Tag: fountain pen

Meeting the Water Brush

I’ve always been curious about water brushes since I was able to try one at a pen meet last year. My friend uses it for pen and ink washes, though. I always see other calligraphers using it for brush calligraphy and I got curious so I bought one.

Waterbrush Calligraphy

I didn’t realize how much fun it is to use until now. I used watercolor for the letters and washes. I’m still finding my way around it as a calligraphy tool, it’s pretty hard to control watercolor and I guess that’s what makes it beautiful. It pools around in places and goes wherever it wants to. It’s a little unpredictable. Also…Bulbasaaauuuurrr! Rawr!

Waterbrush Calligraphy

It just goes to show that you won’t know if you like something unless you try it. I see myself using this tool and exploring it more in the coming days.

Last week was incredibly hectic. I consider myself very blessed to find the time to collect my thoughts and do something with my hands that isn’t related to work. Here’s hoping this coming week is a bit more forgiving.

A Silent Outrage

Baybayin

It’s been sickening to read or watch the local news recently. There are so many news of extrajudicial killings, and that’s always been concerning to me. Every time I see somebody killed execution style with a placard labeled “Huwag tularan, Rapist/Adik/Pusher/Snatcher”, I always ask myself “Says who?” Who gets to decide who has forfeited their right to live? Who deserves to be killed in such a violent way? Now I see this kind of death every day. Fat chance that these cases will be investigated (I’m still waiting for that kind of change). I understand the outrage of people about druggies and criminals, but killing them off without due process is a dangerous shortcut to take. The collateral damage in this kind of war will mostly be the voiceless people who live below the poverty line. They aren’t pests that need to be exterminated because they offend your middle class sensibilities. These are people who have the same rights as everybody else does.

Reading comments in social media about this topic is equally nauseating. It looks like many people are in a blood frenzy, they have forgotten to act like civilized human beings. It’s heartbreaking for me to see friends and family members participate in such discussions like they’re just talking about killing rats. Anybody who disagrees with anything about this all-out war is a sentimentalist, anti-Duterte (and therefore pro-LP or pro-Aquino, which is a false dichotomy), tanga, bobo, mangmang and deserves all kinds of insults. There is no talking with most people nowadays.

There’s no real welfare system to help the street children survive instead of buying rugby to stave off the hunger. No real juvenile justice system to keep young offenders out of trouble. The pervading system in the country is decidedly anti-poor.

I am not blaming the President for all of these extrajudicial killings, and I laud him for the many things that he has achieved on the first 15 days of his presidency (one can appreciate the good and be critical of the not-so-good-yet, it’s not impossible to do that). However, the government should act like the government and uphold the rule of law. All shootings that happen where policemen are involved (agaw-baril, shootouts, etc) should be investigated properly, regardless of who we perceive the victims to be. You know, like any democratic society where rule of law prevails. Policemen who are involved in legit police operations against drugs should be mindful of collateral damage and accountable for them no matter where the encounter happens.

There’s no doubt that this war on drugs will be long and bloody. That doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it. Times like this, it’s okay to not be okay.

More Like Riding a Bike

After a few days of writing words, then phrases, then paragraphs, and whole passages, I’m beginning to remember what I forgot.

Baybayin

Turns out it’s a lot like riding a bike. It’s still a slow process, but like a young child just learning to read, I am able to recognize the letters and words again. I can write the letters on my own now, without consulting my guide. It’s slow but it’s fascinating how the letters and words are slowly becoming less and less alien and more and more… mine. The photo above is of a Filipino folk song, Bayan Ko. There’s nothing quite like writing it in Baybayin. The message of the song fits so well.

Baybayin

The photo above is of Psalm 8 (Awit 8), one of my favorite Psalms. Translated to Filipino and then written in Baybayin. Exquisite. Filipino is still my emotional language, after all. 🙂

(Side note: It’s just wonderful to use these stub nibs for Baybayin. The line variation lends more drama to the strokes, though also making it nearly impossible to write small.)

Writing with Baybayin

On my second semester as a sophomore in college, I had this elderly lady from the Filipino Department of the University of the Philippines, Diliman as a professor for one creative writing subject. On the first day of class, her first question was “Sino dito ang nakakaalam kung paano sumulat at bumasa sa Baybayin?” (Who among you know how to write and read in Baybayin). Nobody raised their hands. She looked just a bit appalled that the iskos and iskas in her classroom, most of whom were taking courses under the Filipino Department, do not know how to read and write Baybayin. I vaguely remember learning about it in highschool, but not learning to use it. Teachers mentioned it in passing but failed to communicate the significance of this.

