Winter Birds and Sketchbox Febuary

My February Sketchbox arrived last week. It was a pretty fun box containing a 12 set of Inktense Colored Pencils, a red Prisma Color Brush Pen, a Ecoline Brush Pen in burnt sienna, a black Pigma Brush Pen, and a toned mix media sample pad by Strathmore. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on each item this month as I have in the past but I did want to briefly talk about Inktense pencils.

Blue Jay and Coralberry
A Blue Jay rests amnung the Coralberries.

Inktense is a line of color pencils by Derwent. The ink in the pencils is water soluble but only once. This differentiates them from watercolor pencils which like watercolor paints remain water soluble even after drying. Inktense will not react to water after wetting then drying. This means they will not blend and lift like watercolor pencils. But, the colors will retain a higher degree of intensity. Mixing and layering will result in different effects from watercolor pencils. I prefer them for when I want intense color saturation over subdued tones.

This last week a raptor or bird of prey has taken up residence in my backyard. I am not sure what species as I haven’t been able to catch more than a silhouette in my trees. As a result of the new resident, the songbirds that frequent my bird feeders have made themselves scarce. As I have mentioned in my previous posts I get a lot of enjoyment and inspiration from my backyard.  I am sure the little birds will return once the raptor runs out of fat squirrels who currently seem indifferent to her presence at their own peril. I do not begrudge the raptor everyone in nature needs to eat and this is how the food chain works. But, I miss my little morning friends out my window. So I took to drawing several with the Inktense pencils, which are perfect for feathers. I really enjoyed using these in conjunction with the toned paper and a white gel pen. I also used the brush pens in red, black, and burnt sienna that came in the box for most of the pieces. In some cases, I added a little traditional colored pencil from Prismacolor. The most common species in my backyard are Jays, Starlings, Juncos, Cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, and Chickadees. I recommend the Cornel site if you are interested in behaviors, recordings of calls, and images.

I have not gotten to the Woodpeckers and Starlings yet hopefully, I will this week.  My favorite two species are Chickadees and Cardinals. I love the little “fee bee” calls Chickadees make in the mornings. Cardinals bring a bit of Summer back in Winter with their splash of red against the gray environment of the season.  I have linked a Chickadee bird call video form LesleytheBirdNerd‘s channel on Youtube. They really are cute little birds!

Happy Art Journey,



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