Episode 439 of the CMP, a Creativity Matters Podcast — loving it (whatever your creative it is), dip pens, and more.
Warning! Ding, ding, ding, ding! This is a long show.
Already I have regrets about some of the rambling discussion. I keep wanting to go in and correct and clarify and simplify and streamline. I could whittle down until all that remained was…. loving it.
In this episode, a long and winding dip pen tale, but before I go there, some general feel-good talk about the importance of “loving it.” It’s that simple — you have to give yourself permission to love what you do, to claim that love for what you do, and to be empowered by your own sense of “loving it.” If you only really love what you do when you get lots of external validation, then things can feel empty or sour or unfulfilling if and when that validation isn’t flowing your way.
I want to encourage you, again and again, to know that it’s okay to admit you enjoy what you do and to seek out activities and creative pursuits where you do love what you do. If you really enjoy the process and find your creative habits and routines fulfilling, balancing, mindful, and personally rewarding, you fill and fuel a flowing stream that can help sustain, energize, settle, and rejuvenate you. There is immense value and power in nurturing that stream!
And then…. I took apart the bunk beds. The space I am sitting it is already markedly different, although left in disarray until weekend again. But I took apart the bunk beds. This is the tale of a little Tonka tools screwdriver.
There is quite a bit of dip pen talk in this show. There’s a core show segment and then two subsequent short field note moments on the two consecutive mornings after I recorded this episode. Largely, this breaks down like this:
- Last year I was fascinated with the idea of dip pen and recorded Episode 426: Dip It.
- Afraid that dip pen might not work well with fountain pen ink, I decided not to pursue dip pen and instead started dipping some of my regular fountain pens for convenience. (I also thought dip pen might be too messy for my space, my reality, my habit and routine, and my life.)
- Even though I pushed the idea aside, it persisted. Dip pen remained in my head as some potential beacon of “fine line.”
- When I (recently) started seeing some Instagram artists showing work with a very fine dip pen nib (in some cases a maru nib and in others something similar), I started thinking again about experimenting with dip pen.
- When I made this brain-breaking list thinking through some of my ideas for the 100 Day Project, dip pen was there. But I didn’t think it was a contender. (I didn’t really think “circles” was a contender either. Ultimately, that list served its purpose and brought everything to the light in a way that let things fall into place.)
- I didn’t think dip pen would be good for a serious 100-day project. I couldn’t shake the idea though and thought a 100 days would be a good container for trying it out.
- I decided to use dip pen as a side project and just experiment with the lines a dip pen makes. (I thought I could just do a “learning” project with mark making, dabble in some of my favorite hatching and filling of space moments, and use dip pen for some mindfulness alongside my “real art” project for 100 days.)
- I didn’t order the nib I wanted to try. Instead, I bought a holder and a pack of Zebra-G nibs that arrived the day before the challenge started.
- My first drawing, surprisingly, felt pretty natural to me. (I did push the first one hard though, partly trying to really see the flex and variation, and the drawing feels etched. We learn with every drawing.)
- After that, I continued doing my daily drawings with dip pen using my regular black ink, and I’ve been surprised that the experience feels a lot like drawing with fountain pen. (That makes sense, but things other people have said made me somehow think the experience would be different.)
- Side note: I drew exclusively with fountain pen for the last several years. But last year, I started using micron a lot, partly because I was looking for a finer line than my Lamy EFs were able to give.
- Drawing with dip pen has felt really natural to me. (By field note 2, which puts me about 3 weeks into the 100 days, I don’t see me “not” using dip pen anytime soon.)
- I made a deal with myself about sticking with it for 14 days and then ordering a maru (mapping) nib. (I thought the maru was going to be the answer to all questions.)
- I did that. (Which is why I needed to clarify that in the first field note.)
- I used the maru nib all last week, and the lines are, indeed, very fine.
- But the maru nib is also very scratchy.
- I’m having a love-hate relationship with the scratchiness. (You can hear the sound in the YouTube #shorts below. PS, #shorts are really casual <60second, vertical-format video. They don’t pretend to be more than that. They are made for a vertical format feature in YT, so I know they look odd viewed out of context. It isn’t an error or oversight. They are intended to be this way.)
- I thought that the maru nib might be my thing. Maybe it is. But the video samples Saturday morning made me feel a bit on edge every time I heard the scratch. I popped the Zebra-G in for something Sunday morning, and in contrast, it was so loose and flexible and thick and flowing that I was really loving it.
- I’m still experimenting and learning and changing my mind (even every day). But overall, I’m loving it.
Listen to Episode 439
(This episode is available in many of your favorite podcast players.)
Mentioned in this Episode (or Related)
- Episode 426: Dip It
- Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder, Model 36 (this is the holder I bought — the white grip wasn’t available for fast enough delivery) — this holder can hold the traditional nibs as well as the smaller maru
- Zebra Comic G Model Chrome Pen Nib
- Maru nib
- Platinum Carbon Ink
- Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder + Zebra Comic G Model Chrome Pen 10 Nibs — a starter pack — this holder can hold the traditional nibs as well as the smaller maru
- DELETER Trial Pen Set (a different starter pack)
- DELETER Manga Ink, Black 4
- MyLifeUNIT Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Set — multiple sizes
- MyLifeUNIT Tachikawa Comic G Nib, Manga G-Pen Nib, Pack of 3
- Notes on large format sketchbooks
- ROYGBIV supplies: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet
- Uni-Gel Alpha Shaker pencil (mine is listed as “slightly firm” – but it’s super cushy; they do come in other softness/hardness ratings. I really do love this shaker!)
- Pentel Hi-Polymer Block Eraser, Large, White (these things disappear like socks; you can never have too many white erasers lying around)
- Moleskine Art Sketchbook (what I’m using for regular drawing and my illustrated journal)
- Moleskine Art Sketchbook — the REALLY big one — A3 (11.75″ x 16.5″)
- Platinum Carbon Black ink (what’s in my fountain pen)
- Sktchy app for inspiration photos
- Micron 08 (larger nib good for thicker lines or filling in small-medium spaces)
- Micron 01 (favorite for drawing)
- Micron Sampler
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