Hey there, fountain pen friends! Lydia here, bringing you a Monday Matchup that is very close to my heart. The quote that inspired this week’s artwork is one I have carried in my heart for the past 8 years and the moment I picked up this pen and ink, I knew they would be perfect to bring it to life. Read on to hear more about my drawing and what I thought of this matchup.

Flashback to 2009, I was a senior in high school, grappling with the usual trials and tribulations of being young and on the cusp of attending a college that was five hours from home. I was struggling with the uncertainty of how my relationship with my four younger siblings would change when I left the house for the first time in my life and moved four states away. Music was always a source of comfort for me and I had recently discovered a new band called The Cab. Listening to their music became a meaningful bonding experience for my siblings and I as we all enjoyed jamming out together. Over the course of that year, I was fortunate enough to see the band
live 4 times and got to meet them outside the venue of two of those shows. Picture those newsreels of teenage Beatles fans in the height of Beatlemania; that was me at their concerts. During one of these encounters, I sheepishly chatted with Alex, the lead singer, and gave him a letter I had painstakingly written and rewritten countless times to express my gratitude for the monumental impact his band’s music had on my life. I expressed how fortunate I felt to have their music, how special it was to share that with my siblings, and thanked the band for giving me that unique bonding opportunity. I never expected anything to come of it, but that letter was my way of making some sense of my topsy-turvy teenage world to a person I idolized.

On March 9th, 2009, I checked Alex’s blog, as I did faithfully every day, to see if he had posted anything new. I received a response that struck a deep and lasting chord in my heart. Alex informed us that he had stayed awake all night reading the letters he had gotten on tour and wanted to show his appreciation by responding to us all. I frantically scrolled and found my name among the list and read his response. He exclaimed, “That is great you are close to your siblings. Hold them close, because when everything else fades away and turns to photographs in a dusty frame, your family will be there to lightly blow the dust away to show the true life and color behind it.” And in that moment, that snippet of wisdom became permanently etched on my heart. Alex was right and I’ve never forgotten his words to this day. My family is my rock and my relationship with my siblings only gets stronger as we get older and face the world together. It’s amazing how a few written words can shape and impact a life so greatly. Letters and writing in general continue to be an important part of my life but I will never forget how amazing it felt to have my personal reflections acknowledged and appreciated by my favorite musician. Thank you, Alex, for being such an inspiration.

With that much meaning and history behind this remark, I wanted to be especially intentional about how I brought it to fruition. When brainstorming how to embark on creating the piece, I knew I wanted to keep it minimal and make the statement the main focus so I decided a simple picture frame on a table would be perfect. Diamine Saddle Brown definitely had that sepia feel to me so I felt it was perfect for recreating this quote. I sketched my idea with pencil on a scratch piece of paper to get the idea right and plan enough space for the quote, then I redrew it with the Conklin All American on a blank sheet from a Rhodia No.18 notepad. I was really excited about drawing the hardwood floors because I knew the ink wash would make the ink have so much depth to color in the floors perfectly. Once everything was sketched out, I went in with a water brush and filled in the different layers of color with ink from the cap of the bottle. I let it dry overnight and came back in and freshened up the lines with the pen. Then I set to work on the quote. I wanted a variety of fonts to give the quote some liveliness. I especially loved the smudged idea for “blow the dust away,” where I wrote each letter and smudged it with my fingertip as I went.

I would not change a single thing about this piece or pen and ink pairing. I love the way it turned out and the pen and ink were perfect. The All American is a big pen and the dimensions are very much similar to the Edison Collier I used a few months ago for a matchup, so I was excited to compare the two. I wouldn’t recommend this pen for people with small hands because it’s quite substantial but I loved it. The grip is a bit chunkier than the Collier but not offensively so. It was comfortable to sketch and write with. I appreciated that is also posted, although it feels quite comfortable unposted as well. The nib was smooth-writing and the ink flowed well from it. I did not experience any hard starts or skipping of any kind. It was quite possibly one of the best Monday Matchup pens I’ve used. Plus, the design of the Yellowstone pen body is quite eye-catching and fun. Diamine Saddle Brown is a nice juicy, wet ink. Perfect for sketching or art that requires a huge variety of shades and color possibilities. If you were to use a pen with a fine nib to limit the wet flow, I think the ink may also be perfect for note-taking or work, as it’s a fairly reserved color.

You can find the Conklin All American Yellowstone fountain pen at GouletPens.com for $76. Diamine Saddle Brown is available in an 80ml bottle for $14.95 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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