Swatch Card for September

I’ve been pulling out my fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and cleaning them out. A few have been in use since May and I thought it was time to rotate the colors out and try some new inks.

I used a 4″x6″ watercolor paper post card to create my swatch card. So far, this includes 19 inky colors I am currently using for this month. These inky colors reside in my TWSBIs, Pilot, Opus 88, Nahvalur, and Indy pens. That includes about a dozen TWSBI GOs.

I am still missing a few colors like a golden yellow which I will add to my currently inked collection in the next day or so.

I keep my swatch card with me in my art bag along with my fountain pens and inks. There are times when I forget what inky colors I have ready to go for my sketches or when I’m trying to find the right inky shade for a particular sketch.

Post Card: Tumuarta Watercolor Post Card 4″x6″ 140lb/300gsm cold press

Pens: turnt pen co “Grisham 13” in Peach Agate (Bob Dupras) with Fine nib. Pilot Custom 742 with Soft Fine <SF> nib. Nahvalur Original Plus in Melacara Purple with Stub nib.

Diplomat Excellence is an A+

A Diplomat pen appeared on my radar two years ago. I was mesmerized by the striking wave pattern and I knew the nib would be beautiful to write with. I remembered watching a Goulet video and there was a two minute segment on this pen. At the time I thought it was expensive for a steel nib pen and so I waited. A few months ago I received an email from Vanness advertising their Diplomat Gift sets on sale. Naturally, I looked at what was on sale and I was surprised to see the Wave Guilloche set at a really good price.

This Diplomat pen feels like it should be my grail fountain pen. The quality, the lovely workmanship and attention to detail, the weight, how it feels in my hand, how beautifully it writes, and I could go on and on about this lovely fountain pen.

When I first received this pen, I filled it with Diamine Storm. Five days later, I wrote until the converter was almost dry. From what I can remember, I’ve never done that before.

I quickly filled my Waves Guilloche with Diamine All the Best and continued to write several pages in my journal. Yes, there was a lot of joy while writing with this lovely pen and ink combination.

I rarely do this (not cleaning between refills), but felt the need to keep writing

I enjoy the 1/4 turn to remove the cap from the pen. It’s a gratifying feel to put the cap on and to remove it. Also, it helps to have this easy cap removal when I need to jot down my notes quickly.

This metal pen weighs around 43.75 grams with the included converter filled with ink.

The pen can be posted and it posts deeply on the body. I could write a full page in my journal before my hand gets a tiny bit tired. It also has to do with how I hold my pen. If I hold it closer towards the nib, I can feel some back weight issues. The further up and away from the nib, the pen (posted) feels comfortable and a bit more balanced.

The wavy silver stripes on the pen creates an unusual pattern of shimmer while I twirl my pen. When I use my loupe, I can see the engraved silver wavy pattern into the matte black (guilloche engraved). When I run my fingers over it, I just feel a subtle hint of smooth tiny ridges. It’s barely noticeable with the lacquer coating.

The pen has a spring loaded clip. A really, really nice feature and I like how this pens slips in and out of my pen case with the clip gliding smoothly over the elastic bands.

I could not resist a quick sketch of my lovely fountain pen.

Pen: Diplomat Excellence A+ Waves Guilloche with Fine nib

Ink: Diamine All the Best (Shimmer & Sheen)

Paper: Rhodia

Art Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha A5

My Opus 88 Mini vs Omar Fountain Pens

I saw a fellow fountain pen user ask a question about the diameter sizes between my Opus 88 Mini and my Opus 88 Omar. I thought I would show a few pictures and try my best to show the differences!

When you read the specs about the diameter in mm, it might appear to be a slight difference between two fountain pens. When you put each pen in hand, I can say that there will be a noticeable difference between these two pens.

It’s better for me show in pictures and then try to describe what you might see and feel. So here we go.

Here are the two pens side by side with their caps off.

Let’s take a look at each pen individually. Here is my pen and it appears to be a short and chunky fountain pen. It really is!

In this close up picture, the section has a slight taper towards the nib and feed.

Here is my Opus 88 Omar.

The section is also tapered towards the nib and feed and there is a slight lip at the edge.

Here is a side view of both pens. The section on my Mini is quite a bit shorter than my Omar. At the top section of my Mini there is a thick metal band.

My Mini takes a #5 JoWo nib while my Omar takes a #6 JoWo nib.

Personally, the section of my Omar feels comfortable in my hand and I prefer #6 nibs for extended writing. Every time I start writing with my Mini it takes me awhile to get used to the shorter section and the thick metal band.

I basically use my Mini for taking quick notes and mostly for sketching. I prefer to use my Omar for longer writing sessions.

