Pitt Warm Grey Big Brush Pens
Stillman & Birn Epsilon 8.5x11" hardbound sketchbook
I have a book of old photographs of great composers. It's in black and white, and every so often I break it open for some monochrome portrait practice while watching TV or listening to music. The other night, I decided to test drive my new Warm Grey Pitt Big Brush Pens on the silky-smooth paper of the Epsilon book. I spent about 45 minutes on this sketch of Italo Montemezzi using the photo reference. I totally fell in love with this combination of materials. I worked directly in ink, so that combined with the waterproof ink limited opportunities to blend values or make corrections. For sketching purposes I often prefer a direct approach with few changes, and I'm looking forward to working more with this combination of materials.
About the paper: The sizing on this paper lets the ink sit up on the surface. That means that it takes longer to dry, and with permanent ink, I think it's a huge benefit. I was able to move the ink around with a waterbrush or smear it with my finger if I did so quickly, so I had some blending capabilities until it set. I need to work with this combination more to learn to take better advantage of that, but I can see that it will be extremely useful. There was no bleed-through of the ink to the other side of the page, in spite of multiple coats of heavy application in some areas, and it is archival. The Epsilon paper is very smooth, allowing for easy detailing, and the brush pens move easily across the surface. I'm thinking that the points on the brush pens will be much better preserved on this type of surface than on a rougher, or even vellum texture. I absolutely loved working this size with the big brush pens. It's much more freeing than working in a smaller book with a finer point. So, I just might have to have two art journals going at the same time after all; I need to think more on this.
About the Pitt Big Brush Pens: Wow! I love these to bits! I've tried the Kuretake brush pens, Pentel brush pens, Aquash brush pens, Noodler's brush pens, and many others. These Pitt Big Brush Pens can cover so much more ground, have firmer tips with better spring, come to a nice sharp point for detail work. They put out enough ink to keep up with my sketching, are waterproof and archival, and available in 58 colors! I have not yet used them in combination with watercolors, but I have tried to budge the dry ink with a waterbrush and scrubbing with my finger to no avail. It's not going anywhere! I bought a lot of them to have working "sets" in various color groups, plus a few bright ones for those times when you need a strong spot of a bright color. I'll be showing some figure sketches tomorrow using a few different color combinations. This portrait was done with the four "Warm Grey" colors. The palette is shown on the page. I guess I could have added black to it also, but the Warm Grey V was so dark that even though I had the black out, I never used it.