Boldly Sketching with Calligraphy Pens

Calligraphy pens — especially those with a fude (bent) nib or square tip — create an amazing range of line widths and effects, all in one single tool. In this workshop, we will learn how to harness the potential of this type of pen for dynamic markmaking and a building a strong value structure: an important foundation for all urban sketching. Taking inspiration from calligraphy and typography, by the end of the workshop you’ll be comfortable mixing all kinds of lines to create an energetic, clear, and fun sketch with just a single pen (and a bit of color, if you like).

There will be an optional activity/lesson presented in this workshop to modify the nib of a Pilot Parallel Pen, to get greater line variation. If participants want to “hack” their pens in this workshop, please bring a Parallel Pen at least 2.4mm wide (i.e., not the red one).

Supply list

  • A calligraphy pen with a square or bent tip. My recommendations are:
    • Pilot parallel pen in 1.5 or 2.4 mm width
    • or a Kuretake Zig calligraphy marker in a dark color.
    • for bent nib, a good option is the Sailor de Mannen fude pen.
  • Load the pen with any type of waterproof ink. I recommend the following:
    • DeAtramentis Document Inks
    • Koh-i-Noor rapidograph inks
    • Platinum Carbon black ink
  • 5 sheets of basic sketch paper for practice & gesture sketches A4 / 8.5 x 11”
  • 1 sheet of Smooth or Hot Press paper, 300 gsm preferred. A4 / 8.5 x 11”.
  • Watercolor kit: paints of choice, large brush, water cup, paper towel, etc.
  • Board and clip, to add rigidity to your paper.
  • If you want to “hack” your parallel pen, bring one with a nib with width  ≥ 2.4mm.
About the instructor

Eleanor Doughty

Eleanor Doughty is an artist and educator based in Seattle, USA. As a full-time freelance illustrator, she creates art for commercial clients centering around locations, architecture, and the stories they tell. Her clients include the Downtown Seattle Association, Hilton, Kroger/QFC, the Seattle Times, Stanford University, and VICE Media. Her graphic novel “K’s Car Can Go Anywhere!” was published by Penguin Books in 2022. Eleanor has taught numerous sketching workshops both at home and abroad, including at the 2019 Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam, and both youth and adult classes at Gage Academy in Seattle. She also enjoys animated films, riding her 180cc scooter through the quiet roads of the PNW, and befriending local crows.

When: Saturday, July 15, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Check-in at Graphite Arts Center.