I hope my picture helps some of you who are undecided whether to get an Opus 88 Mini. Would I purchase another Mini? Probably not. One is enough for me.

Pens: Opus 88 Mini Love in Bloom with Franklin-Christoph Stub nib & filled with Diamine Subzero (Red Inkvent). Opus 88 Omar with Stylosuite EF Xwing Harpoon flex nib & filled with Colorverse Hayabusa (glistening).

Workshop Prompt – Shapes

In my workshops we created basic shapes for our warm up exercises. To activate our muscle memory. Our shapes will look flat which is okay for our warm up exercises.

Remember: no “death grips” and try to move your arm while sketching instead of just using your hand. I mentioned in my handout that if you just use your hand, you will start to feel some tightness in your grip and you may feel a cramp starting to develop in your hand. Remember to relax while you sketch.

Many of you wanted to see more of my sketches, my layouts, and my writing. Here is the most recent sketch I created while I was sitting at my studio desk. I had gathered round objects to create my two page spread.

Notice the cast shadows and the colors I used under my objects

Here are a few of my objects that I used in my sketches. This view is looking top down and off to the side.

Here I have my objects lined up on my desk with a side view of my inky bottles. Sorry my lovely miniature vase was too round to sit sideways.

My challenge is for you to look through your inky bottle collection. Pick out three (3) bottles of your favorite ink brands and try sketching them from the top down view and then from the side view (if possible).

Use your pencil to create the outline first and then sketch what details you like. Do not erase until you have all the lines created (good & bad). Take your permanent pen and redraw the lines you want to keep. Go back and erase the bad lines.

Use your fountain pens and inks to create your washes. Remember to keep the white of your paper to represent the highlights on your objects. If you need to make certain areas of your object darker, make sure your first layer is dry before adding more color to your object.

Most important thing to remember is have fun!

If you have any questions, you know where to find me. 😊

Kakimori – the Nibs

Update and Tips #1 (08/08/22): I was able to hang out at the River City Pen Company’s table during the 2022 DC Pen Show. I enjoyed my time sharing what I knew about using dip nibs and Rich’s nib holders. One show attendee mentioned that she disliked the Kakimori nib she had. She could not write with it. I gave her a few suggestions to try her nib again. One was to use a different fountain pen ink brand and color or use her favorite ink. Another was to lighten her grip on the nib holder. The other suggestion and probably the most important one is to write in the same position and angle as if you had a fountain pen in your hand.

Update #2 (08/08/22): I forgot to mention that I hosted an “after hours” pen & ink workshop for the exhibitors. Just for fun, I handed out my Kakimori nibs with my resin nib holders to try out. One had the brass nib and the other had the steel nib. I gave no instructions on how to use. They immediately took to this nib and nib holder immediately and spent some time writing with it. A few minutes later, they quickly exchanged nib and nib holder to see how the other nib felt in their hand. This was a great experiment for me to observe and I received positive feedback on both. It was interesting to see one attendee preferred the steel nib with the finer writing feel and the other attendee preferred the brass nib and the wetter lines that it could create.

(Original post begins here)

I found another nib that works great with my inky swatchings. They are round nibs and appears to have eight sides with long cut outs along the sides.

The cutouts allow for ink to settle into the nib when dipped into a bottle of ink. This allows for longer writing sessions before having to the dip the nib back into ink. You know what? It really does work.

I saw there were two offerings available. One in stainless steel and one in brass. I went with the stainless steel version as I know I would not have to worry about rust or much discoloration after use.

I took a picture for those who are curious as to what the backside of the nib looks like. The nib is hollow until the start of the cutouts. This allows the nib to sit into the nib holder.

The stainless still nib feels a bit stiff when I write with the nib. In my normal writing angle of around 45 degrees I can get a nice line width. I can also feel some feedback while writing. When I hold the nib slightly below my normal writing angle, I can get a broad stroke of color on my paper.

I enjoyed my stainless steel nib so much, that I went ahead and ordered a brass nib. I read about the differences between these two nibs. The brass nib tends to be softer and can produce broader lines. It’s also good for artists to use in their sketches.

I can definitely feel a difference between the two nibs. The brass feels a bit softer and produces a smoother experience while writing. I can also get broader strokes of color across my paper.

Do I prefer one over the other? It depends. When I’m creating my writing samples, I automatically reach for my stainless steel nib. I need a bit more time to work with both nibs.

While cleaning the nib, I did encounter some stubborn inks that wanted to cling to the nib’s cutouts. I have a child’s extra soft toothbrush that I dip in water and give a gentle scrub.

I can’t wait to use up all my inky sample vials using these lovely nibs.

