Which is the Best Dip Pen?
I was super excited to receive my dip pen in the post a couple of weeks ago, and I finally found the time to sit down and try it out! Not having much experience in dip pens, I was pretty happy to stumble upon a set specifically for cartooning, rather than calligraphy. As I was wanting to try it out as a medium for illustration purposes, it sounded like the most promising choice for me. Now you can read all about it, right here in my Speedball Dip Pen Review.
After sufficient research googling which is the best dip pen? I decided to go ahead with the Speedball Dip Pen and also purchased some Atelier Drawing Ink in Carbon Black to go with it. The Speedball Cartooning Set comes with two nib holders and six metal nibs. Four of which are the "B" style nibs (B1, B3, B5, B6) and two Pen Points (No. 100, No. 512) - all safely sealed up in a cardboard backed blister pack.
How to Use a Dip Pen
The pack was so safely sealed up in fact, I required a craft knife to carefully get each piece out. On the pack it describes the Speedball Cartooning Set to be suitable for fine lines, lithography, cross-hatching, alphabets and uniform line drawings. The set also comes with some handy instructions, briefly covering;
- How to hold your pen
- How to clean it
- How to correctly dip your pen
- A nib guide
- Some examples of mark making techniques
- Some examples of calligraphy
- Some examples of decorative line work
Trying Out The Speedball Dip Pen
Once all unpacked, I decided to try out each nib individually - starting from the finest point, up to the largest. As advised on the bottle, I mixed the Atlier Drawing Ink 50:50 with water to prevent clogging the dip pen. Time to play!
I found the fine pointed pen nibs to be excellent for cross hatching and parallel lines. I was able to quickly lay down marks - and lots of them - before having to re-dip for more ink. The remaining tips were perfect for scribbling and organic drawing, as the round shape allows you to easily move the nib in any direction without resistance.
Using Watercolor Over Ink
The awesome thing about Drawing Ink (or Indian Ink) is it's ability to change properties. When wet it's water soluble. But once dry it becomes waterproof! That means you can add washes of colour over your artwork without the original ink lines bleeding. I decided to add a splash of colour using a few new shades of M. Graham Watercolor Paint to test it.
All in all, I found the Speedball Dip Pen to be good quality and a heap of fun to play with. Just from my little experiment today, the pen point nib 512 and round nib B6 quickly became my favourites. I found the largest of the round nibs (B1and B3) to be the trickiest to use - they seems to drop a large amount of ink and then quickly run out and need re-dipping. However, this may just be a case of practice makes perfect. I'm sure my techniques could use some refinement!
The nib holders (or pen barrels) are just plastic, but the larger one has a nice weight to it and both are comfortable in your hand. For the price tag, the Speedball Dip Pen Sets are great value for money (especially in America where they seem to be super cheap!).
The Atelier Drawing Ink also performed as promised. It was smooth to use with the dip pen, and dried waterproof. This was also great value - a tiny bit goes a very long way! It's non toxic and will not fade, with a lightfastness rating of ASTM1 (Excellent)
As we had no art supply store in town at the time, I purchased my Speedball Dip Pen and Atelier Drawing Ink online from The Art Shop which is an Aussie seller based in Bayswater, Victoria.
You can also purchase the Speedball Cartooning Dip Pen Set online from Dick Blick. I am very happy with my Speedball Cartooning Dip Pen Set, so I have no problem recommending it to you (and using my affiliate link!) - have fun!
Speedball Cartooning Pen and Nib Project Set
* Open & Honest Policy - I may receive a small compensation if you make a purchase through my affiliate links. All product reviews on studio 8T4 are unbiased and opinions expressed are my own.
Rachel continues to actively and passionately participate in a range of exhibitions, prizes, collaborations and community projects. She resides in her hometown of Geraldton, Western Australia with her partner, two dogs, two cats and carnivorous plant collection.
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