Author Topic: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow  (Read 9591 times)

Offline Christo

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Hello again! I am failing miserably with the dip pen & hoping someone can maybe help me.

I have tried a number of nibs such as the Gillott 303, 170, Leonardt Steno, Mitchell Copperplate (with or without reservoir) and am unable to write over a few letters with any of them most the time unless I'm not flexing the nib at all. I've read about preparing the nib & have tried the flame, the toothpaste, the saliva, the dish washing liquid so thought the ink may be the problem.

I have tried acrylic paint thinned with water, gouache with water, added gum arabic, have tried about 10 different consistencies in case that is the problem but comes off in one go or does not come off at all. If I hold it vertically, a drop or two of ink comes off the nib . I sometimes get it to write (but as soon as I lift the nib from the paper it shoots back up the nib and i can't get it to come down to the tip again unless i dip it in a pool of ink that dropped off at the start or shake it til it comes back down. (and two letters later it's gone) I also tried Winsor & Newton silver ink which is supposedly used with steel nibs. It seems very thin already but I'm still facing the same problems.

From what I've read, the breather hole should remain a hole and you should not fill it with ink, however if I don't dip it past the hole, I can't even write a complete letter. I've tried dipping the whole pen, it's fine for a couple letters but as soon as the breather hole pops open, it stops writing.

After my ink fails, I dip the pen in water to clean it & am able to write a complete word with dirty water (which also eventually stops) so I thought maybe it needs a really runny ink .. but that doesn't work either. Any idea what I must be doing very wrong? Thank you


Offline Blotbot

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 02:45:41 PM »
Chris--

The "breather hole" is really a reservoir of a sort, and you should dip past this hole to get it filled.  Once the hole empties, you are soon out of ink.

Have you tried any of the more ordinary black inks?  Moonpalace Sumi ink and Higgins Eternal are both popular all around inks.  Maybe you will have better luck starting there.


Offline Christo

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2014, 03:03:59 PM »
Thank you! Yes, in reality I should be using a tried & tested ink rather than experimenting with my own.
& that's good news about the breather hole. I was sure I read otherwise, although I probably just misunderstood. 

Offline schin

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2014, 06:08:37 PM »
Indeed you should dip past the breather hole!
After you clean the nib with windex, alcohol etc, make sure to never touch the nib with your fingers again. There are little oils on your finger that will rub off on the nib and coat it with oil again.
Also make sure to keep your water clean and always clean your nib with a clean paper towel.
You should also try other pre-made inks like sumi or iron gall. Mixing paints like acrylic and gouache is fine, but maybe you put too much gum arabic etc, it's kinda particular. Good luck!!!
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Offline Heebs

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 07:32:37 PM »
How big are you writing?

Offline Lori M

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 01:42:15 AM »
I'm a newbie, and I've had problems getting sumi ink to flow nicely for me. (I've only tried one batch.) I live in a very dry climate, and I've wondered if that doesn't have something to do with it getting too thick. But Shin, I know you live in a dry climate too, so maybe it's just my inexperience. I will say that as a newbie, Higgins Eternal seems to be the most fool proof (although I know the depth and finish are not as nice as sumi).

Offline schin

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 02:22:30 AM »
I'm a newbie, and I've had problems getting sumi ink to flow nicely for me. (I've only tried one batch.) I live in a very dry climate, and I've wondered if that doesn't have something to do with it getting too thick. But Shin, I know you live in a dry climate too, so maybe it's just my inexperience. I will say that as a newbie, Higgins Eternal seems to be the most fool proof (although I know the depth and finish are not as nice as sumi).

Lori, I always thin my sumi with distilled water. Try that!
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Offline Christo

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 02:50:12 AM »
About the size of my letters: The x-height is about 10mm I imagine ..  I thought maybe I'm expecting more than is possible from one dip, however it's not running out but just not flowing 'smoothly' until it runs out. I will try some pre-made ink & will hope for better results :D - Thanks everyone for your time - I will be back with better news hopefully !
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 05:38:07 AM by ChrisT »

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 04:06:25 AM »
I think that the nibs you use might be too flexible for a beginner. I couldn't write with those at all in the beginning, because the ink would come down as a huge blob because I didn't have that much fine control of the nib yet. Maybe try a harder, bigger nib, like the Nikko G first. With pre-made ink :)
There is also a video on how to mix gouache somewhere on the forum.
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Offline Christo

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2014, 05:23:16 AM »
I found the mixing gouache thread (http://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=217.0) & seeing how often the nib is being reloaded with 'ink', I'm thinking I may have been expecting more than is possible with each dip (?)

