Because Nonna Says

Because Nonna Says

Come to us tomorrow. We have want to fry just fishes. Let’s have a meal together.

Oh yes, this kind of oily and salty temptation was really well accepted.
Obviously something sketched here was only a minor part of what she cooked. Note that me and our family are not starving for now, but you now, nonna (and mamma also) makes these delicatessen for love. Big love

For the sake of accuracy there was (notice the past tense) mussels, cod, big shrimps and many other smaller fishes on this plate.

I’m loving this Noodlers Walnut, for the technicians says, it not fully waterproof but really loving the tone.


Rainy day over the Transport Section 

Rainy day over the Transport Section

I spent most of time today on the window to see that today the weather is so variable. This morning sun, now in the afternoon rainy.

So I wanted badly to go for sketching, but the time was not so sweet and with watercolor and paper there’s no good match with rain.

Well it took around 25 minutes to do this sketch that was making me so happy.
I first outlined all the structure starting from the bottom this time, trying to be accurate in proportion.

Later I went with my faithful Winsor&Newton watercolor washes. I did many, even if not seems so, achieving miscellaneous results. Next time I will pull out my travel Escodas that I’m thrilled to use (yes it happens when you’re not using since some time, long time)

I was very relaxed and focused, looking thru the window and the rain. I was listening excellent music guided by Deezer and there was not that much colleague around.
Did I wrote that I was sketching in our meeting room? No?

A big thanks to m y faithful equipment that I’m continuously rediscovering.
My Lamy with EF nib and Carbon Ink, Winsor&Newton watercolors in the Jewel box, the kuretake brushes and yes, the stunning sketchbook from Stillman and Birn.

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!

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.


A baby and a trolley

A baby and a trolley

The title of “A baby and a trolley” I admit can sound cryptic and weird. Something like a bad horror movie. At the opposite it’s a funny, lovely truth.

A baby and a trolley 02

I usually stop and observe my toddler movements and when actioning. My wife probably looks to me like Forrest Gump with chocolate in my hands. But I’m focused on my beloved angel. And I feel fascinated by him.

The story is all about our baby that is barely walking. He’s curious and now that is taking the first steps I think he feels like a compact-sized Indiana Jones. Moreover he’s attracted for everything is up to one meter from the floor and some more above.

This story is also about a red old kitchen trolley where the “nonna” (grandma for english speakers and reader) usually places baskets full of food or fruits or other kitchen stuff. It is also used to serve food when doing the rare big lunches that many are imagining the italians always do. Nope.

So this story about a baby and a trolley is more or less that this funny small elf is strongly attracted from the rattan baskets over this small trolley. He knows that currently there are only some nuts and few plastic bags over it but  he want to reach this top. Irresistible.

A baby and a trolley 01

So I was shocked by this scene and I took several pictures of that. And as countless more. I believe that babies of one year old are like small genius with the only limits that they cannot speak properly. Probably it’s even better… 🙂

A baby and a trolley  03

Yes, there is always mamma that is guarding him at one or two steps beyond. But it’s funny the same I suppose.

I made this sketch using the Faber-Castell Pitt Pen instead of the Lamy Safari workhorse. I strongly recommend it since sketch very well and it’s fully waterproof.
One day I will decide the best pigmented pen choosing from Faber Castell Pitt Pen, Staedtler Pigmented and the classic Pigma Micron (outsider there are the Zig Pens also…). Currently the run is from the first two of this list.


Colors are Winsor&Newton washed by Kuretake Zig Waterbrushes. The journal is my current must, the Stillman&Birn Beta notebook. (I want more!!)