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Writing with a Fountain Pen  RSS feed

 
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My idea of writing with a fountain pen is that I realized how many disposable pens I go through a semester at college. So, to decrease waste and energy expenses involved with manufacturing, selling, buying, and disposal of disposable ballpoint pens, I thought using a fountain pen might be the way for me to go. Because this means I can reuse this one singular pen over and over and over again many times. the only thing that would need refilling is the ink. The fountain pen I got comes with a converter cartridge, so I can refill my fountain pen. It is a press-plate converter cartridge, so I press the plate and refill it by suction/vacuum from the plate being in the depressed position. To help with decreasing waste and environmental impacts of writing and notetaking, I am looking into Making Ink for Writing, and from the current discussion and Scott Foster's pictures, it seems like walnut husks may be the way to go for making environmental-friendly and relatively easy to make ink.

These are some pictures of my writing with the fountain pen. Most of the fountain pen appears to be made of metal, with some plastic. I am hiding the brand of the pen, because I want to hear what kind of fountain pens other users may be using, and I do not want to influence other people's thoughts on what type of fountain pen to use. This was about the lowest price fountain pen made mostly of metal I could find, and I got a little bottle of ink with it, too.

My thoughts on writing with a fountain pen so far are that:
-this is easier to write with than a ballpoint pen (for me, at least)
-the ink just flows out of the pen, and I don't have to press very hard
-
db_fountain_writing00.jpg
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me writing my thoughts about the fountain pen
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picture of the fountain pen and what I wrote
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uncased fountain pen
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revealing the fountain pen inside cartridge it came with
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showing the press-plate converter cartridge
 
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Most of my writings in school are written with a fountain pen or mechanical pencil. They are far more reliable and look pretty. However without a refillable cartridge the ink can be expensive.
 
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I've written with a fountain pen since I was a teenager.  At first it all looks rather splotchy, but after a couple of weeks, it goes rather well.  

Refillable ink cartridges are a must for me as a jar of ink lasts years.  

I keep a pencil in my bag in case I run out of ink.

Or worse, I bash my nib which is horrible and sad.  I hadn't done that in years, then I did three pens in one week.

A cheaper pen like this muji pen for my handbag, usually filled with waterproof ink.  More expensive pens on my desk at home.

I never, ever, not once, lend my pen to another person.  A nib develops an angle based on the user.  Someone who isn't used to a fountain pen (and there aren't many who are these days) can destroy a nib so easily or change the angle so that the ink doesn't flow smoothly from the nib.  That's another good use for the pencil in my bag, to lend if someone thinks they need to use my pen.

I'm hoping I get a blotter for Christmas or my birthday.  If not, I think I'll buy a blotter like this one


 
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Not directly related but my favorite podcast Stuff You Should Know just did an episode on ball point pens.  Note they bash the fountain pen quite a bit...
https://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/podcasts/ballpoint-pens-heck-yes-ballpoint-pens.htm
 
r ranson
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A lot of the problems people complain about with fountain pens are user error.

There has been some great advancements in fountain pen technology in the last few years.  
 
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The ball point pen was developed for the very reasons you are discovering.
Messy mistakes.
I have used fountain pens for years, but I have to say, nothing beats the convenience of a ball point.
I can leave them in tool boxes, have one in my trouser pocket and they normally always work.
I have found the cheaper ones hopeless.
I am surprised to hear of the trouble you have with ball points, maybe you have the wrong type, wrong size IE { fine, med, course} I always use a medium since I push fine ones through the paper.
 
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r ranson wrote:

I never, ever, not once, lend my pen to another person.  A nib develops an angle based on the user.  Someone who isn't used to a fountain pen (and there aren't many who are these days) can destroy a nib so easily or change the angle so that the ink doesn't flow smoothly from the nib.  That's another good use for the pencil in my bag, to lend if someone thinks they need to use my pen.




I did not know that!

