TWSBI Mini: The Ideal Urban Sketching Pen?

I’m a fountain pen geek.  Not in the sense that I spend hundreds of dollars to fill out my collection of exotic pens or anything like that.  But pretty much everything I write or draw on paper is done with fountain pens.  Besides the fact that we’re burying our planet in disposable pens, fountain pens are economical, practical, and fun

When I started sketching I began using a Lamy Safari.  They’re reliable and Lamy’s extra-fine nib is reasonably fine.  The Platinum Preppy is a surprisingly good sketching pen, though their caps are fragile so I stopped relying upon them for my street sketching.

I discovered Pilot pens, first the 78G, a cheap pen that isn’t imported into North America.  Then I bought a Pilot Prera and shortly thereafter I bought another one.  I love Pilot Preras.  Because it’s an Asian company, Pilot’s fine nib pens are much finer than are European extra-fine nib pens and the Prera is very well made.

It’s also the ‘right’ length and weight when posted.  Some pens, the Lamy is a good example, become quite tail-heavy when posted.  Of course, you don’t have to post a pen but when I’m on the street the problem of where to put the cap so it doesn’t get lost becomes a problem.  So I like to post the pen when it’s in use.  There’s one big downside of the Prera.  Pilot’s piston converters have a very small capacity.

TWSBIClosedComparison

Top: Lamy Safari, Middle: TWSBI Mini, Bottom: Pilot Prera

Enter my newest pen acquisition, the TWSBI Mini.  Wow…what a pen.  I’m not going to do a regular pen review.  For that I encourage you to watch Brian Goulet’s great video review and comparison to its big brother, the TWSBI 540.  Instead, I want to talk about why I think the TWSBI Mini will become my favorite street sketching tool.

TWSBIOpenComparison

Top: Lamy Safari, Middle: TWSBI Mini, Bottom: Pilot Prera

Let’s Talk Prices

As I know many people use Lamy pens, or have had them recommended to them, maybe by me, I think I should say something about price.  The Lamy is cheaper than either the Prera or TWSBI.  All I’ll say is that the differences aren’t that great when you look at a pen as something you’re going to use every time you go sketching.  If you look at street prices (I’ll use Goulet Pen’s pricing as my example) you’ll find these numbers:

Lamy Safari with converter: $34.55
Pilot Prera demonstrator: $56.00
TWSBI Mini demonstrator: $55.00
 
So, for the price of a very few lattes, you can buy some of the features I’m going to talk about here and I’ll say no more about price.

Pilot Prera vs TWSBI Mini

I’ll begin by telling you that it’s not because it’s so much better at making lines.  Both the Pilot Prera F and TWSBI Mini EF produce very fine, consistent lines.  The TWSBI isn’t quite as fine as the Prera and writes wetter, thus producing a bit darker line, at least with the Noodler’s Lexington Gray that I use.  The TWSBI is, likewise, a bit finer than a Lamy EF pen.  Both are smooth sketching pens, though my Prera is smoother.  This, however, may be because I’ve been using the Prera for along time and nibs do improve with time.

2013-04-12-Prera(top)_TWSBI(bottom)

I quickly did these two small comparison sketches – the Prera F (top) and TWSBI Mini EF (bottom).  These sketches are about two inches wide.  The dividing line between them was done with a Lamy Safari EF for comparison. Both were done on Stillman & Birn Epsilon paper.  I think they reflect the line differences/similarities of the two pens.

What makes a good street pen?

There are pen features beyond what line it draws that are important to me as a street sketcher.  They are:

1) The pen must be absolutely reliable.
2) It must have a post-able cap.
3) It must not be tail-heavy when posted.
4) It must have a decent ink capacity.
5) The cap must seal well so the ink doesn’t evaporate.
6) I’ve got to be able to see how much ink is in it.
7) I simply have to ‘like’ it, whatever that means.

Let’s look at each of these things, by comparing the TWSBI Mini to the Pilot Prera.

Reliability (1)

My sketching pen has to write the first time, every time.  I don’t want to have to dip it in water to get it started, or draw a gazillion little circles, shake it, or anything else to get it to work.  I want to take the cap off and write.  My paper/ink/pen triad is Stillman & Birn paper, Noodler’s Lexington Gray, and Pilot Prera.  This combination meets that criterion.

