The impact of a different pen

March 11, 2019 | 7 Comments

I seem to be constantly leaving important parts of my kit at home lately. Either my paints, or some of my pens… and one day I even left all my pens at home. I take things out to use them for work I’m doing at home and then rush out the door the next day without double checking everything is back in the front pocket of my bag.

On Wednesday last week I left my Lamy Joy at home but was thankful that I had a Platinum Carbon Pen (EF nib) in my kit which I normally use for writing. When I sketch with this pen it makes my drawings look different. Often I feel as if my lines are scrappier with a finer pen but on this occasion my lines were more fluid. I normally prefer a thicker line (fine or medium nib) as it suits my rapid strong linework better.

This is an extremely rapid sketch (a large thumbnail) of a view from a potential location for a demonstration in my next SketchingNow Course – Watercolour on Location. The sketch was done in my special course planning notebook – a Bloco de Estudos spiral sketchbook which I got in Porto, Portugal.

Below the sketchbook, you can see a glimpse of my Filming Location Schedule. We had a busy day checking out 14 different locations in order to lock in the best four for the exercises I want to demonstrate.

We then had a meeting with my videographer to go through all the details of the project. This included:
– the logistics of the outdoor filming day – his equipment and the best order for the selected location (plus adding a few more extra spots if we finish early)
– planning the two days filming inside my tiny flat and the furniture I have to re-arrange and/or move out so that we can make some changes to lighting and camera angles
– how we are going to get everything ready for the course later in the year considering I’ve got a long trip to Europe coming up (scheduling his rough-cuts, my detailed reviews, his final edits, promo videos, transcripts, written handouts, copy editing etc.).

There is so much that goes into putting a SketchingNow course together (and I haven’t even thought about the website side of things) but I love every part of it. They are definitely getting more sophisticated (ie. complicated logistically) each time. It’s a lot of  fun and extremely satisfying to work and manage a massive project like this and I’m using all my architectural project management skills all the time.

So anyway, as I’m getting to crunch time with the course prep, I’m going to have to put my regular blogposts on pause. I still hope to share something each week, but it might be a little random. Thanks in advance for understanding!



  • pbass wil says:

    The Plat’m Desk Pen has become my main squeeze. I find they require less maintenance & rinsing than any other f.p. I’ve tried: I can neglect one for 2 weeks, pick it up, and it draws perfectly!
    I find the long tail a bit inconvenient, so I just saw them off. With an elastic wound around the stump, I can even post the cap!
    I personally prefer the thin lines, since I draw small anyway.
    I fill mine with De Atramentis Document, but Plat’m Carbon ink works great too, and is cheaper here in N America.

  • pbass wil says:

    Btw, no problem refilling the free cartridge that comes with the Plat’m Desk; just get a blunt seringe from the pharmacy/chemist/apoth’c’y/drugStr.

  • Tina Koyama says:

    Sounds like your mishap led to a new discovery, so that’s great! But Liz, you of all people — since you sketch so often and so much — should have two sets of everything you love! I rarely take anything out of my everyday-carry bag when I’m home because I have all the same tools on my desk. That way I am never without anything when I do go out.

    • Liz Steel says:

      I have a second set but I only have one white Joy with gold nib 🙂 also I’m making adjustments to my everyday palette and my studio one doesn’t reflect that yet.

  • Steve Mielke says:

    What’s the sketchbook in the photo?

  • Phoebe Wilson says:

    I hate when that happens (all too often)! I’m trying to come up with a mnemonic for all my gear (pen, paint, book phone, snack, stool) like the old “spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch.” Nothing catchy as emerged thus far.

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