Home 2018-06-30T13:07:44+00:00

Robert Oster Smokescreen with a TWSBI 580ALR: Monday Matchup #190

A drawing of a dragon featuring dragon quotes made with a TWSBI 580AL-R fountain pen and Robert Oster Smokescreen ink.

Hello, fountain pen fans, Adam here again. This week, I got to work with the TWSBI 580ALR and Robert Oster Smokescreen for my Monday Matchup. Read on to hear what I thought of this pen and ink!

I went through a lot of ideas before I finally arrived at drawing a dragon. Ever since I can remember, I have been a huge fan of high fantasy, science fiction, and role-playing games. I grew up on the Final Fantasy series of games, I’ve been playing the Elder Scrolls games since Daggerfall came out in the 90’s, and I absolutely love attending Renaissance Festivals! If I could draw anything, anything at all, and be able to do it perfectly it would be dragons.

I found an image online that I really liked and used that for inspiration. More appropriately, I looked at it and basically copied what I saw. I’m not a skilled enough of an artist to draw free-hand but having the image for inspiration gives me an idea to go from. Once I had the outline, I went in to fill in my shape. I really enjoy the look of cross-hatch work for creating light and dark spots in my work, so I experimented with that quite a bit in this drawing. For the smoke, I actually just put ink on my thumb and smeared it onto the page. Once the dragon was complete, I wrote in a collection of quotes about dragons to fill in the blank spaces.

I have to be honest, I did not care for the TWSBI 580 ALR. The pen writes and fills perfectly but it is not the pen for me. My primary turn off was the texture on the grip section. The feel of aluminum is not appealing to me, and the textured element just added to my displeasure with the tactile experience. If you’re someone who also is sensitive to textures, you might not like this pen. I also didn’t care for the filling mechanism. It works like a dream, don’t get me wrong. It’s a much better experience than using a syringe set to fill your converter. I am someone who fidgets with my pens. I like to twist my cap around. When just holding this pen, I would accidentally turn that mechanism and it would cause ink to spill into the cap. Also, when ink would burp out of the pen, it would get on the aluminum grip section. I did everything I could, within reason, to get the ink off the grip and I could not eliminate it all. I’m sorry about that for whoever receives the pen. The writing experience itself, the nib, was great. No complaints there, it was a very smooth writer.

Robert Oster Smokescreen was an interesting color. I normally don’t go for black inks at all. I just find it boring. What was fun about this black was that it went on with a bit of a purple tinge to it and got darker as it dried. I did enjoy that, and it made it easy for me to track my work as I was doing my shading. As far as black inks, I would recommend it. Seeing as it’s a black ink, I would use it for basically anything. I don’t see a situation where this combo wouldn’t work. As I said, if you’re someone who fidgets with your pen, you might have some issues with the filling mechanism.

If I were to do this piece again, I would have done more honestly. I’ve got two kids now, so drawing time only happens after bedtime. I was really pleased with what I did, and would have carried it much further had I had the time. I would have gone with a different pen as well. As soon as I touched the grip I knew it wasn’t going to be for me. I will say though that I very much enjoy and trust the TWSBI brand and would recommend them.

A drawing of a dragon featuring dragon quotes made with a TWSBI 580AL-R fountain pen and Robert Oster Smokescreen ink.

A drawing of a dragon featuring dragon quotes made with a TWSBI 580AL-R fountain pen and Robert Oster Smokescreen ink.

A drawing of a dragon featuring dragon quotes made with a TWSBI 580AL-R fountain pen and Robert Oster Smokescreen ink.

A drawing of a dragon featuring dragon quotes made with a TWSBI 580AL-R fountain pen and Robert Oster Smokescreen ink.

A drawing of a dragon featuring dragon quotes made with a TWSBI 580AL-R fountain pen and Robert Oster Smokescreen ink.

You can find the TWSBI 580ALR at GouletPens.com for $60 ($65 for the 1.1mm Stub option). Robert Oster Smokescreen is available in a 50ml bottle for $17 or a 2ml sample for $1.50.

You could win this pen and ink! In an effort to make entering Monday Matchup a little easier, we’ve done away with the Rafflecopter widget and will be randomly selecting a winner from a randomly chosen platform each week. The entries methods will still be the same: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a blog comment, but you’ll no longer have to complete your entry through Rafflecopter.

