– FIVE SATURDAYS, STARTING ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2022 –
Basic summarized information
(detailed information is further below)
— What is this course about?
The course addresses the most appropriate way to use a dip pen nib in order to get the best from it. Even experienced artists that are familiar with this tool may eventually face issues with its functioning and mannerisms, having hard times trying to figure out how to keep the work flowing smoothly.
I teach simple procedures to help obtain the finest lines, preserve, clean, and even restore the nibs. I also transmit my simple method for maintaining the best flow of the ink, keeping its good quality, and avoiding dehydration. Last but not least, I propose a series of exercises that embody the essentials of the visual language of hatching for light and shade.
In the video below, you can watch an example of my rendition of scientific illustrations with the technique of pen nib and ink.
A guidebook with a huge amount of information on the technique and all necessary tools is already available and can be downloaded right now for free! (access it here)
— Where and when will this course happen?
This is an online course in English with live Zoom meetings to take place on Saturdays.
Five 3-hour classes (plus 15 minutes for a coffee break), on September 10, 17, and 24, and on October 1 and 8.
The classes will run from 3 pm to 6:15 pm UTC. Consult what that time means in your time zone by clicking here. In short, it will be morning in North America, afternoon in Africa and Europe, and evening in the Indian Ocean region.
— What's the price?
USD 288,00 (two hundred and eithy-eight American Dollars) - or two installments of USD 144,00. All done via PayPal.
You can split the payment into two installments, the first to be paid when you enroll, and the deadline for the second one is September 8.
— What if I miss classes, entirely or partially? What if my connection is unstable?
The classes are ALL fully recorded (regardless of whether students are missing or not) and shared on the next day as private videos on my channel on YouTube. Hence anyone enrolled can watch or rewatch the whole content afterward as many times as necessary.
— Is critique offered?
Yes, an in-depth critique is provided on the student's practice. The tutor’s individual advice is mostly provided via extra video classes to be recorded and uploaded on YouTube, hence our live meetings can be thoroughly focused on teachings, demos, and answering questions. These videos with individual advice will be available to all students so that everyone can learn from the tips offered to all the others.
— Are there any prerequisites?
It is recommendable that students have some good practical notions of observational drawing and of the fundamentals for perceiving and representing light and shade. Should you have no experience in that, it is possible to benefit even so. However, in such a case it's recommendable that you don't demand too much from yourself nor bear highly ambitious goals for this course. In such a case, you should then keep focused on the comprehension of the fundamentals of the use of nibs and on the production of different tonal values using the language of the parallel lines (hatching).
Another prerequisite is the reading, prior to the class, of the guidebook provided for free by the tutor (click here to download it).
— What technological apparatus do I need?
You must have the application Zoom installed (on any device with internet access) and optionally also WhatsApp (on your mobile phone). In case you prefer not to use WhatsApp, you can use your email to send me photos or scanned images of your exercises.
— How can I enroll?
Please read through all the complete information below, where you find also the supplies list. If no question remains and you decide to enroll, send me an email at the address below with the data requested, and I will reply and send you a payment request via PayPal. WARNING: I always reply in one day at maximum and always check my spam box, so if you do not receive any feedback from me, please resend the message or try reaching out to me through social media.
— The email message for registration must contain the following data:
1. Your full name
2. The country where you live
3. Your mobile phone number (remember to include the country's code)
4. Your option of payment (full payment versus split into two installments)
5. The email address you use to log in on YouTube (this is to provide you with access to the private videos with the recording of classes)
6. Can you tell me how have you come to know about this course?
As you receive my PayPal payment request and the process is completed, I will reply confirming your registration and sending your invoice.
A brief introduction to the course:
The best use of pen nibs requires deep knowledge of how they work and the variables that influence their functioning. Only then will we be able to investigate how to better hold the nib and move it on the paper, how to keep it clean, preserve, store and even repair it. This course brings clarity to all these aspects to help you obtain the best from this marvelous tool and the techniques involved in its use, addressing specifically the visual language of hatching to produce the effect of light and shade.
Topics Addressed in this Course
The traditional pen nib is quite a delicate tool that demands discipline from the artist and requires a variety of cautions to avoid its damage and preserve its good qualities. Not only does the nib need care but also the ink whose vial should not ever be left uncapped — otherwise it loses fluidity by dehydration. Also, the paper should not risk being stained by ink drops or spills and should remain protected from our hand’s skin oils, for this can cause the ink to be repelled. While most artists intuitively know all of that or learn it from their own experience, just a few of them do take concrete measures to prevent accidents.
