Anna Day

Calligrapher & Designer

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Pilot Parallel Pen Explorations

Apologies for red instead of black. I purchased my parallel pens several years ago and have used them for practising various calligraphy scripts, so I don't have any black cartridges left. In this tutorial I hope to expand my use of the pens to decorative forms.

Here are my three practice exercises:

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The first two are on photocopy paper, and there isn't much bleeding. However, when I did the third exercise on photocopy paper, bleeding was quite noticeable. Strange because I purchased all four pens at the same time, and I would have expected all the ink to be exactly the same. Maybe the smaller pen released more ink in proportion to its width. Anyway, I did this example of Exercise 3 on bleedproof marker paper. There is not much bleeding, but the ink took a long time to dry, and I smeared some despite trying to be careful.

I sketched quite a few possible tattoo designs. Here are some of them:

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I finally decided on a variation of the whirling circle.

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This drawing is too rough. I could have tried again on better paper. I have no interest in getting a tattoo, whether permanent or temporary, but If I did, I would want it to be really perfect. So I decided to do the final version as a vector drawing in Affinity Designer.

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Admittedly, this loses some of the charm of a handmade drawing, but I believe it captures the twisting character of my parallel pen strokes. Besides, some irregularities would be introduced by the tattooist working on a curved body part.

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