Meet my New Friends the Pentels

Hi there. How are you?

I'm a sucker for a good pen and when I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. For years I've had a serious relationship with Bic ballpoints and black Pilot pens.

When I made the decision to draw in color,  I stuck with what I knew and bought Bics. (Read more about that HERE.) I like those Bics, but I knew there was more out there for me.  I was feeling stifled by the limited color range that Bic had to offer.

So, I went looking for new friends.

I experimented with Staedlter and PaperMate InkJoy ballpoints, but was disappointed with both.

I experimented with Staedlter and PaperMate InkJoy ballpoints, but was disappointed with both.

First I Met Staedtler and InkJoy.

I met Staedlter and PaperMate InkJoy at the big box office supply store.  I was charmed by Staedtler's ten color set and reputation as a quality art supply brand. InkJoy's branding and their claim to be ultra smooth got me interested.  Both had a chance to be my new bestie, but the spark faded quickly.

I didn't like the way the Staedtler pens felt going on the paper. It took a lot of muscle to get a dark, saturated color. Next, I hung out with the InkJoys. The colors were vibrant and for a time the the ink flowed just as smoothly as advertised.  After just one drawing (seen above) the orange seemed to seize up and I had to apply a lot more pressure to get it to flow. Could I really have used up a whole pen with one drawing?

Maybe I was wrong to stray from Bics?

Meet my new friends, the Pentel RSVP ballpoints.  Their smooth, vibrant ink is fab for drawing.

Meet my new friends, the Pentel RSVP ballpoints.  Their smooth, vibrant ink is fab for drawing.

Then, I had a chance encounter with Pentel.

While checking out the stationery section at Big Lots one day, I came across a set of 4 Pentel R.S.V.P pens. I don't think I've ever bought a Pentel pen before. They seemed lowbrow to me. (I'm an art supply snob.) But, at less than $1.00 a pen, they were a cheap date, so I decided to give them a shot. So glad I did!

Pentel RSVP and Bic Cristal pens were used in this abstract sketchbook spread.

Pentel RSVP and Bic Cristal pens were used in this abstract sketchbook spread.

The Pentels have a nice, vibrant color, go on smooth, and are less apt to "throw up" as the Bics will sometimes do. (You know those little mini explosions of ink that ballpoints have a tendency to make? That's what I'm talking about.)

I also appreciate that they're retractable.......I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to cap a pen and gotten ink all over the place.

I used Pentel RSVP ballpoint pens in this 3-color sketchbook spread.

I used Pentel RSVP ballpoint pens in this 3-color sketchbook spread.

I've got a wider circle of friends.

I'm pleased with this new friendship and I'm excited to pursue it further. (I'm going to order more Pentels in additional colors today.)

Just because I've got a new friend, doesn't mean I'm giving up on my Bic besties. They produce the darkest darks and are more opaque than Pentels. I like to think that I've just expanded my circle of friends, which will hopefully result in more colorful, more successful drawings!

That's all for this week. I've got drawings to make. Ciao!

Sketchbook Drawings Become Greeting Cards

Hi there. How are you?

Most of my studio time lately has been spent on the computer, turning my very popular multi-color ballpoint pen drawings into saleable objects. I'm in the process of designing a set of greeting cards that utilize these drawings as backdrops.

Here's how I do it:

This ballpoint sketchbook drawing became the backdrop for a greeting card.

This ballpoint sketchbook drawing became the backdrop for a greeting card.

Step One: Scanning

I scanned this drawing into the computer. In Photoshop, I took out a couple of stray lines and adjusted the color so that it would print as close to the original drawing as possible.

I made a few different versions of this card before I got something I liked.

I made a few different versions of this card before I got something I liked.

Step Two: Adding Text

After cropping the background image to proper card size, I imported the file into Illustrator, where I added in the text. As you can see, I went through a few iterations before I got something I liked.

Step 3: Printing

This is the first time that I've printed cards "full bleed" (image goes right to the edge). I'm printing on an upgraded 92# cotton paper, which gives the card a more luxurious look and feel.  There's been a learning curve to get the colors to print as I'd like, but after much trial and error, I'm getting prints I'm pleased with on this new paper.

I've made 7 cards so far.

I've still got more cards in the works, but I wanted to share with you what I've made so far.

There are cards for happy occasions......

This modern, abstract Congratulations and Thank You are a stylish addition to your stationery stash.

This modern, abstract Congratulations and Thank You are a stylish addition to your stationery stash.

And cards for more somber ones....

Send your sympathy or well wishes with elegance and grace. The abstract ballpoint pen drawings are sure to bring a little comfort to someone going through a rough time.

Send your sympathy or well wishes with elegance and grace. The abstract ballpoint pen drawings are sure to bring a little comfort to someone going through a rough time.

