Drawing dip pen: drawing dip pens at Jerry’s Artarama

9 Easy Pen and Ink Techniques for Beginners

Pen and Ink are the perfect partners for quick and easy mark making – especially as they are affordable and easy to transport. But working in a permanent medium can be daunting for beginners. Discover our top 9 easy pen and ink drawing techniques to get you started!

Pen and ink is an ancient drawing medium that has been popular with artists for centuries. Nowadays, we have access to all kinds of wonderful pens that artists of days gone by could only dream of! From fineliners and dip pens, to markers and brush pens – there are so many of these drawing tools to choose from. Each offer their own unique properties for pen and ink drawing.

Two Thatched Cottages with Figures at a Window (c. 1640) by Rembrandt van Rijn. Pen and brown ink drawing, corrected with white gouache

Pen and ink can seem like a big step from pencil drawing – especially for beginners! You can’t erase pen, unlike pencil, so your mark making must be carefully calculated. There’s nothing worse than creating the perfect drawing only for it to be ruined by one misplaced line! With pencil you are able to adjust your shading by varying the amount of pressure while drawing. This isn’t the case with pens! You’ll need to rely on carefully placed lines and marks to give the impression of shading. Tightly compacted linework will give the impression of deep shadows, while spaced out linework will create an area filled with light. Juxtaposing both these tight and loose marks will create a drawing with great contrast and texture.

The 9 easy pen and ink techniques for beginners below offer a great starting point, if you are looking to grow in confidence with your pen and ink technique.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

If you’re just starting out with ink drawing there are only a few bits of equipment you will need. Compared to painting, this discipline has a fairly low cost entry level, so is great for artists who are just beginning their creative journey or who are looking to level up their drawing skills.

To begin you will need the following:

Once you have these materials you will be ready to go! Typically the materials you will need for pen and ink are easily transportable, so if you’re taking classes or working on the go creating art couldn’t be easier!

What are the Differences Between the Types of Pen Available?

There are so many different types of artists’ pens available, it can be difficult to settle on the right one for you. Especially if you’re a beginner! We’ll take a look at a few of the variations of pens we stock and explain the varying qualities they bring to pen and ink drawing.

Fineliners & Technical Pens

Fineliner pens have a plastic or fibre based nib held in a metal casing. They have very fine nibs, typically ranging from the smallest 0.03mm size up to 0.8mm, depending on the brand. The nibs all have a fixed width, so the line you get will be very uniform, consistent and skip-free. Most of our pens are pigment based and waterproof – so your drawings will be lightfast and can be worked over with watercolour or ink later.

All of our fineliners are available in black, with select ranges available in other colours. Fineliners are the easiest pens to draw with if you’re a beginner.

Discover more about our range of fineliners and technical pens in our blog post Get to know Artists Pens – Fineliners & Technical Pens.

Brush Pens

Brush pens offer more variation in line width than a fineliner pen. Their nibs have a wide base that then tapers to a fine point. Typically the nib is made of a conical piece of felt, but there are pens that have a true brush tip made of individual fibres like a paint brush. You can vary the weight of your line by adjusting the amount of pressure you draw with. Light pressure will result in a fine line, whilst pressing down harder will create a thicker line. They are fantastic if you want more diversity in line weight and style in your drawing. Or are looking for a more versatile pen to experiment with. Some brush pens are water-soluble, so you’ll need to double check this if you want ink that is permanent.

Discover more about our range of brush pens in our blog post Get to know Artists Pens – Brush Pens.

Dip Pens

Dip Pens are not cartridge fed like fineliners and brush pens. Instead, you dip them into a bottle of ink and re-dip once the ink runs out. This technique is more akin to the types of pen and ink drawing done by artists of the past. One benefit of dip pen drawing is that the colours available are virtually unlimited. Most bottled inks are suitable for use with a dip pen, so there will be plenty of colours to choose from! You also have the choice of working with either water-soluble or waterproof inks, depending on your preference.

Dip Pens don’t give a uniform line. As you apply pressure the flexible tip of the nib will move, allowing more ink to flow from the tip. They also have a tendency to splatter ink if the nib catches on your paper. For some people this splattering can be an annoyance, but for many it is part of the charm of drawing with a dip pen.

Nibs for dip pens are also interchangeable, so you’ll be able to swap them out if you fancy a change.

You can use other speciality pens, like calligraphy pens, for line drawing. These types of pens have specially designed nibs usually used for hand lettering techniques. You can use them to achieve precise marks and textures for drawing. They do require a bit of experimentation before you get the hang of using them.

Get started with the 9 inking techniques below and you should slowly and surely be able to build up your ink drawing skills!

Technique 1: Hatching

Hatching is the easiest and one of the most basic ink drawing techniques. To hatch you essentially create a series of horizontal parallel lines. You can use a ruler to get sharp straight lines for an architectural look but freehand lines will give your drawings more character. The closer together you draw your lines, the more dense the shading effect they will create. The further apart they are the lighter the shading will appear. This technique is best for shading areas with medium shadow.

Technique 2: Cross-Hatching

Cross-Hatching builds on the Hatching technique. Essentially you’ll need to start by creating the same hatched lines as before. Once you’re done you’ll create another layer of hatched lines that overlap your existing linework. This second layer is commonly done at a 90 degree angle, but you can add them in as many layers and angles as you choose. The more layers you add at different angles the more dense your shading will become. Use Cross-Hatching for creating areas of deep shadows while creating texture.

