Sunday 11 October 2020

De Atramentis Artist Inks

I've posted before about the lovely De Atramentis Document Inks, created in Germany in 2014. These were a game changer when they first came out and I still love sketching with them. Mostly I use the Brown, various variations of Grey, and the Black, but I have also made a lovely burnt sienna ink, a raw sienna ink and some fun oranges and greens to draw with over the years.

Here are my previous posts.

Mixing Document Inks November 2014, updated January 2015, which shows a number of two-colour and a few three-colour mixes, and their ratios. 

De Atramentis Inks - Mixing Document Greys  November 2014, updated January 2015. This was in answer to a question about how to mix greys using other colours. I tend to make them with Blue and Brown.

De Atramentis Inks mixed with Black  November 2014

De Atramentis Document Ink Mixes - Magenta, Blue and Yellow  December 2014, update January 2015. This explores many three-colour mixes using the Blue rather than Cyan as the primary blue.

De Atramentis Document Ink colours  January 2015

More Three-Colour Mixes with De Atramentis Inks January 2015. This explores a range of three-colour mixes.

Documented Inks Revisited October 2018 which shows the inks mixed with Black and with White.

They also appear in Fountain Pen Inks June 2018, Coloured Drawing Inks November 2014 and Packing inks and pens September 2015 and a few others, and whenever I talk about my sketching supplies. 

Over the years, the colour range has expanded and the bottles have changed size from 35ml to 50ml. The current bottles are larger rounded bottles but will shortly change to elegant square bottles with larger lids. I'll update with a photo once these are available.

The current range as shown on the De Atramentis website shows 17 colours. They are now called 'Artist Inks' but have the same properties as the original 'Document Inks'. They are nano-pigmented, waterproof and lightfast mixable inks designed for fountain pens. 

De Atramentis Artist Inks - White, Yellow, Orange, Red, Dark Red, Magenta.

De Atramentis Artist Inks - Violet, Blue, Dark Blue, Cyan, Turquoise, Dark Green.

De Atramentis Artist Inks - Green, Brown, Sepia, Grey, Black.

There is also a thinner available called Artist Ink Thinner so you can dilute the colours without changing the properties. 

The colours are the same as the original Document colours, apart from the Green, which is now brighter. The current Dark Green is similar to the original Document Green I used for my mixing experiments.

Treat the Blue as an ultramarine or warm blue for mixing purposes. Treat the Cyan as a phthalo or cool blue for mixing. The Red is the warm red and the Magenta is the cool red for mixing purposes. I still love the colours you can create exploring the triad of Blue, Magenta and Yellow.

There are many more pigmented inks available now than there were when these were first released, which is terrific for artists who want to sketch with colourful waterproof inks in our fountain pens. I've explored many of them in this post but have stuck with the De Atramentis inks in my own pens.

These inks are available directly from De Atramentis in Germany; from in the US, from in Australia and many other places. 

Disclosure: I was kindly sent this range of inks by the manufacturer, but all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Travel Sketching Online Course


I hope you are well, and staying safe during this most unusual time.

I have been a little quiet on my blog as I have been working on the Mastering Watercolours online course I launched in April, and the Travel Sketching course I launched in August.

Both are now up and running and it is wonderful to be working with a responsive and enthusiastic international community.

These courses are based on the PDF courses I have been teaching for many years. I have expanded the original courses, added videos and many more challenges and loaded them onto the very user-friendly Ruzuku platform.

Travel Sketching is a course designed to take participants through a huge range of sketching tools and techniques to get them comfortable sketching from life in a sketchbook, using a portable kit that suits their needs. Each lesson has a mix of videos, step-by-step photos and written explanations, with a question section at the end. There are plenty of opportunities to share ideas, artworks and suggestions throughout the course.

The final lesson was released on the 21st October so the full course is available as an Open Access course. You can see a short video here to get an idea of the course.

I have since added a third course - an advanced watercolour course to follow on from Mastering Watercolours - called Special Effects in Watercolour, and a fourth course to follow on from Travel Sketching called Drawing in Detail.

Happy sketching :-)

Monday 13 April 2020

Mastering Watercolours online course

I've been teaching a 12 lesson online course via email, using PDF files with step by step instructions, for many years. I've seen fabulous results from many students. However, I have always intended to create videos to make it so much clearer.

