Another Abalone? Yes!

The first abalone pen I bought was the Retro 51 Cioppino fountain pen. The pen has bits of broken abalone strategically placed in a black background which looks to be resin. Covered with layers of clear resin. The Cioppino is trimmed with rose gold and comes with a JoWo #6 Stainless Steel nib. Like most Retro 51 pens with JoWo nibs, my pen is a smooth writer.

I had my eye on another abalone pen that kept popping up on several social media sites. This one was made by Laban. Abalone trimmed with polished chrome or matte gunmetal. Beautiful pen! I had not paid too much attention to this brand other than seeing their table at the local pen show. Their abalone pen ended up on my wishlist. Over time, that pen kept getting pushed further down on my list. More than likely because of the price. In that price range, I expect to see at least a 14K/585 gold nib on a pen. I know it’s because of the gorgeous abalone, but I still expect to see a gold nib and not gold plated. That’s just me.

A few months later, I saw another abalone pen pop into my radar. Stunning. With rose gold trim! Made by Conklin. Affordable too! So I did a “pre-order” with my go-to online retailer and waited. I noticed the pen’s arrival to several online shops was delayed. So I waited some more.

Then an email came from another online retailer (Goulet) announcing their Conklin Abalone in Chrome (Goulet exclusive) was available to order. Wait! What?! I had forgotten that a chrome version was specially made for Goulet and I must have subscribed to their notification for that particular pen. Naturally, I cancelled my “pre-order” with the other online retailer and placed an order with Goulet AND to include the new JoWo Omniflex nib. I was in for a very nice surprise!

So. Where’s the picture of my Abalone with chrome trim? Patience. I’m getting to it.

I was in love with my Conklin Abalone fountain pen! Stunning to look at. Lovely feel in hand. Beautiful writing experience with the new JoWo Omniflex nib. I could feel this nib bounce across my page while I was writing an entry into my Ink Journal. I did a writing sample on my Rhodia paper and experienced the same bouncy spring across the paper. I could not believe the joy I was experiencing with this pen!

Conklin’s new JoWo #6 Omniflex nib. A lovely writing experience. Just write with your normal handwriting to experience the bounce across the paper.

Fast forward to today. Here’s my other Abalone beauty that showed up from a Black Friday sale:

Conklin Endura Abalone in Rose Gold trim. I swapped out the nib unit and replaced it an extra JoWo Omniflex nib unit.

This rose gold version is just as stunning as the chrome version. The pen comes with a stainless steel black plated nib. I selected a Fine as I do not have that in my collection. Naturally when this pen arrived I immediately swapped it out for the spare JoWo Omniflex nib I had purchased from Goulet. It’s the same writing enjoyment I have with my chrome version.

If you look carefully, my two Abalones look quite different in the two trim colors. Each trim enhances the abalone colors. Like their own personality. I love it!

Oh yeah. You wanted to see my Cioppino pen. Here is is with my Conklin pens:

Conklin Endura Abalone in Rose Gold, Retro 51 Tornado in Cioppino, and Conklin Endura Abalone in Chrome (Goulet exclusive)

In case you want to see it at a different angle:

Is all this Abalone growing on you? You know. You want one….

Okay. My left brain tells me that this new Omniflex nib is a perfect pairing with my heavy Abalone pen. I think the weight of the pen supports the bouncy/springy feeling I get while I write. I’ve tried my Omniflex on my lightweight All American pen and there is still a bounce, but not as pronounced or as noticeable.

I want to add my personal experience with the Conklin Omniflex nib. I do have the older Omniflex nibs and they are the pits! I can say that here on my blog. Most were scratchy and had to be adjusted (the best I could do). Most of the time I had hard starts. Never had a smooth writing experience with those old nibs.

I do not flex the new Omniflex nibs. Folks are giving these JoWo nibs a bad name because they try to flex the nib while writing. I’ve cringed whenever someone has posted a picture of their bent nib.

I love my Abalone pens. They are definitely my EDCs. You’ve seen my chrome version in a previous post. Stunning and constant companions for me.