Technique 3: Contour

Contour shading works similarly to Hatching, but your lines will follow the curves of the object you are drawing. If you are drawing a curved object then using contoured lines over simple hatching will give more illusion of shape. Hatching can leave your drawings looking a little flat. As with hatching, the closer together the lines, the deeper the shadow effect.

Don’t worry about your lines being perfect – little imperfections will give your drawing character.

Technique 4: Cross-Contour

Cross-Contour works along the same principle as Cross-Hatching, only you will start with contoured lined rather than hatched lines. Again, you can add in as many layers and directions as you want to build up the shadow density you need.

Technique 5: Stippling

Stippling is one of the more time consuming pen and ink techniques. It relies on carefully placed dots to give the impression of shadow and depth. The more densely concentrated your dots, the deeper the shadow will be. Create each dot by pressing the nib of your pen against the paper – you aren’t really ‘drawing’ and filling each individual circle. The smaller the nib size of your pen, the smaller your stippled dots will be. In areas that have very little shading you will only need to place a few strategic dots here and there. It can take a long time to build up your shading, especially if you re working on a large piece.

Consider the size of the nib you use and don’t lose your cool! This technique gives ultimate control over the contrast between light and dark in your work.

Technique 6: Circular Patterns

Use Circular Patterns to create areas of both light and dark shadow. The larger, looser and less tightly packed your circles the lighter your shading will be. As your circles become smaller and more dense your shading will appear much darker. This technique is great for quickly capturing natural textures in a uniform way – try using it to give the impression of foliage or scales.

Technique 7: Contrasting Lines & Broken Cross-Hatch

Contrasting lines and Broken Cross Hatch are two similar techniques that work the same way as a regular cross hatch. Contrasting lines (sometimes called ‘weaving’) is used to create a pattern where small groups of hatched lines are drawn at angles to each other. These lines can be made in a uniform arrangement, or placed in a more random manner depending on the texture you want to create.

You can overlap these lines to create an unbroken pattern.

Broken Cross-Hatch is similar but works with groups of intersecting cross-hatched lines. The more your lines intersect the darker the shading will be. Both these techniques generate an aesthetically pleasing texture.

Technique 8: Continuous & Random Doodled Lines

Continuous and doodled lines are usually made up of one unbroken or a few very long weaving and overlapping lines. These lines shouldn’t be made in any sort of predictable pattern. Rather, you should relax your hand and just begin to create instinctive marks. It can take a little bit of practice to let go and relax, while also bearing in mind not to go overboard. Once you’ve practiced a little you’ll soon be able to create shading that’s perfect for giving the impression of textures like leaves, bark and more!

Technique 9: Pressure Lines & Thickness

This technique makes use of the different sizes and styles of nibs available. If you are working with fine liner pens there will be lots of different nib thicknesses available to you. Using a combination of these thicknesses in your drawings will make it easier to create varying degrees of shading. Try mixing up the sizes of pens you use to see how different sizes affect the types of linework you can create.

With Brush pens you’ll find that the more pressure you put on the pen, the thicker your linework will be. This allows you to create a single line with a varying line weight – something that you can use to your advantage in your drawings. The thickest lines can be used to create dramatic shadows, while the variation in line weight will give your drawing more character.

Other Hints & Tips

  • If you’re just starting out begin by practicing these techniques on simple geometric shapes. Start out with a cube and work out how light and shadow will affect each of its faces. Try and translate this contrast in dark and light into a drawing using the techniques above.
  • As you grow in confidence start trying to render more complex objects. It can be useful to draw these objects from life to see how light and shadow appear in a real life setting. Try capturing mugs, glasses and other household items.
  • If you’re nervous about putting pen to paper try planning your drawing with pencil first. This planning will help you work out where your lines need to be placed, without worrying too much about making mistakes.
  • Try pens with specialist nibs, like the Pilot Parallel Pen for some interesting mark making techniques.
  • Try mixing up different techniques to help define the form of the object you are sketching. Cross hatching and contour are commonly used together.
  • Use a mixture of different pens in the same drawing.
  • Change the way you hold your pen. Holding your pen at the bottom will allow for more free, expressive lines, whereas holding it close to the nib will allow you to work in more detail.
  • Add water to water-soluble linework to add character and interest to your drawing.
  • Use dry pens for texture. Using a dry marker, felt tip or brush pen can add texture to your work as they create a broken stroke of ink.
  • Use coloured pens to add a bit of vibrance to your drawings.

Try Something New! Dip Pen Drawing

Dip pen drawing – an ancient method of making marks that conjures up images of monks with goose quills writing manuscripts – is still a wonderful tool for the creative person. You can’t beat the feel of holding an ink-stained wooden stick with a metal nib, dipping it into ink and making a mark on paper. No matter how good a computer gets at recreating this method of drawing, it will never be exactly the same experience.

These days you can create calligraphic lines using a pen tablet and a vector image app like Adobe Illustrator. There are advantages to this – mistakes can be corrected or lines altered easily, the artwork can be resized to any scale without loss of quality, and file sizes are small. Although I use Illustrator regularly in my work, I always come back to dip pen drawing.

