Fountain pens remain my first choice for writing and often for drawing but sometimes they just won’t do. On my desk are some gorgeous journals with paper that isn’t fond of fountain pen ink. So to give them a chance and possibly even make them useful, it seemed only fair to look beyond fountain pens for something suitable. With lots of help from my Inkophile friends, I found just the thing.
The comments to my original post on the subject, When A Fountain Pen Just Won’t Do, started my research. Eventually I settled on a fiber tip or fineliner as the second best writing instrument for my personal preferences as well as to test paper.
Thanks to the generous Inkophile reader Peggy Love who saw my When A Fountain Pen Won’t Do, Part 2 post, I now have three Levenger True Writer Rollerballs loaded with Levenger Fiber Tip refills. The pen colors are Water Lilies, Mosaic, and Starry Night. From past experience with True Writer Fountain Pens, I knew I would like the size but that was just the beginning.
Levenger True Writer Rollerball
Water Lilies is a true standout next to my simple black pens. With its variety of blues and dabs of green and lilac, this pen invites playful interaction. Starry Night is far more subtle as well as much darker than the other two. The amount of light striking the barrel can turn it from blue-black to a melange of blues and violets. It lacks the swirls of mineral green and the yellow stars of the Van Gogh painting but it is still handsome on its own. Mosaic is a violet affair with a mix of swirls and hatch strokes. In terms of ink colors, it has hits of Diamine Violet and J. Herbin Violette Pensee but J. Herbin Poussiére de Lune is the predominant shade.
It didn’t take long to discover that just like a fountain pen, the Levenger fiber tip takes a light touch. It isn’t as smooth as a True Writer nib but the ink flow is very consistent. That steady flow of ink did produce some ghosting on the back of absorbent paper but just with the broad tip. The extra-fine had less trouble. In fact that nice chunky broad line will make me reach for the TW instead of a Sharpie when I’m out and about. The line isn’t as wide as a Sharpie but the pen looks far more more upscale and professional. The black ink resists water if imperfectly. However, it is odorless unlike the Sharpie. That alone makes it a winner!
The downside is the limited range of ink colors for the fiber tip refills. Black and blue are just too ordinary for someone accustomed to a range of fountain pen inks. Levenger could add a blue-black and red at least but other colors would be welcome, too. The True Writer comes in such a variety of colors that it is a pity the ink can’t keep up with the promise of the pens.
The fiber tips are available in extra-fine, medium, and broad so that’s a bit more interesting. According to the package, they measure 0.8 mm, 1.0 mm, and 2.0 mm. The broad tip doesn’t really produce a line that wide unless you bear down hard and that would spoil the tip. Still it is considerably wider than the extra-fine so if you like a bold line, go for the broad size.
Bored at your board meeting? Doodle away with that fiber tip or take notes in two sizes to keep things interesting. You can do this with a single pen by varying the angle. Unlike a fountain pen nib, the medium and broad fiber tips have a huge sweet spot. A 90° angle to the paper yields the tips finest line. A 45° angle produces a much wider line. An even lower angle will make a line three times the width of the finest line. Writing isn’t workable at that angle but it’s great for bold underlining or a stout moustache on that caricature of your boss.
Now that I’ve seen how pretty it is, I really want the Water Lilies fountain pen plus a second one for my daughter. My pen wish list is getting long, very, very long. But you already knew that.