Posts Tagged ‘Stillman & Birn Epsilon Journal’


Doodling As An Antidote To Turbulent Times


Do you have a squiggle, doodle or word that brings relaxation, pleasure, even joy when you write it? For many of us, the repeated making of that mark breaks the incessant clamoring of life and renews the flow of energy that surviving the onslaught demands. Turbulent times be damned!

Make your mark count. Fill a page with it when the lights are low and electronic devices have been put to rest. You may find that you fall asleep more easily. Draw it repeatedly to break a deadlock or switch gears when too much is happening at once. Calm, relaxed, focused are essential states that repetitive mark making can help you achieve.

My doodle of choice lends itself to margins, small areas or even full pages. Any instrument can produce it admirably, even a stick in the sand. I do set some rules including not letting the swirl lines touch each other. That particular limitation keeps me focused and less able to entertain extraneous thoughts. Distraction achieved.

Fountain pens and felt tips are my preferred instrument for line variation but satisfaction isn’t dependent on the tool. It’s the motion and the look of the doodle that matter most. It is a terrific way to use up ink when it’s time to change colors.

The drawing of something so familiar provides a useful basis for comparison when evaluating a new pen or ink. The degree of flow and lubrication are revealed by drawing swooping lines and doodles. Nibs that bite into the paper’s surface are relegated to second class status and thereafter employed only for suitable tasks. In essence, make my doodle properly or you are going to spend your days in the pen drawer.

If you haven’t found your special mark, review old pages of notes for something suitable. Over the years, I have gone through several types of doodles and while I have a favorite, there are others that are good as well. I tend to go for rounded, flowing lines. Cross-hatching comes in second. Words don’t work for me if relaxing is my goal though a page full of random words can break a writer’s block. Calligraphic decorative elements offer a wealth of possibilities. It doesn’t have to be the entire element. Even a small portion of one might do the trick.

Should you fancy a little variety, there are seasonal squiggles that fill a niche like fir trees, pumpkins, hearts and shamrocks. The point is not to limit yourself. If you are playful with it, so much the better. Use up disappointing paper and ink. It really doesn’t matter. Just do it and enjoy it. And isn’t that what pens should be about.

Ten years of my doodles and squiggles reflect little change. Why tinker with what works?

Some of my non-fountain pen doodling favorite tools can be found on Amazon. Should you purchase there, Inkophile may earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you.









Waterbrush vs Watercolor Brush


Waterbrush and a watercolor brush using the same colors produced different results.

Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook on the left and a Canson XL Mix Media on the right.

The soft color and faded effect can be put to good use especially in the small confines of a journal. If you want consistent color, fill a waterbrush with watercolor or fountain pen ink. The chamber doesn’t need to be full to work well. Noodler’s would be a good choice since it is economical and can be stretched with the addition of a little water. Use the same ink in your fountain pen for a monochromatic piece. Or pick contrasting colors for playful pages. Aqua and peach anyone?





Ink – Good To The Last Drop


Want to make the most of the last few drops of ink in a sample bottle? A small brush will do the trick. Leigh recommended the Princeton Snap for calligraphic brush work and it is great at doodling with ink as well. Wet the brush and dip it into the ink. Then write or scribble in a journal or decorate stationery or make greeting cards or one of a kind gift wrap. There are tons of possibilities.

Just be creative and be willing to experiment. And don’t judge your efforts harshly. This is for you and it’s just for fun.

Diamine Havasu Turquoise in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook applied with a Princeton Snap #4 watercolor brush.



Sunday Links From Paper To Inks To Pens


Betcha can’t click just one…


Pilot New Brush Pen Dances With Stillman & Birn


Last night there was an unsanctioned meeting of the Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook and the Pilot New Brush Pen. I had very little to do with it. Okay, I held the pen over my Doodle Journal, but that’s all. I swear the two conspired against me and tried all manner of dance steps leaving behind a trail of thick, black ink in assorted poses and contortions. The cheeky pen even danced on its side leaving an intermittent line in several instances.

What does all of this prove? That anything goes when it comes to a Doodle Journal. Anything!

Want to try this at home? YMMV, but Jet Pens carries the Pilot New Brush Pen.


The Good Stuff On My Desk


What I’m working on and with today.

On my desk

Paperblanks Journal
Jackson’s Watercolors
Isabey Petit Gris 6234 #0 Brush
Daniel Smith 44-08 #3 Kolinsky Brush
Autopoint Mechanical Pencil
Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook
Tomoe River paper from
Noodler’s Standard Flex Pen with Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses
Pilot Prera with Plumix medium (italic) nib and Noodler’s Black
Sheaffer Taranis with Diamine Steel Blue
Platinum #3776 music nib with Diamine Sepia
All overseen by a cloisonne bird that belonged to my mom


The Pilot “New Brush In Character” Calligraphy Pen


Pilot makes a hair-like, calligraphy brush pen that is as soft as anyone could ever want. Leigh sent one recently and my hand is grateful for the ease, but woo-wee is it a challenge to control. However, the reward for perseverance is a line variation that is hard to match even with a good brush.

Pilot New Brush In Character Brush Pen

The pen is called 新毛筆 中字 which translates as New Brush in Character. The pen model number is S-50FDF-B and the refill cartridges are S Shin-15FD-B. It comes in fine and medium widths. Given the flexibility, the fine is perfect for my needs.


Writing with it might take practice, though after a few pages of trial and error, I liked the results. It does have other applications that make it work well in a doodle journal. Try the New Brush over a fully dried watercolor painting to add black lines, dots and dashes. Move the tip slowly over rough paper to achieve a consistent mark or move rapidly to achieve a dry brush or broken-line effect. The soft bristles add character and drama to line work, something less likely to happen with a fiber tipped brush pen.


The only disappointment is that the ink is water soluble to an unfortunate degree. Forget using it with watercolor unless you want a lot of purple mixed with your colors. With a bit of practice, that could be used to advantage if you are in the mood for purple.


I’m not put off by the lack of permanence because the tip is so good. It’s perfect on Stillman & Birn Epsilon paper. No bleed-through and almost no show-through on Hammermill Inkjet 24#. It even performed well in my Apica 6A10 journal. No feathering anywhere. It is a waterbrush style plastic pen, so a gentle squeeze will increase the flow of ink. All of that makes it quite versatile as long as it doesn’t meet water.

With all of the positives to the Pilot New Brush pen, there is one problem. At least in the U.S, it can be very hard to find though I am hopeful a retailer will decide to stock it. At $10 or less, it is a pen worth owning even if it does take time to master.

Note: The adorable cloth is a “tenugui”, a versatile oblong cloth used in Japan for various purposes. This one was a gift from Leigh and was made by Hamamonyo. Beer or latte it’s super cute.

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