tools of the trade
Voila! this is it: a hand-cut reed pen, made from bamboo sticks available at any gardening store to stake up plants. It is with this pen that I make what Monkeyfist calls, with characteristic sensitivity, ‘blind retard lines’.
Dip pen into black ink. I prefer calligraphy and drawing inks for their fluidity, but they are not waterproof, and washes will bleed, which I do not mind. I like waterproof inks, but the lacquer coats and suffocates my pen.
I like to draw on site, directly with ink and pen (no pencil) in a 9″ x 12″ recycled paper sketchbook. FleetWeek merits the 14″ x 20″ big guns pad. For the washes, I like charcoal paper because of the texture; rarely use watercolor paper. I like papers that drink the washes unevenly. Bank statements and bill envelopes were great, but I’ve gone online.
To do lettering or fine line details (Plimsoll marks) I use metal pen nibs in a simple wooden nib holder.
With exotic names like Aviator, Bronze Falcon, Globe, Figaro, Herald, Imperial, Magazine, Mail, Panama, Pedigree, School, Silversteel, and others, the nibs are shaped differently. I cannot tell the differences.
Colors are usually added later, but sometimes I like to paint at the spot. I always carry a plastic bucket on a long line that I throw off the pier to collect water, and I wet my palette and rinse my brushes in the briny. Therefore, I technically make saltwatercolors.