Limbering Up

14 January 2018

I don't know about you,  but after the highs of the sales at the back end of November and early December (I wrote about them here and here ) and then the whole Christmas thing (plus very full on in the day job) I just did not manage to get into the studio in December.

Added to that my studio is cold and not welcoming on a dark winter's evening (It is in a conservatory off my bedroom).

So, come January and I was rather out of the habit.

Also, it looked as though a bomb had hit it.

I was reading the blog of my good friend Sheila in Idaho and in one post written after Christmas, she put a very positive spin on tidying!

So last weekend I put 'tidy the studio' on the to do list and, with a radio play on in the background, gave it a bit of a spring clean.

And it was a very worthwhile exercise - it somehow feels less overwhelming, with a bit of order redeemed from the chaos.

So this week I have managed to get back in there - nothing too strenuous just playing in a little sketch book. This is the one I have reserved for flowers and leaves so you have seen some pages before.

But here is a bit of limbering up with the new ones (this is a bit like sharing my daily workout with you - which I don't do by the way, unless you count the 10,000 on step dog walk I achieve most days)

I usually start with colour - in this case inks from a palette. (Not waterproof by the way).

A bit of doodling on top with a black pen - but the colours are very dark on this page.

So I invested in a white pen - but with moderate success. What do you use for a white pen in sketch books or journals?

The finished page. The variation in colour is down to the different light and cameras used - both by phone in the studio under electric light and my camera in the dining room under different light.

But you get the drift.

 And here is another page with the bottom photo after simple highlighting with the pen. But the pen is not working too well on the ink. I think it is because the ink is not permanent so the pen activates it again and all you get is a lighter version of the colour underneath.

All those little therapeutic circles - here done with a pen but so often done with a sewing machine. 

And finally, one which I did not photograph as it went along. Sorry - just the end. 

I have limbered up and now feel a bit more able to tackle all the work planned for 2018. There is a lot to make if I am to have work for 2 Open Studios, 2 other open calls and 2 Christmas sales. 

Best get cracking then! 


  1. I love all these, the colours are so vibrant and the pen work just finishes them off perfectly. Good white pens are so hard to find and don't be tempted to stock up, they always dry out before you get to use them!

  2. LOVE this workout! I use a Sakura white gelly roll pen as recommended by the Zentangle people, which now comes in varying sizes according to my urban sketchers FB friends - a warning that the ultra-fine may not work as well as a larger gauge. Not sure what mine is off the top of my heard but guessing it is medium as it leaves a pretty clear line and good dots. You're probably right about the gel pen reactivating those non-permanent inks.

    Some other brand suggestions from the urban sketchers. who were quite opinionated on the subject!:

    Mitsubishi Signo white gel rollerballs (this person thinks they are the most reliable)
    Uniball signo white gel pen - I can't tell, this may be the same as the one above.
    Sharpie Acrylic white marker
    Pentel white gel pen

    A great site for information on all kinds of pens is They have a lot of videos and articles that are helpful in deciding what kind of pen you might need for your purposes. And when all else fails, buy a sampler pack!

    1. Wow Sheila - thanks. I will look into these.

    2. You are welcome. Research and information sharing is my stock in trade! :-)

  3. Lovely pages, such vibrant colours glowing out from the screen.

    "Cult pens" are a go to site for me, really helpful and you can speak to a very knowledgeable person on the phone,

    1. This site makes more sense for Hilary since she and it are in the UK. But Hilary, don't pass up the cool videos on Jet Pens and maybe even sign up for their newsletter. This week's has a video on using white ink on watercolor art. Yes, as soon as a subject comes up, you see things about it everywhere all of a sudden!

  4. I licked it, so it’s mine! Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)


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