My Rugged Art Case for Fountain Pens

I have several fountain pen cases I use for travel. For my everyday writers or EDWs I like using my 3-pen case from Franklin-Christoph. I use my EDWs for my daily/weekly/monthly BUJO, for journal writing, and taking notes for online courses.

For my “durable” artsy fountain pens (e.g. TWSBI GOs), I have to use a completely different pen case. I like having several different ink colors available when the sketching urge hits me. This is where function overrides a nice looking case. I mentioned some time last year I was using a pouch like case like this one pictured below.

This case had served it’s purpose as it could hold a number of fountain pens in the main zippered pouch. I think at one point I was able to cram about 20 TWSBI GOs. Over time I found the pouch was cumbersome to use.

The main issue I had was I could only see a few pens on the top and I had to dig around inside the pouch to look for an ink color. Many times I had to dump all my pens out to see what I had or wanted to use.

I did some research (because that’s what I enjoy doing) and followed a few other artists to see what tools and cases they had in their art bag.

I came across a watercolor artist who was using a Maxpedition Beefy Pocket Organizer case. This case looks quite rugged and durable. I actually bought two of these when I came across a BOGO sale at the manufacturer’s site. One in black (shown here) and another in a pretty olive green color that I use to carry my watercolor brushes and paints.

Here’s the front of my case. I lightened the picture slightly to show off the stitching and how well made this case is. Remember I am a sewist and I look for good stitching. The front has two velcro pieces at the top if I wanted to add a personal patch. There is also a front pocket made of netting that is secured with velcro behind the Maxpedition logo. I added two fountain pens and a blotter card to show the pocket size.

Let’s start with the left side of my case. Immediately you can see the horizontal elastic loops. There are two sets of elastic loops with the narrower loop sewn on top of the wider loop. The top narrow loops (six of them) hold my individual pens in place. Behind the narrow loops are three wide loops. There’s an open pocket behind my pens that can hold more pens, pencils, a small notebook, or folded paper towels.

Here’s the right side of my case and there is another set of elastic loops. It’s a similar set up to the right side except the loops are sewn in vertically to maximize storage space. It also looks like the elastic loop space is wider. I removed my pens to show the configuration better. There’s a zippered pocket behind the loops for another small notebook or other accessories.

There’s a horizontal elastic loop at the interior edge of the case. This is a large loop that holds my three water brushes and my Platinum Preppy filled with Carbon ink.

I went ahead and put my pens back into the case. Again I’m only using the upper loop configuration to hold my pens. I can slip two pens into each loop.

Here is the backside of my Maxpedition case. It has a grab handle and another set of loops to hold more stuff. The loops on the back are not elastic and made out of webbing material just like the handle.

Since I use mostly TWSBI GOs for artwork, I have no issues with throwing those pens into this case and hit the road with them. My GOs are durable and can take the jostling around in my backpack.

This is a rugged and durable case. Think tactical gear. The material in the Maxpedition feels a bit rough. The elastic loops are stiff and have a rough feeling. I found the roughness eventually lessens the more I use my case. As you can see in the pictures, there is no padding in the case.

It’s perfect for my use to hold and carry all my artsy fountain pens (TWSBI GOs). When I open my case I can see all my pens and art tools and can quickly get to work creating art.

I will be back with another review on how I use my green Maxpedition case for my watercolor supplies.

Case: Maxpedition Beefy Pocket Organizer in Black

Pens: TWSBI GO, Eco, and Diamond 580. Monteverde Innova Carbon Black with Rainbow trim. Conklin All American Lapis Blue and Duragraph Matte Black with Rainbow trim. Maiora Impronte OS Posilippo. Esterbrook Estie OS Dreamer Purple. Turnt Pen Co Pynchon PM4. Pilot Stargazer Black and Prera Pink. Lamy 2000 Makrolon.

Other: Pentel water brushes. Pentel Energize pencil.

Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost

I thought I would start the new year with a Van Dieman’s Ink called Morning Frost. It happens to be an appropriate ink color for today as it’s been snowing all morning and into the early afternoon.