This course begins by addressing those measures, offering hints and very simple solutions on how to preserve nibs with a method of constant and perfect cleaning, and even how to restore or improve nibs through sanding and polishing them in specific ways. There are also simple – but necessary - methods for avoiding the ink to dehydrate in the tube or be spilled and also for enhancing its viscosity, thus improving the quality and consistency of lines during the drawing.
As for the classes’ content, there will be explanations and demonstrations on the mechanisms of how the nib works; how to investigate the source of eventual issues and take measures to fix them; how to keep the nib perfectly clean and always functioning like a brand new one; how to hold and move the nib on the paper correctly so as to get the best of its resources – including obtaining the finest lines possible. Also, there will be demonstrations on how to proceed to make corrections, erase the ink and remake the drawings, how to recognize the qualities of a good paper, and much more.
Furthermore, most specific practices proposed in the guidebook will be demonstrated live for a better understanding of their mechanisms. All these practices are related to many particular needs that we face while representing light and shade using the visual language of hatching. Afterward, some biological subjects can be examined and explained regarding their form, light and shade, and especially further details such as texture, indument, ornaments etc. Demonstrations provide methods for rendering all these aspects with the language of hatching while describing how to make the best use of the pen nib technique. The students are encouraged to practice online, ask questions, optionally film their own hands while working and show their results to receive advice.
How this course works:
There will be live online meetings via the application Zoom with all the students and the tutor. All classes are recorded – regardless of whether students are missing or not – and uploaded as private videos on the tutor’s channel on YouTube to be watched afterward (they remain permanently available).
At the end of each meeting, tasks are assigned so that students can continue to practice on the patterns proposed in the guidebook, or else draw appropriate objects of their own choice – or only parts of these objects. Then students must send their results via WhatsApp or email so all works can be assessed by the tutor.
In order to take the best advantage of the live meetings, the assessment of exercises and the individual advice from the tutor are mostly provided through extra video classes that are recorded and posted on YouTube as nonlisted videos (only people with the link can access). Thus, every participant can also learn from the guidance offered to all the other students. Our main focus during live meetings then is the teaching of lessons and concepts, as well as the demonstrations, questions & answers. But of course, there may be some comments on the students' exercises even during these meetings, especially when the tutor recognizes some pattern of mistakes or the need for teachings that will help everyone at once.
— Supplies list:
This list is a revised and expanded version from the list found in the tutor’s free guidebook on pen nib and ink – download it for free here – which provides a valuable amount of information to help you begin to understand many important aspects of the tool and the technique even before the course, thus you can take better advantage of all teachings. Actually, reading this guidebook prior to the course is a requisite for all the students enrolled. It is also advisable – though not mandatory – to try using the nib to reproduce some of the patterns proposed in the last pages of the guide.
1. The nibs
1a – Pen nibs recommended – better to have three or more individual nibs from some of the brands and models listed below. Hints and tips about the selection at the time of purchase are in the main text of the guidebook. If you cannot be in person at the store to individually select the best nibs, I recommend buying a higher number of nibs to increase your chance of obtaining some great ones. Remember to acquire also the correct holder(s), since some styles of nibs require different holders:
Speedball Hunt #100 - this should be the first preference; it provides thin lines and has the flexibility that allows good line thickening. It allows for some of the finest lines of all pen nibs currently available. However, it needs to go through rigorous selection at the moment of purchase, according to the recommendations in the guidebook.
Speedball Hunt #104 - thin lines, but blades are short, hence there is less flexibility and quite a limited capacity of line thickening. Nevertheless, it is suitable when one wants to avoid unintentional thickening and it is also excellent for micro stippling. Although too little flexible, this nib is more likely to provide a fine line and help you get familiar with the standard of thin lines aimed in this course. So it's worth it to purchase some 5 or 10 of them, as a good percentage is likely to provide a good fine line.
Speedball Hunt #102 - crow quill style, it makes thicker lines compared to the models above and is steadier; however, it can provide relatively good fine lines and it also allows for some good thickening, being suitable for outlining. Eventually, some of the best nibs of this model will be able to provide the finest lines possible, just like the Hunt #100 can do, particularly after being correctly sanded and polished.