Just to be clear, this blog is about drawing with a dip pen, it’s not about calligraphy – you can use the same materials but that’s another blog!

In this blog we will look at the following:

Tools and materials


Adding colour



Where to get materials

Tools and materials

Nibs Start by experimenting with different nibs. Drawing is different to traditional calligraphy in that you want more flexibility. Don’t go and buy a calligraphy set from a stationers or art shop – what you want are a selection of flexible nibs to try and some pen holders. These are freely available online (see below) and not so easy to find locally. I personally like to use a Gillott 303 because you get a great deal of variation in line thickness depending on how hard you press on the nib, it holds the ink well and it has a perfect combination of flexibility and strength – it’s a delight to use!

You might also try Hunt nibs e. g. a 99, 100, 101 or 108, or other Gillott nibs e.g. a 170 or 291, or a Brause 66 nib. You may find the Hunt nibs too flexible, but they are lovely too use. The Brause is tiny but it punches way above its size. I also prefer a wooden pen holder to plastic for feel and grip.

NB New nibs may not ink straight away because they usually come in a protective lacquer – gently brush them with an old toothbrush soaked in hot water and washing up liquid and it should be fine – keep water off the holder and carefully dry the nib. You must protect the nib – if it gets bent or damaged it won’t be repairable.

A bottle of Indian ink E.g. Sennelier, which is waterproof – this gives you the option to add colour – it must be for dip pens. If using a large bottle you might want to tape it to your desk to avoid accidents! Or you could cut a hole in a large sponge and place it over the bottle to add stability.

Paper If you are going to colour the image e.g. with watercolour (see Adding Colour below) you will need watercolour paper of a decent weight e.g. 300gsm, otherwise any paper will do, especially if you are sketching and experimenting.

A pointed round brush For filling in larger dark areas – preferably sable if you can afford it, but student quality is fine.

Blotting paper More on this below.



Give the bottle of ink a stir. Dip the pen into the ink but not up to the holder – it needs to cover the hole in the nib where ink is stored.

As you take the nib out of the bottle, give it a tap or two on the bottle rim (so the nib is not overloaded with ink which could result in a big blob on the paper) and then, holding the pen at a comfortable angle, make your mark. You might like to sketch out a design lightly in pencil first. Some people draw on a board set at an angle (either an adjustable drawing board or a board resting on a couple of large books) for two reasons:

  1. you avoid the visual distortion you can get when your sketch looks as though it’s been stretched slightly to the top right corner
  2. your seated posture is better – not hunched over your work

Loosen up! Take bold steps – use the pen initially to make a rough sketch – maybe of something or someone that won’t stay still for long, so that you gain confidence in making marks quickly. You want to get a balance of freedom versus economy of line (simplicity) and control, so that you make every mark count. If you don’t like the result, note what you do and don’t like and try again – build on your successes and failures.

Don’t get caught up in small details – look at the bigger picture. What are you trying to emphasise or convey? Details and improvements can wait.

You can create depth and emphasis by adding darkness – either using a brush or by shading with the pen. This can be done loosely or it can be more uniform. I tend to do both quite quickly and so will you after some practise. Shading can be achieved with parallel lines, cross-hatching, stippling (dots) or dashes:

I also use a dip pen with other media such as charcoal and pencil as in this illustration The Beast Must Die – you can see how I drew it here:

Work from the top left of the paper down and right to avoid smudging (unless you are left-handed). Have some blotting paper handy – sometimes you can reduce a nasty blob of ink to almost nothing by quickly applying the corner of the blotting paper to soak up the ink, or place it over the blob and press down (although on a deep blob this can spread the ink so be careful). Place scrap paper under your hand to protect the paper from grease and from smudging any pencil marks.

Cleaning up
Wash your pen in a jam jar of water now and again. Dry gently with a soft cloth or paper towel, and make sure you dry the pen holder as well.


Adding colour

If you intend to add colour, I usually use watercolour. You can also scan your drawing and colour it using an image manipulation app like Adobe Photoshop – scanning at a high resolution e.g. 600 ppi gives you greater flexibility with size (300ppi is fine for most same-size printing). I have also vectorised images in Illustrator using the trace function and the trace options to achieve the desired level of accuracy – this means it can be scaled to any size, but there may be some loss of subtle line imperfections.


  • Mistakes can be sorted depending on your preferences. If you have used watercolour paper gently remove the line with a hard rubber or sharp scalpel. Carefully clean up with a putty rubber. Adding colour may be a problem however, as it could create a noticeable colour difference where paper has been scraped too heavily.
  • Use Bristol board or hot pressed watercolour paper for a smooth line, cold pressed for a ragged-edge line (it is textured). For drawings not intended for watercolour or for scanning and computer-colouring, I also use draught film e.g. Polydraw which can be scraped and drawn over repeatedly, and even heavyweight tracing paper (90gsm), although thick ink can flake off the tracing paper.
  • Use layout paper for sketching so you can trace your sketches and improve them.



Study other artists’ work and see how they handle shading, composition, emphasis/depth etc. Here are some suggestions to start with:

  • Gustave Doré – see how he creates depth with light and dark areas (above left – this is an engraving but still useful for ideas)
  • Arthur Rackham – his line art is great for composition and style ideas (above right)
  • Aubrey Beardsley
  • E H Shepard
  • Manga art – often executed with dip pens because of their flexibility

As for the subject – any artist or any thing can be inspiring. The picture below was inspired by an exhibition of 20th century Soviet propaganda posters, a trip to Mont St Michel and the wood engravings of Albrecht Dürer!

