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.
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.