So do my Lamy pens and the TWSBI.  I have many more pens that don’t meet this criterion and it’s by far the most important to me.  I hear people talk about how they ‘start’ their pens.  When I have a pen that needs ‘starting’, I get a different pen.  Putting the pen to paper should be sufficient.  Life’s too short.

Postable and not-tail heavy (2 & 3)

This is a bigger deal than it sounds if you’re a street sketcher.  If you can’t post a pen and you’re in a studio, you put the cap on the work table.  When you’re sitting on a stool in the middle of a sidewalk, what do you do with it?  I need a pen that posts well.

Both the Prera and Mini are short pens.  They are designed to be posted and be in balance when posted.  What puts the TWSBI Mini head and shoulders above the Prera in this regard is that the TWSBI posts by screwing it onto the back of the pen.  There’s no chance of it falling off.  It may be a small thing.  Some may not even like it.  But I’m downright giddy as a schoolgirl over this TWSBI feature.

Ink Capacity (4)

This is the Prera’s achilles heel and a fantastic feature of the TWSBI pens.  Pilot’s piston converter holds somewhere around half a milliliter of ink.  The TWSBI holds more than twice that much.  I find myself filling my Preras all the time and have even taken to carrying extra ink with me.  I’m going to enjoy not having to fuss over the TWSBI as often because of its larger ink capacity.

Cap Seals Well (5)

This is a big deal for me.  If the cap doesn’t seal well, you get evaporation.  If you get evaporation you not only lose ink volume, you increase ink concentration, affecting consistency of the pen.  I have no hard data to prove it but I think there is some evaporation from my Preras.  It’s also the case that a cap that doesn’t seal opens up the possibility of ink drying in the feed/nib and having the ‘start’ the pen as discussed above.

TWSBICapSeals

The TWSBI pens are truly amazing pieces of engineering.  While the Prera cap seal depends upon a friction fit between plastic and metal pieces coming together, and is better than most fountain pens, TWSBI truly addresses the problem with a first-class solution.  They provide two rubber seals and as you screw the cap on (a better seal by itself), these seals produce a two independent seal barriers between the nib/feed and the outside world.  This feature alone is enough to give high marks to the TWSBI in my view.

 Seeing Ink Supply

When it comes to buying pens I’m like a fish watching lures go by.  I’m attracted to the bright colors.  Just like the fish, I’ve learned that’s a mistake.  The best pens for sketching are clear.  You can see how much ink you’ve got.  This is particularly true of a piston-fill pen.  Though it’s a bit of a nuisance, I can unscrew my Lamy and look at the reservoir (that dumb little window is a completely failed experiment in my view).  While you can take the TWSBI apart completely (a great feature by the way), you don’t do that when it’s half-full of ink and you don’t do it while you’re sitting in a park somewhere.  I’ve come to love clear-body, or ‘demonstrator’ fountain pens.  I do find the bright red button on the end of the TWSBI cap to be attractive, though (grin).

Gotta Like It

What’s the point of sketching if you can’t like the tools you’re using.  If you  like your tools, you’ll use them more often and probably get a better result.  Both the Pilot Prera and TWSBI Mini are superb-writing pens that feel good in the hand.  I also like the looks of them.

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A small building sketched on Stillman & Birn Zeta paper (5×8), using the TWSBI Mini and Noodler’s Lexington Gray.

In the end, we all have to chose our own tools.  There is no one-size fits all.  I hope that by highlighting the TWSBI Mini, and why I feel it is a superb street sketching tool for me that you’ll gain some insight into your own choices while being introduced to this great sketching pen.

 

White-Face, Nigeria Style

2013-04-05NigeriaSome of the Nigerian masks are coated with a kaolin clay, making them very white.  In places the clay has worn off and so some of the wood shows through, giving the masks an interesting texture/coloring.  I was only semi-successful in capturing that look in this mask.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook, Pilot Prera and Lamy Safari, both filled with Noodler’s Lexington Gray.  Brown and black watercolor pencils provided some color but I really needed a cream pencil for this one.

Make Friends With Museum Staff

I got out of French school on Wednesday and rushed downtown to meet with Claudette at the museum.  We sketched for a couple hours and then went out to the lobby area where we sat in big comfy chairs and Claudette told me of plans for a trip she’s taking in May.

