Monday, November 12, 2007

Vale Aquash


Bugger. After more than 220 pages of rough drawings, plus numerous character sketches, my beloved Pentel Aquash brush pen has died. As Marwood ("I") in Withnail and I says, referring to Danny the drug dealer, "his mechanism's gone".

I've washed it, soaked it, shaken it, blown into it - but alas, it is dead. The nice gentleman on the phone at Eckersley's tells me it's possible that they just wear out after a while. I suppose 220+ pages is reasonably good going - though after my record of doing all of Gatsby plus numerous shortie comics with just two nibs, I do expect a degree of stamina from my implements.

So today's Hamlet rough pages had to be done with the fancy-pants GFKP fountain brush pen which, while it has some advantages in delicacy and speed, is just not as satisfying to use - partly because it's not heavy enough in my hand. Prima donna, me.

I'm off to Eckersley's shortly to get a replacement, so that tomorrrow I can use my favourite toy again.

12 comments:

Colin Wilson said...

I love these things too Nicki, but how do you stop them from 'pumping'? I find that soon after I start using them waaaay too much ink starts to come through the tip, and I have to continually wipe 'em on a tissue.

Nicki Greenberg said...

Mine has never had this problem, though I've noticed it flows a bit faster if someone else uses it and gives it more of a squeeze than necessary!

Anthony Woodward showed me his aquash recently, and it was gushing pretty heavily. It could be a faulty mechanism, but I wonder whether it was the ink? I use non-waterproof Chinese ink, and he was using Rotring tech pen ink. What do you use?

(Though, thinking about it, the aquash works with water (eg for watercolour) so it can't be that the Rotring ink is too thin...?)

Have you had an aquash die on you yet? Do you know what causes it? Mine appears to be blocked, and soaking etc did not help. If I can last 220 pages, then the pen should too, I reckon!

Colin Wilson said...

I always use Rotring ink in these things, so its probably that. I think that they may work better when they are new?

The only one I've had die on me so far was my own fault... I left it too long with very little ink in the thing and it dried out. With the Rotring ink, there's no way I could soak it back to use... that stuff dries like concrete.....

Nicki Greenberg said...

I think I should try the Rotring ink - not for the brush pen, but for using with nibs. I have always used Winsor & Newton's (very high shellac) ink, but it has been playing up on me lately, bleeding into the paper etc.

Have you used the Pentel GFKP cartridge brush pen? That never leaks, and it seems to be waterproof.

Ah, the joy of Products.

spacedlaw said...

Modern technology. It always lets you down when you most need it.

Sorry to read about your loss, though. I hope this is not curbing Hamlet's production too much. I know what you mean by "not enough weight": I hate light pens (and that's just for writing).

Colin Wilson said...

Rotring Ink is by far the blackest ink I've ever used, but I believe it has a drying agent in it which makes it unsuitable for a lot of stuff. I use a lot of dip pens (Brause, hard to find here in Oz) and the Rotring ink just doesn't flow well on these. And no way should a brush EVER get anywhere near the stuff... the ink dries way too fast and the brushes start to clog up no matter how well they are cleaned.

I'm a big fan of Pelikan ink for brush and non-Rotring pen work and I've used nothing else for years. But once again... it's very hard to find in Oz....

Never tried a Pentel, must ask for one at Ekersley's.

Nicki Greenberg said...

Thanks Nathalie - fortunately it didn't curb Hamlet production - it just meant I had to do 2 days (20 pages) of roughs with the fountain brush pen. This was far less economical, as it used up an entire cartridge of Pentel's special mysterious "accept no substitutes" ink.

Colin, I don't think Eckersleys have the fountain brush pen - but you can order them from Will's Quills in Sydney. Having now spent more time with it, I have decided that it is perfect for faces and little details, but that I'll do all the rest with the Aquash which feels nicer for the swoops and swirls.

zombo vertov said...

oooooh we recently came back from a week in tokyo and of course it is home of the brush pen... went to 'tokyu hands' dept store which is like 12 floors of stationery and craft supplies. One floor of pens and brushes. Even went to a nothing local newsagent and they had brush pens. Joys of psycho consumerism. glad to see gatsby going and up and birthed and all!

Nicki Greenberg said...

Drroooooolll.... 12 floors of stationery.... aggghhhhh....

Sorry, did you say something else?

12... floors... of... stationery...

Yeah, psycho consumerism is bad... except in connection with stationery products!!

Good to hear from you, Zombo - hope NZ is treating you well. Any plans for a Melb visit? I was really sorry to miss you last time. xxN

Feather on a Wire said...

Coming into to this late.
My current one slows down to almost nothing when half full. I have to keep jumping up to refill it. I'm using pure water for a textile project.
Is there anything else you know of which would perform in a similar way? I'm looking for something which is available throughout the world not just the UK. When I 'google' it, I come up with loads of UK suppliers but none in the US.

Sarah Howell said...

Hey Nicki,

I just had someone inquiring about brushpens on my one of my blog posts, which had me returning to your blog for testimontials on how great the Aquash is.

In response to your question "Have you had an aquash die on you?" my main black aquash that I used almost everyday in my journal lasted from Oct 2005 until May 2007 and I only put it to rest because the tip of the brush had simply become fuzzy, not because of the actual function of the nib failing.

In response to Colin's question "How do you stop them from pumping?" I use art spectrum ink and I have found mine pumps more if it gets too warm, it's like a fountain if I'm outside in the sun. The pumping obviously happens more when the pen has just been refilled, I emptied mine a bit once to alleviate this.

For Feather on the Wire, have you tried other water brushes? Aquash is the best for putting ink in but the Kuretake Co. Ltd water brush pens come in a larger range of sizes and shapes.

Finally I would like to thank mister Zombo Vertov for putting me onto the Aquash pen in the first place.

Comfortable Shoes Studio said...

You can take the nib apart if you are careful and clean out the sponge that slows the ink flow and that usually solves the no flow issue. I did a youtube video on their repari here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcbD8nnzgS8