Fountain pens? That's too fancy...
Sorry I haven't been super active this week, I've had a fever for most of the week and ended up doing the bare minimum where productivity was concerned. Unfortunately the blog fell off the list and sleep, instagram, and forcing myself to write for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) took priority.
ANYWAY! Happy Fountain Pen Day! I find it truly ironic that I had no idea it was today and I got my first fountain pen YESTERDAY! The universe is so funny and awesome. I decided to give my thoughts on fountain pens. I'm a beginner and had huge misconceptions about them. I'm not an expert trying to bullshit you into buying stuff from my store. I promise you when I tell you I bought my first pen yesterday.
I loved how different this felt from my go-to Pilot G2 that I bought another one with a different size nib... at 3:30 this morning. Why yes, I also got free same day shipping from Amazon. Why yes, I didn't JUST buy another Metropolitan, I also bought a Pilot Penmanship, converters, and ink. Let me try to explain all this crazy shit as I would've loved it explained to me yesterday when I bought the pen above.
First of all, I used to think all fountain pens were for calligraphers. I don't know if this is a wide-spread thought process, but that's what my brain has always told me about them. I assumed that nibs on all fountain pens didn't make sense in the hands of a normal person. I couldn't have been more wrong! I don't know the mechanics of it at all, but it honestly feels like a roller pen without the resistance of the ball... ie. much more smooth.
This is from my extensive experience of like 12 hours.
Next I'd like to talk about the ink and stuff. So generally you'd think, "I'm excited for you and your pen love and whatever, but I don't want to have ink bottles everywhere." The thing is, you can buy cartridges! Cartridges are simply little containers of ink that go into your fountain pen and are (presumably, I'm not a pengineer) punctured by the mechanism inside the pen, and then the ink flows through to the nib. You can also get a converter for most fountain pens if they didn't come with one. A converter basically allows you to fill it with whatever ink you want (doesn't have to be by the brand that made the pen, but does need to be ink for fountain pens) and the ink flows to your pen. There are also pens that use the barrel as the container for the ink. I bought ink from a company called Noodler's Ink and they sent one of these with it. I decided I would use this for my sample inks I ordered from Goulet Pens. I'm excited about these inks and heard about them from Kara at Boho Berry. This is a perfect opportunity for someone like me who is completely overwhelmed by the choices of colors and brands. I'm hoping I fall in love with a brand or two and/or a color or two so I have a direction to go in (hopefully not the most expensive stuff out there!)
I did a few hours of research before diving into my purchase. I watched tons of reviews, comparisons, read a bunch of articles, etc. My decision was to buy the Pilot Metropolitan because of the price point. I was concerned I would hate the feel of it. I presumed it would be scratchy and feel awful. At $15, I can take the hit if I end up not liking it. The close second was a Lamy Safari or Lamy Al-Star. I love the ascetic of these pens but the price point is almost double what a metropolitan is... and that is more financial irresponsible than my decision to get into fountain pens in the first place!
The problem with the Metropolitan is that Pilot doesn't sell interchangeable or replacement nibs. This means you have to buy a whole new pen if your nib breaks. However, from my internet adventure I discovered that Pilot sells cheaper fountain pens that are basically like the 'plain black BIC' of fountain pens... I bought my Metropolitan in a medium nib. I loved how smooth it was, but I didn't like how thick the line was. Unfortunally, I don't notice TOO much of a difference between the three nibs. I'd say the difference may be by .1 or so. Lately I am used to writing with the .38 Pilot G2, so these seem thick to me, which is why I eventually need a pen that can have interchangeable nibs. Here's some more sample writing. I did this on regular printer paper. One piece I did on a hardwood table. The other I did with a stack of paper underneath. I expected this to affect the width of the lines, but it didn't... you can't even tell the difference.
In the beginning of my journey, I really contemplated just getting cartridges. I figured I'm sticking with black for a while so I don't spend a lot of money on inks, why do I need a bottle of ink if I can get a cartridge? I got the 'best' black Noodler's offers and here's a picture to tell you why you get ink. I sprayed water and then just dumped water. The difference is clear.
After all of this, my experience is this... If you're really tight on money you can get one of the 'disposable' type fountain pens that basically every big pen manufacturer sells (Pilot has a few, another popular low-end one is Platnium Preppy). Another brand I heard mentioned during my research was Jinhao. It's hard to say where to start for you. I obviously don't have much experience, but I do highly recommend them. You can easily get a $5 fountain pen just to see if you like how it feels... though I promise it'll feel better if you have a $15 fountain pen. I bought the Penmanship which is cheap as hell, and I could feel the difference with the same nib. I don't know about you, but I'm excited to get some pretty inks!