Gradating Inks with Pilot Parallels (Rachel’s first video!)

Link to YouTube for our channel and more viewing options.

This is Rachel’s first video! She really took interest in the Pilot Parallels, and what drew her into it was the unique design of the pens. Particularly, the emphasis on being able to kiss two pens together to transfer mixable ink colors to get a gradation effect!

The pen comes in a package with two ink cartridges, one red, one black. There’s a converter (that’s only used for cleaning, it doesn’t fit snug enough to ink up the pen with it), a nib cleaning doohickey (that’s the technical term), and an instruction sheet on basic calligraphy.

Rather than a conventional nib, the nib for the Parallels is made up of two straight (parallel) plates that are sandwiched together. There are 4 different nib sizes available for the Parallels, a 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8m, and a whopping 6.0mm:

You might wonder if this type of nib is scratchy or uncomfortable to write with, but I promise you, it’s surprisingly smooth. It’s not the fanciest pen out there, but it performs well and is a great pen for the money ($10 as of this posting). It’s probably not practical for an everyday writing pen, perhaps the 1.5mm could be, if you like wide italic nibs. The others will all be too big for daily use, unless your daily use consists of calligraphy and drawing, that is!

Now for the cool part, the gradation. Keep in mind, Rachel and I are just learning how to play with these pens, so our demonstration isn’t polished. You will likely be able to achieve what we’re showing here with relatively little practice, and you’ll only get better over time. Rachel shows you how she does the gradation in the video, it’s quite simple.

You aren’t limited to using Pilot (proprietary) ink cartridges with these pens, they will accept a Pilot Con-50 converter (not included with the pen) so you can use whatever bottled ink you like:

We haven’t yet experimented to see if you can use the Parallels to gradate inks of other brands besides the Pilot mixable inks that are made for these pens, but we are told from experienced users that you can.

What’s your impression/experience with the Pilot Parallels?

2017-10-06T18:58:34+00:00 June 2nd, 2011|Pen Reviews, Tips & Tricks|29 Comments
  • Nicky

    Wow, those pens are awesome! The colour changing property reminds me of my childhood, in that being able to just touch those two nibs together and have your ink then gradiate to another colour seems like magic.

  • Nicky

    Ack, so taken by the pens I forgot to add that this was a great video, Rachel.

  • Great video Rachel!

  • Sven Opitz

    On Monday the parallels will be in my shopping cart, too! Nice video and a nice effect.

  • MrsGouletPens


  • Rachel did an awesome job! ๐Ÿ™‚ Watch my first video and see how fluidly I talk, haha!

  • Glad you like the video and the pens, they're pretty cool!

  • Bruno Taut

    Hi there,

    Nice video and nice post. However, I must disagree on the note re the "cleaning" converters–they DO work as converters! as I am testing right now. Fitting them might require some gentle pushing, but no more than fitting the regular CON-20 Pilot converter. The adjustment is tight and very reliable.

    At the same time, now I come to think, a loose fitting would not pump any water through the nib and feed for the cleaning purpose.

    I tried those pens with regular fountain pen ink and thy work quite well, but not perfectly. It seems that the Pilot dedicated ink is more fluid. The remedy is to slower the pace.

    Nice job!


    Bruno Taut (

  • We've heard from many folks that it can work, but tends to leak because it doesn't stay on long. Pilot advertises the converter that accompanies it to be used for cleaning only, but if you're able to make it work on your Parallel, more power to you! It's worth trying anyway, before spending the extra money on a Con-50, right?

    Thanks for the feedback about the other inks too. We're going to have fun playing with them and seeing which work well ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Andrew Young

    Do the Parallels also take the CON-20 squeeze converter? And can you use 2 pens of different widths for the mixing?

  • The Con-20 is pretty loose fitting, I think you'd be a lot better off with the Con-50. Yes, you can use different width pens for mixing, the width doesn't affect anything ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Andrew Young

    Are the Parallels cartridges different than the Namiki cartridges? They look the same and I might like to use these alternative colors in my VP.

  • Yes, the Pilot and Namiki carts are the same style, just the ink is different. It should work for you if you're looking to mix things up a bit (no pun intended!). You can get the Pilot carts in single-color packs or an assorted pack.

  • Sandra Strait

    Wow! ย I'd love to try one of these for drawing!

  • Jesse

    Rachel did a great job! I've been curious about these pens for a while and now I feel pretty convinced I need one.

    And on the topic of calligraphy pens, I see you guys will be carrying all the Brause nibs – I'd love to see a video demoing some dip nibs too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rhea

    Great job Rachel!ย  Nicely done…

  • Melinda

    Great video, Rachel! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I received my Pilot Parallel 6.0mm pen a couple of days ago, and love it! I filled it as an eyedropper and sealed it with Goulet Pen's very own silicone grease. The pen really helps with practising calligraphy. I didn't know about the gradation of the inks, so it's neat to see how it works. Thanks for sharing!

  • Melinda

    Oh, I forgot to add a question not related to the Pilot Parallel pens. It's in regards to the Canada Post strike that will commence at midnight. I recall a mention somewhere on this blog about "dodging the bullet" on the Canada Post strike… could you elaborate on that? I'm worried about not getting my flex pen due to the strike (and eventual backlog once they get back to work… I hope they don't lose my package!).

  • They're awesome for that, and for calligraphy!

  • These pens are really cool, and we knew they just needed a little showcasing. As for the Brause nibs, we'll be drowning in them soon! We'll have endless video possibilities with them!

  • The 6.0mm is a heck of a pen!

  • Can you mix other inks than Pilot's own, like for example inks in the same Noodler's family?

  • We haven't tried it yet, but others have said it does work, just not *quite* as well as the Pilot Mixable inks. It's going to depend on the ink, so a little experimentation may be involved. There is potential, though.

  • JamieWG

    Great job on your first video, Rachel! I have all four Parallels and love 'em all. It's probably worth mentioning that because of the wide nibs and generous ink application, you can empty a cartridge pretty quickly, which you can then hang onto and refill with the ink of your choice.

  • Great video, Rachel! I've got one of these pens, but I'd better get a second one! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I actually use the "cleaning" converters that come with the pens to hold the ink, and I haven't had any issues. If anything, they fit far more securely than some of the standard converters from other brands (Pelikan, I'm looking at you).

    However, having the Con-50 converters would be much nicer. I'm certain that they'll be a part of my next order. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Bruno Taut
  • Well, there you have it then! I'm going to assume that most of the complaints of leaking I've heard so far have been those that haven't pushed down far enough on the converter when putting it on the pen. I think if they jam it down like you have here, they'll be okay ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Jan Scott

    Thanks for a fascinating video. Brian better look over his shoulder as the video maestro. ๐Ÿ™‚