I do most of my commercial work with a Rotring Rapidograph pen. Usually 0.25. I love the precision of this pen and the way it is usually reassuringly free of any ‘happy accidents’. I discovered these pens while I was doing work experience in an archaeological illustration office and it soon became clear that this was the perfect medium for me in so many ways that I’ve hardly used anything else since.


But a few weeks ago I bought some dip pens and ink and decided to try them out over the weekend.


I started with a quick sketch, a bit like you do at the start of life drawing classes. I miss life drawing classes enormously. I really, really want to go to one again, but asA�I haven’t done any ironing at all over the past five years I can’t really justifyA�spendingA�time on a recreational version of my day job.


Anyway, I started with a quick sketch of some people in a restaurant.




It took a while to get used to the difference between the Rotring pens and the dip pens but once I had started to get the hang of it, it was an awfully nice way to draw. It seems to be easier than I remember but I am assuming that is because I’ve drawn a lot since I last used one of these and so it’s easier to draw in general than it was. Drawing is, like anything else, mostly practice.


So, eager to practice, I quit while I was ahead with the figures and started a small city drawing. I rushed the pencil work a bit, mainly because I was too excited about drawing my favourite subject (many buildings) with a different medium. I noticed as I was erasing the pencil marks, that the ink stains the paper and the pencil marks in a really beautiful way; my next piece will look at ways of incorporating the pencil sketch into the ink lines with the sepia ink as it’s really rather lovely.



I also need to find some black ink to see if the dipped lines would work well with the more precise lines of a rotring pen.


So exciting stuff coming up here. *


* not really