What do Skeletons and Peonies Have in Common?

Hi friends! I am so glad to be back doodling around in a sketchbook today! After many weeks of spending my “free” time on assignments for a painting class I am taking it is fun to just play in a sketchbook!


I started off wanting to do a bit of a Halloween sketch so I sketched a skeleton in ink in the sketchbook that came in my Smart Art Box but I didn’t think that this mixed media paper was best suited to ink as it bled through so I decided to also try my watercolors on it.


The watercolor also wanted to absorb in and show through the back of the page a bit but I actually really loved the effect, it was like Chinese brush painting (not that I am trained in that discipline at all but I have played with the materials before) and I loved the effect. I also loved accenting that sketch with the flexible pen that also came in the box that I forgot to use in the first sketch. Remember, just because a supply came with certain things doesn’t mean you can’t try it out with something else you have that you might enjoy more. Any new supply you add to your stash should make your other supplies more useful (not redundant) and you often come up with really cool techniques when you use materials in new ways or in combination with other products. Mix up that media man! Watch the video to see these two paintings come together:)

The supplies in this video were in the October Smart Art Box. Smart Art sponsored this video and I thank them for their support. If you would like a surprise box of art supplies delivered to your door each month consider subscribing. They ship to many countries and you can find out more on their website.

Supply List: (Occasionally Smart Art will have additional boxes for sale. You can check availability here. As of now there are no extra October boxes listed so I have linked to the products on Amazon (affiliate links used) for your convenience.

Out of curiosity I looked up the prices of the products in the box on Amazon and they came out to about $61. I will definitely use these products in other projects (and yay they included my favorite fountain pen safe waterproof ink!) After I open and use my products from a subscription box I store the supplies with other “like” supplies so I will remember I have them the next time I need a pen or bottle of ink. I recommend doing this if you get random supplies here and there. I know it is tempting to keep kits or certain brands together but you will use them more (and they won’t dry up and go to waste because you forget you have them) if you store like with like. If I find I have a double I put the extra in my office art space (for when it’s too cold to craft down in the basement) or in my travel art bag or pass it along to a friend if it has a shelf life. I mention this because art subscription boxes are fun but you might forget what you got if you don’t put them in their proper homes after the first play. At least that’s how I am. I hope you enjoyed this sketchbook sunday and til next time happy crafting!

2 Responses

  1. Have you ever tried to use Derwent Inktense Blocks to make a dip pen ink? It seems like a neat way to get a lot of colors (plus mixes) without buying a ton of expensive bottles of ink. It also doesn’t contain shellac which sometimes causes problems with pen clean up and opening bottles later. Storage is compact too with a flat tin of blocks.

    I wondered if it would need any other ingredients besides the ground Inktense block and water?

    I tried this with the only block I have (neutral gray). I got the block to do your recent watercolor grisaille project with the olive oil jar. Just used a zester to grind a little off the block. Then mixed the grounds with a little water. It seemed a little thin but worked OK with my Speedball dip pen.

    I also tried to make ink with a damaged Inktense Pencil (the lead was falling out). The pencil lead was very difficult to grind on the zester – the lead seems a lot harder than the block. I finally broke off a small piece and put it in a little water. That worked too but my dip pen was a little scratchy on my 100 lb smooth Bristol card stock. Might have been bearing down too hard or the ink may have been too thin and soaked into the paper a little too much.

    Inktense Block ink for dip pens would open up a lot of possibilities for colors for a non-shellac based ink made on demand.

    I just wondered if you had any suggestions for making Inktense ink for a dip pen?


  2. Lindsey, from our visit to the Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art yesterday.   Great exhibits on Southern California Chicano tattoo art, and a big exhibit on Judithe Hernandez art on women…fascinating art available on her website…and lots of other stuff.  I took a lt of pictures.   Tom Decker bu Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


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