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Ink Omakase: August 2022

Not much writing was done and no pens ran dry. The only pen that needed filling was a new purchase.

Ink Omakase #3

My friend bought a new Lamy Safari fountain pen and asked me to fill it. It was the cream half of the 2022 special edition strawberry and cream.

For the pen’s first fill, I wanted to find an ink to match the pen. Thinking that something in brown, on the lighter end of the spectrum might match the pen. I have very little brown inks though so I ended up filling it with Van Dieman’s Peanut Brittle.

My friend likes the ink and thinks it’s an unique colour (for an ink).

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Short holiday break

I’m taking a short holiday so there is no new ink writing sample today. In place of it, please enjoy this photo of an adorable puppy.

Puppy in a cup
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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Ink Omakase: June 2022

This month, I’ve filled up a total of 3 pens for a friend:

Ink Omakase #2

“Surprise me,” they said. This friend likes colours that are dark or greyish or muted. This is the first time I’m refilling their pens so I gave them colours that fit into one of the above criteria.

Van Dieman’s Hailstorm in Pilot Kakuno Blue White

Diamine Herbert in Platinum Preppy Transparent. The red sheen in this ink makes a fine surprise.

Diamine Prussian Blue in Jinhao X450.

My friend loves the inks.

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Second Year Anniversary

I started this blog about a month after I started using fountain pens. So I decided to combine both anniversaries into one post.

Blog statistics

I wrote a total of 220 posts and tried out 66 inks since I started the blog in 2020. Last year, I tried posting on a regular schedule and wrote 133 posts in 2021 alone. While having a schedule can be a little stressful at times, I find it helpful in keeping me writing. So I will be continuing it this year.

Below is a chart on the ink colours I’ve tried for the past two years. I’ve grouped similar colours together, like blue and turquoise, to keep the chart simple. Unsurprisingly, blue is forms a large portion of the inks I’ve tried. It will be interesting to see if the ratio changes next year.

Pie chart showing ratio of ink changes I've tried on this blog

Some of you may know, the text in the writing samples are from James Joyce’s Ulysses. The main reason I picked it is that I’ve heard it’s a very long novel, probably one of the top ten for the longest novels. It is definitely long. 66 writing samples later, according to my ebook reader, I am only 5% through it.

New pens bought

I bought a lot less pens this year compared to my first year. The pens are in the chronological order I bought them.

Lennon Tool Bar x Opus 88 Halo

Lennon Tool Bar x Opus 88 Halo fountain pen

I kept thinking about Opus 88 fountain pens, particularly the Omar, ever since I saw it on the Gentleman Stationer’s blog. I haven’t used an eyedropper pen before so they tickled my interest. Then when Opus 88 and Lennon Tool Bar did a collaboration, it quickly became a must-buy for me. I pre-ordered this pen but due to supply issues (not of the pen but of the other stuff in the same order), I didn’t receive this pen until months after it released.

Lennon Tool Bar x Opus 88 Halo fountain pen

I really enjoyed writing with this pen. I ordered this with a medium nib. While there was nothing wrong with the nib and it writes well, it didn’t excite me. So I switched it out with a 1.4 stub and it made a world of difference. Even though the stub didn’t make my handwriting look better, it made the pen so much more fun to use.

Cap finial of Lennon Tool Bar x Opus 88 Halo fountain pen
Love this flower design on the finial

Currently using it for writing in my daily journal. I enjoyed using it so much that when it finally ran out of ink, I refilled it again with Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, an ink which is fast becoming one of my favourites.

Kakimori clear fountain pen

Kakimori clear fountain pen

I love demonstrators. So when I saw this pen, I thought about adding it to my order. It wasn’t too expensive, costing about the same as a TWSBI Eco. What sealed the deal was that it was made by Sailor (a pen company which I had not tried) and the MF nib (a size which I do not have).

This pen hasn’t grown on me the way Halo did. Out of the box, this pen writes too dry. When I looked closely, it seems the tines are too tight. Maybe one day I will try to tune it and make it wetter.

Pen gifts

I bought two Platinum Preppys and one Jinhao X450 to gift friends. Since they are gifts, they are not counted, right?

Pen updates

Status update on some of my older pens, arranged in alphabetical order.

Jason Neil Penworks Tucker fountain pen

Fountain pen fitted with a clear acrylic feed

I found to a crack in the nib housing so I bought a clear acrylic feed and housing from Flexible Nib Factory. This was before I found out about the Jowo housing cracking issue. I thought the feed and housing suited the minimalist look of the pen so I was happy with the change. Currently taking a break in my pen case.

