This morning I did a quick sketch of a kingfisher using iron gall ink using a dip pen. As you can see, there is a bit better variability in lines than when drawing is done with a quill pen (see yesterday’s post). Both have qualities I really like – expressiveness, boldness, delicacy. As I am used to using fountain pens, a dip pen is no problem once I learned how to control the amount of ink on nib. What must be remembered is how to load the nib, and as nibs are all different, a bit of testing on scratch paper helps.
At present, I am deciding if I want to colorize this drawing – which is why for now, it is not! If I do, I want to use very dilute but vibrant colors. It is my hope that the ink will shine through the paint without my having to re-ink parts of it.
I am trying to do something everyday when it comes to drawing or painting. Some days only allow for morning time, and that is when I did this drawing of a bee in a borage plant. Today, I used a dip pen, my ca. 1810 pewter ink well, and iron gall ink. I have never drawn a bee before, and using a dip pen and focusing on the shapes, rather than what I think I see (thank you, Sharon, for that great advice!), produced fairly decent results. I’m rather afraid to draw anything that requires a bit of realism as I really doubt my abilities to do this. Practice is needed here!
Borage is a lovely plant, covered in fur, with beautiful blue flowers. If I recall, it is an invasive plant, and one best kept contained in a pot. I had some in my dog free zone (DFZ) this summer amongst the lilies.
As an aside, I’m getting used to using a dip pen, which is really a rather nice skill to have as I don’t have the big blobs I used to get; I know when to refill the well and dilute the ink with water. Something we don’t think about in this day and age of non-dip pens.
For the next week, my schedule is a bit different. I have to be in to work 30 minutes earlier than normal, so I did this quick sketch in my Stillman & Birn softcover book. The ink is iron gall. I tried to keep the lines minimal, enough to capture important elements of the landscape, but not so much that they become dominant or what will (eventually) hold the image together. Hopefully I will be able to work on shadows and light, working to good contrast. I seem to need lines – I am comfortable with them – that are clearly visible. Interesting to find out how we all work, eh?