Fountain Pen Sketches

When I was 18, young and naive and arrogant, I used to regard fountain pen collectors with a touch of disdain. How could these crazy people justify spending tiny fortunes on tools that essentially fulfilled the same function as a £0.50 ballpoint pen? Especially when these expensive tools required regular maintenance and cleaning, and needed to be taken care of, and refilled carefully via syringe- like converters or piston mechanisms, or cartridges that had to fit just right?

Then I tried the Platinum Carbon Pen, and realized what I’d been missing out on. I’m 24 now and although I still haven’t dipped into what might be considered the domain of true fountain pen geeks, I have a few pens that have changed my views completely. First off, Platinum’s Carbon ink is one of the very few fountain pen friendly inks (won’t clog the feed) that is also jet black, lightfast and waterproof. There are plenty of fineliners that do this, but their tips and bodies are made out of plastic, and there’s no way to refill them. After a few sketches their tips fray, and their inkwells empty, and it’s time to toss them away. I hate throwing things away, especially plastic. Can’t claim to be one of the most environmentally conscious people around but it does sting.


With a fountain pen, you get a high quality metal nib that’s designed to last for decades. Like many new fountain pen users I stuck to the convenience of cartridges for a while, before switching over to converters and piston fillers- and this opens up a huge range of possibilities. The sheer variety of inks available in the world is mind- numbing. I filled my TWSBI Eco pen with Diamine Sepia ink for sepia sketches, and my Lamy Logo with Diamine’s Chocolate Brown for darker brown values. I tried an even darker shade of brown in my Platinum Cool pen, and kept my ultra fine carbon pen inked with carbon ink for a waterproof line. You can mix these with Copic markers, because fountain pen inks are water based but Copics are alcohol based. You can mix them with watercolours, too, the softer brown shades adding warmth to any colours you lay down.


It’s a dangerous hobby, so I have to keep myself in check and not order all the brilliant exotic inks out there.

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