art supplies

Playing with Paint

Hi there. How are you?

Ballpoints have started to bore me. I’m feeling limited by the color range. Yes, I can now get every color in the rainbow in a ballpoint, but there’s a limited amount of color mixing possible, and you can’t make a tint (pastel) or a shade (gray). There’s only so many color combinations possible, and that has started to annoy me.

Color has always been an important part of my work and a major form of expression for me. I needed to find a way to increase the range of colors possible in my work. So I looked backwards…

Unless you’ve been following me for an eternity, you might have not known that I was once a painter. I painted big abstract pieces and I loved to mix colors. Now, I am in no means ready to go back to painting all together, but I decided to try and incorporate some paint into my current work.

I had a set of gouache paints in my studio and one day I mixed up some olive green and painted some simple shapes on a few different types of paper. I’d never tried to draw on top of gouache, but as it’s a matte paint, I thought it might work.

My first experiment drawing on top of gouache was disappointing.

My first experiment drawing on top of gouache was disappointing.

As you can see here, the gouache chipped away as I drew on top of it. It looks kinda interesting, but that wasn’t really the look I was going for.

In an effort to add more color to my work, I’ve been experimenting with drawing on top of gouache.

In an effort to add more color to my work, I’ve been experimenting with drawing on top of gouache.

I did some more experimenting and found that if I thinned the gouache with some water, it chipped a whole lot less. There’s a little bit of chipping in some of the dark areas of this drawing, but I don’t think it detracts from the piece as a whole.

A couple of my lovely  Instagram followers  suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink.

A couple of my lovely Instagram followers suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink.

Acrylic ink is Awesome!

A couple of my lovely Instagram followers suggested I try drawing on top of acrylic ink. I am so far out of the painting world, that I had never even heard to acrylic ink. I was excited to find these Amsterdam acrylic inks at the craft store and promptly tried them out and made a whole bunch of backgrounds.

*PSST. This is an affiliate link. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase with this link. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

I had a ball MIXING colors.

The acrylic ink is super concentrated, opaque, and flows nicely. It is just what I was looking for!

I’m on a roll!

In the last few weeks, I’ve made 6 new drawings. This is the most drawing I’ve done outside of my sketchbook in at least a year!

The paint has certainly helped me to expand my color palette and it gives these drawings more dimension. I am so proud of this work and can’t wait to see it all framed and hung together. I’ve committed to doing a show at a local coffee house with some friends in April. Wish me luck! Framing is not my favorite.

What should I title this drawing series? Do tell!

What should I title this drawing series? Do tell!

Title suggestions welcomed

I need your help, friends. What should I title this series? I’m stumped. What do you see when you look at these? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

That’s all for now.

I’ll be back soon to talk about a surprise gift that has become a one of my favorite art supplies.

Ciao, Jen


Yellow Ballpoints Found at Last!

Hi there. How are you?

I've been collecting ballpoint pens for years now, but I could never track down a yellow. I literally had every other color in the rainbow, in many shades, but no yellow. I needed yellow! 

* HEADS UP: As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase the pens I've listed here with Amazon links. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

I've found 3 different yellow pens! Click for purchasing info.

I've found 3 different yellow pens! Click for purchasing info.

The search was long and arduous. 

I googled, I went to every art supply and office supply store I came across, and I checked out the websites of the top pen manufacturers. Still, no yellow! Well, at least not that I could get my hands on in the States. 

Then a breakthrough! 

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had!

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had!

A Yellow Perfecto

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had! (Thanks Natasja!)

The yellow is has a nice bright hue and the ink goes on almost like a gel pen. There's just a little more moisture in the ink than a traditional ballpoint, but it still works well. 

I used my yellow Perfecto pen in this sketchbook drawing. The ink is nice and bright.

One is never enough

I was thrilled to find this yellow, but I knew I'd need more than one solitary yellow pen. I was going to run that sucker out of ink in no time! Again, I hunted all over the internet for Perfecto ballpoint pens but they were nowhere to be found. 

The hunt Continued....

This Yoobi ballpoint pen has yellow and 7 other fab ink colors. Click to purchase one for yourself!

This Yoobi ballpoint pen has yellow and 7 other fab ink colors. Click to purchase one for yourself!

The Yoobi 8-in-1

I was taking a stroll through the pen aisle at Target one day and came across Yoobi product display. Amidst all of the colorful, well designed Yoobi merch was this rad 8-in-1 ballpoint pen with YELLOW! 

All of the inks in the Yoobi are nice and smooth and despite its larger barrel size, it is pretty darn easy to use. The yellow ink has more of a golden hue than the Perfecto, which is great, as now I've got a range of yellows to choose from! 

I finally found a Bic yellow ballpoint pen. The ink is incredible! Click to purchase.

