De Atramentis Archive Ink

Eureka……Wonderful new discovery of a permanent waterproof ink – De Atramentis Archive ink (black). I was reading in Liz Steel’s blog that she uses the De Atramentis Archive ink for drawing under watercolour washes without ink bleeding. So after some googling I found that the Good Store in Vic Park carries this ink and bought a bottle to try ($25 for a 35ml bottle).

20150521 DeAtramentis Archive Ink

This is a very, very quick little sketch on heavy weight cartridge paper (Westart 225gsm) of some dried Banksia flowers I have in a vase at home. Drawn with the De Atramentis ink and let dry for a couple of minutes then washed over with permanent rose, perylene maroon and some dirty blue/green colour left on my palette with a waterbrush. Magic……no ink runs, no bleeding…. the ink is rock solid.

I have now swapped out the Montblanc ink in favour of the De Atramentis into one of my Lamy’s for when I need the ink to stay put. I do use an Extra Fine nib for this ink as I feel that it is quite wet but does seem to dry reasonable quickly.

I will still use my watersoluble inks for when I want to blend on the paper but it’s really good to finally have a waterproof ink for my fountain pen.

Sketching Kit

This is is my everyday carry sketchbook stuff….

20150519 My Watercolour Sketch Kit 20150519 Inside my Bag

My homemade Fauxdori of course….

A small metal folding watercolour box (Lukas brand although I didn’t like the paints that came with the set so have swapped out to a mixture of Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith and Art Spectrum). I bought empty full and half pans and fill them with tube colour as necessary and the pans are held in place with blu-tack (this works surprisingly well, make sure the box and pans are clean then stick down strips of blu-tack to fit the base of the box and just push the pans down – they won’t fall out and if you want to swap colours they can be levered out and replaced)

Update…Colours in the box…..

Yellows: Winsor Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold

Reds: Permanent Rose, Winsor Red, Perylene Maroon, Quinacridone  Burnt Scarlet

Blues: Cerulean, Cobalt, Ultramarine

Other: Cadmium Orange, Neutral Grey

A wrist sweatband for cleaning my waterbrush (white band was not a great colour choice as it looks pretty messy quickly but they wash easily – I hand wash as I don’t want all my clothes multi-coloured).

Then in the pocket of my bag I have all my pens, pencils, waterbrushes, eraser and ruler……

Fountain Pens -Three Lamy pens, one with Extra Fine nib, two with Fine nibs. All with ink convertors and different inks…. Montblank Permanent Black (which is the most waterproof and least smudgy depending on the paper)….DeAtramentis Black/Brown ink which is water soluble to a lovely warm brownish red colour…. and my own mix of a Black/Blue with two parts Skrip Black to one part Quink Blue/Black which dilutes to a lovely bluish grey when wet.

Ball point pen – Uniball Jetstream 3 – Black, Blue and Red colours for highlighting in my diary

RollerBall type – Pilot Hi-Tech V5 black ink (watersoluble) and Uniball Eye Micro Black (waterproof pigment ink)

Gel Pen – Uniball Signo white gel pen (for those all too frequently lost highlights)

Pencils – Always mechanical or clutch – I don’t have the patience for sharpening and dislike shavings and graphite in my bag….. Pentel A120 mechanical pencil 0.7mm 2B leads and Steadtler Mars 780 2mm clutch pencil with 2B lead.

Eraser – Pentel Clic eraser 2….it’s shaped like a pen with a plastic sleeve cover, I don’t use it all that often

Waterbrushes – I wouldn’t be without my waterbrushes – a wonderful invention for quick outdoors sketching… I’ve tried several brands but my favourite is the Pentel waterbrush. I have three in my bag, two are filled with ordinary water in the broad and fine brush points. The third waterbrush is a fine point filled with Liquitex or Art Spectrum acrylic ink – this acts like a caligraphy brush and I use it for Notan style drawing/painting. I always make sure that my pens are upright in my bag so that there are no accidents.

Ruler – Small (15cm – 6″) metal ruler for when I just have to have a straight edge


My Fauxdori

20150519 My Fauxdori Front Cover

This is my “Fauxdori” – a home made version of the Midori travellers journal. I really like the look and flexibility of the Japanese Midori travel journals but the two sizes that they offer don’t really meet my needs, plus they are really expensive to buy and fill with their books……So I made my own – really quite easy to do. There are lots of videos on youtube of people showing how to make your own, so I did but made it a little different for my needs…

I bought a piece of 2mm “tooling” leather from a local leather supply shop in North Perth and a leather punch kit plus some “millinery” elastic from Spotlight (total cost around $40). I’ve made mine in A6 size as this is convenient if you’re buying paper to make books fit inside – it’s exactly half A5 size paper (which of course is half A4 size – the most common size of paper). Also it’s small enough to fit in my bag with out taking up too much space and when I sketch on location I can use it without drawing too much attention (pun intended).

20150519 My Fauxdori Spine

Method…Using a sharp knife cut the leather to size ensuring that there’s enough leather around the edges to wrap around the booklets inside (this will depend a little on how thick you’re going to fill it). Then punch 3 holes along the middle of the spine – one in the centre for the wrap around band (Midori have their band in the middle of the back cover but I think that leaves a lump in the paper – better to have it in the spine where it’s hidden away). Two other holes top and bottom for the book holding elastic. See picture above. Now the clever part is to use a button with a shank on it and thread the elastic through the hole in the shank and tie a loop long enough to pass through from the outside of the cover, run  down the inside of the cover then exit the bottom hole, run up the outside of the cover then loop OVER the button (see pic above). The advantage of using a button is that it also allows you to insert spiral bound books if you wish – just push the loop down through the rings then out the bottom and loop over the button.

