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.
Update (09/04): I started this sketch after I went grocery shopping and I picked up a few bottles of gluten free sauces. The colorful bottles caught my eye and I picked up my pencil and fountain pens and started to sketch.
From my two page spread, you can see I used a different style or flow going from left to right and curving up a bit. For the open white space, I plan on writing something about this dish or writing down the recipe.
It’s still a work in progress.
I have to admit that my sketching mojo has been a bit MIA (missing in action) for the last few weeks. I occasionally get in this sketching funk and sometimes it takes changing out ink colors in my art pens (TWSBI GOs) to get going again. My plan is to dump the remaining shimmering inks in my art pens and pick out some lovely Robert Oster ink colors. Okay…back to my original post.
The prompt for the next several days is to sketch a theme that relates to what you will be doing over this holiday weekend. It could be items on your to-do-list, fun projects/hobbies, foods you enjoy, a place your are visiting, etc.
Challenge #1: Create a two page spread of your weekend activities. Think of the things you might be doing with friends and/or family or by yourself. Sketch one or a few items a day and build your story/theme.
I’ll be working on my own two page spread and post my updates in this blog post over the next few days. I will more than likely create a rough sketch with my pencil that will outline my theme for my long weekend. I have not decided whether I will I include just one day or cover three days on my two page spread. The possibilities are endless.
I will start my sketching process by thinking of the story I want to tell and figuring out a style to use. Will it look like a collage of items or random sketches across the paper? Or will I follow a pattern and place my sketches clockwise across the two pages?
Here is a previous two page spread I created back in July. My theme/story shows random objects with curved shapes spread across both pages in my journal. My objects are connected with the lines I drew through most of my objects.
Here’s another two page spread I did back in May. My theme/story was how much I enjoyed my time at my local coffee shop and capturing a colorful scene by using most of my fountain pen inks I brought with me.
Here’s a sample of my one page sketch where I documented my morning food consumption. I had continued onto the next page with more foodie activities later that day. I need to look for my art journal to take a picture of what that two page spread looked like. In the meantime, this should give you an idea of my New Year’s Eve Day Foodie theme.
I’m adding the following picture of a sketch I did at the beach. This is an example of my “window” view sketch of the beach and the ripples of water.
The above pictures are simple sketches of what can be captured with your fountain pens and inks. Keep sketching and building your muscle memory. You can always start with a pencil sketch and add new sketches each day. You can also go back and use your fountain pen inks and create the washes later.
Challenge #2: Create a two page spread of a scene. It could be your front porch, your patio, your favorite shop, favorite restaurant, favorite vacation spot, etc.
I created the following sketch back in 2019. This was my first attempt at creating a two page spread. I used a combination of my fountain pen inks and watercolors to create the front entrance of a house I visited while on the island of Nevis.
Remember to take some time for yourself. Enjoy your sketching time. You have creative license to add or remove details. Perfection does not exist. No death grips. Have fun!
If you have a hard time getting motivated, don’t forget to review your handout(s) from my workshop. There might be something in there that will get you started in the right direction. Let me know if you have any questions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Repeat two more times before scrolling further.
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.
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)
I have another ink to show off. I had this bottle of Robert Oster ink sitting in my queue waiting for some action. I can’t tell you how many bottles of blue ink I have in various shades and tones. Let’s just say I have a lot! I’m sure some of you are in the same boat.
This one particular blue ink color has really caught my attention. It’s called Midnight Sapphire! I think this would be perfect for an everyday blue color. It’s vibrant and has a bit of character.
Here’s my writing sample and swatch. I have my lovely and beautiful Turnt Pen Co Pynchon PM4 pen filled with this gorgeous blue ink.
Midnight Sapphire is a dark blue ink that leans a bit towards purple. When touched with water, this ink color leaves behind a pinkish undertone depending on the paper used. It has some lovely shading and a bit of sheen. I’m trying to figure out the sheen that I’m seeing. Depending on the angle of my swatch card and lighting, I can see a dull copper-pink sheen along the edges.
This ink would be lovely to use in a pen & ink wash sketch. It feels a bit on the wet side. You can see from my mini swatch to the left of my swatch card how well the color pulls across the paper with water. I know my fellow workshop friends will understand and enjoy this bit of information.
My Turnt pen has fast become my favorite writing pen. It now has a slight edge over my Franklin-Christoph pens and closing in behind my Esterbrook Estie pens. I have to admit I keep twirling this pen and enjoy seeing all the lovely colors.
Pen: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon in Primary Manipulation 4 with Franklin-Christoph #6 HPS Fine nib
I was up early again and had another early breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I made sure I had extra protein (eggs) for another long day. I was pretty sure a lot of people would be showing up for today’s show.
Before I forget, there were signs posted at the entrance into the show. It was good to see everyone wearing a mask.
After my breakfast I headed back to the ink tables to see what I missed from the previous morning.
