New Pens

edited November 2012 in The Toolbox
I'm using traditional dip pens less and less and liquid ink ball points more, however, I would love to find a pen with some flex to it.  I was wondering if anyone knew of something like that?  Perhaps the Tachikawa G-nib fountain pen?



    don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for, but I'm currently playing with the Kaweco classic sport fountain pens.
  • That classic sport with the clear body just went on my wish list. . . .
  • Tachikawa Comic Nib Fountain Pen - G Model Nib arrived.  A little scratchy, but it's already flowing better than that horrible Rotring sketchpen I used to try every few years or the Copic pen.

    I'll update if there's changes.
  • Yeah... Jetpens.  That's where I ordered several dip pen nibs.  Two German ones (One called the Pumpkin) and they rock pretty good.  I was impressed with the flexibility and the slant.

    However, I am only doing the pencil work on my current series (Five Weapons) so I haven't broke any of the G-series or the german nibs in too much.  I only did enough to play around with them and get comfy, but at this point I can't swear by them, yet.

    I also scored new nib holders at Jet Pens.  I got two Tachikawas (the type that holds the plastic nib cover.  They also have silicone grips.  I found not only was it good to get new nibs, but holders, as well.  It made a difference (for me) in how I approached my inking duties.

    And lastly... NEW ink.  NO nib is good enough without the proper ink flow.  I've been using cheap shit for a long time.  I broke down and got a bottle of Kuretake manga ink and a bottle (small) of Kaimei's "Lettering Sol" ink.  Expensive shit.  I notice a slight difference, but nothing mind blowing.  I suspect the benefits come in the long run marathon sessions (which, as I said, I have yet to perform).
  • Cool to hear you may have found good nibs.  I almost broke down and got those pen holders, but I've been so frustrated with Strathmore Bristol for a while it's driven me away from dip pens.  The rougher stuff holds up better, but I hate pencilling on that and don't necessarily want the kind stroke it forces on you with a brush.

    Richard Friend and a few others have been pressuring Strathmore over on facebook.

  • What's going on with Strathmore? 

    I haven't bought any new stuff in a while, and as I've pretty much gone all-digital the stock I've got left will probably last me the rest of my career. 

    Still curious....
  • Richard Friend sums it up rather well on Facebook:

    Happy you got some decent stock.  I find the current 500 smooth is hardly any better than the 300, so I've been using that (bonus money savings) and swapped from dip pens for inking.  Would rather they produce good board again and I'd happily swap to nibs.
  • I used to buy pads of Strathmore 400 series for all my comics.  I did it recently and realized it had changed a bit.  However, what I needed it for was short-term, so I didn't have to get all involved with it. What I'm reading now is that the change in quality is wide-spread among the 300 and 400 series.  500 bristol used to be the cream of the crop.  You could knock someone out with it.  To read it's not much different than the lower series is disheartening.

    It WILL affect dip pens.  They tend to dig and scratch.  Without a good surface it can alter how a person inks and works.
  • edited December 2012
    I agree strathmore seriously took a dip in quality. i switched to Canson recycled Bristol and it has been excellent and consistent.

    @Richard_Pace of and that link didn't work for me. Is it possible to copy and paste it in?

    this is serious thread drift.
  • Oh my god... Canson?  Seriously?
    Well, if Strathmore took a dive down then maybe Canson took a step up.
    I have not had any good experience with Canson.  But that is me.

    Strathmore also has a recycled series.  They also promote their *wind powered* series.

  • I thought the Wind-Powered stuff was fine for con sketches, though a little pricey (they put a few less sheets in the pad so it works out they cost a bit more than the earth-destroying paper).

    Trying to track down a Canson retailer locally..

  • Tachigawa update:

    the pen started acting up yesterday while I was inking a larger drawing (new year's zombie) and I gave up using it in frustration, deciding to give it a thorough cleaning before making another attempt.

    Decided to give the reviews over at jetpens before launching into a declogging and saw a tip for this very problem; a drop of tech pen ink on/in the vent hole of the nib. I tried it and does work.  

    However, the Rapidograph ink does grey down the intense black from the cartridge and it only seems to work as long as I'm constantly using the pen.  Putting it aside for even a few minutes starts the skipping in the lines all over again so it may need that cleaning or a different ink.

    So the jury is still out on this one.


  • @Jimmie_Robinson

    The local store quit carrying the windpower strathmore because it just tanked in quality. Absolute disaster. Used to use it a ton because it was cheap and reliable. I had used Canson and hated it, but the local store switched to the recycled version and it really is good. two sided, one smooth, one textured. I prefer smooth. I've used it for the past 2 (?) years and has been great. Probably the best paper I've used. The only issue I've faced with it is in a few pads the paper was somewhat wavy and did not lay flat.
  • The quality drops really bite me in the ass since I usually buy large quantities of stuff I like when I can.  I do have some quality Strathmore paper stockpiled, but it's diminishing and the stuff I've been buying lately has been of lesser manufacture.

  • Tachikawa Comic Nib Fountain Pen - G Model Nib update.

    Looks like the trick is storing the pen point-down or the few drops of Rapidograph ink I added  -- or both!