1b – Alternative choices (in order of preference)
Gillott #290 VINTAGE – hard to find and more expensive, but worth it, depending on its conditions. Some rarely found brand-new-like preserved nibs, with good manufacturing conditions such as those the guidebook suggests, can be used for quite a long time, provided that they are well conserved and cared for.
Deleter Maru-pen [find it here (10 pieces) and here (2 pieces)] – this is quite a well-manufactured and refined nib. Crow quill style, it provides awesome fine lines, but as it's not very flexible, the capacity of line thickening is a bit limited. This is the only reason why it is not ahead of Speedball in this ordination.
Tachikawa #77 Maru Pen Nib – just like the one above, this is quite a well manufactured and refined nib, but not so flexible as Speedball Hunt #100 or Vintage Gillott #290. Even so, it can provide a relatively good variety of thickness to lines. It is worth it to purchase several of them to find the best ones among all, which will provide the finest lines.
Gillot #290 (currently made) – this is the last and least resort, not a great option because the quality of manufacturing of current nibs is extremely low and the rate of usable nibs comes down to something close to just 10 or 20%. Therefore, in order to have a few useful nibs, one has to buy at least 30 nibs and be lucky. But if you can find a vintage bronze model as suggested above, please go for it.
Refillable/disposable pens – for outlining, one can use a good refillable pen – or even a disposable one, provided that its ink is quite dark, since some of them have a somewhat diluted tone. Note that thickness variations during scribing are not possible with such pens. Recommended brands and models are Micron (disposable), Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph and Rotring Isograph (both refillable).
Besides the options suggested above, feel free to choose and bring to the course any material of your preference. Nibs I mentioned earlier are Nikko G, Zebra G, Principal EF Leonardt, Presbitero 505 EF and Brause and Co. 76. Most of these are not able to provide too delicate lines as the other suggested models do, but it is worth trying, as these nibs have lots of other great qualities.
1c – Nibs to be avoided:
– Speedball Hunt #103 - design really quite similar to #100, a bit more flexible, but usually does not work well at all, for some unknown reason;
– Do NOT be attracted towards HIRO Leonardt #700. Just do not buy it!!
2. India Ink - suggested brands are (in order of preference): 1. Talens 2. Staedtler Mars – ‘paper’ (give preference to the model labeled for “paper”, since the model for “film + paper” has a secant that can cause fluidity issues), 3. Cretacolor. Feel free to bring to course inks from any brand of your preference instead, or any material you had already acquired.
3. Paper - (order of preference): Lana Bristol, Canson Bristol, Fabriano 4L, Strathmore 500 Bristol Plate Finish. Winsor & Newton Bristol may appear excellent at face value and indeed provides a marvelous surface, but as the work develops the paper reveals its abrasive tendency to literally wear down the pen nib’s tip. Feel free to bring to class any paper of your preference or any brand that you had already acquired and want to discuss about, or give it a try.
|Hog bristle brush|
4. Small brush with stiff hairs (stiff nylon, plastic, hog bristle) – it will be used to clean the pen nib with alcohol, so its size must be compatible with the nib’s size. The width of 5mm for the hair’s base is enough, be it rounded or flat. Prefer a non-expensive brush, as hairs will have their tips trimmed to increase stiffness.
5. Alcohol 99% (or at least a minimum of 70%) - to wipe the pen nib. It can dilute and remove even the dry inlaid ink from old pens.
7. Lint-free cloth or paper towel – to wipe the pen nibs. Paper towel is also used to protect the drawing from the hand’s touch.
8. A little piece of cardboard or any rigid paper plus adhesive tape – it serves as a base to steady the ink vial over it, thus avoiding spilling.
9. A dropper, a straw, or a pipette – to transfer ink from the original bottle to the penicillin vial.
10. A cup, a glass, or a pencil holder - to support the pen nibs with their holders so that they stand firm, preventing scrolling, falls, and disasters.
11. A magnifying lens of jeweler’s type, with a magnifying index of at least 5x, to check the conditions of cleaning and help while sanding.
12. Double edge razor blades and eraser-pencil or ink eraser – for corrections.
13. Sandpaper for metal, minimum 600-grit, but also 1000-grit or higher, to polish the nibs' tip.