Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Friday, March 21, 2014


The Pen-guin sits up-on the shore
And loves the lit-tle fish to bore;
He has one en-er-vat-ing joke
That would a very Saint provoke:
“The Pen-guin's might-i-er than the sword-fish”;
He tells this dai-ly to the bored fish,
Un-til they are so weak, they float
With-out re-sis-tance down his throat.

- Oliver Herford

Well, I don’t know much about penguins - aside from the fact that the insidious little bastards are plotting to take over the world, that is - but I do know something about pens.

I’ve used all manner of pens over the years. Aside from the ubiquitous ballpoint, my list of Writing Implements includes fountain pens ranging from the humble Sheaffer to the more rarefied Parker and Montblanc. In my engineering student years, I used Staedtler-Mars and Rapidograph engineering pens, pens capable of drawing lines of an exact thickness, useful for engineering diagrams but also for cartooning. Lookee:

Princeton Tiger Magazine, Sep 1972

Princeton Tiger Magazine, September 1972. Cover drawing done entirely with Staedtler-Mars engineering pens.

Among my vast collection of pens you can find all manner of calligraphy pens (I used to take class notes with a chisel-tip Osmiroid. A stupid affectation? You bet), Speedball lettering pens, and even a few Hunt Crow Quills. Nothing like a Hunt Crow Quill for detail work.

No, a Crow Quill is a metal pen nib. It’s not something yanked from a bird’s ass, although I have used that type of quill to write with as well.

Speaking of quills, there’s a completely different type of quill I have been enjoying lately: the Quill Cocktail.

The Quill is a variation on the Negroni theme. Simply put, it’s a Negroni with a little bit of absinthe thrown in to give it a bit of an anise flavor note.

Quill Cocktail
Quill Cocktail. For sure, mightier than a swordfish.

You want your own Quill? Here’s how:

Quill Cocktail

1 ounce gin (I used Hendrick’s)
1 ounce sweet vermouth (I used Punt e Mes. Carpano Antica works well, too)
1 ounce Campari
¼ ounce absinthe

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy!


Kevin Kim said...

I think this is the first artwork of yours that I've seen on either of your blogs. Are there others that I missed? Please point me to them, if so, and I'll quickly make up for that deficit.

Once, long ago, you had mentioned on my blog that you'd done some artwork, and I recall waiting to hear more about it. Now, at long last, here it is. And it's great! Each tiger has a distinct personality; you've got a fantastic grasp of light and shadow, as well as an enviably accurate intuition when it comes to drawing wrinkles in clothing (something I never quite mastered).

Are you ever inspired to draw anything else these days? As, say, an alternative to churning out poetry? It's easy to imagine that your life could have taken a more Bill Watterson-y path. Your line art is strong and clean, like Watterson's.

Elisson said...

Thank you kindly, Kevin!

I don't do very much drawing these days, but I did quite a bit back in my undergraduate days, and for a few years afterward.

Here's another one - also Tiger-themed, alas:


I have a bunch of my cartoony crap up on Farcebook, buried in an album somewhere... high school vintage and before. And most of it's just... crap. But fun.

What I should do is scan a few of my old Tiger magazines. Plenty of stuff in there.

Kevin Kim said...

I'd be interested in seeing more of the art.