Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blue-Blacks: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Ponders A New Obssession

Lately, Dr. Inkenstein has been, well, let's say highly INTERESTED in blue-black inks.  After all, they are our favorite colors, if you include those inks that lean teal, like Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku and Chesterfield Teal.

So based on various online reviews and scans, I tested a bunch of new inks (all except the Everflo, which is not at all new and has been on my ink hutch for years, and is not a true blue-black but it's here for comparison purposes).

Part of the 'fun'of testing inks is finding a perfect ink/pen combo.  The Nemos write dry.  The Hero and Lamys write wet.  The dip pen dips.  So many different factors, including paper!

The paper here was, uhh, an Office Depot composition notebook with Brazilian paper.  The scan looks different from the photo.  The differences are interesting.  The ink colors in real life are also different.  On to the particulars.

 Brand(s):  Everflo, Diamine, OrGaNicS Studios (sample courtesty of a pen pal), Private Reserve

Color(s): True Blue, Eau De Nil, BlakWa, Ebony Blue

Intensity:  Ebony Blue the highest and most saturated; the Diamine and OS less saturated.  Everflo was tough to place.  It's semi-saturated, and not a real BB, but whatever.  ;p

Flow:  All except the OS had decent flow, that is, until the PR EB had been in the pen for a couple of weeks, and then it needed multiple water-dips to start.  It also began smearing badly.  FPG had a discussion on similar problems with intensely saturated inks; it appears that it's just part of the breed.  Dilute or suffer.

The reluctant nature of the OS was not due to the pen (A Hero Summer Colors), because with its provided cart of Hero ink, that pen is an absolute gusher.  I believe the Diamine would have good flow but the Nemo pens are dry writers.

Shading:  None whatever in the Everflo.  All others had varying good degrees of shading, and the PR had SHEEN!

Summary:  While OS and Diamine Eau De Nil look almost identical on paper, in the scans and photos they look quite different, with the OS Blakwa appearing far more green.  Possibly the BlakWa shades a bit better than Eau De Nil.

What follows is the scan AND the photo of the four inks.

We have further blue-blacks to test: Noodler's Blue-Black, a sample of Chesterfield Night Sapphire, which I like a lot, and the cart that arrived with the Hero Summer Colors.  Until next year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Story of Ruth: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Paints Horses

Way back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and no one ever thought of the word 'collectible,' Dr. inkenstein owned some Breyer horse models.  Of course, they all vanished somewhere along the way, perhaps to the singularity in which also resides the collection of original Superman comic books.

More recently, I have been thinking about attaining Breyer models for the express purpose of re-painting them.  Maybe with some fantasy colors, blue-black, orange, with contrasting mane and tail.   Oh, not new Breyer models.  But maybe just a few worn and dinged-up numbers gathered at yard sales or fleabay.

Three years of searching yielded nothing that appealed to Dr. inkenstein's sense of True Cheapskatery.  And then one day this spring, we chanced upon a garage sale with Breyer horses.  Lots of them.  In all sizes.  Selling for the sort of pittance that sets my heart leaping.

I bought a bunch of them.  And there were still plenty left over for the next seeker.

My first painting project was inspired by the 1950s Biblical film, The Story of Ruth.  There was a horse in it.  A near-black horse with a Technicolor orange mane and tail.  And, as I fell asleep before the entire film unfolded, I was unable to tell if this was a natural horse color or a Hollywood Dye Job Horse Color.  But it really doesn't matter, because there are liver chestnut horses that come in those colors.  In real life.

One of the garage sale Breyers was a Stablemate flaxen chestnut (though an ebay figure was listed as sorrel)  which gave a good base for the liver makeover.  it was just a nice little flaxen chestnut with three stockings and a blaze.

Oversized pics.  But see? 

Out came the ancient Atelier acrylic paints: burnt umber, burnt sienna, cadmium orange, black, and a floating medium.  The first thin coat of burnt umber went on using a soft filbert brush, leaving mane and tail as they were for the moment.    After three coats I modified the mane and tail color with some burnt sienna and a touch of the cadmium orange on a liner brush.

Dr. Inkenstein's advice is: for a first horse-painting project, get something that you don't need to look at in a magnifying glass.   

This is the finished horsie.  I'm thinking of calling him Ruth.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: Kenshin does not own the Yuu Yuu Hakusho characters (they are the property of Togashi Yoshihiro et al), and does not make any money from said characters.
What Kenshin does own, however, are all the original charactersin this work. Any attempt to "borrow" these characters will be met with the katana, or worse.
Idiot Beloved takes place shortly after the Dark Tournament; Firebird Sweet follows. As reference, I use a combination of the subtitled YYH anime, the American manga, plus some of the CD dramas.
Want to know why Hiei refers to Kaitou as a 'playmate?' Read The Book of Cat With Moon. Who are the Kawasaki sisters? Maya's Tale has the answer.
The Imprint of Snow takes place after the close of Cat/Moon and revisits not only Yojigen Mansion, but Kaitou Yuu's second career as a popular novelist.
Title: The Imprint of Snow
Author: JaganshiKenshin
Genre: General
Rating: K+/PG-13
Summary: Christmas Eve would be a bad time to destroy Tokyo, so Kaitou Yuu drags Hiei out for a walk.
A/N: As always, thanks for reading this, and for your reviews!
An elusive snowflake heralds a message for Hiei.
The Imprint of Snow
Tokyo, Christmas Eve. Wanting to snow, but unable.
From Hiei's perch on the guard rail of the roof, the city lights were diamonds, rubies and emeralds, scattered on a velvet backdrop by an extravagant, unseen jeweler.
Pity if it should be wiped out.
A lone snowflake escaped its prison of lead-colored sky and zig-zagged down, gemlike in the reflected light.
Hiei extended a hand to catch it, but a breeze snatched it away.
He was melancholy, and fearful, but not alone.  Behind him, Kaitou Yuu said, "C-come down from there. You're making me n-nervous."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Maya's Tale: In Which Dr. Inkenstein Posts The Latest YYH Fic

