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Term for greek pencil and paper

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Language, Grammar and Literary Terms

Thank you very much for your vote! This liquid pigment is ink. History of pens starts in Ancient Egypt where scribes, trying to find replacement for styluses and writing in clay, invented reed pens. These pens were made from a single reed straw that is pointed at one end and with a slit that led the ink to the point and left the mark on the papyrus.

Because of that people started using quills - pens made from molted flight feathers of large birds. These pens were also made by making a point at thicker end but feathers were cured before the use and could maintain the point longer. They were popular in the Western World from the 6th to the 19th century until steel pens appeared.

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Metal nibs for dip pens were used in Ancient Rome but were not popular until they were mass produced in 19th century. Pens with reservoirs were known since 10th century but were not widely used. In 17th century, inventor Daniel Schwenter made a pen made from two quills that held the ink inside instead of being dipped into inkwell. Asian cultures mounted the hairs in bamboo, without ferrules. Drawing brushes are normally pointed, i. Even in the early Renaissance, artists let specialists make their brushes.

A good brush holds a quantity of the liquid, releases it continuously, and springs back into shape after a stroke. A line made with a tapered brush can go from surprisingly thin, and difficult-to-distinguish from a pen line, to rather thick with the same stroke.

Brushstrokes usually have a tell-tale swelling and attenuation—the result of gradually lowering and raising the brush. The Chinese and Japanese preferred the brush above all other drawing media and have developed a tradition of technical facility and visual sensitivity to brush drawing. The brush is perfectly suited to reproduce the thin tapering leaves of plants like bamboo.

Expressive brush lines of a Chinese drawing are often matched by the artful, brush-made calligraphy on the same sheet. Ancient Greek painters drew the very fine outlines of their figures on vases with a brush. Carpaccio and other late-fifteenth-century Venetian artists frequently made brush drawings with regular, ordered, and precise lines.

Many artists of the time also used a brush to apply white heightening to metalpoint or ink drawings on colored papers. Rembrandt sometimes drew with sweeping brush strokes of ink, and Goya often wielded a brush in the manner of a painter. Brush in hand, Fragonard displayed unbelievable sensitivity to light and air in nature. Since the sixteenth century, artists have used a brush to create value contrasts with a wash, which usually means covering an area with diluted and transparent ink. Normally, chalk was cut into sticks and inserted into a holder by the draftsman.

The colored earth is essentially a pigment mixed with very refined clay. It is not easy to find deposits of such material because the chalk must be uniform enough for consistent color and texture, dense and cohesive enough to be cut, but also soft and friable enough to make a mark on paper. Giorgio Vasari said that natural red chalk came from Germany. Writers in the seventeenth century said there were deposits in Italy, Spain, France, and Flanders. Black chalk was more easily found. Natural chalks make lines that are usually not as dark as charcoal. Chalk lines are neater and not as broken as charcoal lines because chalks are not as crumbly.

Unlike metalpoint, increased pressure on the chalk can produce a darker line. Chalk lines can be broad and soft in contrast with metalpoint and pen lines although a stick of chalk can also be sharpened to a fine point for a thin line.

History of Pen and Ink

A chalk line has a transparency to it that allows the light of the paper to show through. Even though it is nearly impossible to erase chalk lines, they can be rubbed and blended to create subtle effects of modeling. In contrast to metalpoint and pen, chalk allowed artist to sketch more freely and broadly.

The adoption of chalk in the Renaissance mirrored the contemporary transition from tempera to oil paints, which enabled artists to paint in a broader manner and with more atmosphere.

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In the sixteenth century the use of chalk spread from Italy to other countries. European artists from the late fifteenth to the nineteenth century have traditionally drawn with red and with black chalk, sometimes in combination with white chalk. Natural red chalk—perhaps, historically, the most important of the three—has a warm and vital color which adds liveliness to any drawing, especially drawings of the human figure.

The French call it sanguine blood-red. The red hue derives from iron oxide, which occurs in the form of the mineral hematite iron ore. The hematite has to be diffused with fine clay in order to be soft enough for drawing; most deposits of hematite are hard and brittle and thus useless. Different deposits produce different kinds of red. Natural red chalk is usually a pale blood-red, but the red can also be warm, cool, or neutral that is, red-orange, red-violet, or red-brown.

Since natural red chalk lacks the value range of charcoal or black chalk, only light modeling is possible.

Because red chalk is water soluble, it allows the making of a counterproof—a softer, reversed version of an image transferred by pressing it to another, dampened sheet of paper. When a blood-red chalk is moistened to produce a stronger, darker, more solid line, it produces a cooler hue. Watteau sometimes wet his chalk for accents around the eyes, nose and mouth.

By rubbing his natural red chalk lines lightly or smudging them slightly, Guercino increased the warmth of the chalk and made it more red-orange. Leonardo seems to have been the first to embrace red chalk for studies in the years he worked on the Last Supper. Its color does not fade over time although, because of impurities, it is often a grayish black. Since black chalk is softer than red, it is more suited to broad effects of line and light. In Italy in the fifteenth century, artists made underdrawings in faint black chalk to rough out compositions that were subsequently rendered in ink or metalpoint.

By the middle of the same century, they also made cartoons with broad strokes of black chalk, and a few Italian artists produced studies of heads in black chalk—perhaps as supplements to their cartoon drawings. Italian artists began using black chalk for studies of the nude only in the last years of the fifteenth century.


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Luca Signorelli is usually credited with being the first to do so. Michelangelo used mostly black chalk except during the period of the Sistine ceiling. It was used primarily for highlights in modeling—a process called heightening—and normally requires a colored paper to be effective. Several artists are known for using white chalk in combination with other naturally colored chalks, especially black and red—a technique usually called aux trois crayons. Watteau usually would not mix strokes of different color but place them side by side, and thus each colored stroke was fresh and unadulterated.

He sometimes substituted a lush fabricated black chalk for a natural one. By natural red and black chalks were used less and less, probably because the supply of satisfactory material was diminishing.

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What was available was deteriorating in quality. Even in the eighteenth century artists complained that the natural red chalk they could get was too hard or too gritty or mixed with foreign material and unrefined clay. When the quality and availability of natural chalk began to decline in the eighteenth century, the earth pigments were ground into a powder, mixed with pulverized clay and a small amount of binder into a paste, then rolled into sticks of varying hardness and color when dried. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, when fabricating red chalk, manufacturers gradually substituted a synthesized iron oxide produced by chemical means in the factory in place of natural hematite.

When rubbed or moistened, these chalks do not change color. The lack of air chars the wood, which in an open fire would turn to ash. To produce a consistent stick of charcoal, even-textured woods like maple or willow must be used. The middle ages thought that grape vines made the best charcoal sticks. Slow heating and slow cooling produce soft charcoals.

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In modern times, manufacturers produce charcoal sticks in a range of hardness and softness and a variety of blacks. In drawing with charcoal, particles from the stick break off and get caught in the hollows of a textured paper. The particles do not stick to the tops of the fibers and thus are easily removed with feathers or wads of bread. Soft sticks of charcoal can make fairly thick, dark, textured lines, while the side of the stick can create broad tonal passages that are rich and velvety.

Charcoal encourages artists to draw spontaneously and incautiously in big gestures, changing and replacing lines with ease. The boldness of charcoal also makes it suitable for working on a large scale.