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Airship Notebooks

Here’s an interesting architecture pencil drawing by Andy Estrada (@andy_estra) of a taco restaurant that appears to be a bit down on its luck.

Known much more for his expressive and unique character designs and sketches, Andy’s IG posts typically include anthropomorphic animals with facial expressions, gestures and poses that remind us of classic cartoon masterpiece magic… the characters are obviously animals, but you can see the human emotions painted (or sketched) on their face and the way they stand, slouch, or pose triumphantly is so utterly human you imagine yourself in the character’s shoes (or paws, as the case may be).

Andy uses his character design skills (perhaps unbeknownst to himself) to create this taco restaurant. Granted, you don’t see eyes or hands or anything like that, but the textures he uses, details he includes, and position, shape and posture he applies to everything in this sketch depicts a building that has seen better days. The result makes the structure almost like another character in a story, which gives new meaning to the term, “character building.”

Maybe at one time the building stood tall, straight and proud, happy to accept and welcome new customers with its bright plastered brick facade, shiny metal roof and inviting outdoor dining. But this restaurant has been ridden as hard as veteran pony express horse. Tough economic times and perhaps a location that attracts the bare minimum of foot traffic have left the proprietors in dire straits. And much like the portrait in the “Picture of Dorian Gray”, which changes as its owner performs greater and greater dastardly deeds, the disheartening business sales and forlorn emotions of the building’s restaurateurs have literally and figuratively depressed this building, causing it to bend and slouch.

Sure, we could also explain this all as poor maintenance practices and overall neglect (not to mention shotty construction and perhaps a lack of proper engineering). But because those factors tend to follow and trudge hand-in-hand with economic and emotional depression, this building’s “emotions” are the perfect symbolism for how its owners (and perhaps the entire neighborhood) are feeling.

This makes just as much of a statement as an architectural edifice or towering skyscraper might evoke the feelings of strength, power, and economic viability. Character design is truly important, but showing how those characters interact with and change (or how they have changed) their surroundings adds depth to your creations and helps to tell a story.

Be sure to head over the Andy’s page to check out his characters… many of which were drawn in his own Airship sketchbook. Oh, and perhaps you’ll consider checking out Andy’s photo book, which contains some of his works from Instagram, printed in a cool square shaped book.

Creature Iterative Sketching by Arthur Rodriguez

This great set of fantasy creature sketches by Arthur Rodriguez (@videogameartist1321) might make you think twice before diving into some murky waters. I love these scary looking sea monsters. Some of these creature concepts remind me a little bit of crocodiles, yet others are more humanoid in shape. All of them have some great textures and are awesomely inventive. They look so cool!

I realized recently that, although we sell SKETCHbooks, we rarely share pages of sketches. Sure, we post plenty of urbansketches… and many drawings that pro-artists call “sketches,” but that the standard fan (myself included) would just call “awesome pieces of art” (I’m talking to you Ian McQue)… but rarely do we share something like these iterative sketches from Arthur.

Iterative Sketching vs. Iterative Drawing

The term “iterative drawing” has been used previously by the artist, Sycra, but he used it more as a method of improving drawing skills quickly over time (it’s a great video by the way; be sure to check it out). I call it “iterative sketching” just as a way to describe what I think Arthur did to create this series of sketches—literally, sketching several iterations of a similar design over and over with minor variations. To be clear, I’m not trying to create a term out of nowhere, it’s just a way to describe one method of sketching that can help you to produce ideas.

There are many different ways to go about hashing out ideas and developing conceptual designs, and they should be used like tools in a toolbox to help you create. This is especially true when you have a creativity block; if one method of formulating ideas isn’t producing meaningful results, it’s helpful to be able to use a different method to keep the creative juices flowing. In this way, iterative sketching is an important design tool to have at your disposal when you’re trying to hash out an idea and dig yourself out of the chasm of barren creativity… one pencil or pen stroke at a time.

Yes, there are many times where you might be “in the zone” or you had an extra cup of coffee and the artwork just seems to flow out of you without any blocks whatsoever. An idea appears in your head and it comes so easily from your psyche that it feels like you’re pouring ideas through your pen (or pencil). But I’m sure every single one of you has faced difficult periods of artist’s block or times that you just feel uninspired or your brain refuses to be jumpstarted into epiphany.

