I wanted to let my blog readers know that I’m still here. I’m still playing with my fountain pens and inks though in limited numbers and in short lengths of time.
Every few days, I have access to my studio desk where I can actually sit for an hour or two checking my emails and taking care of household activities. I no longer keep a daily BUJO or bullet journal. I resorted to creating a monthly calendar (two-page spread) that lets me easily see when things are due or need to be taken care of.
Here is the current state of my studio desk where I quickly cleaned out my Jinhao 159s and 82s. Yes, I stumbled upon some colorful 82s that needed to be cleaned before filling with ink. A short lived rabbit hole with my 82s.
I need to take a few pictures of my colorful 82s and create some writing samples. I have a blog post sitting in my drafts folder and I hope to publish this within the next two weeks.
I finally jumped off the fence and I have in my possession a Pilot Custom 742 with a PO (posting) nib. I’ve been writing with this lovely pen & nib combination for the last few evenings when I have a few minutes of free time to play. This PO nib is awesome for times when I want to write with an extra fine nib that is smooth (with some slight feedback) on all types of paper. There is something special about this nib.
My Pilot 742 collection is now complete.
I’ve been working on reviews for each of my 742 nibs. I had to dig deep into last year’s pictures to find the photos I took of the nibs and writing samples. I had started my blog posts for my SU and WA nibs last year and I forgot to finish them. I hope to publish these over the next few weeks.
Jinhao Pens: Jinhao 159 with Fine nib and 82 with Extra Fine nibs
Pilot Pens: Pilot Custom 742 with SU (stub), WA (waverly), SF (soft fine), and PO (posting) nibs
I wanted to provide one more Jinhao x159 blog post for those who are interested in how their Extra Fine nibs behave.
I had written in my previous blog post that I already have the Avocado Green version of this pen with an Extra Fine nib and it wrote like a wet EF. I was curious to see if another EF nib would write the same way. I went ahead and ordered the orange version.
After my orange pen arrived, I checked the nib with my loupe. I could tell the nib was going to write well. I examined the feed and found the familiar blue ink that Jinaho uses to check their nib’s writing experience. I removed the section from the body and dropped in some water and let it run through the feed until the water came out clear.
I filled my orange pen with Brandy Dazzle and did a writing sample comparison. My sample shows my orange pen writes a bit finer than my green pen.
The nib writes smooth with just a tiny bit of feedback.
The line differences between these two Extra Fine nibs could be the result of the different inks I’m using. I find Oklahoma City to be a bit on the wet side and Brandy Dazzle to be a tad bit drier.
I’m happy to see the EF nibs, in general, write well on non-fountain pen paper and shows no bleed through. I have several desk journals I’ve been saving for my finer nib pens.
The EF nibs can handle shimmering inks without any issues.
Pens: Jinhao x159 with Extra Fine nibs in Orange and Dark Green
Inks: Diamine Brandy Dazzle (shimmer) and Robert Oster Oklahoma City
Journal: GLP Creations The Author Tomoe River Paper 68gsm
Back in December of last year, I shared a blog post about my lovely Jinhao x159s. I started out with two of their basic pen colors that were readily available: a dark blue with gold trim and the basic black resin color with silver trim.
I mentioned at that time, I saw an Avocado green and a few other colors would be available at the beginning of this year.
Fast forward to now and here is a picture of my current Jinhao x159 family.
The avocado green color is quite pretty. I’m also thinking about adding the orange pen color later this year.
My writing sample shows the top three written with a fine nib and the last one written with an extra fine nib.
My four x159s with fine nibs (blue, black, avocado, and red) have unique personalities. The are all smooth nibs, but I can see they write with different personalities. My Wine Red writes the finest (but still wet) and my Black pen writes the wettest.
I was curious about Jinhao’s extra fine nib and how well it would perform with my writing and sketching. I decided to add a Dark Green color with gold trim. When I received this pen, I could see remnants of blue ink that had dried on the feed. I was glad to see that Jinhao tested my EF nib before packaging and shipping. I gave my pen a good rinse and filled it with some lovely olive green ink called Oklahoma City.
The EF nib is smooth with a tiny bit of feedback. It writes like a dry fine nib. Just slightly narrower than my Wine Red fine nib pen.