There’s plenty of shimmering particulates at the bottom of my bottle. It almost looks milky! I give my bottle a thorough shake to get the shimmers swirling. I wait 30 seconds before dunking my nib and feed into the bottle for a fill.

I have to say this is my favorite gray shimmering ink color to write with. My writing sample is readable.

The shimmering particles are still in my pen. It took a day for it to settle down and flow out of my nib. I can see some shading with this ink.

My swatch shows this ink’s personality the best. Plenty of shimmers show up on my swatch card even when I added a bunch of water. The shimmers stayed in place and did not move to the edge as most shimmering inks do.

Based on my swatch card it appears Morning Frost has a teal-like underlying color. It’s one of those it looks like green undertone, but it’s definitely not blue. There is also a bit of blush undertone when water is added and when I look past all the silvery shimmers.

Besides using this ink color for writing, I enjoy using it for my pen & ink sketches.

Ink: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost (shimmering) from their Tassie Seasons (Winter) ink series

Pen: Conklin Duragraph Exclusive Brushed Titanium with Rose Gold trim and Omniflex nib

Journal: GLP Creations with Tomoe River Paper (68gsm). Stillman & Birn Alpha.

Year End Thoughts for 2021

So I ran out of time to do a pictorial collage of all the things I was involved in this year. One could say I was all over the place. Sometimes the mood or an idea would hit me and I would switch gears on the fly. This month had been an extremely busy time for me as I had to take care of year end tasks and long to-do-lists . I also had 30+ blog post entries for the month of December. Yes, I had a lot of inks to chat about as well as share a few pieces of my artwork.

I started the year creating lots of pen & ink artwork. That was mostly because I had too many fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and I had the overwhelming urge to just sketch with my fountain pens. It also helped that I sketched my pens dry. Used up more ink!

I also entered an art contest over at Pen Chalet. I received honorable mention for my Sedona sketch using the three Robert Oster Exclusive Pen Chalet ink colors: Sedona Red, Saguaro Green, and Monsoon Sky. They used my artwork to create some stickers.

I also started 2021 with a lovely Benu Euphoria called Bora Bora that Hubby gave me for a Christmas present at the end of 2020. I also ventured into and acquired a few unique fountain pens made by a few boutique pen turners.

I played around with pointed pen calligraphy and tried out different flex nibs. I attempted to do my daily calligraphy practice until I got bored. This hobby likes to come and go throughout the year.

I did a few reviews on fountain pens (Esterbrook, Franklin-Christoph, Pilot, Opus88, SchonDSGN, Maiora), inks (Vinta Inks, Birmingham Pen Co, Private Reserve, Rohrer & Klingner, Van Dieman’s), papers and journals, graphite pencil holders, watercolor paints, paint palettes, carrying cases/pouches, and art tools that caught my interest.

Let’s not forget my fiber arts where I remembered to squeeze my yarns and fabrics as they were feeling neglected from the lack of attention. This was the result of having too many hobbies and therefore no blog posts were created in this area.

I was invited to teach a pen & ink wash workshop at the DC Pen Show. The one workshop turned into three workshops. I felt blessed to be able to share what I know about fountain pens and inks and how to create art with these tools. Oh and use up more ink! 😂

I had some time to get back into my Cricut hobby. I created lots of stickers of my artwork, personalized many water containers, mugs, coasters, journals, and accessories. I also ventured into engraving acrylic (future blog post).

In my artwork, I tend to see too many details and want to sketch everything I see. I made an effort this year to practice sketching loosely and quickly. I just focused on the main shapes and what was important to show on paper. This way of sketching is something I’ve always wanted to do well with and this will take me into another adventure in the new year.

Here is my last artwork for 2021. This morning I spent a few minutes with “drawing my day” or DMD which I will refer to in my future blog posts. My theme for this morning was what I had for breakfast. My hope is to do a daily sketch of my day. Practice sketching techniques and develop my muscle memory. Fill up a page or two. Write a description. Tell a story.

