fountain pens, inks, paper, calligraphy, writing, envelope art


Pelikan Pens

My photo is already out of date, but the best that I have at the moment. Pelikans continue to be my most used pens since piston fillers are easy for me to clean and are so reliable to write with.


Calligraphic Demos on DVD

Caliken now has a DVD with video demonstrations of various calligraphic hands on his site, Decorative Lettering. He’s a pro, so if you’d like to see how it’s done, these demos may be just what you’re looking for!

The Incredible Nib

The Incredible Nib is made of nylon acrylic fiber and comes in several nib shapes, i.e., deer foot, pointed, chisel edged, etc. I have the latter. Before use, one wets the nib and the nib will wick up liquid but doesn’t get soft and mushy like a sponge does. Some of the suggested uses are blending paints, lifting out, applying frisket, gouache, acrylic, and fabric paint. When I needed an easy to mail gift for my daughter, it occurred to me that a personalized tote bag would be ideal. I used “the nib” to apply pearlescent acrylic paint when lettering on the now very washed out tote bag shown below. The rose was also done with this paint. (Not all of the lettering was done with this “pen”.) The Incredible Nib can be sharpened or reshaped with sandpaper. I tried to reshape the small end of mine, but as I recall didn’t get it the way I wanted it. You can see that I somehow bent it in the process in the photo below. This tool can be found at Dick Blick, Pearl Art Supply, MisterArt and other places.



Well, really, it’s a Clairefontaine staple bound notebook. The company makes a variety of journals, but their notebook pictured here works well for me. It’s $6.oo, and the fountain pen friendly paper is a joy to write on!


Suede Pens

I’d almost forgotten about my suede pens. Haven’t used them in awhile, but they’re great for lefty overwriters like me when larger letters are called for.  Made of ultra-suede, they can be used with washable ink and watercolors. After use, it’s best to clean them immediately under a running faucet. They come in seven sizes beginning with 1/4″ and going up to one and one forth inches. Replacement suede is available (or at least used to be), though I haven’t seen even the pens for sale lately, except at John Neal Bookseller. You will find a link to his site on my sidebar. With these pens you can do the big, fun stuff! 🙂
Suede Pens 1/4" and 3/8"

Suede Pens 1/4" and 3/8"

Favorite Inks!

In this post are my keeper inks that I will rebuy if they are available; several have been discontinued. The rest of my inks, well I dunno. Sometimes it seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth to sell them. I guess there have been worse dilemmas! 🙂

Just Wishing

I doubt–in fact, I know I’m not the only one that wishes that my pens that are worth a little more wrote as well as some of the el cheapo pens write. The two silver pens pictured below are the only silver pens that I have, neither of which have been star performers.

The Waterman is a family pen which I’ve had restored to pass along in the family. The Parker, which I bought in the 1970s, sat in my drawer for 25 years. I’m using it again now, occasionally, but it is finicky about it’s ink diet. It likes Lamy Turquoise, but I’m trying to coax it to try for a more balanced diet!

Parker 75 Cisele and Waterman 452 1/2v

Best Fountain Pen Discovery of 2008

Not my favorite to behold, not even my best writer, but a good writer that doesn’t miss a beat. This was the only pen I bought in 2008 that didn’t need to be tweaked!.

The nib gives some feedback, thus it’s not the smoothest writer, but it never skips. Capped, it’s about 1/4″ longer than the popular Dollar piston filler. Also, like the Dollar pen, the Staedtler sports a blind cap covering the filling mechanism. The pen doesn’t leak or blob and ink doesn’t rapidly turn darker in it. What’s more, the F nib is a true fine. Considering that it was slightly under $20. shipped, I couldn’t ask for more for the money.

Staedtler Piston Filler

Fountain Pen Collecting

Accumulating may be a better word than collecting in my case. How did this become a hobby after years of owing and using various fountain pens? I’ll blame it on the internet! Prior to being online, my focus was on the use of my pens, not acquiring more of them. One day I searched for “fountain pens” online, bookmarked a page, and about a year later got back to it. Of course there were links to a lot of other sites and I saw a lot of pretty pens. 🙂 I was amazed to see the array still produced, as well as vintage pens–some just like I have. The rest is history.

This a photo of my 1st fountain pen which I purchased in 1953.

At this point, I guess I could say I’m back to focusing more on use again, after exploring and trying out a number of brands of pens and various nibs. But I know I’ll still buy a new pen now and then. However, my wish list has become pretty short. As a lefty overwriter that holds pens at a 75-85 degree of elevation, many pens just won’t write well for me. Mostly, I’ll be sticking with what I know works well.

Hello Pen Friends!

I’ve surprised even myself at the changes in what, how, and how to organize what I want to collect. My fountain pen drawers have gone from color grouping, to brand grouping, to grouping inked or non-inked pens. And more. Not long ago I decided to ink virtually all of my pens, as I don’t want to bother with rotating pens in & out of use. This was an eye opener. (I have close to 100 pens.) My go-to pens became more apparent–and these weren’t always my most treasured for various reasons.  What constitutes a go-to pen, for me?

  • Starts immediately, even after non-use for a reasonable time, i.e., at least a few weeks.
  • Doesn’t skip or miss at the beginning of a stroke, or miss strokes in a certain direction.
  • Must not leak into the cap and onto the section.
  • Ink must not turn dark in the pen quickly, i.e., in a few days (preferably not within several weeks!)
  • Must show the ink I want to use it with to its best advantage–not too light or too dark to begin with.
  • Pens with pointed nibs must write with a fine enough line to suit me.
  • Ink flow must not be so fast that I have to write faster to keep up with it & destroy how my handwriting looks.  (Usually, a flow this fast means a wet writer–which I won’t keep anyway–as a lefty overwriter that has an issue with smearing.)

How will/has this affected my ideas on pen collecting & organizing?  Yes, I’ll keep some that are  favorites for one reason or another but that may only be inked “once in a blue moon” (favs for looks, sentimental reasons, etc.)  These will be stored separately. Some pens will be traded or sold. I’ll be buying fewer pens, and those I buy will mostly be brands that I know I do well with.

As to ink, I like to use 11-12 general colors. I used to think it would be nice to have various brands of at least 3 or 4 of each for variety. But I began to feel that I was swimming in ink! So this, too, has changed for me.

For awhile, all of these changes in direction seemed slightly disturbing, but upon reflection, I guess this is part of what keeps the hobby interesting. :)