Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fountain Pen Doodling

When I used to think about drawing, a lot of things came to mind with which to do it. Graphite, charcoal, pastels, maybe even a fineliner or a biro.

During the last weeks this view has shifted a bit. I still love pencils and especially my Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks (especially the blocks are awesome, the colours seem to explode once touched by water - if you like watercolour pencils you should definitely try those), but then I started to doodle with my fountain pens and I'm really enjoying this rather a lot.

For writing I love broad nibs, but I have a couple of fine ones too and they always come in handy on occasions like these - even better if they're flexible.

If wishes were fishes... we'd all cast nets.

The above was done with a Waterman Ideal and Diamine Majestic Blue ink (though that one's far from ideal because it doesn't flow well enough - and while drawing, a hard starting pen is even more annoying than while writing) on a Midori Traveler's Notebook sketchbook refill. I bought that refill before it crossed my mind I would really fill a lot of pages with drawings and I certainly won't buy one of those again for the paper is a major letdown in my opinion. It's supposed to take ink and watercolour well but there is a lot of bleed through with either of them and also feathering when using the smallest amount of flex.
(That iris is actually circular, by the way. It just looks odd on the picture. Someone needs to whip my shooting perspective into line.)

I want a strange doll for Christmas.

This one was done with a fine-nibbed Pelikan M800 and Montblanc Midnight Blue on cartridge paper, which also shows a little bleed-through on ink heavy spots like the pupil but is okay overall. Being not really my cup of tea for writing - too boring -, I like Midnight Blue quite a lot for sketches, it's a nice colour and doesn't smudge when dry. It's also a bit more water resistant than most inks though it still will wash out quite much when washed over with a wet paintbrush.

Do you know a truly waterproof fountain pen ink? This never really mattered to me before so I hardly know anything about them. The only ink that really took well to being painted over with watercolours was india ink, but that means a dip pen. Meh.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pelikan M1000 Moonlight - The one that shines in the dark

Mystery Pen Unveiled

There are surfaces which love light, drink it, bathe in it while back in the shade they look subdued and dark. This also goes for pen's surfaces. Dark tame-nuri or tame-midori is an example, it can look almost black except when hit by a ray of sunlight (or a studio flash).

But then there's also those which start to shine when the light gets dim, like this Danitrio Mae West kawari-nuri which doesn't unfold its full charm in the sunlight.

Raden is another example, too much light and it looks dull. Put a Raden pen in a dimly lit spot and it will sparkle in the darkness like the neon lights of a nightly city.

Pelikan M1000 Moonlight and Namiki Yukari Nightline Moonlight

That the Mystery Pen was a Raden pen was easily discernible. Raden is a Japanese technique where pieces of abalone shell - beautiful colourful mother of pearl from Sea snails -, is attached to a surface with clear Urushi lacquer. It's often used in combination with maki-e and is a traditional Japanese art form. What makes the mystery pen all the more interesting is that it is a German pen, a Pelikan, to be accurate.

Pelikan M1000 Moonlight

The artwork, for which Pelikan employed a Japenese artist, Mr. Norio Matsuda, is done on the body of a Souverän M1000 as a limited edition from 2011. Raden work requires a lot of experience and patience. It's flawless. Mainly abalone pieces with a blue or green shimmer were picked to give an impression of cool moonlight, though their spectrum will also include a fair portion of purple depending on the viewing angle.

Pelikan M1000 Moonlight

Pelikan M1000 Moonlight

I posted this picture already but I'll have to show it again because it shows the abalone's lovely surface so clearly. Look at those ripples, like waves in a grotto or under a strange moon. The abalone stripes, though, are perfectly straight. It's all optics.

Pelikan M1000 Moonlight

The great thing about this pen is that it can always be your daily writer no matter what nib you feel like using. As with all Souveräns, you can always switch the nib yourself quickly and easily. This one is a BB nib, ground to cursive italic by John Sorowka.