I saw Barbara (one of the show managers) setting up a new ink table with Private Reserve Inks. Clearly she needed some help and I rolled up my sleeves which is a must if I’m anywhere near all things inky. I opened the boxes and then had to unseal the bottle tops and removed the caps and placed the bottles on the tables. My mind wasn’t too happy to see colors haphazardly strewn about on the table. I started to move the bottles around and arranged them by color. I tried to. Most of the bottles were full to the brim with ink and I had to be careful. I did manage to spill a doggie bowl full of pen flush across the table. Oooops! Initially it did not look like it was full of any liquid. That’s how clear the bowl was. Better that than valuable ink, right? Hahaha!
After rearranging the jars of ink, I grabbed my ink journal and proceeded to swatch all the Private Reserve colors in front of me.
I could sense people had started to arrive in the main hallway as the chatter of noise grew bigger. I checked my watch and the pen show had officially started for the public. I took a quick glance inside the main ballroom and could not believe the number of people.
I stopped by Stylosuite to say “good morning” to Les. A rare moment when his table was not busy.
Another picture of his beautiful pen displays.
As I walked around the tables and took pictures, one of the things I tried not to do is interfere or disturb people who were looking at pens. That’s why my pen pictures are scattered across several days during the long weekend.
Here are some Trenche pens on display:
The Laban tables were full of colorful and shiny pens.
I tried to walk around and get my laps in and steps counted, but even little ole me had a tough time walking through the crowds.
I wandered around the main hallway and snapped a couple of pictures where I could.
Apparently I heard some folks missed or did not know about the small ballroom. I spent a lot of time in there.
Carolina Pen Company:
I decided to head back to my room and unwind until it was time to haul my bags down to the meeting room for my second workshop.
In the meantime, I received a text from Hubby that he left the house and was on his way back to the hotel. I warned him about the crowds of pen-folks he might encounter.
Apparently at some point, the line to get into the pen show had extended to the double doors that led to/from the garage. I cannot confirm this, it’s just what I heard.
I was down in the meeting room getting the workshop setup when I see Hubby coming into the room. He asks “Okay, so what pen did you get?” Startled, my eyes must have gone big and wide as one of my workshop attendees started giggling. I immediately pull out my pen case and show Hubby my Stylosuite pen and the fancy flex nib. He thought that was the coolest thing. Before he left the meeting room, he mentioned that we were going shopping. I asked “where?” and he said upstairs. I was laughing as I thought we were going to the Mall.
After the workshop was finished, I quickly packed up my supplies and journals and headed up to the room. I had no idea what “shopping” meant to my Hubby and he does not like being around crowds.
Apparently he wanted to get me a fountain pen. I already knew which table I wanted to go back to. Hubby was brave as there still was a large crowd, but folks have told me it wasn’t as bad as the late morning/early afternoon crowd. We made our way to the small ballroom and we were in front of the Turnt Pen Co table.
Besides creating/turning pens, Tim also creates his own blanks. They are absolutely beautiful and stunning.
I showed Hubby my PM 4 pen that I had purchased the day before and he loved the colors in that pen. That helped him figure out the next pen for me. Hubby saw a Peacock (Bob Dupras) pen with lovely swirls of blue and green. He said it reminded him of the Caribbean Sea. Tim immediately knew my process and asked which nib I wanted and installed it along with a converter into the pen. I did my imaginary writing and knew that all was well in my fountain pen world. Hubby purchased my Christmas present and not to be seen again until December 25th!
Now, that’s just plain rough for me for the next few months. Knowing there’s a new pen in the house and I can’t touch it. Hahaha!
Hubby wanted to leave the hotel and get some dinner. At that moment, I did not realize how good it felt to be outside. Besides having dry eyes from forgetting to blink while looking at all things pen and ink related, I was lacking my daily dose of Vitamin D.
I could not eat all of my meal. See the empty chip basket?
Later in the evening I started to pack up the supplies and clothes I no longer needed and packed a few things in my car. Less is better in the morning when I’m ready to check out.
I was up early with Hubby and we went down to the hotel restaurant to have an early breakfast.
After breakfast, I walked Hubby out to the garage as he was heading home for the day and then coming back the next day to check out the pen show and to take me out to dinner.
I had my ink journal with me and decided to head to the Ink Testing Tables to swatch some inks. Back in 2019, the ink tables were located in the small ballroom. This year, they had relocated the ink tables along the hallway outside the main ballroom. That was a brilliant idea! That meant the smaller ballroom had the custom pen turners and and fountain pen blank designers all in one room. How convenient!
Also, there was a lot more room in the main hallway to jump from table to table to test out the inks from different ink manufacturers. One of the reasons for getting up early is I had the ink tables to myself. Each table had a few nib holders, q-tips, small pieces of paper to swatch on, empty cups for used q-tips, dog bowls filled with pen flush, and cups filled with water.
I came prepared with my ink journal, regular pen, and my water brush. I have my own efficient process for swatching inks and I don’t enjoy spending the time to clean out the nibs in between ink colors. That’s why I bring a ballpoint pen to write out the ink names in my journal. Time is of the essence when at the Pen Show. Hahaha!
I made sure I to swatch the Pilot Iroshizuku inks. The small bottles are so cute!
