True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Beautiful Lines: How to Make a Quill !

Long, long ago
before there were Sharpies,
folks wrote and drew with these.

I do love the line quality I get with my pen and inks, but I've been thinking that I would like to try drawing with a real quill.

Coincidentally, Lil'White and Jenny have been dropping feathers willy-nilly all over the yard. So I collected a few and brought them inside.
On each feather shaft, I first gave a hasty slash with an Exacto knife
and then made a little slice down the center of the tip.

Could it really be that easy?

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

I went straight to the studio to give it a try.
 Lil'White's flimsy fluff feather was pretty useless as a tool.
But Jenny's sturdy wing feather
provided for some interesting mark-making,
scratches and spatters.

That afternoon, I found a turkey tail feather in the woods.
Jackpot!  Best quill yet!

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 

Basic and beautiful.
Here are some lines for your inspiration:
 Qur'an:  you don't even need to understand the language to appreciate these rhythmic lines.

Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes:  yes, his stories are entertaining. But his lines are astounding.

Saul Steinberg:  line and wit in perfect balance. --- you can see the original image here at the Library of Congress CartoonAmerica exhibit.

Experiment and enjoy!