Death, Resurrection, and Cappuccino

My TWSBI died this week, after many years of companionship it is gone. In Faro I took the cap off to discover Platinum Carbon Ink all over, a serious leak – TWSBI’s don’t leak, ever. I chalked it up to a fluke, then a day or two later the same thing happened, only worse, this was serious. A couple of months ago I discovered a tiny crack in the barrel but thought nothing of it, upon closer inspection the crack had tripled in length and was now letting air into the reservoir, irreparable and thus the leak, and the demise of a favorite pen of mine. But not to worry, I had a spare – just waiting while holding blue ink to be moved up in importance, a lot like the former Prince Harry.

All of this pen trauma caused me to reevaluate my pens. It was good timing as over the last few months pen sketches have become my most frequent choice. So here is the current line-up of active pens and their inks. From left to right: Pilot, TWSBI, Duke Confucius, Lamy, Duke Ruby.

First is the Pilot Retractible pen that I got at a wonderful pen and watch shop in Bordeaux last December. If I could only have one fountain pen, disturbing to even think of such a thing, it would be this pen. I love everything about it. As far as ink – Pilot cartridges in black. If I am not planning on watercolor this is the sketching pen of choice, as well as writing most anything.

Next is the spare TWSBI, now elevated to the royal position of being filled with Platinum Carbon ink which is the best waterproof ink out there. So when any kind of wash is planned on a sketch this is the pen of choice.

Third is a Duke Confucius Fude pen, I have used these for years, this is my second as I dropped the first and ruined the tip. Fude nibs are great for quick sketches of people and places. This one is filled with Herbin Lie De Thé. Herbin is a French company established in 1670 and their inks are wonderful. As the name implies “tea leaves” – a nice dark brown. I did this sketch this morning, a bit of a fantasy.

Next is my resurrected Lamy. I bought this one in 2019 on a trip to Tokyo. I have had many Lamy pens, but after TWSBI’s smooth writing they always seemed a bit scratchy. With my spare TWSBI being moved up in the order I thought it would be worth trying the blue ink that I was using in the Lamy, Oh my! This is Jaques Herbin’s Bleu austral, connected I assume to the brand in the Confucius. If you ever doubt that the ink is as important as the pen and paper give this a try. With this ink in it my Lamy is jostling my Pilot for the best to write with, don’t think it can though, but close. Here is a sketch I did with the Lamy yesterday.

Lastly is the Duke Ruby, also a fude nib. I bought it when I thought I had lost the Confucius a year ago. It has Noodlers Golden ink in it which works well for highlights, or lights in windows.

This week in Paris I found some toned paper and a Conté à Paris White crayon.

Here are a couple of sketches I did with the new paper which would not be good with a wash, but perfect for dry mediums like my pens and graphite.

Matt graphite, white crayon, and ink.
Matt graphite, ink, white crayon

So as sad as I was to say goodby to my old friend TWSBI, it did cause me to resurrect a Lamy with great joy, and cappuccino is always good, in a cup at le café or as paper for a sketch. Art like life is always changing, that is what makes it so enjoyable, part of the voyage.

So as always keep on traveling, near or far, and with new tools and old.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. As you know, I’m not a sketcher, but I found this post to be very entertaining and informative. I’ll be sure to stop Neville from batting around any of your pens. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, but good to know even Neville enjoys pens.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura Kate says:

    I love the Springtime in Berlin and the subway drawings.


    1. So do you sketch in Berlin?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Laura Kate says:

        No, I have never been. I was just admiring your sketches.


      2. Ah, it was paris not Berlin. Thanks so much


  3. Shirley says:

    Goodness. I may be the only reader of this blog that didn’t know what you meant by TWSBI. What died…a pet? Your car? Something else? Of course, I read through your post and now understand there is a whole word of art about which I am totally clueless. I have learned a lot, though, and feel your pain at the loss of your trusty pen and am happy you’ve found your way through the grief. AND I absolutely love your train platform sketch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Us pen lovers are fascinated by our pens.


  4. It is definitely sad when those old friends cross over. Beautiful sketches, especially of the train platform.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. elissbaker says:

    Don’t know a lick about pens (other than what I just read), but I must say they are beautiful. As is the photo you took of them. And I agree with Shirley… LOVE your sketch of the train station.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, yes pens are beautiful

      Liked by 1 person

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