A Little DIY for the Day

I’m loving my fancy new stick pen! I have been fiddling with it a bit and now I think I’ve achieved the perfect balance of sharpness and durability. The pic I posted received a few likes on the old Facebook and a bunch more likes on Instagram, so I thought I’d put together this little how-to illustration to show how, you too, can make your own fancy stick pen.

The basic steps
The basic steps

I haven’t done an instructional illustration in ages, so I’ll talk you through the process here.

  1. First (and this is very IMPORTANT) find a stick. Make sure you like the way it feels in your hands, otherwise, you will strongly dislike your new pen! Besides, you’re making this for you. It should feel good, otherwise what’s the point? My first stick pen was way too skinny, and I knew I wouldn’t use it much so I started over.
  2. Get a sharp blade. This could be a pocket knife, box cutter or X-acto. Sharp is important because dull blades drive me crazy! They don’t cut the way you want, so you can’t get good lines or curves and you have to use WAY too much pressure, increasing the likelihood that you’ll cut yourself instead of the stick and they suck! They suck so bad! (End Rant) Remove any excess twigs that would make using your pen awkward.
  3. Rotate your stick in your writing/drawing hand and decide how you want to hold it. Again, comfort is key.
  4. Start shaving your stick about half to three quarters of an inch from the end, staying aware of how you want to grip your pen. You want to start making a curved area for your ink (or paint or blood or whatever) to pool in.
  5. Once you have your curve, start shaving the sides to make your tip. Mine is about a 45° angle which gives me the kind of tip I want to draw with, since I so love my skinny lines.
That’s basically it. Throughout the week, I found myself shaving a little bit here, a little bit there, in an effort to get the perfect line. I noticed that when I tried to make the tip look more like a quill or a fountain pen, I lost the sharpness very quickly because the wood would soften and lose its shape. When you look at it from the side (curve on the left) the very tip of my pen is around 1/16 of an inch wide and angled slightly to give it a sharp point. This seems to be thick enough to retain its structural integrity while allowing me to draw the way I want.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. As an added bonus, here’s the original drawing. I tweaked the earlier image with photo editing tools to help it read better.
original drawing
original drawing








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