When purchasing Conklin pens from Goulet, you can select the Omniflex nib and it will be a JoWo Omniflex nib you will get. Goulet is very specific about this in their pen descriptions. I applaud them for letting us pen folks know what we are purchasing. Other online retailers are still selling the old Omniflex nibs. Trust me I know this. I emailed and called another online retailer and they told me it was the new JoWo Omniflex nib. I received a pen with the old nib. Apparently, some retailers are trying to sell and get rid of the old stock.

Please, do not try to flex this Omniflex nib. I’ve tried it once and the line variation is not that great. Not worth over bending/flexing the nib. There are other alternatives like a dip pen with a Nikko G or Leonardt nib that can give brilliant line variations.

The Retro 51 Tornado Cioppino is still available. Google is your friend. Retro 51 will be closing up their shop at the end of this year. They are still looking for a buyer to take over their business. Besides fountain pens, they also have ballpoint/rollerball pens. Lately, there’s been an explosion of rollerball pens they’ve produced exclusively for various online retailers. They are also announcing new pen(s) today. As in a few hours from now.

I will do a future post on Flex-type pens I have used and tried to use. If you have the money and would like a flex pen (non-vintage), I do suggest a Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with an FA nib. The FA nib is 14K/585 gold and has curved cutouts on the sides of the nib. This FA nib flexes a bit so I can get some beautiful line variations. Also. I have not had any issues with this beautiful pen. It is a wet writer.

Pilot does make another pen called Pilot Falcon. The nib on this pen is shaped like a falcon’s beak. It can flex a bit, especially the Soft Extra Fine or <SE> nib.

I wanted to point out the two different Pilot pens and nibs as folks use them interchangeably and then confusion sets in when they receive the wrong pen.

A Rose Gold Day

Here’s a quick post of a new pen and ink I received today. I saw someone post about a Platinum rose gold pen. It’s a new series in their Procyon line called Luster. Here’s my rose gold pen:

This rose gold Procyon is a stunning and elegant looking pen. Another EDC for sure.

I have a few Procyon pens from Platinum’s 100th anniversary collection in various colors with Fine nibs. The pens are not too light and weigh around 23 grams. I actually enjoy posting the pens and they feel well balanced in my hand.

I decided to go with a Medium nib on this beautiful rose gold version. I found out the sections on my other Procyons are swappable. So I can swap around between Fine and Medium when the mood hits me. Too bad they don’t offer additional nib sizes like Extra Fine or Broad.

Like their other models, the Procyon also has the “slip ‘n seal” cap which prevents the ink from drying out on the nib and feed. It really works. I had a Procyon inked for a year and forgot about it for several months. One day I picked it up and it wrote as soon as I put the nib down onto my paper. No hesitation.

The Procyons are well made and durable. The nibs are smooth and I do enjoy the writing experience. Who doesn’t love a rose gold pen?!

My Favorite Fountain Pen Carrying Case

I wanted to write about my favorite pen carrying case. I have tried several different brands and styles and they perform different functions for me. I actually classify my fountain pen cases into two different functions: pen storage and pen carrying.

Today, I will share my favorite pen carrying case. Quattro. Made by Lochby.

The front of my Lochby Quattro cases. Pilot Metropolitan in Turquoise Dots and Champagne Gold.

From Lochby’s site here’s their description: “The Quattro fits your favorite four pens for when you’re on the go. Lightly padded, fully zippered, and wrapped in our dry waxed canvas.”

I first purchased the black waxed canvas case as they were sold out of their popular brown version. Once I received the case in hand, I was immediately impressed with their product. The quality and workmanship and especially functionality. You already know. I’m all about product function. As a sewist, I always look at workmanship and how a product is sewn together. I was surprised at how thin this case was when zipped close. It’s not at all a chunky case.

On the outside, there are pockets galore. You can see from my first picture that I have my Pilot Metros in the narrow front pocket. In the flat pocket I have my Robert Oster Blotter Card which is similar in size to a business card.

