Getting Started: Swatching Pens | Jessie Parker | Skillshare

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Getting Started: Swatching Pens

teacher avatar Jessie Parker, Sparkle Enthusiast

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Swatch Examples

    • 3. The Importance of Paper

    • 4. Final Project

    • 5. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Swatching is a great, fundamental way to test out new art supplies, or to kick off a new project. (It's also a really great way to still create through a creative slump!) In this class, I'll show students some of my preferred ways of creating swatches, to give them a sense of what a helpful tool this can be, while also encouraging them to try out different methods to discover what best suits them. It's such an easily customizable tool that they don't have to settle for a one-size-fits-all!

This class is designed to help students break in their new art supplies, or even to dust off old supplies that haven’t been used in awhile. Students will learn the purpose behind a swatch sheet, which helps them to not only get a feel for their pens, like how they write on different kinds of paper, but also to get to see how the actual colors show up on the page. (On a personal note, I can't tell you how many pens I've returned because they didn't look how I'd expected, or I didn't like how they felt against the paper!)

I will explain to students a few different ways swatches can be practically applied per their needs - testing new pens, keeping track of colors for a specific project, or comparing across different brands - as well as demonstrating how different kinds of paper can affect how a pen looks, which is important in project planning. For their final project, the students will each create their own swatches along with me, and upload them to the class project so I can see what they've created!

The best part is there is no previous skill needed to complete this class, and there are no special tools beyond whatever pens, markers, or even colored pencils they already have on hand and wish to use. There’s no special paper need either, printer paper works fine, or even any notebook they have lying around nearby. The more they practice with swatching, the more they'll hone and develop their own personal preferences.

This class is for:

• Illustrators

• Doodlers / Zentanglers

• Letterers

• Calligraphers

• Bujo-ers

• Designers

• Visual Artists

• Anyone who likes to organize their supplies

• Anyone with unused supplies being saved for a special occasion


Meet Your Teacher

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Jessie Parker

Sparkle Enthusiast


Hello, I'm Jessie! I'm an artist currently playing around with calligraphy and watercolors, but I'm also an experienced video editor. I love arts and crafts, and am constantly inspired by all the other creators around me!

I've had such a great time meeting people through this community, even being inspired to teach my own class.

Follow me here so you're among the first to know when I launch my next class, or follow me on Instagram @JessieMakesStuff to see what I'm up to more regularly. Or check out my website to see my other work :)