It's taken a long time, but I launched the course in April 2020 starting with an Introductory Lesson, all about materials, with each further Lesson popping into mailboxes every week for 12 weeks. 13 lessons in all.

I've sent out invitations to join to those who have been on the waiting list, or for those who have done my PDF course, but I also wanted to share it here.

I've used the Ruzuku platform, as I think it has a great interface for students to clearly see where they are in the course and what they have completed. It also has lots of options to enable students to post their work into galleries or participate in chats.

Here is a page of information and FAQs.

This course is now fully loaded and available as an Open Access course. You can join any time, and take your time to work through the lessons.

I have also created a 13-lesson Travel Sketching course on the platform, and a more advanced extension course to Mastering Watercolours called Special Effects in Watercolour.

Sunday 5 April 2020

Where will you put your hopes and dollars?

I wish everyone well in this difficult time of Covid-19 and isolation at home. I hope you and your loved ones are able to stay home and stay safe.

For many of us, such as myself, working from home is not a new phenomena. I've been doing it for 27 years. For those getting used to being at home full time, I hope you are staying calm, enjoying a gentler pace to your days, a shorter commute (!) and perhaps getting a chance to try some great cook-at-home recipes?

One of the issues we are all facing, with limited businesses open and having to depend more and more on the internet to get hold of supplies, is who do we want to support?

I would like to see some positives come out of this very difficult situation. I'd like to see companies with morals thrive. I'd like to see the more environmentally friendly products become mainstream. So I thought I'd add a link to some I've found in Australia or who ship to Australia, and I'd invite you to add your own favourites in the comments, with the country you are from. I can update this post with information from all over the world if that would be helpful.

I haven't necessarily bought from all of these companies, but have noticed them and would like to see them thrive.

Seed & Sprout is a totally women owned Australian company, producing plastic free products that are built to last. I've ordered their solid shampoo and some kitchen food wraps so far, with more on the way. I really like the ethos of this company.

Who Gives a Crap sources sustainable bamboo paper towels and toilet rolls, and donates some of the proceeds to build toilets for people in need. They are currently completely sold out, but worth keeping in mind. Great sense of humour and humanity. and in the US

No Issues is another company using sustainable bamboo for tissues, toilet rolls and paper towels. Wrapped in biodegradable plastic, they are new on the market.

Subpod is a company based in Byron Bay, Australia, who have produced an impressive composting system to save vegetable waste from going into landfill.

Ethique has been running for some years in New Zealand and shops internationally. They have prevented over 6 million plastic bottles from being made and disposed of through the sale of solid shampoos, conditioners, and other personal care products.

There are many companies delivering fresh fruit, vegetables or meat to your door. These may be too local to list, but they can use our support so the $ don't all go to the huge supermarket chains.

The Bread and Butter Project provides 100% of profits to help shape the lives of those seeking refuge and asylum with training and work. The bread is wonderful.

Citizen Wolf is a Sydney-based clothing store making made-to-measure clothing with zero waste.

Manrags takes all your old or unnecessary clothing and either re-homes or recycles it, diverting some of the annual 501,000t of textiles from landfill. You can donate unwanted clothes and shoes. Credits can be used to buy clothing from the store, made from the recycled fibres.

Eco and Basics stocks a range of eco-friendly products for food storage, personal care.

Activated Eco sells stainless steel clothes pegs (I love these) to reduce the need to replace plastic pegs over and over.

Another company trying to eliminate plastic is In our Hands with a range of kitchenware, reusable bags, metal pegs and so on. is very similar.

Dirt. Buy an environmentally friendly laundry liquid and get refills for your empty laundry bottles in reusable refill bags, reducing the use of plastic. 50% of profits go towards cleaning the oceans through The Oceans Cleanup. (I've ordered but haven't yet tried this product).

Another Australian company, ZeroCo, is attempting to stop single use plastics with a range of personal and cleaning products, in refillable recycled plastic bottles. It is currently a Kickstarter prelaunch.
If enough Aussies use this system, we'll make a huge difference to the amount of plastic that goes into landfill.

Onya make a great range of re-usable shopping bags I've been using the large shopping bags and the produce bags for a couple of years. They pack down into a very small attached bag but hold a huge amount.