Well, next time that happens, try some iterative sketching to prime your creative pump. Pick something random and draw it… even if you just need to pick up something odd from your desk or that coffee shop you frequent. Then think of a way to improve or change that object. Thinking not working too well? Then just add something to it… give the cup of coffee a pair of legs; apply a set of wings onto your water bottle; give your dog scales instead of fur… or, like Arthur did, figure out the creepiest way to draw awesome looking sea beasts with varying numbers of legs, teeth, and body shape. The more you do this, the easier it will get to fight through the quagmire of creative block. Think of it as stretching and exercising your brain… you know, the fun kind of exercising… with pen and ink.

Do you have a particular method of hashing out ideas and climbing out of the chasm of barren creativity? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Title- 4 Great Instagram Artists from Inktober

Inktober 2016 has been pretty awesome. So many artists have been killing it with daily posts of pen-and-ink drawings, sketches and illustrations that have proven to be not only great looking, but also massively entertaining.

We thought we’d mention a few Instagram artists who we’ve been enjoying over the over the past month to not only highlight them for their skill, but also to inspire others to create great artwork AND give people some great content to binge on.

Over the past month, we’ve seen people take on the general Inktober challenge of “drawing every day” in three distinct ways:

  • Follow Jake Parker‘s 2016 Drawing Prompts, creating marvelous single panel scenes of artwork every day. Some people even created daily artwork with a theme, such as drawing various types of dragons acting out that particular day’s prompt. (If you’re curious about what the prompts were, you can check out our post about Inktober here.)
  • Tell Short Stories One Day at a Time. Some artists (including Jake Parker himself) created short stories, where they would post a panel of illustrated storyline every day together with a short caption to add a bit of written narrative. Now you can go through and binge on their artwork and get the full storyline in a matter of minutes instead of having to wait a full month!
  • Just Draw Every Day. Many of the artists we came across chose to just take on the main challenge of Inktober. Draw something in ink. Post it. Repeat the next day. This resulted in tons of great artwork… you know, if you printed it all out and weighed it…

We’ll start off today with some of the artists that followed Jake’s prompts. Then post some the other two “categories” later this week. Hope you enjoy it all!

Dimitris Pantazis (@dimitriskpantazis)

Houdini's Escape by Dimitris Pantazis Dimitris Pantaszis’ Inktober illustrations cover a lot of ground. His lineup has included everything from comic book characters like the Hulk, Spiderman, and Hellboy; to heavy emotional drawings of soldiers in battle, to cartoon characters like Spongebob and Wile E. Coyote. Even a chained Harry Houdini made an appearance, as he plots his Escape (i.e., the prompt word from Inktober Day 18) as shown in the example drawing.

Dimitris’ work is more than just two-dimensional, pen-and-ink drawings. He weaves in emotive details to add a very human quality to the pieces he draws, which are interesting as much as they are entertaining to page through.

You can also find Dimitris’ work on Facebook. He accepts commissions through DM on both Facebook and Instagram.

Katie Marie Newman (@ktdoesart)

Big Whales by Katie Marie Newman

Katie Marie Newman is an Oregan-based illustrator whose drawings are incredibly imaginative and densely detailed. Some depict fanciful beasts inhabiting wondrous lands, while others show people on the verge of bridging the gap between the mundane real world and supernatural realms.

This particular illustration of a pair of enormous flying whales soaring amongst the clouds with a wiley human passenger in tow connects both of Katie’s preferred themes, while also covering the prompt from Inktober Day 21, “Big.”

Go check out Instragram for all of her great Inktober pieces, or head over to Katie’s website for some great color illustrations, or check out her Etsy shop for prints for sale.

Charles Lister (@CharlesLister)

Hot Rock Magma by Charles Lister

Charles Lister is an artist who specializes in character design. This “specialization” is extremely evident in Charles’ Inktober posts, as is his artistic skill. Each day in October, Charles created a monster that either embodied or acted out the Inktober 2016 prompt of the day. The theme for the example illustration? Rock.

Seems about right, does it?