I have a couple of cheap Pilot pens I use most often, with Noodler's or J. Herbin ink. I bought four bottles of ink two years ago, and I still have...almost four full bottles of ink. And I am writer, and I write my first drafts long hand 90% of the time, plus letters, and garden journal entries... I think it's safe to say I write more then most, although not as much as an active student.

One thing that's important to know about the pilot pens is that their "fine" nibs are really fine...I would suggest people start with the medium nib instead.

While on my (mostly failed) attempt to escape the smoke vacation the past couple of weeks, I took some "regular" ball point pens instead of my fountain pens, because I didn't want to lose my fountain pen. I was shocked and dismayed to have TWO pens run out of ink on me!

I actually enjoy it when I get fountain pen ink on my fingers, I treat it as a mark of distinction.
 
Dave Burton
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I finished my cartridge (been using it a lot to get used to it), and I am now using the press plate. I'll try to keep some notes on my thoughts of using the press plate converter cartridge and fountain pen as I'm using it more this semester.
 
Dave Burton
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So far the main thing I'm noticing is that I run out of ink after writing about a page of notes, and I am not sure if it's just the converter cartridge is small, if I'm pressing too hard still with the pen, if the pen is leaking (but I can't find any evidence of a leak), or what. So that's the main issue I'm having, I seem to run out of ink quickly when using the converter cartridge.
 
r ranson
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I'm usually seven to ten days of writing for a fill.  I write quite a bit by hand.  

The weight of the pen is plenty of pressure.  Sometimes too much and I need to adjust my hand to take some of the weight.  Try pressing as little as possible and change the angle you hold the pen to change the amount of ink it lets out.  Also rotate the pen in your hand so that the nib is at a different angle.  I usually have the bottom of my nib facing the base of my thumb. But each person is unique.  Try different ways to see what works for you.

I'm lucky, most of my family grew up using dip and fountain pens.  I could ask them for advice when I was learning.
 
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This post reminds me that I should get out my fountain pen again!

Here in Germany, all kids (have to) learn to write with an ink pen. These are simple cartridge pens, no fountain pens. Ballpoint pens are only allowed in the upper grades.

The handwriting I was taught was especially appropiate for writing with an ink pen because all letters were linked. In the meantime, the official school handwriting has changed a bit and there is not so much "flow" anymore and you have to lift the pen between letters and restart more often. Many people complain, but handwriting as such is losing importance in the digital age. I am old-fashioned and prefer the look of writing done with pen vs. ballpoint pen.

Not sure if links work here, but here is a sample: https://media0.faz.net/ppmedia/aktuell/220963948/1.2933010/article_multimedia_overview/schoenschrift-von-oben-nach.jpg

(the second from the top is the one I was taught in the seventies, my kids are learning the one in the center).

I usually use a Lamy pen which I quite like, and I have two fountain pens, one Mont Blanc and a similar (but cheaper) model.
But I have to admit that I quite like the "calligraphy pen" I gave to my daughter. They are rather cheap and come in different widths and hers is rather subtle.
 
r ranson
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This Kickstarter for fountain pen ink is amazing.
  I love how the ink bottle looks and it's almost twice the size of my regular ink brands.

There are also pledges for the pen, which I splurged for as my birthday and Christmas present for the next three years.  

Anyway, what I wanted to show you is this video on how to maintain and refill a fountain pen.

 
Dave Burton
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raven ranson wrote:This Kickstarter for fountain pen ink is amazing.



Thank you! That is a really cool Kickstarter!

Anita Martini wrote:This post reminds me that I should get out my fountain pen again!

Here in Germany, all kids (have to) learn to write with an ink pen. These are simple cartridge pens, no fountain pens. Ballpoint pens are only allowed in the upper grades...

I am old-fashioned and prefer the look of writing done with pen vs. ballpoint pen.



Old-fashioned, or not, I do agree that the feel of writing this way is so nice. And, a lot of older things are making a comeback, which I think is nice, too. There's something to be said for some older technologies, because it isn't always the latest thing that makes a difference but the things that last. In the book, Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes a good point that basic kitchenware has not changed since the age of the Romans.

