What Do I Use to Sketch With My Fountain Pen Inks?

As I started to accumulate bottles of fountain pen ink, it made sense for me to see if I could sketch with these inks. I started out using my Pilot Falcon and really enjoyed using the <SE> or Soft Extra Fine Nib as it could produce some extremely fine lines, tiny dots, and clever crosshatchings. That pen was fun to use, but I needed a pen that could cover larger areas with a few passes.

Pilot Falcon with <SE> Soft Extra Fine nib (14k/585 gold nib with rhodium plating). The nib itself is a work of art.

I started looking at TWSBIs. A friend of mine “M”, introduced me to her TWSBI GOs. Cool looking stubby pens. Lightweight with a spring-like plunger to fill with ink. Easy to clean. Just pump the plunger into a container of water and pump until the water runs out clear. The TWSBI GOs shown below are all Stub 1.1 nibs

Here are my travel pens. Three Pentel water brushes in different brush widths, several TWSBI GOs filled with different colored inks, and my favorite travel writing companion…Pilot Custom 823 in Amber with a Fine (14kt/585 gold) nib

As I was filling my TWSBIs I could see a problem developing. Which ink is in which pen? I had some Avery #5408 round labels that I used on my sample vials. Perfect. Another reuse for my labels. You can see in the above picture how I labeled each pen. Yes. They are all filled with Robert Oster Signature inks including my Pilot filled with Tokyo Blue Denim.

Here’s a few of my artwork from earlier this year:

Naturally, I had to draw a few of my fountain pens! Robert Oster inks: Thunderstorm, African Gold, Violet Crush, Whisper Red, Sydney Darling Harbour, and Bass Straight
Who doesn’t like blueberries? More Robert Oster ink colors: Tokyo Blue Denim, Jade, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Thunderstorm
A bottle of wine. Not the winery I worked at, but practiced sketching bottles of wine. Robert Oster inks: Thunderstorm, Blue Black, African Gold. Franklin-Christoph ink: Black Cherry

Basically, I draw with my fountain pens. For darker areas, I draw a few lines together. I take my Pentel water brush and lightly apply/paint over the lines. I let the ink do it’s own thing on my paper. I only need one swipe with my brush and not overwork the area too much. Really dark areas I leave the ink alone. I let my paper be the highlights. So no ink or water in the highlights. You can see this in my blueberry picture above.

To make the objects more grounded (not floating on the paper), I used the object’s color(s) and a bit of Thunderstorm. One or two swipes with the water brush and I let the colors mingle together. Let the colors do their thing.

One thing to note about water brushes. Water remains on the bristle. There are times when I do not want too much water on my image/object. I will take my brush and run it over a paper towel once or twice and then apply my brush on the object.

I will mention that drawing with pen & ink and applying water washes to the image takes some practice and patience. I have had many fun mistakes and surprises appear and learned to just go with it.

What’s the best part of this fun adventure? I get to use up my fountain pen inks and enjoy the colors.

Today’s Tip: Avery #5408 round labels – used for labeling the sample ink vials and for labeling pens.

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