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Tag Archives: Speedball Elegant Writer


Sometimes I draw and paint something that I am really excited about and it never quite gets finished. This is how I feel about this scene. I even set it aside, hoping for the inspiration or that special something to grab me again. I have learned, over the years, to allow some of my paintings to just be finished for the time being. Some of them are learning experiences that I don’t even know, at the time, what the lesson was. I return to some of them and complete them when the inspiration returns.  Move on is just the message I get sometimes. I have never been sorry I did.

This painting was started by using the elegant writer and adding the watercolor after the ink washes had dried.






Happy Thanksgiving!

We had our first snowstorm of the season this past weekend so only fitting that I was working on a snow scene. The above painting was drawn and painted on a grunge background. I then drew the scene with the Speedball Elegant Writer and then painted it.


I have been raking leaves. I was thankful that we have had some mild and warm days to do this task. I believe the trees in my painting may be old cottonwoods. I liked the bright light.

I added the cows.

I chose to use a piece of watercolor paper that I had previously grunged as I described in this post.


I have also been working on this river scene. This is Elegant Writer and watercolor. The pileated woodpecker was added.

I have noticed that many of my landscapes have been so empty. I am experimenting with adding wildlife and little people to them.

Thank you to Wet Canvas for the reference photos for these paintings.


I am still working with the elegant writer calligraphy pen. I introduced this pen as a drawing medium, recently, to my last beginning drawing class. I think it is excellent as a drawing tool as well as fun to use with watercolor. Here, I have used it to draw a still life of clear glass items.

Click here for an explanation of how you can use this pen for drawings and watercolors.



This one makes me chuckle. This is my little dog, Payton. He is FIFTEEN!!!  I had fun with this painting and let it sit and sit for the longest time. I wanted to add more…. and more… and more, so it just sat. I finally decided that everything I wanted to add was not in how he looked but who he is and I hope I captured enough of him that you know what I mean when I say this falls short. Many of you share your homes with pets that are dear for all sorts of reasons.  Pictures and words just fall a bit short.  So, I decided this was finished.

So you could see how I added the watercolor, this is my initial drawing and wash with the Elegant Writer:


This pen will become part of the tools I use in the future.  Here was my tutorial on how the Elegant Writer can be used.


This is Abner, my daughter’s beloved weimaraner. I keep returning to a reference photo I took of him quite a few years back. There are many versions of him within this blog. I seem to gravitate to this image when I am trying new techniques. This is my attempt with the “Elegant Writer”.


This is what I came up with following my initial drawing and wetting of the ink lines. I felt I did not achieve enough darks. I went back in a second time and re-inked the lines where I wanted the image to appear darker.


After re-inking the drawing, I re-activated those lines with a brush and water and came up with the above.  I think an artist could keep going and developing the ink drawing if they are not anticipating painting with watercolor. I have yet to experiment with this technique and collage, wax resist or some of the other things I create with, but am convinced it is a very versatile medium.

Hope you give it a try!

7 yr old

7 yr old

8 yr old

8 yr old

9 yr old

9 yr old

I have been spending the week with my three grandgirls again and it has been chock full of summertime fun. We used the rain day to settle in and draw and paint. The above is what they came up with. They each selected a reference they liked from wet canvas reference library and set to work drawing them and then tracing over their lines with the “Elegant Writer” I have been experimenting with.

Next, they activated the ink lines with a large round watercolor brush filled with water. The next day, they painted in their scenes. All three girls really liked working with this pen and want to do it again. It is great for talking about lights and darks with children. I also think it is a pretty good introductory exercise for teaching watercolor.

I always look forward to seeing what the girls come up with. I do have to help them with seeing angles of lines and widths of things. I talk about shapes and that it is sometimes better to break their subject into shapes and show them that the space between the animals legs or between the bars on the canoes is a shape. I try not to confuse them with too many technical terms all at once, but we did talk about shape, negative space and dark and light this time.




The above two paintings were created by my Granddaughter and me this past week. I first learned about this technique by reading Carol King’s post about a new technique she had tried after viewing a video by Karlyn Holman.

This was a fascinating procedure and we will try some more of these. They work well for drawings and wash or finished watercolor paintings. I may even teach this in my beginning drawing classes as those students are always eager to learn something new, as well as the watercolor artists. It is a great technique for studying value and ads some interesting effects to the paper.

We began with an ink drawing, using the “Elegant Writer” calligraphy pen by Speedball. I purchased the finest point I could find. It said it had a 2.0 F tip. We both drew the compositions in light graphite, first, and then traced the lines with the pen.




In the next step, we took a large round watercolor brush (wet) and worked it up next to the inked lines where we wanted to add shadow or a darker value. The ink begins to run and the artist begins to see green and pink tints show up, along with the gray. Once the ink has been wet and dries, it can not be activated again. Understandably, we did not need to touch all the lines because some areas must remain white. Karlyn suggested we spray a fine mist over the entire drawing to set the lines we had not activated. Otherwise, we might activate them when we add color via the watercolor pigments we planned to finish our paintings with. I got a bit carried away with my mister and will need to correct that the next painting I attempt using this technique. Mine ran more than I wanted; BUT!! it did set the line and I had no more running after this. Below is what we came up with after activating the lines, shading our drawings, and setting the remaining lines to preserve the whites:




The rosey or pink color can be enhanced or brought out more by blotting the wet runs of ink with a tissue. The scribbled leaves were wet by flinging water with our brush on the inked scribbles. This prevents the leaves from becoming watery blobs and preserves the textured marks we made with the pen. Karlyn demonstrates all of this in her video.

We allowed that stage of our paintings to dry and then painted our scenes with watercolor.



My nine year old Granddaughter has been painting since she was a toddler. That helps when we work together on projects like this, but she was so intrigued with this technique and wants some of these pens for home. She remained interested in the process throughout. Just saying! If you have young artists at home, this is fun!

Another blogger who is working with this pen right now is Ruth’s Artwork. Click here to see her most recent painting with this technique.