Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pens and Inks

Pens and inks. My foray into calligraphy leads me into both.

That inexpensive chiseled-edge felt tip no longer lays down a nice even swath and corner lining is light and scratchy at best. My speedball square nibs are a most welcome respite. I've a kit of Rotring calligraphic pens on the way and I think they'll be handy for easy practice like the felt tip in that dipless way, but with the advantage of a good metal edge.

I've quite accidentally came upon ink permanence. Oh a whim, I ran a wet finger across this felt tip Gothic practice and was completely taken by surprise! The colors are absolutely lovely... of course, if that is what one wants.

Next up for the wet finger test came the Rotring ArtPen. The ink comes in little cartridges from Rotring. This stuff just completely falls apart.

And here we wrap things up with Higgins India ink. The "N" smeared just a bit and I suspect that was because the ink hadn't time to cure up completely. That little block in the corner had a bit longer to dry.

Along with my recent calligraphy book, two additions on illuminations joined the library this week. More on these inspirational texts soon. Having little clue on how to get under way, but still with some curiosity, I messed around on this little exercise with graphite and a couple of Prismas.


  1. A favorite quote of mine that I have lost the exact words to as well as the author, goes something like this:
    "Art is really just a continuing act of making mistakes. An artist is someone who knows which mistakes to keep!"
    Experimenting is what it's all about!

  2. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. I've just spent the last hour in delightful amusement--those cartoons do remind me of someplace I frequent...

    This is all an individual thing, isn't it? Once the basics are in place, there is no "right" or "wrong".

  3. Great experiments. The smudged Rotring ink looks like a little Chinese cloud. And the Prisma texture is lovely. Would make a good background for a miniature. What sort of paper were you using? With an ochre/yellow pencil that might look very like powdered gold. Hmm ...

    John, you might like Renaissance white-vine illuminations. Hope there is an example in your new books. No reason why the foliage shouldn't be skunk cabbage, either :-)

  4. I too saw a Chinese painting in that smudge. All those images on a Canson 65 lb sketch pad.

    Wow, we're on the same wavelength here. I did another little weave with yellow pencil! I have some W&N Gold Gouache coming in this week. I'm wondering how gold this gold will be.

    Yes, I do have some Renaissance examples in my books. I guess I've been feeling this commitment to Gothic since starting with that hand. Time to give up on that! :-)