Friday 24 June 2022

My favourite all-round fountain pen

I've used fountain pens for writing and sketching since I was a teenager. I go into a lot of detail about them in my Travel Sketching Course, where I devote a whole lesson to their use, and have written a number of blog posts about these gorgeous tools. What I most often get asked is 'what would my recommended pen for sketching if money were no object'. Now - pen prices can go sky high and my collection is more about utility than collectability so I haven't really explored the amazing decorative pens in lacquer, gold and other precious metals that are available. Compared to those, my pens are quite humble. However I do prefer a gold nib, which raises the price, but I love the smooth writing experience that a gold nib provides. 

Pilot Custom Heritage 92 (photo from pilot
The other characteristics that I enjoy are large ink capacity and comfort in the hand. 

I prefer that the pen is not too thick and not too heavy so it can be comfortable to draw with for many hours. 

The Pilot Custom Heritage 92 is just such a pen. I use the F nib in this pen, which gives a fine line with a little flex, but no scratch. While lovely for drawing and sketching, it is also a pen I enjoy writing with. 

It is only available in the clear, the smoky black and the blue models as shown, and I have one of each that I ink up in different colours, usually Brown, Grey and a light grey. It has a piston feed rather than a converter, and a large 1.2ml ink capacity. The pen is comfortable to use with the cap posted or not.

Pilot also makes a custom Heritage 912 that looks similar, but it comes in solid black and has a converter. It is the Pilot CON-70 converter that has a plunger for easy filling, and holds up to 1.1ml of ink. If the Con-70 vac converter appeals, there is also the more rounded body of the Pilot Custom 743 and Pilot Custom 74 to consider. 

Right now, Larrypost in Australia is offering a range of fountain pens at fantastic prices as we approach the end of our financial year. Other great pen sites are and - which specialises in Japanese pens.

I really enjoy Pilot pens. I use the E95s in my diary for everyday writing, and love the Pilot Falcon pens that I wrote about in another post. 

While I almost always use pens in my sketches, I also often use fountain pens in my larger paintings. In this work, completed earlier this year, I drew using the Pilot Custom Heritage 92 pens inked in De Atramentis Document Ink in lighter and darker greys, and painted with watercolour in Jane's Grey and Jane's Black with a very little raw umber and burnt sienna for colour. This mixture of techniques combines my two great loves - drawing and painting.

'Grounded' - ink and watercolour on paper

Other wonderful Japanese pen brands include Sailor, Pelican and Platinum - which I think has the finest nibs available in an UXF (Ultra Extra Fine). While I haven't used Pelican or Platinum at all myself, I do love the super fine EF nibs of my Sailor pens for when I want to draw in really fine detail.

I've posted a number of articles about fountain pens, which I use for writing as well as drawing and sketching. I'll add the links here for convenience.

Favourite pens for sketching (originally 2015, updated 2019, soon to be updated again as some models have changed.) 

Lamy pens 2015 - great pens for writing and sketching 

TWSBI Diamond 580 2018 - huge ink capacity 

My Sketching Tools 2019 shows some other pens too, including the Pilot Heritage Custom 92 that I'd like to talk more about here.

For more on inks for sketching in fountain pens, check my other blog posts.

Packing inks and pens 2015

Fountain Pen and Drawing Inks 2014

Fountain pen inks 2018

Working in Ink 2014

De Atramentis Inks Revisited 2018 (with numerous links to posts about mixing coloured inks)

Happy drawing :-)

Thursday 23 June 2022

Folio Palette by Art Toolkit

I've written about the Pocket Palette, a number of times before (you can search on my blog to find them all!) The first post was back in 2014 here, and I show a number of variation in my website. 

The idea of a compact sketching palette has always appealed to me, as has the idea of compact kits of all sorts. I love to have my watercolours or pens or tools organised for safe and portable use.

The newest addition to the palette family is the Folio. This palette is the same credit-card design, but this time 13.5 x 8.5cm closed - about the size of a mobile phone. 

It comes with a mix of the original rectangular pans, the tiny half pans, some larger square pans and two larger mixing pans so the number of possible configurations are huge. The mixing pans are really useful, and you'd probably keep those in it, but you might choose to set with up to 18 of the original pans, or 36 tiny pans, 9 large pans or your own combination based on the colours you use most. Part of the fun of a palette like this is deciding how to set it our for yourself!

The folio palette - open.

I've set up the Demi palette with a great 12-colour set, and the Pocket Palette with my 15 Ultimate Mixing Set colours. This credit-card size palette fits perfectly into a Galen leather EDC wallet if you want a compact carry case for it. I love the products and will write about more of them another time.

The Folio Palette, the Demi Palette and the original business-card sized Pocket Palette.

Happy painting.