After the initial tuning AHAB needed before setting to my work needs, we entered a happy period of sketch-testing. A joyful time that gave me some nice ones and inspired me to introduce a periodical SKETCH OF THE DAY type of post to my blog.
As AHAB has the nib that can vary line thickness it’s well suited for shading inks that give the additional tonal range along the line variation. Results can be very pleasing, leading me to investigate more on the subject. Luckily there are THOSE already interested and more experienced in the matter:-)
Today at the coffee shop, after I took my daughter to the kindergarten, I sketched with my PLATINUM 3776 in order to wash the drawing with J. Herbin’s GRIS NUAGE for my upcoming review of Noodler’s KONRAD piston brush. Alongside I contemplated this write-up and pulled out AHAB to make a concluding sketch for this review. Now look at that:
AHAB THE RED decided to show the whole range it’s capable of, not leaving the other side of medal out. The real problem is not that it needs a bit of fine-tuning once in a while, it’s not really complicated to do. What’s much more important is that pen behaving like this cannot really be trusted. Leaving a blob in the middle of a drawing while sketching for pleasure is no big deal, but if a similar thing happened while I worked on LA QUATRIEME, late in the night with an early morning deadline, I would have been pretty annoyed. For a tool to be professional, it has to be reliable. Of course AHAB can be a great drawing tool, it’s proven. But if I have to doubt it’s performance when I start a new drawing, and if I risk the situation of not making deadlines due to tinkering, I would start with some other pen in the first place.
So after this initial period, I’m left with mixed feelings. I’ve read somewhere that the design of cap is such that it leaves the nib un-insulated. That leads to drying-out between sessions which I experienced. Left aside for some time, AHAB wouldn’t always start immediately, but needed a bit of kick-starting on the side. One other remark would be that it’s nib is not really a fine one; it’s more like a medium to me. But as the nib nomenclature varies, and personal preferences also, it’s a highly subjective statement. I realized I’m more of a “Japanese type” regarding the nib sizes, so take that into account. YMMV. Right now I’m into finer line, leaving the volumes to lighter washes (as opposed to filling deep blacks with a PENTEL POCKET BRUSH as I normally do for my comics related work). So my impressions are from this angle solely – you’ll notice that I never even touched the writing aspect of this nib. On the plus side, I love the shape, size, looks and filling system of AHAB. I like the ease of ink changing, cleaning and assembling. I find the nib good for drawing on a bit larger scale where it surely can deliver. And who can say anything against the price? On top of all that, I respect and admire the attitude and perseverance of Nathan from Noodler’s.
My experiences with AHAB left me wondering how cheap is cheap enough? With this kind of size, filling system and unique nib, wouldn’t it be better to move AHAB into 40-50$ range, keeping all the good stuff , while adding reliability and another layer of QC for the difference in price? It would still be in the “affordable” range, providing great value. Like TWSBI positioned their pens, I guess. I’m keeping mine and plan to use them, probably dedicated to lighter, shading inks. Till the next report, then.
NOTE: The saga of Ahab started HERE.