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1. Intro: My name is Jessie, and I'm here today to teach you about watching. If you're not familiar with logic, it's a basic exercise where you sample your art supplies just to see what the colors look like. I'm gonna be using pens for my examples today, but really swatches could be made with any arts of bus just to tell you a little bit about myself. I always been into arts and crafts, and I've done all kinds of art over the years throughout different kinds of mediums, and lately I've been working a lot with water colors and calligraphy. And throughout this journey of learning about lettering and modern calligraphy, I have amassed this insane collection of pens that started with, you know, seeing other artists on instagram, what they were using and desperately needing to own it and try it for myself that maybe some of you are nodding along at home because I cannot be the only person who's done that. But the reality is that with this many are supplies, you know. Chances are they're not actually getting used color swatches, a really great solution that it's not only a great way for me to test out the look in the feel of some new pens, but it's also a really great excuse for me to break out some of the old pens, and I haven't used it forever. I also for that same reason, find that colors watching is really helpful when I'm in a creative slump. I don't know if you've had this happened, but sometimes I really want to make something today, and I don't know what that something is. And then I just sit there, frustrated that I can't come up with any ideas, a color swatches of great activity, because it's kind of mindless and repetitive, and you can use the pens that you have on hand. And at the end of it, I not only have a finished product, but I also have the time find that I'm inspired by whatever colors I was using, and that goes on to be the palate for my next project. During this class, I'll show you examples of color swatches that I've created. Sometimes I am just testing out a new set of pens. Other times I'm trying to figure out which colors go best together for a new project. I will give you all my tips and insights and suggestions to help you figure out which technique might work best for whatever projects you are working on. And for your final project, I'll walk you through a simple exercise where you're going to get to create your own swatches. Thank you so much for joining me today and let's get started. 2. Swatch Examples: I think that how you're going to create your SWAT sheets is going to be a personal preference. I prefer to cut little pieces of card stock, and the great thing about this is, if you cut it to size Aiken, store it right in the package with the pens. It also makes them easy to compare to each other or to bring one to the store. If you need a reference for what you already have, other people might prefer to use a notebook. That way you can keep all your colors in one place, so it's all just a personal preference of how you like to work and how you prefer to keep organized. For my first example, I created a swatch for this set of Sharpie pens, and since each color was unique enough, I thought it would be a good idea just to write the name of each color. You know, if I go back and look at the Pac, I'm not gonna have a hard time figuring out which is the dark green and which is the light green. This is just another example of how you contest out the pens instead of writing each of the colors of the pens on it. I just wrote the same word over and over so I could compare you to the colors to each other , and it yields the same results as if I were writing out each of the colors like I did with a Sharpie example. It particularly works well for a set of pens in which there's only one of each color. So I have no doubt this is the red from the set. I have no doubt this is the orange from the set, because those were the only ones of each color in the set. And while some packs like this won't come with a bunch of distinct colors in it, so you can easily see the difference between them. Some packs come with multiple colors that look very similar, like this set of Tom Bo pens. And yes, we can see the difference between them on the hen caps. But that is not always the most reliable way to tell the difference. And I'll show you some examples of that and a little bit. If you are making a color swatch of a set like this, it might be a little more difficult to label the colors according to name like we did with Sharpies. It's over this palette. I used a different method. The good news is each of these pens has a number, so the swatches easy to label. Since this is a dual tip pen, I decided to make my SWAT, she testing out both sides of it. The first side is a thicker brush pen that you could use for lettering and calligraphy, and the other side is a finer tip marker. In this way, I get to test out what the pen feels like against the paper. But I also get to actually see what it looks like, one compared with the other side of the pen and alongside the other colors. So for these two pence, as you could see, the colors air pretty similar to each other. They're both shades of pink, but on the paper you conceive that the colors are distinct from each other. Just to show you another example. Based on the color of these pens, I would expect one of them to be a late aqua and one of them to be a darker aqua. That's why I label the paper so you can see the difference when I actually right with them . First up is the lighter Aqua Penn, and next I'm gonna draw a line with the darker, adequate pen. As you could see from the paper, These colors are a lot more similar than you'd believe, just based on the color of the pence. So you can always go by the pen cap when you're trying to figure out which color you want to use, Which is why a SWAT sheet is very handy. Here's an example from one of my personal projects this project I did for Martin Luther King Junior's birthday. I knew which colors I wanted to use. I just didn't know which said the pens would look best together. So as you can see, I created a SWAT sheet for the project. I tested out multiple different colors of purple. I tested out multiple blues and light blues as well as pinks. They can even come in handy when you're trying to work things out in the middle of a project. Like even before I was deciding if I wanted to add stars to the project, I tested them out on the Swat sheet. Here's another example. Typically, what I would do in this case is I pull a bunch of pens of the same colors that I'm testing out. And as I try each one and determine whether or not I want to use it, I had to keep it next to me or I put it back in its case. As you can see, I chose two shades of the teal, but I tested out a few more. Plus, I tested out some arms watches, but I didn't end up using them for the final project. In this video, I was mostly focused on showing you color swatches, but in the next one, I'll show you what