Thursday, July 23, 2020

A New Hobby

My current pen and ink collection, minus one ink. (I have the 15 ml bottles of each, not the full-size 50 ml bottles.) I don't have the neatest handwriting...

I haven't been shopping for clothes or accessories this month, but that doesn't mean I haven't been spending on discretionary things. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was recently inspired to try writing with a fountain pen after seeing Adina's Instagram post about some of her favorite fountain pen inks... It did not take long before I was totally hooked.

Since early July, my pen collection has grown quite a bit: I started with just a Pilot Metropolitan medium nib, but have since acquired several other pens. (So far, the Pilot Metropolitan is still my favorite.) In addition to the pens I tested out in the above photo, I've also ordered a TWSBI Eco. My ink collection is also expanding at a similar rate: I got four 15 ml bottles of different Pilot Iroshizuku inks to start, then added two more, and I just ordered a dozen 2 ml sample vials of inks from different brands to try. 

With this new hobby, I'm going through a lot more paper than before. I used to write barely half an A5-sized page once every few days in the journal section of my primary bullet journal-ish notebook, but after starting to write with fountain pens, I've easily been writing two to three A5-sized pages per day. Half of what I write is just lengthy prattle about the differences between each of my pens, how pretty some of the ink is, and what additional pens and inks I might like to try. In other words, I keep writing even if I don't have much of substance to say, just so I can continue admiring the different inks and enjoying the way the pens glide over paper.

So far, my favorite ink colors are Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku (a teal shade that's a bit more blue and a touch brighter than the very similar Syo-Ro, which leans a bit more green) and Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji (a magenta shade that's more red-pink than purple).  Though some of the dozen ink samples that are on their way might potentially displace these colors as my top favorites!

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Out of the paper I currently have on hand, both the Leuchtturm1917 notebook paper and the 68 gsm Tomoe River paper (from a notebook I bought on Etsy, which is currently not available for purchase) are quite suitable for showing off different ink colors. Most colors look just a bit more complex and multidimensional on the Tomoe River paper, but the Leuchtturm notebooks are a lot more moderately priced. The featherweight paper in my Smythson notebook is also quite nice to write on with a fountain pen, but because the paper itself is light blue, ink colors aren't shown to their best advantage on it.

There do appear to be noticeable quality differences between the paper in my old Leuchtturm1917 A5 dot-grid notebook, which I originally purchased back in November 2017, and the paper in the brand-new one I just purchased. A few - but not all - of the pages I've tested out in the newer book seem to be thinner, with a significant amount of ink from my writing bleeding through to the back of the page with all the fountain pens and inks I have on hand. I had a few dozen blank pages of my old Leuchtturm left that I could test out my new pens on, and haven't had any issues with ink bleeding through there.

Are any of you fountain pen users? Do you have any favorite pens or inks or notebooks? So far, I've bought everything in my pen and ink collection at its full US retail price, so this is fast becoming a fairly expensive hobby. 

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