As for trying to make all of my notes with a fountain pen, I have been mostly taking my review notes and summary notes with my fountain pen, because yeah, it's not the doing stuff that is hard but handling the people aspect that is difficult; I'm talking about that over at Being Different, Not Normal, End of Day I've kind of been trying to go with evolution, instead of revolution, but it would seem I still made a revolution with a lot of the other stuff that I have been doing lately at college. It will probably be the end of this semester or start of next semester when all my writing is done completely with fountain pens. I have not bought new disposable pens, just using up the ones I currently have. These are my summary notes I made for an exam I have coming up this week.

Inorganic-Chemistry-Review-with-Fountain-Pen-00.jpg
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Part One of an Exam Review Sheet I made
Inorganic-Chemistry-Review-with-Fountain-Pen-01.jpg
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Part Two of an Exam Review Sheet I made
 
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Off topic: Dave Burton: I sold good notes when I was in college. Make them make sense, xerox them, easy cash and you are already doing it anyway. :D
 
r ranson
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One of the biggest dangers of writing with a fountain pen is that toast always falls jam side down.  Or more specifically, if a fountain pen rolls off the desk, it will land on its tip, thus smashing the nib.  I had this happen to two pens this summer so I ordered some nibs.  The last time I bought a nib, the nib was nearly $50, but this time, I got 10 stainless steel nibs for five dollars.  And they are lost in the postal strike.  I got tired of waiting so I went to town and got some more expensive ones, but still a less than $2 a piece.  Time to fix my pen.

This my more affordable fountain pen.  It's Muji from Japan and I adore it!  It's been the best pen for taking with me in my bag as it doesn't leak and it has a professional look.  It's also quite a reasonable price for a fountain pen.  I was so sad when I busted the tip that I bought a second one while I waited for new nibs.



To take it apart, I unscrewed the body and pulled the nib and the black thing out.  There is a trick to reshaping the nib and I managed to get it to write quite well, but it made a fat line and I want a medium or fine one, so replacement nib it is.



Replacing the nib was super simple.  I just swapped the new for the old.  The nib is a slightly different shape in that the... I don't know what to call them, but they look like shoulders, so I'll call them that.  The shoulders are wider for the new nib, but the lit fits on fine.  It also has a hole at the top of the split and the old didn't.  So I dipped the tip of the newly assembled nib in some ink and doodled for a bit.  It filled the whole page with scribbles on one dip.  This nib holds a lot more ink than the old one.  Perhaps because of the hole.

 
r ranson
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Since I was playing with one fountain pen, I decided to check my others and see if anyone is almost out of ink.  At the moment, I'm writing with four main pens.  A fine tip with green and another filled with red - for editing.  A Muji pen filled with black waterproof fountain pen ink (note, don't use just any waterproof ink as this can dry and clog the pen - also if you must use waterproof ink, make sure the finish on the pen won't be damaged by harsh cleaners - thus my aluminium pen holds the water-proof ink) for writing notes on postcards and things that will travel.  I also have a more expensive pen filled with a dark brown colour ink for just random writing.  I like this colour because it's very soothing and creative.  The ink is Iroshizuku which flows beautifully!

Every few times I fill the pen, I wash it out first.  



 
r ranson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Which pen did you buy? All my fountain pens take ink cartridges--I'd love to have a refillable one!



If you know what kind of pen you have, you can buy refillable cartridges.  There are some universal ones out there too but they tend to be hit or miss.
 
r ranson
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a video about using a fountain pen - how to avoid common errors.

 
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I used to work in a store that sold fountain pens so I got to test a bunch of them! By far my favorite was a pen (no longer available sadly) made by a German co. Zeppelin. My second runner-up was a Montblanc. I still wish I had that Zeppelin, I really loved the weight, feel, and flow rate of that pen!
 
r ranson
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I found a forum all about fountain pens.  More specifically this thread about things that can go wrong with foutain pens and how to fix them.