I’ve been leaning towards the gold trim as it comes with the two tone gold and silver nib.
I wonder if Jinhao will produce additional colors. I could use a purple and a teal pen color to match my favorite ink colors.
Pens: Jinhao x159 in Black, Dark Blue, Avocado Green, and Wine Red with Fine nibs. Jinhao x159 in Dark Green with Extra Fine nib.
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer) and Oklahoma City. Diamine Enchanted Ocean (shimmer). Van Dieman’s Ink Devil’s Kitchen.
I finally got around to finishing my floral page in my art journal. In my last blog post I had created a helleborus flower as that was the only blooming flower in our garden. A few days later, additional flowers were blooming including miniature daffodils.
I’ve been taking reference pictures for future use. I do this as time flies by quickly and when I’m ready to sketch again, the flowering blooms have long expired.
Luckily, both my helleborus and daffodils are still blooming around our gardens. This morning I stepped outside to look at our miniature daffodils before I sketched the remaining flowers in my art journal.
I like adding the hazy and blurry colors in the background of my sketches. It gives me the feeling that there are other flowers in the background without adding any details.
Pens: Platinum Preppy 02 Extra Fine nib. Jinhao x159 Wine Red with Fine nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.
Inks: Robert Oster Heart of Gold (shimmer), Blood Rose (shimmer), and African Gold. Van Dieman’s Ink Anna’s Hummingbird Wing (shimmer), KWZ/Galen Leather Prairie Green (shimmer), and DeAtramentis Document Grey.
I’ve been writing my Jinhao fountain pens dry. Literally, I would run out of ink while in the middle of writing a sentence. My x159 pens are lovely wet writers and I’ve also been using them for creating my pen & ink sketches.
My favorite pinky red ink color to sketch with is Blood Rose. Yes, it’s a shimmering ink. My Wine Red x159 has been filled with this lovely color since I received it and turns out to be on its third refill of the same color. This might be the perfect pen & ink combination for me.
In my black x159, I filled my pen with the lovely Prairie Green shimmering ink color. My shimmering inks have been flowing well in my Jinhao’s.
I’m finding Blood Rose and Prairie Green are two lovely colors that work well together and perfect for floral sketches. The inks react beautifully with water on my sketch paper and they create lovely washes of color.
For the last few weeks, I have seen some blooming beauties in our gardens. A pop of color here and there. The flowering colors range from white with green edges to a light green to a deep burgundy/purple.
I decided it was time to start sketching again. I created this loose sketch of a Helleborus flower in my art journal.
I used my Document Grey ink to sketch the outline of my flower. I used Blood Rose for the flower’s petals and Prairie Green for the leaves and stem. To create the subtle colors in the background, I wet the paper around the flower and I dropped in some color using my water brush. I was careful not to blend the colors together or I would end up with a muddy mix.
Since I’m sketching with lighter inky colors, I’m thinking about using Document Urban Grey to create the lighter color outlines of my floral sketches.
Prompt: Go outside and see what is blooming in your yard, at a park, or at your local garden center. Take a picture or two of the flower. Create a pen & ink sketch. Don’t worry about the details. Focus on the shape(s) of your flower and petals. Create another sketch using a different ink color for the flower.
Cleaning Note & Tip: When I’m refilling the same ink into the same pen, I do clean my pen before refilling. Especially, when I’m using shimmering inks. I place a towel under my pen (with feed facing up) and I use my soft toothbrush dipped in water and gently clean out the feed and the underside of the nib. I will dip my toothbrush several times into water and then onto my feed/nib. The towel underneath will pull the water and remaining sparkly particles out from the nib. I’m often amazed how much shimmering particles come out of the feed/nib.
Pens: Jinhao x159 Wine Red in gold trim with Fine nib. Jinhao x159 Black in silver trim with Fine nib. Platinum Preppy 02 Extra Fine nib.
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer), KWZ & Galen Leather exclusive Prairie Green (shimmer), and DeAtramentis Document Grey.
A few years ago, I had purchased a few bottles of DeAtramentis Document ink colors and used them for writing in my journals. I never thought about using them for creating outlines for my sketches. Until today.
I started with a pencil sketch and then sketched over my pencil lines with my Preppy filled with DeAtramentis Document Grey ink. I’m happy to report this ink performed well with my inky washes.