How to enter Monday Matchup Giveaway:

  • Match a pen and ink together. They don’t have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
  • You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you’d like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
  • Here’s how to enter:

The contest is open Monday, August 20, 2018, at 12 pm EDT until Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at 12 pm EDT. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.

Write On,
Adam

August 20th, 2018|Monday Matchup|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 222: Bladder Pens, and Recognizing Fountain Pen Friendly Paper

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about why bladder pens have disappeared, and what makes paper “fountain pen friendly”.

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) luis_leano- Instagram (11:50)

How do you clean textured pen grips such as the ones on the TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR or the Tactile Turn Gist without leaving small specs from a microfiber cloths or paper towels in the grooves?

  • this is a fairly unique feature, and one that’s probably coming up now specifically because of the 580 ALR
  • I haven’t been using mine daily, so I haven’t see it as an issue yet
  • I’ve used other pens like Tactile Turn that were way, way more textured, even
  • q-tips are a terrible idea
  • a toothbrush actually works really well, if you’re not weird about having one on you at work

2) arianas.father- Instagram (15:27)

Was there something inherently wrong with bladder style fountain pens that lead to the industry change to either cartridge/converter, vac/power filler or piston? In all my searching it seems that bladder style filling systems went away many years ago and now only vintage pens seem to have that style filling.

  • bladders are way less common now than they used to be
  • I’d better be careful with my wording here, there are some hardcore vintage pen folks that swear by their bladders!
  • I don’t know all the deep history, so please don’t take my word as bond on this particular issue
  • it’s my understanding that part of it was convenience, the rise of cartridges were meant to combat ballpoints
  • replacing a bladder isn’t hard, but required some effort and I suspect that led to part of it, too
  • bladders are prone to some of what eyedroppers are, less stability in the ink, blobbing and leaking can happen
  • ease of manufacturing, convenience of both use and repair, all contributed

Paper

3) isabellagobrien- Instagram (24:16)

What determines “fountain pen friendly” paper? I realize it’s relative but are certain weights or smoothness better for less bleeding or feathering?

  • you determine it, each and every one of you 😉
  • there are loosely defined properties of fountain pen friendly paper, but nothing set in stone or standardized across the paper industry
  • generally, it’s smoother, more ink-resistant, feather-resistant, bleed-resistant paper that’s thick enough to resist ghosting on the backside
  • paper weight is often the only numerical designation you’ll see, in “g” (grams), “gsm” (grams per square meter), gm2 (grams per meter squared)
  • 80g is where it starts to really mean something
  • the weight doesn’t mean it’s FP-friendly on its own, and it’s not a thickness measurement either, so not all 80g paper will perform the same!
  • sadly, I see few other designations that mean much of anything on the notebooks themselves
  • if a brand claims it’s ink-resistant or FP-friendly, that’s often an indicator it’s worth investigating, but it’s still sometimes a disappointment as everyone’s standards are different
  • smoothness, ghosting, dry time, all that other stuff is pretty much unreliable on the product markings themselves, so you have to rely on retailers or reviewers who’ve actually used the stuff and have created their own method of rating the paper quality!

4) r4ch4eld- Instagram (36:38)

Is a crack in the grip section (at the feed/nib end of the section) fatal, or can the pen be rescued?

  • eh….it ain’t good!
  • fountain pens are controlled leaks, and they operate under the relationship of air and ink interchange
  • a crack in the grip section will usually mean too much air will be allowed in, or too much ink out
  • some pens are designed with an independent nib housing that pretty much isolates the working mechanics of the nib/feed from the grip itself, but you will still run into issues when inking the pen as ink will get all up in that crack
  • you can try repairing it, if it’s a cheaper plastic pen, superglue or epoxy could do it (at your own risk!)
  • if it happened under normal use conditions (wasn’t dropped or abused at all) and it’s within the retailer’s return window, you can reach out
  • could be a warranty claim, it’ll all vary based on the pen and manufacturer
  • generally a crack in the grip means you’re gonna have to address it to keep the pen functioning properly

5) @Hogunyi- Twitter (43:15)

Is there a fix for the nib not being friction fit as tight as possible? One of my jinhao has a nib that will sort of shift every now and then.

