Amongst all the tools I have tried for creating art, fountain pens will always hold that special place in my heart. That expressive line that is born when pen meets paper is so stimulating to see. Oftentimes, I get lost in the process; and I keep sketching just for the pleasure of making that pen dance.
For me, using a fountain pen is a wonderful sensory experience. Since the ink naturally flows from the nib, little to no pressure is needed to make a mark. Long drawing or writing sessions therefore become more pleasurable and less stressful. Given the myriad of pens available nowadays, you can choose which ones feel good in your hand. This makes the fountain pen more of an extension of ourselves, an instrument reflective of our tiniest movements, our thoughts and emotions. With the right pen in your hand, drawing and writing become effortless.
Another feature of the fountain pen that elevates it is the nib. Depending on what you choose, you can create extra-fine, precise lines or broad, gestural strokes. Among my favourites for sketching are flex nibs, which offer interesting line variation with changes in pressure. Others like fude, zoom, or music nibs can be used at varying positions to give your writing more character. In general, fountain pens can also be used at a more slanted angle as compared to technical or drawing pens, making them ideal for use in sketchbooks and travel journals.
By virtue of its design, a fountain pen can be used indefinitely. With the use of bottled inks, it becomes more economical and environmentally-friendly as well. I think having an instrument that you can build a working relationship with over time makes your creative journey more meaningful.
Using pen and ink directly on paper trains the eye to observe more; and the mind to be more aware of the process. Since erasing mistakes isn’t a ready option, you tend to pay more attention to how you use your pen: those tiny motions, that varying pressure, the momentum, and the ink flow. All of these variables help you become more focused on the dynamic experience. This in turn helps you appreciate the nuances in your work, as you’ve become more present and mindful while doing it. And I think this is vital: when you create something, you are likewise transformed by it.
Written by Lekz Umali
Check out her art on Instagram!