    The lines now flow without skipping, which is a remarkable shift from the scratchy, sketchy lines it was making a week ago.

    I guess the next update will be in a few weeks after a longer period of use.

  • @Richard_Pace I'm really interested in getting a fountain pen i can rely on, but like you are describing, most of my experiences with them have been crap. Actually all of my experiences. I put down lines fast and my biggest beef is running into a wet line and smudging everything. I can do that with a brush too, but it seems more magnified with a fountain or dip pen. Do you get any of this with this pen? (i guess it can depend on the ink you are using as well).
  • The current ink with a touch of Rapidograph ink dries quickly -- the fine lines are almost instantly dry.  However, the thicker lines take up to 20 seconds or more to dry smudge-proof.  Not sure how much longer the maximum ink I could lay down would take to dry.

  • I didn't put the bow on the Tachikawa experiment: failure.

    The nib snapped and part of it flew across the studio.  Ink flow problem and a fragile nib?  Not buying another.

    Just received some Tombow Fudenosuke brush tip markers.  I love the lines they're making out of the wrapper.  I'm hoping they hold up for a bit.
  • @Richard_Pace I haven't had any problems with my Tachikawa G-nib pen, but I'm using it primarily on Delter A4 paper, so perhaps that's why.  I have tried it in a few heavy paper sketchbooks (not sure what the paper weight is) and haven't had any problems with ink flow.  On the other hand I do have ink flow problems with the Tachikawa School nib.  It seems to work either really well or barely at all depending on how I hold the pen.  Once it does start putting down ink it does it consistently for the period I'm actually using it.  
  • I was considering buying another despite the flow problems on a friend's recco, but the nib breaking like this with no more than my usual pressure applied to it put it the bad choice box for me.  I might try it again in the future, but with so many options available at Jetpens I'd rather go for something new and as highly recommended.

  • Why has nobody mentioned this pen? I am curious, and really want to try it out. The idea of a portable sable brush.....

  • It's price tag falls just outside what I'm willing to pay to try something new, especially since I'd probably go and get the converter and the carbon ink recommended in one of the more positive reviews. 
  • For some reason, I don't have a problem spending under $100 for art supplies, yet I baulk at spending over $1000 for a graphics tablet. :)
  • Well, I think there's a set of limitations and expectations at varying price points.  I don't blink at dropping $75 for a single tube of cadmium red oil paint since I know what I'm getting from it.  I also know what to expect were I to pick up a Cintiq (it hasn't tripped over to making it worth the $2K yet).

    Despite the reviews, I'm not certain the $90 for the sable brush pen, adapter and ink is something I'd feel comfortable getting if it underperformed or wasn't significantly better than the Pentel synthetics I'm already using.  I don't mind risking $30-50 on a piece of equipment I might end up tossing aside, but $90 starts getting serious enough for me to start thinking pretty hard.
  • I have trouble justifying the costs of pretty much anything, just ask my wife.  I'll hem & haw over most purchases over $25.00 guaranteed (which actually works well with jetpens because with my manga paper I usually add in a few cheap brush pens/art pens to bring the cost up to exactly $25 to get the free shipping & handling).   I've looked at the more expensive brush pens but given my skill level using the cheaper versions I can't justify it.

    I also can't justify spending $2k on a Cintiq, though I got to play with one last year and thought it was a great piece of equipment.  Right now I'm thinking about buying a Huion graphic tablet to replace my decade-old Graphire3  and possibly down the line getting a Yiynova rather than a Cintiq (because the price is so much lower & the reviews are very good)... but that won't be until I feel a lot more comfortable doing more work digitally.

    Also, I should amend my earlier review of the Tachikawa school nib fountain pen (the Extra Fine).  Whatever the reason it's recently started performing much better.  It's impossible to get a varying line weight from it, but for doing fine details it's really come in handy.  The G-nib version is far superior and more versatile and I use it for the majority of my inking.
  • @Richard_Pace I do agree with you, a tool needs to be able to perform if you are going to spend that kind of money on it. For me, I think it's a matter of curiosity. I really want to try it out. I love the idea of experimenting with new analog art supplies. I'm willing to spend the money to be able to experiment with them. I'll put it this way, some girls buy shoes, some girls buy art supplies. :D
  • To keep this on topic, I use Pitt brush markers which I find to be both stiff and sharp pointed when new. But they don't stay new long.

    Now to drift off topic slightly. My return to crow quills was short lived, but I'm enjoying using my dip brushes again. The classic Windsor-Newton Series 7 #2 was my workhorse for years, and I still have two, but I bought a #4 recently for $40+ (it was on sale) and I find myself reaching for that increasingly. Being bigger it holds more ink, of course, for washes and nice fat lines. But the real value and why its worth the money is how well it holds a sharp fine point. I can draw a sharp fine point if I need to, but even more, it gives me great control in painting a shadow right up to a line with out wavering.

    For instance, in the Nude Wonder Woman I recently drew for Jason's project the curved underside of her breast has to be drawn with a perfectly smooth line. I don't have the steadiest hand any more, so using a pen line is chancey, but with the brush, that aspect of the drawing proved easy.

    OK, back to your regularly scheduled thread on brush pens.
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