Friday, November 4, 2016

Long time readers of this blog (bless you for your tenacity) will not be surprised to see that I am once again marking a somewhat esoteric observance on this blog. They will also remember (those of them who are blessed with long memories, unlike your humble servant here) that I have a fondness for fountain pens, which makes this particular bit of esoteria even better a fit than usual.

 I write predominantly with a fountain pen - this pen here, to be exact:

A Shaeffer Tuckaway, shown with a bottle of my ink of choice, Hero blue-black ink. 

But while that is my go-to pen, I have a small collection of fountain pens going for me:

So there you see the Tucky at the bottom. Then there's a black disposable fountain pen, which can actually be reused if you gently pull the nib part off and fill the barrel with ink. Behind them are a couple of modern pens which use cartridges rather than bottled ink. They are handy for travelling. Lastly, there is the steady and reliable calligraphy pen. When I was learning calligraphy, I used these sorts of cartridge pens, with their interchangeable nib sizes. They're a great learning tool, and I still use them to play around with and learn new styles. (Most of my calligraphy these days, however, is mostly done using a dip pen.) At present, I own two different bottles of ink. There is the blue-black ink, which is grand for daily work, laying down as it does, a fine, dark line, with just enough blue in it to give it personality. The other is a German ink. The label reads: Türkisgrüne Tinte, Waltraüd Bethge Papiere, Hamburg. It is a cool bottle. It even has a place for you to lay the pen after you've soaked up ink into it:

Green - even if it goes by the impressive sobriquet of "Turkish Green", is not a very versatile colour, so I use that mostly for playing around with, and even that is not frequent. 

So. What, exactly does one do with the totally fancy fountain pen? Well, I don't know what other people do, but I use mine for the same sort of every-day tasks one would use a regular pen for. I take it to work. I write notes with it. I write letters with it. I doodle with it.... I doodle a lot with it. Because, use see, there is something wonderfully tactile in the using of wet ink in metal nibs. It goes on with a deep, mysterious gleam, pooling for just a moment, a living wet line, full of magic, before it allows the fibers of the paper to draw it in. Even the fines points (and I prefer a fine tip on my pen) will lay down a much wetter line than any other pen, even fine, inky drawing pens. It gives personality to the writing, and particularly to the drawing. So when I've a moment or two, and have nothing else to do (even, mea culpa when I am at work) I doodle.

Sometimes it is just goofy things, featuring anything from demure birds to bowling skeletons:

Sometimes, it is get well doodles for a friend who is fond of Halloween, when that friend is feeling somewhat under the weather:

Sometimes, I decide to do quotes. I get all fancy and calligraphy-ee about my quotes:

(Sometimes, when I get all fancy and calligrahy-ee, my camera refuses to take a decent picture. This is disheartening.)

Sometimes, I have delusions of grandeur and attempt something splendid, such as this picture of Sir Gawain and a hawk, which I proudly named, "The Two Hawks" (Gawain's name meaning 'hawk', you see.)

(Sometimes I remember that there are filters on my cheap little camera phone, and I use them to take sepia colours of my art. This is a fountain pen and pencil sketch.)

Occasionally, my ambitious ideas actually work rather better than I expected:

(That is fountain pen for the most part, with a bit of gold gel pen for accent. I am contemplating making business card out of that one.)

I also have an odd habit of sticking fountain pens in my hair - an unhappy side effect of the fact that women's clothing so seldomly is designed with pockets. This is unfortunate, as I am often distracted, and tend to leave things lying about - I have lost fountain pens that way in the past. As a result, I just ended up sticking the thing into my hair, to keep from mislaying it:

There. I have laid my nerdiness bare before you. Judge not too harshly. Nor mind the rather grainy quality of the pictures. It is not always so easy to take photographs with a flip-phone camera as one could wish.