It’s that time again, BACK TO SCHOOL! In the flurry of preparing and anticipation, it’s important to make sure you have the right products to carry you through the school year strong. Check out our top 10 pens, inks, and notebooks below for some solid options for students, teachers, or anyone else looking to step up their supplies this autumn. You can find additonal suggestions on our Back-To-School roundup blog.
These inexpensive pens are the perfect knock-around pen for your bag. Whether you choose to dispose of them after the ink runs dry, or refill them with your favorite ink, the Pilot Varsity is going to carry you through all of your tasks. The array of colors in this variety park also offers the perfect opportuity for color-coded notes for students or a rainbow of grading inks for teachers.
You have to track your tasks somewhere, right? Might as well do it in style with the LT1917 planner. Available in a plethora of colors, there’s sure to be an option that fits your style. The week view with opposing page for notes is perfect for reminders, assignments, tracking meeting notes, or any other task you could need.
The perfect school notebook meets fountain pen friendly paper. The Clairefontaine Classic Wirebound is available in the quintessential 8.5″x11″ ruled notebook, as well as the slightly larger A4 size. Most importantly, the paper that can handle even your wettest and broadest nibs. Use your fountain pens to take notes with confidence, knowing this notebook can keep up. For you lefties out there, the top wirebound Classic notebooks will save your hands from the discomfort of fighting against the wirebinding as you write.
Doing your school work on the move? Tote your pens everywhere safely with one of these colorful and well-constructed Nock Co. cases. If you like to have a variety of pens, check out the Brasstown with its 6-slot roll out tongue inside a zippered pouch. If you like to carry a pocket notebook for quick notes, like reminders and to dos, take a look at the Sinclair cases, which have room for 3 pens and larger pocket opposite designed to hold a Field Notes sized notebook. Don’t be afraid to slip a few ink samples in there either so you’ll never be without a fill up in your travels.
So much fin… err… we mean fun! This affordable and playful pens feature an extra fine nib, ideal for keeping that ghosting and bleedthrough under control on less than stellar paper. For less than $4 a piece, you can get a pen with a funky shark head cap and included converter! Choose from a whole school of colors and maybe even grab a few extras to share with the class.
The perfect note taking pen with a huge ink capacity! The TWSBI Eco is a favorite pen for first timers and seasoned veterans alike. This work horse pen is available in a variety of colors and has a hearty 1.76ml ink capacity. Couple this with the cap insert that better seals the pen to prevent nib dry outs, and you have a pen that will carry you through notes, grading, tests, report cards, and anything else that may come your way over the semester.
These fast-drying Noodler’s inks are great for jotting pages and pages of notes without smudging or fear of tearing the page before the ink is dry. Whether you want the traditional black or a more vibrant blue, the Bernanke inks are a great choice for the classroom. Try them in a 2ml sample or grab a whole 3 oz. bottle.
Perfect for students and teachers alike, Colorverse Gravity Wave is reserved enough for a notetaking ink but distinct enough to be a great grading ink. This two bottle ink set also provides the perfect opportunity to have one bottle of ink for keeping at home and smaller bottle that would be ideal to carry on the go for emergency refills. Pick up the 65ml +15ml bottle set or start with a 2ml sample.
These notebooks have classic school style. Whether you choose a graph or lined ruling, you can be sure you’ll enter the classroom with the sharpest looking notebook of the whole bunch. Their B5 size makes them a perfect blend between a standard notebook and a composition book and offers versatility for different uses. Be sure to check out all three distinct cover options and choose your preferred binding.
Even we have to admit that sometimes fountain pens just aren’t an option in the classroom. For those moments, we’ve got the perfect solution that still offers a chance to flaunt your style. Enter the Retro51 Tornado Rollerball collection. Goulet Pens now carries nearly a dozen different designs of these pens, as well as their refills. Snag a pen that suits your interest and stock up on refills so you can write up a storm.
