Archive for April, 2011

Art is Magic

Title: Happy birds with wings
Size: still got to get a ruler. App 14 x 14 cms in original size.
Equipment: Parker 51, Noodler’s Black, Pentel Aquash brush pen with water.
Computer alteration: I removed a smaller sketch in the right corner of the image. I also played around heightening both contrast and brightness. For comparison look at the detailed picture below, that one is not altered at all, comes directly from the scanner.
Notes: I drew this bird and discovered that he was sad. When thinking about it I concluded that he must be sad because he lacked wings. So, through the magic that is art I had a friend of his come over and give him wings. Then they danced.
Paper: Seawhite of Brighton
Upcoming: I draw almost everything freehand nowadays. I am contemplating a more detailed, planned project in the future. Also, my pictures are too small. Small is good and fast but I’d like to see how I’d fare making something on a larger scale. While surfing around the other day I went to the website of Ian Miller, one of my favourite artists. I find his large, detailed ink drawings very inspiring. I’m sure the fantasy-minded of my readers are familiar with his work already.

A detail of the above drawing: (more…)

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Discovering the joy of writing with different shades of ink, I’m surprised I did not discover fountain pen inks earlier. I love shades, blending, chemistry, drawing. You’d think an interest in inks would come naturally. Alas, after getting my first fountain pens I got a bunch of Diamine inks in small bottles from Nordic Pen Imports. Then I discovered Noodler’s. Now I’ve got more than 50 different inks from various makers (I know that this isn’t much compared to some, but mom, if you read this, I got most of them on sale).

At Fountain Pen Network there is an excellent Index of Ink Reviews section, a great resource. I also have to commend Goulet Pens Ink Drop, where you get several small ink samples in the mail regularly. I’m not a member myself, but I have bought small sample-bottles of ink from there. The Noodler’s Red Black below is from such a bottle.

So, on to the comparison. These are all the reds I have. Written with different pens, this is not a review per se as the ink behave different with different pens. I do not aspire to be a clean cut reviewer, I make up things as I go along. The paper is Clairefountaine Graf It Sketch pad. I plan to post this comparison in the appropriate forum at FPN so if you have come here from that post, welcome to the blog!

Detailed description and more pictures: (more…)

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I like the claws and the tail the most...

Title: Grumpy Librarian Sphinx
Size: I need to get a ruler. Eh. About 15×10 cm.
Equipment: 0.3 Pilot Hi-Tecpoint 5 fiber-tipped mess of a pen.
Computer alteration: None. Scanned.
Paper: Old sketchbook from Becker-Hansen, at least 30-40 years old.
Inspiration: My subconscious. Several months after I created this image I read the great short story ”In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch. It is about an apprentice magician and his classmates doing a very impressive and dangerous task as a class assignment, returning books to the gigantic magical library. They encounter lots of strange creatures, I believe my grumpy librarian-sphynx would fit right in. You can find the story in the anthology “Swords and Dark Magic”, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders. Go read it!
Notes: Another rather old drawing made with fiber-tipped pens. Sigh. Have been busy at work for some time now, not feeling inspired to draw. But soon there is London, I’m sure my muse will awaken when prodded by markets, museums, a bright orange hotel room and countless croissants.
Links: I can warmly recommend Uppsala English Bookshop for all your literary needs. Great prices, great staff and all around a very cosy place to be. Haven’t tried ordering by mail yet, since I’ve moved so far away. Definitely on the to-do list.
Upcoming: I’m thinking on publishing a post with similar drawings, one with fountain pens and ink and one made with fiber-tipped pens and the poor, abused Tradio Stylo (if I can find my old one). Then compare them with focus on line consistency, colour intensity, smearing, etc. I feel I’m making the impression of being on some sort of crusade against the poor fiber-tipped pens here, but… Ah, perhaps I am. Ahem. Where did the Shameless Preaching category go?

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The Pen: Another good find on the Internet. This one was sorted in the wrong category, so all the fountain pen nuts missed it. Except me. It is pretty, as good as new and I like it a lot. The cap is bleached by light on one side, otherwise it is practically unused. It is a piston filler, marked 60 1/2 and “M” at the bottom end.
The nib is a Warranted 14K No 4. It is the smoothest nib I have ever tried, with perhaps one exception.