Although I should probably be more experienced before trying these nibs, I'm loving the result / contrast on the very flexible ones such as the 170. Don't take them away from me !  ;D (I will check the Nikko G too in the future) 

Offline Estefa

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 05:45:01 AM »
Reloading the nib frequently (every two to three strokes) is quite normal in my experience, as other's have pointed out here. I find this is especially true for such smallish sharp nips as the Gillot 303! All the more with gouache, I don't use it that often also because I have to reload so often, and with a brush, which I find quite annoying. I think the best ink for learning / practice is either walnut ink, iron gall ink or sumi (thinned, as Schin said). Because with these you can write a lttle longer, and they just write smoothly.

I would practice with the Mitchell's elbow nib until you have an oblique holder (that's the one you have, isn't it? Or is it a straight nib?). Or just practice with pencil, which will let you concentrate on the letterforms instead on the technical difficulties ;). But I am aware that that sounds boring and I must admit that I started quite late with pencil practice ;D.

So good luck and don't feel disencouraged!
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Offline Christo

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2014, 06:50:34 AM »
Yes, I am using the elbow nib, (& it glides beautifully compared to the pointier nibs) although I find it quite stiff. Apart from the frustration, I am relatively pleased with my letters (although inconsistent), so I won't be quitting just yet :D. I will have a look for a suitable ink here otherwise will be ordering from the UK in the next few days. Thank you!

Offline Estefa

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2014, 07:43:05 AM »
Yes, it's a bit on the stiff side. Here

http://www.kallipos.de/sondermodelle.html#ellbow

are some more elbow nibs, I've tried the Baignol & Farjon 2800, Baionnette nib, this is nice, not too pointy but fine enough and gives a good flex!

(And nor really cheap I must admit. Maybe if you want to really do this get a decent, simple adjustable oblique holder or have you ordered one already?)
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Offline garyn

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2014, 08:50:31 PM »
I sometimes get it to write (but as soon as I lift the nib from the paper it shoots back up the nib and i can't get it to come down to the tip again unless i dip it in a pool of ink that dropped off at the start or shake it til it comes back down. (and two letters later it's gone)
....

About the size of my letters: The x-height is about 10mm I imagine ..  I thought maybe I'm expecting more than is possible from one dip, however it's not running out but just not flowing 'smoothly' until it runs out. I will try some pre-made ink & will hope for better results :D - Thanks everyone for your time - I will be back with better news hopefully !

Chris
Based on you saying that the ink goes back up the nib, it sounds like the front of the nib is not clean of oil.
I use alcohol to wipe my nibs clean.
As others, I dip till the hole in the nib is under the surface of the ink.  That hole acts as an ink reservoir.

Based on your x-height and the image of your name, I think you are simply draining the ink off the pen FAST.
In my limited experience, flexing the nib to make a wider line puts down a lot of ink, and these nibs don't hold a LOT of ink to begin with.

There is a video of a German calligrapher that showed him inking his brush several times, on the same letter
So I would not get too concerned.

So you are facing a combination of things
- the lack of a reservoir on the nib
- writing large
- writing with lots of wide ink line
All this conspires to limit how much you can write with one dip.

What I did not see is what paper you are using.  Some papers wick the ink faster than others, and thus could drain the ink off your nib faster. 

If you have Higgins Eternal, you might use that to practice with, as that is a known ink for most of us, and we can better comment on it.
Gary

Offline Christo

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Re: Complete newbie having sooooo much trouble with the ink / flow
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2014, 11:32:03 AM »
Hello again, Thanks all for your detailed responses & patience!

About the name in the first post: that was definitely due to the paper, the back of a glossy poster which would just suck the ink off the nib.

I have given my nibs a good clean with windex.  I still have not been able to write more than a couple letters with the 303. The ink just does not want to come to the end of the tip regardless of what I try, however I am having much more luck with the 404 and am loving the way it writes too (although it is catching on some upstrokes on rougher paper) - It's fine on tracing paper - The ink is flowing nicely & running out when written with rather than travelling back up the nib - I am now able to write complete words with one dip! I am actually surprised at how much that tiny nib is holding  - Life is good again :D

I didn't get the chance to buy a 'recommended' ink yet, however am managing for now with gouache & a very cheap (and probably not recommended) endorsing ink with some gum arabic. - I think it was more a case of the nibs rather than the ink consistency.

Now to work on those letters...

Thanks again!