Welcome to yet another Fountain Pen Friday in which I took the photos in a hotel. Hopefully this is the last of my traveling for at least a few weeks. This week I’m reviewing the Pilot Penmanship with Extra Fine Nib. I used this pen as my daily carry during a museum conference this last week. I did not ever need to switch to a ballpoint for note-taking and this is by far the finest nibbed pen I’ve ever used.
It’s a clear pen and it does screw together… but I’m not sure if it would work as an eyedropper conversion or not due to the screw on cap rather than tight fitting snap-on. I’ll have to do some further research.
This pen makes me want to sketch and doodle and was an absolutely perfect note-taking pen. I am enjoying using it.
Welcome to a special “I took these photographs at the hotel at World Horror Con” edition of Fountain Pen Friday. Considering how much I love the Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen I decided to give the Platinum Preppy (Jet Pens, Goulet Pens, Amazon) a whirl when I ordered a bunch of stuff recently.
I really enjoy using this pen. It’s been my daily carry since I started using it.
It’s definitely a full-size pen, but it writes with the same ease and fine line that the Petit1 pens do.
I bought a fine nib and it writes with a very nice narrow line that is absolutely no problem in smaller spaces.
Good news for those who do eyedrop conversions, this pen is PERFECT for them. Because it is a larger pen it will hold a ton of ink. There’s an added o-ring as per: this tutorial, but holy cow this thing would hold a massive amount of ink. I may make this pen my first eyedrop conversion after I write out the cartridge.
Good-looking plastic pen
secure snap on cap for traveling
Cheap (Just over $3 at Jet Pens, just under $4 at Goulet Pens, Amazon pricing terrible)
While not heavy, it is not as light as the Petit1 (because it is larger)
Overall grade: A
The Petit1 still remains my favorite, but this one is RIGHT UP THERE and I reserve the right to change my mind if it is a superior eyedrop conversion.
To be honest, I don’t remember when or how I got the Pelikan P55 Future, but I’m so glad I did. (Jet Pens, Amazon)
I don’t particularly like the color red, but I don’t seem to lose this pen as much when I’m using it. So maybe the red is a feature. It also comes in black but only in a broad nib (as far as I know).
It has a plastic pen body with a window in the side so you can see how your ink level is. Unlike the Scheaffer from a few weeks ago, thought has gone into its placement on the pen. The hole is in a spot it will not rub against your hand while you write, even for someone with small hands like me.
My favorite part of this pen is that it has a rubberized grip exactly where you need it.
My middle finger has a permanent callus from how I grip my pen while writing. I REALLY appreciate the extra cushioning on this pen.
It isn’t my favorite looking pen, but it is by far one of my favorite to write with. It writes so very smoothly, is easy on the hand, isn’t heavy, and just a joy to write with.
plastic body (not dentable/stainable)
a joy to write with
red is easy to find on the sofa when you set it down
Are you uncertain about fountain pens? Do you have bigger hands than I do, but still want an inexpensive fountain pen? The Pilot Varsity (Jet Pens, Goulet Pens, Amazon) is a disposable fountain pen that comes pre-filled with ink (7 colors) and is a great pen.
I like this pen. I don’t like it quite as much as the Petite due to my freakishly small hands, but it is reliable, writes well, does a pretty nice thin line, comes in great colors… there’s not much not to like about it.
I’ve had two problems with these in the past. If they leak, it makes a big mess and if you forget about them in a drawer they tend to dry out (over like… months, not super quick). Neither are really huge problems, but I seem to have a bad habit of leaving these in drawers for some reason, so I tend not to buy them often. Also, they are not refillable. When they are empty or dry out, that’s all she wrote.
comes in good colors of ink
can dry out
Overall grade: A-
Super great starter fountain pen to see if you even like fountain pens. You can toss it in a bag and not worry about it. It’s not flashy, but it’s reliable and disposable.
I want to love this pen. I want to love it with the fierce passion of a thousand dying suns. It’s cheap, easily available, has easily obtained cartridges, and has a cushy grip. I WANT TO LOVE YOU SHEAFFER CALLIGRAPHY PEN!!! WHY MUST YOU DO ME SO WRONG? (Amazon You can also find this particular pen in your average craft section)
It clogs. It is nearly impossible to get the ink going. It has a scratchy horrible nib that makes your handwriting look amazing but the act of writing a chore. You have to hold the pen almost completely vertical to keep it flowing. I had such a bad time with it, I bought a second pen assuming that I’d had a defective product. Nope. The fine-tip seems to clog worse than the others.