Honorable Mention: Diplomat Magnum Fountain Pens
New to Goulet, this Diplomat pen is quickly joining the ranks of great beginner pen. The Magnum is offered in 4 color choices, includes a converter and standard international cartridge, and comes in at an affordable $20. The smooth writing JoWo nibs makes notetaking a joy. You’ll definitely want to study this one further.
What products are on your back-to-school shopping list?
The Goulet Pen Company Team
Hi there, fountain pen friends, Lydia back again with the highly anticipated video about flex pens and stub nibs for lefties. I mentioned in the last episode of Left Out that every lefty has their own writing style and comforts. As such, these tips and tricks may not work for everyone. The information mentioned is purely my opinion and expereinces, but I hope it proves useful to all of my fellow Southpaws looking to get into the world of flex writing!
This is probably the most polarizing issue for lefties using fountain pens. We all see those beautiful writing videos on social media and want to do it too. GOOD NEWS: YOU CAN USE A FLEX PEN OR A STUB NIB. It’s all about adapting and finding a method that works for you. Let’s check out a few challenging scenarios with some possible solutions.
Challenge #1: Can’t flex because the angle or hand position is wrong.
This is probably the most challenging factor for any non-underwriting lefty. Underwriters like myself can fake it a bit and flex on the downstroke to still get the lovely line variation. Overwriters may have to reverse the process by pulling up and flexing almost as if they are writing upside down. Sidewriters will have some difficulty finding the ideal time to flex, but I’ve found that it is still possible if you write your letters in parts, instead of in one stroke. For example, if you are going to write an uppercase B, you may find that the most natural flex occurs when you are coming around the the bottom of the curves that make up the front of the B. Flex pens take practice. The number 1 way to combat issues with flexing at the right and wrong times is to practice, practice, practice, and get really comfortable with how the pen writes and how it feels in your hand.
Challenge #2: Smearing
All of us lefties are familiar with the issue of smearing at one time or another. Because of the extremely wet nature of flex nib writing, smearing is a big hurdle in using this type of pen. To avoid it, I have two tips you can try. The first is to turn your paper to stay out of the line of writing. This will also help you find the right writing angle to flex and may even make it much easier to flex. If you are below your writing line, you won’t be smudging as you write. The second tip would be to slow your writing way down and take ample time to let the ink dry as you go. I have also heard of other lefties using blotting paper or a plastic sheet under their writing hand to help stop from running their hand over the fresh ink.
Stub nibs, especially very crisp italic nibs, can be another sore spot for lefties. I personally avoided stubs for at least a year into my fountain pen journey because I could not get used to the ink flow and writing angle that worked best. I experienced skipping with the first few stubs I used, which leads me to the first lefty challenge with stub nibs: ink flow.
Challenge #3: Catching the paper
If catching the paper with the edge of the nib seems to be a common problem for you, you may need to consider a few options to rectify the situation. First, try turning the paper so that you are holding your nib perpendular to your writing line. This will help to make sure you are not digging the nib into the paper as you’re writing, especially for side writers. It is best to avoid super crisp nibs. Italic nibs with sharper, less rounded edges are going to be much more likely to catch the paper as us lefties are pushing them along our writing line.
I noticed when I used stub nibs at first, I struggled with ink flow and maintaining contact with the paper to get a full thick line. My angle was just wrong somehow. This caused me to abandon stubs for a while. Turning the paper, as I mentioned above, will also help maintain that contact with the paper and avoid skipping. In addition, you may also want to try a wetter ink to give a generous flow (just be careful to avoid smearing if you aren’t adjusting the paper to maintain a perpendicular angle to your writing line). Holding your pen at a lower angle is a good thing to try if you are still struggling with skipping. The solution I finally found that worked for me were custom ground nibs. I had the broad nib on my Karas Kustoms Fountain K ground into a right foot oblique and it was a completely new world for me.
