For some time I set on establishing a portable and convenient solution for my street-wandering-plain-air sketching endeavors. Based on the idea of filling Pentel AQUASH portable brushes with fountain pen inks, so I can always have instant-brushes and colors without the need for water or mixing, I chose several inks for a limited warm-biased palette. From light to dark, I filled the brushes with De Atramentis GOLDHAVANNA and KHAKI.

But fountain pen inks are peculiar; while each gives vibrant and luminous result by itself, they tend to suffer from glazing and layering on paper, as one would apply the regular watercolor paint. Knowing this, while sketching one of the pittoresque corners of downtown Belgrade,  I tried to reserve the biggest areas for only one wash of chosen color. I glazed multiple passes sparsely, to avoid feathering and bleeding that occurs with fountain pen inks even on better paper. Taking the said things in account, the system can function, but it pushes the sketch towards a more designed approach, less painterly in style than working  with pigments that mix on paper naturally and efficiently.


When I neglect the nature of these inks, soon enough the mushy feathering creeps in to punish me. Like several days ago, when several spots of light on the stairs caught my attention. To make them stand out, I wanted to push the color to deeper values, but ended in muddy mess.

PICTOGRAMAX - 2013 05 31 - STEPS

Guess I’ll keep this setup for one color per sketch approach, which works fine, especially with J. Herbin’s GRIS NUAGE. And start carrying watercolor tin box and plastic bottle.

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