Where to get materials (UK)

If you don’t have a local art shop (use it or lose it!) you can try these stockists for supplies:

Scribblers have all things calligraphic at https://www.scribblers.co.uk/

Jackson’s have pen and general art supplies (but not individual nibs at the time of writing this blog) at https://www. jacksonsart.com/

You can see some examples of my dip pen work on this website or here:

Fantasy illustration

Children’s book illustrations

Tolkien map for the National Trust

Graphic novel style illustrations

Happy pen drawing!

How to Hold a Dip Pen

(Not like this.)

When I was learning to play trumpet as a kid, I was told to never let my cheeks puff out when I blew. But take a look at almost any picture of Dizzy Gillespie. What do you see? Huge, puffed-out cheeks. So watch out for being too precious with the “rules” that you hear. Yes, you should listen to the advice of those who came before you, but “rules” are just lessons that another artist learned to help them create. The goal of all these rules is to eliminate potential problems that might hinder you from doing the art you want to do. But if those very rules are getting in your way, then you have to break them. However, breaking rules won’t make you a great artist, just as obeying them won’t.

That being said, pen-and-ink can be an unforgiving medium at times. I remember plenty of moments of frustration over the years and most of those could have been avoided if I had known the correct way to do things. Most everything I learned was through trial-and-error, including how to hold my pen. But I’ve seen a few photos and videos recently that have shown me very different ways of doing this. So what is the correct way? (hint: the first paragraph is a spoiler)

In the classic pen and ink book, Rendering in Pen and Ink, Arthur Guptill says that you should “hold the pen naturally, much the same as for writing” (21). So basically, hold a dip pen the same way as you would hold any writing instrument. Yet he warns you to “keep your fingers far enough back from the point to prevent them from becoming daubed in ink, and above all, don’t cramp your fingers tightly onto the penholder.” George Carlson says basically the same thing:

This seems like sound advice to me, yet the manga artists showcased in How To Pen & Ink: The Manga Start-up Guide all hold their pens choked way up on the holder. Here’s Oh!great:

And look at Nightow Yasuhiro here. He’s choked up so far his finger is on the nib itself:

These are professional manga artists so obviously this way of holding a pen works for them. That being said, I would really not recommend holding a pen this way. I saw Jeff Smith talk at the TCAF a few years ago and he said that when he was done with Bone he had a slew of health problems, all of which stemmed from a rigid drawing posture. I want to be able to draw till I’m old, so I don’t want to develop cramped habits that may cause problems later. So take Guptill and Carlson’s advice and hold your pen in a relaxed, natural way.

For instance, I rest my pen on my ring finger with my index and middle fingers on top. Yet I’ve seen other artists rest the pen on their middle finger. I don’t think either is “right;” it’s just a matter of what feels comfortable to you.

The more important consideration is the nib’s orientation to the paper. In general, the pen should be angled at about 45 degrees. This will vary as you draw, but you should never hold the pen completely perpendicular to the page. Not only might the ink drip out, the tines of the nib are more likely to catch and send a spray of ink. Basically, if you rest your hand on the page, the angle from the height of your hand to the paper makes for a nice working position for the pen. I recommend having some kind of blotter or other piece of paper beneath your hand so that you don’t smudge your drawing or get your hand oils on the drawing paper.

Also, the pen needs to be in a position that you can draw with it. And I mean draw in the sense of pulling. The nib is made to be pulled down the page in the opposite direction of the tip. Never push. Not only will you get ink splatters, but you may also ruin your nib. Some nibs can be moved sideways, creating very thin lines. But the drawing motion unlocks the full potential of the nib, allowing lines to swell from hairlines to broad strokes. Catherine Slade shows this in her Encyclopedia of Illustration Techniques:

All kinds of how-to videos exist on YouTube and they vary widely in quality. In one video, the artist Dan Nelson holds his nib completely upside down. This seems to work for him and it does allow him to get very thin lines. Still, it goes against the very intent of a nib’s design. If a nib is upside down, you can’t use pressure to vary the line. Basically, it would be like drawing with a rapidograph, which means you are depriving yourself of the expressiveness in your chosen tool.

Overall, there is a lot of variation out there in how artists hold their pens. What we are all looking for is that sweet spot where things feel comfortable but where we are also accessing the full potential of our instrument. And in the process, not developing bad habits that keep us from creating or even harming us in the long run.

(written March 10, 2016)


How to Make Pens from Sticks

Drawing DIY: Making Pens from Scratch

Artists have made their own pens for as long as they’ve made pen-and-ink drawings. But have you tried making pens from … sticks?

This drawing hack is not only a fun, do-it-yourself project, but it is also a great way to save some money on art supplies. Below, artist Margaret Davidson shows us how it’s done in just six simple steps. Enjoy!

Choosing A Stick

There are two main considerations when looking for a stick to turn into a pen: It needs a hollow shaft, and it must be soft enough to cut with a knife.

Three finished pens. The two on the outside are made from forsythia; the one in the middle is bamboo.

