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Messages - K-2

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Tools & Supplies / Re: Ink that changes color as it dries??
« on: September 08, 2019, 07:29:39 PM »
@JanisTX I would bet folding money that those inks in that video @jeanwilson linked to are all from the J.Herbin anniversary line(s), 1670 and 1798 - that the orange-gold ink is the Cornaline d'Egypte, the brown-gold is Caroube de Chypre, and the Blue-Green-Gold-Pink is the Emeraude de Chivor.  The first video seems to be spelling out "Chivor."

Can also confirm that they work better in the pilot parallel (as in this video) - I think the calligrapher in the video is dipping, rather than drawing from a converter reservoir.  But then paper becomes even more of an ugent issue, because the Emeraude de Chivor BLEEDS and bleeds and bleeds.  Even sometimes on Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper, which don't show that gorgeous sheen & shimmer off either!  In my experience, Caroube de Chypre is a little better behaved for dip nibs (pointed and broad edged), but the shimmer clogs fountain pen nibs right up, if not in heavy use.  It's not as beautiful as the Emeraude de Chivor, but it's about as beautiful as a brown ink can be (and truly, I compulsively buy brown inks, I love brown inks so much, so I personally think brown ink can be pretty darn beautiful, and I'm saying that this is the Emperor of brown ink).

I have spent a lot of time obsessing over these inks.  The 1798 inks at least have a more sensible, slightly wider bottle neck, so you can fill a fountain pen in them; and they don't stain everything they come into even glancing contact with like EdC.  But you still need to decant them into a dinky dip (and add gum arabic) if you want to use them with dip pens.

But for those of you in Europe - they're somewhat less expensive in the Euro zone.

By the way - many of the Pilot Iroshizuku inks also have some of this sheening quality, but it's more subtle.  And there are some Diamine and Robert Oster inks that are known as sheen queens too.  The Sailor Jentle Yama-dori ink is similar to the J.Herbin Emeraude de Chivor, insofar as it's a teal ink with russet sheen, but it doesn't have the gold shimmer.  On the other hand, it's much much easier to use.  I'd share images, but they don't always photograph in ways that really show off how beautiful the sheen is.

TLDR: there's really nothing exactly like Emeraude de Chivor.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Ink that changes color as it dries??
« on: September 06, 2019, 03:38:46 PM »
Confirming that Emeraude de Chivor is an exceptionally frustrating ink to use with pointed pen.  well, with any pen, actually.  It's my favorite ink that I love to hate, and hate to love.

The unbelievably tiny bottle neck means you need to decant it into a dinky dip or something in order to use it with pretty much any pen.  It's even a pain to fill fountain pens from.  So then you don't even get to look at the beautiful, square, wax-capped bottle while you use it.

The gold shimmer falls to the bottom almost immediately after you shake it up, so if you have a magnetic stirrer, it's good to keep it going.  Otherwise, you need to shake or stir it every 3 minutes.  not exaggerating.  Less than 5 minutes for all the shimmer to fall to the bottom.

Dosing it with a rather hefty amount of gum arabic seems to help it cling to a nib better, broad edge and especially pointed.  However, finding the right amount of gum arabic to give it a little body, while also letting it slide down a pointed nib can take some trial and error. mostly error, in my experience.

It also stains everything it touches. And it's not cheap.

Fully agree with @jrvalverde that paper makes all the difference with this ink.  The gold standard for showing off the sheen & shimmer here is the 64gsm version of Tomoegawa paper.  But the regular 52gsm Tomoegawa paper does a beautiful job too -- it's thinner, so it buckles more under the ink, and if you were hoping to mat & frame a piece with EdC on it, it will never lie completely flat.  Hot press ultra-smooth watercolor paper also works for it very well.

But it's so pretty, it's hard to give up on it.  And when you finally get it to work, it is hypnotically beautiful.

Show & Tell / Re: Happy 200th Birthday Walt Whitman
« on: September 05, 2019, 12:06:58 PM »
So kind of you, Erica!  The summer away from teaching helped, and I'm back at my academic work and taking commissions again.  Most of my work is broad edge anyway.  And one can joke that maybe it knocked some sense into me.  Actually, it really knocked some of my memory clean out, but who needs to remember everything anyway, eh?

I'm terribly self-conscious about my pointed pen work though - it wasn't great to begin with, and it might never be good again, so I'm grateful that this community is so kind.  And also, that my livelihood does not depend on it.

