How to Load Ink into a Broad Pen (without Reservoir)

calligraphy

I opted out of reservoirs because it sounds like a lot of work. First of all, every nib has its own reservoir. Then, you need to fit it just so for the correct ink flow. Finally, you need to be extra careful as to prevent ink build-up, because obviously it gets in the space between the nib and the reservoir. I might need to try and use a reservoir at some point (my Speedball, of course, has it attached), but for now, consequently I choose to load ink after almost every stroke (does that sound like more work? Oops). Here I would like to share what has worked for me so far.

Stand the opened ink jar on the left-hand side of your paper (I’m right-handed). Try and give a little distance between them. Balance the ferrule (metal part) of a cheap, stiff bristle brush (mine happens to be flat) on the jar’s brim – the end of the handle on your desk – the bristles pointing southward in your direction. With the broad pen ready in your right hand, use your left hand to lift the brush and dip its tip into a bit of ink. Settle the brush back, and (holding it down somewhat in place) bring your nib to the brush and load ink by touching the top side of the nib to the bristle. (If this is your first load of the session, you might need to brush the underside of the nib as well, just to get it flowing. Make a mark on your scratch paper to release the excess ink.) You can load the ink several times in this manner before re-dipping the brush into ink. Whenever you feel you have too much ink on your nib, you can wipe it off on the bottom of the bristle.

I don’t know about you, but I like to hold the paper in place with my left hand when I write, so laying the brush on the jar leaves my hand free to move back and forth during load. The reason you need some distance between your paper and the ink jar, is with such precarious setting, you will spatter some ink and/or drop the brush inadvertently at some point, no matter how careful you are. So this minimises the risk of getting unwanted mark on your substrate. Aside from the nib, you still need to stir your brush into water after several minutes to prevent ink build-up on the brush. Dab on a paper towel before loading more ink.

I have tried loading ink by dipping the nib straight into the ink jar. Without a reservoir, dipping as far as the vent gets me a blobby disaster eventually. Even if I tried to get as little ink as possible at the tip, I always end up needing to wipe off the excess on scratch paper, wasting more ink. All in all, ink flow is just something you figure out on your own after some experiment and practice. Do you use a reservoir? If so, how’s your experience? Share below!

S.

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