Kat Johnston Sketch: Aw rats! Don't you just hate it when you have something bubbling away, look away for a second, and suddenly its all over the stove?

I bought brand new pens day before last! I’m so happy… they’re not expensive pens: papermate ten pack for about three bucks. Why papermate? I absolutely adore the blue. So rich, so vibrant, so pretty pretty. The owl drawn yesterday was from one of the blacks.

The reason I am saying this? Because it brings to mind a little story. I did a painting class as one of my first subjects when doing my undergrad degree. At the end of the subject, there was a combined classes showing of finished works for the final assessment. I was having a bit of a chat to one girl who was showing her work: it was her first time painting. She was taking it as an elective for her teaching course. She told me to take her over to my piece, so I did. The first words out of her mouth were ‘oh, well, uh, I can’t afford good brushes like you…’ I replied that I did actually buy new brushes before painting that work. They came in a twelve pack for $2.50.

Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful, well made, quality brushes… but sometimes when you’re on a student income, you work with what you can get. At the time, I could afford $2.50 for a pack of twelve – and I was able to produce a decent work with them too. Whilst I might favour slightly more expensive brushes now, I can still paint perfectly well with rather inexpensive ones. Given the choice between the two though, I’ll let you guess which type I would generally pick.

When it comes to drawing… well.. a papermate blue beats most other blues I know for random drawing in the margins of my notebooks. I won’t go near a pen that is horrendeously inconsistant and that I can’t get a good tonal range for, for regular sketching, but even the cheap ones can produce good results if you go with the right brand.

I do a lot of sketching with ballpoint pens – I hardly ever do sketches in pencil these days. I think its because if you screw up with a pen, you screw up… you either see it through and try to save it or rework it (with often brilliant results), or toss it to the side and start over. You see how you put it together – if you used guidelines, they’re still going to be there when you’re done. On top of all that… I just love the challenge of it. Ahh ballpoint pen, how I do adore thee…