Note: I enjoy this combination of nib and nib holder. I mentioned in my previous review of the River City Pen Company nib holders that for fountain pen users, there is a “familiar feel” while holding this nib holder. Once you have this combination in your hand, you just need to focus on getting used to this unusual & lovely Kakimori nib.

Nibs: Kakimori Stainless Steel and Brass nibs available at Yoseka Stationery

Nib holders: River City Pen Company – Pink, Green, & White DiamondCast (McKenzie Penworks) and Barrier Reef (Turnt Pen Company)

Inks: Diamine Party Time and Storm (Red Inkvent)

Paper: Rhodia Dot Pad

Follow the Butterfly

Here’s a sketch I’m working on today. This is a work in progress. I have to remind myself not to get caught up in the details and sketch loosely.

Pens: TWSBI GO with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI Swipe with Stub 1.1 nib. Lamy Vista Black SE with Cursive nib. Lamy Al Star Ballpoint pen.

Inks: Robert Oster Heart of Gold. Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Shogun. Ferris Wheel Press Roaring Patina Black. Diamine Frosted Orchid, Pink Ice, and Starlit Sea.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softbound A5

FWP Roaring Patina Black

For the last three years, I’ve been collecting fountain pen inks in every imaginable color except for black. Let me clarify and say except for the Platinum Carbon ink which is a permanent ink color. I’m talking about dye based inks.

I saw a few swatches and writing samples on my social media feed and fell for this black shimmering ink color from Ferris Wheel Press. I saw lots of golden shimmers and a bright red sheen. In the back of my mind, there was something familiar about this ink color that I could not put my finger on.

My inky swatch completely dry. Lots of sheen and shimmer!

I was patiently waiting two weeks for my Ferris Wheel Press ink to arrive. It was in stock and I was hoping to get it within 2-3 days after placing my order. Well, my online retailer had other plans and decided to hold my order until a few items I needed came back in stock. Seven days later, my package shipped. It made it’s way up the west coast and spent a lovely day in Anchorage, Alaska. Thank goodness someone saw it was going in the wrong direction and redirected my package. It took a few days to arrive at my local distribution area.

Once this nicely packaged bottle of ink arrived in my studio, I quickly created a swatch. While the ink was drying on my card, I could see swirls of gold sparkles. The red sheen appeared after my swatch started to dry. Oh my, this was so familiar. Then it hit me! I quickly flipped through my shimmering ink swatches and found another swatch sample that matched this Patina Roaring Black ink color. Personally, I think Diamine Tempest is closer to a blue black ink color.

Do you think they match?

If you remember from previous posts, I enjoyed Diamine Tempest so much that I placed it high on my wishlist to get a larger bottle. I can honestly say the two colors, Patina Roaring Black and Tempest, look exactly alike. It has the same golden shimmering particles. They both have a red sheen. This red sheen can be a bit deceiving as I can also see a lovely pink sheen at most angles. That includes both swatches. It could be the result of combining a red sheen and gold shimmer in the same ink.

I decided to add another swatch, Shogun, to the mix.

I’m happy I trusted my gut instinct and purchased my Shogun before Roaring Patina Black. Shogun is a beautiful black shimmering ink color and it’s been a joy to write and sketch with.

I need to fill one of my pens with Roaring Patina Black and spend a few days writing and sketching with this lovely ink color. I will post any new updates and findings on this blog post.

My FWP swatch still a bit damp

Inks: Ferris Wheel Press Roaring Patina Black. Diamine Tempest (Red Inkvent). Jacques Herbin Shogun.

A Prismatic Diplomat Magnum

Note: After extensive use, I’ve added an update. See below. 😊

While I was looking at Goulet’s exclusive Lamy Vista Black, I was also taking a gander at their Diplomat Magnum offerings. The one that caught my eye was their Prismatic Purple color. This is a Goulet exclusive color in the US. I noticed on the box it came in it said “John Doe.” Apparently, that’s what it’s known as outside of the US.

My pen matches the Storm ink perfectly

Depending on the lighting, the pen could look purple:

or blue:

This is my fourth Diplomat fountain pen I own. The other three include the Traveller, Aero and the Excellence A+. Personally, the one thing that stands out about Diplomat’s pens is how well theirs nibs are tuned and they simply write beautifully. That’s all I need to say.

The Magnum would be considered a slightly skinny pen. The grip/section is kind of ergonomic where there are three thin flat surface areas which helps to keep my fingers in position with this skinny section. This grip is around 8.3mm. I typically enjoy writing with grips around 10-11mm range. I can already tell I won’t be writing for extended periods of time with this Magnum.

The only real issue I have with my pen is how hard it is to pull the cap off. I believe it’s because the pen is slim and with my joint issues, I have a hard time grasping the body to pull the cap off. It could also be with this particular pen I have, the cap fits tight.

