Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Thoughts on Pelikan Fount Ink
Every once in a long while I post something about art, rather than ‘field notes.’ This is one of them. I’m a member of “The Sketching Forum” (http://www.sketching.cc/forum3/ )and was preparing a demo for them when I realized it might be of interest to some of my readers here too.
Years ago I happened upon a cheap throw away felt tip pen that both drew a relatively fine line and, when touched with a brush full of water, bled into beautiful greys. I don’t think the manufacturer wanted the pen to ‘bleed’, I think it was just cheap ink. But I loved that pen and felt something had been taken away from me when it ran dry. I couldn’t find another.
So what is wonderful about a pen that bleeds? Light and form are part of what makes art alive. Masters have drawn with charcoal for years because they have a whole range of values at their fingertips. Pencil does it too, but in a quieter fashion. For some reason pencil sketches have never floated by boat … and I make a mess with charcoal.
Ball point pen is a pretty good second best. I can get light lines and dark lines … and if I take the time I can get a good range of values. Ink is still my first choice.
I must have bought a dozen pens over the year ensuing years, hoping to find a pen that behaved in a similar fashion. Most don’t bleed and those that do tend to have too thick a line for my taste. About two years ago I found my tool …. This time with a fountain pen filled with “Pelikan Fount India – black ink.” It is very important to note that this is not ‘India ink,” the kind of ink one uses for nibs that one dips into ink. Traditional India ink will quickly gum up a fountain pen and may be impossible to clean.
Pelikan Fount India is wonderful stuff. When I want I can just make a pen and ink drawing. In short order the ink is dry and if I’ve penciled first, I can erase the pencil lines.
1. The paper
2. The amount of ink I lay down
3. How wet I get the ink when I smear it
4. Most important: how quickly I add the color. Don’t give the ink a chance to soften up
For those of you who look at a lot of my sketches, remember they aren’t all done with Pelikan Fount India. When I want waterproof ink I use Platinum Carbon. I also use Pigma Micron pens (waterproof) and sometimes a Uniball Vision. My long history of very careful work was mostly done with a dip nib and India ink.