Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Starting lines

I ink with just about anything I can get my hands on. Different methods and different tools create different looks, and I believe too much rigid loyalty on a specific technique can create stagnation. The Flash covers seem to call for a hard and fast tool, and quill seem to be the way to go. I'm using a fountain pen because it can take more of a heavy-handed beating than most of the dip quills I've used. I get pretty nutty about antique fountain pens, as they are the best due to their craftsmanship and flexibility, but you just don't find those every day. Newer quill pens are just made to mimic ballpoint pens, and the quality generally doesn't hold up. After an extensive search I came across the Namiki Falcon. It's a Japanese pen made in the classic style. It weighs in at about $130, and that's ridiculously expensive compared to the $2.00+- cost of dip nibs. But once you start laying down lines with this thing you completely understand the cost. You can get brush like lines, and it feels more like drawing rather then inking. It is a joy to be holding.

Ask me if you can take it for a spin next time you catch me at a convention.


Casey Edwards said...

I think you still got the motion effect due to the fact that Flash is looking away at the same angle of the lightening bolt. Just FYI. Can't wait to see the colors.

Craig Zablo said...

I love that you've go your blog going. Your thoughts and your art... a gift for all, baby!

Evan said...

Geez, and here I am thinking a 30 dollar kuretake brush pen is too damn expensive!!! I just got a Windsor & Newton Series 7 size 2 brush, and it's nice and everything,but the hairs go a little astray compared to the Lowell Cornell ultra-round size 2 I've also been using.

I used to try using those nibs, but they were too much hassle for me. There was this one japanese calligraphy pen that I had for a while that was like a great quill, but when it clogged up it just died forever.

Your inks are just too amazing.

Drew Edward Johnson said...

So great to see you on The Flash covers, Brian. I just discovered your blog and have been enjoying seeing the process on these pieces. Thanks for keeping a record of your process and studies---Every time I check out your work, I learn something new.

David Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mjartist said...

You mention the pens...I was looking them up on the net and there are different ones (They list their point options as, "soft fine", "soft medium" and "soft broad") and able to have modifications done to the pen. My question is which one did you get to get that cool brush like line?

I love that line!!

brian said...

casey- good catch on that one.

evan- the series 7 brush used to be the top of the game, but the quality has steadily declined over the last 10 years. They are still a fantastic brush for watercolors, but for inks I recommend the Scharff 3000. The number three seems to be a good all-purpose inker. We tripped across these just as the series sevens started to fail. They come from a local distributor and the prices aren't bad. The good thing is that their popularity is not high enough for them to get away with waning quality. And dude, they are yellow.
I totally agree with you about the expense of art supplies. Especially now that the manufacturers seem to want to make everything disposable. Good supplies used to be of such quality that they became family legacies. I'll pay a little extra for that.

drew- great to hear from you man. We'll have a get together sometime and talk shop.

mj- is a great place for pens. The folks there are pen crazy and they treat these instruments with the care they deserve.
The Falcon “soft fine” is fantastic right out of the box, but if you have the extra bucks you should go for a super fine point modification. It just makes a good thing better. Don't bother adjusting the flexibility. The native spring is all you'll need, and if you increase the flexibility you also increase the chance of breakage. Need I remind you, that's $130.
The guy that does the modifications at, I think his name is John, is a true craftsman. I think of him as the artist's analog to the armorer, the guy that makes custom weapons for James Bond.

Evan said...

Thanks for the tip Brian. I almost didn't want to admit my disappointment in what all the fuss was about with the W&N series 7's. The hairs were too wild. I liked the application of ink in how smooth it was, but when I really tried to push the limits the hairs became unruly in seemingly simple strokes. I didn't know about the decline in quality.

I'm with you though on the special tools of the trade you find. When I was on a student's budget, I learned to make do with what I had, and that was fine. But now that I can afford some of the nicer tools, I want to find what works best for me. I'd rather not spend a quarter of the time on my pages just fighting the tools.

As a teacher, I know just how disposable things have become. Pencils that used to be great have become just plain disastrous. I have to throw out brushes in the classroom all the time because they can barely take making it through one painting.

I just ordered a couple Scharff Series 3000's and I'll tell you what I think. Thanks again for the great info!