Pens: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon in Primary Manipulation 4 (F-C Fine nib) and Peacock (Esterbrook Medium nib). Lamy 2000 in Makrolon with Extra Fine nib.

Inks: Rober Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine: Seize the Night, Winter Spice, Candle Light, Party Time, & All the Best. Van Dieman’s Ink: Morning Mist, Parrot Fish, and Devil’s Kitchen.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Journal Cover: Lochby Field Journal

My Christmas Pen

Way back in August I mentioned that Hubby hand picked a beautiful fountain pen at our local pen show. I was able to spend a minute or two with this pen. I put the pen in my hand and gave it a twirl. Then I had to give the pen back to Hubby.

The remaining weeks in August were hard for me as I knew there was a brand new pen in the house and I could do nothing but wait.

Four months later and I can finally blog about my new beautiful Christmas pen hand turned by Turnt Pen Co. But wait! I need to find an ink color to match!

I flipped through my swatch cards and gravitated towards the swatches of Van Dieman’s Ink colors. Parrot Fish turned out to be a perfect match.

Okay. Now I can show you my lovely new pen!

This is the lovely Peacock resin by Dupras.

When Hubby purchased the pen, I had selected a Fine JoWo nib to go with it. Since I’m using a shimmering ink, I wanted to go with a slightly wider nib. I swapped out my Fine nib unit and replaced it with an Esterbrook Medium nib.

This is my second pen from Tim (Turnt Pen Co). I had purchased my first one in a PM4 from the same pen show.

Did I mention I’m having a wonderful time with my pen? It’s comfortable in my hand and I feel as though I could write for hours.

Right now, my Peacock is sitting in my EDW (everyday writing) pen case along with my PM4 and my Lamy 2000.

My Hubby is the best! He did a great job selecting this pen. Maybe I can penable him in the new year.

Pen: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon (model) in Peacock (Bob Dupras) with Esterbrook Medium nib.

Ink: Van Dieman’s Ink Parrot Fish (shimmer) from their Underwater Series.

Paper: Rhodia

Double Wired Journal Notebook

(Edit: I forgot to mention I purchased my journal for $5 + tax. I need to remember that not everyone is familiar with some of stores I have access to).

I was at my local “Five Below” store and came across this journal/notebook. I was rubbing my hand across the paper (because that is what fountain pen folks do) to get an idea how smooth this paper was. I decided to give this notebook a try with my fountain pens and inks.

Here is the front cover with a cool looking design.

Here is the back of the cover.

This journal is 6.875″ x 10″ and about 3/4″ thick. This notebook contains 240 pages of lined paper. The front and back cover appears to be made of thick cardboard.

Overall, it feels like a chunky journal especially with the double wired spine.

Here is my test page written with some of the Diamine Inkvent calendar inks and my fountain pens with wet nibs. The shading and shimmers definitely appear on this paper.

Upon closer inspection, I can definitely see the shimmer from Vintage Copper and the sheen from Stargazer and Ruby Blues with this paper.

I can also see the shading from Candle Light and Raspberry Rose. Winter Spice is showing off a bit of shimmer.

I like how this paper shows off the ink’s color and characteristics. Hardly any feathering on the paper.

Here’s the backside of my test page. No bleed through at all. I was surprised even writing with my Stub 1.1 nibs. I would have expected to see “dots” where my nib stayed on the paper a bit longer.

I like the wider spiral on this journal. I have no issues flipping pages back and forth. Have you ever had a spiral notebook that was difficult to flip through?

I like the stiff thick cardboard covers that protects the paper in this journal. Also, I like how I can fold the pages back and can write on one side of the page at a time. The stiff cardboard provides a nice sturdy surface to write on.

For the price and the amount of pages in this journal I think this is a great buy.

Pen: Conklin Duragraph Brushed Titanium with Rose Gold trim and Omniflex nib.

Inks: Various inks from Diamine 2021 Inkvent Calendar

Journal: Five Below lined with 240 pages.