a big difference your paper can make. 3. The Importance of Paper: watching is not only a great exercise for testing out the color of pens, but another great uses to see how pens look on different kinds of paper, and a great way to compare them easily is tow. Line them up right next to each other. You could see that the smallest pen size of this one actually looks a little bit thinner than the small of Penn size of this one, and each of depends on the left took to the paper really well. Where is it? Looks like the ones on the right blood a little bit. This is a great example of how to very similar pen sets that, by all accounts, should be exactly the same. Look very different once you put them on to the actual paper. So it's not only a good tool for within each set dependents, but it's a really great tool you can use to compare your difference. That depends to each other. So I've explained to you that I prefer to use card stock for my swatches, but just to give you a clear example what I mean when I tell you that different pens write differently on different kinds, of paper I want to show you. So I'm going to use printer, paper, marker, paper card stock and off white paper just so you could see how the colors translate differently and even beyond using different kinds of paper. I've noticed that if I use one side of my marker paper versus the other colors show up differently on each one. So I just want to show you a full example of the same colors, and I'm going to use them across all different kinds of paper. So let's get started for this example. I'm gonna be using some of my brush pens just so you could see how each paper absorbs the amount of ink that's coming out of each pen. And so they're gonna have a lot more than if you were writing with a ballpoint pen or if you were just writing with a fine liner. For my first example, I'm going to use this pen from art 101 It leaves nice thick brush strokes, and it also leaves a fair amount of liquid behind, depending on the kind of paper using. So for the printer paper, all I'm going to do is make a simple stroke and you see nice, thick line kind of dry looking. But the color is still vibrant. When I do it on the marker paper, you see that the color shows up a little more lightly, and to me it looks a little bit smoother because there's not the same texture that you have in the printer paper. And just since we're on the marker paper already, this is the side a of the marker paper, and this is the side B of the marker paper. Notice how much more vibrant it shows up on side B of the paper versus side A. On the card stock. We still have a nice, thick, vibrant line, and on the off white color, you could see how there's now a yellow tint to the purple. I'm gonna show you another example. Using a telly creates dream pen. Here's a Tom bow, and for my final example, I'll be using this Karen Markers pen. So here's what shows up on the marker paper. I'm not sure if you could see this, but you can see all that ink sitting on top of the paper that in the printer paper it's been immediately absorbed. So this is side A of the marker paper, and this is side B of the marker paper. In this case, the color is still sitting on top of it, pretty. Similarly, with the card stock, it absorbs a little quicker than the marker paper, but not as fast as the printer paper and on the off white paper. I don't know if you could see how quickly it was absorbed into the paper, as opposed to the marker paper where you can still see. There's a little bit of shine left from the liquid that still absorbing into the paper. So I hope this was helpful exercise for you to see how different pens showed up differently across different kinds of paper. Now it's time for a quick stretch and to go gather your supplies for your final project. 4. Final Project: for your final project today, I'm going to walk you through a SWAT sheet so all you need is a set of pens and a piece of paper. You can totally use whatever materials you have around. If you don't have a set of pens, you can use colored pencils or markers or kranz, and you can use whatever paper you have on hand. If you have printer paper, a notebook that works great. I'm gonna be using card stock today because that's what I prefer to use for my swatches. I've chosen a rainbow set of pen, so there's one of each color, and I'm going to write out the name of each color as it corresponds to each pen. Depending on your set up ends, you might want to do the exact same thing I'm doing. Or you may choose to pick a word or a design that you'd like to carry for your project. These SWAT sheets air for you, so feel free to use whatever level of detail you prefer. The one thing I would recommend is that if you're using finer pens, you do more than just a straight line. So the first thing I'm gonna ask you to Dio is somewhere in your paper. I'm gonna write it on the top, but you can write it wherever is right. The name of your pens. Just so when you have a collection of swatches one day you'll know which ones this sheet goes to. So these pens air e k tools. If there's more information on these pens that you'd like to add to your sheet, by all means, you should do it. These are 0.45 millimeter, so I could add that next to where it says ikea tools. But the truth is, I only have one set of these, so I'm not gonna get them confused with any others. As I said, I'm just gonna be writing out the name of each color of each pen. So I'm gonna take my first pen, which is red, and I'm simply going to write read. My next pen is yellow. So I'm going to write yellow. Any guesses? What I'm gonna write for Green now I have blue one of my favorite colors purple My other favorite if you couldn't tell for my hair pink. Next we have brown, finally black and that's it. You've just created your first swat sheet. Congratulations. 5. Final Thoughts: The great thing about watching is there isn't a right or wrong way to do it. It's all just a matter of style. So what I've shown you today is just my style. It isn't necessarily the right way, and it certainly isn't the only way. As you play with this more, you'll develop your own style. If you're a doodler who loves drawing flowers, there's no reason your SWAT sheet shouldn't reflect that. If you do bullet journaling, why not practice using the days of the week? And if you're in a creative slump, you'll still get results. If you use the word hello or your name. And if you're on instagram or you do a Web search, you'll find so many more ideas on ways you can make your swatches more formal or even more decorative. Thank you for joining me today, and I really hope you enjoy this class on colors watching. Hopefully, your take away is what a useful and helpful tool this is and not only keeping your supplies organized but also in helping you organize upcoming projects. If you have any questions for me, please leave them in the comments below and I'll get back to you. And please don't forget to upload your final project so I can see what you make