Quill Pen Sketches

A friend bought the quill for me two years ago when we were at the Harry Potter exhibition at the Writer’s Museum in Edinburgh and I decided to try it out for drawing with some brown ink.


The thing I really enjoy about using dip pens/ quills is that its simplicity sets you free. There is only one thing you can do- dip and lay down a crisp stroke of ink on the page. You can get a bit of line variation depending on how flexible the nib is, but that’s about it. It’s not like working with pencils, chalks, or charcoal where you can easily get sidetracked scrubbing and erasing and smudging, using timid light lines and generally being a bit of a wimp.

With ink, your own instincts mold to the medium. If you want to lay down some light construction lines before making a darker, bolder stroke, you have to wait till then ink is almost out of the nib, and use those last few drops judiciously. Then dip into the bottle and get in those bolder lines. The best you can do to correct mistakes is bleed the lines with a water wash, but even then it won’t look right, so your only option is to keep at it until you get better.



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