My professor proceeded to write characters on the blackboard. “Puwes, bago matapos ang klase na ito, matututo kayong bumasa ng Baybayin” she said (Well then, you will all learn how to read Baybayin by the end of this class). And learn it, we did.

Baybayin

I chewed on this for a while after we learned the rudimentary of reading and writing with our alphabet. We had our own writing system, before centuries of colonial rule made us lose it, lose this part of our identity as a people. Somehow in the long, convoluted corridors of Philippine history, we lost sight of it. Not many are interested to relearn it. After all, what use would we have of it now? I dug into it, though. I learned the characters until I recognize them as quickly as the modern English alphabet. I can read and write Baybayin like how I would read and write anything else. I kept journals entirely in Baybayin, chuckling to myself with the thought that even if I left the notebook open anywhere, not a lot of people will be able to read it.

Then I got busy with other things in life and I stopped using it in my journals. One day I just realized that I had, once again, lost it. I could not recognize the characters quickly anymore. I could not read them in a natural, flowing way like I used to. My own journal entries became inscrutable to me, the thoughts I kept in my journals nearly lost.

Of course, even if I lost the retention of recognizing the characters, the rudimentary principles of reading and writing were still fresh in my mind. What my professor had taken upon herself to teach us, even if it did not seem to be connected to our subject at that time, that stayed with me until now. I still write words and phrases in my journal, but the ability to express myself and write quickly and in a natural pace is (for the moment) lost to me.

Baybayin

I still think our Baybayin is beautiful, though. I like the characters and the simplicity of reading and writing with them.

Baybayin

I don’t know if we will ever revive interest in our alphabet system now or in the future, but I certainly hope so. It’s part of our identity as a people.

Baybayin

I promised myself that I will relearn how to be more “fluent” with Baybayin, like I used to be. Perhaps I shall write my journals with Baybayin again in the future. 🙂

Review: Sailor Sapporo Progear Slim

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

You really gotta love these Japanese pens and their awesome nibs. I got this pen at a preorder with PensGalorePH which is also where I got my Pilot Custom Heritage 92. Their preorder prices are really good.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

I was a little hesitant to order it at first because of the color. I don’t have any white pens, and I would’ve preferred a black Sailor ProGear Slim Sapporo but they only have the white one.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

This was delivered a day after the Parker Premier, and boy, it’s like using pens that are opposites of each other–black and white, metal and acrylic, European nib and Japanese nib. My first impression was wow, this pen is small.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

The first Sailor pen that I used was a clear candy, and I think that even for a steel nib, it was pretty good. The nib was really good for drawing and writing. It’s my first time to buy a Sailor pen with a 14k nib, but I have tried a ProGear Slim before.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

I like the simplicity of the design of this pen. The edges are flat, the trims are simple. Rhodium trims fit the white acrylic pretty well, the pen looks clean and beautiful in a classic kind of way. The section is pretty short, I guess it’s proportioned to the length of the barrel, but I imagine that people with large hands will find the length of the section a bit too short for comfortable writing. If you don’t like to hold the pen too close to the nib, you’ll most likely end up gripping the threads of the barrel, not very comfortable.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

It’s a converter-filler, and the converter/cartridges are proprietary. I am not a big fan of proprietary converters/cartridges because I find it a hassle to replace them. It’s easier to replace if the pen uses standard C/C’s. The little details of the pen are quite pretty. I like the little anchor logo on the finial.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White           Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

I like the ring around the cap band because it’s probably the only thing that kind of stands out when the pen is capped. I like the font they used to engrave SAILOR Japan Founded 1911. Kinda reminds me of fonts used in printing money. The engraving is crisp and looks really good. The clip’s design is also simple and nondescript, but I don’t like that it’s not so springy. It’s hard to slip anything under it. I certainly won’t be able to clip it on my pen cases.

When you uncap the pen, you’ll be greeted with this pretty little thing. Well, without the ink coating it, of course.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

Isn’t that such a gorgeous nib? It has nice, deep, clean-looking hallmarks, filigrees, and logo. Such a nice detailed nib.

Sailor ProGear Sapporo White          Sailor ProGear Sapporo White

I think the pen is best used posted. Since it’s so light and well-balanced, it’s not uncomfortable when capped. When it’s posted, it’s just a bit longer than a Pilot Vanishing Point. When unposted, it’s a lot shorter than a VP. People with small hands can still find it comfortable to write with unposted, but those with larger hands may find it too short to be comfortable. Personally I can use it either way.

