Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Pilot Falcon and "The Song of Roland."

The Song of Roland is the oldest surviving work of French literature; dating from the twelfth century. It tells the story of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass where the rear guard of Charlemagne's army was slaughtetered to the last man... so it's a "feel good" book as well. Penguin USA wanted a fresh cover design for this new edition, I used my Pilot Falcon for the job.
This is hands-down my favorite fountain pen to draw with. It's got an beautiful flex nib; I could not believe my eyes the first time I gave it a try. Fantastic line quality, thick to thin with a generous flow of ink. The Falcon II is all metal and lists for $280.00, but Goulet Pens carries a more economical resin version; the Pilot /Namiki Falcon. It's the unusual nib that really make the difference.

These are four of the proposed cover designs.
Below is the approved design for the edition that will be in bookstores in March, 2012.
My thumbnails were the guides to the finished drawings. They were sketched quickly with a combination of the Falcon and Pentel brush Pen. It was important to sketch out the type design as well to determine the proportions I needed for the final layout.
I used a combination of my Pilot Falcon and a Pentel Brush pen for this design.
The Pilot Falcon II uses cartridges or fills with an
included converter. I used Aurora black fountain ink.

The line variation is awesome.
The Falcon II is just a great feeling pen; it's hefty, nicely balanced with a smooth finish. The nib is fantastic, besides the very economical Noodler's Flex, this is the only flex pen that I've found. Works like a dream.

 The Pentel Brush Pen did most of the work on these two design with the Falcon adding the sharp details.
The Falcon and brush combo really helped capture the carnage.


  1. Nice work. Curious what kind of research you did for the armor.

  2. Very pleasing sketches and very interesting post!!

  3. Beautiful!
    What size nib does your pen have? S Fine, S Medium or S Broad? Thanks!

  4. Hey Sketching Fool!
    I was looking at medieval illuminated manuscripts that told the legend of the Song of Roland. I also investigated the history of Charlemagne for some background on how his armies would be prepared for battle.

    My designs are far from historically accurate! But I try to give them the feeling of being the genuine, if you look closely, they're really not very detailed.

    The letter R in the type design is taken from the monogram of Charlemagne. In some of the sketches I included the entire monogram: on Roland's armor and on his horn in another.

    Thanks so much for your kind words and interest!


  5. Thanks Rod!
    I really appreciate you taking the time to comment!
    Great to have you here!

  6. Thanks Charlotte!
    I have the S Medium nib. I'd love to try the S Broad.
    They're such nice nibs and seem to break in well. It got a workout on this job and came through like a champ.

    Let me know what kind of luck you have if you pick one up!

    Thanks for commenting!!!!


  7. WOW! nice art work, You did all that with the falcon pen and brush pen? That's really cool

  8. Thanks Steve!
    The pentel brush pens are real workhorses and that Falcon really is awesome to use.

    I really glad to have comments from the ORIGINAL Steve H...that OTHER Steve H is quite annoying and doesn't share your sense of good taste!

    Thanks for commenting brother!!!


  9. Tom,
    Is that a SF, soft fine? I can then decide between the SEA and the SF.

    1. It's a SM. A nice weighty medium line that stretches to broad. I must say any of the Falcon nibs are great, you won't be disappointed. The only thing that let you down was the lateness on my reply!!! I hope you've made a decision and are enjoying you Falcon as I speak! THANK YOU for commenting!!!