I’ve been on my fountain pen kick for months – and have bought way too many in my search for “my” perfect pen. Today I finally have a good recommendation for you!
Before we get rolling – know that this is NOT your standard pen review. Those doing that kind of video on YT generally give you numbers of ounces full and empty, including how much the cap weighs…or comparisons in size to other pens, etc. You might know that I don’t tend to do that when I check out supplies and review them….I look at how they function and how that plays into my own needs as an artist!
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I haven’t done an extensive test with papers – but I was really happy with my Paris Paper for Pens, until I discovered the Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Pads! In the picture above you can see the sharp difference in the feathering happening in the PPP…
I’m linking to a few places where I can; my recommendation is to buy at an independent shop, Goulet Pens, who I’ve bought most of these from; they’re a small biz and I love supporting small biz! They also have really good pricing so be sure to check them. (I don’t receive any affiliiate commission from Goulet.)
However – if you need something *right now* and it’s still Covid season while you’re reading this post, well, you might try elsewhere. Coz Goulet is being awesome and keeping their staff at home and safe.
Platinum Preppy, Fine point – $4.50 – $7 or so. Basically a dispoosable pen. A cheaply made pen, though it does write. Comes in a variety of colors, and from what I see, the ink color is the body color? So if you want black ink in one, you’ll need to purchase some ink. And a dropper. Recommended for planners, shopping lists, etc, as well as littles who love to draw and want to feel FANCY!
Platinum Prefounte, Fine point, $10ish. A little step above the Preppy; has the funky cartridge that I make a mess with. To reink, or to change ink color, you’d need a bottle of ink and dropper.
Pilot Retro Pop, Fine point, about $20ish. Nicer pen, aluminum body, and the pen feels nice. The body comes in a variety of cool colors. But it’s the cartridge that needs ink dropped in, or somehow using the little squeeze bladder – that’s what gives me pause recommending it. It’s what I drew the penguin in, though, so it operates fine!
My Muji pen, fine point, writes really nicely, and is about a $22 pen. It’s a very very thin-bodied pen though, and that may be a down side or an up side depending on you. But with a Piston converter inside – it’s a great pen for my sketching ventures, and is also nicely priced.
Noodler’s Ahab Flex, about $23 or so. A rather stumpy body – but I bought this because I wanted to try a flex nib. After trying it, I wasn’t overly impressed, and also realized I don’t actually use pressure that way when drawing with a pen, so there’s that! I do like the big barrel to hold ink, though, and the piston filler so you don’t need a converter.
PenBBS 268, Extra fine nib, about $30. It writes nicely, and does have a big body to hold the ink but omg, I can’t figure out how to fill it except with just a little ink! I need to dig in and find a better YT tutorial. LOL.
- PenBBS 268 Amazon
Lamy pens are well loved by MANY in the fountain pen community, but after even getting two of them, I’m not really sold. I find that they are a little hard to get “started” – scribbling off the nib upon beginning, or turning the piston a little to get ink started. I find I get a little skipping as well. Maybe over time it’s a pen that’ll settle down, I sure hope so after buying them!
The Safari is a little less expensive at $26 – the body is a little smaller than the AlStar, and requires a proprietary piston converter if you want something other than replacement cartridges.
The Lamy Al-Star is a little pricier, $32-35, and I’m sure there’s improvements to the Safari beyond it being a little larger. But same slow-start issue happened with this pen.
TWSBI Eco! It’s a good midrange pen, at $32, and I liked my medium enough I got a fine and extra fine – partly to have them to test one vs the other, and also so I can have different inks available for different uses now that I have three! I’d recommend the fine or extra fine for most people.
Visconti Mirage! A high-end pen at $129-149 (though there are pens that cost many hundreds into the thousands!)….but I can clearly see and feel the difference. REALLY well constructed – lots of beautiful details. It writes like a dream – smooth writer, a great feel in the hand. And…yellow. LOL.
The crazy fancy storage box I have is overkill – honestly! But it’s pretty. Most folks use a soft leather roll-up kind of case.
I hope the info here was helpful; I’m no expert on fountain pens, but I know just enough to be dangerous!