If you’ve ever sketched with fountain pen ink perhaps you’ve had the same experience I’ve had – you’re almost done with your creation and then you accidentally smear an area of the sketch that’s not quite dry yet. Doh! I’ve been wanting to try Noodler’s Bernanke Blue fountain pen ink for drawing to see if this fast-drying ink would improve my odds of avoiding any smearing. My first experiment was a success! During the entire sketching process not a line was smeared anywhere in the drawing.
Noodler’s Bernanke inks are formulated with left-handed writers in mind. This ink is smear resistant even when writing over the words (or a drawing) with your hand. In addition to Blue, Noodler’s Bernanke Ink is also available in Black. It is not water resistant, so if you want ink that stays put when you paint watercolors over it, this would not be it. For general sketching purposes it worked great!
If you’ve heard about the high ink capacity advantage that eyedropper fill fountain pens offer perhaps you’d like to try an eyedropper fill pen for yourself. You can buy a fountain pen that is designed to be eyedropper fill, such as the Noodler’s Ahab pen or a Stipula Bon Voyage pen, or some fountain pens that have a cartridge filling system can be converted to eyedropper fill. What qualities does a fountain pen need in order to become eyedropper fill?
1) Plastic Body. The fountain pen barrel needs to be plastic, NOT metal. Fountain pen ink can react with metal so you do not want to allow ink to come in contact with a metal barrel for an extended period of time. There is the possibility that some inks could stain a plastic pen, so I wouldn’t use any expensive or rare pens for eyedropper fill. I’ve never tried an eyedropper conversion with a wooden pen, but I would also recommend avoiding converting this kind of pen because wood is porous.
2) No Holes in the Body. Besides the end of the barrel where the section screws onto the pen, there cannot be any holes in the body. Some holes can be pretty tiny and difficult to detect, so to check for holes you can try blowing into the barrel to see if any air escapes from it. If any air escapes, this means there is a hole somewhere that ink will leak out of too.
If your fountain pen passes these two tests you’ll also need to get some silicone grease to create a good seal where your pen screws together. You don’t want any ink to leak out of your pen. A rubber o-ring is handy too, but it is optional. You will need an eyedropper, blunt tip needle bottle or syringe so that you can easily fill your pen with ink.
One example of a fountain pen that can be converted to eyedropper fill is the Platinum Preppy. It is plastic and there are no holes in the barrel for ink to leak out of. It’s also inexpensive so if some ink happens to stain it, it is no great loss. On the other hand, the Platinum Plaisir cannot be converted to eyedropper fill because it has a metal barrel.
A flex nib (or flexible nib) fountain pen has a special nib design that allows the tines of the nib to curve and spread apart when pressure is applied during writing. The nib’s flexibility produces varying line widths that can add character and beauty to handwriting or calligraphy.
The shape of a flex nib is different than that of a regular fountain pen nib. The flex nib tines are longer and thinner to allow for more flexibility. Flex nibs must be used carefully! If too much pressure is applied to the nib during writing this can cause permanent damage to the nib.
The degree of flexibility varies among flex nibs. True “superflex” or “wet noodle” nibs are no longer manufactured and exist only in vintage fountain pens. Flex nibs found in modern fountain pens are considered to be “semiflex.” These have less flexibility but are easier to use and more durable than their vintage superflex cousins. To get the most flex out of a modern nib, an expert nibmeister can be hired to modify a nib to create a more flexible writing experience.
When writing with a flex nib you will need to practice, take your time and write more slowly than you would with a regular fountain pen nib. The fountain pen ink you choose to use will affect your writing experience since ink properties vary, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different inks. Noodler’s Ink has created a couple of inks specifically designed for use with a flex nib: Black Swan in English Roses and Black Swan in Australian Roses. Be sure to get yourself some good quality paper such as Rhodia or Clairefontaine.
Some examples of modern semiflex nib fountain pens include:
Writing with a flex nib fountain pen is a great incentive to improve your penmanship. Do you use any flex nib fountain pens? What are your favorites? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with those considering buying their first flex nib fountain pen?
The Cool Fountain Pen is an attractive, affordable and enjoyable daily writing instrument from Platinum Pens of Japan. It is a demonstrator fountain pen, which means it has a clear barrel that allows you to see the inner structure of the pen, to monitor your ink levels and to admire the color of the ink inside the pen. Even the part of the ink feed that the nib is attached to is translucent as you can see in the photo below:
The plastic resin body is smooth on the outside and has a faceted interior that reflects the light as you turn the pen. The quality and weight of the plastic barrel and cap as well as the well-fitted polished chrome trim makes you feel as if you are writing with a much more expensive pen. Inside the snap-on cap is a white plastic insert that has a special job to do: it prevents ink from drying out in the nib of your pen. This means the pen can sit unused for many days, but when you take the cap off to write it works right away without a struggle.
The stainless steel nib on this pen has an interesting feature. According to the Platinum Pens Japan website “the nib is moderately flexible because of its shape, that the nib becomes thicker toward the tip.” When I applied pressure to the nib against the paper I could see that it would flex a little bit. The amount of pressure required to get this flex means that you probably won’t notice the flex much as you write. Maybe because I’m left-handed and have to push the nib along the page rather than pull it as someone right-handed does, this feature is kind of lost on me. It could be a “cool” nib to draw with. The nib is very sleek and modern looking with minimal engraving – only a “P” for Platinum and a tiny character indicating whether the nib is a fine or a medium. My own personal Cool fountain pen has a medium nib, which writes very smoothly, even for a lefty like myself. The Cool fine nib is quite fine – probably comparable to the extra-fine nibs of some other brands.
