I’ve been quite curious about dip pens for the last few months, wondering if they might help with some of the frustrations I have with the technical pens I use to ink my comics, as well as help create more dynamic lines in my work.
The evening of the very day Ian advised me on my first nib purchase, Manga Goddess Rinko Endo gave us manga nibs she’d brought from Japan. She did not know I had just bought my first nib holders that day. This was a synchronicity too strong to ignore.
So since then, I’ve been working to keep ink off my hand and gently guide it where I want it to dry on paper. Being left handed, this is an especially challenging undertaking.
Working with a nib, I’m finding, is a kind of dance. It’s important to learn how your partner moves, and doesn’t. When it goes well, there is a great feeling to it. When it isn’t working, the stumbles can be quite amusing.
Here‘s my first official all-nib comic,”The Puppy Problem.” Clearly there is much room for improvement, but it’s coming along. Working on my second now, having learned the important lesson I mentioned on Facebook last night: don’t drink & ink.
The fantastically talented illustrator Paula Knight posted a cool blog entry today about home made bamboo nibs, which fascinate me as well as metal nibs.
Walking the Michigan shore searching for fossilized crinoids, I frequently encounter perfectly intact bird feathers. Quill pens have a fabulous place in history, of course, and it turns out they are super DIY.
I’m enjoying turning found feathers into home made nibs. The first one I tried was surprisingly easy to use, but too small to hold comfortably or last very long.
Today I tried a seagull feather.
It was a bit of a disaster. This should be Alice lounging on the front lawn. But I’m sure the Constitution looked this bad before they cleaned it up in Photoshop.
Also, I learn now (I love the internet) that I skipped a few crucial steps in making my quill pen. So I’m ready for my next go. Just wish I could figure out how to lure a crow close enough…