Linework and New Pens

Brush and ink after Cartier

Recently, I have become frustrated with the quality of my brush and ink linework. I was aware that  the type of lines I wanted to create should be created with a real brush and ink but I stuck to my brush pens. They are more convenient, certainly more tidy than dipping a brush into ink. Plus, I have good control over them. Decades ago in graduate school I used a dip pen and brushes with ink. Honestly, when good quality brush pens became available I was glad to make the switch, they are just so much more convenient!

About ten years ago I tried out one of the Japanese brush pens with a long, soft bristles (as you might use for calligraphy). At the time, the brush was too soft for me, I didn’t have the control needed to create consistent lines of varying weight. So I just forgot about it until a few weeks ago while working on my new “Moon Man” illustrations. I was irritated by the quality of lines I was getting with my usual pens and decided to search out something that might better suit my needs. I did occur to me to use an actual brush but I was holding back until I was sure I couldn’t find another solution.

Kuretake No 85 Fountain Brush pen 2
Kuretake No 85 Fountain Brush Pen

I was shopping at a popular Japanese stationary site (Jet Pens) and skimmed through the brush pen options. I was planning to place an order to refill my pen stocks anyway and decided to try one of the softer, brush-style pens again. I ordered the Kuretake No. 85 Fountain Brush Pen. It has synthetic bristles and uses ink cartridges but I have a fountain pen converter for it and so I’ll use fountain pen ink when the cartridges run dry.

Usually for pen and ink I use a combination of Sakura Pigma Micron Pens in various sizes along with brush pens. But I do have good quality fountain pens and they really are superior, especially my Namiki Falcon with its 14k gold soft nib.

My Numiki Falcon fountain pen

For this test piece I used the Falcon and the new Kuretake No. 85 Fountain Brush Pen almost exclusively (some of the stippling was done with Micron pens.) The paper I used was smooth Bristol and the ink in the fountain pen was Noodler’s Heart of Darkness, a bulletproof ink (this means its permanent and waterproof.) The ink in the brush pen was Kuretake black ink.

Eureka! A door has opened and fresh air and sunshine filtered into my studio. It was a perfect combination to copy one of Edd Cartier’s fantastical pulp drawings.

I’ve mentioned before that Cartier’s style and mine have some innate similarities anyway so copying a piece of his for a test was a joy.

Here is a comparison between Edd Cartier’s drawing (right) and my copy (left).

Inking comparison

I’m tickled pink with the copy. What do you think?

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