Tips and Tricks:
- Have fun with it! Remember that you are going to have a different expereince than your righty counterparts, take it slow, try and keep your flexing perpendicular to the writing line. Everyone struggles with flex pens, not just lefties. Keep practicing and taking it slow and you’ll be there in no time.
- It may be best to ease into stub nibs and start with a smaller nib, like the Nemosine 0.6mm stub to get used to these unique pens first.
- Check out custom grinds!
Next episode, we’ll tackle lefty handwriting and how to pick the right pens, inks, and paper. I hope you will tune in. If you have any tips, pointers, or questions, we’d love to hear them in the comments below.
**WINNER: Congrats to Josh B. (Entered on the blog). Check back next week for another awesome Monday Matchup Giveaway**
Hi fountain pen friends, Lydia here! Welcome back to Monday Matchup! We took the month of July off from the contest to host our #GouletOnHoliday giveaway, which was so much fun! If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our blog to see some of the great entries showcasing pens out and about all around the globe. A big thank you to all who participated. Now we are back to our usual weekly magic of pairing pens and inks to create something beautiful. This week, I was given the chance to test out one of the new Kyoto inks we got in, Soft Snow of Ohara, coupled with a Conklin Duragraph Purple Nights with an Omniflex nib. To hear about my experiences, read on!
When we first put the Kyoto inks on our site, I was intrigued by this color. I love purple and I also thought it would be funny to do a Gone with the Wind themed piece with it, even though I know the Ohara does not mean Scarlett O’Hara. But I took this idea and ran with it when creating this piece. I could feel it even before I opened the ink bottle that Kyo-Iro Soft Snow of Ohara was going to look gorgeous as an ink wash. I took a Caran d’Ache waterbrush pen and created a gradient ink wash on the top half on a sheet of Rhodia blank paper. I created hill-like shapes on the bottom half of the page on which I planned to perch the house. I gave that ample time to dry before I took to the pen for writing and drawing.
I took the pen and drew in the house and the people in the scene. I had initially hoped to write the quote on the same sheet as the drawing but realized it was going to be too long and cumbersome. I used the brush pen to blend over the quote and darken the ink wash. This ended up over-saturating the paper and causing it to become a little crumbly. I also strugled quite a bit to get the Omniflex nib to write because this very dry ink was not a good match with the wetness needed to make the Omniflex write. The more I tried to get the pen to write, the more I tore the paper, so I gave up and wrote the quote separately on a clean sheet of paper. I am not as satisfied with this piece as I have been with past drawings I have done, but I still think it looks pretty with the ink wash.
If I were to do this piece again, I would definitely pick a different paper to complete the piece on. The Rhodia could not hold up to the ink wash and all of the drawing and writing with a flex nib that I needed to do on top. I also probably would have written the quote first so I could have had a better idea of the space that was left for the drawing. The Duragraph with the Omniflex nib is undeniably best suited for a very wet ink. My Duraflex is one of my favorite pens when I want to get fancy with my writing and I haven’t had any problems with it since I got it. This Omniflex was a much bigger challenge when I tried to use the dry Kyoto ink. I tried it with some Monteverde Sapphire and it was better behaved. The Kyo-Iro Soft Snow of Ohara is one of the most beautiful inks I have tried in a long time. I might need to get a bottle to add to my collection. It is also perfect for me as a lefty, because it is drier and well behaved.
This pen and ink combo did not play nicely together but on their own, they are great products. The Omniflex Duragraph would be fabulous for anyone that want a flex pen with a classic look. It is great for adding some flair to your creative writing and hand lettering. The Soft Snow of Ohara ink is a great choice for anyone looking for a drier ink that has gorgeous color and depth. It would be great for an alternate note-taking color and is possibly subtle enough for an office environment, although maybe not for official paperwork.
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 6, 2018, at 12 pm EDT until Tuesday, August 7, 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.
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about the softest gold nibs, rocker clips, and the one thing that drives him!