On the backside of the case, there’s velcro pocket. Here I have inserted my tiny Rhodia booklet (3″x4.7″).

The back of my Lochby pen cases

There’s a nylon YKK zipper that zips around the case to hold my pens safely inside. You can see the double stitching and bar tacking. A rugged and sturdy case.

In the next two pictures, I show the interior of each case.

The black case has a beige interior. Notice I have the two pens stored upside down on the right clipped into the slot. That way the pens don’t fall out when I open the case.
The brown case has an orange interior

Why is this pen case a favorite of mine? I mentioned in a previous post that I prefer larger pens. This Lochby case can accommodate them.

The two pens on the right are a bit girthy and requires a wider slot for the pens to slip in. Lochby took care of this in their Quattro case. (Cross Peerless 125 in Titanium Gray, Esterbrook Estie OS Sparkle in Montana Sapphire, Montegrappa Elmo in Blue Cross Gentian, and TWSBI Diamond 580ALR in Prussian Blue)
My Opus 88 Omar (2nd from the left) is the largest pen I own. For awhile this pen sat on my desk because it would not fit in my other pen carrying cases. Now it has a home. (Pineider Avatar UR in Angel Skin, Opus 88 Omar in Clear, Platinum 3776 Century in Chartres Blue, and Visconti Breeze in Plum)

There are two negatives I have come across for the black case. My black version is prone to showing lint as you can see in the above pictures. Also, I wanted to let you know not to store any light colored pens on the external pockets. The black dye from the canvas can transfer onto the pen. It has not happened to me, but my blotter card is showing black around the edges.

I love my black Lochby Quattro so much that I added the brown case to my collection. Now I don’t have to worry about where to store my girthy pens.

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.

What’s an EDC and My Research

Early on in my fountain pen adventures I was learning the lingo. Like NPD or NID. Then I heard EDC. At first, I thought it was a pen company name or a type of ink.

Every Day Carry or EDC. I learned that as one progresses through the fountain pen world (or called the infamous rabbit hole), certain pens become favorites. They can last a day, a week, or even months. Because new pens appear and replaces the old ones. I call it a cycle or pen rotation.

My EDCs tend to be the five pens I reach for consistently and constantly. It could change when I rotate my pens (clean and store) every two or three weeks. My worst case scenario was last year when I had 30 pens inked at the same time. There was no way I could write with every single pen inked everyday. Now, I will typically have at most 10 pens inked at one time. Five of them will be my EDCs.

My five EDCs will have one pen with an EF nib (to write on cheap paper), one with my favorite ink of the month, two will have my Masuyama italic nibs, and the fifth one would always be a TWSBI. So how, did I come about and develop my own EDC love? Please read on.

As I progressed from one pen manufacturer to another, I started to recognize my likes and dislikes for the way the pen looks, how it feels in my hand, and how it writes with my handwriting style. Let me say fountain pens are like eye candy. I have a lot of experience under my belt (a bit over 1-1/2 years now) and know what I like.

I will see new pens flash before my eyes and start drooling over the colors, the pen style, and more so if the pen has sparkles. I’ve learned to drool for five minutes and if my mouth gets dry, I move on. Sometimes a beautiful pen will get thrown into a shopping cart waiting for me to hit the “pay now” button. Then the pen gets removed from the cart. This could go on for several minutes. Add. Remove. Add. Remove. It could also happen over several days. Monday – Add/Remove. Tuesday – Add/Remove. Add. Remove. I agree. This is funny. It’s also very real.

I’m getting good at doing my research. There are several things I look for in a pen. One is the size of grip or the section. I have some joint issues (from gluten intolerance) in my right hand. More specifically in my middle finger. Occasionally I will have some issues with gripping objects. My favorite grip size will be pens starting around 10mm. I am a tactile person, but metal grips do not bother me. Neither do threads on a section.