You all can call me "K"

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Help with Logo opinions
« on: September 02, 2019, 01:06:19 PM »
Why not download the image and then manipulate it on your screen to the size you're interested in?  IRL those circles are only 1.25" in diameter, so they're not huge to begin with.  I suspect a broad edge style will scale down better than a pointed pen style on the finial of a pen cap - there's actually a lot less detail in that second image than there is in your initial idea.

Sorry the images got loaded in sideways.  I didn't realize when I posted it.

Anyway, glad I could offer a couple idea sketches.  If you'd like me to do a more finished looking sample, PM me; maybe we could do a swap.  Otherwise, I'm sure you can extrapolate on the the basic idea yourself.

--best wishes getting the design you want just right!  K

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Help with Logo opinions
« on: September 01, 2019, 05:13:09 PM »
It seems like a broad edge "T" might help solve the "it looks like F" problem?  What about something like one of these with the E in the middle of the T?

Matt & Lizt - I'm going to stand by my suggestion to get a Copperplate sampler, but given that you're both interested in exploring nibs from the perspective of the Hunt 101 and maybe you also don't want to buy 15 nibs in one go, I thought I'd give a little more detail. It also occurred to me that my last post might have been more generally encouraging than strictly practically helpful.  Mind you, I'm not as much of a copperplate expert as some folks around here, but I'm a teacher by trade, so this information is pedagogically oriented and intended to respond to your specific queries about trying something OTHER than the Hunt 101, and I'll say again: there isn't such a thing as "best" - only "better for particular context/activity/project," and there's nothing wrong with the Hunt 101 (except that I personally think it's kind of a difficult nib to learn on, because it's SO sharp and flexible, people get frustrated).

The Leonardt Principal is quite similar to the Hunt 101/Imperial (and I find that it lasts a bit longer for me than the 101/Imperial before wearing out).  If you're looking for something a little firmer, the Hunt 99 feels less fidgety, is slightly less sharp, and might help you in developing confidence, especially with hairlines & flourishing.

Two very popular "bowl-shaped" nibs, the Brause Arrow/EF66 and the Blue Pumpkin, hold a little more ink than the straight sided nibs like the Hunt 101 & Leonardt Principal, so they might give you a longer run before re-dipping (but it also might be that you're over-flexing the nib for those swells or that you haven't gotten all the factory oils off the nibs).  The Blue Pumpkin/Steno is also a little stiffer than the Hunt 101, and less sharp, so it gives less dramatic hairline to swell variation; but if you're maybe over-flexing your nib, causing it to dump its ink in a few strokes and/or railroad, then that might be a feature.  It's also a nib that helped me get more confident in my flourishing, because its very slightly rounded point doesn't catch on the paper fibers quite as readily as the really sharp ones.  The Hiro 40 with its leaf shape is also a little stiffer and less sharp.

For another extremely popular, and stiffer, option, you might try the Nikko or Zebra G nib.  They are sharp (seriously, I accidentally stabbed myself with one and got a tiny tattoo from it this week), but the stiffness gives you more control.  Work at getting all the oils off, or they won't hold onto the ink.  I use them with sumi ink to correct and add details to broad edge calligraphy, and can say that they can hold a very good amount of ink, if that's the priority for you.

If you want things MORE sharp, try the Gillott 303 or 404.  They're smaller, so they hold less ink, and don't produce swells quite as wide, but you get the most delicate hairlines.  It's very easy to snag them on a paper fiber though, so I'd say, at first, only use them on the smoothest paper.

I hope this is more like the practical perspective you were looking for!
--yours, K

Coffee & Nib-bles / Re: Hilarious Ink Spill Question
« on: July 28, 2019, 06:58:32 PM »
Oh, thank you so much for the encouragement, Jean!  I'm going to try re-treating the rug (and maybe the clothes).  I shouldn't have scrubbed, I guess, since it messes up the nap.

Alas, my spouse just tried to slap & pick my tiny new tattoo off of me, thinking it might be a deer tick.  :o  I don't think it's going to come off with salt water.  oh well.

