Brush Pen Sketches – May 2012

Sketch in front of the Downtown L.A. Central Library, pen on paper in Sketchbook No. 61, 26 May 2012

For about a month, I’ve been enjoying tooling around with brush pens. I just used on to do the sketch above this afternoon – I liked it and I figure I’d post a few more new ones below, while I am on this new kick. Beginnings of my brush-pen-period? or just a passing fad?

I’ve had brush pens now and then for a long time and I would get one and play around for two days with it, then banish it to one of cans I keep writing/drawing implements in. My friends would bring me good ones from Japan, I tooled around a bit but they never quite caught on.

One of my favorite comic book artists – Craig Thompson – uses a brush pen. His drawings are insanely beautiful. He can really draw, write… invent, observe. Seeing his stuff got me thinking just a bit about picking up a brush pen more often.

Then, in early May 2012, I took a vacation and did a lot of sketching… and I brought along a brush pen. It’s a Prismacolor premier brush – which I grabbed at an art supply store when I was stocking up some art supplies to take with me.

I did this drawing of a passenger on the Amtrak bus:

Man on Amtrak Bus, ink on paper across two pages in Sketchbook No. 61, 3 May 2012, about 12″x12″

Then, after doing a lot of non-brush painstaking excessively-detailed sketching of the Los Osos Oaks, I realized the brush pen would be great for drawing their massive trunks. I did a bunch of big sketches of oak trunks there, here’s one:

Los Osos Oak Preserve, ink on paper in sketchbook, 5 May 2012, 14″x22″

Since then, when I returned to L.A., I picked back up the nice refillable brush pen my friends Yuki and Federico brought me from Japan… and I’ve been whizzing through my sketchbook using it. And I think some of the brush-pen drawings are good. Earlier I posted a couple tree drawings.

Ficus trees drawing in Sketchbook No. 61, ink on paper, 19 May 2012, about 14″x18″

Here’s a page I did on the Metro Blue Line train:

Sketches waiting for and on Metro Blue Line, ink on paper in Sketchbook No. 61, about 9″x12″, 21 May 2012

and a sketch I did of the handlebars of my bicycle:

Sketch of my bike handlebars, ink on paper in Sketchbook No. 61, about 9″x12″, 24 May 2012

I started the bike handlebars one while waiting for a Metro Orange Line bus. I liked the way it was turning out, so I let a few buses go by to keep working on the drawing. I did darken it some when I got home that night.

A brush pen  certainly allows me to work faster and bigger – to put a lot more ink down (not always a great thing) – especially compared to my default sketching pen: the Uniball Vision micro. It’s funny, when my brush pen drawings are turning out halfway well, I think that they look like Craig Thompson’s style – just a little. Both the handlebars and the Metro riders look to me somewhat Thompson-esque. It’s funny how the media can influence the style of the drawing. I draw differently with a Rapidograph pen, a Uniball Vision pen, a pencil, a quill pen, etc.

I haven’t yet gotten to a point where I feel like I can write well with the brush pen. Better for drawing than for lettering, for me for now.

What do you think?


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