Are two pens better than one? Last week I started coming to the end of my second Pentel EnerGel 0.7 pen, so I decided to experiment a little with different types of pen. I stood in front of rows of gel and ink pens and was so drawn to the array of possibilities. It’s so tempting to take my drawings into colour but I resolved that I don’t want to do too much too fast. So instead I settled upon a 0.5 pen and a 1 – essentially a thin pen and a thick pen. Both are from the Pilot range, Pure Liquid Ink. You’ll notice the difference it has had in the image below. I now have areas of high detail in contrast to thicker border lines and solid black fills. It’s been an interesting week incorporating these changes.

My only negative experience this week is something that may seem a little strange to some. There’s a lovely tactile quality to these drawings. With my old pen it was a smooth and steady texture where you could feel the slight indentation of leading lines, the ones which require more precision and consequent pressure. My new pens however are rather displeasing to the touch. Each pen has a different texture when the ink is dry. There’s also a slight difference in the opacity of each ink but it’s the touch which bothers me. I’d got used to slowly gliding my hands over pages and enjoying the feel of the patterned paper. I wonder if this will always be lost to me when using two pens or whether there’s a better combination I could use.

The positive outcome is that I could feel myself getting lost in the rhythm of changing pens. This feels like it’s adding to my flow but it also exercising my concentration as each change is a little moment that takes me away from the paper. I’m also feeling conscious that each development is taking me closer towards my normal artwork. I haven’t decided whether that’s a good thing or not…