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Old 12-08-2019, 07:27 PM
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Re: Apostle

Thank you, Bill.
I wonder what shades can be gotten from blue clay? I did read a little about the local red clay. It is iron oxide that makes the red color and it turns out that's the same pigment listed as PR102 (I think) which is sometimes called transparent red oxide. It seems it's one of the oldest pigments known dating back to cave paintings and under the right circumstances it is very permanent. However, it does have other minerals mixed in it, there are some reflective grains I assume are sand and how those affect it's longevity I don't know. I'd think, though, that the iron gall ink would be a bigger concern for the archival aspect of this drawing. Many sites and recipes emphasize not having more iron than tannins but I happen to like the results of the wrong mixture. I figure one of two things could happen. The excess iron could eat through the paper or the harshest part of the corrosion process could occur early and quickly enough that it doesn't do much damage. It will be interesting to see how it ages.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:32 PM
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Re: Apostle

Thank you, Maureen. I will have to throw away the crossed nib. I will try out the expressive lines in those instances. It's alot of fun just exploring what a new medium or tool can do.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:05 PM
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Re: Apostle

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMCoston
I also want to ask about the expressive line of the dip pen. I'm wondering where it works best in compositions. Perhaps as outlines or shapes in shaded areas?
It works equally well in both outline & shaded areas.
You can learn most from studying drawing in that Pennel book link I gave you but look at the drawings & imagine what they would look like if they'd been done with a Micron type pen. However good a draughtsmans hand you have it will look more alive & less mechanical a drawing if you use a dip pen.
The reason is that there is that there is a varying thickness of line, that is the unique quality which it adds, & with such exquisite subtlety too !
Outline in P&I does not just portray the shape of the object but the lighting of it too. So if you have a figure standing with a window to his left then the lines on the left side will be thin ,perhaps broken or none existent in the strongest light in parts. Whereas in the shadows on the opposite side of the direction of light - the lines will be thicker,heavier.
Even if this is not apparent in reality it is wise to invent & exaggerate this ! for pen & ink is an abstract medium -let's face it there's no photo reality in it ! Drama is it's forte ,however subtly done.
You can do all of the above without any areas of hatching or you can add as much as you wish - it's your judgement as to what looks best.
In that "golden age " I was talking about cross hatching was largely abandoned in favour of using the straight or curving lines of hatching alone ,it having been seen by discerning artists that it can achieve all the tonal variation but without the mechanical feel of cross hatching & is more expressive.
Remember too,that texture can play an important part in P&I. it can be used descriptively & to add tone to an area
That sensitivity of a dip pen will show any observer of your work so much about how the artist is feeling & you can't struggle or bluff with it & you can't correct mistakes But these are virtues NOT vices , they show you the way to hang loose & just go for it ! That is the secret of pen & ink .
Be very careful though you might even waste a whole piece of paper
Just go for it !
Mike
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:13 AM
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Re: Apostle

Thank you, Mike.
I think I've wasted at least three sheets of paper since this drawing trying to figure out the secrets of the dip pen. In tonight's attempt I tried incorporating the expressive lines as how both you and Maureen have suggested. But it isn't great.



I'm sure you'll notice that it is inspired by Durer's other apostle drawing 'Head of an Apostle Looking Upward'. Like the other drawing this one uses a red clay wash for his head (and tree blossoms here) amd iron gall ink washes for everything else. The only major difference is the acrylic ink color for the washes. I figured I need to use up that jar of brown I had mixed trying to get the Rembrandt brown. I was trying to put less lines so that the expressive lines wouldn't get lost in the mix but maybe I should use a bigger nib for the expressive lines next time.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:05 AM
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Re: Apostle

