Sakura Pigma Micron Review

Sakura Pigma Micron Review

Before I start this review, there’s something you should know about me. The first is that I don’t spend money easily. Some would call me tight, but I prefer thrifty! I only commit to making a purchase when I’m sure it will perform the function I want it to.

That goes for anything; clothes, stationery, things for the house, anything but the weekly food shop! Whatever it is, I research it to death, reading every online review I can find, comparing the good to the bad to narrow down my choice to ‘the one’.

So when I bought the Sakura Pigma Micron for the first time I had high expectations, which I’m pleased to say this pen met admirably.

Sakura Pigma Micron Review

I’ve chosen to review the Sakura Pigma Micron size 005 (0.05 mm) as this is the pen I have had most experience with.

Durability

To be honest, I don’t expect such a fine nib to last a long time, so the Sakura Pigma Micron 005 performs well from my point of view. I’m quite particular with my lines, and prefer them the very fine width that a new pen can achieve, so once they’ve worn down a little I relegate them to the pot I reserve for sketching. I find a Pigma Micron lasts me for one or two detailed drawings, but you may find you can continue using them for longer if you have a more sketchy style.

I tend to use mine on watercolour paper, which has a lot more texture than, say, Bristol board, so they wear down more quickly. That said, I haven’t yet run out of ink (due to my relegating habit), so I’d say they’re excellent for how long they last.

Density of colour

Sakura Pigma Micron pens come in a variety of colours, but black is my absolute favourite. According to Sakura’s own website, the archival ink is ‘permanent, fade resistant, chemically stable and pigment-based’ so it produces a deep, solid black line which is waterproof and will stand the test of time.

I use mine to outline sketches before painting with watercolour and I’ve never had a problem with the steadfastness.

succulents - botanical illustration

Application

I really like the way the Pigma Micron feels to draw with, it’s smooth and the lines produced are solid and uniform. I haven’t found the ink to bleed at all and I’ve used them on a few different papers. I’ve been working on a colouring book on Bristol board for quite some time now and I love the beautiful crisp finish this pen achieves.

It is very versatile as I find I can use it for several different styles of drawing, from quick, sketchy lines to detailed, accurate pieces. The lines dry really quickly, almost immediately even on smoother, less porous drawing surfaces. This is a real bonus as I don’t have much patience when it comes to waiting for ink to dry before I start painting!

Sakura Pigma Micron Review

Writing

I primarily use the Pigma Micron as a drawing pen, but I’ve also used it for writing in my art journal. It’s easy to write with and the application of the ink is smooth, not scratchy or blotchy. I do find myself adjusting the pressure of my writing so as not to put too much strain on the tip, so if you like to write with quite a bit of pressure, this is probably not the pen for you. I still prefer to write with a ballpoint pen, but that’s just my personal preference!

toy illustration - watercolour

Appearance

I’m not too fussed about what a pen looks like as long as it does what I want it to. Some would say that the tan colour isn’t very attractive, but it doesn’t bother me. I like the feel of it in my hand, the lid is nice and secure and they’re well labelled with the size, so it’s harder to pick up the wrong one by accident. It is plastic, but again, that’s no problem, besides the environmental impact.

Sakura Pigma Micron Review

All in all, I would definitely recommend this pen. I keep buying them and I haven’t used another brand since I started using them, so that’s a testament to their quality.

I’m sharing this post on the following blogs: Handmade Harbour and Paint Party Friday!

Paper cut heart commission

Paper cut heart

Well, as usual, this weekend has flown by in a blur of drawing, coastal walks, painting and pubs! It is becoming increasingly clear to me that time does not always run at the same pace, but speeds up at weekends. A whole 48 hours zooming past at the speed of light before winding down in the late hours of Sunday night and plodding along for the rest of the working week.

Whose idea was it anyway, that for every two days off, we have to work five?

