NS1 Pen: A Love Story & Giveaway!

Hi there. How are you?

I recently purchased a NS1 ballpoint pen. Designed by Nicolas Sanchez, an incredibly talented ballpoint artist, it has 3 different size points in one pen. As it was designed for artists by an artist, I had high hopes for this one.

The NS1 pen was designed by the incredibly talented Nicholas V Sanchez. Click to purchase!

The NS1 pen was designed by the incredibly talented Nicholas V Sanchez. Click to purchase!

Ballpoint pen self portrait by Nicolas V Sanchez. Yes, it’s ballpoint!

Ballpoint pen self portrait by Nicolas V Sanchez. Yes, it’s ballpoint!

Can you even believe this is a BALLPOINT drawing?

Sanchez is a crazy talented artist! Not only is a he a master at rendering the human face, but those skin tones!?! How does he even do that??? I’m in awe.

When Nicholas announced on his Instagram that he has designed a pen, I knew I had to have it! And when I read that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the NS1 pen goes to art education, I was even more psyched to buy.

My drawing with the 1MM point of the NS1 Pen in my trusty Moleskine sketchbook.

My drawing with the 1MM point of the NS1 Pen in my trusty Moleskine sketchbook.

My NS1 Pen - Love at First Sight

As soon as my NS1 pen arrived, I started drawing and experimenting. Having 3 different nib sizes in one pen is a brilliant idea. With one easy click you can change from the big 1.0 mm tip to the 0.7 mm and finally the tiny 0.5 mm. The soft rubber grip makes this pen super comfy to use. Now I wish all my pens had this this soft grip. Do they still make those foam pencil grips? (Must google this!)

I did the drawing above with the 1.0 mm. I’m pleased to report that the NS1 doesn’t seem to “throw up” ink blobs as readily as many other pens do and the ink flows smoothly. My only complaint was that the nib sometimes rocks around in the barrel when you’re drawing. Other than that, I was smitten with this pen, and maybe even ready to make a serious commitment to this pen.

Drawing made with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

Drawing made with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

The Second Date

I decided to give the 0.7 mm point a go, and started another drawing in my pocket sized Moleskine sketchbook. Things looked promising at first, but then NS1 started to get on my nerves.

After using the 0.7mm for a time, the nib started to seize up and the ink would stop flowing. I’d have to stop and scribble on my scratch paper to get the ink flowing again. It was pretty frustrating.

Was NS1 trying to drive me away?

It sure seemed like it.

An up close and personal look at my drawing with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

An up close and personal look at my drawing with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

You can see my struggles in this close-up.

It’s a little jagged in places where I was battling with the pen to get the ink flowing.

I wondered if I’d already run the pen out of ink, but that seemed doubtful as I’d only done two small Moleskine drawings with the pen. I switched back to the 1.0 mm and then the 0.5 mm points and started having the same problems with those as well. What the what? I could always get the ink flowing again, but I was pretty disappointed. My wonder pen wasn’t all that wonderful after all.

I worried we might be breaking up.

I’m going to give this drawing away to someone on my mailing list. Are you on the list?

I’m going to give this drawing away to someone on my mailing list. Are you on the list?

I Gave it One More Shot

When I was cleaning up my studio the other day, I found some lovely drawing paper that I’d forgotten I had. It’s smooth with just a tiny hint off a tooth to it.

I decided to give the NS1 a second chance.

I’m so glad I did. The NS1 worked beautifully on this paper. The seizing up issues were gone. The ink flowed beautifully. Our relationship was saved!

But, why did NS1 try to give me the brush off earlier?

I suspect it was the paper in my Moleskine sketchbooks. That’s weird though. Nicolas Sanchez (NS1 designer) draws in Moleksines all the time.

All I know is that the NS1 pen is a keeper.

It’s not going to be exclusive between us, I still have love for my Bics and my Papermates, but NS1 has earned a place in my pen repertoire.

I’m giving away this original ballpoint drawing to one lucky mailing list member.

I’m giving away this original ballpoint drawing to one lucky mailing list member.

And Now for the Fun Part…..

I’m giving this drawing away to a member of my mailing list!

If you’re on the list, you’re in! It’s that easy.

Bonus for joining the mailing list:

You'll get access to a hyperlapse video of my drawing process. Expect emails from me about once a month with more behind the scenes content.  You'll also be first to know about about new work and exclusive sales. It's a party. Trust me!

That’s all for now.

Is there a pen you’d like me to review? Give me a shout!

Ciao, Jen

Valentines: Love the Cards. Hate the Day.

Hi there. How are you?

Valentine’s Day as a whole has never been my thing.  Back when I was a single lass, Valentine’s Day made me feel sad and left out. Even when I was attached, when February 14th rolled around I was never interested in celebrating.

Matt and I even used to host “anti'-Valentines” Day parties and in our 10 years together, I’m not sure we’ve ever really celebrated Valentines Day or exchanged gifts.

