Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Goulet Guests: Spotlight on Liz Steel

We have a new video series that we're starting called Goulet Guests! It's a spin on our regular weekly Goulet Q&A, though instead of me (Brian) sitting alone, I'll be doing Skype interviews with other interesting people in the pen community. In the past I've interviewed Nathan Tardif of Noodler's, Brian Gray of Edison Pens, and Dante Del Vecchio and Mark Coles of Visconti. I hope to interview many more people and make this a regular thing.

This interview kicks it off strong with urban sketching legend and educator Liz Steel. Liz has been a fangirl of Goulet for some time now, and we've been following her and learning a lot from her sketching tutorials for a long time. When the idea came up to interview her, it was a natural fit.

In this video, Liz and I are speaking from halfway across the world, as she's in Australia and we're in the US (Virginia). The conversation flows very naturally so I don't have specific time markers, but these are some of the high points of what we discuss:

  • What is her background, how did she first get into sketching? 
  • What are her most indispendsable tools (pens, ink, paper)?
  • What first gave her the idea to use fountain pens? 
  • What is her method for sketching? 
  • What gave you the push to leave architecture and get into art education full time?
  • What's the best way for someone interested in sketching to start?
  • How has sketching changed or enhanced her life? 
  • What is the urban sketching community like, especially the global meetups?

We created a package set on our site specifically for Liz Steel based on her recommendations, check that out here! We have a shopping guide she helped us put together for sketching, too, check it out here

Thanks again to Liz for doing this interview, it was a total blast. We'll be doing more interviews coming up, this is going to become a thing :) Next on the docket is Kara Benz from Boho Berry talking about bullet journaling, look for that sometime next week!

photo credited to lizsteel.com
What do you think of the Goulet Guest format, and Liz Steel? I'd love to hear your comments below. 

Write On,

Brian Goulet

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sneak Peek: Pilot Decimo!

We've been asking for years, and it's finally happening... the Pilot Decimo fountain pen is coming to the US this Spring! It's essentially a slimmer version of the retractable Pilot Vanishing Point - same nib unit - with some different colors.

We'll be offering the Decimo in four colors: Burgundy, Champagne, Lavender, and Light Blue.

They will all come with rhodium trim and the rhodium-plated 18kt nib unit, in sizes Extra-Fine, Fine, and Medium, at the same price as the regular VP ($185 list, $148 our price).

So what do you think - are you excited to add the Decimo to your collection this spring? Which color do you like best?

Write On,
Rachel Goulet

Pelikan Pink Cartridges with a Monteverde Poquito Pink: Monday Matchup #81

Hi there! Thanks for checking out my Monday Matchup. Madigan here, pairing a Monteverde Poquito in Pink with Pelikan Pink Cartridges. I was recently gifted (thanks Mom!) a Midori Travelers Notebook in passport size and have been on the hunt for a great purse pen- a no hassle, small sized pen, that can easily slip into the pen holder and not take up too much space. I decided to give the Monteverde Poquito a go. This is one of the smallest pens we have in stock- just 4.4 inches when capped! I wanted to give it a test run before purchasing and thought that Monday Matchup would be the perfect place to do so.

Since it's coming up on Valentine's Day, I wanted to do a love inspired piece, which is why I chose the pink pen and ink. I was looking through quotes and kept coming across the old adage "There are plenty of fish in the sea". I decided to play off that quote and draw two fish in love. I grabbed my Tomoé River tablet in white and got started!

Instead of my usual process- drawing an outline in pencil on the paper and then going over it with my fountain pen, I wanted to try something different. I love Tomoé River for its ink resistant qualities but it really holds a pencil line. Additionally, it is exceptionally thin and erasing pencil lines on it tends to wrinkle the paper and result in smearing. I wanted to avoid that whole catastrophe.

I took a Rhodia Dot Pad and drew my pencil outline of my fish, fish bowl and quote on that. Then I took the Tomoé River paper on top of that to use as tracing paper. Despite it being thin and fairly transparent, it was still difficult to see the pencil lines. I grabbed a pen I had laying around filled with black ink and went over the outline in that. I let it dry and then put the Tomoé River over it. Success! I could very clearly see the lines.

I wanted to do the shading/ink wash lines first, but since I was using a cartridge only pen, I didn't have a bottle to dip into. Instead, I took a brush pen filled with water and brushed over the top of the nib. I very quickly got a pleasant pink tip on the brush pen. I used this to go over the inner outline of the fish. Then, I squeezed some water through the pen onto a tissue and used this much more diluted ink to draw in the water. I let it dry for awhile and then grabbed my pen.

I outlined the fish and the bowl quickly using the Poquito. I drew in the scales and textured the fish in the same way. I didn't like how much these lines contrasted with the faded quality of the ink washing I had previously done, so I went over the most inner line to let the ink bleed more. The whole thing was looking a little plain. I decided to draw in some textured lines to the bottom of the fish bowl and add in some gravel. I also drew in a few bubbles and hearts to the fish. Finally, I wrote my quote into heart shaped center.

When working with this pen, I was initially shocked by just how small it really is. I have tiny hands, but it was difficulty to hold unposted- almost the size of a crayon but thinner. However, once posted it was very comfortable and well balanced. The nib was a bit scratchy, even on the very smooth paper.

The ink flowed smoothly and worked well in ink washing. I'm not a huge fan of the color, honestly. It's a little too bubble gum pink for me. I like my pinks with a bit more depth, but if pink is your thing, I can see this being a great ink.

If I were to do this piece again, I might choose a deeper shade of pink. I was pretty proud of my work around for the thin paper- it worked great as tracing paper! I'd also post the pen immediately instead of using it unposted as per my usual writing habit.

This pen would work great as a spur-of-the-moment writing pen. It's small stature and weight make it ideal for carrying in a purse or pocket. Since it's relatively affordable, you don't have to worry about losing or damaging it. The ink could work well for use in a planner or in art.

You can find the Monteverde Poquito Pink at Gouletpens.com for $24. Pelikan Pink Cartridges are Standard International sized and available for $3.30.

Do you like writing or drawing with pink ink? What's your favorite pink ink?

Write on,

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