Dip Pens

June 9, 2015 @ 8:12 pm | Filed under: , , ,

dip pen

About once a week I bring my fountain pens to the kitchen tape for refilling. My reason for making this rather quick, benign chore a public affair is to take advantage of the great parenting truism: If you do it, they will copy. Huck isn’t the kind of kid who would be too keen on formal handwriting practice (does that kind of kid even exist?), but if I get busy with some nifty writing utensil, he’s at my side in a flash, begging for a turn.

Fountain pens are awesome enough, but dip pens? There’s nothing better. A bottle of ink, a nib with just the right amount of skritch…there’s a happy kid. I didn’t suggest the alphabet practice; he filled up the page as he chose.

That’s my beloved metal brush pen he’s holding, the $1.49 treasure acquired during my surprise trip to the art supply store on Mother’s Day. (The plastic Speedball pen holder was another buck fifty. We live large.)

(That’s an Amazon link to show you what it looks like, but as you can see, you’re much better off buying local for this one. That’s some markup, eh?)

I tumbled to the metal brush pen (aka my new best friend) in Jonathan Twingley’s rather amazing class at Sketchbook Skool. It was swoon at first site. You get a broad line from the flat nib, or you can turn it on its side for a fine line. It’s on the messy side—likes to spatter ink if you change direction midstroke—but for me that’s part of the appeal. I use it when I’m in the mood for rough, bold lines and a bit of ink spray. Jonathan Twingley likes to fill pages and pages with large drawings and then cut out selected images and collage them together into a new piece of art—really quite magical to behold him at work.

And this post offers a quite detailed look at what a steel brush nib can do.

We also have a pair of glass dip pens that my parents gave me years ago with more typical pointed nibs. You can see Huck’s page of orange squiggles on the table. I know somewhere in my archives I’ve talked about the magical powers of colored chalk and a little slate, or a whiteboard and dry erase markers, for transforming otherwise dull writing into fun. Dip pens are the same principle times a hundred.

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6 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. tanita says:

    This is a brave (and slightly spattered) kid, that steel brush thing is far out of my comfort zone in drawing – the messiness is something I try to hard (at present) to control. Someday I plan to take a formal drawing class and Begin Properly, (maybe) but I do love seeing how you’re doing all of this. It’s all so good. And I’ll have you know I *was* that kid who liked formal handwriting, until about the fifth grade when we had Good And Improving Quotes to copy. Then it got boring, because we weren’t allowed to just write lines of perfect e’s.

    Can you believe we had penmanship all the way into the 8th grade? (Clearly our little school was invested in the ESSENTIALS.) I even revisited it my Junior year in college because our Spanish teacher had the most beauteous script, and he’d do letter …animals. He made swans out of the I and J of his first and last name, and taught us how.

  2. Brigie Mary says:

    wow, what a fun surprise! Not ‘. . .depends . . ‘, a land of uncertainty, but instead a
    DIP PENS post, filled with optimistic bright chatter about art, duh, a pricing victory
    snagged on holiday and, best-of-all, a charming picture of mr. Huck and his dazzle
    of fancy lettering! Thanks for sharing the happy!

  3. Penny says:

    That looks really fun.

    For some reason, I’m not getting your posts via email these days. Off to figure that out ASAP…

  4. Michelle says:

    My husband adores fountain pens. My boys have picked up the same love. My 9 year old’s first purchase was his own fountain pen. They like the Pelikano Jr and Lamy ABC. We also have the weekly clean out and refill fun time. They choose their ink color and handwriting practice isn’t much of a chore. 🙂

    Have a beautiful day!

  5. Melanie Bettinelli says:

    This makes me want to go hunt for my dip pen. I’d never have thought of it as an incentive to handwriting practice.