his nibs (1)
T ime for another technical post, all about the pen nibs I've used. The degree of flexibility is the primary consideration. A very flexible nib that suited my purposes is the Hunt 103, seen on the left in the photo. Something about that little florette shaped vent hole enables the tines to spread wide for great flexibility. The more rigid Gillott 209 is next to it. I used that for back up, when I needed to get in closer and turn around in a narrower space. The one on the far right is the quite different 'crowquill' style. More on that next time.
Wikipedia: Thick and thin strokes can be achieved by varying the pressure the nib is pushed against the paper. A hard pressure causes the nib tines to widen allowing more ink to come in to contact with the paper, this results in a thick stroke. Light pressure causes the tines to narrow and even close creating very fine hairline strokes. These flexible quills and later steel nibs were what led to the styles of penmanship such as Copperplate and then Spencerian. However pointed nibs are not just used for the purpose of writing, pointed quills have been utilised by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci for sketching and pen drawing. Although any pointed steel nib can be used for drawing, nibs that resemble flexible nibs but are much more rigid have been produced for pen drawing.
Below are two portraits of the real (as opposed to our fictional version) William Gull I drew from photos, using the Hunt 103, for the From Hell scripts book way back in 1994. I was always very pleased with these, but whenever they were reproduced it was always too small to notice anything about the pen technique (click for larger). I once read that the great illustrator Charles Dana Gibson (left, greatly reduced) used great big flexible nibs as though they were paint brushes, and worked standing at an easel in a smock, with his art board upright. I tried to take some of Gibson's panache on board.
However it was usually difficult to carry that quality over into the small rectangular panels of the From Hell chapters themselves. Here's a good attempt from chapter 1:
For further investigation: a display of the Hunt nibs and the equivalent catalogue for Gillott
'I don't think bloggers read' -Friday July 20, 2007- The Guardian
Andrew Keen says the internet is populated by second-rate amateurs. He's written a book, The Cult of the Amateur, with the no-messing-about subtitle "How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy"
Until recently the Wikipedia entry for Andrew Keen informed readers that, in addition to coming from Golders Green, London, having an academic background and being an outspoken critic of Web 2.0, he was also "a child actor who found fame in a series of soup commercials". This isn't true; the sentence was inserted deliberately by the host of a Radio 3 show prior to an appearance by Keen, to show how easily the accuracy of Wikipedia can be undermined. This bit of factual vandalism remained for 12 days before it was removed - 11 days longer than an emendation from June 5, which replaced the entire first paragraph with the words "Andrew Keen IS a dumb motherfucker".
(link thanks to Mick Evans)