Posts Tagged ‘Noodler’s Lexington Gray’

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Sunday Reads: Best Pocket Pens, Mysterious Gold Object, And A Backstory

06/25/2017

Lexington Gray has enjoyed a long term home in one of my Pentel Pocket Brush Pens. Very highly recommended for the calligrapher, artist, doodler in you…

Playtime in a Stillman & Birn Sketchbook

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Duke Guan Yu Calligraphy Fountain Pen

07/31/2016

Pen enabler extraordinare, Leigh Reyes, has written about the extra long Duke calligraphy nib for ages and of course she can do things with it that are both amazing and beautiful. When I saw one on eBay recently, resistance was futile.

History

Meet the Duke Guan Yu Calligraphy Fountain Pen. It has the Chinese warrior Guan Yu holding his weapon, a guan dao named Green Dragon Crescent Blade, on the cap. Also on the cap are four Chinese characters, “Zhong, Yi, Ren, Yong” for “Loyalty, Righteousness, Humanity, Valor.” Guan Yu was highly respected and eventually became revered as a god. Though Guan died in 220 CE, he continues to be honored and worshiped.

Form

The Guan Yu feels very well built and sturdy in the hand. It is mostly metal with chrome trim and weighs a substantial 40 g. The length is 145 mm closed, 125 mm without the cap, and 165 mm with the cap posted to the barrel. The balance is good so it can be used comfortably without the cap. Unlike many pens, the cap clicks onto the end of the barrel for a secure fit, ideal for those who like a long pen. However, posting the cap may overbalance the pen in a small hand. On the plus side, not posting the cap allows for a free range of motion that can produce a variety of line widths.

The barrel is a greenish turquoise like the green dragon for which the guan dao blade was named. GYT is engraved on the band along with three Chinese characters.

The logo used on the cap and clip is a crescent blade rather than the usual Duke crown. The whole design is thematic, consistent and very attractive.

The pen accepts International cartridges and comes with a screw type converter. Flow was inconsistent at first but settled nicely after a few practice marks. Writing was at its best following a fresh fill of the converter. At the very end of a fill, the pen skipped at times. Consider that an early warning that it’s time for more ink.

Nib

Sometimes this design is called bent nib or fude. Whatever you call it, the Guan Yu has a particularly long tip that makes my other Asian calligraphy nibs look puny in comparison.  It is capable of producing a stunning 4 mm line while writing a 1 mm line or even thinner when held at a more upright angle. That makes it suitable for writing as well as sketching. Hold it too upright and it will skip so it does have its limits.

Noodler’s Lexington Grey is a good match since it is more subtle than black and shades nicely enhancing line depth and variation. Just the thing for a very wide nib.

The pen has an overfeed, a strip of metal that goes over the front of the nib. It’s the first one I’ve used on a fountain pen though some dip nibs come with the enhancement. It’s designed to keep ink flowing to the nib and prevent skipping when a strong flow is needed. Given the amount of ink required for a 4 mm line, the overfeed is a a wise addition. It isn’t pretty, but it is useful.

The nib has a little flex to it probably from the length of the tip rather than by design. It takes a bit of effort to bring out the flex, but with a little practice, it is possible to mildly vary line width. I found that property more useful for drawing than writing.

Writing

The blue-green barrel closely matches Noodler’s Dostoyevsky so I used it for the first fill. A dark ink would make a very strong statement from such a wide line. Pale or pastel inks would show more substance. Dostoyevsky struck a nice balance between the pale and the dark.

If used slowly for a thick line, the paper becomes critical. Drying time can be significant on a coated paper. Rhodia worked well despite the heavy flow though there was some ghosting and a few dots of mild bleed-through. Midori Traveler’s Notebook with Tomoe River paper showed heavy ghosting and significant bleed through. Experimentation will reveal good matches of ink and paper for this very wide nib.

One note about using this calligraphy nib. Mine does not lend itself well to writing in the Chinese style of holding the brush upright. The more contact the nib has with the paper, the better the flow and the wider the line. A western style hold will produce a very broad line. The lower the angle, the better.

The Duke Guan Yu is an eye-catching pen and might get some remarks from co-workers or fellow patrons at a coffee shop. However, this is a pen that makes writing more fun than serious. It would be perfect for a doodle journal or to decorate paper margins turning something ordinary into something elegant. Then write in the center with a standard pen.

My Guan Yu came from an eBay seller in China. If you prefer Amazon, I found three offers: here, here and here. The Duke 209 Calligraphy Bent Nib has a smaller tip so look closely if you want the same nib I purchased. Leigh has the Confucius model with an extra long nib in a bamboo design. There is a black Confucius model as well.

This might not be a go-to pen, but it sure is a kick to use when you just want to play around with ink and pen in a bold and color filled way.

 

 

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Brush Pens Meet Fabriano and Stillman & Birn Journals

10/07/2013

Brush pens release a significant amount of ink which makes them a challenge for writing, but great fun for lettering and drawing. Over the summer, I put several to work on some of my favorite paper with satisfying results.

Brush pen in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Journal

In the past, J. Herbin Poussière de Lune and Lie de Thé worked well in my Pentel Pocket Brush Pens. To see whether there was any difference in performance, this time Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan and Lexington Gray went in the pens. Choosing compatible colors allows me to decorate my journal and stationery with a harmonious flair. Used singly either color is perfect for a monochromatic drawing. Brown is especially nice for a sepia toned, vintage look. Nothing amiss in these choices.

Sakura Pigma Brush Pens

Then at the beginning of September, I braved the local art store – braved as in perusing new products without devastating my budget. Still enjoying the brush pen theme, I bought three Sakura Pigma Brush Pens. They are not refillable, but the ink is waterproof so it has its uses. The fiber tip isn’t as supple as the Pentel bristle tip. Line variation is limited, but lettering is easier than with the Pentel. This is a good pen for doodling, embellishing plain lettering or decorating a margin. The palette is limited, but the rose is especially pretty. The black is less saturated and dense than the Pentel, but it dries more rapidly. It isn’t a true brush, but it is fun to use.

Fabriano Venezia Journal and Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

Fabriano Venezia Journal

The Pentel pens with Noodler’s and the Sakura pens performed similarly on the three papers. Stillman & Birn Epsilon, Fabriano Venezia, and the Rhodia pad take ink differently, but there was no significant feathering and no bleed through. Lines were crisp even if my photos look otherwise. Oh, and that should be Pentel – not Pilot – in the written sample.

Brush Pen on Rhodia

I’m still exploring the possibilities, but wanted to share the recent results. Using fountain pen ink in the Pentel on S&B paper is just right. Now I’m off to have some fun with one of the little dears. The one with Kiowa Pecan is calling the most insistently…

Jet Pens stocks the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen as well as the Sakura Pigma Brush Pen. Stillman & Birn and Rhodia pads are available at a variety of retailers. Fabriano Venezia journals are less common, but there are a few sources in the U.S. as well as in the U.K.

A little more on brush pens.

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