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|This set from Amazon is like mine, but still has the nice case|
I never made any drafting designs after that one class, but there are plenty of uses for the tools in fine art. You can get the same items in your local office and art supply stores today for reasonable prices. They still look the same (why change a classic?) and have the same quality. I use a lot of Staedtler products including consumables like Mars erasers, Lumograph pencils, which are not the cheapest but a delight to use, and Carbothello pastel pencils, which are very affordable compared to other artist grade brands.
|While this photo comes from Amazon.co, my twenty year-old Artpen still looks exactly the same|
|See! I really does look like new, except I somehow|
turned the label so it is on the underside of the pen
Speedball is an American company that began under the name of C. Howard Hunt Pen Company. Its current name honors one of the company's most popular legacy products- the Speedball dip pen. Before anyone wrote or drew with fountain or ball-point pens, they used fine crow-quill nib pens, which one must dip into an ink well periodically while writing. Yes, that is rather archaic by today's standards, but we all know that the old dip pens are still popular among artists and calligraphers. I love working in pen and ink, and while I own several fine liners and a few fountain pens (like the Artpen), I still keep a bunch of Speedball steel nibs and plastic pen holders on hand. There is no substitute for the dip pen since the flexible points on the metal nibs allow for more line variations than any other type of pen.
|This Amazon product pic looks|
exactly like the set I bought 30 years ago
I think the growing interest in Manga drawing has improved the availability for dip pens. You can find them in art and craft supply shops and through online retailers. Some of mine are older, but I bought a "deluxe" pen and ink art set a few years ago to replenish some of my rusted nibs and bottled ink. I was a little sad that most of the nibs were more for calligraphy, but it is a nice set. You can try out the Speedball Sketching Set for just under $7 to get a feel for drawing with a dip pen.
The nibs will not last forever, especially if you use them a lot. At some point, the little tines at the end will splay apart or bend, or you may get rust or ink buildup. Speedball pen nibs will last a reasonable time if you take care of them by cleaning them after each use and by keeping them in a closed container. Just don't leave them in a bowl of water to soak like I did.