Left to Right: Orange Sheaffer Cartridge, Turquoise Scheaffer Cartridge, Fine Nib, Medium Nib, Sheaffer converter, pen body (Note that it has a HOLE in it to see the ink levels. This is useful, but the hole tends to dig into your hand while writing), Cap
I repeat, this pen takes FOREVER to get the ink started. It requires a lot of fiddling. I always end up ink-stained using this pen. You also REALLY need a piece of scratch paper to get the ink flowing again every time you stop writing for longer than a second. Yes. I’m serious. If you pause to get a thought together… you may have to restart the ink from scratch. *scratch scratch scratch goes the nib*
To be completely fair, this pen isn’t really made for writing. Well, I mean it is, but it is specifically designed for doing small amounts of decorative calligraphy. Which, I mean it probably does, but you can also get those disposable chisel tipped felt pens for that. I don’t really know calligraphy. I mean I had a book at one point, but it was one of those “Thaaaaaaanks Aunt and Uncle So and So” gifts when I was of an age to I don’t know… wanted top 40 hits on cassette tape or something. (Yes. Cassettes. Get off my lawn.)
This pen does make my handwriting look really nice. I mean I’m not remotely trying to do proper calligraphy in the writing example. However, it took me about 30 minutes of fiddling to get both pens writing and you can see the scratch paper I was using there at the bottom.
not heavy in the hand
makes pretty handwriting
easily switched nib sizes
can use a converter
ink window digs into hand
hard to start ink
requires lots of fiddling
super scratchy writing
nib bites the paper
have to hold fairly vertical
Overall grade: C
Well, it’s not made badly… it just isn’t made for writing. If you’re going to address a bunch of invitations it will probably work just fine for that. As an everyday writer, it is not good. I do like the way the writing looks, it just isn’t a very enjoyable writing experience in any way.
REMINDER: Everything here is my personal opinion for my own personal style of working as of this date. My process is constantly changing and evolving and I don’t ever EVER expect that what works for me will necessarily work for anyone else. I only write my experiences because I’ve found the experiences of others to be useful in developing my own process.
An unforeseen side effect of doing these posts is that I end up putting ink in one new pen a week. Well, I need to use up the ink in some of those pens before I fill any more right now. So this week I’m going to talk about my inks and notebooks. I pick my inks on one quality – I like the color. That’s it. The whole thing. Do different inks behave differently? Sure, a little… but so far I haven’t run into any that were a major problem so I pick based on color. I try to use colors of ink totally unlike the ones I write in at work so there’s a differentiation of visual inputs. I’m a very visual person so it helps me switch brain gears.
I like Noodler’s Ink quite a bit. It’s a good value. They fill the bottles REALLY REALLY FULL, so always set them on a flat surface to open. Even in my most used colors I haven’t managed to put a major dent in the bottle. I own one “bulletproof” color and I don’t like it quite as much as the regular ones. It seems to stain ME worse than other inks and you only get a 1/3rd as much ink. I mean, it’s nice that it doesn’t wash off the paper once dry… but I’ve found that isn’t a major thing for me. It also tends to bleed through the paper more than the regular ink. The Apache Sunset came through the paper because I used a lot of it to show the gradient in the color, but I barely swabbed the Hunter on there.
I own a bunch more J. Herbin colors in cartridge form, and I find it a well-behaved ink that comes in pretty colors. I swabbed the Anniversary Red pretty hard because supposedly the hematite flecks in the ink show up on paper, but I can never get them to. It is, however, a really gorgeous red. Pelikan Turquoise makes a really consistent color on the page. I keep meaning to try it in some of my finer nibbed pens cause I think it would work well for them. The bottom color there is the most expensive ink I own and it has one of the neater bottles (its the wide one in the middle up there) which has a little pen-tip reservoir in the bottom so you can get at every drop.
