My Favorite Things

You’re welcome for the ear worm ;)

The other day I was getting my stuff ready for InkTober and since most of the supplies I chose are old and recurrent favorites I thought it’d be good to share it too, for fellow artists maybe looking to try something new or for the curious.


On the top I have my favorite art tools for inking and adding a quick splash of color (well, gray in this case), frop top to bottom:

  • Pilot Parallel Pen 2.4mm currently inked with Aurora Black. This is currently my favorite pen for calligraphy practice, as it’s just the right size to work with.
  • Deleter Neopiko Line-2 felt tip markers in 0,1mm and 0,3mm, for when I want a constant line and for details. The ink is smudge and waterproof so I can use it with most medias and is lefty-friendly.
  • Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for Calligraphy is my favorite brush pen for drawing, the synthetic brush nib is just amazing and gives the most dramatic line width effects while still being easy to control.
  • Copic Sketch N5 and Akashiya Sai in Mouse Gray are my chosen tool for adding color. I have a long standing relationship with Copics and I love them, both for coloring illustrations and a calligraphy tool, the same goes for the SAI (though they are watersoluble, so you can add a watercolor effect by adding water to them).

And the next, are my favorite tools for sketchin. You know, what comes before inking :)

  • Worther Shorty lead holder. I use this little dude for rough sketching the fundamentals of a new drawing.
  • Pentel 0,7mm mechanical pencil and Pentel Function-357 are my go-to tools for refining a sketch before inking.
  • Tombow Mono Knock 3.8mm eraser, for fine details and correction (actually, my only eraser as I can’t find any other and haven’t gotten a new one yet lol).
  • Palomino Blackwing, Blackwing 602 and Faber-Castell Grip 2001 HB pencils, for when I feel like sketching only in graphite. I like the different values I can get with these.

And finally my sketchbook of choice for InkTober is a fresh Moleskine Craft Cahier. I figured Moleskine paper is only good for a couple medias, so using only inks in it might prove to be a good idea.


Blackletter, or Gothic script, has elluded me for years. On several ocassions I’ve tried to learn this calligraphy style, but the thing where I have to swtich my nib angle between 45º and 40º was the hard part. It was like my brain, and hand, could not process this idea of rotating the nib and it fried.

Armed with my trusty calligraphy book and my Pilot Parallel pens this week’s project has been practicing my blackletter.
Today I'm practicing blackletter though I kinda suck at it. Pilot Parallel 2.4mm and Aurora Black @jetpens

I think I may be on my way to getting used to this style, even though twisting my wrist kinda hurt after a while. I still struggle with some letters, like k, d and a but hopefully practice will help with that. For the picture above I used my Pilot Parallel Pen in 2.4mm and Aurora Black fountain pen ink.

Result of one day of practice. Still a long way to go :)And after a day and something of practice (which repetitively writing the same characters over and over again) I finally got a result I was happy with. At 1am. I kept thinking “5 more mins and I’ll go to bed” and then the minutes became an hour. For the sample above I used a Pilot Parallel 3.8mm pen inked with Rohrer & Klingner Zeichentusche Türkis and a Deleter Neopiko 0,1mm marker.

Behind the new 365 Drawings

As I mentioned on my previous post, I’ve been planning to give my little blog a kind of “make over” and I wanted to create a custom image/logo for it too. So in today’s post I’ll share with you a part of the creative process that went behind the new image.


At first, I only knew I wanted the word “drawings” to be done in a brush type of calligraphy. So took out all my brush tipped pens and got to work. Like in any creative process, there’s a lot of trial and error and I must have written the word “drawings” a hundred times or so, until I found one that looked right to me. Once I settled on it, I scanned and cleaned up the original sketch to trace it over in Adobe Illustrator CS4, without refining it too much to keep the “handwritten” effect.

The pens pictured are, from top to bottom: Copic Sketch, Akashiya SAI, Faber Castell Pitt in Sepia, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and Pitt in Black.

The numerals were actually the hard part. I don’t have much practice doing numbers and it was a real challenge. I used different tools like brushes, flat italics nibs and what not, until I finally settled on a style I doodled with a pencil and that I could make from scratch in Illustrator, as it was based on a simple oval shape. I liked this style because it complemented the brush calligraphy well, and it is modern but with elements of the victorian style.