  • that’s not super uncommon with some Jinhao nibs, or any brand if you’re swapping nibs a lot or removing them constantly to clean them
  • if it’s shifting as much as I’m thinking of, it’s enough to notice but not enough to really affect the way it’s writing
  • short of swapping out the feed (which is likely not worth the trouble on an inexpensive pen like a Jinhao) it pretty much is what it is
  • with plastic housings and feeds, there’s really not a whole lot of adjustment to be done there

QOTW: What pens do you wish you could love but just don’t? (46:29)

Writing Prompt: Write a 500-word short story with a surprise twist ending. (46:52)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

August 17th, 2018|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Thursday Things: Down The Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland themed flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and writing products.

Don’t be late, you won’t want to miss this very important date. Enter the colorful and often confusing world of Wonderland with this Thursday Things assortment, hand picked to bring out the mysterious and magical in us all. Whether you’re sitting down to a cup of tea or on the run (hopefully not from a crazed royal!), you will find just what you need for writing perfection in this darling display. Follow the white rabbit and check out the wonder featured in Thursday Things: Down The Rabbit Hole.

Featured products from left to right:

Alice in Wonderland themed flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and writing products.

What led you down the fountain pen rabbit hole?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

August 16th, 2018|Thursday Things|0 Comments

Monteverde Napa Burgundy: Ink Review

Hello there! Have you ever found yourself looking for a nice burgundy or wine colored ink? I have a great option to take a look at! Monteverde Napa Burgundy has a lot of great qualities and may be just what you’re looking for!

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):

  • More than 30 seconds– It was still smearing a little bit at 30 seconds, so I imagine it would have been totally dry around 35 or 40 seconds.

Drip Test (Water Resistance):

  • Medium – The ink did smear, but the line left behind was still pretty defined and visible, so I would say the ink has a little bit of water resistance.

Saturation:

  • Low – You could see a difference between swabs 1,2, and 3, so, while the ink doesn’t look very light when writing, it isn’t super saturated.

Ease of Cleaning:

  • Easy – The ink was easily cleaned out of my Al-Star with some simple flushing!

Shading:

  • Medium – This has some nice shading to it! You can see some variation in color throughout letters.

Flow:

  • Wet – This is a nice wet ink that flowed well on my paper. The lubrication in the ink definitely helps with that!

Packaging and Aesthetics:

  • Monteverde inks come in really nice classic looking bottles. They are simple, but serve the purpose they need to!

Inks Similar in Color:

Summary:
I’m a fan of this ink! It’s a lovely color and flows nicely. The shading also adds a lot to it and I imagine it would look really nice if you wrote out a letter with it. The water resistance surprised me, and made it even more appealing.

You can find a 90ml bottle of Monteverde Napa Burgundy at GouletPens.com for $15.00, a box of 12 cartridges for $6.00, or a 2ml sample is also available for $1.25.

Do you have a favorite burgundy ink? Let us know in the comments!

Write On,
Kelsi

August 15th, 2018|Ink Reviews|0 Comments

Jacques Herbin 1798 Cornaline d’Egypte with a Karas Kustoms Fountain K Orange: Monday Matchup #189

An illustration of a cat and mouse featuring a quote by N.R. Hart made using a Karas Kustoms Fountain K fountain pen in Orage and Herbin Cornaline d'Egypte shimmering ink.

**WINNER: Congrats to Diya T. (Entered on Instagram). Check back next week for another awesome Monday Matchup Giveaway**

Hi there, fountain pen fans! Jenn here, bringing you my latest matchup. This week, I got to use the Karas Kustoms Fountain K in Orange Aluminum and the new Jacques Herbin 1798 Cornaline d’Egypte ink. Read on to hear about my inspiration for this purr-fectly comfy kitty and what I thought of the pen and ink!

The orange ink kept bringing to mind an orange tabby cat. I love kitties (I have 3 at home), but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to draw my imaginary tabby. Playing with yarn? Stalking a butterfly? Then I came across a picture I’d taken awhile back of my cat Zazzles asleep with his chin on the top of the tank of my betta fish, Threat Level Midnight (yes, I’m a fan of both Big Bang Theory and The Office!). It was adorable; it really did seem like Zazzles was trying to make friends with TLM and got so comfy he just fell asleep. I immediately knew I wanted to base my drawing off of that picture.

I started off by tracing a picture of a fish bowl, so I could ensure it would be symmetrical. I lightly drew in some outlines of the cat, then traced over my outlines until they were the thickness that I wanted. I gave emphasis to his ears, eyes, and nose, while keeping the outer facial lines very thin. After that, I moved on to outlining his paws, body, and tail. Again, I kept the lines thin and wavering to give the suggestion of fur without drawing individual hairs.