And cards for Mom and Dad!

I'm particularly pleased with my Father's Day and Mother's Day cards.

I'm particularly pleased with my Father's Day and Mother's Day cards.

I'm excited about this collection and where it's heading. 

I'm planning on adding cards for graduation, for the holidays, a valentine, and a simple "hello."

For what occasions do you purchase and send cards?

What type of card would you like to see me add to my collection? Do tell!

I am looking forward to adding this card line to my wholesale collection, so I can pitch these to shops around the country! Until then, you can find them in my online shop, at 6Pence in downtown Carbondale, and at the Homestead Collective (inside Packrats) in Downtown Cobden, and also in my Etsy shop.

That's all folks. Until next week. Ciao!

A New Ballpoint Drawing Video

Hi there. How are you?

I've been doing a lot of drawings in my sketchbook lately. These new multi-color sketches are going to serve as backdrops for a new line of cards and prints I am designing. (More on that soon.)

I recorded another short time lapse video while I was drawing this in my sketchbook.

I recorded another short time lapse video while I was drawing this in my sketchbook.

I made a new video.

Since my last time lapse drawing video was so popular, I decided to record another while I was drawing in my sketchbook this weekend. You won't see the whole composition being drawn, but you do get a good 1:30 of drawing goodness.

Like what I do?

If you appreciate these videos, please consider patronizing my shop or contributing to my "Virtual Tip Jar".  I would love to upgrade my video set up and I need your help to make it happen.

Send a Virtual Tip

That's all for now.

I'll be back next week to share some of my new cards with you. Ciao.

A Valentine For You

Hi there. How are you?

I've got a gift for you today, and a multi-purpose one at that. It's my way of saying thank you for supporting me and my artistic endeavors.

This coloring page is my gift to you! Click to download.

This coloring page is my gift to you! Click to download.

A Free Download for You!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, I've created this heart themed coloring page for you to download and print. I hope you enjoy coloring just as much as I enjoyed making it.

The coloring page can also double a wrapping paper.

The coloring page can also double a wrapping paper.

Use it as Wrapping Paper

The coloring page can also double a wrapping paper. I decided to forego coloring on my packages, but it would look great colored as well!

Included in the download are 2 files, one sized to print on standard letter size paper (8.5 x 11), and the other is sized for 11 x 17 paper. The smaller sized paper works perfectly for wrapping a jewelry sized box. The larger can wrap a tie sized box I suppose??? (I actually wrapped up two 5 x 7 canvases in my sample package.)

Click HERE to download the 8.5" x 11" file.

Click HERE to download the 11"x17 file.

*Please note, these printables are for your personal use only. Thanks.


Share your Work

If you do print and use my wrapping paper/coloring page, I'd love to see it in action! If you would, please snap a pic and email it to me. Or if you're an Instagrammer, post a pic and tag me at @jenniferjohansson. Thanks much!

Ciao, Jen

Gone Viral

Hi there. How are you?

This image has gone totally viral on Pinterest!

This image has gone totally viral on Pinterest!

This image went viral on Pinterest.

In the last two weeks, it's been pinned over 47,000 times on Pinterest. That's plain crazy! If you're new around here, there's a good chance that this pin brought you here. (Click HERE to read the post where I originally shared and discussed these sketchbook drawings.

I've had a ton a new followers on all of my social media platforms, a tremendous amount of traffic to my blog, and loads of new email subscribers.

If this is your first time here, welcome! Why not stay a while and have a look around?

Would you like to go behind the scenes and watch me draw this piece from start to finish? Click through to join the email list.

Would you like to go behind the scenes and watch me draw this piece from start to finish? Click through to join the email list.

A process video was born.

Since going viral, I've been overwhelmed with requests to go behind the scenes. Fans want to know how I make these drawings. Now, I'm not going to give away all of my secrets, but I did record the entire drawing process from start to finish on my newest piece.

There are parts of this video that were recorded at regular speed, so you can see and understand how I build up my marks, and the rest was recorded in hyperlapse. In just under 5 minutes, you can see the how this drawing was created.

Want to see the video?

Join my email list!

You'll be directed to the video after confirming your email address. Expect emails from me about once a month with more behind the scenes content.  You'll also be first to know about about new work and exclusive sales. It's a party. Trust me!

The drawing that I created during filming is for sale in my shop. Click through to purchase.

The drawing that I created during filming is for sale in my shop. Click through to purchase.

The original drawing is for sale!

If you appreciate my work, please consider patronizing my shop. The drawing that I created during filming is for sale in my shop. It's cute and tiny and will add a punch of color to your wall, mantle or bookshelf.

That's all for now. More next week. Ciao!