Nick Stewart is a Creative Designer at Stewart2, a creative agency in Kent. He's also an inkophile (if indeed there is such a word) and dedicates a lot of his time to creating amazing pieces of art using ink, the sort you usually put in a fountain pen and write with. We were quite intrigued, and decided to find out more about his innovative use of ink, especially after Robert and Maureen, which Nick thinks are 'the best sheen inks on the market' got his treatment…
I’m a Creative Designer working on branding and content projects for a small but diverse number of businesses. Previously I worked on globally recognised brands for well-known London advertising agencies, design and visualising studios.
It’s about re-imagining fountain pen ink and exploring its potential for creative uses other than for purely handwriting.
I’m not sure. I’ve always been able to do it. I enjoy it. It defined me at a young age.
I was destined to become an officer in the Royal Engineers but fate dictated otherwise and I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to earn my living doing what I enjoy.
I will draw/paint any subject, but the subject that I think people like best are my marine compositions and I think that’s because a) I am on the water a lot and witness some amazing weather conditions and sea states, and b) it’s a world that not many people get to experience so do so through my art.
It can come from anywhere. Sailing, cycling, walking, meditation, listening to music, art galleries, art books, reading, TV, the radio, random thoughts... it’s endless.
I’m currently painting a series of marinescapes and landscapes for Medway Open Studios in July and am also about to start a project celebrating 50 years of the Canterbury sound. The brief will be based around the album cover for ‘In The Land of Grey and Pink’ by Caravan.
Anywhere from 20 minutes to 5 hours or longer. I try to plan ahead with a rough idea or sketch of what I’d like to achieve and also materials needed to achieve it. I also work fairly small scale circa A5 - A3 (max) so that the artwork is possible to create in one attempt and ideally in under 1½ hours.
I use Derwent graphite pencils for sketching and I can create all the colours I need from my limited palette of 4 inks. For more technical artworks I will refer back to my albums of ink swatch cards and look for an ink with crazy chromatography and reactions with bleach that I can fully utilise for a concept. Diamine, Robert Oster, KWZ, Private Reserve, De Atramentis and Sailor are all fabulous inks to use.
For handwriting I love Kaweco pens. I have a Steel Sport with a fine gold nib and have just ordered a Carbon Sport (the orange one) with a black nib from Cult Pens! I use dip pens a lot - with Zebra G flex nibs. There are many inks that I adore but if I had to choose two ranges it would be Diamine and Robert Oster.
I used to tweak but not anymore. With fountain pen inks you only get one chance and the serendipity aspect of the creative process always throws up something wonderful and delicate that you’d never achieve otherwise. So why fiddle and ruin it?
My recent tutorial course: Fountain Pen Ink Art - the basics. I did everything myself and it took a long time to produce - 12 art tutorials in all plus all my top tips for handling the medium. My main audience is in the US and Canada and to do a workshop with me in UK is just not realistic, so I did this mainly for them and the response has been great.
Definitely have a go with fountain pen inks. Their versatility for use in art is incredible: illustration, water colour painting, calligraphy, art journaling and swatch carding and when using bleach, this process is entirely unique to fountain pen inks - working light into dark!
Nick's course on Fountain Pen Ink Art is available from Udemy: www.udemy.com. He is clearly hugely enthusiastic about his art, and the sheer versatility of fountain pen ink when it comes to creativity. He - and we! - are hoping you'll feel inspired to give this medium a go. You might surprise yourself!
YouTube: Nick Stewart Ink Art
2 April 2019