For Every Airbrush Artist!

Ready to get involved? Register for free and you won't see any google advertising!

Register

Using a Fibre Pen for scratching Hair/fur

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks!' started by beanpoleuk, Apr 18, 2016.


  1. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    2,573
    Likes Received:
    4,496
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Somerset UK
    I tend to use a 2mm fibre pen for hair/fur using a fibre pen rather than the more traditional Exacto blade or scalpel for scratching, the results seem fairly good so thought I would share how I use the pen.

    All I ever use is a 2mm fibre clutch pen ..
    clutch pen.jpg

    The first thing I do is position the refill so only about a 1mm or so is exposed then hold the pen 90 at right angles to a piece of 400 grit emery cloth and sand the tip down until it is flat with the end. This gives me a nice flat end to the cluster of fibres and a sharp edge .
    0ne_mm.jpg
    flatten.jpg
    flat.jpg

    To get a nice fine line you don’t want the fibres spreading so I position the tip so that just 2mm or so is exposed , this means the clutch mechanism is keeping the end of the fibres close together, then I just use only the edge of the tip (hold the pen at approx. 45 degrees), so that just the sharp edge is scratching the surface.
    edge_of_pen.jpg
    Using gentle light sweeping movements you can get quite nice fine hairs, as the fibres wear and the edge dulls so I just turn the pen tip a little bit and use another part of the edge.
    fine_hairs.jpg
    more_fine_hair.jpg
    In my opinion this produces nice fine tapered hairs with a soft look rather the stark scratched line you get with the end of a scalpel blade.

    By just ‘dabbing’ the surface you get very short hairs such as those around the nose of a furry animal
    short_hairs.jpg

    Bear in mind all these examples are just one layer of hair texture, you would then mist over these textures with a colour then add another layer and keep going until you get the depth you want, (I usually put down 3 layers).

    If I then extend the tip and allow the fibres to spread it is then possible to produce softer wider hair textures.
    long_tip.jpg
    soft_wide.jpg

    These techniques with the fibre pen work as shown here on Claybord, Gesso coated MDF and synthetic paper , you just have to be a little careful with schoellershammer g4 paper otherwise you will tear the paper and a more pressure is needed.

    Varying the amount of pressure you use also affects the final result, use a very , very light touch you can achieve super fine gently hairs.

    Hope this helps :)
  2. musicmacd

    musicmacd Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Messages:
    5,027
    Likes Received:
    8,067
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Great write up BP, i love the fibre pens too, as you mentioned all the tools have a place in our art, Dru's latest workshop hes using a coffee stirer to make feathers and they look stunning - as expected:thumbsup:
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  3. Smiler65

    Smiler65 Detail Decepticon!

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,953
    Likes Received:
    1,457
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Northamptonshire,UK
    Excellent write up, the pictures make things very clear. Is the bottom pic purely done with splayed fibres or had you placed some fine lines down first?
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  4. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    11,691
    Likes Received:
    8,691
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Hampshire South Coast UK
    Thanks for that bean, you little leg end. I was trying to use mine on schoelleshammer. Will get me a 2mm pen and try this out on some clayboard or mdf. I wouldn't have thought of the sandpaper either.

    You are a true gent!
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  5. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    2,573
    Likes Received:
    4,496
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Somerset UK
    Just the fibre pen, but varying the pressure that way some of the fibres bite more than others :)

    Sent from my SM-J500FN using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
    Smiler65 likes this.
  6. Smiler65

    Smiler65 Detail Decepticon!

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,953
    Likes Received:
    1,457
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Northamptonshire,UK
    Thanks Steve.
  7. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    Messages:
    7,205
    Likes Received:
    6,224
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Mt Barker, South Australia
    nice write up Steve, I could have used this info when I first discovered fibre pens.
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  8. CALz AyrWKz

    CALz AyrWKz Moderator Mod

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Messages:
    8,452
    Likes Received:
    6,378
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    New York, USA
    Nice tip Bean. Thanks for sharing. :)
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  9. MeeshellMP

    MeeshellMP Goddess Queen of carts Mod

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Messages:
    7,259
    Likes Received:
    5,678
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Hillsboro Ohio
    Excellent explanation!! Im gonna have to add one to my arsenal now!
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  10. RichardH

    RichardH Elite Member! Elite Member!

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    Messages:
    513
    Likes Received:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    61
    Location:
    Morganton, N.C.
    I've been using the 4mm. and the 2mm. on my scratchbords but haven't used them on any airbrushed pieces yet. I like the gesso boards and will try them on that also on the next airbrush project. I bought some Yupo paper but haven't tried anything on it yet. I'll give that a try and see if it works ok with that paper.
    Thanks for the info and tip on how to set them up for scratching.

    Richard
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  11. AndreZA

    AndreZA Elite Member! Elite Member!

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    5,414
    Likes Received:
    5,345
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    It also works great on canvas. On my 24" x 18" tiger from last year that was all I used. It really gave a great effect with the fur.
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  12. matty171

    matty171 Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,996
    Likes Received:
    3,269
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Belfast
    Good man yourself bean, i have one of them but the fibres irritate my skin so havent really given it a proper go but ill have to try your techniques


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. Smiler65

    Smiler65 Detail Decepticon!

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,953
    Likes Received:
    1,457
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Northamptonshire,UK
    Try holding the pen end and not the fibreslollol
  14. matty171

    matty171 Air-Valve Autobot!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,996
    Likes Received:
    3,269
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Belfast
    lol thats were im going wrong, youll be telling me next im not supposed to be holding the pencil by the lead


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    Messages:
    7,205
    Likes Received:
    6,224
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Mt Barker, South Australia
    I use a large make up brush for brushing the fiber 'dust' off the substrate. Cheap from the $1 shop. Don't be tempted to raid the girls makeup bag, you could wind up with some funky colours being put on your substrate even after its washed
    Smiler65, matty171 and beanpoleuk like this.
  16. Micha der Wolf

    Micha der Wolf Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,732
    Likes Received:
    2,982
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Germany
    This is a very useful description! I think this will be my next investment!
    Normally I use a 4mm pen, but the 2mm do open a new dimension of precision.
    Thank you!
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  17. markjthomson

    markjthomson AKA Quick Draw !! (and still very happy) Staff Member Mod

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    6,409
    Likes Received:
    5,349
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Auckland New Zealand
    That rocks - I love my 2mm fibers!
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  18. Boltcase

    Boltcase Detail Decepticon!

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,518
    Likes Received:
    935
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Gig Harbor, USA
    Thx Bean!! Those are some great tips :thumbsup:
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  19. zigair

    zigair Young Tutorling

    Joined:
    May 24, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    Sydney
    Thanks for this!
    Where can I buy this?

    Sent from my HUAWEI G6-L11 using Tapatalk
  20. markjthomson

    markjthomson AKA Quick Draw !! (and still very happy) Staff Member Mod

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    6,409
    Likes Received:
    5,349
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Location:
    Auckland New Zealand
    Normal cluth pencil form a stationary store or art store, 2mm fiber erasres I know you can get through Foxy art studios... There is also a place in Australia that does them, I'll see if I can find the link...
    JackEb likes this.

Share This Page