Next I look to see the nib brand is. I prefer #6 JoWo nibs. The #6 size works well with my handwriting. The JoWo nib units can be swapped between different pen manufacturers as long as they use the same screw-in nib units. There is an exception that I know of from experience. Conklin pens with JoWo nib units can not be swapped with another pen manufacturer. The threads on the Conklin nib units are different. Plus if you look at the underside of the Conklin feed, it looks different than the standard JoWo nib unit.

A few of the boutique pen manufactures who custom grinds their nibs (Masuyama, Nagahara, etc) use JoWo nibs. I have taken my favorite Masuyama nib unit that I purchased from Franklin-Christoph and put it into my Esterbrook Estie fountain pen. It feels like I have a new pen. My shopping cart is still empty.

We all love a beautiful pen. We also would love to have a grail pen. You know. The one that you think might be the ultimate fountain pen. The one that others strive to obtain. That one pen that sits on a wishlist for months or for years. I used to think that a certain Visconti pen that had swirls of blue and teal (reminded me of the Caribbean Sea) was my grail pen. Until. I went to my local pen show. Saw it in person. Absolutely beautiful! Held it in my hand. Huge let down.

I walked away from that pen show with a lot more knowledge and became smarter about my pen acquisitions.

Any new pen has to speak to me. I do love a pen that can grab my attention and keep it. Like the Abalone I have and definitely the Sparkles pen from Esterbrook. They are both stunning to look at and mostly they write beautifully. For me and with my handwriting.

Functionality also plays a part in my pen acquisition. Can I swap nib units around? Can I purchase additional nib units for my pen?

I will still drool over a new pen. I let my emotions go with the flow for about five minutes. That’s how long it takes for me to recover and move on. Hahaha!

Here are my current EDCs:

Kaweco Black Crystal, Conklin Endura Abalone with Chrome, TWSBI Diamond 580ALR Prussian Blue, Esterbrook Estie OS Sparkle Montana Sapphire, and Opus 88 Omar

I think I have a theme going on with my current EDCs. At least colorwise. I do love my teals and olive greens.

Starting Somewhere Right?

Oh my. Months have passed since I lasted posted. You can already see I’m way behind. I have lots of creative stuff to share. Yes. I am the holdup. Be patient as I get into writing about my creative adventures.

I thought I would jump right in with today. Start with a picture I took this morning:

My quick sketch of red candies. Odd numbers, like the 3 pieces, helps with composition. Placement also helps with the flow. Do you see your eyes making a complete triangle, visually?

I will be sharing this on my other social media outlets for others to see. Here at my personal site, you get to experience a bit more about my what goes through my head when I see colors. Like this Red Candy!

I typically start with my pen and ink. I recently received my Pineider Avatar UR in Angel Skin (with swirls of pinky-red colors) from a Black Friday special. I’ve been keeping an eye on this pen color. When I finally saw one on sale and with an EF nib I wanted, I quickly added to my cart. The last one. I seem to do that a lot lately.

I originally matched this pen with Ferris Wheel Press Pink Eraser. It was a perfect match to the pink part of my pen. OMG! The ink color was too light to read on paper. That appears to be a problem with a few FWP inks I received from their kick starter campaign. I will save that topic for a later post.

I quickly dumped the ink and went through my swatch cards to come up with another color. Something I could read. Like Red Candy by Robert Oster. Yes. I can always rely on my Robert Oster inks.

Once Red Candy became one with my Angel Skin pen, I immediately had visions of the red mint candies I had growing up. Many, many years ago. It was a treat around Christmas time.

That’s how my sketch started. This morning. Sometimes I just draw and see where it takes me. Other times, I’m mindful of quantities and placement, as in the picture above.

When I share my writing samples (pen and ink), my choice of paper is Rhodia. The standard #16 Black covered pad of paper. Blank paper to be exact. What?! Yes. I prefer the blank sheets of paper. No grid lines. No dots. No distractions.

Once I’m done with my photo op and post on social media, my sample sheets are dated and gets stored back into the pad. Eventually, I will punch the papers and put into a book. This is one way I can document writing samples and artwork for future reference.

I hope you enjoyed my adventure for today. Do something fun! Be creative! Stay well!