Friday, November 4, 2011

Retro 50 Tornado fountain at Rock & Wrap It Up.

This Retro 50 Tornado is one of my favorite fountains under fifty dollars. It took a while to get used to the cap not staying posted very well, but with time it did improve. I got mine from the Fountain Pen Hospital some time ago (not sure if the red model is still available.)

I used my Tornado to sketch at a Rock & Wrap It Up event. It was an awards and concert benefit that featured performances by Jackie Greene and ALO; awesome musicians and great showmen. I have larger drawings that I'll post another time.

If you haven't heard of Jackie Greene you should really check him out. He's the real deal; musician songwriter and awesome performer.
The medium nib makes a generous wet line. It's all metal except for the grip and has a nice weight and feel, it's been one of my carry pens for a while. 

Mingling before the jam session.
I carried a Cachet Studio 10 x 8 sketchbook. They have 80 pages of 70lb paper that takes ink, pen and washes very well.
Cocktails before the concert.
Syd Mandelbaum, the founder of Rock & Wrap It Up
During the bidding at the memorabilia auction.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Brause Nibs for astrology guides.

After seeing some of these Brause nibs in action, I knew I had to have some. I found a great little set at Goulet Pens and they really are terrific. They were a nice addition to the Speedball nibs and handles that I've used for years and they came in handy for illustrating the 2012 editions of Sydney Omarr's astrological guides for Penguin books.
This set comes with 6 nibs and a wooden handle.
I ordered extra handles.
The nib designs are awesome, each offering it's own line variation. 
Pieces in Noodler's brown ink.
I needed to do a lot of thumbnails for this series design and my choice of tools varied. 
I love these  Pentel Twist -Erase mechanical pencils. They come in 0.7 and 0.9 sizes. I prefer the .9 for a wide lead that does not snap easily. The long twistable eraser is not one of those little nubby ones that can't take any pressure, it's awesome. They're easy to find at your local Staples. As usual, I buy in bulk for fear of them being discontinued. 
Both the 0.7 and 0.9 Pentel Twist-Erase pencils.
A Sharpie and a legal pad was all I had handy when
sketching ideas on the phone.
Sometimes a seemingly insignificant thought
becomes the start of an entire idea.
If it wasn't for these sloppy little drawings,
I'd never be able to get this job off the ground!
The Omarr guides are on the shelf in bookstores.
I colorized the artwork digitally so they could be adjusted in the final design; each guide needed it's own color scheme. We created the type design and look for the entire series.  The 2013 guides are in the works at my studio now.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Drawing with Carpenter Pencils

Guys with real jobs use these every day and they've been an advertising tool to those who sell to the working man for decades, but I love having these in my toolbox as a great drawing tool.

I'm always on the lookout for vintage advertising pencils; they're a real throw back to the good old hardware store days. The ones above are not so vintage (except for our sadly lost New Dorp Lumber). These are usually quite inexpensive so they're easy to stock up on. (Home Depot and General's are made in the USA!)
 You can get a wide range of marks with this simple tool. The only drawback is it might feel a little awkward to hold the square barrel. My solution was to squeeze a jelly pencil grip around the end. I also use rubber hair scrunchies; they go on much easier and you can adjust them quickly.
I'm not alone in my love for carpenter pencils, but the bane of using them was always sharpening them correctly. The two smaller sharpeners above sharpen to a point. They're quick, but you loose the full chiseled point.
I found this handy item at It's a two step sharpener that makes short work of the big shavings and keeps the flat graphite in tact. Afterwards, I use a razor knife to trim it down to the point that I want.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky Cuts

Say hello to another spooky friend who hung around for Halloween. With an oversized sheet of black paper and black masking tape... snip, snip snip... and he showed up.
 A Spooky cat!
 And Wacky Bats!
 The weather outside was FRIGHTFUL this weekend!
Snow for Halloween is not so much fun.
My new Lamy Vista with J. Herbin Orange Indien ink.