As we talked, one of the security guards came over, a well-suited man in tow.  It turned out, this guy was responsible for the organization and implementation of the Nigeria exhibit, bringing it here from France.  The security guard had told him of our sketching and she wanted us to show them to him.  Which we did.  It was pretty special.  I’m not sure the best part was meeting the guy or that the security guard thought enough of us to go out of her way to introduce us.  Have I mentioned how great our Musee de la Civilisation and its staff are and how well they treat who sketch there?

2013-04-03NigeriaHere’s the sketch I did that day.  It’s truly an amazing piece and I didn’t do it justice.  What’s truly amazing is its size.  You see the ‘head’ at the bottom?  It’s big enough that a guy puts his head inside it.  The front has been broken off but you can get an idea how large the piece is from comparison to a man’s head.  The figure must stick up on top of the wearer’s head by three feet.  I don’t know how they wear these huge things.  This piece is also unique within the exhibit for its reddish-brown color – much more red than anything else.

Done in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon (5.5×8.5) sketchbook with a Pilot Prera and Noodler’s Lexington Gray.  Color comes from a couple brown, a red and a black watercolor pencil.

 

New Stillman & Birn Blog and Sketchbook Giveaway

Recently I did a quick review the new Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbooks and I’ve repeatedly extolled the virtues of their entire product line, to which I am very much addicted.

So, I’m more than a little bit excited that they’ve decided to open their own blog, On Paper.   They’ve had a Facebook page for a long time but Facebook has major problems with graphics and they seem unwilling to do anything to fix it so it’s nice to see S&B moving to blog technology to present great sketches done on great paper and to talk about their products.

S&BZetaThat’s not all the Stillman & Birn news, however.  They’re giving away ten of their new Zeta sketchbooks.  All you’ve got to do is send them your name to enter.  You can see details here, as well as the email address.

Easter Weekend Sketching – Great Fun!

I started French classes last week and it sucked the life, or at least the time out of my sketching week.  So I hit the four-day weekend called Easter with wild abandon, sketchbook in hand.

2013-03-30NigeriaI’ve already reported on my Friday adventure with Yvan and Claudette but on Saturday I met Yvan at the museum and we sketched and talked about sketching.  Yvan has incredible patience and I have an endless stream of questions.

Then we headed downtown to see Terry Bouton, sitting in her window again.  This time she was doing quick oil paintings, on mylar, while people posed for her.

2013-03-30LibrarySketchingFrom there we went to the library and did some quick-sketching of people sitting outside, while we sat in comfy chairs looking out at them.  Life is sweet.

2013-03-31Nigeria1Sunday was a repeat performance.  Yvan and I had a great time sketching at the museum but as it was supposed to be warm in the afternoon, I had my eye on the door.

By the time we left, though, I was hungry…very hungry and I don’t think about much besides food when I’m hungry 🙂

2013-03-31Nigeria2We wandered around the old port area, assessing the situation there.  The ice is gone from the St. Lawrence but the personal boat harbor is still iced over.  We successfully added to our list of ‘gotta sketch…’ subjects.  By the time we got to the Farmer’s Market we decided we had to sketch something and, jointly, chose to sketch of one of the hotels (it has great tower in the middle of it) and the convent that’s behind it.

It was only as we were setting up that I realized that I didn’t have a large sketchbook besides my museum book.  I could have sketched in that but it’s only got a couple more pages left in it and I’d decided it would end up woth 100% museum sketches.  So, with my S&B Alpha (4×6), I decided to do a ‘baby sketch’ of the tower alone.

2013-03-31VerrafinTower

Then we headed down to see Terry again as Sunday was sculpture day.  People were posing while she sculpted clay masks of their likeness.  Pretty cool.

With Starbucks next door, I decided that I needed a scone and cup of coffee.  Yvan obliged and followed me in.  He sat at a window counter and started sketching people who were walking by and standing at the intersection.  Two hours later and whole lot of ‘how do you …’ and ‘that’s amazing…’ from me, and explanations from him and it was time to head home.  Can it get better than this?

I think I’ll save my Monday exploits for the next post as this one has gotten rather long.  [Sigh]… tomorrow it’s back to French class.

 

Spring Sketching Has Begun…Almost

On Good Friday I met with Claudette and Yvan at the Musee de la Civilisation to sketch but we were facing a day that seemed enticingly warm.  When I type that I have to chuckle.  I’m an Arizona guy so for me to say that a high temperature around 40F is warm is, well, an exaggeration that comes from a brain that’s spent the last few months without sketching outdoors.