Nifty stuff.
 
r ranson
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I took my waterman pen apart for cleaning today and discovered that the reason the ink wouldn't feed is because chunks of gold (coloured) plating were stuck in the grove that the ink travels along.  I think it's time for a new nib.
waterman-fountain-pen.jpg
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r ranson
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This week I learned that different inks can interact with each other and make weirdness and semi-solid goo that clogs the pen.

I changed the ink in a pen but was too lazy to clean the pen first.  When I went to write, the ink had changed to thick goo resembling Silly Putty.  I'm glad this was a cheep pen but because it was a cheep pen it wouldn't come apart to clean properly so it's been an interesting challenge trying to get this pen working again.
 
Dave Burton
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I decided journaling might be helpful, for me, so this is a journal entry I wrote with my fountain pen.

I like cursive, because it flows nicer when writing, and it feels like it captures my emotions better. Also, I'm glad I was taught cursive in grade school.
journal.jpg
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Dave Burton
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This is a journal entry of mine from last night. I am learning different approaches to drawing, while I am writing in my journal. Yesterday's new drawing style to learn was blotting, and I thought it was fairly interesting.
more-journal-writing-and-drawing.jpg
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r ranson
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Very nice work.

What kind of ink are you using?  Have you tried different inks?  I noticed some inks work better in some pens than others.

 
Dave Burton
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I'm using Waterman's Ink, and I have not tried using other types of ink yet.

What are your favorite pen and ink combinations, Raven?
 
r ranson
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Dave Burton wrote:I'm using Waterman's Ink, and I have not tried using other types of ink yet.

What are your favorite pen and ink combinations, Raven?



That's a good everyday ink.  I used that for years but recently I switched to Pilot Iroshizuku inks because they feel so smooth and dry quickly.  I'm an expert at smudging wet ink.  

But I'm still playing with different inks.  Goulet Pens has some sample vials for really cheap and I'm thinking of buying a batch to play with.  

Pen choice for me is how I feel.  I like the Muji pen I got from amazon because it's affordable, the nib writes really fine and it's easy to repair (see upthread).  I also like my Ferris Wheel Press pen with their ink.  It's hard to say what pen I like because it depends a lot on the mood.  But the Pilot inks have been brilliant in all of them.  
 
Dave Burton
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This is my journal entry from yesterday, and I was trying another attempt at crosshatching.
journal_with_cross_hatching.jpg
[Thumbnail for journal_with_cross_hatching.jpg]
 
Dave Burton
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Yesterday, I tried my hand at sketching with pencil again. I am slowly finding that what the book I am reading said about "drawing helps you see things for how they really are" is kind of true, because I think what makes drawings look more realistic is that they have that attention to detail to what it going on, not what I think is going on. I've still got a long ways to go, but I am learning.
2019_01_14_journal_sketching.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2019_01_14_journal_sketching.jpg]
 
Dave Burton
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Yesterday had a good evening, which made my journal entry for the day!

Here's what my friends thought of me running in the snow barefoot with just a shirt and t-shirt:
"You're crazy, and I mean that in an endearing way."
"You're crazy, actually crazy. I believe it!"

2019_01_17_journal_entry.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2019_01_17_journal_entry.jpg]
 
Dave Burton
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I tried my hand at cross-hatching again!
2019_01_18_journal_with_hatching.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2019_01_18_journal_with_hatching.jpg]
 
r ranson
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This is how I usually draw items.



There is no spellcheck on my fountain pen.  I also have zero drawing ability.

Today I saw this picture and I wondered if maybe I could draw a different kind of 'be'



So I tried it.  Remembering that I have no talent for this kind of thing, but I wanted to play with my new ink (take-sumi (black) iroshizuku ink by Pilot) to see how quickly it dries.  



It looks a bit squashed and my attempt to smudge in the shading for the wings didn't work (the ink dries too fast for that - which I love).  But I love how the ink interacts with normal paper.


You know, I drew this faithfully to how I saw it, but looking at the two side by side, I can see that my vision of the world isn't like the world.  Maybe that's why I'm so bad a drawing.
 