- been really getting in some solid family time, science experiments, making slime
- Cool video on Colorverse Season 4
- Diplomat, getting their name out there and starting to grow in their reputation
- Clairefontaine Aquarelles, holy cow! Sold out but we’re going to try to get more
- more Jinhao Shark Pen colors, restocked Dragon!
- Homo Sapiens Evolution
- Stipula Tocco Ferro final shipment
- DC pen show this weekend, I’ll be there
1) young_chivalrous- Instagram (09:23)
Which brand offers the softest gold nib? Lamy, Pilot, Aurora, Edison, Platinum(PLT-5000A), etc.
- Pilot Falcon, for sure, other pilot soft nibs too (though not many available in the US), Justus 95 too
- Pineider has a really soft gold nib
- Pelikan m1000 is amazing, the other gold nibs a bit less so
- Pilot e95s is pretty great
- Edison (Jowo) gold nibs are pretty soft, but not quite as soft as Pilot’s soft nibs
- Visconti palladium nibs are rather soft, but they’re not gold nibs, I guess!
- Lamy gold nibs are springy, but not all that soft (2000 nibs are stiff)
- Aurora isn’t crazy soft
- Platinum’s are actually quite stiff, their “soft” nibs are more like Pilot’s regular gold nibs, the exception being the PTL-5000A
2) Robert M.- YouTube (13:48)
Any advice on how to find more, as Rachel said, “Rocker clip” pens? I don’t know what the official term is, but i have a pocket on my bag made of a thicker leather than usual and would like to be able to use more of that kind.
- Rocker clip is where you can push the back of it down and open it up, it’s not all that common
- we don’t have a search filter or anything like that on the site, but I’ll try to think of all the rocker clip pens we have!
- Conklin (all but Duragraph)
- Diplomat Excellence
- Lamy Nexx?
- Now there are spring clips, which are a lot more common…
- Faber-Castell, all Lamys but Safari, Al-Star, and Studio, Pineider, Visconti
3) Brian R.- Facebook (20:41)
How do you reach out to pen manufacturers with critiques and suggestions? Or to ink producers.
- It varies from one manufacturer to another
- We have ongoing relationships with our manufacturers, and look to build it on trust
- we always seek to understand first, then give feedback based on customer feedback and our perceptions
- smaller manufacturers we often get to be very direct, larger companies it depends based on who we’re talking to and how well we know them
- there’s always a lot to learn, in both directions!
4) Ed D.- Facebook (28:08)
With all the pen shows, social media and YouTube channels that are around, what community venue or forum do you think the pen community could benefit from having that we don’t currently have?
- it’s true, there really are a lot of different communities out there
- one thing I’ve seen evolve in the last 9 years is a move away from specifically developed communities (forums, blogs, messaging boards) around pens and more engagement in social media platforms at large
- it’s been interesting to see Goulet Nation develop into what it has, but even that is still within Facebook
- there are plenty of pen shows, but not as many local meet ups that are well organized
- Not a single great pen trading/reselling platform
- no trade organization/group around pen manufacturing, nib tuning, pen repair, etc
- it’s hard to say what the future holds, but you can bet we’re trying to think of ways we can help benefit the community!
5) Rita P.- Facebook (41:54)
I love interesting nib designs. Sometimes, a pretty nib can sell me on a pen. What are your favorite ornate or most uniquely designed nibs?
- Pelikan’s gold nibs are great, the m800 and m1000 especially
- Pineider’s Quill nibs
- Montblanc always has some nice looking nibs, the 149
- Montegrappa steel nibs are actually really nice, but some of their gold LE nibs are really amazing
- Namiki’s larger nibs are really nice, especially the two tones
- Lamy’s 14k nibs are beautiful in their simplicity, especially the black Imporium
- Visconti’s larger palladium nibs
6) dylandilly- Instagram (48:11)
You have been doing this for many years. What is one thing that keeps you motivated and drive you to do such an awesome job?