Consider also worm farms, bee hives, vegetable gardens and solar panels. There are many other companies doing this job and they need our support.

There are also companies like 4Oceans cleaning up the mess of plastic and rubbish in the oceans all over the world. The sale of bracelets helps provide the funds to clean the oceans.

Now is a great time to support your local brick and mortar store, if they have made online ordering an option. Australian stores such as Art Scene in Sydney, Pigment Lab in Sydney, Larrypost for all things sketchbook related; the Sydney Art Store; Parkers in the Rocks and Seniors in Melbourne.

If we put our thoughts, energy and money into the things we want to see rather than complain about what we do see, we may create a better world.

Please add your favourites in the comments below. Let's please really look for positives at this time.

Stay safe. Stay home.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

I created a blog post about a few of the Daler Rowney colours here in 2018, but now have swatches of most of the colours due to the generosity of another of my readers, Kamal. Just a few more to complete...

The English company Daler Rowney is not as well known as Winsor & Newton, but it is another high quality watercolour brand. The dried watercolour dots rewet with ease and most colours painted out beautifully. Once again, I've added a couple of photos (rather than scans) of the oranges and reds to better show the colours. Scans of the rest of the colours are fairly accurate.

Some pigments have changed so I'll note that in the comments and captions below. 

Nickel Titanate Yellow is never a strong colour - it's a very weak pigment - but it is a granulating yellow. Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow and Bismuth Yellow are all lovely cool yellows, with PY3 being the most transparent option.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Titanium White, Chinese White (now called Zinc White and made with PW4 and PW6), 
Nickel Titanate Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Pale. 

Permanent Yellow is a lovely bright mid yellow option.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Bismuth Yellow, Permanent Yellow, Aureolin (not shown), Cadmium Yellow, 
Cadmium Yellow (Hue) (not shown). 

These scans look a little brighter in real life. I just love the PY153 pigment found in Gamboge Hue and Indian Yellow, however the new stock of Indian Yellow is now made with PY83.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue, Gamboge Hue, 
Indian Yellow (now made with PY83), Naples Yellow. 

The photo of these swatches is better than the scan but they still look a little dull compared with the originals. Warm Orange looks more red on my screen than in reality. though it certainly leans towards red.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Orange Hue, Warm Orange, Permanent Red, 
Cadmium Red Pale (not shown) 

These swatches all look more red in my screen. They are all quite similar, with the Vermilion (Hue) being my favourite pigment for a warm red option. Cadmium Red (Hue) is now made with PR254 and PY74, as is Cadmium Red (Hue). Quinacridone Red is the classic coral colour of this pigment.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Cadmium Red Pale (Hue) (now made with PR254 and PY74), Vermilion (Hue), 
Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red (Hue) (now made with PR254 and PY74), Quinacridone Red. 

Perylene Red is a really rich and less 'dull' version of this pigment than most.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Cadmium Red Deep (not shown), Cadmium Red Deep (Hue) (not shown) 
(now made with PR264 and Pr255), Carmine, Alizarin Crimson, Perylene Red. 

Permanent Rose looks a bit more magenta on my screen - it is the classic rose colour.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Alizarin Crimson (Hue), Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, 
Permanent Magenta, Cobalt Magenta. 

This is a really nice version of Ultramarine Violet, which can be quite weak. I am not a fan of Prussian Blue. This one wouldn't brush out nicely.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Mauve, Indanthrene Blue (not shown), 
Prussian Blue, Indigo. 

Phthalo Blue GS is a basic cool mixing blue. Cobalt Turquoise (Green Shade) is a lovely 'extra' colour in a palette.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Phthalo blue (Red Shade), Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Cobalt Blue, 
Cobalt Turquoise (Green Shade), Manganese Blue Hue. 

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Cobalt Blue Deep, Ceoruleum, French Ultramarine, Permanent Blue, 
Cobalt Turquoise (Red Shade). 

Viridian is now viridian Hue and is made from PB36 and PG7, which means it will have different characteristics. PG18 is granulating and very liftable.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Transparent Turquoise, Cobalt Green Deep, Phthalo Turquoise (not shown), 
Viridian (now Viridian Hue made with PB36 and PG7), Phthalo Green. 

