Tag Archives: ink

Review: Jinhao 602 Fountain Pen

Every now and then I get a surprise in the mail. Today I got a Jinhao 602 fountain pen, a gift from Christie. She suggest I review it, so I'm being dutiful and doing so.

Pulling the pen out of the envelope I found it in a black flocked case. It felt rather heavy for it's size. The black paint is smooth, the gold colored trim is nice, even if it's gold (I prefer silver.) the grip section is oddly trimmed in brushed steel. It doesn't match the rest of the pen, even if it is comfortable. The pen is very slim measuring about 3/8th of an inch in diameter. It looks good.




The nib is steel but colored gold. It is hooded so only part of it can be seen. The nib is stiff, with no flex or bounce. It produces an even fine to medium line with good ink flow. It would be great for sketching. The nib offers a little feedback but it's not scratchy






The downside is that the cap does not post well, as this is a small pen it would be more comfortable if it were posted.

Overall this would be a very good pen for sketching, priced a little more than $5 you won't be heartbroken if it dies or you lose it. I was surprised at how well the pen wrote, it was remarkably smooth for $5. (Not as smooth as the Serwex Special I reviewed earlier.) Not a bad deal, head over to eB@y and search for one.

Unposted length: 4.5 inches

Posted: 6 inches Capped 5.5 inches 

Less than 1/2 inch in diameter.

Cost: About $5.50 shipping included on eBay.

A good value for the money if you like thin pens with fine nibs.

Unlike the Serwex Special I reviewed a few weeks back, this is not a candidate for abusing with India inks. The hooded nib means getting the feed out of the grip for cleaning is nearly impossible. India ink will gunk up this pen and render it unusable in short order. 

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Some Observations: On Paper and Frisket

Iv'e been working on a variety of papers, settling on Canson's XL Watercolor paper, for a variety of reasons- it works well with the watercolors I'm using, it's cost is nice and it has a relatively smooth surface that my pens rather like. It's also got 2 sides, a right and a wrong, ot a front and a back; which ever way you prefer to call it, but I like the judgemental aspect of right and wrong… In this case. Any how.

One side has a little more tooth an grab to it than the other, this is the right side. The reverse side AKA WRONG is smoother. It also has less sizing… This affects a number of things- how ink and paint react with the surface. Less size means it's more absorbent.

This is good and bad.

It's bad when you use a mask. I applied a liquid frisket rather heavily to the surface of one of my paintings and the frisket grabbed to the paper so strongly it ripped when I removed it. Quite badly. It was crazy frustrating.

I went ahead with the mixed media piece anyway, knowing my paint would adhere the ripped pieces down and it would be okay, but I had to change my plans for color and other ideas for the image, and I know that the torn piece could come back to haunt me.

Additionally in my frisket/mask adventure I've found that the frisket REALLY doesn't like the spray inks. If the frisket is too thin the spray ink "leaks" through it. A total pain in the ass. So I've learned to put on one thin coat and then a heavier coat to seal it all up.

Weekly Round Up: Videos

This week's videos are late because I had an Art Adventure on a super warm winter day! Cappuccino, breakfast sandwiches, walking around the city of Salem, and of course sketching. (Also planning for a new secret project or two destined to hit awesomeness this coming summer.)

So here you go this week's videos:








Technique Tuesday: Ink Wash

Ink Wash is an incredibly old skool technique that I learned in High School. It was taught to us in Art 1 as a way to learn about value and tone, as well as their relationship. We used film canisters (retro) and India ink, which is waterproof once dried. The idea behind it is that you start with 3 to 5 levels of light to dark watered down ink. You apply it with a brush to capture the value of the image you are trying to capture. You add additional layers of watered down ink to achieve your dark darks. At the end you'd use a crow quill pen to add in details, or if you were "that good" you'd get a liner brush and use a light hand to add those final details.

