Thursday, July 19, 2012

Anhinga Study - Playing With Brush Pens

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I so love using minimal brush strokes to capture waterbirds.

The Anhinga, or Snake Bird, is one of my favorites.  It's very calligraphic and begs to be sketched with a brush.

I was looking through my old sketchbooks the other day and ran across this demo I did during a workshop.  The blue sketch was made with an Elmer's Watercolor Brush Pen. They come in assorted colors. You can see a few strokes of different colors above the Anhinga. The sad thing about these pens is that when the color is gone you toss the pen. 

The foreground Anhinga was sketched with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
At JetPens (link above) it has 'for Calligraphy' tacked onto the end of the name.  At Dick Blick, that specification is left off. This brush pen comes with a refill cartridge and you can also purchases refills separately :)  I love the texture you can achieve with this brush pen - almost a dry brush look.  If you let the ink set up for a minute or so, it becomes waterproof.  Or, if you are quick, you can stroke the pigment with a waterbrush and create diluted grays.  You can view this technique here
The bulk of the Anhinga's body, neck and head were made in one stroke...  takes a bit of practice but that's all part of the fun. If I remember correctly, I began by pressing the brush into the paper to create the bird's body and then lifted up to thin out the stroke until the brush was barely touching the paper for the bill.  Practice pressure strokes with this instrument. Lots of pressure gives a bold stroke, light pressure a fine line. Have fun!

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful job, Pam. I loved watching the anhingas when we were in Florida last winter. You captured the elongated body and lovely wings so well!

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    1. Thanks, Kate! Aren't they fun to watch? And the sounds they make.... I'm still trying to duplicate it but not having much success:)

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  2. Love the way you've layered the black one over the blue - really adds dimension. And this looks simple but I know doing that with a brush and moving that brush just the right way takes practice and skill!! Good stuff :)

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    1. Thanks, Rhonda! Yes, a tad tricky when you first start out but also good for laughs :)

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  3. Pam, thank you so much for taking the time to bring me here to all this wonderful information and Art. I love your studies and sketches. I can see you think the Anhinga is a wonderful bird like myself. maybee someday I will try to do a better sketch of my photo since I live in Wisconsin I wont have the chance to see one again in the near future, thanks again, your great!!!

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  4. You are so very welcome, Lynne! Thank you for your kind words! You will love sketching this interesting waterbird :)

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