First of all what is a dip pen?
A dip pen is usually a metal nib with channels that fits on a metal, plastic or wood handle. Also known as a "nib pen", they do not carry their own ink as with a fountain pen, you must dip the nib into the ink to use. The channel absorbs the ink to allow you to write or draw before needing to dip again.
I personally use a dip pen for most of my drawings that are labeled "ink and watercolor" I also should point out that I do use permanent India ink so that the watercolor wash I use afterwards does not smear it. I have found this video that better explains how to use these awesome pens. Video called DIP PENS 101.
I much prefer the dip pen for most of my artwork as you can control the thickness of your lines by simply adding or taking away pressure. They are affordable and fun to use.
When I first started out, I was watching Youtube videos on using various art mediums. At the time I was more of a pencil drawer than a painter, but I really took a liking to the dip pen drawings and then washing them with watercolor. Alan Owen was my favorite artist to watch in action on Youtube. He is a British artist and I found his videos calming! He referred to the process as "pen and wash".
You can get as detailed as you want. I found the dip pen perfect for anything that didn't need super refined lines. I loved that I could adjust the pressure, but it can also blob a little here and there which can add to the painting but if that is not the plan for your painting, these might not be the best idea. In which case you should consider a fine permanent artist marker. I loved how these dip pens could make my work slightly more rustic.
But for me personally, these are perfect for my artwork, my ink and watercolor paintings that I sell in my store.
Permanent Dip Pen Ink - Lots of Colors!
I personally prefer the black ink for my artwork but you can get these is so many colors online. When I first started out using this process of a dip pen and ink, I didn't want to spend too much money. I found one in a garage sale and played with it for a while. But then I discovered many of these products are online for quite a lot cheaper than my local art store.
I am not saying you should bypass a good art supply store, but if you are just starting out and are not sure if this is the medium you wish to use, check out Amazon. Click any of these links to find out more.
You Need: Nibs, Handle, Ink - Give it a Try! It Doesn't Hurt to Try Something New
Many of these nibs are sold without the handle. So you will need to get a handle or some artists just use the nib in their hands. I prefer to have a handle. You can then change out the nibs as you need them for different styles of lines.
This particular handle is the same brand as the nibs above and are quite often sold together. Just remember that unless you get a kit, the nibs and the handles are usually sold separately. This particular brand of nibs and handle has the highest feedback on the Amazon site compared to some of the other brands and kits. So for under 20 bucks you can get a quality dip pen to change up your art style, medium or maybe get into calligraphy.
Specialized Cleaner to Keep Your Dip Pen Nibs Clean and to Last Longer
Keep the Nibs Clean!
This is so important, and something I was not the best at in the beginning. I would simply wipe them clean and then I would find the next time I went to use it, it was clogged. In the beginning I simply used soap and water which works, but really it is best to get a dedicated cleaner that works even better and extends the life of the nibs.
This solution cleans brushes, technical pens and dip pens. This too is affordable. If you order all your supplies in one go you can save on shipping. It will keep the channels clear and stop blobbing on your work.
I Use a Dip Pen in All My Ink and Watercolor Paintings
I hope I was able to explain the dip pen and its uses. Yes you can get fountain pens that contain ink cartridges, but there is something about the dip pen that adds tons of character to your drawings, and letter art.
I will continue to use this style of pen. I have always used black but I may venture into other colors of ink now that I have grown totally comfortable with the process. If it blobs I work it into the drawing.
To some this is an old fashioned way to create, but for me it is the perfect way to create as I just feel like I have more control.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
This is something different and fun to try. If you are used to markers, then give this a try. Have some scrap paper around and just let yourself go and try different pressures and have fun. Once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy it!
Hi there! My name is Diane Palmer, and I love to draw and paint. I love to try new things, and in this blog and my website you will see the results of my artistic endeavors!