- I could list a lot of things, but the greatest one thing would be my sense of calling, of purpose
- I’ve had such a crazy series of events that have led me here, and despite how stressful and challenging it can be sometimes, I really feel like I’m meant to be doing what I’m doing
- it’s fitting that I’m getting this question right before the DC show, as that show always marks the anniversary of my epiphany to explore fountain pens
- I’m not always clear how I should be doing it, and that’s a lot of what it is I spend my time figuring out
- John Maxwell calls it the Leadership Lid, where an organization can only grow as much as the leaders who run it
- Laurence J. Peter came up with the “Peter Principle”, which states that every employee is promoted to the highest level of his or her incompetence
- I feel kind of a combination of both of these, as any competence I gain, I try to build into a process, train, or delegate away, and I therefore need to take on new skills I’ve never had
- this is unbelievably humbling, and I face up to my inadequacies every day, it’s quite normal for running your own growing company, and not everyone can stomach it
- I have this ability to not be crippled by uncertainty or facing my own fears and doubts, and that’s something that’s both come natural to me and I’ve honed it a lot with practice
- I recognize that as a leader and as a figurehead of this company, I have to be confident and secure in who I am and what I’m doing, even if how I should best do it is sometimes unclear
- my greater sense of calling towards my work gives me that motivation
QOTW: What type of venue/social organization do you think the fountain pen community could benefit from the most right now? (1:01:39)
Writing Prompt: Write about the oldest memory you have as a child. (1:02:00)
This week’s Thursday Things is an homage to Ernest Hemingway, his thrilling works, and adventurous life. Whether you’re getting lost in the pages of his novels or touring his home in the gorgeous Florida Keys, you can always find a story unfolding right before your eyes. The collection of pens, inks, and accessories in this assortment highlight some of the defining characteristics of Hemingway’s life. For instance, the Tropical Green ink for his Caribbean home, Whisky Brown for his drink of choice, and a trusty Montegrappa pen, symbolizing his pen of choice to complete his famous works. Take a moment to admire the exciting products in Thursday Things: Ernest Hemingway.
Featured products from left to right:
- Diplomat Wooden Desk Equipment- Cherrywood– $100
- Diplomat Aero Fountain Pen- Brown– $156
- Organics Studio Ernest Hemingway (55ml bottle) -$13
- Robert Oster Deep Sea (50ml bottle)– $17
- De Atramentis Whisky Brown (35ml bottle)– $15.95 (Currently on sale for $13.95)
- Montegrappa Fountain Pen- Copper Mule– $375
- Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen- Blue– $125
- Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue (75ml bottle)– $30
- Visconti Van Gogh Fountain- Dr. Gachet– $299
- Conklin Classic Fountain- Rainfall– $124
- Diamine Tropical Green (40ml bottle)– $15.95
- Travelers Brass Fountain Pen– $56
Which writer’s home would you love to visit one day?
The Goulet Pen Company Team
It seems these days that there’s a GIF for every situation and with the advent of built-in keyboards full of moving animations, we can insert them into conversations effortlessly. The Goulet Pens team members are no strangers to this practice either. So, we decided to have a little fun this week and round up our top 10 favorite GIFs that fountain pen people can relate to.
1) The first time you write your name with a new fountain pen
2) When your new pen and ink match perfectly
3) When you place your order and you’re waiting for the shipping notification
4) When someone grabs your favorite pen and starts using it without asking
5) When the mail carrier is late for the usual drop off time
6) When your friends in Goulet Nation validate your recent purchase
7) When you need to buy a new pen for an event coming up even though you already have a pen case full of perfectly suitable pens
8) When you give someone their first fountain pen
9) When you’re getting ready to open your latest Goulet order
10) The feeling you have every time you use your pens
Be sure to share your favorite fountain pen feeling with a GIF in the comments below! We’d love to hear them.
The Goulet Pen Company Team