My Pilot Preras and Calligraphy Medium Nibs

Edit: I forgot to mention that the nibs and feed from my Pilot Metropolitan and Plumix fountain pens are swappable with my Pilot Preras. The nib and feed are friction fit. Pull out the nib/feed from one pen and push into another.

I have a thing for my Pilot Preras. Especially my pens that have the Calligraphy Medium or (CM) nibs. The (CM) nib writes like a medium nib, but with a stub-like feel. Instead of having smooth edges, the edges of the (CM) nib are crisp-like and can produce an italic style of writing with of course crisp edges. Because of the distinct crisp-like edges on the nib, there is a sweet-spot when writing with these nibs. If I turn my nib a bit while writing I can feel the edge of the nib grind a bit into the paper. It’s a reminder that I need to hold the pen with the nib flat against the paper.

My Pilot Preras are the colorful and transparent models. They are beautiful to look at and lovely to write with.

They are small in size, but when posted they are comfortable in my hand. I keep one or two Preras inked and they have a special place on my studio desk for jotting notes and for journaling.

In my pens, I use my empty Pilot ink cartridges instead of the converters. I find it’s easier to fill the cartridges and clean them. They also hold more ink than the included converters.

I recently filled all of my beauties with different brands of inks and used them to sketch with.

Here’s my writing sample showing the different ink brands I’m currently using:

The CM nib really enhances my handwriting and makes it look a bit more elegant.

These are fun pens to write and sketch with. The pens have a lovely snap cap feel that is smooth and solid when I remove and put the caps back onto the pens. When posted, the cap slides securely to the back of the pen.

The clip on the Preras are well made. My pens slide in and out of my pen cases without snagging or getting caught in the openings. I have a few other fountain pens where their clips enjoy holding on to the fabric as I try to pull them out of my pen case.

My Preras are noticeably smaller in size when compared to my favorite fountain pens. I actually don’t mind their compact size as I can easily slip my pen into a travel sized notebook or into a pen slot in my purse or backpack.

Pens: Pilot Prera Transparent colors (light blue, light green, black, pink, & orange) with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nibs.

Inks: Diamine Asa Blue and Amaranth. Monteverde Olivine. Private Reserve Copper Burst. Vinta Inks Damili.

Paper: Rhodia

An Automatic Pen, a Pilot Parallel Pen, and My Opus 88 Pen Hack

I’ve changed up how I do my fountain pen ink swatching by using a way cool tool called the automatic pen. I’ve mostly used it to swatch ink colors in my ink journal which I have posted a few pictures from my previous blog posts.

My automatic pen used to create my ink swatches in my Stalogy 365 ink journal

I saw someone use an automatic pen to create their swatches on their Col-o-ring cards and also in their fountain pen ink journal. I thought that was the neatest thing to use and had to try one out. The automatic pen puts down enough ink to see any sheening properties the ink might have (depending on paper). It has improved my swatching process as well as saved me from using q-tips to smear the ink on paper.

I like how the automatic pen holds the ink in it’s “nib” area (sandwiched between two metal plates) and how easily the nib can be cleaned. I dip the nib in some water, swish the water around, and dry off the nib. I know many folks use this type of pen for calligraphy and have to re-dip the nib when the ink runs out. That is a similar process for pointed pen calligraphy.

Side of the nib

The automatic pen reminds me of my Pilot Parallel pens. The only difference between the two, my Pilot pen can use a cartridge, converter, or be used as an eyedropper pen.

I use my Pilot Parallel for decorative writing (cards, small signage, etc) and for sketching. The nib on this pen uses a lot of ink. I could easily go through an ink cartridge within a few short hours of writing and sketching.

Close up of my Pilot Parallel pen with 1.5mm nib

Then I came across a “hack” for my Parallel pen. I could put my Pilot Parallel nib into my Opus 88 Omar fountain pen. What?! I immediately saw how beneficial this hack could be with using a larger ink capacity pen with a decorative writing nib. This combination would allow me to write and sketch longer than a few hours or even a day or two.

Pilot nib unit with a tiny o-ring

The Pilot nib and feed can be removed easily by pulling out the nib from the grip/section. On the Opus 88 Demonstrator, just unscrew the nib unit (nib/feed/collar) from the grip/section. There’s a tiny o-ring that also needs to be removed and saved with the Opus nib unit. Take the Pilot nib and feed unit and push it into the Opus grip/section until you can feel it click into place. That’s it!

My Opus hack!

I put my Opus nib unit along with it’s o-ring and store it in a zip lock bag for safe keeping

Here’s a writing sample from my hack:

Oooops! Correction “to”= “too”

Why do this hack?

  • Personally, my hand prefers a girthy pen and my fingers relax more while I write
  • The Pilot Parallel nibs lay down a lot of ink
  • Opus 88 pens have a huge ink capacity that allow for longer writing sessions

The Pilot Parallel nib and feed fits into the Opus 88 Omar demonstrator and the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator pen as long as they use the JoWo #6 nib unit.

Pens: Automatic Pen, Pilot Parallel 1.5 mm, and Opus 88 Omar Tainan

Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Ku Jaku

Paper: Ayush Paper pad (fountain pen friendly)

Currently Inked

Here are my currently inked pens. I’ve been doing well in keeping my goal of having a handful of pens inked at one time. Sometimes a pen friend will ask a question and I’ll immediately ink up a pen to show the writing experience. So far, I’ve managed to keep variety of different ink colors available for my personal writing.

Here’s the list of ink colors:

The Rohrer & Klingner inks are fast becoming one of my favorite ink brands. Their ink colors are vibrant and stunning and they make beautiful ink washes.

Happy Wednesday!

Spring Cleaning and Spring Colors

I did not want to go a whole week without posting an entry on my blog. I’ve been busy with Spring cleaning in my studio and tackling other rooms in our house. I have also been creating several pieces of watercolor artwork that are taking some to finish as I need to let the paintings dry between the layers of paint I’ve applied.

I have also been enjoying the warmer weather in our area and getting into the change of season. I thought it would be a great time to start taking a few of my fountain pens out of rotation.

Earlier this week, I ended up cleaning about a dozen pens. Many of them I used for my pen and ink artwork. Most of my pens had a few drops of ink left in their barrels and I wanted to replace the darker colors with lighter and brighter colors. For now, the pens will remain empty as I’m focusing on my watercolor skills.

I needed a few pens to use for journaling and for setting up my BUJO (bullet journaling) for the month of April. Here are my three currently inked EDWs (everyday writers) that I could not wait to share. They happen to also be my three favorite fountain pen brands.

My Spring trio of pens (L-R): Platinum Century 3776, Franklin-Christoph #31, and Pilot Custom Heritage 92

It worked out that my Platinum and Pilot pens were a perfect match to go with my Candystone pen from Franklin-Christoph.

Cleaning out the old ink from Candystone

When I received Candystone a few weeks ago, I had filled it with Sydney Lavender. The previous picture shows the section with nib and feed sitting in a glass stuffed with paper towels. The colors in the paper towel confirms why this ink color is a perfect match with this pen. I went ahead and refilled my pen with the same color.

Pens/Inks:

  • Platinum Century 3776 Nice Lilas (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Red Lipstick
  • Franklin-Christoph #31 Candystone (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Sydney Lavender
  • Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Transparent Blue (Medium) filled with Robert Oster Tokyo Blue Denim

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.