The nib is the usual Japanese medium nib, which is more like a European fine. I loved that this pen’s nib is already an excellent writer right outside the box. No tuning was needed for it. It wrote very smoothly and consistently upon first inking. I even forgot to flush it with water before using, and it still wrote perfectly from the get go. It’s satisfying, to say the least. It’s a firm medium nib, not very springy. But it is really smooth and the flow of ink is moderate. Here’s a video of the writing sample below:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpNWuEPPhK4]

Overall, this is a pretty nice pen. It’s light but comfortable in the hand, especially when used posted. It’s simple but what one can consider a classic beauty. The overall aesthetics of the pen is tastefully simple, and complements the focal point, which is the lovely nib. I love how the nib is already a great writer right out of the box. It’s a pen that you can use to write for hours, it’s simply a joy to use.

Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)

Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)

Gosh darn that’s a long name. Anyway, I’ve been using the Parker Premier Monochrome Black (which I shall call Premier from this point on) since I got it last Tuesday. Since then I managed to use up a converter and a half of ink (yes, I wrote that much in a short period of time). This is, without a doubt, up there in my favorite pens list. I know I love all my pens a lot, but I do have a short list of favorites. Those pens that hardly make it out of rotation. I can tell this one will hold a top spot for a while. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I got this pen last Tuesday and I can hardly put it down. It’s just a pleasure to write with and to look at. Anybody who knows me well enough will say that I’m not a big fan of modern pens. Least of all modern Parkers. I think they’re devoid of imagination. A shadow of the glory days of a giant brand. When I first came across the Premier online (through Fountain Pen Network Philippines), I was intrigued. It looked nothing like the modern Parker pens that I’m used to seeing at National Bookstore. This one was sleek and eye-catching, in the same way that of all the Lamy pens in all the happy colors, I’m quite drawn to the Lamy 2000 and its decidedly modern design.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The pen is metal coated with PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) which makes the surface very resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The barrel and the cap has a brushed metal finish, the texture is very pleasant. It does have an overall effect that looks like matte, but it’s more of a soft brushed metal finish that makes it pleasant to hold. It’s not slippery or uncomfortable in the hand, as some metal pens can sometimes be. My pet peeve is metal sections in pens, it makes it nearly impossible to write comfortably because the pen keeps on slipping. The Premier’s PVD coating ensures none of that annoying slippery feel.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The texture kinda reminds me of Lamy 2000’s makrolon finish. Kinda.

Everything about this pen speaks of a well thought-out modern design. I think this design can be a great template for Parker’s modern pens. The lines are clean and the details are pretty good. The clip looks very different from traditional Parker arrow clips.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black         Parker Premier Monochrome Black

It’s angular, boxy, but gives the pen a very good modern look to it. Of course I’m still partial to vintage Parkers and their art deco clip, but this one has its own style and identity. It certainly beats modern arrow clips with thinly etched quivers.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The overall effect is pretty nice, and the clip itself is functional– springy but firm. It feels sturdy enough. The cap snaps on, but it doesn’t make that hard snapping sound. It snaps to the section securely but is easy to put on and take off. It has an almost magnetic feel to it, like it glides and clicks easily in place.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

Both ends of the pen are flat, which lends more to that minimalist, modern feel. There’s nothing flashy about this pen. Nothing shiny and ostentatious. Even the finial is a simple black disc.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The design is tied up by three rings on the top of the cap, cap band, and end of the barrel. I really like that the PARKER logo around the cap band was designed differently from other Parkers, vintage or modern.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I like the horizontal lines that run through the letters. It’s a nice little detail.  Continue reading “Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)”

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

That’s a mouthful.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I first saw this pen in person last year, during the first big pen meet that I attended in Makati. The owner is a nice young man, well put-together, with a warm smile and a gorgeous green Vacumatic tucked into his shirt pocket. I asked if I could see his Parker Premier (which he dubbed The Batman Pen), and he happily opened his pen case to let me hold it. Gosh. I recall thinking what a handsome pen! And I carefully handed it back to him.

Modern Parker pens don’t really get my motor going. I find them so lacking in character compared with vintage pens, making it painfully obvious that Parker today isn’t what it used to be. This pen, though, I really liked. It’s perhaps the only modern Parker pen that I liked a lot. So when this nice young man put up this very gently used pen for sale (at half the retail price in National Bookstore), I snapped it up.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I’ve been using it to write, write, write the entire afternoon and evening yesterday. I’ve been literally writing until way into the wee morning hours. It’s so hard to put this pen down. I’ll take better photos for my upcoming review. 🙂

On Custom Nibwork

My two Cross Century II pens wrote okay but the nibs were boring. Booooooring. Hard as nails and not the most pleasant pens to write with. They’re okay but they can be better. I decided that I would ask a local nibmeister, JP, to fix it up for me in my favorite kind of grind–left oblique cursive italic.

