Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pen Testing

A while ago there was considerable discussion on the EDM group about varying pens and papers. This weekend I found a Michaels Craftstore coupon for 40% off, so I thought I would sample a few pens. I became enamored with quill dip pens when I used some dye ink and a waterbrush over that creating a lovely ink wash. So I thought I would look for a more professional dip pen.

I found only a few -- none of which I could test -- but with the coupon the pens were inexpensive enough to justify the cost. I wound up purchasing a Speedball Sketching pen and Speedball Crow Quill dip pen with ink.

I've been using "Raffine Art Sketch" paper (100 pound), a bit smoother than watercolor but heavier than regular sketch paper. I tested these pens on the Raffine paper.

I found the pens to be rather scratchy (as mentioned in the discussion) but flexible so I could get varying line widths. But I could only move the pen in one direction (I couldn't successfully scribble back and forth like I can with other pens and especially with pencil). The pen had a great deal of 'drag' on the paper I was using.

I tried the pens on smoother paper -- textweight -- but the drag and scratch were still there.

EVER determined (read - STUBBORN), I continued my sketching and resketching of this pot of herbs (modified from a photo). After an hour of using the pen, it smoothed out a bit and my own familiarity with the pens' quirkyness seemed to smooth out as well.

I sketched the sepia herb pot with a Micron .05 sepia pen and without waiting, used a waterbrush to get a light wash. It dried completely after a few minutes and I could no longer move the ink around.

The bottle colored herb pot was done with the Speedball crow quill and Adirondak dye ink overwashed with a waterbrush.

What I learned - PAY ATTENTION to those more experienced with pens and paper! And remember, that every type of pen and differing papers takes a bit of time to get used to their idiosyncrasies.

I've decided that the crow quill will work well enough OVER a pencil sketch or alone with a drawing I'm confident doing. Both of these pots were done sans pencil since I had sketched them several times previously during my stubborn pen testing.

Finally, I can DEFINITELY UNDERSTAND why everyone has more than one pen!!

1 comment:

Linda said...

Lin -- if you're not wanting to add color to your drawing (or just a very light wash), try using the Micron on Hammermill Laser Color Copy paper (or other brand, but Hammermill comes in a heavier weight) -- it has a great smooth finish and is wonderful with Microns and Zigs. (I don't know about the Speedball.) I get it by the ream in the 11 x 17 size at the paper supply store, and it lasts for a very long time. You're smart to be checking the pens out, playing with them, testing them, AND keeping notes!
Good work! :-)