fude festival! part 1

Back from a little break from the whole internet thing and ready to make June a pretty exciting month here on the old blog.  In addition to the festival that starts today, there will be a Really Big Event later in the month.

But first the festival.  It’s a Fude Festival!  That’s what I’ve mostly been doing for the last week or so– playing around with the whole fude thing.  So what is a fude, anyway?

Fude is the Japenese word for “brush”, and it also means “writing”. This word is also applied to fountain pen nibs that are optimized for writing Chinese and Japanese characters.  This is accomplished (as shown above in a pen that is not my own) by bending the tip of the nib upward at a 55 degree angle, which results in a pen that is capable of creating both very thick and very thin lines depending on how you hold it and the angle of the nib to the paper.  Once you really get one of these nibs going, you can even turn it upside down for a different kind of fine linework.

Sounds like a one stop shop for cartoonists, doesn’t it? I had been resisting the lure of the fude because everything you read about it is accompanied by a complicated chart showing exactly how to hold the pen to get different kinds of lines, making the fude nib look like a  precision tool for engineering minded people who enjoy working in a rigidly structured way.

Then I was bored with all my drawing tools, and I saw a box of cheap fountain pens with fude nibs for about a buck apiece, converters included, and they had multicolored plastic caps that look like adorable cartoon sharks.  And I bought them because adorable cartoon sharks, and now I am so in love.

Because you do not have to have precision.  You do not have to look at a complicated chart.  You do not really have to think about it all.  If you know how to draw with a brush, you can learn to use a fude fountain pen in about a half an hour.  And it is so, so awesome.

Here are the two sample pages I made while learning. Every line on these pages with made with the Jinhao Shark pen with a fude nib. Finished fude drawings all this week as the fude festival continues!

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