I like small notebooks. I do have some larger notebooks but I mostly use those for research and private journaling. Stuff I don’t want cluttering up my writing notebooks with. The extra small notebooks up there are for repetitive things I like to keep track of in one place. The Evernote notebook has been my main notebook for the last umpteen months and has a sticker on the cover to symbolize that it has no room for new things. I still have a couple stories I’m working on in there, but I can’t start any new projects in it. The Pen and Ink is probably my favorite pocket notebook (I’ll talk more about that in a bit as that’s my new notebook right now). The slightly larger 5×7 notebook I have kicking around is the one I do most of my pen tests in and I try to sit down and write out things that are cluttering up my head before I start to write.
Adding flag markers to my in-process notebook has been a recent thing. I quite like it and suspect I will continue doing it into the future. Especially since I already employ this method at work in my accession catalog, so it feels quite natural. I’m a huge fan of color coding, so each story is a different color.
Since I write all my drafts longhand, I have to transcribe everything. I found this cheap stand somewhere and it has been a lifesaver.
While I’m actually composing I’ll use my lap desk or this handy dandy mini-clipboard I found in the $1 bins at Target one time.
When I open a new notebook, the first thing I do is number the pages (unless it comes pre-numbered). This allows me to keep a table of contents of where everything is. It also helps me track my word count and keeps me accountable. I know that each page in a pocket notebook is about 100 words in my handwriting. So I can count ahead for what will be the minimum word count I need to do for that day and circle that page number so I know that I’m keeping pace. I have a couple super super fine tipped gel pens I keep specifically for numbering notebooks. This is partially so the numbers don’t take up much room, and also so the page numbers are a different color that I’ll be writing with.
I don’t remember how I found the Pen and Ink Lined Journal. Probably I was looking for Moleskine and found this instead. It is pretty much entirely comparable with the Moleskine Pocket in every way INCLUDING price (sometimes it is even cheaper). There are some other notebooks that are just as nice, but are several dollars more expensive. I am a cheap bastard. I want the best product for the lowest price. This notebook is it, as far as I’m concerned. There are cheaper notebooks with less pages and good paper, but I like this size.
In summary: I like non-standard colored ink. Pocket notebooks are where it’s at. I continue to be a cheap ass.
Today I’m going to talk about the very first fountain pen I bought myself the Lamy Al-star (Goulet, Amazon, Jet Pens). The Al-Star and the Safari are very similar with the Safari being a little smaller and the Al-Star having an aluminum casing. I won’t lie, I bought this pen because it is a sexy pen and the color is even more impressive in person.
The pen won’t roll off your table (though I’ve managed to drop it, so there are a few dents and scratches on this one).
This is a pretty standard-sized pen in length, but is a little wider around than a lot of pens.
It has this cool little porthole in the side so you can see how much ink you have left. This one currently has no ink in it. I use this pen with bottled ink.
It does require a proprietary converter so I’d recommend picking one up at the same time. So here’s a few pictures of how to fill a pen with bottled ink. If you’re really curious, YouTube is always a good place to look for how-to’s.
This is a very nice pen. It writes REALLY well. It doesn’t write as fast as last week’s pen, but it is smooth and steady.
It is a little big and I do find my hand becoming fatigued after awhile.
Oh another thing, it has an ergonomic grip which forces you to hold the pen properly. This is good and bad. Good, cause it makes sure you hold the pen properly, bad if you don’t normally use that exact grip.
impressive (people notice it)
writes REALLY nice
solid without being really heavy
can use a converter
slightly more expensive pen
aluminum can dent and scratch pretty easy
I have not had this one leak, but the cap feels like it MIGHT fall off in certain situations
I will admit I’m just not a fan of the pocket clip on this pen. I think it would be even sexier without it
Overall grade: B+
I love the look and feel of this pen. I wish it was just a tiny bit lighter and thinner (I suspect I’d like the Lamy Safari). I did carry this as my every day pen for awhile (hence the dents and scratches) but prefer to use less expensive pens for that now.
Did I mention that I absolutely love cheap colorful pens? How about how I have really tiny hands? Well, this week’s pen is both!
The Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen is cheap in the best possible ways. Seriously, it is like a comfortable dive bar of pens. Normally I try to give a couple different buy links but for this one you really should buy it from Jet Pens where it is less than $4. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. And you know what else? The refills? Less than $2 for three of them.