Disclaimer: Kenshin does not own the Yuu Yuu Hakusho characters (they are the property of Togashi Yoshihiro et al), and does not make any money from said characters.
What Kenshin does own, however, are all the original characters in this work. Any attempt to "borrow" these characters will be met with the katana, or worse.
Idiot Beloved takes place shortly after the Dark Tournament; Firebird Sweet directly follows that timeline. For reference, I use a combination of the subtitled YYH anime and the American manga, plus some of the CD dramas.
Have you ever wondered what happened to Kitajima Maya, who appeared in the YYH manga extra and CD drama, "Two Shots?" Here is her story.
The action takes place right after the long story arc of The Book of Cat With Moon.
Title: Maya's Tale (C1: Prologue)
Author: JaganshiKenshin
Genre: Action/Adventure, General
Rating: K+/PG-13
Summary: On a lonely street in a derelict neighborhood, two sisters huddle in fear of a mysterious man.
A/N: As always, thank you for reading this, and I appreciate your reviews!
Maya's Tale (1: Prologue)
Though elderly, the Kawasaki sisters were neither cowards nor fools.
"Come away from the window, Ruth," called Olivia. "It's past midnight."
"He's out again," murmured Ruth.
"Oh, dear. Well, all the more reason to come away." Nevertheless, Olivia joined her sister to peer out the parlor's long lace curtains.
Their mother had been British; their father Japanese. Being of an industrious nature, dealing in antiquities, both parents had left their daughters not only a business and a tidy inheritance, but a Victorian house in a then-fashionable neighborhood.
In its heyday some 50 years ago, the street had been alive with the bustle of familiies: mothers pushing their little ones in strollers, students peddling off to school, fathers returning home from work.
Today, over half the houses were unoccupied.
The parlor was illuminated by a single brass lamp on the drum table in the far corner. It cast a warm, dim circle of light on the wing chair next to it, and was only meant to read by. But when Olivia glanced out the window, she fought the urge to turn it off altogether.
A street lamp bathed the sidewalk with furtive, icy light. Across the street, a rambling single-story house crouched like a sleeping beast, lightless and ominous.
"I can't see him."
"The streetlight," said Ruth. "He's behind it."
Having enjoyed the benefit of a pleasant, peaceful, family, both sisters were eager to re-create this in their own lives. It was not to be.
Younger than Ruth by some three years, Olivia had married three times, and each time the marriage had ended without the comfort of children, until she realized the fault lay with her.
Ruth had remained single. Both sister's generous mothering instincts were poured out onto every living soul lucky enough to cross their paths.
"There," whispered Ruth. "He just stepped out. Can he see us, do you think?"
"The way you carry on, you'd think he could hear us."
Sometimes, Olivia and Ruth spoke of selling the house, moving to a high-rise in a busier section of town.
But in the first place, the market being what it was, the street being what it was, who would buy?
In the second, this was their home. They were too stubborn to leave.
Ruth pointed. "He's got that camera, again."
Olivia lowered her voice to a whisper as well. "He gives me the shakes."
Strolling down the street was a tall man, of European descent, dressed in a long, fur-collared overcoat, as though for a Russian winter, with gloves red as blood and a fur hat, for all that it was April.
Judging by the loose skin of his jowls, he was in his 60s, and no one could say whether the neat moustache and goatee were an attempt to disguise or to emphasize that age.
The overall effect would be considered charming, or even comical, if not for his sinister aura.
"I can hear his footsteps," fretted Ruth. "I swear it."
Though not as susceptible to flights of fancy as dear Ruth, Olivia thought she could hear them, too: slow, measured, tolling out like a bell, doom, doom.
As if he knows, as if he is putting on a display.
"It's so cold," sighed Ruth.
"And getting dark so early."
"As though spring is afraid to come."
"Just like it was fifty years ago."
They looked at one another then, a hard measuring look. Had the time come to open the Vault?
What does he do with that camera?" fretted Ruth.
"Perhaps he photographs the moon," said Olivia, seeking to reassure her sister. "Or the clouds. Or houses."
"Don't say that, Olivia. Don't even think it!"
He stopped then, swiveling his head toward the house.
Olivia's mouth went dry. "That sweet little girl," she whispered. "You don't suppose-"
Ruth made no reply, but in the cold, dimly-lit parlor, she clutched at her sister's hand.
(To be continued: Early-morning television fare: alien abductions, Bigfoot, and ghosts)

The whole story is