Today is an apropos day for this post, considering it's Fountain Pen Day - a day for fountain pen enthusiasts to celebrate the use of fountain pens on the first Friday of every November! :D
I've always had this weird love for stationery and I have no idea why. There's just something about nice paper and a great pen. Infinite possibilities and all that.
So to no surprise of mine, last year in about December, I stumbled into the world of fountain pens. I don't remember how exactly I found out about them. I think I was researching some random bit of stationery and stumbled across a blog that also happened to review fountain pens.
And so I fell into this deep dark hole (as I do) of learning the ins and outs of fountain pens and the different jargon associated with it. It was a good four months before I decided to purchase my very first fountain pen.
I purchased myself a lovely Pilot Metropolitan in a medium nib for my birthday.
It's wonderful and writes very smoothly. I think it's a common misconception that fountain pens are this luxurious item that isn't commonly affordable. However, while there are a few fountain pens that are heart-wrenchingly expensive, there are a lot of affordable options out there. My Pilot Metropolitan retails for about $15 - $20 USD depending on where you're getting it from.
However, you don't need to plunge all in with fountain pens, especially if you're not sure. They are an investment after all. There are disposable fountain pens out there, like the Pilot Varsity. I started out with these Bic disposable fountain pens I found in my school's store that were $4 for two of them. Though they weren't the best, I got a good idea of how I felt about them.
Another thing that I love about fountain pens is the ink. There are so many different colours of ink out there for you to write with, other than the standard red, black and blue. I started out with a bottle of black ink and worked my way to playing with different colours of ink in my pen. The thing with ink is that they are also an investment, since you're buying an entire bottle of it. However, a thing that fountain pen retailers do is they sell ink samples. They package 2mL of ink into a little vial and sell it for a dollar or two so that you can get a feel for the ink.
This is a little bit of writing I did with a sample of an ink called Poussiere de Lune. It's a gorgeous dusty purple colour and it remains one of my favourite inks to write with.
Here is another sample of writing, the top part written in a sample of Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai (a very expensive ink), and the bottom bit is a passage from Paula Stokes's upcoming novel, VICARIOUS in a sample of Diamine Oxblood.
You may see some names popping up in the pictures like, Rhodia or Clairefontaine. Another factor about fountain pens is paper. The ink in fountain pens are liquid, so some paper absorb the ink too fast, causing it to spread your words out and feather in the fibres of the paper. However, brands like Rhodia and Clairefontaine make paper that is specifically designed to be used with fountain pens. The paper is more expensive than a ten cent ream of lined paper from Wal Mart, but it's something that you would have to decide if it's worth it. You don't have to buy these specific brands of paper to get the proper experience though. It's all about testing the paper and seeing how it holds up to the ink. Who knows, maybe you'll find that some cheap notebook from the dollar store is surprisingly resistant to the ink.
If you're anything like me, you'll soon find yourself being suddenly particular about your stationery if you dive into this world of fountain pens. I'm not trying to convince you to buy a fountain pen with this post (though if I did, welcome to the fountain pen world! ), but rather that fountain pens don't have to be mind numbingly expensive and that if you've ever been interested in them and found yourself not knowing where to start, there are cheap and accessible means to it.
Here are some helpful links for some additional reading on some of my favourite fountain pen blogs if you're up for it:
- The Pen Addict - The Beginner's Guide to Fountain Pens (by a True Beginner)
- Wonder Pens - Why Fountain Pens?
- Jet Pens - Guide to Choosing a Fountain Pen
- Ink Nouveau - Fountain Pen 101
- Writer's Bloc - Beginner's Guide to Fountain pens
- Gourmet Pens - Beginner Fountain Pens
- Richard's Pens - Reference Pages
Happy Reading (or in this case, writing)!