Thoughts on Pen Nibs

This is for the Spa supplement in March's Conde Nast Traveller. Again, the illustration had to fit into a tiny space so, as I had my trusty dip pen out, I used the same style as for "Spoonful of Sugar". It's to illustrate a piece about spas suitable for mothers-to-be, teenagers and mothers and toddlers.

The pen nib I used for all these ink drawings was from Cornelissens. I still had some nibs from my student days which I'd bought from "The Nib Man" who could be found in his domain at the back of the shop. I think he's now sadly passed away, he isn't there anymore at least, but lots of the nibs he used to sell still are. I was there recently stocking up on paintbrushes for my next Campbell children's book and thought I'd venture to the back of the shop. You're allowed to poke about in all the old wooden drawers and pick out whatever pen related treasures you want. I recognised a nib which I have and like to use so asked if they had any more. The assistant came back from the stock room with 3 of the nibs. Because they were made so long ago, those were the only 3 left in existence. So I bought them all and now feel like their custodian. They are engraved "Figaro Pen" No. 208.
It brought back nice memories of the old Nib Man and how he'd delight in telling us eager students all about each different shape of nib and which famous illustrators (Ralph Steadman was one) would come in and buy their favourites. Then he'd show us original artwork from each of them drawn especially for him as gifts and signed by them. I wonder if the Nib Man still looks down on his nibs to see what each one is doing and who it's with.......