Here’s a video of the writing sample:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnhVH-RcrFI]

I once asked him to grind me a cursive italic nib on a TWSBI Micarta, and I enjoyed that as well. However, I was always rotating my nib while I write, and I wanted something that had more of a slant to it. Here are a few photos of differences between a regular nib, cursive italic, and a left oblique cursive italic. The lines written with blue ink is left oblique cursive italic, medium nib is green, and cursive italic is brown.

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As can be seen in the photo above, the left oblique cursive italic nib has a slanted profile, the medium nib has a rounded profile hence rounded tips on the lines, and the regular cursive italic has crisp edges.

IMG_4216

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The resulting line variation makes the writing more interesting-looking, for me.

IMG_4211

It has more line variation as you write.

IMG_4212

Whether you write in cursive or block letters, it makes the lines more varied and (in my opinion), a lot more interesting to look at.

IMG_4213

I initially asked for a regrind to a cursive italic because I thought that I should have at least one pen with a CI nib, just to try it out. I liked how it turned out so I had more done. If you rotate your grip a lot (like I do), you may find the crisp edges of a cursive italic nib to be a little difficult to use. That’s exactly what led me to a left oblique cursive italic. I like the slanted line a lot, and it’s more forgiving of my rotating grip. I think JP did a good job on these nibs. The beauty of getting a custom grind done is that you can have it customized to how you want to hold your pen, how crisp you want the lines to be, etcetera. I’m glad I added more CIs in my collection.

If you’re looking into getting some nibwork done, you can try contacting JP through his FB account. You may also join Fountain Pen Network Philippines.

Review: Pilot Custom Heritage 92

P4042032

I got this pen several weeks back. I was just a little too busy to post a proper review. It’s been in my pen case from the time I got it, though. It’s hard to put this pen down.

P4042045

It’s a beautiful pen. I’m not really into demonstrators but I do have a few in my collection. This one is a pretty nice addition. There’s something about demonstrators that look so clean and cool. I also like to look at the ink sloshing around the barrel. It’s a pretty pen, I must admit. The size is comfortable for my hands, but I think that people with larger hands will find it a bit on the small side. I like the size, though. I can grip it comfortably and it’s well balanced whether you post the cap or not.

P4042036

The piston is very smooth. It’s probably the smoothest piston I’ve used right out of the box. The large ink capacity makes it ideal for long writing sessions.

I like the little details of this pen. I like the ring around the cap that says Custom Heritage 92, the simple clip with a slightly beveled look, the way the nib aligns perfectly with the clip when capped, the simple design of the piston. Everything about it is simple and understated.

IMG_4121 IMG_4122 IMG_4123 IMG_4125

I like the design of the nib too. I think it’s pretty intricate, very nicely done. Although I was a little disappointed that I needed to floss it to increase the ink flow. It was a little bit dry, although I already expected that from a Japanese nib. It wrote smoothly, yes, but I wanted it to write wetter, so I flossed it a bit.

IMG_4120

After increasing the ink flow to my preferred level, writing with it was just wonderful. It’s smooth with a tiny hint of feedback. Smooth like butter. The nib is springy and offers a bit of line variation, but I really don’t write cursive so that’s not very important to me.

Here is a video of the writing sample:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59kZXWUeE5M]

I used it with different inks and it writes very well with all of them.

Overall, I love that this pen is such a smooth writer. I love the size and weight too. I wouldn’t recommend it for people with big hands, though. I got this one at a good price through a preorder from PensGalore. It’s a nice mid-level pen with a lovely 14k nib.

Nemosine Review Roundup

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I just finished reviewing Nemosine Neutrino, Fission, and Singularity these past few days. Overall, my experience with Nemosine pens is pretty good. I like that they all have very simple designs, and that they have pretty color options for each model. In terms of look and feel, I think my favorite is the Neutrino. It’s slim, doesn’t post, and the weight is just right. Even if the body is metal, the size makes the weight just right for me.

The nib is pretty standard across all three, even though Neutrino has a #5 nib and the other two have #6 nibs. Here’s another look at the writing sample of different nibs:

IMG_4064

I enjoyed the broad nib most, and the 1.1mm nib next. The broad nibs that I tried wrote pretty well, as far as steel nibs go. They don’t require tuning or fiddling (at least not those that I tried), so these pens could be great for fountain pen newbies who just want something they can use without much fuss. I also noticed that the nibs are more reliable compared with similarly priced pens.

As far as entry level pens go, all these are pretty su-weet. If you’re looking to get a pen that looks good and won’t cost too much, any one of these would be a great option.

Click here to read the review on Nemosine Neutrino
Click here to read the review on Nemosine Fission
Click here to read the review on Nemosine Singularity

All these pens are available at Everything Calligraphy (obviously one of my favorite online shops).