More Fountain Pen Frolics

Paulien Maria-Grietje

I have to say February has not been a great month for me.  My father died on the 12th and things seemed to take a bit of a tumble since then.  I was feeling more and more down with every day.  So I needed to pull myself back together and I think I may have the answer – Art Therapy.  I sketched this portrait yesterday and the more that I was drawing the more I became the old me.  As I started to bleed the ink (not too sure that is a technical term) I became more aware that all I needed was something to focus on.

Phil Davis  suggested to me that a watercolour block may be the way to go to combat my paper buckling problem.  It isn’t a very big problem but could be when I progress to watercolour.  So I wonder – should I be looking for Hot Press or Not/Cold Press?  I am thinking Not but maybe I would be better off with smoother Hot Press.

My new Lamy Safari arrived and was waiting for me when I got back from Yorkshire.  I also got the converter but I have no ink.  Maybe someone out there could recommend a nice ink to try.  I must admit that I wanted to try water-proof ink such as Platinum Carbon Black/Sepia or some Noodlers Lexington Grey with watercolour.  It is so hard to get hold of Noodlers here in the UK.  On the other hand the bleeding technique I have been using is quite fun.  I was wondering if once the ink has bled you could then use watercolour washes over the top or would the ink still run too much?  I read somewhere that Private Reserve Velvet Black runs well with beautiful under-colours.  Anyone know of a nice ink for this technique?


27 thoughts on “More Fountain Pen Frolics

  1. Stew, I’ve really liked all of your fountain pen/water pictures – this one is great. Good luck with finding a good ink to try, and choosing paper. This picture has such life.

    I send much sympathy for your loss – my own beloved father is 80 this year, and I treasure the fact that he is still with us, and i am able to enjoy his company, so I very much feel for you. I’m glad focusing on art is a good thing for you to do at the moment.

    1. Hello Jane,
      I’m so glad you popped by. I don’t think I’ve been to your site The Illustrated Biscuit (I think) for ages. And now thanks to you being here I have been reminded to go call in at your site.
      Thank you also for your wonderful comments Jane – sometimes you feel like giving in and then comments like yours keeps you going.
      Your father is 80 this year – fantastic! My father was 86.
      Thank you once again for calling round Jane.

  2. Hi Stew, I’m glad you managed to draw something in this awful time. My dad died 4 years ago and threw myself into my art, it was my way of coping with that and other things that were going on, it certainly helps with the sadness.
    I really like this portrait, one of your best I think. How do you get the pinky colour? Is it an effect of the ink & water?
    I don’t use the converter on my Safari, it was very fiddley for not much ink. Now I just fill up the cartridge from the ink bottle with a syringe!
    I bought the Lexington Grey it’s softer with watercolour (I haven’t tried making it run). I got mine from Goulet Pen Company in the USA and bought a big bottle to make the extra postage worth while. I’ve used my pen everyday for a year and only have used a tiny bit of ink from the bottle so far, so it was worth the investment.
    Hope that and the art helps.

    1. Hello Cathy,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad – it’s true that having something to focus on helps a lot.
      Yes, the pinky colour is a kind of by-product of the ink bleeding process. I sometimes get a slight purple tinge & sometimes an orange tint. The ink is just W.H.Smiths own black ink cartridges. I have heard different inks produce different effects. I did see a small tester of Private Reserve Velvet Black that did seem to have some great random colours when a wash of water was brushed over. I think the demonstration was to show how un-waterproof it was but I just thought….Hey….I like that! I am beginning to like the idea of Lexington Grey as I love the effect you get and it would mean I could use watercolour over the ink without it all running.
      Thanks for your thoughts Cathy.

  3. This portrait is stunning, and I really love the way you handle the ink. Having it run adds so much to its beauty. Well done! I am very sorry about your loss and hope that your art continues to bring you comfort and healing. nancy

    1. Hello Nancy,
      Thank you for taking the time to come for a peek.
      I do like letting ink bleed and run like this – good fun. But you can never be too sure how it will turn out.
      Thank you also for your kind words Nancy.
      By the way, I love the mobile.