Yes there's a lot of value in that drawing , nice work.
But I can't help help feeling that to uncover the full potential within dip pen technique you probably shouldn't use wash at all to begin with !( but that might very well just be my outlook !) That way you expose the whiteness of the paper & the blackness of the ink, when you are majoring in line it is that drama of contrast & the abstraction of hatching that you are using.
Many people with a painting background never quite grasp that alien world, for them the comfort of using a constantly varying tone more familiar, softer.
So this is the other side of pen & ink .
Yes I'm sure you are right when going down the wash road, less line is the way to go & don't mix it with hardly any hatching either for best effect I'd say.
I'm not sure that a big broader lined pen is the way to go , keeping the lines thin seems to blend best with wash.
Wash drawing really has it's roots in doing quick & spontaneous drawing from life, non of that laborious building up blocks of hatching !
One very interesting method you simply must try is to start by quickly applying the wash straight off the brush with no under drawing -then after that has dried pull the "mess" together using a minimum of lines .That is one way of doing wash, or the other more obvious starting with minimum line & then just blocking in the wash.
Of course Rembrandt was a master of both the spontaneous wash & the spontaneous line, be it from a pen or even an etching needle ! You need go no further for instruction or inspiration.
Mike

Last edited by pedlars pen : 12-09-2019 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:02 PM
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Re: Apostle

Hi Mike. I think you are right. I do seem to be jumping ahead a bit. I just really like the homemade washes. But I thought I'd try a lunchtime Rembrandt inspired dip pen sketch as you suggested.



Its inspired by his 'Study of a Syndic' c. 1662. It bears little resemblance to his, though. I wasn't trying to get proportions or accuracy here. Just trying to get expressive lines to show through. I did get a bit carried away with lines on his face and had to use a little white ink to clean up that mess. I like most of it but it seems so lacking.
Will try the wash first technique tonight and more experiments. Thanks for the advise.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:59 PM
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Re: Apostle

Just an update:
I tried out putting the iron gall ink washes down first then adding lines and details. The result is amazingly similar, though not as skillfully done, as Rembrandt's 'Dutch Farmhouse in Light and Shadow'!



I figured out how to make controlled ink blots with the dip pen.

I also tried adding iron gall washes to today's sketch and really like the results.



Think I'm starting to get the hang of this medium. Thanks everyone for your advice and input.
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:21 AM
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Re: Apostle

Misty, I like what you're doing and your dedication to experimentation, your eagerness to learn!

Just a note of caution, if I may ..... take your time!!!

To make expressive lines, to learn to make them, takes practice..... in a sketchbook or on spare paper, just practice making lines, varying them from each other and within the stroke.... learn to control your mark making. With lots of practice will come speed ..... trying to create form too quickly will result in scratchy marks and loss of form!
Take your time!
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:39 PM
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Re: Apostle

Hi Maureen. I understand what you are saying. After today I won't have very good internet connection and will have to find other things to do with my spare time. I have a notebook set aside for line practice and I'm thinking it might be good to practice actually writing with the pens since I've never used a fountain pen with a nib tip either. I also picked up some brown and grey tinted cardstock to practice on. Hopefully I will improve enough to be able to draw convincing lines with the pens but that will take some time🙂
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:21 PM
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Re: Apostle

We all have to practice, practice, practice, whatever our medium and whatever our level of expertise .... please don't feel discouraged by any comment I've made, they're all meant to help.
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Old 12-10-2019, 04:10 PM
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Re: Apostle

No worries, Maureen.
Before this forum, I was comically floundering with the dip pen. My first three attempts I couldn't get the thing to write. Turns out I was holding the pen wrong oriented like a spoon since it seemed all the ink would fall out otherwise. So I'm quite happy with how much progress I've made do far. Though, nothing I've drawn yet is quite how I wanted it. Close some times, but not quite right. There is much more to learn and improve at. Only now I have a few guiding principles and a little bit more knowledge to help along the way. I'm very thankful for the help you and the others have provided here. 🙂
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:15 PM
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Re: Apostle

I think that expressiveness of line when using a dip pen sort of comes about through practice, it is not something that is even necessarily consciously thought about. Much more the attention is focused on the draughtsmanship ie. making a really good tight drawing whilst feeling whatever you feel about the subject.
That delicate blue tempered spring steel fine point in your hand will faithfully reflect your emotional take on the subject in a quite magical way !
There's no need to to make an affectation of drawing - just get to know the nib & become easy with it,like a friend, that will come with practice.
We should all PRACTICE in every drawing we ever do ! it is the right spirit of approach, no tension, no big deal, I personally hope I never stop practicing & learning
Mike

Last edited by pedlars pen : 12-10-2019 at 05:24 PM.
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