2013-03-29Nigeria1We sketched indoors and packed up around noon.  I did this sketch  during that session.  I sort of screwed up the eyes somewhat but it was fun doing this sketch anyway.  With a rock wall for a beard and hat, what’s not to like?  It was done in an S&B Epsilon (5.5×8.5), with a Pilot Prera and Lexington Gray ink.

Then, Yvan and I headed downtown where one of his friends was sitting in a window, sketching people on the street who were willing to pose for ten minutes.  That was fun to watch, for a while, but I got cold just standing around and I decided it was time to head home.  And so I did.

When I arrived home my wife and daughter were out shopping so I decided I’d wander the neighborhood and see if I could sketch something outdoors.  After all, it WAS 42F!!

2013-03-29_1stAvenueI’ve walked by this building many times and have said “I’ve got to sketch that” an equal number of times.  It was built in 1927 but today was the day it was going to be sketched.  Besides, I wanted to try out my new Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook.  I used my Pilot Prera/Lex Gray combo  and, because I had my museum stuff with me, I used watercolor pencils to do the color.  I was uncomfortably cold towards the end but clearly spring sketching is about to begin and I’m getting excited.  Sorry that much of the light blue in the sky and in the snow got lost in the scanning process.

Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbooks Have Arrived

Yippee!! Stillman & Birn’s new Zeta series sketchbooks have been released.  Double-yippee – mine was plopped into my mailbox this morning.

S&BEpsil_Zeta

I’ve been using Stillman & Birn sketchbooks since December 2011, when I bought my first Alpha series sketchbook.  I rarely brand any product ‘best’ as, for me, product choices shouldn’t be spoken of in that way.  Stillman & Birn is my one exception to that view as they are simply the best.  While I still experiment with pens, inks, and even watercolors, I no longer buy any sketchbook that doesn’t have Stillman & Birn embossed on the its back.

Mostly I have used Alpha series sketchbooks.  I have 4×6, 5.5×8.5, and 9×12 hardbound and 10×7 spiral bound versions of this series and several of them rest, full of sketches, on my shelves.  I’ve also filled a 6×8 Beta series sketchbook, which is its heavier-paper counterpart.

2013-03-24Nigeria1This winter, however, I started using a 5.5×8.5 Epsilon series book.  I’ve had a 9×12 version of this series on my desk for a long time and use it as my learning platform as I can do a lot of small sketches on a single page when trying various techniques.

If you’ve seen any of my museum sketches (eg – Samurai helmets, Nigerian masks and statues), you’ve seen the results of ink and watercolor pencils on Epsilon paper.  Here’s my latest sketch in my current Epsilon 5.5×8.5 sketchbook.  Epsilon paper is simply awesome for ink and wash as the paper is very smooth and double-sized which makes the watercolors remain bright.  I just love the stuff.

So when S&B announced that they were going to create Epsilon-like paper in their heavier, 180lb format, I got very excited.  While the 100lb paper of the Alpha and Epsilon papers are more than up to the task of accepting my watercolors, there are times when I want to play with wet-in-wet in a bigger way and the 180lb papers are just amazing for such purposes.

2013-03-07CamelliaSenensis

Here’s the first sketch I did on this paper.  It was done rather quickly as “spring” in Quebec is still pretty cold so it’s not as detailed as most of my building sketches.  It’s a sketch of my favorite tea store.  I’ll be showing you more sketches on Zeta paper ‘real soon’ as it should start warming up in the days ahead.  Thanks, Stillman & Birn for making my sketching life easier.

 

What’s The Best Mechanical Pencil For Sketching?

Obviously I can’t answer the question that is the title of this post.  There are too many personal choices involved in the answer, including how the pen feels in your hand, whether the eraser fits your use of it, price, availability, and the most important attribute of all – color.

MechanicalPencils

But I think we ignore our mechanical pencils, using them day after day without thinking about whether there is a better/different one that would provide different results.  At the same time, we burn endless amounts of time, energy and ink talking about sketchbooks, pens, and even the containers we use to carry our stuff.  Why not our pencils?  I thought it time to talk just a bit about the mechanical pencil when used by a sketcher.