Once my kitty was outlined, I drew in the betta fish. I retraced the outer fins a couple of times to darken the lines, then filled them in, varying from extremely light pressure to firm pressure to get some variance in thickness and shade. I moved on to the scales. I tried to draw them in as realistically as possible but my medium nib was too thick for such tiny details. I ended up just making small, filled-in diamonds and randomly re-tracing some to make them darker. I finished up by shading in some areas of the fins, to give depth to the overall look. After the ink on my betta was dry, I went back to my cat and finished him up by adding his tabby stripes and whiskers. My drawing still seemed incomplete at this point. I realized I needed to add décor to the fish bowl. To keep it simple, I chose to go with your everyday aquarium rocks. I retraced the outline of the rocks several times, and then used a clean, wet brush pen to fill each one with a touch of color. My final step was to add the quote. I knew I wanted one that was simple, short, and spoke to comfort and companionship.  I chose the quote by N. R. Hart because I loved how adding it to my drawing lends viewers to the conclusion that these two creatures are the best of friends, unlikely as that may be.

I own an Karas Kustoms Ink and I really like it, so I was excited to try the Fountain K. I found it comfortable to hold, and while it’s definitely a solid weight, I didn’t find it to be heavy at all.  The grip is metal (the entire pen is metal) but not slippery. The nib was smooth and overall I really had a good writing experience. The orange color is bright but not obnoxiously so; I’m not a huge fan of orange but I like the look of this pen a lot.

The Cornaline d’Égypte is the newest Jacques Herbin 1798 shimmering ink. If you’ve read any of my previous Monday Matchups, you know I’m a huge fan of shimmer inks, and this one is no exception. It has a surprising range of color, from the light orange brought out by the brush pen to the almost brown that appears when put down in layers. The silver shimmer came through quite well, despite using a medium nib (as opposed to a broad or stub). When used in writing, the orange is a pleasing shade that is easily readable while remaining unique. So many people worry about clogs when using a shimmer pen, but the ink never once stopped flowing. I drew this picture over the course of four days, and I never had a problem just picking up the pen and getting straight to work. I did have difficulties with the finer details – the whiskers, the fins, the little wisps of hair inside the kitty’s ears – and getting them to actually show up on the paper. I think I was basically trying to get a medium nib to put down a fine or even extra-fine line, and that’s just not what medium nibs are made to do, so it’s not surprising that I had a hard time. Using a variety of nibs for the piece probably would have solved this struggle.

I feel like the Fountain K and the Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Égypte would be great for just about anything –personal journaling, letter writing, work notes if you’re allowed non standard colors, and drawing. Yes it’s a shimmer ink, and yes it’s orange, but it’s also quite readable, flows well, and makes you happy when you look at it. The pen itself is tough – no worries if you’re taking it from place to place – and with the screw-on cap you can just toss it in your purse or stick it in your pocket and you’re good to go (although a pen slip never hurt anyone, either!).

An illustration of a cat and mouse featuring a quote by N.R. Hart made using a Karas Kustoms Fountain K fountain pen in Orage and Herbin Cornaline d'Egypte shimmering ink.

An illustration of a cat and mouse featuring a quote by N.R. Hart made using a Karas Kustoms Fountain K fountain pen in Orage and Herbin Cornaline d'Egypte shimmering ink.

An illustration of a cat and mouse featuring a quote by N.R. Hart made using a Karas Kustoms Fountain K fountain pen in Orage and Herbin Cornaline d'Egypte shimmering ink.

An illustration of a cat and mouse featuring a quote by N.R. Hart made using a Karas Kustoms Fountain K fountain pen in Orage and Herbin Cornaline d'Egypte shimmering ink.

 

You can find the Karas Kustoms Fountain K in Orange Aluminum at GouletPens.com for $80. Jacques Herbin Cornaline d’Egypte is availabe in a 50ml bottle for $28 or a 2ml sample for $2.

You could win this pen and ink! In an effort to make entering Monday Matchup a little easier, we’ve done away with the Rafflecopter widget and will be randomly selecting a winner from a randomly chosen platform each week. The entries methods will still be the same: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a blog comment, but you’ll no longer have to complete your entry through Rafflecopter.

How to enter Monday Matchup Giveaway:

  • Match a pen and ink together. They don’t have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
  • You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you’d like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
  • Here’s how to enter:

The contest is open Monday, August 13, 2018, at 12 pm EDT until Tuesday, August 14, 2018, at 12 pm EDT. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.

