EDM Challenge #13: Draw your telephone (land line, cell, old-fashioned?)

For some reason, our phone follows the aesthetic of the Sony Sports Walkman from the early 1990s. That’s probably around the time when innovation in landline phone design was frozen too.

I laid down a bright coat of Dr. Martins Tiger yellow, then when it dried completely, I drew the phone with my extra bold Lamy Safari. Then I used my Lamy fine point to add details and to cross hatch. Finally I used a white pencil, a white charcoal pencil and a couple of other colored pencils to add more details and dimension. This took 15 or so minutes.

Then I took a picture of the whole damned thing with my cel phone.

BTW, some people have wondered what book I am drawing in these days. Well, most of these challenges have been done in the same book, a 7″ square wire-bound number made by Stillman and Birn. It’s one of their Delta Series with cold press Extra Heavyweight Ivory paper (180 lb.) and a rough surface. I like the paper in this book but am no longer a big fan of wire-bound books so I have been waiting for an opportunity to use it. If you are okay with this sort of binding, I think their books are the best being made today. I see they make hardbound books today and I’ll definitely give them a try sometime soon.

EDM Challenge #8: Draw your watch or other piece of jewelry

Walking dogs, ironing, rousing Jack, an early meeting — I had a rushed morning and no time to relax and draw. At lunch, I pulled out a box of Crayolas and a ball point and drew my watch and arm in a notebook.

I used a light touch with the ball point and I could get a lot of variety in its line. Then I laid down a solid skin tone with one crayon. Next I layered a half-dozen different colors on top to create dimension and all the variations of skin. Finally I drew the arm hairs on top of the color, skimming the surface so the wax didn’t gum up the pen.

I have been using the same technique of ink pen and watercolor for a long time and I must say it’s a welcome change to try out different media.

Lamy replacement nib

I bought Jack a Lamy Safari extra-fine fountain pen. He likes it (though he bought a bunch of refills rather than deal with loading it from a bottle. The ink’s not waterproof but it’s a lot simpler to deal with if you’re not used to ink bottles) but prefers my new super thick and chunky nibbed Safari. I discovered that you can replace the nib on a Safari to a different style. You can buy the whole front end of the pen on the Lamy website for virtually what I paid for the complete pen but on ebay I found a guy selling just the nibs for a lot less. Hopefully,  we’ll get it next week and can make the swap.


After my bizarre pen experience yesterday, I hastily ordered a replacement. In fact, I got so carried away and was so vigorously cursing my old Safari that I ordered several replacements (“muttering “I wont be fooled again”). Another Lamy Safari extra fine, a second Lamy Safari pen with a broad nib (and a refill converter), and finally something pink called a Noodler’s Ink Flex Nib Piston Fill Pink Panther Fountain Pen.” It was a mad burst of self-indulgence brought on by grief, I’ll admit.

Then, this evening, reading the comments on my last post, I came upon a link recommended by Lisa Ridolfi which led me to a video explaining how to swap out nibs on Lamy pens.

As I watched the video, I thought, “Huh, so Lamy pens don’t usually have black plastic points, they have metal nibs. The black plastic bit is just the thing that the actual nib slides on to. Which could only mean that ….”And sure enough, after scrabbling around on my desk, I found the metal nib that I had accidentally yanked off as I tried to vigorously wipe down my newly filled pen. I slid it back into place, gave it another more delicate wipe down and the Safari is back on course. Huzzah!

Any day now, I shall have an embarrassment of new pens arriving in the mailbox which will fortunately will force me to draw all the more. I hope you will absorb you this pathetic anecdote as a cautionary tale, and that you will forgive any aspersions I have cast at the Lamy company and their fine products.



How weird!  This morning I posted about my pen and the ink I use in it. A pen I have used without incident, around the world, in book after book. A Lamy Safari Charcoal Extra Fine Point Fountain Pen – L17EF

This evening, my pen ran dry and so I refilled it, just like I have dozens of times before.. An hour later I picked it up to draw  — and it conked out.  It just felt like a strange plastic roller ball nib and wouldn’t produce a line. It was like a lifeless corpse in my hand. I cleaned it, refilled it, tried everything that would normally revive a wonky pen. Zilch.

There was nothing I could do but order a new Safari, a bright blue one this time.

That’s what I get for raving about a trusty old pal and for answering too many questions about it in one day. Rest in peace, Old Safari.