Following on from my experiments in sketching with an ink-filled water-brush I dug out an old Platinum fude brush pen. The nylon brush-tip’s a bit shredded so it’s not very detailed, but the ink flow is hugely better than the very popular Pentel brush-pen. I love its immediacy and the speed with which you can describe complete shapes, instead of using a pen for the edge lines and then a brush to add shadows and tone etc. I’m still trying to get the right strength of ink to complement the colour-wash, but overall the brush-pen is very liberating, encouraging me to have a go at quick urban sketches around Bath that I usually wouldn’t attempt in the time. (And I’ve given in to the lure of the sable-tipped version to get finer detail. Delivery from Japan takes two weeks…)
Lexington grey in Platinum fude brush-pen and water-brush, watercolour, A5 – various times
Liking v much, esp the Lexington grey
Look at us, even meeting on Ed’s blog. We just passed each other here, without saying “Hi!”. Isn’t Ed’s sketches just simply glorious?!
Ed, I like your style. It is very unique. Good luck with the new sable brush when it arrives.
Many thanks both (I hope I’m not interrupting anything!). I’ll let you know how the sable brush performs. And I’m like a cracked record about Lexington grey, it’s wonderful stuff. Ed
I have not tried a brush pen so far, only experimented using ink in the Derwent waterbrushes, which kinda works. However, I have not been brave enough to take them out of the house; I keep the sketching gear in a pocket and the thought of it leaking has stopped me so far.
I really adore your sketching style, but grey ink isn´t for everyone. When I try it (I eagerly try anything when I see something I admire and your work is a strong argument for grey ink), I don´t seem to get any definition to shapes and everything looks ghostlike. I think it suits some styles but not others.
Hi Viktoria, I had a go with the Derwent brush, it’s a slightly odd design and didn’t seem to work as well as the Kuretake ones. I’ve never had a leak with an ink-filled water-brush, but don’t try and use them on planes! Maybe try a darker grey ink, or a finer tipped brush so the ink is more concentrated? Some of my ink-brushes sketches are a bit hazy but they’re gradually crisping up with practise! Ed
Ed, help me out here, please. I get the impression, you are sketching the lines on site. But the watercolouring, if I’m not mistaken, is done off-location, with sufficient time for each wash to dry? Am I getting this right? It’s just if I watercolour washes on top of each other on location, before the first wash is dry, then the new paint always pushes the older paint away. Or just gets messy. Am I using the wrong paper and your washes dry faster? Help?
Hi Stuart, i do all the lines on site, and most of the shading. If it’s a warm day and I have the time I’ll add some colour, but that’s usually my last consideration. I’m not much of a painter (hence ‘mostly drawing’) and my colour washes are very simple; just one pass and that’s it. The dilute ink washes are incredibly stable so you can carry on layering and building tone as long as the paper holds out. But once the watercolour is on that all changes, and any further ink washes can disrupt the colour layer. My sketch books are made up of Mi-Teintes paper (fairly strong) and 190gm watercolour paper (very resilient). I (very) briefly considered getting a small portable battery powered hairdryer to dry out washes when out and about in colder damper weather, but realised that this way lies madness! Ed