Once I had the elements it was time to combine them so they’d flow well. So, with a little of Illustrator magic, I had the result you now see in the banner above (and in the next pic).


Overall, I’m really happy with how this turned out. The creative process that went behind it was also very interesting, as I had never built a type from scratch in Illustrator and it really helped me in visualizing different shapes out of the same basic form.

Thanks for reading!

Calligraphy Digitizing

Hi guys! Long time, no blogging, eh? Sorry about that. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may not know yet that a few months ago I became an Graphic Designer, like, officially. I’m still looking for my first job, so I’ve been doing small personal projects to keep my busy and add to my portfolio.

Today I want to share with you one of those small projects, which was designing a new image for my nailart blog (yes, I’m also working on revamping this one ;). I wanted to attempt digitizing my own calligraphy, so I set to work on different sketches until I settled on a fancy, curvy fluid style that I think fits my style well.


So then it came the hard part, translating this sketch onto something that could be resized and styled however I wanted. I refined my sketch, made some changes, and then started tracing over it on Adobe Illustrator CS4 with my trusty old mouse (no graphic tablet used, for some reason I feel like using a mouse digitizing calligraphy gives me more control).

Captura de pantalla 2014-09-14 a las 13.39.20PrintAfter I had my vectorized calligraphy, it was time to decide how to style it in a banner for the blog.  I love the effect of bokeh as a background, so I borrowed a glitter purple background from EliseEnchanted from Deviantart (since it’s non-commercial use, it’s allowed). Some Photoshop magic and here’s my end result:


Overall, I’m really happy with how this small experiment turned out. I wish someone would comission something like this from me, but in the meantime I’ll keep on practising with personal projects. Thanks for reading!

Mailart from January

As usual, I’ve neglected my blog. After our holidays in a nearby city, I came back to working full speed in my thesis project, which I’m about to turn in. Only two or so weeks until my final presentation and then, with some luck, I’ll be officially a Graphic Designer and I’ll have to go look for a job (which is scary as hell).

I haven’t had much mail to send lately, maybe my penpals are as busy I am, but I welcomed the pause because I wouldn’t have liked neglecting answering letters and doing mailart in this hectic time. So these are the last pieces of mail I sent, back in the end of January.
mailart_jan27_002My first letter is very simple as I hardly added anything to it besides the adressing. It gets easy when one has cute stationery (which I’m running out of incredibly quick…). Still I added some calligraphy with a Brause Steno nib and Deleter Neopiko markers, also a touch of decorative washi tape. This one went to my dear friend in Spain.
The second envelope is a whole different story, as I only had a white paper as a base. For this one I used the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and the Deleter Neopiko markers. The touches of grey were done with an Akashiya Sai pen and the pink was done with W&N Cotman Permanent Rose and a Sakura Koi Waterbrush. This one went to Shangching from East…West…Everywhere.

The Cotman Permanent Rose was a new acquisition, as I had never tried W&N watercolors in tubes. I was surprised by how well pigmented it was. Sadly only the Cotman (student) range is available in my country, so I don’t think the pigments are very lightfast, but it worked for this.

I haven’t done much -or any- art lately, I seem to lac motivation. What do you do on art-blocks? I’d love to hear your tips. Thanks for keeping up with me :)

Akashiya SAI doodle

For today’s doodle I gave a break to my trusty black Pentel brush pen and tried doing lineart with an Akashiya SAI watercolor pen, which are also wonderful brush pens but with water soluble ink, which makes for some interesting effects.

Done with Akashiya SAI watercolor brush pen in Tea Brown and Caran d’ Ache watersoluble pastels.

Another morning, another doodle

Today’s doodle is a homage to one of my favorite animated series, FLCL (or Furi Kuri) which is a beautifully rendered parade of weirdness. My favorite part is that the serie’s OST was played entirely by my favorite band, The Pillows.

Haruko Haruhara

Done with Pentel Brush Pen for Calligraphy, Deleter Neopiko 0,3mm pen, Winsor & Newton Cotman Permanent Rose and Staedtler Karat Aquarel watercolor pencils. Phew.

Brush Pen Doodle

I’ve decided to give my brush pens another chance, and I’m glad I did because I’ve been having lots of fun with the resulting “new”, more relaxed, style.