First, a couple of caveats.  I’m a sketcher who shuns the great modern wisdom that anyone who uses pencils in advance of their ink drawing is a sissy.  I work directly with pen for a lot of things but for anything detailed I’m going to use a pencil to rough in the drawing before turning to ink.  I must say that I’m glad so many of the classic ‘greats’ of the artist world didn’t get the memo about avoiding pencil.

On the flipside, I’m not a pencil artist.  I ONLY use them for laying out a drawing.  If you’re someone who does complete, shaded drawings with pencil, I sometimes envy your mastery of pencil shading.  You’re probably using 2mm or larger leads if you use a mechanical pencil at all.  I apologize but I can’t speak to this form of pencil use at all.  Here I’m talking about pencil use for either quick sketching or for roughing out more complex sketches.  A man’s gotta know his limitations.

Which lead?

This is definitely a “different strokes” thing but I open with it because something must be said.  “Standard” mechanical pencil lead is generally HB.  Whether that suits you or not is probably as much dependent upon the paper you use than anything else.  Those using smooth papers may lean towards softer leads (2B?) while rough papers call for harder leads (2H?).  For myself, I use 2H or 3H leads on my smooth papers as I want very light lines while organizing what will be an ink drawing.  If I were using the pencil to quick sketch (I use ink) I’d probably switch to 2B.

The other issue is diameter of the lead.  Most mechanical pencils range from 0.5 to 2mm leads, with the vast majority of them being 0.5 or 0.7mm.  In that range, it really becomes a personal preference.  I use 0.7mm mostly because they break less.  I’m a klutz; what can I say?

Choosing A Pencil

As I’ve indicated, there are a lot of personal things that go into this choice.  I won’t address any of them.  You know if you need an exposed eraser or one that’s capped.  You know if you like the feel of knurled metal grips or not.  What I want to talk about are three unique mechanical pencils that address issues that may not be quite so obvious to the casual pencil buyer.

Before doing so, however, I’ll make a couple basic comments.  There are differences in pencil quality and one could spend an endless amount of time comparing and contrasting the various makes and models. I’ll boil it down to a single sentence – buy cheap, buy twice, or three, or four times.  There are roughly a gazillion mechanical pencils that are priced between $2 and $6.  They’re made of plastic and corners are cut in many parts of the mechanism that either shorten their lives or make them sloppy at holding the lead.  I’d avoid them, though I’ve bought my share of them.  If nothing else, wiggle the tip with the lead exposed and see it if moves.  If it does, buy something else.

Most pencils I’ve tried in the $7-15 seem well-made and it really does come down to those personal preferences when making a choice.  Anything over this price range falls more into the “ain’t that cool” category and you won’t gain much functionality, but you may become the cool kid with the fancy pencil in your group, which is never a bad thing.  I’ll show you one exception to that below in the form of the Caran D’Arche pencil.

Zebra ‘el cheap’ pencil

ZebraPencil

This is the bottom rung of mechanical pencils and, oddly enough, unique and useful for sketchers.  You can pick these up in many stores for the princely sum of 50 cents.  They’re meant to be a disposable pencil that sort of looks like a pencil.  But you can refill them.  I doubt you could find replacement erasers for them.  As far as I know, they are all 0.5mm.

What’s really nice about them is that they are shorter than your typical pencil and they are VERY light.   If you’re traveling, hiking, or wandering around town doing urban sketching, these are great pencils to carry with you.  I carry one as my back up pencil.

Uniball Kuro Toga

Kuru_Toga

This is a unique mechanical pencil.  Some even talk of it being revolutionary.  Its mechanism is an attempt to solve an age-old problem for pencil sketchers, and that is the ever-changing shape of the end of their lead.  As the pencil is used the lead becomes rounded and you get a thicker and thicker line.  This is as true for mechanical pencils as it is for wooden pencils.

The Kuro Toga solves this problem as it actually rotates the lead 1/4 turn every time you advance the lead so you always have a ‘new’ edge on your lead.  How cool is that?  It does take a bit of getting used to as if you’ve been using mechanical pencils for a long time it’s likely that you automatically rotate your pencil, always chasing a sharp edge.  You have to retrain yourself not to do that as the pencil is doing it for you, and doing it better.

These pencils come in two forms – metal and plastic.  The street price for the metal pencil is $16-17, while the plastic one show above is around $7.50.  They’re available in 0.3mm  and 0.5mm and both versions can be had in a variety of colors.

