Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Fountain Pen O.C.D.

I confess. I have fountain pen O.C.D. I’ve always loved drawing and I’ve loved drawing with a pen best of all. When I was a kid, I picked up some very old dip pens from somewhere—I don’t remember where. Perhaps they were from an elderly relative. I got a bottle of Skrip black ink and went to town drawing on any paper surface I could find.

The last day of school at Highland Hills Elementary was always one of my favorite days. I liked the idea of summer vacation, but more than that, I liked all the paper, pencils, and pens I’d collect. Some kids just threw their paper away along with their writing implements. I got as much of it as I could. Every pencil that hit the floor or ground was a mark for me. I filled shoe boxes with them. I was always looking for a good soft number two pencil—and I collected any pens I could. I especially liked old fashioned fountain pens or cartridge pens. A bottle of ink only cost twenty cents in those days. I even used cartridge pens for dip pens if I had nothing else to draw comics. My addiction to comic art continued through Roger's Junior School, Highlands High School, and beyond. Now, I'm and old fart, and I STILL love comic art.

The ink I loved best for writing was Sheaffer's Skrip Peacock Blue. (This link is your chance to buy one of the old bottles if I don't get it first.) They don’t make it anymore, but I’m sure somebody could make a fortune if they figured out the formula and put it out again. I see people searching for it all over the internet. I have not seen a replacement for its rich color yet—but I keep looking.

I used to draw my political cartoons with a dip pen or a Winsor\Newton Series 7, number 2 brush. (I still have about a hundred different nibs of all kinds, assorted pen stocks, and some Winsor\Newton brushes. I thought they were expensive then, but they REALLY cost a fortune now.) I loved using the old fashioned pens and brushes to draw, but I lettered with a Waterman pen. When I bought my first one, it was quite a stretch. I had two little children, and shekels were hard to come by. I tried Rapidograph pens, but nothing worked for me like that Waterman.

I have Corel Draw etc. and do some digital work, but lately I’ve returned to the old fashioned pen and ink work to relax. Maybe I’m just an old guy, but something human is missing for me in digital creation. I still work in that medium, but nothing soothes me like putting ink on paper with brush, or dip pen. I still have my Waterman plus a couple of new Noodler Pens that I’m experimenting with. Finally, I’m trying Noodler’s Turquoise Ink to see if it can approach Skrip Peacock Blue. I may be disappointed—but hope springs eternal.

I’ve even begun to write a few letters again. The old way. Fountain pen and paper. Peace.


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