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I have long been a calligraphy nerd, although I don’t get much time to practice the craft anymore. Ink I can’t erase, flourishes that need practice and patience, and a wild toddler are hard to combine! That’s why in recent years, I’ve been contenting myself with practices that are calligraphy-adjacent.
If you’ve followed me as an artist on any platform for any length of time, I’m sure you already know that I love to draw with pen and ink. I find it much easier to weave mistakes into an illustration than I do into quotes or other forms of writing. What you may not know, though, is that there is such a thing as a glass dip pen!
I have followed The Postman's Knock for several years. Lindsey, the owner, is an excellent source for all things pen and ink, from art projects to worksheets to supplies. When she announced that she had started carrying glass dip pens in her shop, I was intrigued. I am now the proud owner of the "Unicorn" glass dip pen.
As you can see, it’s a beautiful piece of glass art. There’s a bit of a galaxy effect with rainbow colors, so it’s fun to gaze at even when I’m not actively using it.
I was hoping this would be a new illustration tool because I absolutely adore pen and ink drawings. After my test run tonight, it seems as though my dreams have come true. I’ll run through some of the features here:
- Classic Dip Design: This isn’t a calligraphy pen since the nib doesn’t flex to provide stroke contrast, but you dip the pen in halfway up the nib just the same. It’s really as easy as it sounds.
Smooth Ink Flow*: Unlike a calligraphy pen, this glass pen didn’t blot the entire time I was using it. The ink flows off at basically the same rate until it runs out. It also takes a long time to run out, so you don’t have to keep stopping to re-dip the pen. You can write or draw easily:
- Comfortable Grip: The pen doesn’t look very practical, but its decorative elements fit very comfortably in the hand while you’re writing. It reminds me a lot of ergonomic crochet needles, which are designed to relieve stress in the fingers.
- *Works Best with Loose Inks: That smooth ink flow will disappear if you choose the wrong ink. I had good success with sumi ink, which I used to sketch this little bird:
- But when I tried to use Ziller ink for a waterproof project, I realized it was too thick to work well with the glass dip pen’s design. You can, of course, alter ink thickness by adding water, but I find that it’s a hell of a lot easier to start with the right ink for the job in the first place! Apart from sumi ink, fountain pen ink also does the trick. (Another small business shout-out: I get all my fountain pens and supplies from iPenStore LLC.)
All in all, drawing or writing with this glass dip pen is a great way to relax in the evening. One thing I did notice is that you can’t let the ink sit on the nib at all; make sure you go straight from dipping to drawing or writing because it dries quickly when left sitting on the nib. I paused too long a couple times and had to re-dip before I could get started again.
Care is easy, too. I wipe with a cotton cloth while I’m working with it, then wash with any old soap and warm water once I’m done. You can see I’ve had some ink build up in its valleys over time, but I haven’t noticed any decline in function as a result. Just adds character!
What do you think? Are you likely to give a glass dip pen a try? Feel free to let me know your thoughts!
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