Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Inky goodness

Hamlet is in progress! I've done eleven pages of the final work (yes, eleven down, 390 to go!) and am so excited about it, I'd work at it 20 hours a day if I were physically capable of doing so. And if I didn't have to go to the office...

I won't show any finished pages here because my illusionist's instinct tells me that until the dove is ready to be flourished out of the hat, I should keep it hidden. Very hard, when I can barely contain my excitement!

Instead, I'll introduce a new favourite product - Pebeo's black "graphic" india ink/encre de chine. Here it is with its perfect partner - a box of fabulous vintage bowl-shaped nibs that I bought on eBay:


The ink was recommended by the very brusque-and-busy manager at Deans Art - clearly a man who knows his ink. I'd complained about the erratic behaviour of my big bottle of Winsor & Newton (my battles with W&N seem to be a recurring theme...) and he seemed completely unsurprised by this report. He tossed this plastic Pebeo bottle at me, saying "this is good stuff, and it's cheap". I didn't actually look at the price, so keen was I to find a black ink that I actually liked.

And I'm very happy to say that this is indeed the goods. Very black, shiny, sits nicely on top of the paper, and with just the right amount of whatever it is that gives it that satiny feel. No bleeding into the paper, and no stickiness. Yippee!

This was also my first try with the new/old nibs from the magic cave of eBay. They took forever to arrive after being caught in a UK postal strike, and then I ignored them for months while continuing my extended romp with the brush pen (which remains my main tool at the moment, as Hamlet is a largely nib-free affair). But it is a pleasure to simultaneously happen upon a superior ink and what seems to be the ideal steel nib! These are large bowl-shaped nibs with a sort of rounded bobble on the upper part of the point, making them slightly less hard and scratchy. They glide, they're not too flexy and they have just the right amount of line variation for my taste. And the best part is, I've got 114 of them! No more wondering if my one-of-a-kind nib will last the distance for an entire book! I used just two nibs for the main drawing work of Gatsby, and after approximately 1,500 drawings, they were both worn away on a very rakish tilt indeed. And by rakish I do mean prone to raking the paper.

In other news, Gatsby has been listed as a "notable book" in the Children's Book Council of Australia awards this year. Lovely! Speaking of the CBC, I'll be on a panel at the CBC conference in Melbourne in May, talking about graphic novels together with Queenie Chan (manga queen) and Neil Gaiman (!!!).

7 comments:

Anthony Woodward said...

I use speedball ink as it dries so fast (less accidents that way)
Also recently I've been trying out a Hunt 107 nib. Seems a bit stiff at first and may need to be broken in. I read something the other day that reported letterers used to file one side of the hunt 107's down to get a more calligraphic line...

Bobby.N said...

I've often passed by this ink in artshops, and been unsure of using it because it seemed like a 'multi-purpose' style of ink (ie. One size fits all) - so I didn't think it could work well with nibs. I too like the 'shinyness' of W&N ink, and have wanted something similar, but less pricey if i can find it.

So, I might give this one a shot next time i see it.

BTW, nice meeting you at 'Comic Book Funnies' Nicki - and thanks for the business card & printer info...

Now, back to work.

B-

spacedlaw said...

Pebeo is something I grew up using and abusing. It is pretty good indeed. At least good enough for a kid to mess around with and not get sticky even if that kid forgot to screw the lids fully back on...

Bobby.N said...

Tried this ink on the weekend and its amazing. Very much like W&N. Thanks for the find & sharing the info.

B-

Dell toner said...

I can’t wait until you will finish your book. I am impatient. About the Pebeo's black "graphic" India ink/encre de chine, I just want to say that I tried it and its very good ink. I can get to maximum accuracy with it. I was very surprised about the price, for I was expecting it to be much more expensive. It is common to say that good thing are expensive, but in this case this is so untrue. I hope that this price remains, so we will all could enjoy it for a long time. Good luck with the book and May the 390 pages to go will be easy.

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