When you’re first getting started in the world of fountain pens, it can be a bit overwhelming and hard to discern where to start. In this slice from a previous episode of Goulet Q&A, Brian tackles the important question of which to stock up on first: Ink or Pens? Read on to find out the answer.
Even Brian Goulet had to start somewhere when he first got into fountain pens. When you do not have a lot of experience and don’t want to invest a lot of money into a hobby you’re not sure will stick, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options. Brian explains that since Goulet Pens started out primarily selling ink and paper, he drew much of his interest from that and dove deep into the world of inks. Inks were really what excited him as well so he ran with it.
However, this is, in his opinion, also the best way for anyone to start the fountain pen hobby. It is a fairly easy task to find an inexpensive pen that you enjoy and will write well on a page. But the ink is the thing that is left behind on the page and the factor that you will see more often so it is important to find the right ink. Once you find that good pen, you can then set to the task of searching down inks. With the opportunity to purchase ink samples, you are definitely getting the most bang for your buck buy accumulating inks as well.
Pens can be expensive to someone not familiar with the cost of fountain pens. A Lamy Al-Star at $37.60 can be a great deal of money for a pen and you may not want to invest that much, especially knowing you still need ink. But for that much, you could also get a Pilot Metropolitan and at least a dozen ink samples to test out and get a much larger variety in your writing experience. For the cost of the replacement nib for that same Lamy, which will slightly alter your writing experience, you could get 10 or so ink samples from different brands or with different properties that will broaden your horizons and show you how different inks behave. You can see how the ink reacts to different paper types and different nib sizes. These samples can also last through quite a few pages of writing, so you get a good long taste of the experience.
So, in the question of “is it better to have a variety of inks or pens?”, your best bet is going to be to invest in 3-5 inexpensive pens that you enjoy writing with and focus on collecting between 20 and 40 ink samples so you can test ink across brands and settle in on some top contenders. Once you find your inks, then you can move on to next level pens. The key to remember is that you do not want to overwhelm yourself with options of pens and inks. Either stick to the same ink and buy lots of pens or stick to a few pens and go crazy with inks. This will help you define characteristics you like, piece by piece, so you get the full picture of your ideal pen and ink.
How did you get started in fountain pens? Lots of inks or lots of pens first?
The Goulet Pen Company Team