Coffee & Nib-bles / Re: Hilarious Ink Spill Question
« on: July 27, 2019, 09:21:09 AM »
Thanks, Jean!  Because of an earlier post you had written about using Clorox II to get ink out of clothes, I was able to get most of the ink out -- I scrubbed at it, blotted, massaged the carpet fibers and kind of messed up the pile of the carpet in that spot.  I have two kids; it's not the first time I've clean an unspeakable stain out of a rug (just not the nice new one).  But thanks to you, it doesn't look like a horrible ink spill anymore - you can tell something happened there; it just has a sort of blotchiness.  I think it did take out some of the color of the rug, while not getting quite all the ink out.  I worked at it for several hours before I had to leave for an event.  Do you think there are any other measures I could take?

The Clorox II worked better on my clothes - some of which were white, however, and those still show a shadow where the ink was, but I guess that's what I get for wearing white.

Frankly I'm more disturbed by my new tattoo than the other ink.

Thanks again for the Clorox II tip! I really appreciated being able to find it on the forum when I most needed it!
--yours, K

Coffee & Nib-bles / Hilarious Ink Spill Question
« on: July 27, 2019, 12:44:53 AM »
I just wanted to share about my terrible no good very bad ink spill, which I feel this forum can empathize with.

Today I managed to spill most of a bottle of Iroshizuku take-sumi ink on my relatively new clothes and onto a relatively new wool area rug, simultaneously ruining three not cheap things.  The ink stain on the rug is several orders of magnitude more horrifying, of course, but my spouse has offered me no recriminations at all.  And thanks to this forum, I had some guidance to removing the worst of it.

"Yes, yes," you're saying, "K, we have all spilled a bunch of ink on ourselves and ruined things! It's not so bad!  You can replace ink & clean the clothes & rug."  And I agree that it is not the end of the world... (although it is probably why I can't have nice things, and I definitely can't afford to buy another rug)

BUT the hilarious part is that while scrambling to clean things up, I managed to stab myself with an ink-covered G-nib that I had been using to fine tune some work, so now I have a TINY TATTOO.  I have bathed, and scrubbed, and gotten all the other ink off of my legs, feet, arms, hands, etc (not the clothes or the rug, alas).  But the dot seems to be permanently and clearly dotted under my skin.

So Serious Question: Has anyone else ever accidentally stabbed themselves with a pointed nib and inadvertently given themselves a tiny tattoo?  Truly, I have been doing calligraphy for a long time, and spilled a lot of ink, but I have never tattooed myself before.  Is this common, and I've just been lucky until now?  And follow up question: Has anyone gotten rid of a self-inflicted accidental tattoo?  Any advice on this?

I guess I should be glad that it was black ink and not some other color, so it only looks like a tiny, very precise mole, and not like I changed my mind about body art at an awkward juncture.  And at least the project I was working on came through unscathed, so maybe it wasn't so bad after all.

--thank you for any tattoo removal advice, K

It seems to me that there isn't a "best" nib, but rather a "better nib for the size, ink, gouache, surface" - so it kind of depends on the project, the scale, the media involved, and of course personal preference.

I'd recommend getting one of the "Copperplate Sampler" packs from John Neal or Paper & Ink Arts and seeing which ones you like better with different inks/gouache & papers.  And then don't feel like you're doing it wrong if you end up preferring a different nib from the one someone else likes best (even if they're more "expert" at calligraphy; anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in using a whole bunch of different nibs to get different effects in different circumstances).  You can play around with different inks or gouache or even different brands of sumi to see which ones work better for you on the different nibs.

Very generally speaking, I kind of prefer the "bowl shaped" nibs (like the Brause Arrow or the Blue Pumpkin) for writing with gouache or Finetec, but then I like the straight sided nibs for writing with registrars or walnut or some thinner ink, and I use different brands of sumi depending on whether I'm using pointed pen or broad edge.  But YMMV.  In the end (or the beginning, as in your case), is there really anything wrong with that Hunt 101 you're using?  I use that one a lot too, and also the Leonardt Principal that DB Holtz likes. And also the Gillott 303 and 404 that get a lot of mentions.

