Posts Tagged ‘Mike Masuyama’


Stipula Verde Muschiato Is On My List


Sometimes a favorite ink gets overlooked for the sexy new bottle on the shelf. With hundreds of inks on hand, it happens all too often here. Fifteen are inked at the moment and many are getting far too little use. Not good for the pens when evaporation uses more ink than putting pen to paper.

Recently while scouring my collection for the best of the old-timers, Stipula Calamo Verde Muschiato earned a slot in my rotation and wound up in two pens. That’s something that never happens, but in this case, it was a valuable reminder of how well Verde Muschiato performs and that it belongs on my list of top twenty inks.

Actually it fell into disuse when its best mate, a Pilot Elite Manifold Pocket Pen, got sold and its second best mate, a True Writer Masuyama Stub, broke. Both were wet writers so it was a surprise to see the even better performance and shading with a dry cursive italic nib, also a  Mink (brown) True Writer modified by Mike Masuyama. This TW has made a lot of friends in the brown family of inks, but Verde Muschiato is the best of the lot though it is more green than brown. No matter. Not every ink and pen need be matchy-matchy. It counts more that the writing looks good which is certainly the case here.



51 Examples Of Matching Ink To Pen To Paper


Matching ink to pen to paper can be a long process and one that never ends. If this doesn’t convince you, nothing will. The sample below was started at least five years ago so rest assured I did not have 51 pens inked at the same time. Mind you that would be a lot of fun but even for me that’s over-the-top. My absolute upper limit was thirty during a heavy testing phase and it is not likely to get repeated. Well, at least not any time soon.

The stationery is Original Crown Mill Cream Laid from a close-out several years ago at Kate’s Paperie. The cream color has influenced the inks and given most of them an appealing warmth. The scans are unretouched so do not take the colors as accurate. What you can see is ink performance relative to the pen and texture of the paper. J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche with a Sailor 1911 fine is especially attractive but many others are lovely, too.

J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche on Original Crown Mill Station

J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche on Original Crown Mill Stationery

None of this is condemnation of any pen and ink duo. Those that did not perform well on this particular paper, do perform well elsewhere. But keeping a running record, reminds me which ones not to use in future. With a good flow of ink, Crown Mill does take forever to dry so be prepared to wait and wait and wait.

G. Lalo is another laid paper that is good with fountain pen ink as you can see in my review from 2009. Both brands of paper do best with a fine nib but there are exceptions like the two Mike Masuyama custom nibs with Noodler’s Ink in Beaver and Golden Brown.

My Original Crown Mill came in a box of 100 sheets and envelopes but these days comes in a pad of 50 sheets. The paper may have changed in the ensuing years and remarks on FPN and other websites indicate that it is currently more friendly to fountain pen ink.

Crown Mill can be found at Goulet while G. Lalo is available from a variety of sources including Kate’s Paperie and European Paper. Even my local art store carries it, not that I will need more stationery any time soon.

Warning: Click the images at your own peril. They are humongous!

Original Crown Mill Laid Paper Test Page 1

Original Crown Mill Laid Paper Test Page 1

Original Crown Mill Laid Paper Test Page 2

Original Crown Mill Laid Paper Test Page 2


2012 And Some Really Good Pen Stuff


2012 was a very lean year with few items to review and no ink or pen purchases. So there is little new to recommend. Still there are some favorites worth mentioning along with a few new products on my list of

