A Full Plate

Leave a comment

VP_Sushi

January came and went despite of my good intentions of posting once a week. I’ve been busier than I thought. I’m currently teaching a Masters degree course at the University of Jyväskylä’s departmen of art and cultural studies on environmental aesthetics – on lived and represented environments to be precise – for two two hour lectures per week and I spend every Tuesday and Wednesday there for seven weeks. Thought it is fun and stimulating, it is also quite taxing since I live almost 300 km away and every Tuesday morning first drive there, give two lectures and drive back the next day. I was taken by surprise how much pressure on my weekly schedule the leaching gig has put even if I have taught the same course before and so had the material ready. Live and learn.

Last time I posted about the pen and inks I had bought from The Goulet Pen Company and I promised to report back after having properly tried them. I really like the Noodler’s Ahab flex fountain pen. It is significantly sturdy bodied pen in comparison to most pens and that suits my hand perfectly: it’s much easier to keep my hold relaxed with Ahab. And the flex, ah, enough said. I love that I can manipulate the line easily (I am yet to master the brush pen) and the fact that I can easily adapt the level of flexing by adjusting the nib. Definitely good value for $20! A good first drawing fountain pen I think.

That plate of sushi is the very first proper drawing I did with the Ahab. The paper of my current sketchbook is not best suited for the ink (Platinum Carbon Black and it is pitch black!) and it feathers easily. Also the papers in not best suited for the bid either as it scratches easily and so it resists the movement of the nib slightly. A really high quality nib might work better but it’s not a big deal to me. I’ll just select a sketchbook with different kind of paper the next time I need a new one.

We had late lunch with a friend before Christmas and had sushi in this really nice, small sushi place in central Helsinki called Ichiban Sushi. I didn’t want to spent time drawing while I could have delicious sushi to eat in the company of a friend we don’t see often enough. But no worries, a quick picture with my mobile and I could take my time drawing the plate later at home. And not only that, that way I got to enjoy the same meal twice! Not bad, not bad at all, don’t you think?

Advertisements

Tools of the Trade

2 Comments

I have made two new year’s resolutions: I will eat an exceptionally delicious salad and publish a post once a week. I need to eat more greens but the foodie in me gets so easily bored that I need to feed it with something special more often, and posting makes me happy, so there you go. Now that has been made public it’s time to move on.

It took me months (really) to decide what to get with a gift card I had received as a doctorate gift: I decided to get a fountain pen I had been coveting for ages, a Noodler’s Ahab flex pen from The Goulet Pen Company. It’s not an expensive pen with it’s $20 prize tag but I had been second guessing whether I really needed one or not. All you drawers/crafters/etc. know what I’m talking about. You see an interesting, nice looking tool, and pretty soon that little voice somewhere in the back of your mind steps forward and points out that it’s That Tool that will make you better in your craft. Absolutely. Possibly. It just might, you know. And so you get. If you’re lucky, the voice was right, and the Tool inspires you but more often it doesn’t. I have stuff that I have never even tried out and I was worried this pen might turn out to be one of those purchases. But thanks to my partner’s encouragement (“It’s just $20. I won’t be big loss if it turns out not to be your thing.”) I went and ordered one. And the ink for it. And something extra.

You know how that’s how it goes, don’t you?

Thankfully he was right.

The parcel arrived days before Christmas and it was precision packed with a ton of bubble wrap – and a cherry flavoured lollypop. Talking about a cherry on the cake. I love opening boxes (even when I know they are empty) and unwrapping packages, and so the Goulet parcel was heaven in itself. In fact, there are several videos about unpacking orders from Goulet Pen’s on YouTube.

