Q&A #1

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I've been getting a lot of questions lately, so I thought I would tackle a bunch of them all at once.

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Q: What do you have currently inked?

A: This week I'm using:

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Q: Do yo have any resources for someone looking to learn more on lettering? 

A: When I started lettering, I started with markers. It was easier for me to learn lettering motions (heavy downstroke, light upstroke) by starting bigger, and then adjusting smaller. It was harder for me to go the other way-starting with very small nibs, and then adjusting to markers or brushes. I purchased a brush letter practice guide, and a small pack of Tombow dual brush markers, and just practiced over and over. Once I felt comfortable with the markers, I switched to a dip nib, then to a flex fountain pen and practiced some more. Some brush pens I use often are: 

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Q: Are you doing everything with fountain pens or other tools? 

A: Usually when I review an ink, the first image that has the ink's name lettered is done with water brush markers. If I want a flex pen look, with thicker down strokes, I use a Kuretake water brush pen, and if I want all the strokes to look uniform, then I use a Caran d'Ache fibre tipped water brush pen. All of the other writing is done with fountain pens. 

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Q: Seems like everyone talks about extra-fine and fine nibs but the inks are so cool it seems like using broad/stub/flex nibs are what really show off the incredible inks on the market. Thoughts?

A: Although extra-fine and fine pens are very popular, they don't show off inks very well. For the most part, I use medium, broad, or flex pens. I mainly use EF and F for reviewing inks, but not for everyday writing. I'm addicted to shading and sheen, and most inks don't show any of those properties using a EF or F nib. If you are looking to show off an ink, I wouldn't use nibs smaller than a medium (there are inks that do show sheen in EF nibs, but they are few and far between, such as Organics Studio Walden and Nitrogen). I prefer Pelikan Medium and Broad nibs since they  have a nice wet flow.

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Q: I would like to know what are your shading blue ink preferences when using a flex pen like the Noodler's Ahab Flex.

A: For shading blues, you can't go wrong with any of Robert Oster's blues. Some of my current favorite blue shading inks are: 

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Q: I'm wondering which flex pen/s you've used in your ink reviews. The writing looks so lovely. In one of the reviews I saw that you had named a Conklin Duragraph broad for your text, but I couldn't find the name of the flex pen anywhere. Any advice for getting a similar handwriting effect? I have a Noodler's Ahab but I'm not finding it very intuitive to write with.

A. My first flex fountain pen was a Noodler's Ahab, but it is very stiff and hard to work with. I prefer softer flex nibs. The best flex nibs I've found are vintage flex. The flex pens I currently use are: 

  • Waterman's 52 1/2 (this is a vintage pen from 1903, and my favorite flex pen)
  • Pelikan 400N (this is actually a stub nib with some bounce to it)
  • Pilot 912 FA (this is not actually a flex nib, just soft)
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Q: I was wondering, do you have a set of specific pens you use for the ink review nib comparisons? Or maybe ones you use more often?

A: For ink reviews I use two sets of pens, depending on what ink I'm using. For shimmer inks I usually use Lamy Al-Stars in EF, F, M and B. For all other inks I use Pilot Vanishing Points in EF, F, M, and B. I alternate between the flex nibs shown above. For the longer writing sample at the end of each review I use whatever pen I feel like that day, lately I've been loving Pelikan 600's and 800's, a Conklin Durograph, and a Montegrappa Copper Mule.

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Q: I was curious to know what materials/tools you use to get such a consistent look to your ink swabs.

A: I reviewed the Col-o-ring back in May (one of my very first reviews), and in that review I talked a little about how I do my ink swabs. 

Here's a quick rundown- I use the Col-o-ring by Skylab letterpress for the paper, and a Master's Touch #2 round watercolor brush (I think I got this at Hobby Lobby for $1) for the swab itself. I write the brand in a medium fountain pen, and the name of the ink in a flex fountain pen. 

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Q: What inks do you currently have?

A: I currently have 667 different inks (with a few more on the way). The pic above is from my Diamine drawer. You can find a current list of my inks here. There are about 2600 inks currently on my ink list (since I'm trying to review them all), so there are a lot of inks I still need to acquire samples of. The hardest inks for me to find are old limited edition inks and discontinued inks.

Q: How much ink do you use per review?

A: I use between 3 and 4ml's per review. I prefer 4ml samples whenever possible.

Q: Can I send you samples for review?

A: If you want to send samples, take a look at the list of inks I already have, and use the contact page to let me know you are interested.

Q: Do you take requests for ink reviews?

A: Yes! For 2018, I am dedicating one week every month to reader request ink reviews. If you have an ink request, use the contact page or leave me a comment below or on Instagram.

Well, that wraps up reader request week for this month! Tomorrow kicks off yellow ink week.

Disclaimer: All photos and opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links on this page.