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Sketch Book: Croquill Pen


If you're the the sort of visual artist who digs LOTS of fine detail, but you'd still like the freedom of creating fat ink lines at will, the inexpensive croquill pen ( very easy to find in any art store) is for you. About the only thing that is a bit bothersome is having to dip the pen nib constantly to maintain ink flow. Primarily, I enjoy the flexiblity of the nib which allows for a huge varity of line widths. With a little patience and practice, you'll find how enjoyable it can be to just to cut loose in your sketch pad, playing with shading effects and line weight.

Comments (71)


Well then I'll get one to draw my stick figures with. As I've said before, I'm horribly left brained. One sided - no art skills at all. I can do some music, but that's actually mathematical. I love your drawings. Fills in my blanks.


Last time I tried to draw something, the 3 yr old grandson couldn't stop laughing for 2 days.

john cox:


Well, there ya go. You've found your audience!



Lots of questions!!!

(1) Is "croquill" synonymous for "crow quill"?
(2) I take it this is a cartridge pen?
(3) Do you have to dip the nib in ink, water, or something else?
(4a) Is there more than one size croquill nib?
(4b) If so, do you recommend one nib in particular or a set?
(4c) Any particular brand?
(5) Any tips for a REALLY heavy-hand?

I bear down so hard--even when I write--everything I do practically ends up being embossed. I have oily skin, & if I hold a pen lightly, it slips out of my hand. As I tighten my grip, for some reason I bear down harder (I found a partial solution by gripping with an extra finger--a college friend told me I hold a pen like a Japanese calligrapher holds a brush).

I've found that fountain pens do curb that tendency, but it's a constant problem. I used Sakura or Staedtler pens for a while, but the stores around here quit selling them 10 years ago, so I basically quit drawing out of frustration (although "the bug" bites me occasionally).

Steve M:

Hey John-These are looking good-I haven't thought of a croquill pen in about 20 years. You should try one of those pens with the giant feather next.


I still occasionally do drafting by hand, and I have a couple of these in my pen box for lettering dimensions.

I had an art teacher that used to imitate etching style with ink on paper with one of these.


That's a very realistic trompe d'oeil pen on that sheet.


I've been able able to find out there are several "croquill" nib sizes, but not much else. There aren't any carried in the 2 "craft" stores there are here.

Help a brother out, will ya?

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John Cox is a painter, cartoonist, and illustrator for hire. For information about purchasing existing work or commissioning new work, contact him by e-mail at john555cox [at] hotmail.com.

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