Reed has these qualities, as do forsythia and bamboo, which grow in more northerly climates. When harvesting I look for bamboo or forsythia sticks that are about as big around as my ring finger, with a hollow core about 1⁄8-inch in diameter.

I cut the sticks off near the ground with pruners, and then trim them to the desired length when I get back to the studio.

Making The Pen

To get started, you’ll need the following materials:

    • The desired stick(s)
    • Pruners
    • A knife (you can use a jackknife, although I find it easier and safer to work with a blade that isn’t inclined to fold up in my hand)
    • A mat knife
    • Scissors
    • A piece of thin aluminum — for example, a section of a pop can.

From left: pruners, knife, mat knife scissors and a piece of pop can.

Step 1

Make sure the hollow core in your cut branch is about 1⁄8-incb in diameter. Trim the stick to your desired length.

Step 2

Using the pruners, cut one end off at an angle.

Step 3

Using either knife, shave the angle to the drawing tip that you want — either a blunt end or a pointed one. This also thins the wood slightly. If you’re using forsythia, you may want to shave the bark away from the end, as well.

Steps 1, 2 and 3 for making your own pens.

Step 4

Pens need a split tip, which causes the tip to spread when pressed down, allowing the ink to flow smoothly. The best tool for splitting a stick’s tip is a straight blade. A mat knife works perfectly.


Step 4

Lay your stick on a table with the longer, pointed side at the bottom and the tip flush with the edge of the table. Push straight down with the mat knife to cut a straight slit in the middle of the tip.

Try to split the tip right in the middle. This can be tricky, and if you don’t get it quite right, you can further trim the tip with your knife until the split falls in the middle.

Step 5

Next, you need to make an ink regulator — a tiny but tremendously important component that will regulate the ink flow, enabling your pen to lay down even lines without gushing blobs at the beginning of every stroke.

With your scissors, cut a strip from the pop can that is narrow enough to fit into the hollow core of your stick. This should be at least 1″ long and can be longer. Bend this strip into a “J” shape by running the strip between your thumb and index finger as you do with curling ribbon.

Step 6

Insert the regulator into the hollow core of the stick in such a way that the curved part is inside the pen and the top of the J rests against the pen tip but does not stick up beyond it. Once the regulator is in place, you’re ready to draw.

Dip your pen in a jar of ink, grab a pad of drawing or watercolor paper, and get to work. When the point of your pen starts to wear out, soften or split, simply cut the soft part away and shape a new tip on the same stick.

Steps 5 and 6

Now Draw!

You’ll quickly find that different types of pens have their own personalities and produce different kinds of lines.

A stick pen lets you be freer than any steel-nib or quill pen can, as the stick will move in any direction without snagging and will curve and zigzag and stop on a dime.

Boots by Margaret Davidson, pen and ink. This drawing was done with a stick pen and brown peat-based ink on 300-lb watercolor paper. The rough texture of the paper interacted with the pen to make broken, interrupted marks that add a sketchy quality to the drawing.

Stick pens make broader and heavier marks than do pens with steel nibs, even when the tip is carved to a fine point. This kind of mark has its own joy — strong, rough and eager to be seen. The contrast is high and vivid, and when the pen runs low of ink you get wonderful broken, scruffy strokes.

Stick pens are excellent for landscape drawing, as you can see in van Gogh’s Street in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

Street in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (reed pen, quill and ink over chalk on woven paper, 9 9/16×12 1/2) by Vincent van Gogh. Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

For still life drawing I find they work best on things that aren’t delicate — I probably wouldn’t draw a lace doily with a stick pen, but heavier cloth and wooden objects work out just fine.

You can use almost any ink with a stick pen. Some of my favorites are Pelikan black drawing ink and Pro Art India ink. I mix my own brown ink from dried peat-based crystals that I buy from the Paper & Ink Arts website. But any ink you buy in the art store will work just fine.

Basket by Margaret Davidson, pen and ink. I used a stick pen and black Chinese ink on rag paper.

Enough talk from me. Start carving!


Do you have any drawing hacks? Tell us in the comments! 

Is Glass Dip Pen a Gimmick

I saw a nice glass pen at Straits Commercial, a local art store here in Singapore, recently and it was selling at a good price. So I bought one to try.

The prices of glass pens can range from US $5 to something quite expensive. The one that I bought on eBay was quite affordable and came with free shipping.

There are many designs you can choose from. Mine is considered quite simple.

I’m not sure how these are created but they do look good.

There are deep groves to hold the ink. The only downside is it can be difficult to clean off pigmented ink once the ink gets stuck to the surface. You might have to use dish washer or fountain pen cleaning liquid.

Anyway, after the ink has dried, it should not affect other inks you dip into.

As the groved section is quite big, you need to use an ink bottle with an opening that’s large enough.

Writing and drawing with the glass dip pen feels like using a medium tip. This glass tip can only produce consistently thick lines. There’s no line variation of course, as expected since glass obviously cannot flex.

Since the groves hold a good amount of ink, you can write or draw for long periods of time without the need to reload.

The only downside I can think of is glass is fragile. Once dropped, the pen is pretty much destroyed.

Overall, it’s still kinda worth the money considering that it’s not too expensive. It’s quite a fancy feeling to draw with a glass dip pen. It actually lasts longer compared to metal tip dip pens because glass does not rust. But the limitation is you only get one thickness for the stroke.