The 25 Days of Daily Inky Madness

I might have mentioned before that this was my first attempt at doing a daily ink post on my blog. Was I feeling a bit excited and overwhelmed at the same time? Yes! At first, it felt like an unknown adventure was going to take place for 25 days in December. In the back of my mind, I was concerned if I would be able to commit and finish this daily ink project.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I started to think about a process of what I was going to do when I opened each new bottle. I knew I would keep my current ink swatching process. I would have to add a writing sample and I had to come up with a theme. I chose to write down Christmas songs in one of my journals.

Next thing I knew I had to include daily sketches to show off the ink’s characteristics. What was my theme for my daily sketches? A round ornament.

I also decided to create a large sketch to incorporate all 25 ink colors! Add a color a day to the sketch. I decided a wreath would be a good choice. I had no clue what the wreath would look like and decided to go with the flow. I’ve included a picture of this wreath in my previous post.

Initially, it took me five days to figure out my process and get into a rhythm. Open a new bottle. Fill a pen or use my glass dip pen. Create my swatch card. Create my writing sample. Create my ink wash ornament. Add a sketch to my wreath. Clean my glass dip pen (if used) and my automatic pen. If I filled one of my fountain pens with ink, I added an entry into my Ink Journal along with pen name & nib size, ink name, and the date I filled my pen.

Included in this process were the many pictures I had to take for each bottle of ink I opened. Also I had to check and make sure the ink colors were close to accurate before I posted my daily blog entry.

Well before I reached the halfway mark in the calendar, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. My friend “M”mentioned I was “obligated to finish. You can’t quit 10 days in. REVOLT!” Hahaha! While “M’s” comment lingered in my head, I continued to march on.

I mentioned in a previous post that I ended up opening two to three bottles of ink a few days earlier in order to stay ahead. That turned out to be a game changer for me as I had so many other projects grabbing for my time and attention. I was able to set aside a block of time and focus on each ink color and inky characteristics.

Some ink colors took a bit longer for me to write about. Their inky swatches required me to grab all of my other ink swatches and compare colors. A few ink colors had me stumped and I had to use my watercolor swatches to check the color range. Brandy Snap was one of those colors. The color Sienna kept popping into my head and I knew it was in a similar color range.

There were teal and turquoise colors that were very close. It wasn’t until I pulled out my other swatch cards that I could see whether the color in question was leaning more towards blue or more towards green.

This inky experience turned out to be a fun journey for me. I’m glad I took this leap into an unknown adventure and found a fondness and love for the new inks I have. It was definitely time well spent and I enjoyed getting to know each ink’s characteristics.

For those of you following my daily Inkvent blog posts I want to say “thank you” for following along and absorbing all this inky information. I hope you found it helpful and maybe take a second look at the beautiful ink colors. I hope Diamine will produce the larger bottles in the near future as they did with their blue version of the Inkvent calendar from 2019.

In my daily posts I had created the ornament pen & ink wash sketch for each ink color. The ornaments became part of my Christmas tree sketch.

Thank you for following along in my 25 days of inky madness.

Inks: Diamine 2021 Inkvent Calendar

Day #25: All the Best!

Inkvent Day #25: Diamine All the Best

This is Diamine’s 30ml bottle of inky wonderment. I feel as though I won a grand prize for getting through the last 25 days of inky madness. Oh my!

I was twirling this bottle around to see what inky characteristics to expect from the label. Nothing. Just the name of the color.

I can see some shimmering particulates. Looks like the same amount as in the tiny 12ml bottles.

I shake the bottle to disperse the shimmers. I know I may not get as much since this bottle holds more ink. I gave my bottle a good shake. Where did my shimmers go?

Okay. Let’s start by doing some breathing exercises.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Repeat two more times before scrolling further.

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Here is All the Best! Oh my! Look at all of this inky craziness on my swatch card!

Here’s a close up. Remember to breath in and breathe out.

There’s a good amount of sheen in my writing sample.

