Fountain Pen Sketching: 7 part series

December 1, 2015 | 18 Comments

In December 2015 I am doing a series of blog posts all about using fountain pens for sketching – the most important aspects to consider and some personal preferences after years of using them.

Rather than doing in-depth studies and reviews, I want to create an overview with links to other information. So I plan to update these posts as I discover more information or do more detailed reviews myself.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2. Why draw with a fountain pen?
Part 3. Using a fountain pen
Part 4. Choosing a fountain pen
Part 5. Basic fountain pens
Part 6. Fountain pens with variable lines 1
Part 7. Fountain pens with variable lines 2

And just for fun:
Behind the Scenes!

I am very excited that Goulet Pens has put together a shopping guide based on my recommendations. This guide lists the exact models, colours and nib sizes that I would choose (eg. I like clear demonstrator pens) but if you would like to see the full range and make a selection to suit yourself, please click on the “full range” link under the pen descriptions in Parts 5-7. For comparison purposes I have included the current list price* of each pen but please check the price on Goulet Pens’ site. Just a reminder that this is not a sponsored post nor are there any affiliated links. Please feel free to do your own searches for the best deal in your country, but I do recommend that you follow the links to Goulet Pen’s site so that you can read customer reviews and watch Brian’s videos.

And I am even more excited that Goulet have put together a special package set of my favourite pen – the Lamy Joy – the set includes a 1.1 calligraphy nib that comes with the pen, a fine nib and a converter at a special price.

Once you have a fountain pen you will have to start drawing with it!
If you would like to learn the fundamentals and the start urban sketching please check out my Foundations online course.

Subscribe to my mailing list for my monthly newsletters for first news of new courses and face to face workshops in Australia (and overseas!)


  • Myra Reid - March 12, 2016 reply

    Hi Liz. I've recently discovered your blog and think it's great. I was very interested in reading your fountain pen sketching series, but the link to Part 3 seems to be broken. Looking forward to reading it soon!

    • Liz Steel - March 12, 2016 reply

      thanks Myra - just fixed the part 3 link!

  • Grace Chua - March 12, 2016 reply

    Hi Liz, I have also recently discovered your blog and Instagram, and love all your work and tips! I have just begun my journey into sketching, exploring with ink and watercolours and find your work very inspiring! Thank you, God bless! By the way, do you have recommendations re suppliers in Australia to buy fountain pens? I can't seem to find to get the preppy pens for a starter

    • James McLeran - July 15, 2016 reply

      Hi Liz, I have been reading your blog and am a committed sketcher. Can you recommend a permanent black ink for in ink and watercolour wash, that is suitable for my new LAMY Safari fountain pen.

  • Jacqueline Peters - May 16, 2016 reply

    Hi Liz, I have recently been introduced to your blog and would like to go through your Fountain Pen Sketching series but parts 1 and 3 are no longer available it seems. Is this a technical problem or have you removed them for some reason? Thanks, love your work!

    • Liz Steel - May 17, 2016 reply

      sorry Jacqueline, all the links to the FOuntain Pen series should be fixed now (I recently upgraded my site and a few links got lost in the process) Go to this index for all links.

  • Alex Kim - October 12, 2016 reply

    RE: Non Dry Highlighter Fountain Inks Dear Sir/Madam, We would like to introduce us as one of the manufacturer of special Non dry highlighter inks in Korea, which means no drying out even without cap for long time. These inks are very colorful, non dry, no clogging for long time under cap off and very suitable for fountain inks or fountain pen refill inks. We also produce the wide range of Non dry inks and these water based inks can be applied in Highlighter marker Ink, Sign pen, Gel pen, Ballpoint pen, Several kinds of children inks, Many kinds of refill ink. This is non-toxic and washable type. We hope to establish business relation with your company. Company name: PolyChem Contact with: Mr. Alex Kim (Sales Manager) Tel: 82-10-2876-2467 E-mail: [email protected] Will appreciate your early reply! Best regards, Alex Kim

  • Fountain Pen Sketching Part 1: A new series : Liz Steel - December 12, 2016 reply

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  • Alli - May 6, 2017 reply

    This series is amazing! I stumbled across your blog (after being enthralled with Jane Blundell's for awhile) and have been loving all the information provided in your posts. I, too, love colors and have such a hard time narrowing down to just 12-14, especially when some of the colors I love aren't the "right" colors according to some people. You've inspired me to keep sticking with what I like while still trying new things. I have hopefully also found a sketchbook I can enjoy after reading your reviews on Stillman & Birn! (Goodbye Canson Mixed Media and Strathmore Visual Journal.) But, back to the pens... I'm just getting brave enough to start thinking about doing my sketches in ink but don't care for the feel of micron/Sharpie pens. I with something with a little more personality that will dance across the page and thanks to this post I was able to pick out a couple of pens to try! I also grabbed some De A. documents ink to make sure my sketches stay put. (Maybe someday I'll experiment with water-soluble inks, but not yet!) So, again, thank you for writing this wonderful resource to help pen noobs make informed shopping decisions.

  • Flying with Fountain Pens : Liz Steel - June 26, 2017 reply

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  • Julie Grm - November 8, 2017 reply

    Liz, I have a very old Koh-I-Noor Artpen with all that goes with it in new condition. Can you tell me what brands of ink, besides Rapidograph, I can use in it well?

    • Liz Steel - November 9, 2017 reply

      Hi Julie, I am not familiar with that pen (and surprised that it uses rapidograph ink) so can't really comment on the best ink. Have you searched online for options?

  • Vanessa - November 16, 2017 reply

    Hi Liz, I have a rather odd request. But will you please continue using your Lamy Joy? (Odd request isn't it?) I dont know why but i love seeing you draw with Lamy Joy that once you ever decide to change FP, i will feel weird :'( Again it's really up to you to change, though.

    • Vanessa - November 16, 2017 reply

      I meant to not dispose your Lamy Joy and if you ever lose your Lamy Joy, please at least use your black Lamy Joy. I am so weird i know

  • Neil Barton - December 2, 2017 reply

    The only downside to using is that when refilling your pen, no matter what ink gets on your fingers. Not a real problem until you want to remove it like instantly and it doesn’t come off with soap and water, so my question is how do you remove the ink staining from your fingers please ? My watercolours if I get any on my fingers comes off fairly easy with soap and water but Ink ???? Help

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