How to make a quill pen from a feather...
I've had a stash of feathers for a while. I have thought for a long time that it would be fun to have a go at making my own quill to draw with and so phase one (feather collecting) happened... and then that was that.
On the wall of my studio I have a picture by Quentin Blake of things he likes to draw with. One of them is a feather, I've been looking at this picture a lot recently.
Last week I was given two new feathers. One we think belonged to a Red Kite - there are some that live near the studio and can be regularly heard and seen circling the skies. The other may have belonged to an Owl of some sort. I need to look it up. The arrival of these feathers, the Quentin Blake image and some recent appreciation of very inky drawings spurred me into action.
The two new feathers are petty special so to begin my quill experiments I chose one that I've had for years and I think belonged to a Seagull (herring gull). It's nowhere near as exciting looking and so seemed ideal to be the first one to go under the knife for shaping surgery.
There are quite a few YouTube videos on how to make a quill, I watched a few to get an idea and then decided to just go for it.
I am sure there are more technical ways to make a fancier version, but this is all I used for this first one
- the feather; large enough to hold as a pen
- a cutting mat
- a craft knife
- ink and paper to test it out on when done
Here is an instruction sheet of how I made it, further down the blog post are some photos of the feather when it has been shaped. You can click on the image below to download a copy of it.
And then it's time for the best bit - experimenting with the ink. It is quite hard to control the flow of ink, the score line in the nib shape helps. I found it was useful to wipe as much excess ink off the nib by wiping the underside of the nib on the side of the ink pot before putting nib to page. This helps to prevent huge blobs of ink when you are writing and drawing. I quite like the unpredictability of the ink flow and the variety of line you can create.
Cutting the top of the nib off to create a flat end can make an italic type tip which makes a wider line.