This is a neutral-grey ink color which creates lighter colored lines that are not as harsh as the Carbon black color. The ink dried quickly and when I applied my color wash over the ink it performed the same way as my Carbon ink.
I came across a new-to-me watercolor journal from Hahnemuhle. This white and slightly textured paper is 100% alpha-cellulose and it handled my fountain pens and inks brilliantly. This paper allowed me to create some lovely washes of color. I used quite a bit of water in my sketch and from the backside there was no ghosting or bleed through. Also, I did not experience any buckling or wrinkling in the paper while I was applying my inky washes.
This small journal contains 30 sheets of paper which makes it a thin journal. I can easily slip this into my slim messenger bag.
I placed my TWSBI strategically where I was supposed to write something about my sketching adventure. Some days I have no idea what to write and I’ll wait til the next day to write something while I’m sipping on my coffee.
The following picture shows the size of my journal in comparison to my fountain pens.
This Hahnemuhle journal has a stiff textured cover and an elastic band to wrap around the cover when it’s closed.
I have to mention the cover feels a bit rough. It’s definitely not going to slip out of my hand.
I purchased this smaller size journal to keep in my messenger bag for when I’m out and about and have an opportunity to create quick sketches. This could also be used to document my adventures while traveling.
I’m looking forward to a new year with new sketching adventures and new sketching prompts to share. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Permanent Ink: DeAtramentis Document Grey
Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost (shimmer). Robert Oster African Gold, Melon Tea, Sydney Lavender, Steely Days, Eucalyptus Leaf, Blood Rose (shimmer), and Thunderstorm.
Pens: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Platinum Preppy with 02 (EF) nib. Pilot Custom 823 Amber with Fine nib. Jinhao x159 Black with Fine nib.
Water Brush: Pentel Water Brush
Journal: Hahnemuhle Watercolor Book A6 (4.1″x5.8″) 200gsm, 30 sheets/60 pages
Edited 12/26/22: I had to pull this post early this morning and work on adding additional pictures, better details of my sketching process and do some major edits to what I originally posted. I was one tired puppy when I pushed the original blog post last night. My apologies. Here’s my updated post.
For the past two weeks I was busy with my watercolor paints and fountain pens & inks. When I had a rare “down time” moment, I made sure to spend it on sketching. Mostly, it was Christmas related sketches.
Watercolor: Holly & Berry
I created a quick holly & berry sketch.
I ended up using my porcelain palette so I could make batches of color ahead of time and not worry about running out of color while in the middle of painting.
My approach to this painting was to paint a section of my sketch one at a time and to allow each layer of color to dry completely.
The technique I used was wet-on-wet.
I painted one side of the leaf.
I then moved on to the other leaves and painted the left side.
Before I can paint the remaining sides of my leaves, I used a quick test to check by using the back of my clean hand and touch the areas I painted. If it’s cool to the touch, the paint is still damp. If it’s warm to the touch, the paint has dried.
When the first leaf had dried, I added paint to the right side.
I continued to paint the remaining sections of the leaves.
I waited for my leaves to completely dry before I moved on to my berries.
I painted one berry at a time and waited for each berry to dry before I painted the next one.
I forgot to show my test strip I created. This allowed me to see how the colors would “get along” with each other.
Here’s my final watercolor painting with the shadows. I used a blend of Neutral Tint and the associated paint color of the object. Under the leaves there’s a hint of green with the Neutral Tint color.
Pen & Ink Wash: Holly & Berry
After I finished my watercolor painting, I went ahead and filled a bunch of my TWSBI GOs with several different ink colors. I was anxious to sketch something with my pens. A light bulb went off in my head and I thought I would create another holly and berry sketch using my GOs with fountain pen inks.
I quickly pencil sketched another holly and berry on my watercolor paper. Instead of working on the leaves first, I decided to start with the berries.
Since my fountain pen inks dried fairly quickly, it allowed me to fill in the colors quickly and move on to different areas of my sketch.
I wasn’t paying too much attention to my uncapping of my pens, until I saw an inky spot or two that appeared on my paper.
For the leaves I used a lighter green color (Oklahoma City) for the edges and for the dark areas of the leaves (shadows).