I finally found a Bic yellow ballpoint pen. The ink is incredible! Click to purchase.

The Bic 4 Color Fluo

As I'm never really satisfied with the pens I have, I decided to search Amazon one more time for yellow ballpoints. This time, there was a hit! And it was a Bic! (My all-time favorite ballpoint brand.) 

This 4-in-1 Bic pen features a fluorescent yellow ink that slightly wider than the other 1 mm coloured ballpoints. I paid a pretty penny for it and had to have it shipped from the UK, but man was it worth it! This pen is a dream. 

The yellow ink in the Bic pen is fluorescent and smooth as silk. Click to purchase.

The yellow ink in the Bic pen is fluorescent and smooth as silk. Click to purchase.

Bic is the BEST!

The Bic is by far the best yellow pen I've found. The fluorescent ink is smooth as silk and is oh so bright! I'll certainly be ordering more of these soon and maybe, just maybe, Bic will decide to stock these stateside sometime. 

The yellow in the Paperchase 8-in-1 pen is warm and golden.

The yellow in the Paperchase 8-in-1 pen is warm and golden.

The Paperchase 8-in-1

I didn't really need another yellow pen, but when I spotted this cutie at the Paperchase store at Victoria Station in London, I had to have it! The colors are all a little different from my 8 color Yoobi, so I've got an even wider selection of colors and values to work with. The yellow has a lovely golden tone to it and feels very "Indian Summer." 

When I came back from London about a month ago, I was able to find this pen for sale on the Paperchase USA website. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be available any longer. Boo! If you're lucky enough to live near a Paperchase store, I suspect you can pick one up there. 

Have you found any other Yellow ballpoints I've missed?

Do tell so I can try 'em out and add them to this list! 

That's all for now. Ciao! 


A Few of My Favorite Things

Hi there. How are you? 

I was recently invited to become an Amazon Influencer.  As an influencer, I have my own page on Amazon.com where I can recommend my favorite products and earn money on qualifying purchases made through the page.  I don't expect to make millions, but it is nice to have a place to share all my faves while making a little pocket change. 

As I'm often asked about the supplies I use to make my ballpoint drawings,  I thought I'd start by curating a list of favorite drawing supplies, all of which can be found on Amazon. 

These are my go-to supplies for ballpoint drawing. Click through for the details and more of my faves.

These are my go-to supplies for ballpoint drawing. Click through for the details and more of my faves.

1. BIC CRISTAL X-TRA BOLD BALLPOINTS:

If you're just going to buy just one set of pens, go for these! They're inexpensive, smooth and have great color.

2. PENTEL RSVP RT BALLPOINTS:

(RT stands for retractible.) I like the Pentel retractibles better than the capped Pentels as the ink tends to flow better in the retractibles. Overall, Pentel pens have a finer ballpoint, which can make it more difficult to achieve smooth values, but are good for making sharp edges. 

3. PAPERMATE PROFILE BALLPOINTS:

Papermate Profiles come in a huge range of colors, but are more difficult to find and are more expensive than the Bics. The ink doesn't flow quite as well as the Bics, but they're my runner ups. 

4. SMOOTH BRISTOL BOARD:

There are many different brands of Bristol board out there and there are also different finishes available. Look for smooth Bristol board when purchasing. Don't want to spring for Bristol board? Any smooth paper will work (including copy paper!)

5. MOLESKINE SKETCHBOOK AND TOOL BELT

Moleskine sketchbooks have been my go-to for years. Right now I'm partial to the 5" x 8.25" size. The paper is thick but smooth and the pages lay flat. The only downfall with Moleskines is that the paper has a slight yellow hue to it.  Add a Moleskine tool belt to it and you've got a fabulously portable drawing kit.

All of these are supplies I actually like and use. 

I only add items to my Amazon Influencer list that I can vouch for! 

I've finally found a yellow ballpoint pen! Meet the 8 color Yoobi. Click through to purchase.

I've finally found a yellow ballpoint pen! Meet the 8 color Yoobi. Click through to purchase.

And my newest fave.....

I've been on a hunt for yellow ballpoints for over a year now. Up until recently, I couldn't find them for purchase anywhere in the States. Until now.

Meet the 8-color Yoobi pen, with yellow! Isn't it cute? All of the colors are nice and bright and the ink goes on smoothly.  With a whole range of colors in one, this is going to be a great pen for my trip abroad this summer. 

I made an entire post about my quest to find yellow ballpoints. Find it HERE.

What are your Amazon faves?

Do tell. I'll try them out and if I like, I'll add to my list. 

Well, that's all for now. Thank you for supporting my artistic endeavors by shopping my Amazon list. I'll be back soon with some of my favorite motivational books for creatives. 

Ciao, Jen