Just when you thought I had finished with fountain pens and would move onto another topic… I pull another blog post out of the hat! But I felt that I needed to put this together as a way of winding down from the excitement and obsession of the last six weeks. Yes, this current series has been a six week project and it has certainly taken over my life. So I thought I would share a few photos that I took during the process – photos that include pen caps everywhere and dirty fingers!
If somehow you have missed the previous parts – the full index is here.
It all started a few months ago when I first expanded my idea of a single blog post entitled “Why EF, Why Lamy?” to a series that would include an overview of a number of pens. I went through the pens I had, and sorted them into the ones I use and the ones I don’t. I then contacted Madigan from Goulet Pens to tell her about my idea AND to see what good sketching pen options I didn’t have!
Not surprisingly this email exchange ended up with an order of pens – five in total! Those of you that follow my Everyday Pages feature on Mondays might have seen these sketches and realised that something was brewing!
Of course once I had new pens in my possession I had to start testing them! This was certainly a lot of fun, but also had a little bit of pressure attached – I had to use them enough to give useful comments. As you will see, constantly sketching with different pens to test and compare them with each other has been a HUGE feature of my life during the past month.
Next came the planning stage, using my morning cafe visits for some clear thinking time. I also spent time designing an image that I could use to test all the pens – something that would highlight different line types and that I could draw 20 times without getting insanely bored. Of course it had to be a teacup!
One of the really big positives for me doing this series has been setting up a ‘photo booth’ at home and getting to know my camera a little better (it is a fancy compact – Sony RX100 Mk3 – great for video but not so good for macro shots!) Lack of south light in my studio is a big deal (remember I am in the southern hemisphere and the sun travels east to north to west) so it was very exciting to discover that there was a little space next to a south facing window in the adjacent room that I could use and leave set up for the entire month.
I took all of the photos myself (taking continuous shooting mode photos for my ‘action pen’ shots) except for the ones involving a syringe! I will also admit that I had fun doing some ‘pretty’ pen photos as well. My yellow Lamy and Orange Kaweco Sport certainly stole the limelight!
I ended up taking over 1000 photos in total (blame the continuous shoot mode for that number!) so then had a big job culling, cropping, editing and adding hand written labels – whose CRAZY idea was that?
And speaking of cropping, just because I don’t take myself too seriously, I will share this shocking photo of my inky finger! Seriously, this is embarrassing… but I did just pull out a nib and feed in a fully loaded pen so what do you expect?
I spent hours watching Brain Goulet’s videos – write on!
I also sent copious emails to Goulet Pens to double check some details – huge thanks again to Madigan! I ended up learning a heap of new things about fountain pens and filling in gaps in my knowledge as I prepared the content.
And then did even more research watching other fountain pen reviews on Youtube. BTW Whatever you do, DO NOT watch that video by Parka on the Duke 551 Confucius – it is way too tempting!
The pen cleaning and refilling then started in earnest!
This photo shows my desk and side bench ‘cleaning station’ – ready to clean and refill at any time. On my desk (actually is it is my old drafting table) you can see all the ‘feature pens’ in my sorting box, pen testing pages, handwritten headings and lots and lots of scribble sheets!
I continued to use my morning cafe visits to plan out my photo shoots and proof read my blog posts and even managed to get caught up in a photo shoot as the cafe’s ‘resident artist’.
And every day, before leaving the house I would pick out a new pen or two, to test that day. I might have done a lot of similar latte sketches recently but I don’t think any two sketches were done with the same pen!
So, did I ever get a break?
Of course! Before dinner every night I went for a 20 minute walk in my area, enjoying the glorious pink colour of the new bark on the Angophora trees, dodging the wild bush(brush) turkeys and having lots of wonderful fountain pen thoughts!
Oh dear… it has been a little crazy but in the best possible way.
And just for all you fountain pen nutters out there… here is a photos of the pens that didn’t make the cut! Oh ah… that will get you going discussing the merits (or identity) of these pens!
BTW the first pen is the Sailor Fude Profit which I mentioned in Part 7 but didn’t photograph… nothing wrong with this pen at all (works exactly the same as my Green Sailor but with a more normal pen design) but it was just a little camera shy and so missed the photo shoot!
Ok… that’s it, I am finally stopping this series now!
Thanks again for being part of this fun project. I am looking forward to some time over the Xmas break to focus on actually using my pens a little more, and testing out some new brushes! Ah! It never ends!
Happy Fountain Pen Sketching everyone!
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.
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