This Goulet exclusive Magnum comes with a converter. The pen weighs around 14.50 grams with the included converter filled with ink. It takes short and long international standard ink cartridges.

When I screw the body back into the section, I keep turning until the body feels as though it twists into a lock position. It’s a very slight locking feel and one of the windows will line up with the top of the nib.

Speaking of windows, the Magnum has two ink windows or cut outs on opposite sides of the body. Helpful to see how much ink I have left in my converter or ink cartridge.

I know I will not be writing with this pen for extended periods of time, but it would work perfectly for creating my quick inky sketches. It’s a lightweight fountain pen with a snap cap, a clip on the cap, and fits nicely in my artsy pen case. Also, it’s prismatic and depending how I hold my pen in the light I’ll see blue or purple or maybe a little bit of both.

😊 Edit (06/30): My gut feeling told me to get two of these Magnum pens. Here is my second one with an Extra Fine nib. I have to say, I am enjoying my time writing with this pen. I filled my pen with a shimmering ink called Hayabusa. A lovely and bright purple ink with green sheen and copper-like shimmers. I’ve been happy with this pen & nib & ink combination.

I’ve learned to lighten my grip considerably on this thin pen. When I reach for it, my muscle memory kicks in and all is well. I do write with my pen posted and find it’s a better balance in my hand. I can now write paragraphs without any issues.

My Extra Fine nib is lovely. It’s smooth with some slight feedback. With the Hayabusa ink it appears to be a wet writer.

Pen: Diplomat Magnum Goulet Exclusive Prismatic Purple (John Doe) with Medium nib

Ink: Diamine Storm (Inkvent-shimmer)

Pen: Diplomat Magnum Goulet Exclusive Prismatic Purple (John Doe) with Extra Fine nib

Ink: Colorverse Hayabusa (glistening)

Paper: Rhodia

A Lamy Cursive Nib

A few weeks back, I saw on my media feed something about a new Lamy nib arriving. Naturally, I went to investigate what all this chatter was about.

I must say that when I first saw this nib, I thought to myself this was one beautiful and unusual nib. Who could not resist the laser engraved writing on this nib. Most importantly check out the the nib’s unique design.

It’s a black PVD coated steel nib. They are hand shaped and perfectly aligned.

I’ve read this new replacement nib was designed for writing Chinese and Japanese “running script” cursive. The lines it creates is between a Lamy Fine and Extra Fine nibs. Personally, I feel it leans more towards a Lamy Fine nib. I’ll need to write with this nib a bit more and see if my statement is correct. The horizontal strokes are suppose to be a bit wider than the vertical strokes. They definitely are as you can see in my writing sample.

This new Lamy replacement nib came at a perfect time for me. I’ve been bringing my Lamy’s back into my pen rotation and I’ve been enjoying my time with them especially in creating my pen & ink artwork.

Pen: Lamy AL Star Black with Lamy Cursive nib

Ink: Diamine Blue Pearl (shimmering)

Paper: Rhodia

Sketching Around Me

This morning, I gathered a few of my fountain pens and my sketch journal and placed them in my messenger bag. I ended up at a coffee shop I’ve been meaning to visit and never had a chance to stop in. It turned out to be one of the best coffee shop and sketching experience I’ve encountered.

Inside the shop I saw lots of open space with plenty of tables and chairs. Lots of folks wandered in and out of the shop and grabbed their coffees to go. A few folks, who sat towards the back of the shop, were busy working on their laptops. I was receiving positive vibes here.

I sat at a table in the middle of the coffee shop and started sketching what was immediately in front of me: my cup of coffee and my sugary treat. Then I looked around and saw the display cabinet at the back of the shop. There were colorful cups and bags of coffee on display. I felt a challenge hit me and I started sketching the back wall.

When I stopped to see my progress, I felt there was something missing in my sketch. I looked around and saw a vase with some blue and yellow flowers on the counter and I thought adding a floral scene would be a perfect way to finish my sketch.

I’ve been seeing lots of self improvements over the last few weeks. I am no longer hiding at the back table and sketching. My art supplies are spread out across the table for everyone to see. I’m becoming more efficient with my observations and sketching less which results in less lines to erase. It could be I’m getting better at memorizing what I see. Also, I find myself smiling more while I’m creating my artwork.

Pens used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Pilot Prera with CM nib. Faber-Castell Hexo with Medium nib. Lamy Al Star with Cursive nib. Copic Multiliner with 0.1mm tip (permanent ink).

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost and Hail Storm. Robert Oster Heart of Gold, Melon Tea, and Thunderstorm. Diamine Pink Glitz, Golden Ivy, Enchanted Ocean, Seize the Night, and All the Best.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Softbound A5