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G. Marlo Allen Gallery



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Crowquill Pen
The black and white drawings of G. Marlo Allen are rendered with a crowquill pen point and india ink. The crowquill pen is seldom used by artists today, instead being replaced with the more advanced and foolproof technical drawing pens. The crowquill pen is essentially an old-time dip pen with remarkable flexibility and drawing range.

With practice and skillful use, the crowquill point can deliver a wide range of lines from fine and delicate to wide and bold, depending upon the force applied to the point. Bristol paper or illustration board is the recommended surface for the ink drawings since the smooth surface allows the needle sharp crowquill point to move in any direction without stubbing in rough places and splattering the ink.

Each drawing is initiated with a loose pencil sketch to get general placement and form without much attention to detail. The artist always works freehand without any mechanical aides and starts each drawing with the subject's eyes--the "life" of the drawing. Initial ink lines are light and delicate followed by intricate cross-hatchng and squiggles in a layering process that can take up to 40 hours to complete a detailed drawing.

The steel nib or crowquill point must be changed frequently during the drawing process as the sharp point becomes dulled from the friction of scratching over the paper surface. Although small, a filled crowquill pen point can cover a lot of paper with each dip into the ink bottle. It is a versatile, inexpensive tool ideally suited to detailed pen and ink drawings, music notations and delicate handwriting.

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