Wednesday 1 August 2007

his nibs (2)

N ow where was I up to before I had to dash across the Pacific? Oh yes, the nibs. When you use these in your regular work you need to be buying them by the gross, so that your stash looks something like this:

Whenever you get together with a colleague in the trade you say 'hey I found that this one suits my puposes, you should give it a try', and you shove a handful in the other guy's mitt. In this way I came by the crowquill style of nib via Dave Sim. This style has the cylinder in emulation of the bird feather from which it derives, as opposed to the flat reed in which the more flexible type of nib originates. This style offered me a tighter control of the linework, but with less thick-and-thin dynamics, which you can see from the selected examples below. In fact The use of this type (in conjunction with my other favourites) starts coming in around From Hell chapter 7. I had spent a week with Sim early in 1994 after which I added to my armoury the Hunt 102 crowquill, pictured in the red box.
On occasion I come across a box of a rare nib. The large Brandauer nibs above came as a Christmas present many years ago and I occasionally find a use for them. I think these are very old. (Some other gorgeous Brandauer antiques.)
The quaint abel on the underside of the box reads:
Brandauer: CAUTION: Whereas, with a view of securing the public from imposition, and of protecting our own manufacture, we have caused our Trade mark, to wit, 'an Archer in a kneeling position, with bow and arrow, to be registered according to law...etc.
A history of the Birmingham pen trade including Branfdauer and Gillott: The Brandauers remained involved with the business until the First World War, when the factory was confiscated by the authorities on the grounds that the Brandauers were Austrian, and was eventually released to the Petit family.
Examples using mainly the crowquill:


Changing the subject, I'm leading up to a video clip which made me laugh, but we must get there via unsavoury matters, so bear with me a minute. While I was away they nabbed somebody for groping, but surely this isn't the groper I mentioned here before (which should not be taken to imply that I know anything about the matter):
Sex assaults linked to bikeway attacks?- July 31, 2007.
Man charged over sex assaults- August 1, 2007 .
hayley campbell sent a link to the unrelated incident in England:
Man sought over TV bottom pinch- BBC- Tuesday, 31 July 2007
A man who pinched a Channel 4 News presenter's bottom during a live broadcast is being sought by police. (Youtube)
Sue Turton was speaking to the camera from Oxford's flood-hit Osney Island when the man was seen on film walking past her. She said she found the incident "quite humiliating" but continued reporting. She does not wish to pursue the matter. Police said they still intended to impose an £80 fixed-penalty fine on the man under the Public Order Act.
Ms Turton said in a statement: "Many people found the incident in Oxford last week when a man pinched my bum live on Channel 4 News humorous.

I am not one who finds amusement in the puerile behaviour of annoying of ladies in public, but while at Youtube I came across this U.S. news reporter getting mad, which has nothing to do with bottoms, and had me in stitches because of the placing of the word 'violent'.

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Blogger James Robert Smith said...

In the days when I used to hang out with many comic book pencil artists and inkers, they would all talk about the brushes they used and how they never used any pens at all anymore, and would usually pause to make fun of Terry Austin who was not generally there and who "still uses a pen HAW! HAW! HAW!".

I've never pinched a news reporter's bum, but I think it's funny if someone else does it.

What a bunch of rude bastards.

1 August 2007 at 18:54:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

"What a bunch of rude bastards."

The inkers, not the bum-pincher.

1 August 2007 at 18:56:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Campbell, sir, could please also talk about how to clean up nibs properly or what to use for that purpose?

I've heard of a few techniques and used some myself. The best choice seems to be windex (or something like that) because water can increase the chance of rust (it seems). But windex has a rather strong smell which makes one a little dizzy (to say the least).

Thank you for always sharing interesting stories and helpful information with us.

1 August 2007 at 22:22:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Loris Z. said...

I think the thing that makes the last video (the one with the U.S. reporter) funny is the reporter's reaction...

"... Rise in violent CRAWWW!"

Mr. Campbell, may I ask a question? How much each nib lasts before getting thrown?

I find myself using the same set in... three years, probably, and they seem able to withstand for some more time.