Valentines Day feels forced and commercial, and puts unnecessary pressure on people.

Now that doesn’t mean I don’t like to celebrate the people I love, I just don’t think it has to happen on February 14th with grand gestures. But….

I’ve always loved making, giving, and receiving Valentines.

(This probably makes no sense, but it’s the truth.)

I looked forward to decorating my shoe box for exchanging valentines at school and in my early adult years, I used to send out valentines in lieu of holiday cards.

Over the years, I’ve made and sold a lot of valentines.

This “Smooch” card was one of the first things I made and listed on Etsy back in 2008.

This “Smooch” card was one of the first things I made and listed on Etsy back in 2008.

My out of print “Just a Little Love Song” Beatles themed valentine collection.

My out of print “Just a Little Love Song” Beatles themed valentine collection.

“Valentiny” is also no longer in print.

“Valentiny” is also no longer in print.

The Collage Phase

These collaged valentines were some of the first things I listed in my Etsy shop when I launched it back in 2008. The “All You Need is Love” card was the first item in my shop to go viral on Etsy. Unfortunately, none of these cards are for sale any more. (If you’d really like one, get in touch! I could print them especially for you.)

The Pattern Phase

A few years later, during my pattern phase, I made “Sending my Love to You” and “Love You Mean it.” I still really love these cards and continue to sell them online and locally.

The “Better Together” card has a been a top seller for years. Click through to purchase.

The “Better Together” card has a been a top seller for years. Click through to purchase.

The Bird Phase

You all remember this phase, right? For a couple of years, I drew birds almost exclusively. (You can read about how that all started HERE.) I knew this adorable pair of fairy wrens was destined for a card and it quickly became a best seller in my card collection. You can order this cutie right HERE.

The “You are Loved” card is good for any day you want to send some love out into the world.

The “You are Loved” card is good for any day you want to send some love out into the world.

The ballpoint Phase

Now, we enter my most current collection. Featuring a black ballpoint background, I made this "You are Loved” Card last year. It’s good for Valentines Day, or any day you want to send some love out into the world. (Read about how I create these ballpoint cards HERE.)

My newest valentine is just for the gals.

My newest valentine is just for the gals.

Do you Celebrate Galentine’s Day?

I just whipped up this card this past weekend. As my work mainly appeals to females, I thought it would be fun to create a “Galentine’s Day”card.

Celebrated on February 13, Galentine’s Day was created by Amy Poehler's Parks and Rec character Leslie Knope. (One of my favorite shows of all time!) Basically, it's the day to celebrate your love for your best girlfriends.

All of my cards are blank on the inside and are available in my web shop.

One last thing before you go…

Is there a sentiment you’d love to see me put on a card? Or a card for a certain occasion/event you’d like to see me add?

Do Get in Touch!

I’d love to add some more cards to my collection and I’m always open to new ideas. Just shoot me an email or leave a comment.

Ciao, Jen

2018 Sketchbook Tour

Hi there. How are you?

It didn’t really seem like I did much sketch-booking this year until I sat down to compile this post. In 2018, I made 37 drawings in two different sketchbooks. Considering one finished drawing can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, that’s not half bad!

See all 37 sketchbook drawings I made in 2018.

After drawing exclusively in the the standard 5" x 8.25" size Moleksine sketchbook for many years, I started using the ultra portable pocket size again as well. At just "3.5" x 5.5", the tiny Moleskine was perfect for all of the traveling we did this year, especially our trip to Switzerland!

*The Amazon links included here are affiliate links. I earn a small commission when you purchase through these links. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

Video Tour Time!

So that you can quickly view all 37 drawings, I created a short video, showing each sketchbook spread in chronological order. Just click that arrow on the image below to watch.

Patterns and Themes of 2018

Looking back at all of the sketches I made this year, I recognized some patterns and themes in my work. I’ve also noticed how my style and technique change over time.

I used a lot of true blue.

I actually did 5 drawings in just blue. I’ve always been drawn to the color and Bic blue pens are incredibly easy to draw with. I also had a chance to try out the Baux Pen 2, a new ballpoint pen body that works with Bic pen parts. It's solid and feels good in my hand. At first it felt a little heavy, but after a while I really liked that weight. It seemed to give me more control.

As the year progressed, more “holes” appeared in my drawings.

Negative spaces really made a comeback in my work this year. I can’t tell you why, they just did.

florals Reemerged too.

If you’ve been following my art journey for a while, you’ll recognize these shapes. Florals have been a reoccurring theme in my work forever.

And then there’s these.

I don’t know what to call these, but I like them and I’ll keep making them.

This concludes our 2018 sketchbook tour.

I hope you enjoyed it. I sure enjoyed looking back at this year of work. It makes me excited to do even more in 2019.

Do you have a favorite drawing of mine from this year?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Ciao, Jen

P.S. If you’d like to learn my ballpoint drawing techniques, check out the “Jen & Ink” e-courses. In my two self-paced courses, I share my ballpoint pen drawing secrets and techniques.