I have two of these pens cause I mean, zomg… so cheap, so handy, so portable. I keep one of these in my purse all the time and it is totally not a big deal. Not only does it not leak, but it also keeps writing even if you haven’t used it in a really long time. Seriously, my cat used the white pen for a hockey puck last night and it was totally fine. No leaks and just the tip needed wiping off.
I wrote an entire novella with that purple one. It is absolutely the perfect size to just clip to the the elastic band of a Moleskine notebook and go.
So let’s assume you don’t have freakishly small hands like me. I mean, I could be a hand model for value menu burgers. That’s how small they are. WELL NEVER FEAR NORMAL SIZED HUMANOID– just stick the cap on the back and it is pretty close to a normal pen length in the hand.
Now if you are a mini-humanoid hand size, the pen without the cap is a very comfortable length and very light. I can write with this pen for a really really long time without fatigue. I like that.
And the cartridges come in these tubes that are about the same size as a pen so they fit in pencil cases and pen cases/pen pockets TOTALLY PERFECT.
Also, the cartridges themselves look like tiny little mad scientist test tubes! I may cackle a bit maniacally to myself as I put them in… *coff*
secure snap on cap for traveling. Have never had a leak.
smart packaging for cartridges
cute cartridges for evil geniuses (also good color selection)
Overall grade: A
Cheap. Fast. My go-to travel pen. Buy two, they’re small. If you are looking for a fancy writing experience this won’t work. If you are looking for a functional pen for slap dash writing, you can’t beat it.
This week’s pen is the Sailor Clear Candy Fountain Pen (Jet Pens, Amazon). I got this one as a gift from my brother-in-law and his wife. (Sorry the pictures didn’t turn out better this week, we’ve had a lack of natural light and an abundance of rain.)
This is another clear plastic fountain pen. Not too heavy, more of a standard sized pen. Screw on cap for traveling.
This pen does use a proprietary cartridge and converter. But the cartridges come in great colors and the converter means you can use any ink you want.
This pen is described as having a medium fine nib, and it’s about equal or slightly finer than a 07 ballpoint.
Because it does write with a relatively fine line, it can be hard to get started sometimes, and doesn’t do too well if the ink starts to dry out and thicken. Also you won’t get too much color variegation in inks that have it due to the thin line. It is however, very good at writing in pocket moleskines and other narrow writing spaces.
I have used this pen through two brown ink cartridges and I do have some ink staining on the white plastic parts but not bad.
cap screws on for secure traveling
uses bottled ink
writes nice fine line
plastic edges seem to stain
proprietary cartridge and converter
can be harder to start writing with sometimes
Overall grade: B+
I like this pen. It travels well and works particularly good for writing in small notebooks.
I draft by hand and tend to use fountain pens because I can get better ink colors. I’m also a bit of a cheap-ass so if you’re looking for recommendations for $200 pens, you’ll be disappointed. I generally buy pens in around the $20 range though I do have cheaper and more expensive pens than that. I buy for writing in a pocket notebook for extended periods of time.
I like it because without the cap, it is really small and light so I can write for long periods of time without hand fatigue.
It fits international cartridges and can also be used as an eyedropper pen (which I haven’t personally tried yet.)
It has a plain round grip, which works best for me, though I do wish it had a little bit of cushion since I tend to clench my pen.
I have really tiny hands. I wear extra small garden gloves (or kids sizes). So to show you the true size of this pen I’ve shown it with things that are more standard in size.
It is made of plastic which makes it light and loses about half its weight without the cap. I really like clear body pens because I hate guessing at ink levels. Also, I think being able to see the ink LOOKS really cool.
Here’s a writing sample. Line one is all caps, line two is how I normally write, line three is all cursive. Line 4 is with the G2 gel pen below. As you can see even though this is a medium tip, it writes closer to fine. I find it writes a good size in the pocket notebooks (moleskine, ink and pen, etc.) I normally use for drafting stories.
Easy to write with.
has pointy metal button on the top of the cap you could possibly break a car window with if trapped in a river
uses standard cartridges
compact for travel
cap screws on for secure traveling
hard smooth grip (bad for clenching, but will hold a grip)