Despite time’s efforts to scupper my plans, I do feel as though I’ve achieved quite a lot this week. I’ve been making progress on a surprise portrait commission and have squeezed in time for my 52 Faces project and to work on my entry for the BBC’s Little Painting Challenge.

I also sent off a finished paper cut commission to its new owner!

Paper cut heart commission

This intricate heart was given as a Mother’s Day present, so I’m now safe to share it with you all. Thanks to the flexibility of the person who commissioned it, I was able to work on it on and off over several weeks.

Paper cut heart

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, right from drawing it out in the beginning to cutting the final little section out. The client provided a long list of items and words to include, which is great because it makes designing it a bit more of a challenge. The feather and angel wings were both new to me, but I love how they’ve turned out.

paper cut heart commission

The client also asked for Gerbera daisies, which help to break up the intricacy of the leaves a little and contrast with the finer details.

paper cut heart commission

I’ve been struggling to find decent paper to cut recently, as I like to use finer sheets with a bit of texture. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to track down! I’ve tried all of the craft shops around where I live but none have quite what I’m looking for. I’ve got a few packs from Hobbycraft at the moment, but am still on the hunt for another supplier!

paper cut heart commission

paper cut heart commission

I’m really looking forward to seeing a photo of this one framed, as I rarely frame my own work. I love the lime green colour that the client chose for the background!

The Little Painting Challenge

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll probably remember that I’ve been working on some miniature portraits as part of my submission for the BBC’s Little Painting Challenge. I’ve decided to do a piece entitled ‘Funny Money’ with a series of miniature portraits of recognisable wealthy people laughing! I was going to do five, but as I’m running out of time, I’ve settled on three. Here is Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder and CEO of Facebook, to go alongside Richard Branson and Bill Gates.

Mark Zuckerberg watercolour portrait

I’ve completed them all in different media, Richard Branson in pencil, Bill Gates in coloured pencil on brown paper and Mark here in watercolour.

Mark Zuckerberg watercolour portrait

Every time I use my Winsor and Newton watercolours, I enjoy the process and result, so I should really make the effort to use them more often!

52 Faces

I got out the watercolours again for this week’s miniature portrait for my 52 Faces challenge. Judi Dench was suggested by my Mum and I thought she’d make the perfect subject as she has a recognisable face with interesting features. I think I’ve said before that it’s a lot harder to draw ‘perfect’ people with symmetrical faces and immaculate skin. They tend to have very subtle characteristics which make them recognisable, while older people and those with distinctive features are a lot easier to capture.

miniature watercolour portrait of Judi Dench

Once I’d finished with the watercolours I added a little extra detail with my Faber Castell polychromo pencils, in particular, the slight rosiness of her cheeks and the dark blue of her jacket.

Judi Dench watercolour portrait

Finally, I’ll leave you with this photo taken in sunny Bude yesterday. The sea pool has been revamped recently and the turquoise water managed to look inviting, despite the cold! While we were there, some teenagers must have felt the same as they jumped in wearing nothing but t-shirts and shorts – rather them than me!

Bude Sea Pool

I’m sharing this post on the following blogs: Paint Party FridayThe Queen of Creativity, Handmade Harbour, Happy Friday and Blue Chair Diary Illustrations!

Paper cutting and portraits

paper cut elephant

This is a scheduled post today as I have been whisked away somewhere for my birthday! I have no idea where I’m going, but will hopefully be there when you’re reading this – very exciting!

Anyway, on to this week’s projects.

Paper cut elephant

After hours and hours of painstaking cutting, this paper cut elephant is now complete. It’s full of mandala’s and Indian-style patterns, including some little butterflies.

paper cut elephand

Here’s a close-up for you. It’s not yet stuck down on the backing paper, which is why it’s lifting slightly.

indian paper cut

Despite it taking so long, it was very therapeutic to cut.

paper cut elephant

I used a Swann Morton blade for the first time and they seem to last a little longer than the ones I normally use.

paper cut elephant

I was commissioned to design this paper cut for someone who loves elephants! It is made to fit in at 8″ x 10″ frame. If anybody would be interested in commissioning something similar, please do let me know.

