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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth De Cicco

Pen & Ink at NYBG and DBG

It's been fun being in two different Pen & Ink classes at once.

Denver Botanic Garden's Pen & Ink is a two part class. Pen and Ink I, which I am currently in, uses Koh-i-noor Rapidograph pens. We learned how to fill the ink reservoirs and maintain the pens. They are very expensive, but can last forever if well-maintained. Unlike a felt-tipped micron pen, Rapidographs have a thin metal wire so the tip is always consistent. I would have never considering buying one of these before, but I'm really starting to appreciate them.

The two pens we are using in this class are the .25 and .30 mm sizes. The difference in line weight is barely noticeable, but I've found that .30 mm pen takes a little more pressure or it will skip. The wire in the tip is extra long, so it can block the ink from coming out or leave a slight tail when drawing a straight line. I think that the long wire will have some advantages when we start stippling.

Homework for the first week was just a practice with minimalistic contour lines. The goal was to use the least amount of lifework possible to convey detail and form. We only needed to do a stick of celery for this assignment, but I continued the leaf practice from class and did a simple study of an amanita. This week, we will practice stippling.

Leaves, Celery, and Amanita mushrooms
Koh-i-noor Rapidograph pens filled with Higgins ink

In the NYBG class, we are still using crow quill pens but have switched to a #104 nib to learn hatching. We copied an illustration of Stone Age tools. There is an archaeology professor in my class who commented that the tools in the original image are upside-down. Correcting this would have meant changing the shadows. I've been firmly brainwashed into the concept of scientific lighting so it didn't feel right changing things.

I've been keeping my crow quill pens much cleaner, so no drips this time!

Stone Age Tool in Pen & Ink
#104 Speedball nib with Higgins Black Magic ink. Cross-hatching and hatching

Pine Cone in Pen & Ink
#102 Speedball nib with Higgins Black Magic Ink

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