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Hooker's Green Dark, Terre Verte Hue, Sap Green, Oxide of Chromium Green, 
Hooker's Green Light. 

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Vivid Green (not shown), Olive Green (not shown), Green Gold, 
Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna. 

I like the various PR101 red-browns, but not the Burnt Sienna so much.

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Burnt Sienna, Light Red, Venetian Red, Indian Red, Transparent Red Brown. 

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Perylene Maroon (not shown), Mars Violet, Burnt Umber, Vandyke Brown (Hue), Raw Umber. 

Daler Rowney Watercolour - Warm Sepia, Payne's Grey, Neutral Tint, Ivory Black (not shown), Lamp Black. 

Happy painting!

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Marie's Masters Watercolours

While I have known about Marie's Chinese Watercolours for many years (they have a hundred year history) I wasn't aware until recently that there was also a Masters range. Thanks to one of my kind readers and workshop students Garnet, here they are.

They are made in Shanghai, China.

The naming is not completely consistent. The Cadmium hues are labelled as such but the Cobalt, Vermilion, Viridian and many of the earth hues are not.

I painted these from dried dot samples from tube colours. Apparently they shrink quite a bit as they dry. Mostly they re-wet well though some were a little more difficult to get a strong wash. There are some excellent pigments and some great colours in the set, but also some less interesting mixes. There are 43 colours, excluding iridescent and interference colours.

The stars represent lightfast ratings where I am guessing 4 is the best. The letters A, B or C refer to the series where I am assumed A is the most expensive. I did not find a website to check. Tubes are 9ml and are very affordable - find them in Australia here for only AU$4.35 per tube regardless of series.

As usual, the oranges and crimsons are hard to scan accurately so I've taken photos of some swatches and will note colour differences below.

These yellows look fairly close to the originals. The Cadmium Orange (Hue) is actually just a little more yellow than it looks on my screen.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light (Hue), Cadmium Yellow (Hue), Gamboge (Hue), Cadmium Orange (Hue)

I had to take a photograph to try to replicate these colours. Most are pretty close but the Crimson is just a bit more 'crimson-looking' than it appears here.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Transparent Red, Crimson, Prose Permanent Crimson, Permanent Rose.

This is another photograph and is also better than the scan but the colours are a little brighter than they look here. The pigment used in Cadmium Red (Hue) is my favourite for a lovely warm red.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Vermilion Red, Cadmium Red Pale (Hue), Cadmium Red Hue), Cadmium Red Deep (Hue).

The colours in this scan are fairly close - only the Alizarin Crimson (should be called a hue, as it is not made with PR83) looks a little less crimson in this image.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Alizarin Crimson, Purple Lake, Purple Red, Brilliant Purple, Ultramarine.

Cobalt blue should be called a hue since it doesn't contain PB28. Prussian Blue was difficult to activate.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Cobalt Blue, Sky Blue, Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Prussian Blue.

Viridian should also be called a hue, or be called Phthalo Green Blue Shade, which is what it is.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Peacock Blue, Viridian, Phthalo Green, Emerald Green.

Yellow Ochre was quite lovely to paint out.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Sap Green, Hooker's Green Light, Hooker's Green Dark, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna.

Burnt Sienna, like many of the earth colours, should be called a hue - it doesn't contain PBr7 at all. Deep Umber and Light red were very nice to paint out.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Deep Umber, Light Red.

I love Indian Red, though it can be overpowering. This version was nice and rich, but easily controlled. While I am not a big pan of greys made with black pigments, the Payne's Grey was a nice version as it uses ultramarine rather than phthalo blue so is not as cold as Payne's Grey often can be.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Indian Red, Vandyke Brown, Payne's Gray, Indigo.

I couldn't get the Lamp Black any darker than this but perhaps it is stronger from the tube.
Marie's Masters Watercolours - Ivory Black, Lamp Black, White.

I wish everyone all the best of health in these challenging and difficult times. Like so many, I have cancelled my trips, classes and workshops for the foreseeable future and will be working from home. I plan to get a lot done on my online classes and set up video classes for my regular students. I am also thinking of setting up a Q&A sessions once a week via Facebook, Instagram, Zoom or other - suggestions welcome.

kind regards.