After seeing our prompt of “Pen” today, it made me think back to when I first started watercolor sketching. I was so excited to receive my very first fountain pen. It was a silver Lamy fountain pen that Philippe bought me for Christmas about 6 months into my art journey. I was so excited and thrilled to receive it, and though it was silver, it felt like getting a piece of pure gold. Fast forward to today, and over 3 holidays later, and I just had to get an actual gold one this year. So I asked Philippe, and sort of begged a bit, and he got me one for my birthday! The other pen is one I purchased in Paris, but have truthfully not used as much. I just adored the bright color. Excited about my birthday pen, but wondering how to store it. Philippe reminded me I had also purchased a pen case in Paris telling him, “just in case I get more pens.” The last bit he repeated dryly, and I must say a touch mockingly, as to impress upon the irony of such a statement. Of course I’ll get more pens, but I have shown valiant restraint in that I only have six now. Well, seven actually, as I managed to procure a lovely silver fountain pen from Philippe’s mother during a visit once. By procure, I mean she did actually give it to me as a gift. In truth, you can only use one pen at a time, but it’s a wonderful comfort to have a few to choose from in the moment.
The remainder of my sketching kit is actually my everyday kit that I use most often, and includes a .5mm mechanical pencil, that I adore, and a kneaded eraser. I used this kit for this post, as it’s not easy to sketch supplies you’re actually using. If you add in my messy travel palette, travel brush set, sketchbooks, and paint tubes, I’ve sketched everything I use at this point. So, after yesterday’s post requiring me to buy new shoes, I’m quite sure that any future prompt of “pen” or “art supplies” will require me to buy new ones! Yeah, I’m not sure that logic will fly with Philippe, but it’s a lovely thought indeed. The fact is, for a guy who loves sketching stuff, I don’t have many art supplies that I use on a daily basis. After those early days of trying everything I could, I made some decisions and I’m quite happy with my current kit. So, does that mean I’m done purchasing new special edition fountain pens? You’re cute if you think that’s the case. Of course I’m not! There are two reasons to purchase art supplies. One, is simply because you actually need them for your art. This is, of course, the practical reason. The second is far more visceral and impossible to explain. It’s because you need them for your heart. And, in my experience, the latter purchase is equally important. We can’t make wonderful art when our heart isn’t in it with us.
So, I’m not actually trying to say that you should go out and purchase tons of art supplies you don’t actually need, but never worry about getting just a few that you don’t quite have a use for yet. The use will come in time. I was thrilled to already have a case waiting to stow my new birthday pen! Though it took me a couple of weeks to try it out for the first time in an actual post. And, each of the art supplies I have in my tiny little collection are precious to me. Whether they’re the road weary kind that have been with me through most of these stories I illustrate or the new golden arrivals. Each one has a place in both my heart, and my art. For me, I think of thinks like that little sketchbook I purchased in a Paris shop that is still in the wrapper. One day, it will tell me what it wants me to sketch inside it. And in the meantime, I have all of the memories of visiting that little shop each time I glance at it. Art is a mysterious venture indeed. It takes us to emotional places that don’t often have easy answers. But, art isn’t about definitive answers, it’s simply about posing questions. It’s the beginning of a conversation that starts with awe and energy and progresses toward many wild and wondrous places, up to and including a habit of collecting fountain pens.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Aureolin, Vermilion, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!