All of Charles’ drawings are massively detailed and well thought out… though, just to warn you, I do not use the term “monsters” lightly. Some are a bit gruesome! But his page is still worth the visit.

If you like his work on Instagram, you can find prints of some of Charles’ other illustrations over at INPRNT.

Rosie of @dotDOLLplushies

Hidden Dragon by dotDOLLplushies

Rosie (Elizabeth Rose Best) makes and sells plush creatures on Etsy.

She also is a wonderful watercolor artist and has used Jake Parker’s prompts with beautifully painted ink drawings of dragons. Some are majestic dragons, some are depictions of terrible dragons, like Smaug from The Hobbit, and others are a bit more whimsical and silly. However, they all have one thing in common:  They are great pieces of art with amazing colors!

The above example shows an older green dragon swimming down a river, “Hidden” from view by acting like a large fallen tree, just as suggested in the Inktober 2016 Day 6 prompt.

Well, that’s it for now. Be sure to check out our Instagram to see some other great pieces of artwork and get inspired to create your own!

A potential customer asked us a very specific question:

“If I am using your Autoquill Fineliner pens on smooth Bristol board paper, will the ink smear or streak when I color overtop of them with markers that have alcohol-based ink (i.e., art markers including, but not limited to, Copic, Blick Studio, and Prismacolor Premier)?”

We had tested these in the past, but thought it would be helpful to provide proof. So we set up a little test (described below), and a short video (shown below):



Six (6) circles were drawn with our No. 10 (1.0 mm thickness) Autoquill. Each circle was drawn at a slightly different time, allowing the ink to only dry for a progressively shorter period each time a circle was drawn. Those intervals included:

  • 1 Minute
  • 45 Seconds
  • 30 Seconds
  • 15 Seconds
  • 10 Seconds
  • 5 Seconds

A single stroke of the alcohol-based marker’s broad tip was then applied to each inked circle.


Regardless of the length of drying time, we experienced no smearing on the smooth Bristol board paper.

This short movie was filmed in time-lapse for the sake of not making the viewers wait around for the results. Hope you find it useful!

If anyone else has questions or comments about our fineliner pens, please feel free to email us at info@airshipnotebooks.com, send us a tweet (@airshipnotebook), or find us on Facebook.

If you’re interesting in find out more about our Autoquill Fineliner art pens, visit these links to find out about the 3 different sized packs they come in: 3-pack, a 6-pack, and a 10-pack. Or visit www.amazon.com/shop/airship for link to all of our products.

(EDIT: The person purchased our pens after seeing the video, so she would no longer be considered a “potential customer,” hence the strike-out at the beginning of the post.)

Inktober is a month-long challenge meant to encourage artists and creative-minded to draw something every day.

Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009. As he says on his website, it was originally a challenge to himself to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. That modest personal challenge has since grown into a worldwide creative contest, where your only opponent is yourself, your only goal is to create something, and your only prize is the improvement of your own skills… well, maybe not your only prize. More information can be found here.

This year, Airship Notebooks is giving away some cool art supplies to our followers in the United States, Canada, Latin America, United Kingdom and European! (See the Terms & Conditions for a list of applicable countries.)

In true Inktober tradition, we’re a few days behind. But that just shows you that you can start at any point during Inktober, not just at the beginning!

How Do You Enter Airship’s Inktober Contest?

The rules for entry are very simple and are meant to encourage you to create something in ink every day. Check out this video for contest rules (or just scroll down… all the info in provided in text, too):

  1. Draw, Write, or Create Something in Ink.
  2. Post it on Instagram or Twitter
  3. Tag the post with #AirshipInktober2016 &#Inktober2016
  4. Every Saturday starting on October 8, 2016 we will tally up the tags and randomly select one person to win. You get one entry for every day you post with the tag.

Also, it is recommended that you tag us @airshipnotebooks on Instagram and @airshipnotebook on Twitter so we make sure to see your post!

Posting on a Saturday will enter you in to win the following Saturday. For example, if you post on October 8, 2016, you will be entered to win on October 15, 2016.

Here again are the official Terms & Conditions.

That’s Great! But What Will I Win?

Airship stuff! Pens, Notebooks, Sketchbooks, and Stickers.

The prizes for each week will be announced each Saturday, starting October 8, 2016, along with the winner for that week.