Really Good Stuff

  • Best new tool that came my way was the InkJournal.
  • Best new paper product was any Stillman & Birn Sketchbook.
  • Martha Stewart cahier – The batch I bought was fountain pen friendly and very attractive.
  • Canson Art Book cahier – Surprisingly good performance for both pens and watercolors.
  • Daycraft Gold Slab journal may not be perfect or easy to source but it sure is gorgeous.
  • Rhodia pads got the most action. The orange covers make them a standout in my messy office.
  • My regular ink rotation expanded with the inclusion of Noodler’s Ottoman Azure and Black Swan in Australian Roses. No new ink colors came my way but Karen at Exaclair sent three reformulated J. Herbin inks for comparison to what I had on hand that were produced prior to EU meddling. I still enjoy all three, Vert Empire, Lie de Thé, and Poussière de Lune, but they are a bit different.
  • Current model pens with stock nibs that were consistently in my rotation included the Lamy Safari with an EF or 1.1mm italic and the Vista 1.1mm italic as well as the Levenger True Writer fine nib. Most of my other pens are no longer in production or have been modified. The greatest difference in my rotation this year was that fewer fine nibs like Pilots and Sailors got used while the Montblanc 220 OB never fell out of favor.
  • Custom nibs can be heavenly or not. Nearly all of mine were crafted by different people and in some cases I don’t even know who did the work. However, one Masuyama stub and one Binder cursive italic rose to the top. The former was a dream from the first fill though Iroshizuku ku-jaku is its current best friend. If ever there was a fickle pen this one is it for it will mate with darned near any ink. The Binder sat unused for years until on a whim got paired with Ottoman Azure. Now that Pelikan M-215 Rings is a delight to use. Some nibs are finicky and the right ink can make a huge improvement in performance. Admittedly, a little inspiration helps or that Pel and Ottoman Azure would never have met. So don’t discount what you think might work. Just try it and see what happens.
  • The pen that resided in my handbag was the Kaweco Classic Sport. If it accommodated a converter, the Kaweco would get more use and take up residence on my desk.
  • Best new (to me) non-fountain pen writing instrument was a tie between the Sanford Uniball Gel Grip medium (utilitarian) and the Pentel Libretto (attractive). The Autopoint remained my favorite mechanical pencil in large part due to its 0.9mm HB lead. The Levenger True Writer Rollerball sporting a felt tip refill continued as my first choice when a fountain pen or mechanical pencil wouldn’t do.

That wraps up 2012. My wish list for 2013 is simple. Buy or trade for another stub or italic nib and acquire a few new inks, mostly Noodler’s or perhaps a Diamine or two. A bottle of Iroshizuku kon-peki might be nice but on that I can wait.

Did you get some “really good stuff” this year? What’s on your list for 2013?

2012 Favorite Pen, Ink, and Paper Products

2012 Favorite Pen, Ink, and Paper Products

Noodler’s Ottoman Azure and Black Swan in Australian Roses, J. Herbin Poussière de Lune, InkJournal, Stillman & Birn Sketchbook for Pen & Ink, Levenger True Writer, Autopoint Mechanical Pencil, Rhodia pad, Pelikan Tradition M-215 Black Rings fountain pen.


Faced with a possible disaster, what would you grab?


Few of us will ever have to grab just a couple of favorites and run for the door. But if you did what would you take in an emergency?

I live in earthquake country. There is no warning that we are in danger. It just strikes. Keeping my selection to what could quickly be snatched and easily carried, that amounts to three pens. The Montblanc 220 OB, a Levenger Kyoto True Writer with a Masuyama Stub nib, and a Pelikan M-215 with a custom italic nib would fill a pocket and are always front and center on my desk. The Lamy Safari with a custom italic nib is a terrific writer but its odd size makes it an awkward fit in a small space. That one would come along only if I had extra room. A pen case to protect the lot would be nice but not essential.

Bottles of ink are more cumbersome but if I thought my inventory was going up in smoke, two discontinued favorites, Montblanc Racing Green and Parker Penman Ruby, would top my list. Just because I love the color and it would make me a little happier despite my losses, Iroshizuku ku-jaku would be number three.

If I had plenty of room, a pad of Rhodia paper would provide space to vent frustration, doodle for relaxation, or enjoy the elation of surviving a disaster.

If you had to grab your pens and run for the hills, which ones would you choose?


Levenger Discount And A True Writer Fountain Pen


Saw a Levenger discount this afternoon that made me wish for another True Writer to stub. Mike Masuyama did a great job with my Kyoto and it would be useful as well as fun to have a second one for ink variety. The colorful Sea Glass version with a stubbed bold nib could be just the thing to brighten my desk.

Yes, I do have several True Writers but they are retired colors and I like to keep those with the original nibs unless the nib is imperfect. So a Sea Glass pen with its happy colors could be just the thing and would work perfectly with my True Writer black pen stand, too.

No new pen for me this year but you could get one with the 20% discount on a $50 order. The code is 20PC2011A.

Hint: It’s okay to buy a gift for yourself especially if it’s a nice one.

Levenger True Writer® Sea Glass Fountain Pen

Levenger True Writer® Sea Glass Fountain Pen

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