Fountain Pens for Beginners

This is a great video from about beginner fountain pens. I personally have a Pilot Kakuno, two Pilot Metropolitans, and a Lamy Safari. In addition, I have several Jinhao pens, but the Pilots and Lamy are much nicer, and a lot more pleasurable to write with. At first, I didn’t like the Metropolitan, but now it might just be my favorite (medium nib). Funny how that worked out.

Here’s a photo of some hiragana practice. The first line is the Kakuno (fine nib), second is the Metropolitan (medium nib), and third is the Safari (broad nib). I wrote this in a plain Mead notebook, so there’s a bit of feathering.

"Practice Ink" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/60 sec, ISO3200
“Practice Ink” Cedar Park, 2018

I love using my fountain pens for Japanese practice. It makes it a lot more fun!

Wordless Wednesday

"Cleaning Time" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Cleaning Time” Cedar Park, 2018


New Pen

"New Pen" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“New Pen” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I received a new Jinhao fountain pen from Ebay. It was only $0.99! It actually writes very nicely, smooth and comfortable. The ink flows at a nice rate and I even though I don’t write very fast, there’s no skipping at all when I did some quick scribbles. It’s very light (maybe a little too light) but very comfortable to hold, and relatively thin, so I can keep it within the spiral of my plain Mead notebook. The clip is basic but works well. And did I mention it was only 99 cents (including shipping)? Wow.

I hope you had a nice day!



"Ink" Austin, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, ISO200
“Ink” Austin, 2017

Today’s photo is of my Jinhao pen that I keep at work. It’s filled with Ama-iro, which is my favorite ink at the moment. I love fountain pens!

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

"Fountain Pen Line-up" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO320
“Fountain Pen Line-up” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Well, who would have known, but today is Fountain Pen Day! It’s celebrated on the 1st Friday of November each year by fountain pen otakus around the world. I guess I count myself as a dabbler in the fountain pen hobby.

I really enjoy writing with them and trying out different inks, but my spending limit is relatively low compared to the real enthusiasts. I’d have a tough time spending more than $35 on a pen, but luckily for people like me, there is still a wide variety of good fountain pens below that price!

"Fountain Pens" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO250
“Fountain Pens” Cedar Park, 2017

My most expensive is the LAMY Safari, which I bought for about $28, and the cheapest pen is a Jinhao 599 which I picked up for $1.17 on Ebay. The Jinhao is actually pretty good, but I’ve read that because the quality control isn’t so great, it’s a roll of the dice if you get a good specimen or bad one. I guess I got lucky!

Apart from the pens, I think the real fun is choosing and using the different inks. They each have their own character, and there’s such a wide variety that the combination of pen/nib and ink are just about endless. It’s a lot of fun. And I haven’t even mentioned paper! 😄 But since it’s Fountain Pen Day, not Paper Day, I’ll not discuss the notebooks I have.

I hope you had a nice Friday!



"Watercolor Table" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Watercolor Table” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。Today I sketched a bit and did a watercolor of La Sagrada Familia. For my first watercolor in many years, I think it turned out ok. There are a bunch of things I would change, and I’ll probably do more versions of the same pic just to experiment. But it’s a good image to use for practice. And lots of fun because it brings back the memory of the great time I had in Barcelona!

"La Sagrada Watercolor" Cedar Park, 2017
“La Sagrada Watercolor” Cedar Park, 2017

For the painting, I sketched using pencil, then applied the watercolor. After that, I erased the pencil marks that were still on the white parts of the paper. I like the shape of the cathedral and detail, but the trees in front are just cloud-like blobs. I also should have extended the cathedral down a bit on the left side so that it looks more like it is behind the trees and not sitting on top of them. Still, I am pleased with my first attempt!

"Prisma Classics" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
“Prisma Classics” Cedar Park, 2017

For this painting, I used a new watercolor set: Prima Marketing “The Classics”. It’s a compact tin, with 12 colors in half-pans. I was surprised at how small the tin is… it’s not even the width of my LAMY Safari! Before I bought the watercolors, I watched a couple of reviews, and decided on set by the same brand called “Tropicals”, but it was back-ordered at Amazon so I ordered the classics instead. There are a few colors that I don’t really like, or perhaps don’t know how to use, and a few colors I would like to have from the Tropicals set, so I’m not sure what I’ll do. Perhaps I will just buy some empty half-pans and tubes of paint. Thankfully Teoh Yi Chie has a review of the tropicals set and I can use that as a good reference as I build my palette.

"Pilot Kakuno" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Pilot Kakuno” Cedar Park, 2017

Also, my Pilot Kakuno arrived! It’s such a cool pen. I love the fun design and blue color and it’s pretty compact in size, which I like. I’m going to use it as just a basic writer, with the black ink that came with it, but it’s a joy to use and gives me more pleasure than just using a generic ballpoint. Why not try to brighten up your life, even in small ways?

I hope you had a nice Saturday!


Ink up

"Sailor Ink Bottle" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1/10 sec, ISO3200
“Sailor Ink Bottle” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photo is of my first ink bottle: Sailor “Souten”. It’s a beautiful blue color, but I don’t think I’ve been able to appreciate it fully yet because my Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen (medium nib) writes in a very fine line. So I’ve only been able to get a hint of what the color looks like. But soon I will have a second pen, a LAMY Safari, with a broad nib and then perhaps the ink will show its “true colors”. 😂

When I was growing up, we had a calligraphy set, which had a couple pens with different nibs and several different colors of ink cartridges. I used to love writing with the nib that would give a really thick line. I guess it was a broad nib, and I was expecting the Pilot Metropolitan pen to give a similar experience and line, but I was disappointed when it was very thin. Hopefully, the new LAMY will give the same line quality that I remember the old pen had. And back then, my favorite color was a turquoise/aqua, which was even more vibrant than the Souten. Would love to get something similar someday! I think it is like the “Yuki-Akari” ink in this image. I think it’s a nice color.

Anyways, the Pilot Metropolitan is a really nice pen, and the thin line is good for writing and sketching on the small passport-sized paper of my Traveler’s Notebook. I’m enjoying using it for practicing hiragana/katakana too!

I love fountain pens and my notebook!

I hope you had a great day.