I felt that it was time to do a review of this pen, not only because I like it so much but also because there's not a whole lot of info around about this pen since so few pieces were made and the owners seem to prefer to keep quiet about it.

To see such large pieces of Raden on a pen seems to be relatively rare. More frequently what seems like a large pieces is many minute Raden fragments put together mosaic style. When I get to it I'll show some more examples of how it can be used. It's a fascinating topic. I don't know if I will ever feel old enough to wear pearls, but mother of pearl on pens... or the pearl on the Montblanc Greta Garbo ... that's another story altogether.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nakayas nearly always lighten up my mood...

... which is why I need these pictures on a cold, grey and dark winter's morning like this one. The deep and vibrant colours, the wet-look glossy surface. Maybe you'll enjoy it as well, whatever the weather.

Danitrios, Nakayas and a Platinum Izumo.

Danitrios and Nakayas (and a savage dragon).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oh noes it's broken! Nakaya Negoro

Occasionally - in fact, sometimes I think it's more often than not - it's not perfection that turns a nice thing into a great thing but the carefully placed imperfections in it. I've heard that Arabian carpet weavers purposefully put some mistakes into their work because they believe no human is able - and allowed - to claim perfection.
(I think this isn't a bad approach at all, though I'm not sharing the religious background. Why not carefully put a few mistakes into your letter, your painting, your crafting project? That would take so much pressure away.)

Nakaya Negoro shiro-tame nuri
With this pen, Nakaya has gone a deliberate step farther and added not only imperfections but downright destructed elements to their work of art. Flawless planes of amber-coloured lacquer are broken here and there where the surface appears to have cracked, jagged outlines exposing the dull ebonite underneath. 
This doesn't only look cool - to me anyway - but also feels interesting to the touch. It becomes apparent how thick the lacquer layer - or in fact, the many layers - on the ebonite corpus actually is, that it really is thinner at the gripping section, that most of the lacquer seems to be very light with only a slight touch of a dark varnish over it.

Nakaya Negoro shiro-tame nuri

This model is the mid-sized Portable Writer. The Negoro design is often done on a Piccolo, which I was a bit ambivalent about because, though I do like the Piccolo, I sometimes catch myself thinking "Hey, a bunch of money and all I'm going to get is such a small pen?". (Yes, that's irrational, absolutely! But well, at the moment that I decided to take the plunge on a Negoro and found out that nibs.com had one on a Portable size, I didn't take too long to make up my mind.)

Nakaya Negoro shiro-tame nuri
Love these cracks. They seem to enhance the glossy surface rather than destroy it. 

Nakaya Negoro shiro-tame nuri
The only thing I am a little ambivalent about on this pen - and this may come as a surprise - is the clip. I'm having a love/hate-relationship to clips, because despite I hardly ever clip the pens to anything and especially the Nakaya clips are not really beautiful to my eye, I appreciate their stopping the pen from rolling around. Yes, Nakaya do roll stoppers, but they're definitely not my cup of tea.

On the Negoro, I decided to go for the clip. That skilfully placed crack near the clip band.

 Nakaya Negoro shiro-tame nuri and Montblanc 149 
I also decided I'm going to do more size comparisons in the future because I always find them extremely helpful myself when reading about pens I don't know about. Here's next to a Montblanc 149, the Montblanc is a little fatter - though this Portable is actually quite a lot fatter than my other Nakayas, their sizes always varying a bit because they are hand turned - but else there's not much difference here. The Nakaya is a little lighter than the Montblanc when capped but a little heavier when uncapped. The cap doesn't post.

 The nib is a plain gold 0.9 mm stub done by John Mottishaw. Like all my pens I've got from him so far it works flawlessly, juicy and smooth, and this width is my favourite. I already have a cursive italic from him in the same size, I'll compare them some time.

Like all Nakayas, it's a c/c filler. Currently inked with Sailor Jentle Rikyu Cha (I have to write more about this ink sometime. This ink...! When I tried it first I thought "uh, mud". But it's so much more than that. There's green in it, olive, brown shading... I'll show you.)