  4. Hi, Stew. . . again, I am so sorry about your dad. Good for you for using your art as a way to focus. I think you will love Lexington Gray Noodler’s; perhaps, as Cathy says, you could just place one huge order, getting converters and a couple of kinds of ink, to make it all worthwhile. And I think you will like cold-pressed paper just fine and hot pressed even better, if you use your safari a lot. As far as that goes, what you are using right now is producing the most splendid results . . . I loved the way you worked the washes in this portrait!!! I have to check out that Private Reserve Velvet Black, which sounds sensational!

    I am sending prayers and healing thoughts your way, Stew. . .

    1. Hello Betty,
      Great to hear from you Betty.
      Do you think that it would be better to use hot-pressed paper if I am going to be using a fountain pen a lot?
      Thank you for your lovely comments.
      I am finding you recent drawings of birds fascinating Betty.

  5. I dont know if you have seen Nina Johanssons blog?
    She has a fantastic way to work with inks and she wrote a lot about what kinds of ink she uses,, maybe that would help you with your search of ink.

    Love the three last portraits, I like the softness to them and how the colours flow. Lovely!!!

    Im sorry for your loss of your father, Im glad to see that you have found back your way to sketch and paint.

    1. Hello Mari,
      Thank you for calling round to see me.
      I visit Nina’s site quite a bit. It is where I first heard of Platinum’s Carbon Black. Her work is superb isn’t it?
      Thank you also for your lovely comments Mari.

  6. Stew,
    first so sorry about your loss. I can’t imagine what is will be like when my Dad goes. He’s 93 going on 103. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    Second, I just love, love these drawings! I just got a Noodlers pen and some ink and I love it so far. It’s supposed to be waterproof but it ran a tiny tiny amount when I went in with some watercolor. It wouldn’t be a problem in your case, with some soft grey, I’m sure. Keep at it. Personally I like the hot press paper with pen and ink because it’s so smooth. Try a sheet of each torn into smaller pages. You’ll see what’s right for you. I’ve drawn with Rapidograph pens and went back into them with Dr. Martins inks and they looked great. No running. And I’ve drawn with Higgins ink, wetting the paper first, and let it run all over the place and was excited with that result too.

    Art can be cathartic. I lost my son 10 years ago. Had a relapse of depression and went into therapy last year. I would take out my sketch book and just poor all of my feelings into the pen and paper. Almost like automatic writing. It reveals a lot of what you are struggling with. I hadn’t drawn my son for many years and found I could draw a picture of him and talk to him at the same time. It was very healing.

    So keep drawing and sometimes just let the pen lead you. You’ll be amazed.
    Best to you,

    1. Hello Revelle,
      I am so sorry to hear about your son. I have no idea how anyone could cope with such sadness.
      Hopefully, in ten years time you will be writing to me saying ‘My Dad is 103 going on 113’ 🙂

      I really am not sure if I want waterproof ink that I can lay watercolour over or keep to ink that will bleed. Really I would like ink that will bleed then go waterproof so I can use watercolour as well (I don’t ask for much eh 😉 ).

      I am so glad you wrote.
      Keep drawing – Keep smiling.


  7. I’m terribly sorry for your loss.

    I find that art is a great way to heal no matter how big or small the trauma is. Your art is quite lovely (: I read a previous post and your paintings are amazing and the realism achieved is unbelievable. It’s very inspirational!

  8. Stew,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. I hope you have fond memories of him that you can hold in your heart.

    I love your portraits and think the block paper might work well for you. You might want to try both the hot and the not, just to see how they behave differently and give you different effects.

  9. Dr Snorter – I love this drawing style of yours. And who is the handsome chap that’s appeared in the profile pic then?

    To chuck my two penn’orth in, maybe try some nice smooth watercolour paper (I quite like Langton) and the Lexington Grey ink – big bottle lasts forever. You can get it (and spend aaaages looking at the other lovely colours) from

    Hope you’re doing ok and glad that you are drawing 🙂

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about your father. But I’m glad you’re finding some relief with your art. Time, work and other loved people are what gets us through the pain of loss, I’ve learnt. (also, laughing and having silly moments!)
    Your portrait is awesome, she looks so alive, real (not realistic but real, if you see what I mean). Beautiful work!

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