Discover more from The Dan Catt Pen Plotting Newsletter
📙 #013 Inky time
I have literally two jobs to get done today, finish off a video for YouTube and write this Newsletter. I'd like to think they'll only take a couple of hours each, but sensible-me knows this is untrue and is smart enough to not plan anything else in today's schedule.
Thankfully past-me already shot most of the video a few weeks ago. I'd been getting frustrated about having to unfasten and refasten the pen holder on the AxiDraw when switching between “normal” pens and fountain pens. On and off over the past year I've thought to myself “It sure would be nice if you could just rotate the holder thingy”, without it occurring to me that such a thing might already exist.
I'd scrolled past the “Pen Clip Rotation Stage” so many times without it really sinking in what it was. Me, I would have called it the “Adjustable Pen Twisty Thing”, which is why I'm never allowed to name stuff.
Anyway, some people complained on the AxiDraw servo video that I didn't show the actual fitting of it. I figured since it was so easy (even I could do it) and (I assumed) boring to watch, that there wasn't any need. Well, this time I did, there's a whole three minutes or so of me fastening tiny screws, you're welcome those people!
I recorded the whole unboxing and fitting back in January I think, but figured I'd need to give it some proper field testing before my review. I mean, I assumed it'd be fine, but who knows what you discover while using something new.
Needless to say it was great, so I recorded a couple more thoughts about it, dropped them into the video and sent it up to YouTube. An act which involves having to eat a toasty, for various bandwidth reasons.
Sun faded inks.
In other news I grabbed a few new inks to try out. I was still settling into the studio this time last year and didn't get a chance to do something I'd been meaning to for a while; test the light fastness of some inks.
One of my big fears is to sell a pen plot that's drawn in ink which will fade in no time at all. Red inks are particularly bad for this. I have pens that I know to be lightfast, such as the Pigma Microns and Staedtler pigment liners, which are great but run out too quickly. To be fair it's often a race between running out and the nib getting shredded because I use them on textured paper. Either way I hate having to throw away pens, it's such a waste.
The solution, for me anyway, is to use refillable fountain pens or rotring pens. However I've never really pinned down which inks fade over time and which don't other than trusting Noodler's "Bulletproof" inks.
The grail is a set of permanent, waterproof, lightfast red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, grey and black pen/fountain pen inks. I have a few candidates I just haven't gotten around to testing them yet.
I also have other fancy-pants inks that are shimmery and shiny, which I'd love to use, but can't find any reference at all about how lightfast they are.
Now spring is arriving(ish) and the sun passes the front of the studio perfectly, it's time to draw some test strips of ink and put them into the window. The plan is to have a second sheet cover the swatched that gets moved back each week so we can see how much something has (or hasn't) faded.
I will definitely keep you posted
Work/Life balance update.
Finally feels like I'm back on top of getting this right. This is the first week (I know I keep saying that) I've had where it's exactly how it's supposed to be, admin in the morning, projects in the afternoon, with nothing else coming along to mess it all up.
I hit some deadlines and got myself a new one! So this is how things are looking at the moment.
About two more weeks of “80s Pop: Roxy bonus pack 🍿”. I have three more tasks to do on that; add some shiny-ish pipes, add the features script and tune the outputs. In reality that's just a couple of days work, then letting the code run overnight to spit out lots of images to review for the tuning.
But the reality is I also want to do a bit of work on fffffrfffffl (the code name for Feral File), and have a new project, codenamed "Fallingwater" that has a mini-deadline in a week and a half to find out if I should move forwards with it or not. I covered the origins of “Fallingwater” in a tweet over here:
I really need to get 80s Pop: Roxy finished cause I've got a whole load of pen plotting tutorials I want to get started on, and if I start those at the same time it'll definitely never get finished!
I've already posted the latest video about the new pen holder, meanwhile last week the end of the month fell on Tuesday making that an easy win of dropping in the profit/loss report. I'm still not sure how useful those are as they seem to be firmly in the “slowly run out of money until you release a new NFT project” camp and that isn't really what I had in mind when I first started them in blog format all that time ago.
But perhaps my reality is useful to someone else. Although I expect that someone else will be me trying to do my taxes in about 10 month's time.
As always (so far) the last two Weeknote videos are below. The first one has some thoughts about scheduling tweets (and how I feel a little bit guilty about that), the second, most recent one has a bit more background behind Fallingwater and my decision to try and get a bit more involved in exhibitions this year.
Aaaaaand, I think that’s it for this update. I’m still totally failing at posting Shorts, Reels or Stories to Instagram. Hopefully I can set aside some time next week with some of that ink, we’ll see how it goes.
Love you all!