Let’s look at my swatch card from another angle.

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I can see the amazing sheen in my ink wash. There’s a tiny bit of shimmer there as well.

Al the Best is a dark magenta ink color. Initially, the magenta color seems to disappear off the page as the bright olive green sheen overtakes the ink’s color. The longer I write with this ink, the more the magenta color becomes more prevalent on my paper with less sheen showing. Oh and let’s not forget the purplish-blue shimmering particles that decides to show up every now and then. How’s that for a description of this unusual ink color?

This is the last ink color in my calendar and it’s also at the very top of my wish list for a larger bottle.

Ink: Diamine All the Best (shimmer & sheen)

Pens: Turnt Pen Co Primary Manipulation 4 with Franklin-Christoph Fine nib. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with Tomoe River Paper (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #24: Yuletide and Oh My!

Inkvent Day #24: Diamine Yuletide

I enjoy turquoise and teal ink colors. It reminds me of the beautiful waters in the Caribbean. I also enjoy intense pink, bright coral, and eucalyptus/olive green colors.

When I saw the label color on the bottle I knew this was going to be another favorite color.

Diamine says this ink is a standard ink. It shows quite a bit of shading on my paper. My swatch card shows some interesting inky goodness.

So I had a funny thing happen to me. I picked up my Maiora fountain pen and proceeded to fill it with this ink. Uh-oh. I could not get the nib/feed/section into the bottle. My pen’s section was a bit thicker than the bottle’s opening. I had a “you’ve got to be kidding” moment with my pen. I untwisted my converter from the pen and dunked my converter into the bottle and filled it with ink. Mission accomplished. 😊

Okay, let’s get back to my inky observations.

There’s a bit of pinky sheen showing up on my swatch card. I’m trying to figure out if this ink is a teal or a turquoise color.

Here’s a close up of my writing sample. Did I mention the lovely shading on my paper?

In the following picture I have my Subzero swatch from a few days ago next to Yuletide. I can see Yuletide is leaning a bit towards green.

I’m now thinking Yuletide is closer to a teal color. I pull out my Diamine Aurora Borealis and Robert Oster Deep Sea swatches and compare the colors (base and underlying). I can see it’s in the similar range of colors.

There is still something unique about this ink. My brain is telling me there’s more than one underlying color. Besides green I also see some blue. I have to say my swatch card came out brilliantly with the ink dispersing in an unusual pattern.

I added too much water to my inky sketch and so the sheen migrated to the edge of my sketch. I can still see some greens and blues in my sketch.

Yuletide is a gorgeous dark teal ink color with some medium pink sheen. Depending on the lighting there is also has some green and blue underlying colors. I would definitely use this ink in my artwork and for journaling. Another color on my wish list.

Slap the side of my head moment: I’ve been using Yuletide in a few of my sketches. There was something very familiar about this color. Yes! Of course! I have another favorite ink color I’m currently using in my lovely Lamy 2000 called Devil’s Kitchen! Here’s another swatch comparison.

The only differences I can see is Yuletide has more sheen and is slightly lighter in color. Other than that both ink swatches look very close.

Ink: Diamine Yuletide (sheen)

Pens: Maiora Impronte OS Posilippo with Fine nib. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #23: Wonderland

Inkvent Day #23: Diamine Wonderland

Wonderland is a bright orange standard ink color. Look at how clear this bottle is.

This bright ink shows some lovely shading on my Tomoe River Paper.

On my swatch card there is a beautiful underlying yellow color showing through.

Another gorgeous ink wash. All of the Diamine inks from this calendar has performed well as an ink wash.

So far, Wonderland is the brightest orange ink I have in my collection. It’s a standard ink with subtle shading and a bright yellow underlying color.

In the short amount of time I’ve been using this color, it has grown on me. To me this is a happy color and I can see using this ink in my artwork. It would be a lovely color to use in my writing journal as well. It would definitely stand out among my teal, blue, and purple ink paragraphs.

Ink: Diamine Wonderland (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with Tomoe River Paper (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media