I didn’t really discuss the actual drawing in the post for last week’s Sketch Friday of Furiosa, mostly because I knew I would be making a process video about it––a new entry in the “D. Bethel Draws…” series.

The one thing I gloss over in the video is a tool that I’ve added to my quiver in the form of a fountain pen by LAMY, specifically their Safari model. I was inspired to pick up a fountain pen for a few reasons. First, and more immediately, I’ve been enamored by the sketches that artist Paul Heaston has been posting on Instagram. His work encapsulates an ethos and approach that I have in my head but do not embody. He’s confident in his ability, but does not strive for photographic perfection (not that I do, either). Straight lines wobble, proportions vary, but every drawing he posts is believable, confident, and so full of creative life that it looks perfect in its imperfection. He’s drawing with ease that’s clearly informed by years and years of study and work. It’s a goal. While I aim for it, so far there’s something about the lines created by the fountain pen that lend a certain sense of surety to my hand as I’ve been practicing with it. At the very least, I find it a great tool to get ideas down and worked out to then translate to other platforms.

The original sketch inked with my new trusty Lamy fountain pen. I’ll be switching to black ink once the original blue cartridge runs dry.

The second reason I’ve had my eye on a fountain pen is because of my dad, who exclusively draws with a fountain pen and has done so for my entire life, at least. He wouldn’t call himself a capital-A artist, but he has always drawn and is very good at what he does and excels even further when he digs in. He is the son of a professional commercial artist and has an innate talent and ability that he uses across the spectrum from napkin cartoons (his preferred genre) to carefully planned illustrations (from cartoon wolf avatars to exactingly rendered classic cars and everything in-between). The one tool that is always present, though, is his trusty fountain pen (usually a Waterman, by my recollection).

Pencil drawing my father made at 18. An absolutely incredible rendering of this car.

While I don’t think the fountain pen will become my main artistic tool, it has been a boon for generating and sketching out ideas. Also, it’s not a totally foreign tool to me––for four of the six years I co-wrote and drew my previous webcomic, Eben07, I inked nearly exclusively with dip pens (pens with detachable nibs that you dip into a bottle of ink). Fountain pens work on the same principle as dip pens, they’re just more manageable and less messy. But there is an entire array of tools within the flex of the nib of a fountain pen that makes it really appealing, and one that definitely helped get this Furiosa fan art out of my head and done much faster than if I had just tried from the start to create it digitally.