You can find all sorts of glass pens on Amazon. Visit these direct product links:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.es | Amazon.it | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.com.au

You might be able to find this on Jackson’s Art Supplies (UK) too.

Stippling With Dip Pen – Carve & Draw

For some time now I’ve wanted to try my hand at stippling with a dip pen. Over the years I’ve acquired a small number of nibs and holders which I have rarely used. Frankly, I don’t even know why I bought them because none of my projects ever required them. I guess since I’m a lover of all things involving pen and ink, I just picked up a few for collecting sakes.

Last night I finally got around to experimenting. I’ll immediately say this…it was hellish! Since I was just experimenting I chose to do just a small drawing of tulips. That little drawing turned into five and half hours of frustration and learning on the fly. Before I jumped into it I did read up on using dip pens and watched a couple of Youtube videos on dip pens. This information turned out not to be too helpful in the end.

First off, what I was trying to do wasn’t typical for dip pens. Dip pens are mainly used for writing, calligraphy and drawing, particularly line and cross hatch drawing. So information on using a dip pen for stippling was pretty scant.
Second there are a number of different nibs used for different purposes. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific nib for stippling. So finding one that was suitable was trial and error. I started off using the #100 Artist nib, then the #99 Drawing nib, on to the #103 Mapping nib and the #108 Litho Hawk nib. The Mapping nib turned out to be my favorite but with this nib along with all the others I kept running into my third problem; ink flow.

I constantly had ink flow problems. I could never get a steady flow on any nib. Instead the ink would just sit there in a blob on the tip of nib. So problem solving this required some online searching where I soon learned that dip pen nibs are made with a coating that keeps them from rusting and that coating needs to be removed in order to have better and consistent ink flow. So hoping that this would solve my problem, I did everything suggested for getting rid of the coating. I dipped them in boiling water, I scrubbed them with toothpaste and I passed them through an open flame. NONE OF THIS WORKED!!! (Feeling my frustration yet.) I ended up losing my Mapping nib through this. The tines were so fine and delicate that passing them through a flame made them brittle and they broke. 😩

So at my wits end I went scrounging around through my other nibs, the ones I knew were specifically for calligraphy. At this point I was at a complete disregard concerning everything I had learned about drawing with dip pens and was just going for whatever I could find that would work. In my little container of nibs I found two, what are called “bowl point”, nibs. I popped them into two standard holders and gave them a try. Lo and behold, I had some luck. The ink flowed with no issues. And although the dots from my initial stippling with these nibs were a bit to big for my liking, I soon learned that with a much lighter touch and lesser ink, I could get a finer stippling. I went on to complete my little tulip drawing with a lot less frustration. One minor issue I encountered while working with these nibs was that once all the ink was used I would have to clean the nib before I could dip it in more ink. It’s a minor issue that I’m sure I’ll work the kinks out on, I’m just relieved that I found something that works.

After doing some research I’ve learned that bowl point nibs are designed to have better ink flow consistency and are typically used for industrial arts and drawing that requires precision like technical drawing. They have a much stiffer and sturdier point that can withstand all the tapping required for doing pointillism/stipple work. So if you ever want to try your hand at stippling with a dip pen I suggest getting a variety of nibs and seeing what works for you but start with the 512 and 513 Bowl Point nibs and go from there. 😉

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The Ultimate Guide to Drawing with Pen and Ink for Beginners

Ballpoint pens are the most common and known type of pen. Invented in 1888 and patented in the US in the 1940s, the ballpoint pen features a thick paste for ink that dispenses over a rotatable metal ball. It was originally created to be able to write on surfaces that traditional fountain pens of those days could not. Earlier iterations of the ballpoint pen could not deliver a consistent, even flow as the ink would sometimes clog at the metal ball. Although the ballpoint pen has much improved through its own evolution, inconsistent flow is still a prominent issue with cheaper versions of the pen.

The “ink” of a ballpoint pen usually contains about 25-40% dye suspending in an oil like benzyl alcohol or phenoxyethanol. This water-resistant mixture creates a smoother version of the thick paste and allows it to dry much more quickly. Standard colors of ballpoint pens include black, blue and red and utilize a different type of dye based on the color.

Ballpoints usually come in larger sizes like 0.7mm and 1mm, but fine tips exist as well. It’s important to note that a particular size you may like in ballpoint may result in a thicker line compared to the same size in rollerball pens. This is because the ink of a rollerball pen tends to spread, or bleed, more on paper. If you’re looking for a fine tip ballpoint pen (0.7mm), try The Better Retractable by Pilot that is extremely popular among man. For something with a little bit more weight (1.4mm), try the Schneider Slide Rave. 

The ballpoint pen is generally used for writing rather than drawing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to start learning how to draw in ink. Especially considering how cheap these come! The ink isn’t usually permanent, so I don’t recommend using for artwork you intend on keeping. It’s a great starter tool if you have it lying around the house (and I know you do!) but start upgrading your instrument if you plan on exploring this art medium further. However, there are tons of professional artists that solely use ballpoint pen and ink in their work.

Pen for drawing 3D PEN 2nd generation with LCD display

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3D pen is an original gift for your kid, with its help you can create a variety of decorations, develop the spatial thinking and imagination of the child. An undoubted plus is the fact that such pens can be used by children from 9 years old, which means that you can carry away modeling from an early age.

