Friday, October 29, 2021

Pens, Inks and Drawing in Inktober 2021

Blind contour drawing - that's me, but it doesn't look like me, thanks to the blind contour.

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October is Inktober - a month when many people who are nuts about drawing with pen and ink, or brush, or markers, challenge themselves to do a drawing a day. This seems like a good time for a post on pen and ink drawing. I will intersperse a few of my drawings from this month.

Blind contour and hatching. 

The main time I draw is in the evening, sitting with a cat on my lap and a cup of tea. I don't want ink that can spill, so fountain pens are ideal. I need ink that is water proof so I can use my drawings for collage. I prefer to refill a fountain pen instead of buying a new one, or buying plastic cartridges. And you can mix inks in the same brand to get a wide variety of colors. I often use black or brown, so I'm not sure this is a big deal to me. But I want options.

Judith Hoffman blind contour with added hatching

I have finally settled on De Atramentis Document Inks. Jane Blundell's posts about fountain pen inks are very helpful, this is where I first learned about the De Atramentis inks. This seems to be her most recent post, it includes links to previous posts. Note the Document inks are the ones that dry waterproof. They are changing their bottles and name, the newer Artist Inks are the same formula.

Couldn't find my pen, I really like the weird bottle shapes.

Many fountain pen inks will bleed when wet media is applied over them. The De Atramentis Document inks have been waterproof for me with a few exceptions. My usual method is to draw directly on the substrate - which is usually collage held down with Golden Matte Medium, or to draw on architect's tracing paper, and then use that as collage material. Either way the drawing ink needs to be waterproof.  The De Atramentis Inks work great. The one exception is their white, which seems to be made in a different way. It will settle in the pen. You need to shake the pen a bit and scribble on scrap paper to get it going. The white sometimes smears a bit when I am collaging, especially when I have drawn on a layer of acrylic paint. When applied to the architect's tracing, it smears a tiny bit where it is very thick but works well all in all. I try to just paint over the collaged paper with the matte medium, then squeegee off excess with a rib squeegee. I don't work over the same area multiple times.

Blind contour with hatching, Inktober 2021

In the last 5 years I have tried a number of inexpensive fountain pens. Now I am using what pen nerds might call an affordable fountain pen, but to me it is fairly expensive. It's the Twisbi Eco, $35.50 at JetPens. I switched to the Eco because the ink in the nib doesn't dry out. I can lose a pen for weeks, find it under my chair, and start drawing right away. There is a piston filler that works well, but you have to be careful not to twist the knob at the end of the pen when there is ink in it. If you do, ink will leak out. 

Insomnia. Inktober 2021.

I get most of my pens and inks from JetPens. They have a number of short videos explaining and demonstrating paper, pens and inks. Here is an article about fountain pen nibs. Another place that has been a good source is the Goulet Pen Company. They have the De Atramentis Document White. I haven't used them as much as JetPens, but have been happy with both places. Please Note: I am not affiliated with JetPens or Goulet Pens in anyway, I just want to suggest places I have found to be reliable. Both are in the US.

Strange rabbit from Svankmeyer's Alice. I like to experiment with hatching styles.

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eileen2000 said...

thanks for such an informative post. I love your drawing style so much!

Judith Hoffman said...

I’m glad you liked it! Glad you like my drawings too. (-:

Willow's mom said...

What intriguing drawings! Love the blind contour with the hatching. I'm interested in changing fountain pens, so thank you for the info.

Judith Hoffman said...

Hi Willow’s mom, the twisbi pen is nice for writing too. My criteria were finding a very fine nib and not having the ink dry up. So I’m probably not picky compared to pen nerds.