Tuesday, October 20, 2015


10/20/15 Zebra brush pen, Canson mixed-media sketchbook (20-min. pose)

Whooo, boy – was I rusty this morning.

Ever since Gage Academy switched up its life-drawing schedule, I haven’t been able to go to the short-pose sessions, which conflict with standing commitments on my calendar. But today my regular Tuesday morning meeting got cancelled, so I had an unexpected gift: being able to go to Gage!

10/20/15 (15-min. pose)
When I looked at my punch card, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been there since January! No wonder I was feeling so rusty. It took me the first couple hours of one-minute, two-minute and five-minute poses to warm up, and even then, I still felt creaky – like I had sprouted a hand and arm made of wood. By the time I got to the last hour of 10-to-20-minute poses, I finally started feeling like I had gotten my own hand and arm back.

On the upside, I’ve discovered some new favorite pens for life drawing. A while back I had gotten a couple of Sailor Fude Nagomi brush pens (which I included in my brush pen comparison review several months ago). I liked their hairy synthetic brush tips, which are a little broader than my Kuretake and Pentel brush pens and just as responsive, but I was disappointed when I realized that the non-refillable ink they contain is not waterproof. Knowing I would be unlikely to use them for urban sketching when I might want to use watercolor, I tossed them into my life drawing bag and forgot about them.

I also have a double-sided Zebra brush pen with weird, somewhat spongy brush tips. Since it’s not the hairy kind that I prefer, and since it, too, contains water-soluble ink, I had tossed it into my life drawing bag also.
10/20/15 (10-min. pose)

This morning I opened the pen case in my life drawing bag and was surprised to find those three brush pens that I had forgotten about. It was like the life-drawing fairy had left me a gift, because they seemed to be exactly what I needed today. The hairy-tipped Sailor Nagomi brush pens gave me the loose, fluid line I like having for one-to-five-minute poses. (I also tried the wider end of the Zebra brush pen, but that spongy tip makes a strange squeaky sound that annoyed me and maybe the other life-drawing participants, so I gave that up quickly.)

For the 10-to-20-minute poses, I switched to the finer end of the Zebra brush pen, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. While soft enough to be responsive, the smaller tip is firm enough to give me some control when I can take my time on contour lines. (Thankfully, it doesn’t squeak.) What’s more, the Zebra’s water-soluble ink was exactly what I needed for fast and easy shading with a waterbrush.

I’m happy that those Nagomi and Zebra brush pens are staying in my life-drawing bag! (I have to figure out a way to get over to Gage more often this winter. I really enjoy the regular practice, and I don’t like getting so rusty.)

10/20/15 Sailor Nagomi brush pen (2-min. poses)
10/20/15 Sailor Nagomi brush pens,
Canson drawing pad (1-min. poses)

10/20/15 (1-min. poses)

1 comment:

  1. Nice collection of life drawing sketches. It doesn't look like you are rusty from these. Isn't it great that what isn't good for one kind of sketching can be used for the other?


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