park and at the  entering of the park there is a channel. In this usually you can find many birds eating, drinking, going around.

But this time there was a scene that kept my attention: 3 ducks quacking and spinning around. Two of them were males, the most colored ones, and the all brown is the female. And there was a duck fight in progress, where these two males were teasing each other. This duck fight was really funny because the way the ducks sometimes walk or run and because the pretenders were stalking the duck beauty. Quack Quack!

The duck fight never became cruel but it was somewhat determined. Powerful blows from the smaller pretender to the chest of the bigger (older?) pretender. And the opposite the bigger duck was first defending and then attacking with other beak blows.
Funny. It’s always the same story from duck to humans, because we need to take our genes forward.

So I was looking very focused at this scene for almost all time.I was trying to memorize all colors of this duck fight. The color of the muddy water and the fantastic metallic recollections of the male ducks. Altough hey are absolutely not reproducible with watercolors at least I gave a try.

I suddenly I remembered that better than looking there is also sketching. And time was coming over. So I really grabbed my first pen and I took my Zebra Z-Mulsion Hybrid rollerball and my favorite Stillman&Birn Beta. I started sketching very loosing, without almost any care.

duck fight 01

That is no easy but it was a really good lesson to draw for the lines and the poses instead going for details.

duck fight 02

After finished the outlines and barely the time for the lettering I received my wife’s call. It’s time to go.

I forgot even to take a picture, can you imagine how I was happy to see this show. And on saturday afternoon I gave all the colors and the washes to the sketching. The duck fight colors relayed on my sole memory. I used my Winsor&Newton Watercolors and my brushes taking my (short) time.

duck fight 03

But again it was a really nice lesson.
And I discovered how good it’s this Zebra Hybrid for sketching since it’s really waterproof and really black. Well, now I should test all the other hybrid gel pens arrived from the last order from Cultpens.com. And everything sounds fantastic!

Bamboo Pens

Bamboo Pens

I received some days ago some bamboo pens from this fantastic seller Kate Moby. Take a look also at her site here, she’s also a photographer, a designer and an illustrator.

I was willing to have some bamboo pens because I have to admit I have seen many times Danny Gregory using it.

I love the way these pens are leaving fat and expressive lines. The power of these bamboo pens is released when using india inks like one my favorite: Sennelier India Ink. India inks are waterproof for nature since they contains shellac and, depending of the thickness of the ink, these bamboo pens can leave also a “tactile” thick line.

As far I received it I though that there is another good subject to sketch during my lunch break – too much time I’m sketching at the lunch breaks… does it means that I’m stressed?

I started to outline them very slowly with my TWSBI VAC 700 filled with Noodlers Lexington Gray. This pen leaves fine lines and sometimes I feel almost like having a liquid soft pencil, but waterproof. And very enjoyable because I’m sketching using a fine fountain pen.

Bamboo pens 01

This is only an outline, and sometimes I can make good outlines. I think that this time I made a barely good outlining on the sketchbook. I took this picture with my Ipad Mini, I think it renders the idea.

Starting to fill here and there with my faithful Winsor&Newton Artists’ Watercolors, and this is the result about several washings and layers. But the Stillman&Birn Beta sketchbook is supporting quite well my water brushes and washes. Sketching and making everything over it is simply a pleasure. Even lettering and calligraphy lyes like a silk on the rough paper as previous post.

This is the ( not ) impressive result of my sketching.

Bamboo pens 02

To be honest I over worked a bit on this sketching of my bamboo pens. Final wording made as I love. I used just the indigo remaining on the lid :).

If interested bamboo pens are available also here in the Jackson’s Art Store as set or as single pen, that is very handy.