Posts Tagged ‘Isabey 6234 Petit Gris brush’


The Best On My Desk Winners For 2017


Whether penned on the back of an envelope, a scrap of napkin or in a classic journal, a list is my favorite organizational tool. The end of the year is the perfect time to make such a list, one that summarizes and compares my ever-changing pen, ink, and other tool preferences.

Rather than new faves, the focus for my 2017 list was which tools were used the most, those that rarely if ever left my desk. Products that arrived late in the year didn’t qualify even if they were noteworthy. The handsome journal from Central Crafts and two inks from Noodler’s will have to wait for the 2018 list.

(Links are to retailers and in some cases Amazon from which I receive a tiny commission should you make a purchase. Every little bit helps keep Inkophile alive!)

Tools for 2017


Pelikan M400 Fine – This pen has been in my collection for a number of years. The flow was increased by Chartpak to accommodate hand issues and proved to be a brilliant pen for my worst days.

Platinum Century Nice Pur Medium – Using different grip widths relaxes my hand while a smooth nib makes short work of any written task. The Plat provided provided both and was a good alternative to the Pel. Besides, what’s not to like about a clear barrel that shows off colorful ink?

Platinum #3776 Music Nib – Sometimes a wide nib gives me a little extra support when my hand is tired and at those times a music nib fits my needs very well. It also adds a little flair to the written word without catching on paper as an italic might and that makes writing more enjoyable.

Pilot Metropolitan Medium – When out and about, I carry a pen that can easily be replaced, but still writes well and looks sharp. The turquoise Met meets all those requirements.

TWSBI Diamond 580 Stub – This pen won the slot for a nib with line variation. It also added a pen to my rotation with a slightly wider grip circumference than the other pens. You already know what I think of a clear barrel and this design makes colorful ink sparkle.

Lamy Studio Fine – It is on the list but last due to its unpleasantly sharp cap and barrel edge. However, the nib and flow make using it worth the risk so long as I remember to grasp it gently. Unfortunately, this one has disappeared and missed the photo shoot. Phooey.


Waterman Florida Blue is mated to the Pel M400. The flow is perfect for the nib and though I may experiment with other inks, WFB always wins out.

Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan makes a luscious line with the #3776 and the shading can be quite dynamic.

Diamine Violet has been the choice of the TWSBI Diamond 580 stub and with good reason. Eye candy to be sure.

Platinum Mixable Aqua Blue suits the turquoise Met perfectly. My samples are now depleted, so it’s time for a full bottle. In the interim, Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare will do.

Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu was my dark green ink which was well suited to a silver Met. It isn’t Montblanc Racing Green, but it does have excellent flow as well as other charming properties.

Platinum Classic Lavender Black is a newcomer that made a splash in the Platinum Century Nice Pur. Color and performance made this an excellent choice for my everyday ink.


Clairefontaine, Stillman & Birn, Staples Arc and anything made with Tomoe River paper. Enough said.

Watercolor Paint

Artist quality: Sennelier, Daniel Smith, American Journey, and Da Vinci are mainstays along with a couple of Winsor & Newton colors on occasion.

Student grade: Sennelier La Petit Aquarelle and Daler-Rowney Aquafine are about as good as student quality gets. They are not as saturated or lightfast as artist grade paints, but fine in a journal and are packaged conveniently for outdoor sketching. When I empty a palette of student paint, it gets refilled with artist quality paint.

Watercolor Paper

Arches 140# for paintings and Canson Watercolor 140# for color swatches. The best paper is 100% cotton. It will yield the truest colors and survive the longest. Arches is cotton and readily available. It is pricey but worth it.

Watercolor Brushes

SAA Gold Round #10 This was my favorite brush last year and easily got the most use.

Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #8

Escoda Versatil Rigger #2

Daniel Smith Platinum Angle 1/2″ (sable and taklon)

Isabey Petit Gris 6234 Quill Mop #0

Other writing and drawing tools

Pentel Pocket brush pen

Autopoint mechanical pencil

Pentel Sign Touch Pen

New Stuff

Noodler’s Legal Blue and Polar Purple

Romano Handmade Recycled Leather Wrap Large Journal (Paper is not friendly with all fountain pen inks. Handsome leather cover.)

What’s on your list? Use the comments to post your faves as well as most used tools for 2017. Or submit a link if you’ve already shared such a list elsewhere.


A Journal, A Mop, And Lots Of Color


Who can resist brilliant color?

The samples were made with an Isabey 6234 Petit Gris #0 Quill Mop. (Thank you, Leigh!) It is a natural hair brush that holds a significant amount of liquid, putting any synthetic brush to shame. How does this relate to using watercolor in your journal?

A fountain pen or a brush pen with fountain pen ink writes and draws without pause. Just let those thoughts or doodles flow. Any fountain pen will do, but the Platinum #3776 Music Nib is my current favorite along with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Both are outstanding for swirls and loops and creating other enjoyable doodles. But I like to switch colors frequently and a brush with paint is better at this.

Winsor & Newton Scarlet Lake Watercolor

Watercolor is lovely, but brushes only hold so much liquid, especially small brushes that are made of synthetic hair. Natural hair holds a greater amount of paint so you can draw much longer without interruption. That’s a big advantage for doodles that have long lines like those calligraphic ones pictured. The disadvantage is that natural hair brushes can deposit too much paint. A light touch produces the thinnest line though a sharp point is essential, too.

So here is how it works with most brushes. Good quality synthetic will be stiffer and offer better control, but will hold less liquid. Good quality natural hair brushes like sable, kolinsky, and squirrel, will hold more paint, but are soft and require a more delicate touch.

Watercolor Brushes And My Journal

For a synthetic, the da Vinci Cosmotop Spin offers lots of control and is well made. Miller’s Golden Fleece is good even in larger sizes. Both have relatively sharp points, a must for a round brush. Simply Simmons is another line of brushes if budget is a consideration. It’s a step below the other two for quality, but not bad for the getting acquainted stage. When you move to better brushes, protect them by using the lesser quality ones to transfer and mix paint on your palette. That will save a lot of wear and tear on the pricey ones and play to the strength of the lesser ones.

The natural hair brushes used in my journal are from Daniel Smith, da Vinci, and Isabey. With a light touch, I can get a lot of line work from a sharp, round #5.

The Isabey Quill Mop is a different story. The amount of paint it will hold is amazing, but the line can be rather wide. Use less liquid and gently shape the nib to a point with your fingers for a finer line. It’s a beautiful brush that is best appreciated after getting handy with a more easily controlled watercolor brush.

If you like to paint with ink, a synthetic brush might be best since it will soak up less liquid and achieve better control. Do decant the ink and toss when finished. Pouring it back into the bottle risks contamination, but when your fountain pen will no longer fill from that bottle, a brush is a good way to use the last dregs.

Whether your choice is pen or brush, purchase a journal suited to mixed media or line drawing like the Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook in the photo. Even if you use brush pens, heavier paper will support your work better than paper designed for pens alone. If you happen to create something worth preserving, it will be on good quality paper that will last. Your heirs will thank you, posthumously of course.

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