As a gift you will receive an additional supply of PLA plastic for refilling the handle, in the amount of 18 skeins of different colors.

Its main difference from conventional models is the presence of a miniature compact display, which gives all the information about the state of the gadget and to what temperature the plastic is heated. In addition, the manufacturers have achieved a smoother operation of the mechanism, which means that drawing with a pen has become more convenient. The new 3Dpen-2 3D pen is recommended for beginners and teenagers, it is easier to handle and easier to work with.

Advantages over others:

Ability to draw with two types of plastic, both ABS and PLA. The components for this pen are quite economical, which is a definite plus.

On the case there is a display and buttons for adjusting the temperature up to 1 degree, so that it became much easier to operate the handle.

Very convenient spout diameter – 0.7 mm. Now you can adjust the thickness of the drawing line; when the drawing speed decreases, the line automatically decreases.

Suitable for 2D and 3D plane drawings.

If the handle is not used for 3 minutes, it goes into standby mode.

Light weight, the pen weighs only 65 grams, it fits comfortably in the hand and it is very convenient and simple to draw even vertical lines with it.

Four color options let you choose your favorite. This will especially delight those who do not like black.

The price-quality ratio is very pleasant. In this price segment, this is one of the best 3D pen options.
Mechanism for working with a 3D pen 3D pen-2:

First of all, you need to connect the pen to the power, then select the ABS or PLA mode depending on what type of plastic will be used.

Then, to work, press the plastic feed button 1 time. The red indicator will light up – the plastic is warming up (the display will show the current temperature).

After the green indicator comes on – the handle is ready for use. Choose the required plastic and insert it into the special connector. When drawing a pattern, the plastic will automatically flow into the pen.

Specifications 3Dpen-2:

Type of plastic used: ABS, PLA

Voltage: in.110 V – 220 V; Out. 12 V, 3 A

Nozzle diameter: 0.7 mm

Temperature range: 160 – 230 gr.

Recommended age: 9 years and older.

Color options: blue, pink, yellow, purple

If you have any questions or suggestions, we will be happy to help you.

You can order in the online online store www.sportnadom.kz , or look and touch in our exhibition pavilion in Almaty, at the address: Tole bi, 273A block 4, sports equipment store “Sport Na Dom”.

What you need to know about drawing with a ballpoint pen.

(c) My favorite artist in a ballpoint pen is Nicolas V. Sanchez


As I subscribed a few years ago to comments in a post by Dorian Valejo about the durability of what was drawn with a ballpoint pen, everyone continues to receive new comments in the mail.

But the conclusion is still the same – everything drawn or written with a ballpoint pen fades in the light. No pen breeds are a hindrance to this.The reason is in the very nature of the ink inside the ballpoint pen. (If you don’t know exactly what a ballpoint pen is, it’s best not to bring examples of gel, ink, technical and marker pens into this conversation :))

Ballpoint pen is so enjoyable to draw! Unlike technical pens with pigment inks, it does not give an equally black line, but allows a whole gamut from pale gray to deep black. But all this is very unstable in the light.

So you need to come to terms with this and remember:

1.Do not hang pictures drawn with a ballpoint pen on the wall.

2. Do not sell ballpoint pen graphics if they are going to be hung on a wall.

3. Do not sign anything outside with a ballpoint pen – labels, covers, artwork.

4. Do not store important documents, written or signed with a ballpoint pen with their face exposed to the light for a long time.

5. All texts, records, diaries, inventories and other things that are kept closed – everything will be fine, there is no need to worry.

6. If you draw in a sketchbook that is normally closed, all drawings will be saved without problems.

7. If you are drawing a commercial work that will then be scanned and printed, you can use a ballpoint pen without any problems. If the original is stored in a folder, nothing will happen to it either.

8. No, UV protection will not help. Ultraviolet is the invisible part of the light spectrum, and the lines of a ballpoint pen are destroyed by ordinary visible light. If you see a picture, it receives this light.If you do not see the picture (it is in the folder or it is dark around), the light does not destroy it.

The most favorite ballpoint pens for drawing among artists are as follows:
BIC in the first place. They are inexpensive and offer a flexible grayscale palette.

Then Pilot. Retractable ones are especially preferred – those without a cap, with a button that releases or retract the rod.

And Zebra. And also retractable is more convenient.

If the description contains the words gel and rollerball – it is a gel, not a ball, and will not give that amazing opportunity to hatch delicate transitions of tones.A good ballpoint pen draws without effort and omissions (a bad one – as if there is a rod in it on frozen bacon and with difficulty something breaks through), in a smooth, uniform line without sudden plugs or fat blotchy spits, responds to weak pressing in gray tones – well, generally pleasant both in hand and in behavior.

Quite a lot of books about drawing with a ballpoint pen have been released recently. Among them there are also Chinese ones – we draw doodles in five minutes. But there are also about real artists.

The best is Matt Rota’s books:
The Art of Ballpoint: Experimentation, Exploration, and Techniques in Ink , where he talks about different artists and their work.You can browse it on Amazon or see my post with pictures about it.

