Nib tests

After watching Marc Taro Holms’ Craftsy class, I decided to get some better drawing nibs for my sketching at Fort Nisqually.  I draw with dip pens there because the fountain pen was not yet in use in our time period.

I ordered 3 different nibs from Jet Pens.  The Zen Comic G came 10 to a pack.  In the Craftsy drawing class I’m watching now, the instructor says a nib is good only for one drawing.  Really?  I can’t image that a few lines on a 5×7 page are going to wear out the nib.  But I’ve got 10 nibs just in case.  They are on the right and a single one is on the right, next to the case.

The Brause Blue Pumpkin is the large nib on the left.  I ordered three.  In the middle is the Brause 66 extra fine. I also ordered three.

At left is how the loose nibs came:  each one was pressed into a single packing peanut.  I thought that was a brilliant method!

I tested them on the same paper I use at the Fort.  I smudged the extra fine (rooster head on middle right).

I think I like the line quality and performance of the Zen the best.  I’ll have all 3 in my kit, though.


About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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11 Responses to Nib tests

  1. I don’t recall Marc talking about how long nibs last but I think you misunderstood whatever you heard. Dipping pen nibs do wear out, but not because they’re being rubbed over paper. While they’re cheap, thin metal, they’re harder than any paper 🙂 But what does happen is that repeated flexing causes them to weaken, the tines will separate and, of course, you can easily get the tines out of alignment. If you’re not flexing them a lot, however, they will last quite a long time. I love those Comic G nibs, but can’t warm up to Marc’s Blue Pumpkin nib. — Larry

    • redharparts says:

      It wasn’t Marc that said it. It was Matt Rota in “Mixed Media: Pen, Ink & Watercolor” (the other class linked). He really did say it. To be fair, he’s doing a very large ink drawing with lots and lots of textures and/or cross hatching.

      • redharparts says:

        In fact, I just found the quote again. Yup, that’s what he said. Lesson 1, Chapter 4 @ about 11:42

      • I love Craftsy and the way they handle access to their classes. Matt Rota’s class was the first one I took via Craftsy and yet there it was, letting me go to Lesson 1, to see what you’ve indicated. You’re right about his use of the nibs but there’s another ‘big deal’ thing. He’s using a crowquill nib. These tiny, VERY fine nibs don’t last nearly as long as something like the Comic G simply because their tip is so fragile. I like their fine nature but the Speedball #100-#104 don’t last very long. As he says, they’re also very cheap. I did like Rota’s class, however.

  2. redharparts says:

    Crowquill. Good to know. He said they cost about $16, which seems expensive for 1 crowquill. The entire box of 10 Zebra Comic G cost just under $14.

  3. Cathy Tenzo says:

    Crowquill nibs are super cheap. I believe I paid less than a dollar apiece for them when I have bought them at art supply stores. We are of one mind today. I just wrote a post about nibs and also a post about Craftsy (I am currently on my first Craftsy class, “Pen and Ink Essentials” and finding it very helpful. How was the Sketching People in Motion class? That one is on my wish list.

    • redharparts says:

      I’ve also got “Pen and Ink Essentials”. Marc is a good teacher and I took away a few tips from his class.

      • Cathy Tenzo says:

        I just started the class but I watched a couple of videos ahead and found the crosshatching section very helpful. I like his teaching and am glad I also signed up for his sketchbook class.

  4. Regarding nibs, good article

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