Pen and Wash - Choose the Right Drawing Pen

By: Harmon R Thompson

Pen and Wash - Choose the Right Drawing Pen

What kind of the lines do I want to produce on your next pen and wash? Will it be a technical pen that produces specific line width? Or will it be a bamboo pen that gives a variety of lines as you swirl the pen in your fingers? Ink lines express as much emotion and style as the watercolor wash. So let's look at a few kinds of drawing pens to get you on the right path.

Technical pens

Technical pens are excellent for pen and wash. They produce a uniform line of thickness that comes in different nib sizes. These range from fine lines, like the 005, excellent for hatching and stippling, to thick lines, like the 08. Technical pens come in a wide range of colors, too. Read the labels; not all are water-proof.

Ballpoint, Roller ball and Gel ink pens

Ballpoint pens are for writing, but are a good choice when you want to work with something other than a technical pen. They are readily available for quick drawing and sketching and come in a wide range of colors. They usually come in 3 sizes; extra-fine, fine and wide. Most are water-soluble so can be diffused in your pen and wash to create beautiful effects.

I like roller ball and gel pens. They have the appearance of technical pens because the ink does not shine like ballpoint pens. Roller ball and gel pens are not permanent and will diffuse with your washes.

Dip pens and fountain pens

Dip pen and fountain pens come into two parts, the holder, or handle, and the nib. The holder can be fitted with a wide variety of nib sizes for a wide range of marks. Dip pens uses a dip pen ink bottle. Fountain pens also uses bottled fountain pen ink to refill their reservoir but also uses pen ink refills. Try out the many different nibs to find their flexibility and behavior.

Bamboo and Reed pens

Bamboo and reed can make a wide range of marks. Reeds are more flexible than bamboo and are able to produce sensitive marks and will soften after much use to produce broader line, so handle them with a light touch.

Bamboo is more solid and can create firm lines as well as different widths of marks. You can find these in your local art supply store or you can make your own.

Quill Pens

Quill pens make their own distinctive lines; they are easy to control and inexpensive. You can buy them or make your own from a variety of feathers, like turkey, geese or swan. Do not run out to a nearby farm or pond and remove a feather from our feathery friends. A quill pen has to dry out for many months before they are stiff enough for any drawing purposes. Your local art supply store should have a fine stock at hand.

Fiber tipped pens

Fiber-tipped pens come in a huge selection of nib style, sizes and colors for either lines or filling in areas. You can spend a whole day experimenting with these. They come in regular colors, skin tones, glitter, neon and fluorescent!

All others

Sticks, slivers of cardboard, string, a small tree branch, popsicle sticks, cotton swabs, just about anything that can be dipped into ink, will make exciting lines or marks. Some are around your home right now and others won't cost you anything to make. Enjoy.

Pen and wash is an expressive art form and drawing with a pen of your choice will make your experience more so. Enjoy.

About the Author:
And now I like to invite you to my website: [http://penandwashpassion.com/ -- this site may no longer be online] for more revealing articles on pen and wash, and neat essential art products you'll want to have a fun and rewarding experience. Hi, this is Harmon Thompson and I love pen and wash! Also, check out my blog: http://watercolorpaint.wordpress.com/ where we can share our passion for pen and wash painting.


How to choose a fountain pen for drawing and art



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