But I Don’t Know What to Create!

Not sure what to draw, write or create? Well, Jake Parker already thought of that and provided some prompts:

Inktober 2016 Prompt List

You’re not limited to this list, though, you can make anything you want… it just needs to be in ink.

What Ink Should I Use?

You can draw, paint, write, or create with any ink, brush, or pen you want to use… though we will of course recommend our own Autoquill Fineliners, which come in a 3-pack, a 6-pack, and a 10-pack. You can find more info by following those links, or clicking here.


Question? Send us a tweet or email social@airshipnotebooks.com.

Introducing Airship Notebooks’ Autoquill Fineliner Art Pens!

Below is a video we put together to showcase some of the great features of our new product, the Autoquill Fineliner art pen, come in a 3-pack, a 6-pack, and a 10-pack. Click here to see all of Airship Notebooks’ products at our Amazon Store page.

For People Who Need Fine Quality Pens with Reliable Ink Delivery

Ready for You When a Creative Thought Strikes!

  • Autoquill Fineliners deliver high-quality, fade resistant lines every time.
  • Quick-drying, alcohol-based ink provides a smear-free experience.
  • Archival quality for when you want to make your mark… and keep it there!

Perfect For Everyone, No Matter What You Use Them For!

Are you an artist or a writer? Technical professional or document signer? Illustrator or Architect? Do you work in special effects? Are you a hobbyist crafter or manga drafter? Do you need unparalleled permanence in your pen products at home and at the office? These are the pens for you!

Ideal for drawing, sketching, inking, journalling, illustrating, writing, and Being Awesome. (You want to be awesome, don’t you?)

Why Should You Buy the Autoquill Fineliner Pen Set?

  • Perfect for pen and ink illustrations ranging from black-and-white drawings to art marker and watercolor.
  • This waterproof ink won’t run, smear or feather.
  • The set comes in a portable, organizable, stackable PVC box to take the forever-ink wherever you go. Great for EDC (Everyday Carry) enthusiasts!

Visit our Amazon Storefront and Buy Autoquill Pens!

Sean Murray Urbansketch

Check out this great plein air, pen-and-ink urbansketch by Sean Murray (originally posted on his Instagram, @seanandrewmurray) in his Airship AlphaSketch sketchbook! The building is some cool looking multi-storied structure out in Beverly Hills, California. Pretty awesome piece from this new Airship Artist!

Sean did a great job capturing the scroll-work on the four corners near the top of the building, and the perspective of those corners was drawn really well (well, I’m assuming there’s a fourth corner on the building… we can only see three). The architectural details just under scrolled corners look really cool, as does that balcony and all the urns and other stone decorations wrapping the dome roof.

Other Work by Sean Murray

While I know that this was a #sketch based on a real building, I’m so used to enjoying Sean’s fantasy world, The Great City of Gateway, that I feel like some tentacled flying monster should jet out of the penthouse of this tower, followed shortly thereafter by the wizard that accidentally summoned it into existence.

I suppose it is entirely possible that this tower is actually a nexus hub between our reality and Gateway… a copy exists in some lost section of the sprawling city, awaiting a wizard with the proper arcane wherewithal to open the rift and the physical fortitude to both perform the necessary hours-long ritual and withstand the toll that the spell would have on the body.

Sean Murray Squid Windmill

Or maybe it’s just an innocuous drawing by a super-talented artist in his beautiful sketchbook (yes, I’m biased, but I’m allowed to be)… though I still think it’d be awesome if an airborne squid landed on that tower, though… like the cephalopods that Sean showed us in December 2015 that really love windmills.

If you haven’t come across Sean’s work yet and you like fantasy art and/or architectural design (with and without fantasy elements), then be sure to check out the links below to Sean’s website and social media posts.


Sean’s personal website

The City of Gateway

@seanandrewmurray on Instagram

@SeanMurray_Art on Twitter

The Art of Sean Andrew Murray on Facebook.

Also, keep an eye out in early 2017 for a tabletop game from the game publishing company CMON, which will be set in one section of Sean’s City of Gateway. Read more here if you’re interested.

