First time trying the Bill Buckman – ZEN PEN

I use bamboo reed pens in my drawing practice all the time, I love the way that you get varied marks and depending on sizes, you can get a huge range of diverse width in the lines on the paper.

Last month I stumbled on what appeared to be one of the largest commercially made reed pens that I’ve seen to date, so couldn’t wait to get my hands on it to give it a try.

Side note: this post is my own views  based on my experience using the ZEN pen and no payment has been made for this post.

Bamboo Reed Pens - Tools of the trade, studio view, Kylie Fogarty Art Studio.jpg

These are the three different sizes that I use in my drawing practice. They range in size from small to large (the standard large being the one with the red dye at the end).

When purchasing the ZEN pen (I had to order it online from the US), I noticed that there were sizes from 1 – 3.

One point of difference between the three pens is the width of the nib. I chose the 1 as it is a finer nib (my motivation for purchasing was to see if I could get a longer continual line), however the 2 and 3 have wider nibs, the size 1 having a 1mm nib, the size 3 having a 5mm nib / point.

Even the size 1 looked the size of a flute instrument, so was excited to see how long I could go before needing to replenish the ink store in between line making.

I only ordered the size 1, however I am now wondering if I would see a more significant difference had I went the larger sized one. For this reason I’ll be ordering another to see if there is such a difference.

When I saw the ZEN Pen, I read promises of longer line possibilities, however on first use, and I am still trialling it to be fair, I haven’t seen any longer line possibilities as I am still replenishing my ink as I was with the larger reed pen.

What I do enjoy however, is the thick marks when turning the pen upside down and to the side, giving a lot more possibilities of organic marks. Pop over to my YouTube channel to see the pen in action.

Things to note – I am using my favourite pigmented ink by Art Spectrum, in an old spice bottle which is nice and tall but thin as well.

This was the very first time I used the pen, and there is always a period of adjustment, so make sure to check back again in a little while to see what techniques I’ve learnt along the way.

I’ll be continuing to use the pen to see what other results I can get with the reed pen, however, at the moment, I’m not seeing the length of the drawn line that I was hoping for.

Stay tuned for an update, but in the meantime, have you used the Bill Buckman ZEN pen?

If so, did you have similar results or did you find another way to get longer marks? I’d love to hear your experience, leave a comment to share with others below.

Want to read more about drawing foundations? Head over to this post to read my review on Ampersand Boards.

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