Once the leaves were completely dried, I used a medium green (Eucalyptus Leaf) to add more color to the leaves and darkened the shadows a bit more. I left some highlights here and there in the leaves to show some bending. They no longer look flat like in the previous pictures.
For the berries, I used Blood Rose and added layers of color to the darker areas. I made sure to keep the highlights white by not adding color. The last layer of color was added along the back side edges of the berries.
Sketch some berries and holly leaves. Feel free to use different color inks. Try reversing the colors and use green for the berries and red for the leaves. Think outside the box in regards to colors.
Unlike my watercolor sketches taking days to complete, my pen & ink sketch takes less than an hour to complete.
I’m glad I took a break from my pen & ink sketches to spend more time with my watercolor paints and brushes. I found I was a bit rusty and had to remind myself to be patient and let my paintings dry. Also, I had to relearn a few techniques like using less water to get a milk or creamy mix of color versus a watery tea mix.
Use the back of your clean hand to see if the paper is dry or not. A cool touch means the paper is still damp. A warm touch means the paper is dry.
I hope everyone is staying warm today and enjoying their time with friends and family.
Paper: Bee Watercolor (100% cotton)
Palette: Porcelain Flower with 7-wells 4-5/8″ x 4-5/8″ x 1/2″
Paints: Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor in Sap Green, Cascade Green, Perylene Green, Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Perylene Violet, and Neutral Tint
Inks: Robert Oster Blood Rose (shimmer), Oklahoma City, and Eucalyptus Leaf
Pens: TWSBI Go with Stub 1.1 nib. Jinhao x159 in Black with Fine nib.
For the last few months, I saw quite a bit of chatter about a #8 large size nib. I saw a few pen turners making some beautiful pens with this larger nib. I forgot to test one out back in August at the local pen show. Since then my curiosity got the best of me.
I came across this Jinhao x159 and I was able to order it for under $15. Here is my dark blue acrylic pen with gold trim.
I was surprised at how light this pen was. The weight when filled with ink is around 28.30 grams.
Once this large nib hit my paper, I knew I was in for a treat.
My pen writes beautifully and my Fine nib writes smooth with a tiny bit of feedback. For the price, I knew I wanted to get the black version of this pen.
I filled my black acrylic pen with a shimmering ink called Enchanted Ocean.
There are two noticeable differences between my blue and black Jinhao pens. First, my blue pen has a large italic “x159” on the metal cap band while my black pen uses a smaller regular font. Also my blue pen has larger JINHAO printed on the cap band.
The second noticeable difference is my blue pen uncaps in two full turns. My black pen uncaps in three full turns. A few online reviews mentioned how the three turns to uncap was a bit of a concern. I’m assuming my blue pen is a newer version.
The pens with the silver trim will have a silver nib. The pens with the gold trim will have the two tone gold and silver nib.
I’ve read about folks comparing this to a Montblanc 149. Since I do not own one, I won’t make any comparisons or comments.
Here’s a picture of the nib size in comparison with my small Jinhao nib from my x750.
Here’s a side view of the nibs and the sections.
Both nibs on my x159 were aligned beautifully and they both wrote smoothly with just a tiny bit of feedback.
The pens are lightweight and easy to hold in my hand. The section is large, but not in a bad way. It means I won’t be holding this pen with a death grip. Hahaha!
The transition from the section to the body is just a slight step up. Hardly noticeable.
I’ve written with both pens posted and unposted. When posted, there’s a tiny bit of back weight while writing. I think I would notice it more after a full page of writing, but my hand was never tired.
I currently have these two pens inked up as my everyday writers and I reach for them often. My black acrylic is currently sitting in my “to clean bin” as the I wrote this pen dry.
I’ve enjoyed the writing experience with both pens. I feel as though I can toss them in my bag and carry them everywhere I go. They are affordably priced and if I lose one no big deal as I can alway purchase another one.
I’m looking forward to the new colors Jinhao will be coming out in the next few weeks. I have my eye on the avocado green color with silver trim.
Pens: Jinaho x159 Dark Blue Acrylic #8 Fine nib. Jinhao x159 Black Acrylic #8 Fine nib. Both comes with a converter.
Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Devil’s Kitchen. Diamine Shimmering Enchanted Ocean.