52 faces

For my 52 faces project this week I decided to draw a miniature coloured portrait of Dawn French. She’s so funny and lovely, so I thought she would make a good addition to the collection!

dawn french portrait

The electric eraser was an early birthday present from my Mum and Dad. I’m not too sure about it yet, as for something as tiny as these portraits it needs to be very accurate, and when it’s turned on, it wiggles around all over the place! I think I’ll need a little more practice to get the hang of it.

pencil drawing dawn french

pencil drawing dawn french

That’s all for today, hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and Valentine’s Day! I’ll leave you with a photo of me and a giant potato we bought at Morrisons!

giant potato

 

I’m sharing this post on the following blogs: The Queen of Creativity and Handmade Harbour!

Making rubber stamps: Sugru review & tutorial

Sugru rubber stamp tutorial

Sugru rubber stamp tutorial

I have been meaning to write this post for ages, and I mean ages. I’ve had this ‘thing’ called Sugru for about six months now, and although I tried it out straight away, it has taken me a long time to get around to writing about my experiments.

I was sent some free and although I wasn’t asked to write a blog post about it, I really think it’s something worth sharing with you all.

Sugru rubber stamp tutorial

Firstly, a description. Sugru, in the manufacturer’s words, is ‘mouldable glue that turns into rubber’. In fact, it does exactly what it says on the tin (well, packet), which makes it an amazing invention with limitless possibilities.

I was intrigued by it at first as they sent me a link to a blog post about a paper cutting artist who uses it to mould around the handle of her scalpel to make cutting more comfortable. They also sent me a link to how to craft stamps with Sugru, which sounded right up my street, so I had a go!

Sugru comes in small packs as once it is exposed to air, it will start to cure. You have to mould the Sugru first to make it malleable and then can form it to make or fix whatever you like.

I made a stamp by moulding it to the end of a piece of dowel and smoothing the surface until it is flat. I found that if you smooth it with your fingers gently (like brushing away crumbs) it will eliminate fingerprints and make it flat and shiny.

Sugru rubber stamp tutorial

It has to cure for 24 hours, so I stood the dowel in a cup, because if the Sugru touches anything while curing, it will stick to it!

Once hard, it is solid with a slight give, like hard rubber. You can cut into it with a craft knife to carve a stamp. I drew my design out first, then used my scalpel to cut out the lines, slicing away the rubber in a v-shape.

Sugru rubber stamp tutorial

I didn’t make them quite thick enough at first, so had to cut a little more rubber away until I was happy with the way it stamped.

Sugru rubber stamp tutorial

Here’s how it turned out!

Sugru rubber stamp tutorial

I think that I may turn the other one into a stamp to use for Geocaching, as my Dad and I had a go at it for the first time today and really enjoyed it. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s a GPS treasure hunt which people do all over the world. You use the GPS to direct you to locations where  you will find ‘caches’ – little boxes or containers with a log book and sometimes a little trinket to swap.

We only found one of the three we set out to find, but I think with a little more practice we’ll get better at spotting them! Hopefully next time we go I’ll have a stamp to use in the log book.

Sam found a couple of other uses for the Sugru. He fixed his phone charger wire which was broken where it joins the connector, and also created a makeshift rest for some of his DJ gear (the little yellow bits in the photo) – ingenious!

uses for Sugru

52 faces

This week’s portrait for my 52 faces challenge is Benedict Cumberbatch as I read he was one of the most searched-for British celebrities in 2014.

Benedict Cumberbatch drawing

Benedict Cumberbatch drawing

I’ve also started another portrait as I want to work more on my coloured pencil skills. This is a work in progress of the actress Emma Watson.

Emma Watson drawing

I’m sharing this post on the following blogs: The Queen of Creativity, Handmade Monday and Blue Chair Diary Illustrations!