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“I use Pelikan black drawing ink, and the crow-quill pen nibs. And you stick them in a handle. They’re all getting harder to find, all these antique art instruments. The companies that have made them are dying off one by one. But I got lucky. One day about six or seven years ago, my daughter, Sophie, bought a box of old pen points at a flea market in France. She found a box of about a hundred drawing pen points, and they’re the best ones I’ve ever used. They last and last, everything about them is fine, the point, the tensile quality, even the metal, the glass. The metal was just better, back then. I’ve still got maybe fifty of those. I think they’ll probably last me the rest of my life.”

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source: “R. Crumb, The Art of Comics No. 1,” interviewed by Ted Widmer, in Issue 193 of The Paris Review, 2010.

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medium: Interview

“On a cold January morning, I once asked a fashionably dressed middle-aged woman, standing outside a building on Madison Avenue smoking a cigarette and shivering, whether she had a pen I could use. She didn’t think this was an odd request and was happy to oblige me. After she extracted a pencil not much bigger than a matchstick from her purse, I took out a little notebook I carried in my pocket, and not trusting the reliability of my memory, wrote down some lines of poetry I had been mulling over for the previous hour, roaming the streets. Today, she’d probably be staring at an iPhone or a blackberry while puffing away on her cigarette and it would not cross my mind to bother her by asking for a pencil.”

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source: New York Review of Books Blog, October 12, 2011.

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medium: Blog

“I was caned for my penmanship, more than once. I lived in fear of essays with smudges. I used to spill vast blots of ink, all the time. I really grew to like Robert Motherwell because of it. And I remember how on my thin white cotton shirts, all the pockets were endlessly stained with bright blue blossoms.”

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source: “Better Penmanship, Less Pain,” by David Colman, The New York Times, February 4, 2011.

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medium: newspaper article

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