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Thread: Drawing circles with a crow quill

  1. #1

    Drawing circles with a crow quill

    Hi there. Total noob here and am trying to find some tips on using a crow quill nib pen. Basically, how the hell do you draw circles with one? I take it you can only really pull the pen toward you, because whenever I attempt something like a circle it just doesn't work (nib catches etc). It can't just be a matter of turning your paper around, so how is it done?
    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    Slowly. I use circle templates. The way I do it is to turn the quill as I go around the circle so the nib is always moving in the right direction. Takes a bit of getting used to and does leave ink on the templates that needs to be wiped immediately. But to do it freehand, I always go counterclockwise. If the nib is getting caught in the paper you may be using cheap crappy paper. Try some smooth or the least a vellum finish.
    You can also use a tech pen or a ruling pen with a template.

  3. #3
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    Do it in two strokes. Draw one half first then the other.

    You need to practice a lot to do this freehand, but it can be done.

    Also you don't have to be a purist.

    If the circle is organic, consider using a brush or a different nib.
    The crow quill is not made for long strokes.

    If the circle is a man-made object use a tech pen.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by gamesjack View Post
    I take it you can only really pull the pen toward you, because whenever I attempt something like a circle it just doesn't work (nib catches etc). It can't just be a matter of turning your paper around, so how is it done?
    Thanks for your help
    Pen direction is optional and personal. I prefer pen strokes to go up and away while avoiding down and in. The reason is, the former uses the arm while the latter employs fingers and wrist. Using fingers and wrist causes the angle of pen to paper to change as fingers and wrist bend (often resulting in catch and splatter as the angle becomes close to or exceeds 90), using the arm keeps the angle of pen to paper more consistent as the elbow and or shoulder bends rather than the arm itself. For longer strokes, lock both wrist and elbow and draw with shoulder and hips. This allows strokes longer than twice up pages can hold, certainly long enough for todays pages.

    Think of the nib's faces as the windshields in a car. The concave side faces "forward" where you're going, the convex side faces the "rear" where you've been. You can draw sideways but, this increases the chance of splatter. Nibs tend to reward confident strokes and punish doubtful or timid strokes. Like a bicycle, you need a certain amount of speed to avoid falling over and cracking your head on the sidewalk. Never look at where you are, look where you're going.

    Consider plate surfaces rather than kid. If you can afford it, Strathmore 500 paper is cotton and far less susceptible to catch and splatter than 300-400 wood pulp. If 300-400 is all you can afford, consider lightboxing your drawing before inking (sliding glass doors work great) so paper has no abrasions from erasers.

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