Beginning Pen and Ink... and the Gillott 290

Hi all,

I recently started working with pen and ink for scientific illustrations. I've read through the Guild Handbook's chapter on pen and ink and found it very helpful, but are there other good resources or drawing samples to look at? I'm still having some difficulty in placing my lines, especially on objects with local color.

Also, I've seen the Gillott 290 referenced over and over again, so I've been trying to use it... with no luck! I've tried several different 290 nibs in case I had a dud, and tried running a lit match under a couple of them, but the ink just won't flow. Is there a secret trick that I'm missing out on? Or are me and the 290 just not meant to be?



Hi Claire,

I'm not an expert (I have only just started out in pen and ink as well), and I have been using a Hunt crowquill nib so far, but I found quite a useful book is Robert W. Gills' 'Rendering in Pen and Ink', which is pretty much the most complete text (I've heard) on pen and ink, so worth a look through.

Not sure what could be going on with your nib though. I have done some calligraphy in the past and had some issues with ink flow, but usually it was because I didn't dip the nib far enough in the ink (up to the "air" hole- not sure what the technical term is- so it filled up with ink) or if the ink is too thick (thinning it a bit with water helps). Dipping it in boiling water was the trick I was told to do with new nibs to get the surface of the metal right.

Hope that helps somewhat- good luck! If not, I have found the hunt crowquill nibs easier to use than the other dip nibs.