Jinhao X450

This pen is now on loan to a friend. Rather than let it sit empty in my pen case, I inked it up so that my friend could try out what it feels like to use a weighty metal pen.

Pilot Kakuno

Brought it home and filled it up with Monteverde Smoke Noir. I had hard start problems with this ink in various pens so I was surprised when it just writes in the Pilot Kakuno. There is no hard start although there is still nib creep. Currently using to record my daily logs.

New regular posts

I recently wrote about refilling pens for my friends. A friend encouraged me to write about it to keep track of the inks used. My friends and I don’t write a lot in our daily lives so the pens can usually last more than a month before it needs refilling. I will post at the end of the month if I had refilled a pen for a friend. If there are no Ink Omakase posts, it means no pens need refilling that month.

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Ink Omakase: May 2022

For some months, I have been refilling my friends’ fountain pens with inks from my growing collection. They leave it up to me to decide what ink to put in the pens. Each time they get the pens back, it’s a surprise.

“It’s an ink omakasae,” they say.

Doing this serves several purposes. One, it helps to ensure the inks are used. Two, it keeps my friends interested in using their fountain pens. It is fun for me and fun for them. Win-win.

This month, I’ve filled up a total of 3 pens for a friend.

Ink Omakase #1

This friend is open to all colours. The only condition they asked for is no yellow ink. They use their pens to take notes at work so readability is the most important criteria. Occasionally, I will throw in some bright colours (but still easily readable) to spark some joy in a dreary work day.

Ferris Wheel Press Pink Eraser in Jinhao X450. The dry ink and wet writer is a good pairing. Friend says this is a good colour for waking them up or for unleashing their angst at work.

Monteverde Garnet in Platinum Preppy Purple

Van Dieman’s Blackened Seas in Platinum Preppy Blue

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My fountain pen drawings in 2021

A lookback at what I drew using fountain pens last year. It felt that I drew way less in 2021 compared to 2020. Most of last year is trying to cope with the changes in both my personal and work life so perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

Below are the drawings I did in 2021, with additional comments below.

The Pilot Kakuno had became my office pen. Looking at this photo reminded me that I need to use it in more drawings.

This drawing was mainly to test the ink, what it would look like when I shaded large areas. The shading looks different from other inks I’ve tried, giving it a unique textured look. I think it worked well here to invoke the look of wool.

I found the overlapping stairs confusing to look at so I tried to shade them in an attempt to make it less confusing for the eye. Did it work? Maybe a little. But I still think this is a picture that would work better in colours than monotone.

I had fun playing with the fude nib in the first half of 2021. I tried writing with it but didn’t like how it made my handwriting looked. So I’ve mainly used it for drawing.

I drew less in 2021 so the fude nib remained unused for long periods. I eventually cleaned it out and now it is sitting empty. Perhaps I will ink it up again this year.

Another shopfront drawing but this turned out more cartoonish.

When I tried to write with it, I found the ink was too light to read. So I tried drawing with it to see if large patches of colour and going over the same lines multiple times would make it easier to see.

This a case of where the colour inspired the drawing.

I took a break from testing new inks in December so I had a bit more time to draw. Usually I don’t think of shadows when I draw so I decided to make them a prominent feature. This exercise went quite well so I was inspired to draw more.

Continuing with the light and shadows theme. It was fun thinking of how to incorporate shadows into the drawing.

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Blog Juspirit

Juspirit Paper

Juspirit is a stationery shop in Taiwan and sells its own store-brand paper. On Juspirit’s website it is simply called Juspirit Paper (the Chinese characters translates as Juspirit Practice Paper). It is sold in a pack of 50 loose sheets and you can get it in A4 or A5 sizes in plain, grid or dot grid format. The lined format is only available in A5 size.

I bought a pack in A4 size some time ago and cut them up into half for writing samples. If you notice any jagged edges, it’s the fault of my cutting skills, not Juspirit’s.

Juspirit practice paper has a textured surface and a crisp feel. I can see vertical markings running along the length of the paper.

I tried writing on it with two fountain pens and one gel pen to get a quick sense of what this paper is like. It seems to hold up well to fountain pen use and I did not see any feathering or bleedthrough. However, not everyone will like the highly textured feel. I will add this paper to writing samples in the future.

Diamine Louise with medium steel nib

Shading, no sheen, no feathering
The back shows no bleedthrough

Diamine Aurora Borealis with broad steel nib

Shading, no sheen and no feathering
The back shows no bleedthrough

Pilot Juice 0.7

No bleedthrough either

Disclaimer: This paper was purchased by me and all opinions/photos are my own. This post was not sponsored.

