Archive for April, 2011

City Meetup

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I’m back to playing catch up again. About a month ago now I met with the meetup group again for the first outdoor sketching of the year.

This time we met in the city to draw at 3 locations. St Botolph’s Church, the area around Lloyds building and finally leadenhall market. The weather was fine and it was so good to get out into the air to draw again after being trapped inside for the winter.

It also gave me the chance to test one of the goodies that Kuretake gave me to try recently. A small travel watercolour sketch set. This is quite similar to the set that I normally use but the box also has a slot to fit a waterbrush and a black fineliner with waterproof ink that come with the set. This makes it very convenient to carry. I was very lucky to get my hands on it as they are only available in Japan at the moment. It is a very good little set with a nice selection of colours. The paint is very smooth and has a different texture to any watercolours I have used before.

The final sketch of the day was of one of the city dragons that guard the entrances of Leadenhall Market. While I sketched this I was surrounded by men wearing kilts and men and women wearing cowboy/girl outfits. They were all there to film a section of a song in a Bollywood movie. It was quite surreal and after hearing the same 10 seconds of the song over and over again it took a long time to get it out of my head.

a B for Buffy

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts here, some time ago now, I was lucky enough to be sent some free samples of Kuretake’s Art and Graphic Twin pens by the lovely people from Kuretake UK.

I have been meaning to use them and to write a review here since I received them but for some reason it took me a long time to work out what to do with them.

Anyway, a few weeks ago Buffy from Kuretake was down in London and I had the chance to meet her. I felt I really must do something with the pens before I met her so I decided to try out a little illustration of the letter B for her. I was also lucky enough to get some more goodies to sample so you will probably see some more Kuretake products cropping up in my future posts :)

Review below the image.

The pens are a little like Tombow ABT Dual brush pens except that the Kuretake pens have a rubber ‘brush tip’ on one end and a fibre felt pen style tip on the other. The rubber tip is much more flexible and therefore performs more like a real brush than fibre ‘brush tips’ often do and also as it is rubber it cannot fray like fibre tips do (however I must point out that I have not used them long enough to see for myself if these tips do degrade in other ways).

The ink is water based and can be blended easily with itself or using a water brush. Kuretake also make a specific blending pen with similar rubber tips for their water based inks but I have not yet had the chance to try this out. On the right paper (eg. pressed watercolour paper) they can be used as watercolour pens and be blended or faded out using a water brush pen. If you use a lighter weight absorbent cartridge paper you will not be able to blend them using a water brush in the same way but they will blend with each other to an extent.

The reason I found it difficult to find a use for these pens was not down to them being difficult to use. This was simply because I already use and love Kuretake Clean Colour Real Brush pens. These use very similar ink to the Art & Graphic Twins however as the name suggests they have real bristle brush tips with very fine points. As I tend to work quite small with a lot of detail, the precise points of the real brush pens suits me better and I am yet to find anything that I can do with the Art & Graphic Twins that I can’t personally do better with the real brush pens. However I would imagine that if you are working larger the Art & Graphic Twins would be more suitable as they have larger, firmer tips.

I notice that the Art & Graphic Twins are available in 80 colours compared to the 48 colours in the clean colour real brush range. Both pen ranges offer very vivid colours (my scans do not do them proper justice). I have not yet tested myself how light fast these inks are and I haven’t been able to find out elsewhere so far but I would be very interested to know. This is not really an issue anyway if the work is in sketchbooks, scanned or if you are having prints made from the original.

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Amy Stace published on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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