Best regards.


1 August 2007 at 22:30:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...



I should have said that the reason you need a big box full of of each nib is that if you're using them all the time then each one is not going to last very long. A nib loses its resilience fairly quickly. then you throw it away and start in with another. the new one is usually too stiff at first. To solve this problem i usually have three on the go at once, in different stages of use. the newly started one is too stiiff and hard for sweeping strokes and the oldest will be too relaxed for close-in details. When It's no good for anything at all you throw it out, put a new one in that holder and that becomes the newest of the the three. have three nib holders and keep them circulating. When we were doing from hell a nib would rarely last a whole week unless i was being stingy. If we needed to clean it we just dipped it in water. it wasn't going to be around long enough to get rusty. Nowadays i don't use them as much and they last longer, but it has never occurred to me to be precious about them.


1 August 2007 at 22:36:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

you came in while i was typing. Hope i answered. Three years!!?

1 August 2007 at 22:40:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Loris Z. said...

Yes you did.

Yep, three years. Obviously, I doubt that they would have lasted so long using them on everything I make, but I wonder if I have stumbled upon some hidden jewel of sorts... the one I most use only has a little spot (almost a dot) of ink that won't go away and a little rust on the inside. But it keeps working splendidly.

Sadly I don't have the camera in the house, I feel a picture would be helpful...

1 August 2007 at 22:59:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

well here is a coincidence. I'm reading RC harvey's book on Caniff during my lunch break. Caniff used a Gillott 659 crowquill. "he often bore down on the pen, spreading its point to make a line as broad as a brush stroke. With this kind of treatment, pen points wore out at the rate of a dozen a week"

1 August 2007 at 23:44:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

I had a nib for so long (maybe three years, but I do a lot of brush work, too) that now that it's gone, I'm not sure what to do. I can't seem to get a new one to work for me. Either the ink won't come out, or a big blob runs all over the spot I'm trying to cover. Am I doing something wrong here or do I just need to "brake it in?"

2 August 2007 at 00:42:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Loris Z. said...

I can't seem to find a website with information about it, but the one I most use (the one with rust) is a Perry & Cº Nº 310 (textual from the nib). I remember buying it in one of the few shops in Buenos Aires that do sell nibs for the equivalent of a dollar, I bought also about half a dozen of different sizes and models to try them out. Sadly, the shop closed some time ago, and I can't find one that sells them, so I end up using mostly a cheap one, locally fabricated, made for elementary school use. These do break after about a week of intensive use...

Two things I made with the 310 some time ago

2 August 2007 at 00:58:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying the nibs features and discussion - geez mare!!! (trans: "more please")

I've just weened myself off staedtler mars pens - and I'm using faber castell disposable - especially the brush pens.

Although recently - after some kind advice from (the fantastic) Mick McMahon I'm experimenting with using hard pencils and scanning from them - which is 'floating my boat' as it were. But still using inks too.

I've always liked nibs but never found them practical (to my way of working) - I persevere.

3 August 2007 at 11:34:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Janne said...

Thank you for a great and inspiring blog and books.

May I ask how do you use ink with your nibs - do you dip the whole nib to the ink bottle or do you use some kind of eyedropper to get ink into the vent hole?

All the Best,


2 August 2010 at 08:13:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

what you need to do is keep a separate tiny bottle for dipping. only have a centimeter of ink at the bottom so that you can put the nib all the way in till it touches the bottom, knowing that it can not overload. keep refilling this small bottle from the bought one when the ink gets too thick and gluggy, empty it out, wash the bottle out and replenish anew.
best to you,

2 August 2010 at 14:20:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Michael Wood said...

Hi Eddie,

I found your note about the pen nibs very interesting.

I'm currently making a short documentary about the Brandauer Pen Factory in Birmingham, and wondered whether I could perhaps feature you in it - describing the practical use of these nibs and the results that can be achieved with each style?

I wonder whether you might be kind enough to drop me an e-mail and I will explain more.

If you go to my website, you can contact me through there.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,
Michael Wood.

3 September 2010 at 06:34:00 GMT-5  

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