I knew I only had a small amount of time to myself at the tables and selectively picked certain brands to swatch from. I still had two more days (early mornings) to circle back and get the remaining colors swatched.
I checked my watch and knew I had to walk around, get my laps in and stop by a few tables before getting ready for my workshops. I immediately headed over to the Franklin-Christoph table. Scott’s tables are alway busy with fellow pen folks.
I inquired about a specific pen model and saw a pen that caught my eye. It did not have a clip, but I was told I could have one installed and they could mail the pen to me. I decided it was time to do a few laps and not make a commitment as I had other tables to visit. My gut instinct told me to move away from this table. Little did I know there was something else for me a few tables down.
Who could not resist the colorful pens at the F-C table!
I strolled along the back wall past BG Artforms, Bexley, Wahl-Eversharp, ASC, and Bittner’s tables.
A few months ago, I read about some lovely flex pens from Stylosuite. I saw some gorgeous writings with the lovely line variations as well as the interesting nib with the cut outs. Based on my personal experience, I knew some modern nibs could flex a bit with some amount of pressure like my Pilot 912 with FA nib. After writing a few lines, my hand would get tired and my writing would get sloppy.
I came across a tray of lovely pens. They were absolutely gorgeous to look at. I immediately recognized a few brands. Can you name the brands in the following picture?
I introduced myself to Les (owner of Stylosuite) and took a seat at his table. I answered a few questions about my writing style and pens I tend to favor. Les handed me an Opus 88 Omar with a JoWo nib that had fancy cutouts along the nib’s shoulders and sides and a cut that goes past the breather hole. The minute I put pen to paper, I realized I became one with this pen! Very little pressure and effort was needed to make this pen write with broad lines on the downstroke. I immediately had that “rhythm” and bounce in my handwriting.
Les laid down a few more pens in front of me that had different nib sizes (Fine and Medium) and also one with a cursive italic nib. I tried them all, but I still came back to the first pen I tried. That Omar had the Stylosuite Extra Fine Xwing Harpoon nib. It was an extremely smooth writing experience. Les complemented me on my writing. I told him it was the pen and his lovely nib in my hand that allowed me to write effortlessly across the paper.
All the nibs I tried at his table kept up with my fast writing. Les modifies the nibs and then tunes it with the particular pen that will house the nib unit. This is important to remember and I do not plan on swapping this nib unit around with my other pens. His Xwing Harpoon nib was perfect with this particular Omar. Oh and let’s not forget that the Opus 88 Omar has a “tank” that holds a lot of ink!
Not knowing how Les handles purchases and orders, I asked if I could buy this particular pen. When you become one with a pen, it’s the one that you have to take with you, right?
A writing sample with this flex nib with very little pressure. Amazing!
I was done with my shopping for the day. Or so I thought. I still had to get ready and grab my bags and head down to my meeting room to setup for my workshop.
After my first (of three) workshop was finished, I immediately packed up my supplies and papers and dropped them off in my room. I still had to do a few laps around the main venue and to also check out the small pen turners and pen blank designers in the small ballroom.
I took a few more pictures and then stumbled upon another table. Turnt Pen Co. His trays of pens were shouting my name. I slowly scanned each pen in their trays and came across one that caught my eye.
I asked and Tim confirmed that his pen was made from a Primary Manipulation 4 blank by Jonathon Brooks. I needed to feel the whole pen in my hand and Tim was gracious enough to install a JoWo #6 Stub 1.1 nib unit and a converter into the pen. He wanted to dip the pen in some ink and I told him no need to do that. I can sense how good a pen will be by just holding it in my hand and going through the motions of writing on paper.
Then a very familiar sensation hit me! I became one with this pen! It’s a similar feeling as I had with the Stylosuite pen, but that pen will be used for my fancy handwriting. My Turnt pen was about the “whole package” for an EDW (everyday writer) including comfort, balance, and weight. Could I write with this pen for hours? Yes! This feeling almost reminded me of holding a Franklin-Christoph pen in my hand. It was that good! The writing experience was just lovely and it did not hurt that this particular Turnt pen was just absolutely stunning. I can’t believe I managed to get a PM4 pen that was on my wish list. The stars were definitely in alignment and I was meant to be at Turnt’s table. I was so thrilled to have met Tim. (Thank you Tim for a wonderful pen show experience and I enjoyed chatting with you!)
After my second purchase for the day, I had to wear “blinders” and walk by many more tables. I did see some fun Esterbrook patches with the lovely Aqua Fun! theme and the Esterbrook clip. Next thing I knew I was given a lovely Esterbrook tote bag, washi tape, and a plain white nautical hat to along with my purchase. When I was wearing the hat the next day, Hubby said I looked like I belonged on Gilligan’s Island! Yeah, I’m not sharing any pictures of me wearing the hat. Hahaha!
I was so tired from the day’s activities that I ordered a meal to go from the lounge and spent some quiet time in my room. I ended up practicing my fancy handwriting with my Stylosuite pen and twirling my Turnt PM4 pen. Okay, not at the same time.
Here are additional pictures I forgot to add when I published this post.