Write On,
Jenn

August 13th, 2018|Monday Matchup|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 221: Pen Turnoffs, Yellowing Resin, and Collecting vs. Using!

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about his biggest pen turn offs, yellowing resin, and collecting vs using!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1. Stuart J.- Facebook (10:38)

What one feature or lack of feature is the biggest turn-off when regarding a pen?

  • honest to goodness, I am turned off by very little because I clearly acquire pens like its my job (it kind of is)
  • hands down, how the pen writes is most important (feel on the page, flow of the ink)
  • price is crucial for most people (value)
  • color/material is usually next
  • gold vs steel nib
  • ink capacity is often important, or at least the filling mechanism type
  • whether the cap posts or not is usually a pretty big deal
  • capping mechanism (snap, screw, magnetic, hook safe, etc)

2. andrew_.goss- Instagram  (18:26)

What is the purpose of the tines in the feed?

  • the fins?
  • it’s to help act as a reservoir for ink, to hold it there to be ready to go
  • it also helps regulate the ink flow
  • not all pens have them, it all depends how the feed has been designed
  • pens are basically controlled leaks!

3. residentevil789- Instagram (21:53)

Do some demonstrator pens turn yellow during storage and any advise on turning them back to it’s former glory

  • it depends on the pen and the type of plastic used
  • Noodler’s pens are the only ones that come to mind that do this fairly regularly
  • it has to do with the polymers that make up the plastic
  • UV exposure is most often the culprit, but gasses, oils, and solvents can also cause it too
  • I haven’t tried, but hydrogen peroxide could possibly help in theory, though it could also corrode the metal in your pens so do at your own risk!
  • bleach could also work, that can corrode metal
  • abrasive (sanding, Comet cleaner) can remove top layer, but will risk damaging trim
  • any scientists out there wanna help me out?
  • I haven’t heard of any foolproof ways pen users have de-yellowed their pens

4. feersumenjinn- Instagram (28:10)

The massive disconnect between using and collecting pens? At times it seems the two have nothing to do with each other.

  • perhaps, but my experience is that a lot of pen collectors do use their pens
  • if someone is a serious collector, it is likely because it’s more about art than writing
  • pens are small works of art, like paintings, carvings, or feats of engineering
  • there is sometimes history around a given brand or theme, a certain artist may use pens as a medium (Maki-e)
  • there may be an investment aspect of collecting them, this is hit-or-miss though
  • the two don’t have to be correlated, but they’re not mutually exclusive either

5. smseerymurphy- Instagram (34:41)

Why don’t more FP makers have stub nibs as part of their lineup? Sigh.

  • I know, right?
  • I run into this a lot, especially with manufacturers outside the US
  • stubs are more popular in the US, I think, so some manufacturers aren’t used to them being in demand
  • they’re harder to make (for gold nibs), and if a manufacturer doesn’t want to absorb that labor they might just not offer it
  • this is something that’s changing as time goes on though, it’s getting better but still isn’t an assumed nib offering all the time

Business

6. Elizabeth D.- Facebook (41:54)

Would it be feasible to list a price per ml for ink, and price per square inch for paper on your site? The paper especially would be great.

  • possible yes…practical? not as much
  • the challenge would be that these calculations wouldn’t be dynamic, we’d have to update them manually with any price change unless we do custom development
  • price per ml would be simple enough, and that’s something we can consider if we can program it dynamically into our site
  • the challenge would be that not everything is displayed in the same measurements, like how Noodler’s is in ounces, J. Herbin is in ml
  • it could be done, but we’d have to pay our developers to do it which would ultimately have to pay itself back in increased sales, and it’s just not clear how big a win this would be
  • we have other bigger, more clear projects in the queue, but this is one I’d be curious to hear more about if there’s demand for it
  • paper would be much more complicated, as we’re not already calculating square inches (and our paper is mostly metric sizes anyway)
  • we’d have to measure and calculate everything as a new measurement
  • this would require measurements, calculation, and custom site development, so is it worth it?

QOTW: If you were given any fountain pen in the world that you asked for, would you ink it up (and what with)? (49:32)

Writing Prompt: If you could do anything at all today, knowing that tomorrow no one would remember what happened but you, write what you would do. (49:59)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

August 10th, 2018|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments