I’M NOT FINDING pen and Indian ink a responsive medium as I draw these Kingcups by the pond. If I don’t press heavily enough on the paper I don’t get a mark but if I press too hard on the springy nib the pressure builds up for a moment and then – whizz! – the nib sets off and draws a straighter line than I’d intended!

Surely, if I keep at it, I can exercise some relaxed control over the recalcitrant medium. The ink soon goes claggy and even during this short session of drawing I have to pause to clean the coagulating Winsor & Newton black ink from the nib.

Is it the beautifully sunny but not sultry weather that’s drying the ink too quickly or is it the shrill excited scream every five seconds of next door’s children playing happily on a trampoline a few yards away that’s putting me off my stroke?

I think that I’ve been spoilt by the predictably flowing combination of ArtPen and Noodler’s ink. It’s second nature to draw with that combination, but I would like to experiment with different mediums, which create different marks.

Anyway, time to admit defeat, perhaps I’ll add some colour later when it’s a bit quieter!


IT’S GOING to take a long time to sort out the drawers in my new plan chest if I stop to draw everything! But drawing in dip pen gives me a chance to assess which bottles of Indian Ink are worth saving. The Rohrer’s, the ink that I used for the left side of the drawing, is starting to coagulate. It’s quarter full and years old, so that’s got to go but the Calli ‘non-clgging, pigmented waterproof calligraphy ink’ is still okay. It feels more like liquid ink should and I like the spidery quality of the lines is produces.

This cutlery box was left over when we built the extension and went for a fitted kitchen many years ago but it’s just as useful for art materials.

Chemistry Stencil

The perspex stencil, in the middle section, offers a lazy way to draw flasks, tripods, Bunsen burners, Liebig condensers and alembics. It’s something my brother used at school in the 1960s, manufactured by Sterling in the USA.