The nib is likely a semi-flex but I know some sellers that would call it flex. It has a springy feeling, but soft enough that you wouldn’t have to press down with very much force to get the tines to spread. It is a wet writer. Combined with the scent of the ink, using this pen is a heady experience.

The Ink: I like the colour, very much like pecan nuts. A nice warm brown that’s rather light and has good shading. In this pen I have also used Diamine Chocolate Brown, a darker ink with almost no shading at all. I’m not always one for matching pen colours with inks, but this pen seems somehow made for brown inks. (more…)

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Title: Sad Bird
Size: small…
Equipment: Parker Rollerball, black. Pentel Aquash filled with plain water. Maybe another dark wash as well, have a couple of aquash pens around with dark washes I have long forgotten the origin of. The pitch-black areas are made with Pentel Brush Pen (permanent black ink). Buying a couple more of the brush pens when I go to London in May, I think. Not available in Sweden as far as I know. Good for waterproof black in larger areas. The red colour is Diamine Poppy Red, a nice true red.
Computer alteration: Perhaps a bit of contrast added.
Paper: Seawhite of Brighton!
Inspiration: Birds and fish seem to be ubiquitous in my drawings. See, I got to add one of my favourite words in english as well. Ubiquitous. Nice, rich mustard brown. Mm…
Important notice:The bird is probably sad because he has no wings.
Links: Diamine Ink was the first proper fountain pen ink I used in several colours. I am very satisfied with both the Swedish fountain pen shops I ordered from in my first months of pen-mania. Nordic Pen Imports for Diamine ink and Pennshoppen for my Lamy 2000 and Rohrer & Klingner ink. Great service! I think I am going to add som shop-links at the menu on the right…
Upcoming: a post about my favourite non-swedish fountain pen/paper/ink shop. Also, the long-promised Smooth-Hebborn-with-Noodler’s-Kiowa-Pecan-post.

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As a pen collector and user I like to “gamble”, buying old pens in auctions with bad pics or misspellings. I have made more than a few lucky finds, a couple of them spectacular. Higher end Parker pens are not a common find that way. Too many collectors and the design is too easy to recognize in bad pictures.

In this one auction there was only one dark, blurry picture. The word “Fountain pen” misspelled in the title. I got 5 pens without much bidding. Three of them were junk. One was a very, very abused Matador, a brand I collect and recognized despite the bad pic (the only reason I bid on the auction). Unfortunately it was in too bad of a shape to rescue (the barrel was bitten nearly through (!) and it broke in half when I examined it). The cap was in good shape though, as was the nib, only a bent tine.

But I digress.

The last pen of the lot was a black Parker 51 with a gold-filled cap. Personalized barrel. I rinsed it through, filled it with Noodler’s black and it has functioned without a single problem for several months since. I love it. I like the vintage flex, pretty celluoid and the classic 30-40s shapes better for collecting and writing, but for daily drawing this pen is awesome. The nib is probably F or EF. It is possible to get an even thinner line by drawing with the nib upside down. Close-up of the nib below behind the cut.

I believe my pen is a Parker “51” Demi-sized Vacumatic Filler Plain Arrow Clip 1947-1948. Figured it out with the help of this informative site: www.parker51.com

Dark History of Doom: When I was a little girl I used black ballpoint pens for drawing in spiral bound notebooks (graph or ruled). That was the equipment available to me at the time. The pens always skipped and dried out after a while. I can still remember the happiness of getting my little hands on a “good” ballpoint pen, using it for a short while and then having to begin searching for a new one all over again.
I wish I could travel back in time and give myself a Parker 51!


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One of the many things I like about old fountain pens is the variety of colour. A sleek black pen with gold furniture (yep, that’s the word for the metal details…) appeals to me as well, but when collecting I have come upon some vintage pens with truly exquisite patterns. Like hard candies…

This is just some examples from my collection:

When cruising the ‘net for fountain pens (which is a world all in itself) I tend to avoid promo pens. The Swedish Ebay equivalent, Tradera, has a special category for commercial/promotional pens. Modern, plastic ballpoints of variable quality, most are junk (believe me, I use them at work).
Once, I happened to click on the wrong category and this little pen was the first item I set my eyes on:

I won it, only bidder. It says “Sundins Specerier” (translates to “Sundin’s Groceries”).
I have no idea what it is worth, how old it is or what the red and black crayons hidden inside the pen body is for, but it is just the prettiest celluoid I have ever seen! Click on the link below to see it taken apart:


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