In college I had a friend who did the most amazing ink washes in blue higgens waterproof ink. Amazing stuff. Since then I've sketched in black, red, blue, blue-black and a variety of other colors. Traditional is with black so that's what I've shown in my video.

I use Noodler's Black ink for this, but you can use any ink brand you want.  The vials I use are from GouletPens.com. I used my syringe that I referenced in my last post about fountain pens to measure the ink.

Anyway, watch the video, try ink wash, it's an easy and fun technique.


Review: Lamy Safari and Joy

I had resisted my urge to buy a Lamy pen for quite some time. I didn’t want to just buy another pen that everyone said was great. The selling point for me is it’s ability to swamp out nibs even when fully loaded with ink and start writing almost immediately.

The Lamy uses a proprietary cartridge system. This annoys me. So I searched for ways to turn it into an eye dropper style pen. I found a simple solution- buy a fountain pen and roller ball set and swap the bodies. Then fill the end of the roller ball body with silicone caulking and let it dry. The body of the pen will hold 3 ml of ink.  Otherwise you need to buy the cartridges or refill used ones with a syringe.

I bought a glossy black set and it’s been great. A friend gifted me with the Lamy Joy with a black body and a red wire cap with a 1.5mm tip. To swap the tips you can grab the tip with a rag, piece of rubber or tape and gently pull the nib off. I find the nibs swap out pretty effortlessly but the first time was a little tougher. The new nib simply slides onto the section and in a few seconds is ready to write.

Depending on where you buy your nib they cost around $10 each. But considering that they can be used on any of the Safari, Al-Star, Studio, Accent, or Joy series pen bodies, it’s a pretty sweet deal. I’ve got a medium, broad and 1.5mm tip. The broad nib flips over and easily writes a fine line. With some smoothing it would be fine for writing. With this assortment of nibs I can easily do a variety of sketching. The medium is my usual nib of choice for regular sketches and writing. It’s thick enough that my lines look deliberate and not wimpy. I can also use it fill in a decent area of color without too much work. If I’m looking for something a little more bold I can switch to the broad nib and really lay down some bold lines. The 1.5mm nib allows me to get calligraphic lines and fill in a lot of area fast.


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I keep this pen filled with Noodler’s Black. It’s the only pen I’ve got that I match the ink color to the color of the pen. It makes sense for me to keep this pen filled with black in as it’s my go to pen for quick on the go sketches. The body of the pen is made of ABS plastic and tough as nails. This is one of the few pens I’ve got that I’m not that careful with. I’m not that worried about breaking it or causing harm to it. It’s tough. I’ve dropped it, on hard cement flooring and into dirt.

This is considered a beginner’s pen in terms of fountain pens. It will set you back about $30 no matter where you purchase it. Unless you chose to buy one used, in which case I suggest you check out the Fountain Pen Network’s for sale section. You can occasionally find one for sale for around $20. These pens are all over eBay as well. Gouletpens and Jetpens both carry the pens themselves as well as the nibs.

The downside of the Safari, Al-Star, and Joy pens is that they have a triangular grip which forces you to hold them tripod style and can be somewhat uncomfortable if you are like me and hold your pens in a variety of styles. This can be solved by purchasing one of the other pens that the nibs fit but those are significantly more expensive. But if you can tolerate the triangular grip of the Safari et al it’s a winning pen for sketching that will survive even very tough conditions. The Joy has an elongated body shape that is similar to a desk pen. Normally pens like this do not post but the Joy does post, which is good if you like that but I don't tend to draw with my pens posted.

Anyway, check out some of the drawings I’ve done with this pen.


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Drawing-a-Day: I Need that Color!

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This is the 4-1-11 drawing titled “I Need that Color!” It measures A5 or 5.75×7.5 inches. I did a quick sketch with pencil and then used a Lamy Safari with a B nib filled with Noodler’s Black ink for the paint tubes and added the shading with a TWSBI M Nib and Private Reserve Electric DC Blue ink.

Cost is $25 USD, shipping to CONUS included.