State of the Art: Practice, Practice!

I bought this book on nib pen skills recently, and I’m really enjoying it so far! It’s got a lot of great exercises, and I’m excited to work through them. It’s pretty fun to go back to the basics, see what skills I already have, and what more I have to learn! I decided to do the first exercise with three different ink tools – two nib pens and one brush pen. 

I started out with the Hiro Leonardt no. 41 nib, which is the one I’m most familiar with. It works well for steady lines, which is great for lettering. However, smooth line weight variation is not one of its greatest skills. I still love it, though!

Next up, I switched to the Leonardt 11EF nib. It’s pretty great! It gives nice, delicate lines when I need it to, and it had good line weight control. I’m really pleased with it! However, I’ve got to figure out some solution for how sharp it is. It tends to scrape the paper and pick up paper fibers, which isn’t great for the nib nor for the paper. I really enjoyed working with this nib overall!

Lastly, I played around with the Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Brush Pen, no. 24. It has SUCH a nice smooth line! I love the synthetic brush hairs as opposed to a felt-tip that goes dull after using it a few times. It is still a brush tip though, so it’s kind of hard for me to control, as you’ll see with the E-P exercises. I’ll get better with practice, though! I really love the look of brush inks, so I’m going to work hard.

I really enjoy working digitally, but I also miss the physicality and process of inking with a pen or brush. I’m still going to work digitally for the most part, but I have plans for other projects that I would like to do traditionally, or a mix of traditional and digital. I’m having a lot of fun exploring these areas of art that I hadn’t worked with for some time! 

Tribble has been very supportive, providing snuggles and screeches in equal measure. He’s such a delightful doofus, and I love him so much!

What do you all do to hone your creative skills? Is there anything you’re working on improving right now? 

Author: Katie McMahon

Katie is a comic artist and illustrator living in rural New Hampshire in a town mostly populated with elderly folks and roving gangs of sassy turkeys. She enjoys reading comics, playing board games and RPGs, drinking fair trade tea and coffee, discussing feminism and social justice, and cracking the best groan-worthy jokes the internet has to offer.

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