First Impressions on Acrylics

So I sold the last of a bunch of prints I had hanging. I forgot they were out there. They were in Texas? I guess I was in Texas at some point. Well, the check cleared and I’m out of that stupid mental health conserveteeship so I bought some stuff. I got a fancy pochade box I gotta write about some time, and a whole stack of canvas panels and a set of basic acrylics tubes from Winsor & Newton.

I like drawing faces (they quiet the voices which, yeah, is weird) so I figured a book on portraits with acrylics would be good. Nope, I’m not in that place yet. I think I need to just be simple and boring and see a face, sketch it rough, slap on the paint. So I’m going to do that for a while I think.

I like acrylics though I think, might really like them. They cover, they’re opaque, and they hide the tremors like I can hardly believe it. Mess it up? There is a thick physical thing I can wipe off of cover up. The exercises in the book so far aren’t for me, review that book if I get to that place but acrylics for now and no sleeping ’cause the only thing louder than lights is labyrinths.

DIY Nib Reservoir

Nib pens are great. Nibs are great. Zebra G nibs are only a couple bucks for a pack of ten and they flex. Line variation isn’t as extreme as it might be on a gold Phono nib from some Victorian era Pitman’s Shorthand school but it’s better than most. The thing that sucks though is flex eats that ink fast. Nothing sucks more than another involuntary psychiatric hold but running a nib dry on a long expressive contour is right up there. Just behind that, a close second to running dry is flexing too hard to fast and loseing flow. You know, when the tines separate and you just get two hairlines instead of nice broad stroke.

I got a solution though. Put you a giant reservoir on your nib and be well. Next time you have an appointment snag you one of those gimmie drug company rep pens. Here’s what you need:

  • A nib, something with some flex makes the most sense
  • The spring from that gimmie pen
  • A soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Needle-nose pliers with a wire cutter

Here’s what you do:

  • Cut that spring in half so it’s about a half inch long
  • Heat up that soldering iron and heat one end of the spring
  • Touch a bit of solder to the hot spring so it melts, that’s called “tinning” it
  • Sit that spring on your nib so the unsoldered portion hangs down to just below the feed on the nib
  • Heat up the “tinned” bit of the spring till it tacks down to your nib

Now when you dip that spring fills up and surface tension gives you ink like nobodies business. A full dip on this sucker puts out seventy inches at about 3/32nds flex. SEVENTY INCHES. Oh, and did I mention that when it’s on the full side (more than half) there’s basically no more speed-limit to keep it from spliting to hairlines? Yeah, and it’s free if you can get access to somebodies soldering iron.

The down-side is you gotta make sure to wash the nib now after you use it. No more wipe and go when you’re in a rush

On the left is about a third of a full load with the spring, lines drawn top to bottom, right to left. On the right is a full load without the spring, lines drawn bottom to top, right to left.

India Ink

India ink is sweet. Its basically black + shellac + alcohol. It sucks that you cant use it in a fountain pen though, well you can but pretty much only once. I like it though, a lot, so here I go supporting a project to make an india ink fountain pen. This’ll be my most expensive art-thing that wasn’t tuition. Support it maybe.