This blog is all about art, upcoming classes, and creativity.
MATERIALS + HOW TO STUFF
FOUNTAIN PENS, INK, and Paper
I am mostly looking at companies in the USA — and there are good companies to buy from outside the USA, and I do occasionally shop at Cult Pens, or Pensachi (Japan). Some items that are important to me:
- Free shipping is a huge deal with inks, which are expensive — bulky and heavy. I really think that free shipping, even at $75-90, is a good idea. If not free shipping then give me options…. so many companies make you pay for priority… when I don’t need it.
- Quality items and knowledge about those items.
- Customer service: Especially with pens, sometimes you get a dud. If they fight you on it after walking you through a reasonable “Did you try…?” then they suck at customer service. If they KNOW you and they want a cheap pen back and expect you to pay for the shipping back, well, I am history. Shipping should be on them if the product is defective, and on a pricy pen they may repair I think shipping back is fine — or if they don’t know you.
- I don’t consider it a sale when people put items they are discontinuing or are not great at a discount — especially if they don’t say that this is what is so!
My go-to stores:
Goulet Pens: One thing is they are all about fountain pens — many of the stores here are not — and their selection is great! They know their products and stand behind them. Conservative ink colors except glitter and purple (Rachel’s favorites?)! Shipping is more expensive on Goulet — nothing free unless there is a special. I support them with purchases because they also offer amazing informative videos, starting with Fountain Pen 101, which is a must listen for anyone who is going to use Fountain pens. One of their best deal spots is Bottom Shelf, gently used pens and the occasion ink that has had other inks spill on it so it is stained.
Fountain Pen Revolution carries a favorite pen, the Himalayan with an ultraflex nib (do not bother with the flex nib — go for the ultraflex or buy something lese entirely.) Free shipping in the USA at $49 and internationally at $75. Staff is friendly and they stand behind their products…
Jetpens is great because of the free shipping at $25. They have more Japanese pens and ink than other countries, and their selection is good. They have some fun silly stuff from Japan — washi tape and the like. Their information about inks and pens on the site is really not all that good — a little more like a fast internet site rather than a place that knows pens and ink. You have to fight them a bit on returns, and they will want the items back even if it is a $5 items and you have a long track record. When I want ONE product, and want free shipping, I often shop here…
Secondary online stores, meaning I shop there occasionally, have never tird to return or deal with a defective item, but once in a blue moon:
Endless Pens has HopDrop, a once a week revolving sale which you have to be signed up to receive. Free shipping at $145 (hey, better than Goulet!). I find their site a bit hard to navigate unless I am just fooling around — for instance, to find out their ink brands you have to look at a drop down menu instead of having a list on top. Odd brands that many don’t carry: Leonardo, Ferris Wheel, Montblanc…
Goldspot. Great selection and their site is good… Free shipping at $75. And somehow, I rarely buy from them. Not sure why. I can say that product sent was wrapped well and came as expected.
Dromgoole’s in Houston has a great reputation (and brick and mortar store) and I have never bought from them. I find it hard to find what I want in their online store.
Vanness is my go to for inky goodness. Excellent and wide variety for all price ranges, and for me, much less conservative colors in both pen and ink than many sites which cater to a business working class. Their pen offerings are excellent. They have free shipping at $40 (YAY!), a points loyalty system that is nice, and Grandpa’s Basement, with seriously good deals. You also review for points. Their customer service is not as fast as Goulet, but their shipping and packing are, and they also stand behind their products — you just may have to go through a person who doesn’t know what you are talking about before you get to someone who does.
Anderson Pens. Never going back. I swear, they are always out of stock on things, and it is just one big disappointment to take the time to shop there. Everyone goes out of stock, but when I look around it appears I hit the 90% mark. When I ask to be notified I never am… so… They carry ink lines I might want however, but with no free shipping I figure I can get much of that between Vanness and Jetpens.
Daniel Smith Watercolors, which I buy from Merriartist. Ships free and fast at $90. I try always to buy from people who know their product, and support smaller businesses.
Sennelier, I prefer to buy Single tubes (hard to find, and my current favorite is Transparent Brown), but of course there are watercolor sets. I prefer to buy tubes and fill large squares, but to each his own. Pay attention to the tube sizes — the 21ml is a better deal once you know you love a color.
Watercolor Journals: Very personal discussion. I prefer hard bound (not softcover or wirebound), and prefer A5 or A4 landscape. My favorite are Hahnemühle’s Watercolour Book or Hahnemühle’s Nostalgie Sketchbook At this time I can’ only find them online (with various other product I love) through the stores below.
Stillman & Birn does not make a style I love though their paper is good. I’ve had failures with Pentalic’s splitting open a few pages in (even the new and revised one). My experience with Fabriano in the USA the paper is not great. Handbook too is so-so .
Favorite is OE or OKINA NOTEBOOKS (my favorite journals, also known as Cadic) at WetPaint. IF WetPaint stops carrying them Flax may, or
Bud Felson 505-310-3746
I also like Dingbats Journals, Especially the Wildlife series. I love that they are ecologically minded.
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which you can learn more about by visiting the site. HOWEVER:
If you find your work is being used on the internet in an inappropriate manner: “the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) gives you another option. Enacted in 1998, the DMCA implemented treaties signed at the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Geneva conference. It addresses many issues, one of which affects photographers directly in this situation. The DMCA states that while an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is not liable for transmitting information that may infringe a copyright, the ISP must remove materials from users’ websites that appear to constitute copyright infringement after it receives proper notice. Unlike other copyright infringement remedies, your copyright does not have to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office for you to take advantage of this DMCA provision.”
Handprint, a guide to painting, paint pigments, mixing paints, color theory. All kinds of great info, a degree in color all by itself.
Jane Blundel is a wonderful blog to follow; she is the master watercolor mixer!
Paulus Beresohn’s vimeo on making journals will move your soul: Soul’s Kitchen.
Tibetan Book of Proportions A page that begins to show the “rules.”
Craft Emergency Fund (for artists who lose their studios through disaster.)