ode to fountain pens

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On a recent trip to the library I saw a book titled “How To Draw And Write In Fountain Pen: A Modern Guide” by Ayano Usamura. (book link) The book reminded me that I’ve not talked about this essential studio tool in a while.

I’ve used a fountain pen almost daily since I was in art school at university. An illustration class required a fountain pen, a Pelikan Classic M200 , as one of it’s “textbooks” for the semester. We were taught the care and use of the pen – the pen care section of the book by Usamura mirrors what I was taught exactly.  Part of the class requirement was to draw with the pen daily. The professor would periodically surprise-inspect our pens for proper care/maintenance and would look at our sketchbooks as part of our grade. Woe unto the student who forgot their pen.

Fast forward to now and I’m still drawing with my fountain pen daily. It’s my go-to tool for my on-going art studio philosophy: “Work in short bursts of time. Often.”  When I’ve only a minute or two for creativity work I can easily, quickly, do an ink drawing without having to do any more “studio-set-up” than to open my sketchbook and pull the cap off my pen.  Here’s todays fountain pen drawing:


Nowadays I prefer the Levenger True Writer. It’s the best fountain pen I’ve had yet. Writes and draws smooth lines with no pressure, less mess and less constant care needed than some other pens. I use the Noodlers brand fountain pen ink – the anti-feather black kind (also called “X-feather”). And of course these days I have a whole new appreciation for the environmental friendliness of a fountain pen; less used-up-pen-plastic-parts going into the land-fill.

Anyway, the book “How to Draw and Write in Fountain Pen” happily reminded me of what I’d been taught way back in the day at university. I brought the book home from the library to read and re-remember all the fountain pen tips and tricks. And, if the book was accurate to my fountain pen experience (it was!), I could mention it to you here on my blog – and photograph the book with my Levenger fountain pen for a post on my Instagram page.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go lovingly re-fill the ink in my fountain pen.

P.S. If you were wondering – I did use a fountain pen to do the graphic-novel style drawings in my recently published book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit“.

Update: After I had written the above post about fountain pens I went to dinner in Portland Oregon. From dinner we all walked to Oblation Papers and Press – where I happily discovered that they have a wide selection of fountain pens!! And staff who know the various pen brands! Here’s a link to their drool-worthy website https://www.oblationpapers.com/

8 thoughts on “ode to fountain pens

  1. I use fountain pens to write, too though mine are not fancy except 1 that was hand made. It’s so fancy I’m afraid to use it. The craftsman recommended Noodlers ink too. I’m going to find this book and have a look and learn how to write nicely with my fancy pen.

    1. Glad to know that I share “pen love” with you!! Wow! A handmade pen!! Oh, use it Susanne – just breathe and use it! You write and think well and your thoughts merit a good quality tool for their expression! A good tool supports good thoughts! I find that the good-tool brings forward my “better self” – in that I work harder to do something that merits that nice paper/pen! Especially when I paradoxically just relax and use the “fancy” stuff as if it were a cheap thing. Here’s hoping you’ll be able to find a copy of the book, some Noodlers ink and will write however nicely or messily with your fancy pen! Let the ink flow!!

  2. This is all very interesting to me. I didn’t know that refillable fountain pens were still made, although I should have guessed. I’ve never had one, so didn’t know much about this. This reminds me that when I started third grade in the upstairs of my old (even for that time) school, the desks were double-seaters with holes on the tops where inkwells would have fit in years past. I had to ask what they were!

    1. Delighted my post was interesting to you! Yes, refillable fountain pens are still made and are having a renaissance currently due to their environmentally-friendly qualities. I’ve updated my blog post with a link to another store (besides Levenger the one I’d mentioned in the post) in the Portland Or. area that has a wide selection of pens and staff that can answer questions re. They’ll ship world-wide too. Funny you should mention the desks with holes in them! I had the same experience when I was a kid: seeing the old-even-at-that-time desks with holes and asking about what they were! Thanks for your comment!

  3. I love your drawing of the bear — so much texture it’s hard to believe you used just a pen! And I remember those desks with holes too. We used fountain pens in elementary school, only they were the kind with little plastic cartridges.

    1. Thank you Audrey for your comment! That’s fun that you, too, used a fountain pen in school! Do you still use a fountain pen when you write?

        1. I find that fountain pens have improved since school days. At least I find my Levenger fountain pen a daily reliable no-fuss work horse. Glad to hear someone besides me writes first drafts with pen on paper!!

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!