Cool piece of pen-and-ink animal artwork by Marissa Quinn (@marissaquinn) of a pair of narwhals fencing (presumably) in front of a beautiful moon and ocean wave abstract background. Marissa’s drawings are a hybrid between on biological illustration (typically anatomically correct, realistically drawn sea mammals) and surrealist art.

I like how the poses of each narwhal are similar to the shape of the wave, and how, in a black and white drawing, the splash pattern of the wave is aesthetically similar with the individual spotted patterns on the narwhals’ skin. Marissa also did a great job depicting the subtle lighting cast on the bellies of the whales from the full moon, and the shading of their less lit backs. Great little piece, Marissa!

If you enjoy nature and animal artwork, I suggest you check out Marissa’s Instagram for more great illustrations, many of which are for sale as prints. Marissa also has a Kickstarter: http://ift.tt/1TsxK2a (short link to the Kickstarter)!

She will be traveling up and down the West Coast of the US, camping, exploring, and hiking, sketching and plein air drawing all the while along the way. When that is done, the sketchbook art will be blended together with narrative and poetry to create a kind of experiential book promoting the importance of protecting and restoring wilderness areas and their natural processes. Go check it out!


via Tumblr http://ift.tt/1WJ1QnN

Marvelously epic sketchbook fantasy illustration by Katie Marie Newman (@ktdoesart) of a flying turtle with a castle on its back!

Did I say epic?

Yes I did. And when I say “epic,” I mean it in the literary sense, referring to a type of story where a person must travel far and wide on a harrowing and dangerous quest in search of a long-lost treasure or artifact or… or… something that would necessitate you lassoing a giant flying turtle to access a castle’s tower located on the soaring reptile’s back! It’s a way for Katie to carry her dreams with her…. a really cool idea.

The details of this drawing are INCREDIBLE. From the stippling on the turtle scales, to the pathways and vegetation around the castle, to the architectural details on the castle itself, and all the people relaxing and enjoying themselves aboard the “turtleship”… it’s just full of so many wonderful and awesome things (dictionary definition of “awesome,” by the way).

You really created something great with this piece of artwork, Katie. I look forward to enjoying more of your are in the future!

For everyone else, be sure to check out Katie’s Instagram page or www.katienewmanillustration.com, won’t you? You won’t regret it!

(Shared from Instagram http://ift.tt/1UwQRfO)

Cool looking pen-and-ink sketch by Anthony Bordon (@zigscorner) of an airship (starship?) that he has classified as an “CONDOR,” an Allied Federation Gunship. According to Anthony description:

“These gunships are armed to the teeth and can transport shock troops and equipment behind enemy lines with surgical precision.”

Awesome concept art drawing. I think the mechanisms under the wings are turbines and/or engines, and I see two guns mounted to the central top mound of the ship… but I’m not sure if there are other guns… maybe they’re hidden? Why send in a ship that LOOKS armed to the teeth when you can surprise the enemy, right?

Anyway, love the design and the little bit of backstory that you included with this illustration, Anthony. It’s cool how you added just a slight bit of copic shading to make the gunship “pop” a bit, even though you mentioned it was a work-in-progress. Really looking forward to seeing more artwork!

(Shared from Instagram http://ift.tt/1TjvDwF)

Here’s a cool urbansketch illustration by Haode Lin (@ar.ar) of a canal in Venice, Italy, a small marina, and the buildings that over them, drawn with what looks to be a Staedler Pigment Fineliner. I love the composition of this drawing, like how the buildings and the canal all run off into the distance and the placement of the boats in the horizontal center.

The use of line hatching on the surface of the water to show the density of shadow and differences in lighting, even on a black-and-white drawing, is really great. It’s also very impressive how Haode decided to include all the architectural details that are shown, as well as all of the boats and gondolas, and all those pilings in the water. It must had taken some time to complete, but the result is a marvelous representation of a waterway in Venice.

Great architecture. Great nautical, ship, and dock details. Great inclusion of the single gondola boatman, which adds just the right amount of character. Really just a great illustration overall, Haode.

(Shared from Instagram http://ift.tt/1SJpEoU)

This pen-and-ink architecture illustration by Lorenzo Concas (@lore2984) of the church of Notre Dame du Sablon in Brussels, Belgium is magnificent!

