Thing the 1st - I went to see the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at Bristol Museum, and it rocked my tiny world. How did he get those amazingly subtle marks with a dip pen? Got me wondering about old drawing techniques....
2nd - I went up to Durham, and spoke to Dr Keith Bartlett, who is very knowledgable about such things, not least because he is an expert on the Lindisfarne Gospels. I subsequently read up a bit on the Lindisfarne Gospels...awesome is an overused word but if it applies...
3rd - I found what I think is a buzzard feather on my way to work. I also own a penknife, so with a little help from my son's Horrible Histories book I had a go at making a quill pen.
Me and the kids quickly set to a bit of scribbling. Please note the sunlit photo and the brightly coloured vase of flowers...I am getting better at this blog lark.
Now let's get a few things straight..this was something of a bodge...if I remember my chat with Dr Bartlett right, I should have left the feather to mature for about a year, rather than 2 days. I also should really be using the 1st or second wingtip feather from the right hand...or maybe left hand.. wing of a goose (being as I'm right handed). You will see that as it was the pen was more than a tad awkward to hold.
Then I had a go at the Leonardo bit...how did he achieve those amazingly subtle lines? The answer is that, well...he was quite good. But also drawing with a quill is a massively different proposition to using a metal dip pen. See the scribbles below, which were all done with the same quill - you get a much softer line, and can go from very thin to very thick in one stroke without gouging a hole in the paper.
It's a joy to draw with...and all adds to my nagging and well documented feeling of having been born in the wrong century. Now where's my calligraphy book?