Well. Inkwell, that is.

18 Dec

A subject never much discussed in the cartoonist profession is this:  Inkwells.

What is an inkwell?

As an old-fashioned (I hate that phrase, but I guess it applies here) illustrator, I prefer using a dip-pen and black India ink with all of my work.  This day and age, many cartoonists use digital line drawing instead.  And yeah, I’m not there yet.  It’s either because I’ve never honestly tried the digital method of drawing or because I like having originals lying around the studio.  Whatever the reason, I like my way of doing things.

Using a dip-pen and ink requires something to hold the ink in.  That, my friends, is an inkwell.  Make sense?  Sure.

So, for years I’ve used just a plastic container that the original ink arrived in.  It’s worked.  But, they’ve been hard to clean and not exactly pleasant to look at.  And trust me – they MUST be cleaned.  The ink gets very blotchy and gooey after awhile.  After numerous dabs of putting the nibs on the pen onto paper, the paper scraps sometimes sticks and then ends up in the ink.  It looks like a tar pit after awhile.

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Above:  Hard to see, but that’s a plastic, black inkwell there smothered in ink.

I decided to go all-out and buy myself a nice new inkwell.

It’s glass and looks like something from the 1700’s.  And I like it.

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Above:  My spiffy-new glass inkwell.

I’ve already noticed a difference in ease with use.  And it’s clear so I can see what’s doing down there and when I may have to clean the sucker out.

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Above: The spiffy-new inkwell in its new home.

When I mentioned before about there not being much discussion among cartoonists I was right.  I’ve tried searching the internet to see what some of the pros are using for inkwells and couldn’t find anything.  I probably should’ve just asked one or two of them, but that would require an email.  And I haven’t asked any of the ones I know since I typically don’t think about inkwells in mid-discussion.

If you’re not a cartoonist, this may have been quite an uninteresting post.  But, either way, now you know about the magic of an inkwell and what they do.  You can run out and tell all your friends or try using one yourself.  They’re fun, frustrating, messy and used to be a mandatory product.  I use one daily.  Will I ever go digital?  I don’t know.  Does digital come with an inkwell?

Anyway….

I’m hoping it continues to work (ink) well.

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