Today’s sketch is kind of like a preview since I did it on an envelope for a penpal. I’ll share the final result of it when it has reached its destination.


Done with Pilot Brush Pen for Calligraphy and Deleter Neopiko 0,3mm felt tip pen

Rohrer & Klingner Burnt Sepia

Hi guys! Today I bring you a little overview/review of Rohrer & Klingner Burnt Sienna, which is the other Calligraphy/Drawing ink I have, thanks Gentian for sending me a sample of this ink :)

Like the last ink that I reviewed, this one belongs to the Zeichentusche range of Rohrer & Klingner inks, which is appropiate for calligraphy and drawing work and is meant to be used with dip pen nibs, which is what I used for this sample, and brushes exclusively.

Burnt Sienna is a reddish brown color, with some intense shading. This ink looks more “opaque” than Turquoise and seems to be full with pigment. I noticed it dried quickly using dip pen nibs, except for the areas where ink pooled, for which I had to wait a bit more. Once it’s set, it becomes waterproof and smudgeproof (as this lefty was able to test). It also has some interesting green shading that’s more prominent that the one in the Turquoise ink.

I’ve included the dip pen nibs I’ve used in my pictures, because I can’t provide any info on them, as I received them from amazing penpals :) As you can tell, I used a small italic nib for the lettering and a firm round one for the shading. Writing with dip pen nibs can be tiresome as you have to reink often for writing, but I found the masking tape reservoir trick from Gentian really helped with that and made the experience much less frustrating.

Captura de pantalla 2013-11-09 a las 14.33.20

Picture from my Instagram to show the pretty green sheen

In conclusion, Burnt Sienna is another wonderful ink that is great for calligraphy practice. I can also see this ink being perfect for inking up a drawing to color with watercolors or COPIC markers, given its waterpoof/smudgeproof properties. Sadly, I just realized that it seems that this line was discontinued by Jetpens, so I don’t know anywhere else to get this, sorry! :/

Do you like brown inks for drawing/calligraphy? Also, what’s your favorite paper for calligraphy? I’m looking for some alternative to my ol’ trusty Rhodia Nº18 bloc, and I’d love to read your suggestions. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Rohrer & Klingner Turquoise Ink Review

Today I want to share with you a little review of the ink I used for my little Fountain Pen Day calligraphy composition, which is Rohrer & Klingner Zeichentusche in Türkis (Turquoise).


Rohrer & Klingner is a well-known German ink maker. They also produce fountain pen ink, but the Zeichentusche range is only recommended for dip pen nibs and brushes, as the pigments contained in it will certainly clog most fountain pens. However, I have been successful at using this ink in my Pilot Parallel pens with no clogging problems whatsoever (seriously, these pens are nearly indestructible). Even in the event that clogging occurred, the Parallel pens are easy to take apart and clean up.


Materials: Pilot Parallel 3.8mm, Tachikawa G nib, R&K Calligraphy ink, Rhodia paper

The picture above shows an accurate representation of how the color of the ink looks in normal daylight conditions, which is more teal than turquoise in my opinion. In the Parallel pen the ink flows very good and smoothly, but it does run darker than if you use an italic dip nib. It also shades beautifully on paper, going from teal to an almost-black tone, it dries relatively quickly (this lefty still has to make pauses after a couple of words for the largest pools of ink to dry) but once it’s dry it’s waterproof and smudgeproof. For this sample I used Rodhia paper and there was no feathering or bleedthrough.

Since this is a pigmented ink, at some angles you get to see metallic particles that reflect the light in a different color than that of the ink, which in the fountain pen world is known as “sheen”. While the sheen on this ink is not particularly strong or visible in natural light it does jump at you when you hold your writing at an angle, under artificial light.


Pink sheen

All in all it’s a very well behaved ink, in a beautifully shading color. The only downside is that it may not see much use because of the restriction of not being able to use it in fountain pens, but is a nice option for calligraphy practice (I’ve already gone through 1/4 of my bottle).

I got this ink from Jetpens, in an order I placed last year, when the ink was $12 for 50ml  (it’s currently reduced to $10.20).

I hope that you liked my little review and writing sample. Thanks for reading and see you soon! (like, for reals, I have the writing sample done and everything, just need to take pics).