Sunday 22 September 2013


'Clarence' - Jez
Click on image to enlarge
Here's something I've never done before.  I went to get the box of inks to draw a new face for 29 FACES and on top of the box of inks was a strip of polystyrene, about 4 inches by 10 inches.  Since it came to hand to unexpectedly like that, I decided that I would try to create a face on the polystyrene.

The first thing I lifted out of the box of inks was a plastic pouch containing this pen and ink set:

I bought these pens last year but have only tried them once.  They seemed a really good idea, three pens with different sized nibs, and 12 cartridges of different coloured inks.  When I got them home I tried them out straight away and chose purple, yellow and orange.  But when I wanted to change for another colour cartridge I found that once a cartridge has been used and removed it can never be put back in again, even if you have only used a small quantity of ink.  If I have understood the instructions correctly, that means that to use all the colours I would have to buy another 9 pens.  So they have never been used again until now.  Very disappointing.

The materials were decided for me, so I only had to think of a subject to draw and when Clarence came to mind I was ready to start - but carefully because the polystyrene is rather soft.  This picture shows the side view of the polystyrene, showing that it is about half an inch thick.

When I had drawn the outline for Clarence, and the random lines for the background, I thought I'd see if the ink was water soluble, and got my paintbrush and water out.  Happily, just smudging the lines with the wet brush spread the ink and gave an effect I was pleased with.

The polystyrene was very fragile, and you can see where a chunk broke off where I held it.  An unexpected result was that the ink highlighted the circles of the polystyrene, which you can see a little more clearly if you click to enlarge the image.  Quite a co-incicence after drawing my 'circles' lady last week.

I'd be interested to know if anyone else has used polystyrene as a 'canvas' for a drawing/painting.


  1. Very interesting! It was great You tried the backround with water, it is artistic and wonderful now. I love Clarense, You have painted very well her charisma and look.

    I have painted to polystyrene but I have glued paper to it first.

  2. What a cool work Jez. You are very talented painter. Have a happy Sunday!

  3. I wish we had all these fantastic supplies you have in UK here. Another awesome drawing, my friend.

  4. very interesting technic and color choice...
    I love this portret

  5. Hi Jez, I like the haphazardly chosen materials for your portrait today, the result is fresh. I love the effect with the circles too.
    How irritating that you can't change the cartridges!

  6. I absolutely love the happy accident of the way the ink highlighted the texture of the background. Clarence is marvelous.

  7. I do like Clarence, he has quite a personality. Fascinating to read how you created him.

  8. Excellent, I like how you experiment with your faces.

  9. Love this in all it's purple and yellow glory... reminds me of Harry Potter meets Where's waldo....very very cool. No never tried polystyrene.. is it Styrofoam?

    Hugs Giggles

  10. I love the variety of your 29 Faces - fabulous. The Parallel Pens are fabulous too, just a bit of a mystery. You can buy packages of refills, so you don't have to buy the pens. Also, you can refill them with ink without the cartridge. I got the following info from my local calligraphy society: Carol DeBosch from Portland has written a page about using and taking apart parallel pens:

    Jane Carr has taken photos of the entire process of taking apart and filling the pen. You can view it here: (Preview)


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