It's been a while since I have really used my fountain pens to draw and it's a shame. I picked it up for figure drawing this morning and it felt like I was hanging out with a long-lost friend. Looking back I really love everything I do with them. I recently read a book called "Drawing from Within" by Nick Meglin. I highly recommend it for those who want a fresh perspective on drawing. Nick is a former illustration professor at the School of Visual Arts in NY. From day one in his classes he makes the students use an Esterbrook fountain pen. Initially they hate it. Drawing with ink keeps an indelible record of every mistake. If you draw the line wrong the first time, you have to redraw it the right way next to the wrong one. Your brain eventually teaches you to slow down, observe more, and draw it right the first time. In the book Nick writes:
"Learning anything is an experiential process. Children learn to walk and talk through experience, not from a book" "Learning to draw is a similar natural response."
If you really want to draw better, you have to recognize your mistakes, and nothing shows off your mistakes better than permanent ink. No erasers, no white out, just you, a pen and your subject. Try it sometime. And Don't forget who you are drawing for...yourself. It's your sketchbook. Think of it as a book of beautiful mistakes.
One more quote from Meglin sums it up:
“…I tell this to my students—I taught drawing for twelve years—if you don’t want to be told you’re a lousy artist by someone out there who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, don’t draw. Don’t fill a white page with lines, because once you do it, you’re at risk. But if you are going to do it, put everything you can on that page, everything you are or what you feel, what you think, your perception, you alone, not what you’ve seen, not what you think you’d like to do. React to that model, be at one. You’re the only artist in the world drawing that model tonight that way, in your way. No one else can do it.”
“Bet the whole roll and put yourself at risk. If not, you’ll never win. You may not lose, but you’ll never win. Go down swinging. Lose trying. But put yourself at risk. And that’s what creativity is.”