February 29, 2008 § Leave a comment

Charlie Hippo

A last little pen & ink (& wash) sketch for today. It’s done in my 8″ x 5″ sketchbook.

It took me quite a while to reacquaint myself with this Moleskine watercolor sketchbook by the way. At first I felt terribly uncomfortable sketching into an expensive sketchbook like that, it always made me feel like I just had to do something extraordinary beautiful to justify the use of this sketchbook, but as more and more time went by and as more and more pages were filled with useless scrap and doodles I stopped to worry about that. Now as my first one is almost finished I’ve started to get quite fond of it. It’s so fun to flip through it.


IF: “leap” is for “leap day” – what else?!

February 29, 2008 § 7 Comments


“leap” is for “leap day”, of course ;-))!

Hey and just in case you belong to the poor fellows born on a leap day (Happy Birthday!) and have always wondered on what date to to celebrate your birthday between the leap years, well here’s the answer:

Born Feb 29 between

1st year

2nd year

3rd year

Leap year

0:00 – 6:00

Feb 28th

Feb 28th

Feb 28th

Feb 29th

6:00 – 12:00

Feb 28th

Feb 28th

Mar 1st

Feb 29th

12:00 – 18:00

Feb 28th

Mar 1st

Mar 1st

Feb 29th

18:00 – 24:00

Mar 1st

Mar 1st

Mar 1st

Feb 29th


February 21, 2008 § 4 Comments

cuo of tea, charcoal

(“cup of tea”, 8″ x 5″, charcoal)

I was just having a nice cup of tea and thinking about what I could tell you about myself since I have been tagged again by Doudy. Those of you who read my blog more often know that I had been tagged by Dave some months ago, too. So a little bit late, but here it is 5 random things about myself:

  1. My first fav. medium had been soft pastels (aka “dusties“). They were so bright, so wunderful easy to apply, they blended well —- but then I had to realize that they just wouldn’t like to remain on the paper, in fact they seemed more attracted to my carpet. I tried fixing them, but didn’t like it since the fixative sprays tends to darken the colors. So I sold my complete set on ebay.
  2. I am collecting fountain pens. At least that’s the only explanation why I do own more than 50 of these writing instruments.
  3. Silvia is my real given name and I am a twenty-something (well, you don’t ask a woman’s age )
  4. I’ve started drawing and painting more regularly only 14 months ago. It has been an amazing experience for me to see how fast my painting skills have improved in this short period of time and I am very curious to see where I’ll be in one year from now 🙂 ).
  5. My natural hair color is red, but I prefer to wear it dyed brunet at the moment.

Now it’s my turn to tag 5 others, but since I don’t like being tagged I’ll leave this one up to you my dear readers. If some of you would like to be tagged, just leave a comment to this post and I’m going to tag you :)!

Lamy pen tutorial – 101

January 24, 2008 § 28 Comments

[This article + much more can be found as a separate page now: ]

When it comes to sketching with fountain pens, I do prefer my Lamy pens, since their abillity to write in almost each position is legendary.

Recently I noticed that more and more people seem to be interested in them, but only few know the facts, so I decided to write this little tutorial. I really hope that it will be of help to some of you and if you still have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask me, chances that I might know the answer aren’t that bad :).

A little bit of background information on Lamy. Lamy is a German company (located in Heidelberg btw) that produces high quality writing instruments and accessories, mainly fountain pens. In Germany kids at school write only with fountain pens (and non waterproof, erasable ink) and Lamy has probably been the most popular brand among them for many years now.

To meet the demands of all of their customers, the company regularly produces pens in new colors, styles, materials, etc. The insides of these pens and the nibs stay very much the same, it’s only colors and materials that vary. Oh, and yes, the prices, of course ;).

Here’s just a little part of my private Lamy collection:


What I consider more important than the outward style of the pen, is the nib:


Nibs can be bought separately (every nib will suit every pen – they are all built in the same way!) and they come in different sizes. There is also a special nib for the left-handed, its size being medium (nice for writing, but perhaps a little bit large for sketching?), although AFAIK most left-handed people won’t face any trouble using the regular nibs.

You can get your pen with these nibs:

  • EF (extra fine)
  • F (fine)
  • M (medium)
  • MK (medium kursive/ballpoint tip)
  • B (bold)
  • LH (left-handed, medium)
  • Calligraphy-nibs (1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm)


For sketching you should try the EF nib or F, depending on what you like better. Nibs are made either of steel (black or silver) or of gold (F,M,B only). I’ve never observed any differences between the black steel nibs and the silvery steel nibs, but there is a big difference between the steel nibs and the gold nibs, the latter being much more elastic and thus more pleasant to write with. Unfortunately the gold nibs do not come in EF, they would be gorgeous for sketching :).

How to change nibs.


Get your pen and a nib. Since changing nibs is a little bit messy, you might also want to wear some disposable gloves and get a piece of scratch paper to work upon.

Turn your pen upside down:


The pale pink circle indicates the spot where you should place the cap…


…push the cap gently down with one of your hands while pulling the pen with your other hand…


…this should remove the nib from the pen. Clean the removed nib with warm water (never use soap or anything else for cleaning, just warm water) and carefully dry it with the help of a tissue.

Now get your pen and gently slide-in the new nib…


… until it has reached its final position.


Congrats, you’re done :)!

How to fill your pen with ink.

Now, if you are going to sketch with your pen, you surely will like to have a waterproof ink and since the ink that is supplied with your Lamy isn’t waterproof at all, it’s time to replace it with a water-resistant ink like Noodler’s.

There are two possibilities for doing this.


The safe method would be, to get a converter, to fill it with ink and use it in your pen. It isn’t difficult to handle, the only thing I do object about the converter is that it tends to suck up too much air and too little ink and it’s an annoying procedure to fill and refill this thingie until it’s acceptable filled.

The second method is to use a disposable syringe to refill your ink cartridge. Well, I assume that you are all old enough to know that you should be very careful while working with a syringe. Always reclose it immediately after using. And don’t let your children/pets/whatever play with them. The advantages of this technique is that it is much cheaper and that you will have more ink in your pen. (Check the photo for size comparison between ink cartridge and converter.)

Now you should be ready to start working with your new pen. Enjoy!

“What Are Inchies?” or “The Little Seahorse”

January 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

Well, I’ve heard of inchies before. I knew them to be a certain patchwork style in which inch sized fabric squares of different colors were sewed together to a kind of mosaic. However what I did not know was that artists adopted this technique for creating little painted mosaics and collages. So I just had to try it out 🙂 .

For this one I cut out some inchies from a magazine (the only criteria has been that it had to have some green color somewhere), then I pasted nine of them on a larger piece of tinted paper. I tried to use some solvent on the pictures to bleach them a little bit, but it did not work out well for me. The negative space between some of the inchies reminded me of the shape of a seahorse, so I took a white gel pen and added the contours of the seahorse and some air bubbles. Et voilà!


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