This is what I got:

VP_kynät01

The lollipop (yummy!), Noodler’s Ahab flex pen in Cardinal Darkness and Platinum Carbon Ink for it. The bigger bottle is Noodler’s Kung Te-Cheng -ink that I bought just because it’s such a wonderful colour as you can see below:

VP_kynät06

It has a nice story to it too: it’s a reproduction of the imperial Chinese ink. The trouble is, it’s not waterproof and it can easily clog up a fountain pen. That’s why it comes with a free fountain pen and a brush pen which they have tested at Noodler’s and which should work fine with the ink. It’s really cheap basic converted Platinum Preppy fountain pen. My partner thought it’s a bit wet to write but I like it though it’s true, it can smear it you don’t take care. I really like the colour of the ink. I think I need a pen pal so that I have a reason to write with it.

See, it's perfect purple!

See, it’s perfect purple!

But back to the main thing: The Ahab:

VP_kynät02

The Ahab needs to be washed before filling it for the first time. There’s some lubricant residue left from the manufacturing process and that can mess up the ink flow if not taken care off first. I did that first, filling the pen with warm water with some liquid dish washing detergent in it, then rinsed it before taking the pen apart to adjust the flex. Ahab is a flex pen which means it’s nib is flexible in comparison to ordinary nibs. That means that I can vary the line by pressing harder or lighter as I draw and write as the sides of the nib move apart when pressure is applied. The amount of pressure depends on your hand: a light hand needs more flex than a heavy one. The beauty of this pen is that you can rather easily adjust the nib according to your hand.

VP_kynät03

I reassembled the pen and filled it up with some ink. I didn’t fill it fully so that I don’t make a huge mess if I decide to adjust the nib, which I think I will do. Apparently I have a light hand and don’t get as much line variation as I would like.

VP_kynät04

The Ahab has a thicker body than most pens, pencils or other drawing utensils and I quite like that. I don’t have long fingers or anything but I find it easier, more comfortable to hold than most pens etc. I haven’t been drawing much with it yet, just some mindless doodles, but already I have found it makes me draw slower as it is more difficult to control the flexion if I move too fast. And that’s great. I often rush with my drawing, thinking and planning too much ahead and consequently worrying too much about the end result. Danny Gregory has often talked about slowing down, about concentrating on the details as you draw them so that you can see them more clearly. Trying to do that often makes me feel anxious as I start to worry about how many details there are still left to draw, how long it will take me, will I get it right and the usual rubbish. Ahab actually demands enough attention that I don’t have time to worry!

There was one little trouble with the Ahab at first: it scratched the paper. I had notices some customers had mentioned this in their feedback so I was aware of the possibility. Luckily this was easily fixed. I took a close look at the nib and noticed one side of the tip was ever so slightly out of line with the other side. That’s where the pair of tweezers in the picture comes in. I took a firm hold of the tip of nib with them, and gently, gently straightened the nib. That did the trick and the pen now writes smoothly. Happy days!

As a disclaimer: I paid for all the materials mentioned above, none of them came to me as an endorsement; I simply like the stuff. As for the company that sold them to me, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Goulet Pen Company. The service was fast and friendly, and their attention to details made me happy. I especially liked the handwritten message at the end of the receipt. A nice, professional and personal touch form a company that sells writing utensils.

Evan Thompson

Professor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia

Quinn Creative

No one succeeds without excellent communication skills. Good writing is compelling. Good communication is convincing. Good training is rare. Welcome to QuinnCreative.

Les carnets de voyage de Flinflin

Travel sketches from across the world

Heartline Horse

Crissi McDonald

The Sketchbook

MOSTLY MONTREAL, MOST OF THE TIME

Le blog des Flinflins

Making a full comic strip out of an ordinary life

clipsimity

the science of pylimitics

Considering The Horse.

Welcome! We are looking forward to sharing some thoughts and ideas on horses and horsemanship with you. Be sure to check back from time to time for new installments!

Dear Me

notes from the future

busy mockingbird

a messy collection of art projects, crafts, and various random things...

The Last of the Druids

New Insights into Pictish Stones

RikReimert

Illustrations

Schlabadoo

Mark Kaplowitz's Wordpress.com Blog

Danny Gregory

Inspiration for creative folks like you.

Quinn Creative

No one succeeds without excellent communication skills. Good writing is compelling. Good communication is convincing. Good training is rare. Welcome to QuinnCreative.