Tuesday, June 1, 2010
One late night while surfing around Flickr for who knows what, I found some calligraphy images where the writing implement that used was referred to as a "cola-pen."
Google didn't provide much info on "cola-pen" other than vintage Coke collectibles so I kept searching until I found another name for it, "folded pen."
The folded pen is basically just that - a thin piece of folded metal that you either dip in ink/paint or fill with a brush. They appear to be an updated version of the ruling pen - a vintage drawing instrument originally used together with straight rulers for technical drawings in engineering and cartography. (How old are ruling pens? Not sure, but here is an image from a book published in 1901,)
After seeing an images of a folded pen I pulled out some 32g copper sheet and created this. It is probably larger than it needs to be, but this is how it ended up. Depending on which way you orient it to the paper, it can create thin or very wide brush-like lines. I love it.
Every image in this post was created using one of my folded pens. I tried to make one out of a Pepsi Thowback can but it was too thin and broke the moment I tried to lean on the nib. I made two more from the copper that look much prettier than the one above but they all work the same because the angle of the folded edge is the same. (That's what I get for working without a plan. LOL) I also just tried making one more with a horizontal folded edge... interesting results which I will post at a later date. (It was very brush-like)
Here are some helpful links on making/using folded pens:
How to make a folded pen. (I did not make mine from a soda/beer can, I used 32g copper sheet and I did not need to reinforce the tip as was shown in this tutorial.)
How to use a folded pen.
Another tutorial (from Argentenia) on how to make a folded pen. (I do not load my pen with a brush - I just dip it in a shallow bowl of ink.)
After I made the above piece, I went back and drew a large light blue mandala behind it.
My friend Leigh Reyes did a great blog post on her new folded pen. I broke down and ordered the same pen (no.30) to see the difference between the ones I made. Somewhere I had seen a complete set of handmade folded pens from a site in South America but I can't find the link.... Guess I forgot to add it to Evernote!
I have a real affinity for any kind of writing implement where I can vary the line width. Brush pens, calligraphy markers - I love them!
After filling this page with the mantra "Om Dum Durgayei Namaha" in Herbin's Rose Tendresse fountain pen ink, I drew the mandala and filled it in using Pitt Brush pens.
After learning about ruling pens, I bought two vintage ones from eBay and also this compass set - which I didn't realize also contained a ruling pen. Unfortunately, they are all very straight in nature and only draw very thin lines. I will continue to experiment but am not really finding them useful. (Just in case you were going to ask, it is unlikely that I will try using the compass to make mandalas... no patience, and not really my style.)
Check out Leigh's video of her using her folded pen.