The realism is so impressive, what with the “big” details like the overall gothic architectural style of vaulting arches and window design and frames, as well as the little details like crenulations on the ridgeline of the rooftop, and the eaves on the exterior walls, and the AMAZING job illustrating the lighting and shadows. Great piece, Lorenzo!

Find more artwork and some cool photographs from Lorenzo on his Instagram, and also at http://www.lorenzoconcas.com.

Also, in case you are interested, the copic marker that was used in this drawing is available on Amazon:  Copic Sketch Set of “Sketching Grays.”
(Shared from Instagram http://ift.tt/1rrFpGU)

Awesome airship perspective illustrations by an Instagram artist named Clare under the handle, @blckpen. When I first came across this drawing of the front and back view of this impressive-looking flying machine,and saw all the clean lines and intricate details of the ship, and the perspective frame in the background, I thought it was a digital model! But no… this was all drawn by hand by Clare on 11″ x 17″ paper! And all in pencil! This is really awe-inspiring.

This just names a few of the great realistic details, but there’s filigree on the backside of the massive steampunk-style engine, and the length of the planks on the stern (front) along the keel (bottom) of the flying ship are not uniform lengths, and there are pipes & conduits on the turbines, and there is a little chimney coming out of the cabin (like for a potbelly stove), and a little weather vane! Massively impressive piece of artwork, Clare!

If you like this, be sure to check out more of Clare’s work on Instagram, @blckpen.

(Shared from Airship Notebook’s Instagram: http://ift.tt/1NPEaeJ)

Here is a beautiful watercolor illustration by Manuel Cabello (@manucabello) of the Little Prince, and his friends the Rose and the Fox, standing on the Prince’s tiny world. I love the expression on the Prince’s face as he holds up his sword, and I think the use of watercolors in this painting and Manuel’s artistic skill made outer space and the planets in the background really something incredible.

In case you do not know, “Le Petit Prince” (or “The Little Prince“) was a written by French author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and published in 1943. It has been an iconic childrens’ book for many years, with unique and memorable artwork. It had many elements of science fiction and fantasy, but many people just saw it as a childrens’ book and a coming-of-age tale of sorts. Manuel drew his own interpretation of “El Principito” and I think he did an amazing job!

You can find more of Manuel’s work on his Instagram and at his website, manucabello.blogspot.com.


Rainy Morning Sea Foliage by Marissa Quinn (@marissaquinn on Instagram)

“My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow~

Wading through ankle-deep shallows of a clear, blue sea one rainy summer morning, overlooked by a bountiful breathtaking field of sunflower, you come across an outcropping of crystalline coral.

A few sun rays pierce the clouds, refracting in the crystals. Rainbow light bathes the waters and white sands at its base in rainbow light. Old sunflowers and new seaweed cling to the outcrop like they’ll never let go.

A starfish waves hello.

Left speechless, you capture every detail in the annals of your mind until you can express what you saw in some meaningful way when time allows.

After all, there are more things to discover… and it’s not even low tide yet.

I love the little details in this pen and ink piece… from the structure of the crystals to the nodules on the starfish to the striations on the shells. It’s a conglomeration of ideas that was pieced together very well. This attention to detail extends to Marissa’s other drawings, too.

Marissa has other great pieces, some similar and some different from “Rainy Morning Sea Foliage”, so I highly recommend you check out Marissa’s other pieces on her Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr, or check out her website (http://www.marissaquinn-art.com/).

– – – – – – –

As you all have probably gathered by now, I do not “review” pieces I don’t like. I suppose using the term  “Regram Review” for these posts is a misnomer, but I’m a sucker for alliteration, so it’s gonna stick for now.

As is the case with this piece by Marissa Quinn, I like to find art that evokes a certain feeling; something that delves deeper than the two-dimensional page (or screen) it appears on.

While I’m sure the artists each have their own idea about what their drawings, paintings, sketches, and illustrations evoke or why they chose to add certain elements to their artwork, I also personally believe that the great thing about the arts in general is that they speak to each of us in a slightly (or totally) different way. There is no one way of seeing things.

Again, Marissa’s got a lot of great pen and ink pieces you should check out, and stay tuned for more Airship Regram Review.