Sunday, November 21, 2010

Before and After

I really enjoy the artwork and comics of Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. One of my favorite books by Edward Gorey is the ABC book: "The Gashlycrumb Tinies". In which which different children meet with disaster, or even an untimely demise. I love children - I have three children and two grandchildren - so, I can't explain why I think those are funny. I guess it is like slapstick humor - even though someone is getting hurt, there is something funny about the way it is presented and it is nothing like reality. If it seemed the least bit real, I wouldn't be amused by it. It is the extreme contrast from reality that makes it so funny - like the movers who struggle to get the beautiful grand piano up the long stair case and at the last minute drop it down to the sidewalk, smashing in a thousand pieces.

Other then when I was a teenager, I've not done much macabre humor. However, several years ago after seeing before and after weight loss pictures, I was amused by the idea of extreme before and after pictures. I was also amused by the idea of unusually shaped heads with matching skulls. The sketches posted here are the simple doodles that came out of those musings.

Jinhao Missile

FIRST IMPRESSION. These little pens from China are a marvel. They are probably the best bang for your buck on a fountain pen that you can find. On eBay you can get three for $9.90 with free shipping, or one for $4.90 with free shipping from China. The construction, appearance, price and performance are all very good. There are three finishes: chrome, matte black and glossy mottled red-black. In terms of design and size, they remind you instantly of the Fisher Space Pen.

NIB. The hooded nibs put down an even fine line. I tried several of them and they all worked well.

FILLING SYSTEM. There is no choice in filling system: your only option is the compression bladder. No cartridges are available that I am aware of. The bladder doesn't hold much ink and runs out fairly quickly. However, the pen is so small that I don't find it comfortable to write with for an extended amount of time.

QUALITY. Knowing what I paid for these pens, I was not expecting anything in terms of build quality. I was very surprised when I received them to see the consistent quality of the pens.
I purchased about ten pens in the three different finishes and only one had a defect, and it was minor.

RECOMMENDATION. The only other contender in this price range is the Pilot Petite, which is a fantastic little fountain pen. The Pilot Petite has a better nib and a wider girth but it is plastic. So, if you are looking for a very inexpensive and portable fountain pen that doesn't look disposable, you can't go wrong with this one. This would be a great starter pen for a child. And, for those of you who want to use only fountain pens for every writing opportunity, it is ideal for a travel journal or checkbook.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Banana Munching Festoon

This pen and ink drawing, painted with Dr. Martin's watercolours on a watercolour block, was done as an experimental illustration. By that I mean that it appears to be part of a story but there was no story that went with it. At the time, I was considering illustrating children's stories but hadn't written much - hence the illustration without a story.