The Platinum Cool fountain pen has a cartridge/converter filling system, and is compatible with Platinum ink cartridges and the Platinum ink converter. The pen comes with an ink cartridge and the ink converter (for bottled ink) is sold separately. The Platinum ink converter has a couple of shiny gold or silver colored metal pieces on it that can be seen through the pen.
The Platinum Cool fountain pen weighs about 0.63 oz, it is approximately 5.5″ when it is capped, and 6″ when it is posted. Currently, this fountain pen is available in the following colors and nib choices:
Alright guys, let’s face it. Sometimes you are clueless as to what kind of gifts to buy for your girlfriend. Suppose you are passionate about writing with a fountain pen and you would like to introduce your girlfriend, wife or daughter to what the fuss is all about. Perhaps your girl is an artist, writer or a business professional and a fountain pen seems like a natural gift. Guys are often attracted to technical pens that are heavy, large and masculine in color and appearance. Women tend to like pens that are slender and lighter in weight with an attractive, stylish appearance. You may be thinking you need to buy a diamond-encrusted limited edition fountain pen (and by all means do it if you can afford it!), but a more modest investment is a good approach if you’re not sure if she’ll share your love of writing with a fountain pen. Take a look at our suggestions and maybe you’ll find something on this list that will appeal to your special friend. We’re listing these by price – from the least expensive to the most expensive.
1) Pilot Metropolitan Animal Fountain Pen
The Pilot Metropolitan’s medium nib is smooth, easy to write with and the pen comes complete with a gift box, ink cartridge and ink converter for use when you buy her a bottle of ink to go with it. A fabulous deal for the price! We particularly like the pearly White Tiger or Violet Leopard, but if animal prints aren’t your girlfriend’s style there are also other color options.
2) Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen
The Platinum Plaisir is low maintenance thanks to a special inner cap that keeps the ink from drying out in the nib. Its pearlized finish comes in a flashy bright lipstick Red as well as more demure Frosty Blue, Pink or Violet colors. For this pen, we favor the fine nib for someone new to fountain pens.
3) Set of Colorful Platinum Preppy Fountain Pens with a Pen Pouch
Women love color and many love to write with colorful ink! How fun it would be to receive a set of 7 colorful Preppy Fountain Pens each with their own matching ink color. To complete this gift it is a must to buy a pen pouch to store them all in. There are tons of pen pouches to choose from such as the PlePle Wrap Pen Case which happens to fit seven Preppy Pens perfectly!
4) LAMY Safari or AL-Star Fountain Pen
LAMY Safari & LAMY AL-Star fountain pens have the same basic design, but are made from different materials. The Safari comes in solid colors and is made of sturdy ABS plastic, and the AL-Star has a light-weight aluminum body with a matte metallic finish. Our favorite picks are the Purple AL-Star and the limited edition Pink LAMY Safari. Both are available in a variety of colors and a variety of nib sizes and are hugely popular with writers of all sorts. Writing with a LAMY is a fabulous way to be introduced to the world of fountain pens! It was what got me hooked 🙂
5) Platinum Cool Fountain Pen
The Platinum Cool Fountain Pen is a demonstrator pen, which means it has a clear body that allows you to see the inside of the pen and gives it a more “delicate” appearance. The clear Crystal Rose pink is very feminine, and if pink is not her thing then we suggest the clear Crystal Blue which is a serene sky blue color. The Platinum Cool Pens are packaged in a clear gift box and include an ink converter for using bottled ink.
6) Pilot Prera Demonstrator
This Pilot Prera fountain pen is a clear demonstrator pen with a pop of color on the end of the cap and the end of the body. If your girlfriend likes to write with colorful ink the clear body of the pen is a nice feature since it allows you to see the colorful ink inside the pen. When it is capped, the pen is very compact so it fits easily into a pocket or purse. Conveniently this pen comes with an ink converter so you can use bottled ink and is available with a variety of accent colors such as Light Green, Light Blue, Pink and more. The fine nib is a good choice for writers with small handwriting.
The Pelikan Classic M205 or M200 Fountain Pen seems to be made for a woman’s hand. It is one of Pelikan’s smaller fountain pens so it is just the right size. It has a piston filling system which means it is meant to be used with bottled ink.
9) Delta Vintage Fountain Pen
The Delta Vintage Fountain Pen is hand-made from a mother of pearl acrylic resin that beautifully catches the light. This modern Italian-made pen comes in a gift box with an ink cartridge. The marbled Ruby Red or White pens are gorgeous!
10) Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen
Besides the fact that the Pilot Custom 74 is an awesome fountain pen to write with, we particularly love the inspiring color of the clear Violet Custom 74 pen. I really want to use this violet pen along with Pilot Iroshizuku Beautyberry ink! This is the only pen on our list with a 14K nib, so naturally this pen is a bit more of an investment, but it is not over-the-top expensive. It comes with all the goodies you need – a gift box, ink cartridge and an ink converter – and it is available in several other colors such as a cheerful orange or a sapphire blue.
Remember guys, usually only one ink cartridge is included with a new fountain pen (if it has a cartridge/converter filling system), so be sure to get an extra pack of ink cartridges or a bottle of ink and an ink converter (if necessary) when you buy your gift. If she loves writing with her new fountain pen she’ll be sure to appreciate the extra thoughtfulness on your part.
Now that we’ve got 10 fountain pens on our list we feel that the list could be expanded by many, many more. All of you women writers out there, what fountain pen do you wish your man would buy for you?