Next, he published another book:
Ballpoint Art Pack: Creative Techniques and Explorations for Drawing with an Everyday Pen – A Book and Sketch Pad , which contains only techniques, explanations and tasks. This book is with an exercise pad. But people say that if you already have the first one, it’s all there, plus stories about artists, and you can buy a notebook for exercises separately. But if the first one is not there, the second one will be an excellent gift – just equipment, tasks and a notebook.

3D drawing pen, review, prices – 3dprofy

Modern technologies have reached the point that today you can even draw in the air and without using paper. This is how the innovative 3D pen works, which draws with specially formulated plastic. The material instantly freezes in the air and allows you to create a three-dimensional pattern. This invention allows not only drawing and writing, but also creating various decorative elements in the form of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and figurines that can be used as souvenirs for friends.

History and design features of the 3D pen

The very first pen capable of drawing in the air was invented by Wobbleworks and was called the 3Doodler . To make the project a reality, the company had to announce a fundraiser. However, competitors were not asleep, and more and more pens capable of drawing in the air began to appear. They all work according to the same principle, differ only in more improved design or design features.

At its core, a 3D pen is a kind of compact machine that processes polymer raw materials and creates a three-dimensional object. Any model consists of several elements:

    • nozzles,
    • filament feeder,
    • heating element,
    • fan cooling the upper part of the nozzle and the whole product as a whole,
    • microcontroller that controls the fan,
    • feeder.

All 3D pens are powered and controlled by the person himself. The nozzle heats up in a few minutes, after which you can start painting. The material is fed at the push of a button, and some models have a knob to increase or decrease the print speed. Another useful feature in the 3D pen is the reverse of the pulling mechanism, when you can change the filament to a different color.

What materials are used in the 3D pen?

3D pen works on the basis of ABS-plastic or PLA plastic in various colors.You can use other materials, however, they are not sufficiently studied from the point of view of temperature stability and other physical and mechanical properties. The filament in the handle comes in a variety of diameters, allowing for a variety of designs. ABS plastic is the most common material used for refilling a 3D pen. It is a technical resin characterized by impact resistance and thermoplasticity. Its main advantage is the ability to paint in any color. Thanks to its excellent performance characteristics, the material is ideal for creating molded products. The distinctive features of this type of plastic include:

  • retention of dimensions during operation,
  • chemical resistance,
  • Creates a shiny and smooth surface.

On the other hand, ABS plastic is not resistant to ultraviolet radiation and atmospheric agents, it dissolves in benzene, ether, acetone. PLA is a thermoplastic material made from corn or sugar cane. Today polylactide is widely used as a consumable for 3D printing, as well as for refueling a 3D pen. The advantages of this printing method include:

  • non-toxic,
  • wide color gamut,
  • dimensional stability,
  • no need for heating,
  • the ability to create moving and mechanical parts as well as prototypes with meticulous detail.

Features of the 3D pen

This innovative invention can be used both for drawing 3D models and for filling voids that can appear as a result of plastic delamination if it cools unevenly. It is noteworthy, but initially the 3D pen was conceived as a tool for repairing products that were obtained on a 3D printer and which could have certain defects. To avoid cracking the models, the 3D pen was used to manually repair the printed models when missing layers or cracks formed after solidification were filled.Today, the 3D pen is used most often for artistic purposes, that is, for drawing models. The main thing is that your hand does not flinch, as this will immediately affect the created product. Drawing with it is not as difficult as it seems: you just need to drive it through the air, and a colored line will appear. Drawing is carried out on the basis of a plastic thread (the color scheme can be very different). In the handle itself there is a heating element that quickly heats the thread to a temperature of 150 degrees. The motor pushes the hot plastic out, and the colored thread instantly freezes in the air in the shape that the painter gave it.The pen can work in two modes: one draws thin lines, the other – thick ones, therefore it is more often used to fill in various details. To start using the 3D pen, you just need to press a button: it pushes the plastic forward, and you can adjust its flow using a controller. If the device is inactive for seven minutes, it will automatically turn off. Threading is simple – through the holes in the end. Few people know, but with the help of a 3D pen, you can instill drawing skills in children from the age of five, when their creative abilities begin to develop.This device is an ideal opportunity to make your fantasies come true and create three-dimensional drawn models.

Innovative 3D Pens

The 3Doodler was followed by innovative models that differed not only in improved design, but also in improved options and functions. For example, the CreoPop project created a pen that runs on a liquid photopolymer resin – it hardens when exposed to an ultraviolet light.These models are good because, due to the absence of heating elements, they do not burn themselves, therefore they are safe.

Unique 3D models for drawing are offered by FreeSculpt. Its specialists have created several sets of pens for beginners or professional users, as well as separately produce a set of plastic threads. In addition, each set offers about 100 templates for drawing.

Summing up

3D pen is a modern trend that allows you to easily translate your ideas into reality.This gadget is characterized by ease of use, simple functionality, ease of use. Thus, if you have a rich imagination, such a pen will be a godsend for you. The device is also used when creating models on a 3D printer, when, as a result of uneven solidification, cracks may remain on the product that need to be filled. Two types of plastic are used as ink, which should be considered when choosing. Each of the materials has its own advantages and disadvantages, but meets the main requirements – safety and ease of use.

This pen is easy to use – just load the filament and get started. Rapid heating makes it possible to reproduce various models and figures in a short time, which makes their application relevant.

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