For years, I've been a Sharpie aficionado. They've been my go-to tool, especially for my HeartFULL Pet Portraits (which is where my return to art-making began after 20 years of thinking I was just "no good" - but that's a story of its own!).
Even when I began my Dancing Uniquorn series (there are magical stickers of those now!), my go-to was Sharpie. Sharpie, Sharpie. Even in my timelapse videos: always Sharpie!
Until... I remembered that I used to love pens of all kinds. Even before I got back into art-making, I was kind of a pen hoarder. And one of the sites I used to frequent to satisfy my pen addiction was JetPens.com. Granted, that was well over 10 years ago, and I honestly can't tell you exactly what inspired me to go back and check them out again this year, but hey...
I followed my intuition.
And this time, I noticed that they have pen SAMPLERS! And I'll totally give credit to the AH-MAZING queen-of-all-things-delightful artist Jane Davenport for getting me all curious about brush pens lately, due to the release of her super-juicy Mermaid Markers (which I bought and 100% ADORE). So, I bought the JetPens Brush Pen samplers (okay, so I eventually bought all three - don't judge!)... And poor Sharpie didn't stand a chance after that.
My new favorites? The Pentel Pocket Brush pen (middle) and the Kuretake No. 8 Fountain Brush pen (top). (The Washi tape I added to the end of each tells me I filled them with waterproof ink, because the pens come with water-soluable!) After missing the waterproof-ness of my Sharpie friends, I decided to try using my favorite Platinum Carbon ink (which Jane Davenport - my muse! - turned me on to paired with the DIVINE Platinum Fountain Pen she recommends).
And waterproof, we're back!
Are you ready for the point of my story here?
I began using my new brush pens, learning how much pressure to use, how I love making light thin sketchy lines first and then dragging that juicy tip back along the lines to thicken them in all right places. I learned how I can increase the ink flow, or taper it off. And I have LOVED playing with that kind of variety!
Here's a recent Dancing Uniquorn commission for which I used my carbon ink-filled brush pens:
It's a completely different experience!
Okay, I'm not going to say I've just tossed all my Sharpies in the bin - I still use them for writing (although honestly, there are quite a few treasures in those JetPens Brush Samplers, so the Sharpies don't get as much playtime as they used to). And hey, they have HUGE sentimental value.
They were THE tools which brought art back into my life in my 30s. They were THE tools (along with my long-unused yet precious Daniel Smith watercolors) which were accessible enough for me to play with, and not feel like I was effing everything up just by touching it.
I LOVE Sharpies.
And. I LOVE my carbon ink brush pens EVEN MORE.
And that's perfectly okay.
While the Sharpies got me here, the brush pens are taking me further.
And I'd be silly to stay committed to the old habits - the old tools - just for the sake of "consistency" or "honoring the past" or "don't fix what isn't broken." I'd be silly NOT to explore something that pulls me in, that ignites the urge to explore new tactile sensations.
Because we're given these nudges for a reason! So I say we keep following them.
Where have you been tempted to explore something new, but allowed yuourself to feel guilty about"moving on?"
Isn't it time for us to give in to delight?!
Without needing justification. Just because.