Art Camp Day 8 – August 10

I’m still at art camp. Me. Just me. And the art.

Today I devoted myself to ink. India ink.

I received some pen nibs for Christmas but have had no time to try them out. Ditto for some Chinese brushes. I’ve looked them over but haven’t done a thing with them. Today was the day.

I chose one brush and one of the steel brush nibs. I’ve never used either one before and had no idea how to use them. I decided to try several different things to test them out – and that’s the important thing about today, I decided. Experimentation, not results, was that goal.

Ink materials small 8-10-16

OK. I set up another puzzle with the claybord pieces, as I did for the previous day’s work. This puzzle, though, was to be an India ink experience – only black and white. I fell back on a familiar subject, a cat. When trying something new, I find it is a nicer experience when some parts of it are known quantities. I used both the brush and the steel nib in this image.

Once I finished the image, I scratched some detail into it with my scratch art tools. Voila!

I then grabbed some more 2″ x 2″ claybord pieces and dashed a few marks on them with the steel nib. I was still trying to get a feel for it. Later on I scratched some details into the marks. Doing these little squares gave me some ideas, and I’ll be following up on them later on, but not during camp time, I decided.

Finally, I took out some paper, 5″ x 7″, and quickly (and I mean just scrawling) I made some sketches. I first did one with the steel nib, this house.

Ink drawing 6 8-10-16 small

I then tried to do two versions of the same image, once with the brush and once with the nib. I did the brush examples first, then turned to the steel brush nib. I can’t say each drawing is of high quality, but I wanted to see what the differences were between the two tools.

I count India Ink Day as a big success. I will use these tools and ink again and soon.  I’d love to try them in combination with paints.

The brush and brush nib seem to lend themselves to larger-scale pictures, and so I’ll try bigger pieces of paper next time. I found them to be an interesting contrast to using a regular pen nib, as that seems suited to small-scale work. And in both cases, I really love the intense black the ink gives me.


13 thoughts on “Art Camp Day 8 – August 10

  1. Michael Richards (certainline)

    I do keep trying with nibs – the drawings on the paint sample chart you liked were drawn with a dip pen – but any excuse leads me back to a fountain pen or some sort of waterproof drawing implement. All my heroes use them – Richard Thompson, Quentin Blake, Edward Ardizzone – but they’re so unpredictable. Anyway you’ve inspired me to have another go!

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    You know I’m a fan of both ink and of monochrome art work so your day at art camp really appeals to me. I’m curious as to whether you had a preference for the nib or the brush? I had a crack at working with sumi ink and brush some years ago and I enjoyed that it forced me to work loosely and without getting stuck in my head. I’ve been tempted to splurge on at least the brush again to experiment more and see where it takes me.

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    I usually use the regular type pens (as I call them in my amateur drawing career) and I like their ease and predictability. But I have loved dip pens since childhood, prompted by a great aunt who wrote everything, letters, etc., with a dip pen and emerald green ink. I like the blobs and spills and wavery lines with the dip pen nibs and I really liked using this steel brush one. Wow! Something I hadn’t imagined. So I hope you’ll dive in too, I’d love to see more, I didn’t know your earlier work was from that kind of pen.

  4. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes. I am totally surprised by how they worked out – they made me draw (paint?) in a whole different way. My hand and arm seemed to behave differently to accommodate the brush. I had not expected that.

  5. Claudia McGill Post author

    I have some small little ones that I have used before with paint, but this time I wanted to try these ones that had not left the package, from Christmas. In fact I had forgotten those steel brush ones. Now I am entranced.

  6. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes. I felt it was successful for a lot of reasons, such as resurrecting these poor tools out of the drawer and giving them a chance for some action. And I also love black and white work, that is why I liked block printing so much. But this ink thing opens a whole new door for me. I am excited about it.

  7. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, I love the black/white contrast in using ink and I’ll be doing this some more, you bet. As for preference, they are really very different, the Chinese brush and the steel brush nib. I even use my hand and arm differently to produce an image. Interesting to me. I think I would choose which one, based on the mood I am in, feathery or hard-edged, and whether I want to kind of waft along gently in the picture or with more assertive strokes; also maybe depending on what image I am trying to work with…I can definite see using both in one picture, as well. I say get both of them, I don’t think they were too expensive, and they will both last if taken care of, so it’s a good investment. And the ink is not expensive. I’m really glad I dug these out and gave them a try, finally!

  8. nannus

    Very nice, you should continue working with these things.
    Until I will move into my new appartment in November, I am currently residing in a furnished appartment in a building in Hannover that once belonged to a company producing pens, ink etc. (see, with a picture of that building), so I am somehow connected to indian ink at the moment, at least historicaly 🙂

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