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December holiday break

This year had played havoc with my mental and emotional well-being so I will be taking a month off. During this break, I hope to do stuff in other areas I’m interested in but couldn’t quite find the time to do. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any activity for the whole of December though, just some changes to the schedule.

Schedule for December

  • No new ink posts on Saturday.
  • Writing samples of previously written inks on other papers will continue every Tuesday and Thursday. If I have the time, I will add more during the week but no promises.

Note: Time is according to Singapore time so posts may appear one day earlier (eg. Monday instead of Tuesday) depending on where you are.

Thank you!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who liked, commented, followed or shared my posts. Knowing that someone out there is reading my posts makes me very happy and your support helped me kept this going.

Thank you for sticking with me.

We’ll be back to the regular schedule next year!

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Schedule changes and new papers

Changes to posting schedule

The posting frequency will be increased to three posts a week starting next week. New posts will appear every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I’m also going to try to post a writing sample of a new ink (new as in the ink hadn’t appeared on this site before, not newly launched) every Saturday.

It’s hard for me to estimate the extra time and effort needed. So I want to give it a try and see if three posts a week is something that I can maintain over the long run.

New papers

I will be adding new papers for writing samples. They will not appear immediately but they will appear eventually.

  • Clairefontaine Triomphe
  • Labrador footnotes
  • Life Schöpfer
  • Maruman Mnemosyne
  • Midori MD Cotton
  • Muji Planting Tree
  • Tomoe River
  • Tsubame
  • Yamamoto Ro-Biki
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Notebooks from Singaporean brands

While browsing through the stationery section in shops, I came across some local stationary brands that are new to me. So like any curious fountain pen user, I bought some notebooks to try out.

A6 notebooks from wheniwasfour

A6 notebooks from wheniwasfour

First up are the cute notebooks from wheniwasfour.

I bought these A6 notebooks from Tokyu Hands for S$6.50 each. I love the cute covers and and bought more than I need. The Sumoburo series is super cute.

Inside are 96 pages (or 48 if you only write on one side) of 80gsm blank paper. The paper is not totally white and contained a few specks of black sprinkled throughout the page. In light inks, you can still see the black specks showing up in the writing. This makes the writing look spotty and irritates me. So I will only use darker inks with this notebook.

Comparison of writing with different pens on notebook paper

Despite not being meant for fountain pen use, it holds up pretty well. There is a little feathering.There is a bit of bleedthrough in medium nibs so I will keep to EF or F nibs for this notebook. There is also a little bleedthrough from the 0.7mm Pilot Juice gel pen.

I got these notebooks from Tokyo Hands months ago so I’m not sure if the outlets still stock them. The notebooks are also available on wheniwasfour website, where they also sell other non-stationery items like apparels, bags or house decor.

footnotes from Labrador Publishing House

footnotes notebooks from Labrador Publishing House

footnotes are a range of fountain pen friendly A6 notebooks made by Labrador Publishing House. Besides the minimalist-looking series of What’s a Little Rain and It is Only After Noon, there is also the very colourful and nostalgic cover of A Very Curious Cabinet.

Inside cover of footnotes notebook

I bought It is Only After Noon which was sold in a pack of 3 for S$12.90 at Overjoyed. Inside are 96 pages (or 48 if you only write on one side) of 100gsm blank paper. Inside the front cover, it is indicated as being friendly to fountain pen, pencil and watercolour brush and what looks like a gel pen.

Comparison of writing with different pens on notebook paper

I did a quick writing test and there is no feathering or bleedthrough from the fountain pens. There is only a tiny bit of bleedthrough from the Pilot Juice 0.7mm gel pen. I feel the colours also look better on footnotes’ paper. I will do more writing samples in this notebook so look out for those in the future.

The notebooks are available from Labrador Publishing House and CityLuxe. Besides notebooks, Labrador Publishing House also sell books, art prints and cards on their website.

Sticker from Pastel & Pines

Sunfish sticker from Pastel & Pines

This is not a notebook but I bought it at around the same time from Tokyu Hands so I’m adding it in.

Tan Yiling is the Singapore-based illustrator and designer behind Pastel & Pines. I love her sea creatures stickers which are based on her watercolour illustrations. They are so pretty that it’s hard to just buy one. I stood for a long time at the display, choosing which one to buy. Well, you know which one won.

You can see her illustrations on her website and buy the stickers from her etsy shop.

Disclaimer: The items were purchased by me and all opinions/photos are my own. This post was not sponsored.