Also, if the thing you're getting hung up on with engrossers is the squared-off tops of letters, you might try adjusting the angle of your flange (assuming you're a right-hander using an oblique) or trying a different nib holder, if the flange on yours isn't adjustable.  I personally spent a rather embarrassing amount of time wondering why I'd ever need more than one oblique holder (especially if it's a "nice" one that adjusts to hold all the different sizes), but then I got a cheaper one for traveling (so that I wouldn't lose the nice one) and found it worked better for me for some of the nibs that I didn't think I liked very much in the other holder.  (btw, the Gillott 303 in my cheap plastic holder with the little travel compartment in it makes lovely, crisp, square tops on letters for me; it was a revelation! Now the 303 is a favorite -- but only in the cheap holder)

Finally - that Brause Rose: most of the folks I know have a sort of troubled relationship with it, even if they ultimately like them a lot, so it's not just you.  I only use it if I need to letter something kind of large.  like x=2cm.  But I also use it like a tiny stiff brush to apply tiny details when I'm doing illustrated or illuminated capitals.  Anyway, it's okay to not like things too (even if other calligraphers like them).

You know, I come to calligraphy from a background in painting & drawing (where I use a lot of dip pens & fountain pens with flex nibs), and I've always sort of thought of the pointed flex nibs like tiny metal brushes.  You wouldn't use the same brush for everything - different brushes work better with different types of paint, and we use different sizes and shapes for different effects.  Maybe think of your nibs like that?  After all, we usually talk about "drawing" letters in calligraphy, rather than "writing" them.

Hope you find a few nibs that give you joy and encourage you to try new ideas/media/techniques!

--yours, K

Best wishes finding the right tool!  (sorry I misunderstood how wide a nib you were looking for)

Those automatic pens come with nibs as small as 3mm (or 1/16 inch).  They are really great for textured surfaces.  But the witch pens come even smaller, if you need smaller (down to 2mm).  They're also very good for textured surfaces, because the folded nib won't catch on the texture.

Will you share a picture of it when you're done?  I'd love to see how it turns out!

--yours, K

Perhaps an automatic pen?

You can use any type of paint or ink or gouache with them - just load it with a brush from the side.  I've never used one on canvass, but it would probably work just fine.  I use them on rough watercolor paper all the time.

This sign was done with a couple different sizes of automatic pens:

A witch pen would also work, but they don't come in sizes as large as automatic pens - unless you want to do split-nib work.  They produce wider split lines with a little pressure - they are surprisingly flexible and so. much. fun!

--yours, K

Broad Edge Pen Calligraphy / The Ramseyer Collection
« on: July 12, 2019, 04:37:56 PM »
The university library asked me to make a sign for a new display case showcasing rare books from the Ramseyer Northern Bible Society Collection.  It contains over 2000 religious texts from the 1230s to the 20th century, in hundreds of languages, including several varieties of Braille.  A first edition KJV, a very rare 4th edition Great Bible, manuscripts of the Koran and the Torah from the 13th and 14th centuries, and facsimiles of both the Gutenberg and the Saint John's Bible!  I get to bring students in to use the collection and curate displays, but the old title sign for the displays was just a piece of paper printed with plain san serif letters taped to the case!

I didn't see Jeanne de Montbaston in the list yet.  She was an illustrator/illuminator who worked with her husband, Richard, at their bookmaking atelier in Paris, around 1320 to 1355.  She outlived him, and kept the business going for a number of years, so I think she must have also done scribal work.  Her illustrations & illuminations appear in some of the world's most beautiful books.  (examples at the Getty:

She's also famous for the notorious 14th-century edition of the Romance of the Rose with illustrations of nuns harvesting penises off a penis tree (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. Fr. 25526). You can view the entire manuscript online:;2

--yours, K

Show & Tell / Re: Happy 200th Birthday Walt Whitman
« on: June 01, 2019, 12:07:33 AM »
Thanks for all your kind and supportive thoughts, Allison, Bianca, Erica, and Kacy!

I haven't been able to do much pointed pen calligraphy lately.  I had a bit of a traumatic brain injury this winter that has left me with a slight tremor in my hand for four months now, so I've been concentrating on broad edge work, which is my academic focus anyway.  But I think I'm getting some control back.  You can still see the wavering in the hairlines in quite a few of the flourishes though.  And of course, all I can see are the flaws in technique and execution, and practice deficit, so I really appreciate all of your generous words -- you've given me the courage to keep trying.

Who knows - it may never completely go away, but it didn't stop the medieval scribe we call "The Tremulous Hand of Worcester," so I'll carry on.  I penned each of the Whitman poems with a different nib from a sampler I recently got (at least a dozen poems/nibs) - I'm having better results with some than others.  The Hunt 103 and the Hunt 106 have emerged as new favorites, probably because they're a bit firmer than my old standby, the Leonardt EF Principal.

Does anyone have any other nib suggestions?

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