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A Reference to Kolinsky Sable Brushes in an Unexpected Place

by Deb Shaw

We were working on the house, with KPCC (89.3) on the radio in the background. The Dinner Party Download (American Public Media) came on. They were re-playing an old episode (Episode 341) from March 25, 2016.

Graphic novelist Daniel Clowes was a featured guest. In answer to the statement “Tell us something we don’t know about you,” he told how he searched for years for the perfect pen — the pen that the comic artists he most admired must have used to create those beautiful lines. Much to his surprise, he found out it wasn’t a pen at all, but a watercolor brush, specifically, a Kolinsky Sable brush. It was a struggle for him to learn to be proficient with the brush. Once mastered, he couldn’t conceive of using anything else. Then he spoke about how we couldn’t get them here in the US for a period of time, and all about the Russian Siberian Weasel (including the scientific name).

A reference right there on the radio, about an obscure subject that consumed our artists’ community!

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