Dave Burton
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Hehe! I don't have much talent drawing, either, Raven! Your bee is good; I like it! And also, I think the inconsistencies in one's own art versus the world give them some of their unique qualities, too! I think It ia part of what distinguishes drawings from photographs.

i think some of it is also to take my time with the drawings. It may not be the difference between how you see the world and how the world is; maybe just a little more practice and attention to detail will help improvement occur over time.



This is the drawing kit that I am using comes with a sketchpad, pencils, charcoal, eraser, and sharpener in it. It also comes with a little book that guides you through learning to draw. It does come with a pen of its own to use, too, but I'm using my fountain pen, because I prefer the feel and look of the fountain pen more.
 
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I used a cartridge pen or a fountain pen for several years as a teenager and young adult.  I felt that my penmanship was a lot better over my penmanship with a ballpoint pen or a pencil.  I eventually gave up and started using ballpoints because I just don't pay enough attention to where I put my pen.  I lost them too often to continue.  While I was single, I didn't mind the cost as much, but when I got married and especially as a full time student, working to provide for a wife and kids it just wasn't in the budget.  That was a few decades ago.  I looked at the cost recently and think, maybe, when the kids are out of the house and I can leave the pen on my desk, I might try again.  For carrying in my shirt pocket, I am still not responsible enough.  (As John Wayne said 'A man has know his own limitations".)
 
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r ranson wrote:This is how I usually draw items.



There is no spellcheck on my fountain pen.  I also have zero drawing ability.

Today I saw this picture and I wondered if maybe I could draw a different kind of 'be'



So I tried it.  Remembering that I have no talent for this kind of thing, but I wanted to play with my new ink (take-sumi (black) iroshizuku ink by Pilot) to see how quickly it dries.  



It looks a bit squashed and my attempt to smudge in the shading for the wings didn't work (the ink dries too fast for that - which I love).  But I love how the ink interacts with normal paper.


You know, I drew this faithfully to how I saw it, but looking at the two side by side, I can see that my vision of the world isn't like the world.  Maybe that's why I'm so bad a drawing.



That's actually really quite good, especially without training, and on your first try, and with a pen. If I were to try to draw a bee with a pen, it'd probably come out even more mal-proportioned. I used a pencil to draw, because as I draw I notice things that are wrong, and then I can fix them. If I want them in ink, I ink it AFTER I draw it in pencil.

I think a LOT of drawing is just learning how to see accurately. That takes a lot of practice. It takes a lot of practice to look beyond what our brain categorizes things as (like, a head is round and the eyes are at the top) to see what is actually there (e.g. head is more oval, and eyes are in the middle). One needs to know how to perceive. One thing I sometimes do, to see if I'm drawing something right, is to hold it up to a mirror. That will often point out any mal-proportions that I couldn't see when looking at it while drawing.
 
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I decided to use a combination of tools in what I drew for yesterday's journal. I decided to use fountain pen for the outline and general shape, and I used pencil for shading.

For a slight sidenote, I'm thinking a bit about sustainable or less wasteful and manufactured artwork. I am thinking that perhaps charcoal on wood could be fairly renewable, since both the charcoal and wood will be able to be grown from trees. Maybe this could go even farther, like in the making ink for writing thread. Perhaps, if it was a walnut tree, charcoal, ink, and wood could be derived from the tree. Maybe the paper could and charcoal could be made from the walnut husks after the ink has been taken out; then, one wouldn't have to chop down a tree, perhaps.
2019_01_19_journal.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2019_01_19_journal.jpg]
 
Dave Burton
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Yesterday was a pretty nice day, and I tried my hand at shading again. I wanted to see if I could make something look three dimensional with shading.
2019_01_22_journal_with_peach_shading.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2019_01_22_journal_with_peach_shading.jpg]
 
Dave Burton
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I'm working a little bit more on creating three dimensional form. This was trying to make form by using patterns.
2019_01_23_journal_with_3D_form.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2019_01_23_journal_with_3D_form.jpg]
 
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