20150519 My Fauxdori Button Detail

I have two elastic loops which allows 4 separate books to be held in place (could add more if necessary) then the shank of the button sits in the hole of the cover nice and flush holding it all in place. I also have another piece of elastic for two book marks that just loops around the button a couple of times.

I also rounded the corners for a more elegant look and rubbed the leather with olive oil to soften and protect the leather (do this before you thread the elastics through and let the oil be thoroughly absorbed before you fill it with paper)

Now for the fun part – filling with what ever you want.

20150519 My Fauxdori Inside Front Cover 20150519 My Fauxdori Home Made Books 20150519 My Fauxdori Contents 1 20150519 My Fauxdori Home Made Diary

I have made………

Sketchbook – from heavy weight cartridge paper

Notebook – with lined and blank pages (created using excel spreadsheet then copied duplex onto regular copy paper)

Diary  – again created on a spreadsheet and printed on copy paper

Each book is stitched using ordinary sewing thread doubled over (supposed to used waxed cotton bookbinding thread but I don’t have any and this seems fine for my purpose of making relatively thin booklets). Just use an awl or any sharp point to punch five holes along the mid line where they will fold for the spine then using a long sewing needle weave the thread in and out (see youtube for bookbinding tutorials especially “SeaLemon”).

I also have a couple of plastic pockets made from plastic zip folders bought from officeworks (cut the zip part off and rounded the corners)

Making my own books is really quick and easy and is heaps cheaper than buying special books to fit a special size. Plus I have complete choice over what paper I put in – watercolour, cartridge, toned or my own printed up copy paper or a combination of any of these. I especially like to use old cinema flyers for the covers – at my local they print up beautiful thick glossy flyers in A5 size  – perfect when folded in half to make A6 book covers (see the Banksy cover above, the other covers are cuttings from a magazine  – I just liked the pics so glued them on to the first and last pages.)

A charm or other ornament can be looped through the closure loop for added adornment and ease of opening (I have few earrings that are missing their partner that I could use).


20150518 Man

Introspective face

20150519 MasterMind

The “Master Mind”chair (black/blue ink – 2 parts Sheaffer Skrip black ink mixed with 1 part Quink Blue/Black ink). I really like this black/blue ink mixture, it looks really black when applied neat but melts to a lovely slate blue when washed over with clean water, similar to a paynes grey.

20150519 Red Bottle

A glorious red glass bottle and clear glass cups on a table in full sunshine at Fremantle Arts Centre cafe, I haven’t done justice to the beautiful ruby light that shone through that bottle… a moment in time…

20150519 Scribbles 1 20150519 Scribbles 2

What can I say?….Miscellaneous scribbles…. which is most of what I draw… what ever appears and appeals when I have time to pen to paper. Most of my drawings are on regular copy paper, I keep a stack attached to a clipboard and just scribble away, the paper isn’t great for watercolour – does tend to buckle but that helps me be more selective and economical with the colours. The scribble of a brickwork doorway uses blue/black and brown/black watersoluble inks in Lamy fountain pens then brushed over with clean water with a Pentel waterbrush…I rather like the effect. The large head is painted with acrylic ink in a fine point Pentel waterbrush…..quite a range of thick and thin strokes can be produced but require a delicate touch for the really fine lines.

Mother’s Day on the Beach

20150510 Pink Dress on the Beach

City Beach on Mother’s Day afternoon, a girl sitting nearby digging in the sand, lovely warm and sunny a balmy day.

20150510 Stripy Towel

Elderly couple sitting in their folding chairs under a sun umbrella with a bright stripy towel draped over their knees – the “Freo Doctor”(sea breeze) arrived at exactly 3 o’clock.

20150510 Watch Tower

The Life Guards watch tower on the groyne, unmanned at this time of year even though there were plenty of people swimming and riding the big swell that was rolling in.


(W&N and Daniel Smith watercolours on home made sketchbook with heavy weight cartridge paper, Pentel mechanical pencil, Lamy fine fountain pen, MontBlanc black ink, Pentel waterbrush)

Banksy Does NY

20150503 Skull20150503 Man waiting for Banksy does NY to start


Just saw the movie “Banksy does New York” for the second time -it was so good I had to drag the family along to see it as well. The skull refers to the bumper car riding Grim Reaper (if you’ve see the film you’ll know what I’m referring to). The other head is a fellow movie goer waiting in the foyer for the film to start.

This film is a truly great documentary about an art treasure hunt across a city where finding the artworks before they disappear creates the thrill of the chase.The artworks themselves because they are on location not in some sterile gallery really engage the viewer with the world around. Banksy has a unique gift in connecting people with their environment and questioning what we value in the world. All this is done without any “help” from the main stream art world, many of whom are exposed as greedy and out of touch with real life.

Art and politics combine perfectly – ‘failure to think’…..

Skate Park

2050416 Perry Lakes Skate Park


A sketch whilst watching my kids on the skate park, there were lots of kids zooming about and trying to catch the action and movement in a static image was really hard. I sketched directly with a Lamy safari (no pencil) hoping for the best – tried to hold the image in my head by watching a moment of action then closing my eyes to do a contour sketch almost with out looking at the page. Easier to draw were the parents who were sitting around chatting and the dog who was also content to watch the thrills and spills.

TV Head

20150503 TV Head

A head I drew whilst watching TV last night, just froze the image on the screen and sketched in pencil with watercolour over the top (raw sienna, quin burnt scarlet and ultramarine blue) then a fine tip pentel waterbrush filled with Art Spectrum acrylic ink for the black outlines. Took about 15 minutes. I’m reading Charles Reid’s book “Painting what you want to see” and I really like his style of painting…letting the colours run and merge on the page – not as easy as it looks but great fun (should really use heavy weight watercolour paper – my sketch is on cheap copy paper)