Learning to Ink with Crow Quill Pens

Falling in love with John J. Boulet’s work inspired me to make my own web comic. To set it apart stylistically, I decided I’d ink it with a crow quill pen (the best way to get a variety of line widths) and color it with watercolor. But how to start?

First, I researched what the pros do. The old Famous Artists Course said to use a Gillott 170 and 290 nibs so I bought those first. Then I discovered a recommendation from Dave Sim’s book Cerebus Guide to Self Publishing”. In it he explains in detail how to use a crow quill pen and specifically that a Hunt 102 nib was used for Cerebus. So I bought that, too!

Second, after buying the nibs (and the appropriate pen handles and waterproof ink), I downloaded practice exercises for the pen found from an Internet search. From what I’ve learned, using a crow quill pen is like anything else…a matter of practice.

Surprisingly, drawing all of these lines with the three different nibs isn’t monotonous. I enjoy the sensation of drawing with it and look forward to using these wonderful tools to enhance and set apart my comics.

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