Caran D’Arche Pencil

CaranD'ArchePencil

At first glance this French-made pencil looks like many others.  It is extremely well made, with a lacquered metal body a clip that, while removable, also snaps in place if you do use it.  It has all the features of a superbly made mechanical pencil.  Thank can be said for other pencils as well, though, and that’s not why I’ve included it here or why it’s become my ‘go to’ pencil.  Rather, this choice is all about balance.

That’s right…balance.  Have you ever thought about it with respect to a mechanical pencil?  If you actually check the balance of mechanical pencils you generally find that they balance either at the mid-point or a bit in front of it.  How far this is from the point, of course, is then dependent upon how long the pencil is, which varies somewhat.

Is that optimal?  Maybe, maybe not.  For those of us who use fountain pens, or even posted Pitt or Sakura pens, we’re used to pointy things with a balance point behind the mid-point.  We’re used to the weight being born mostly by the fleshy lump between our thumb and forefinger.  So, to match that, we’d need a mechanical pencil with its balance point behind the mid-point, just like our pens.

Well, shazaam…that’s exactly what you get with the Caran D’Arche mechanical pencil.  Those French think of everything.  I just love this pencil for that reason – it feels like a fountain pen.  It’s also very nice if you want to lightly shade something as the tip can be floated over the paper much easier.  If there’s a downside to this pencil it’s that Caran D’Arche has spared no expense in producing a very precise, metal-bodied pen with a super finish, and you get to pay for the privilege of owning one.  I paid $28 for mine and consider it money well-spent.

What’s important to you when it comes to mechanical pencils?  Which is your favorite?

39th Worldwide Sketchcrawl In Quebec City

*** Les détails sont disponibles ici, en français.

I’m excited about our upcoming participation in the 39th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.  Quebec City sketchers are going to ride rather than walk during this sketchcrawl.  Maybe we should call it a sketch cruise.

traversieralphonse-desjardins-ext-ete4_STQOur organizers, Celine Poulin and Yvan Breton, have planned an event you won’t want to miss as we’re going for a boat ride.  Starting at 13:00h, Saturday April 13th, we’re going to board the ferry that traverses the St. Lawrence Seaway, between Quebec City and Levis.  Once on the boat we’ll sail the ocean’s blue, going back and forth between the two cities, sketching to our heart’s content.  We’ll can sketch from the indoor passenger rooms and their large viewing windows or from the decks themselves.  There are bathrooms, vending machines, and seats available.

Total cost will be $3.10 for a ticket and if you’ve got a monthly bus pass, it’s free.  What could be better than to have two coastlines and numerous ships and boats to sketch, as well as a steady stream of passengers.

traversieralphonse-desjardins-extmonde8_STQYou need to check the weather and dress accordingly.  You’ll need your sketching gear and a lunch.  Oh, no ability or talent is required – just some paper and a pointy device that can make marks… and a smile.  We thrive on smiles.  I hope you’ll join us.

Event Details

Date: 13 April (Saturday)
Location: Quebec City ferry dock
Time: 1300h
Cost: $3.10 (unlimited number of ferry crossings) – free if you have a monthly bus pass.

Les détails sont disponibles ici, en français.

If you’d like or need more information, you can contact me (French or English) at larry@larrydmarshall.com.  While it’s not required that you R.S.V.P. it would be nice if you let us know that you’re coming so we can look for you.

Still More Museum Sketching

A late snow storm and associated cold weather has kept us off the streets and in the museums.  I met with my buddies Yvan and Claudette on Wednesday and we headed into the Nigeria exhibit at the Musee de la Civilisation.  Claudette and Yvan set up to sketch different masks and I wandered, and wandered.  For some reason I wasn’t in the mood to do a single object.

2013-03-21Nigeria1

Then it occurred to me; I hadn’t sketched any of the museum interior.  I looked around and chose this view, because I hadn’t yet sketched the large statue and because Yvan was somewhat visible behind it.  I thought the background of display cabinets in the darkened room would balance the large statue nicely.  It was done in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon (5.5×8.5) with a Noodler’s Creaper flex pen and Lexington Gray ink.  I did the color with watercolor pencils but, when I got home, I went over most of it with a gray wash to highlight the display cabinets and to reflect the dark exhibit room.

2013-03-22Nigeria1

2013-03-22Nigeria2Today Yvan and I went back and I did these two objects.  Same S&B sketchbook, same tools.   Hope you like them.