June 26, 2016

The return of the Pelikan.

"Wonderful chunky bottle. I shall be keeping it long after the ink has been drunk."

Says a commenter at the Amazon page for No-Shellac India Black Fountain Pen Ink, and it does look good, judging from the bottle.

But it's a touchy business, looking for a serious, dark black ink that will work in a fountain pen. I'm seeing a wellspring of positive opinion for Noodler's Black Waterproof Fountain Pen Ink. And then there's Pelikan Drawing Ink, #518 Black Fount India, which calls out to me because of that name, Pelikan, which that's what got me searching for ink in the first place: I was thinking about that Pelikan fountain pen that I lost 30 years ago.

I'd used that pen to take notes and doodle in the margins throughout law school, 1978-1981....

Image-9F961AEC3E1911D9

Maybe I wouldn't have scored so high on so many law school exams if I hadn't inscribed my scattered thoughts with such powerful ink. If I'd written in Bic ball-point or Flair felt-tip like so many others, maybe I wouldn't have been able to launch myself into lawprofessordom.

Admitting I'd lost that empowering Pelikan, I went to the University Bookstore, which had a glass case full of pens. I chose a Mont Blanc pen that (like the old Pelikan) had a 14k gold nib. It never flowed quite the same way, but for a while it handled the thick India ink. It got me through Amsterdam. And it worked for the 1996 political conventions:

Scan 45Scan 42
Scan 44Scan 43

Those were different times. Different... and the same. An expert could observe that the delegates didn't respond much to foreign policy because "We have no enemies." An interviewer could be surprised that a journalism expert watched not only C-SPAN and the networks, but had the Internet going too. And yet Democrats were railing about guns in terms of military-style weapons and the only decent use being hunting, and Republicans wanted to intone a list of traditional values.

But the Mont Blanc got draggy after a few years of India ink. The whole point of the fountain pen was to transcend friction while leaving a super-solid line, to make it as easy as possible for you your hand and, simultaneously, your eyes. I wanted that feeling of ease. I wanted the Pelikan I had in law school! I switched to disposable India ink felt-tip pens. Those scraped over the surface of the paper in such a horrible cloddy way that it pains me to look at the notebooks I made with them, like this image of a bust of Voltaire, seen at the Louvre (and blogged before, with complaints about the pen):



I'd forgotten — and that old post reminds me — that I did later buy another Pelikan pen and then, immediately lost it. It was hard not to believe it would turn up, and then, gradually to shift into thinking I only deserved a good fountain pen if I could find that one, which is surely somewhere in the house. Then I got to blogging and digital photography and paid less and less attention to not drawing as a problem.

And yet, today, I was walking along the lake path — my favorite walk — thinking about leaving lawprofessordom — Altexit — and thoughts of the Pelikan returned to my mind. Why shouldn't I buy a new Pelikan? It's easy enough to find on Amazon. No need to go peering into glass cases minded by sales clerks who don't really want to talk about 14k gold nibs and fountain India with someone who cares too much about such things. I ordered the pen. I ordered the ink. I've got plenty of incomplete notebooks.

90 comments:

madAsHell said...

I'd rather use a crayon over a Flair felt pen. A least my box of 64 Crayolas includes a sharpener.

EDH said...

And yet, today, walking along the lake path — my favorite walk — thinking about leaving lawprofessordom — Altexit — and thoughts of the Pelikan returned to my mind.

"Manny, look at the Pelikan fly -- come on, Pelikan!"

Sebastian said...

"Maybe I wouldn't have scored so highly" OT question for grammar mavens: should it be "highly" or "high"? Since "high" doesn't really modify the verb but instead refers to an outcome of the action, perhaps it could do without the "ly."

robinintn said...

"It was hard not to believe it would turn up, and then, gradually to shift into thinking I only deserved a good fountain pen if I could find it. " This is such a common way of thinking - I do it often, and then if I happen to think it through, it rarely makes any kind of logical sense. Good for you buying it!

Unknown said...

Loved your Amsterdam illustrations. They capture who you must be as a person. Funny, but they don't seem to be the same person who writes the political stuff on this blog. Anyway, looking at good art always lifts the spirits and yours did today.

Rob said...

Felt tip? Ballpoint? Smeary fountain pen? Ridiculous. Rollerball. You're welcome.

Bob said...

Had no idea you were that skilled at drawing. You might wish to investigate flexible nib fountain pens, or even experiment with Japanese brush calligraphy.

buwaya puti said...

Yeah, retirement.
Im ready too, just a few more years paying the UC.
In our world it was Staedtler and Rotring technical pens, for drafting. A completely obsolete skill and technology these days with CAD.
But we used them for everything, dummies that we were.

Ann Althouse said...

"Manny, look at the Pelikan fly -- come on, Pelikan!"

LOL

george said...


Higgins Fountain Pen India Ink.

'Nuff said.

Ann Althouse said...

""Maybe I wouldn't have scored so highly" OT question for grammar mavens: should it be "highly" or "high"? Since "high" doesn't really modify the verb but instead refers to an outcome of the action, perhaps it could do without the "ly.""

I agree.

I'm going to change it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Felt tip? Ballpoint? Smeary fountain pen? Ridiculous. Rollerball. You're welcome."

Yes, I did eventually switch to Uni-ball pens (with permanent black ink). But they aren't very good for drawing. There's no give, just a uniform line. But they do have the frictionless ease I like.

Unknown said...

I've been using Strathmore Visual Journals, vellum, for my doodlings.

As for pens, Sakura Pigma Micron is my new favorite. They're wonderfully smooth.

I don't leave home without them.

Ann Althouse said...

"You might wish to investigate flexible nib fountain pens, or even experiment with Japanese brush calligraphy."

The Pelikan 600 should be flexible. That's the point of having a 14k gold nib. I'm seeing it referred to as "semi-flexible" and there are people who customize these things to make the more flexible. I just want the old Pelikan I had in law school. The second Pelikan, the one I bought after the Mont Blanc, did not feel the same. They may have changed them over the years. I don't want it too bendy! It needs to be tough. I want it for a carry-around sketchbook that can't be too messy and elaborate. I don't want to use brushes with ink. That's a sit-at-the-table-and-be-careful activity that I'm not interested in. I want to be able to draw in a way that's more like taking notes: quickly.

Ann Althouse said...

"Loved your Amsterdam illustrations. They capture who you must be as a person. Funny, but they don't seem to be the same person who writes the political stuff on this blog. Anyway, looking at good art always lifts the spirits and yours did today."

Thanks.

I'm happy to be confusing.

The Bergall said...

$300? Yikes!

Ann Althouse said...

"Higgins Fountain Pen India Ink."

I think that's the brand I used to use. I saw it on my Amazon search today, but picked the Pelikan brand in part because it was more expensive!

Ann Althouse said...

"$300? Yikes!"

Yes, well, it is real gold.

If you count all the money you spend on disposable pens, it adds up to $300 pretty quickly.

The key is not to lose it. Normally, if you spend that much, you won't lose it, but I've lost 2 of these things, so...

Kit Carson said...

yes, the Gold Uni-ball Deluxe micro pens are the best pens I have found. i love the blackness of the ink and the way the ink flows and the sound the pen often makes scrawling across the paper. practically the only pen i use.

Michael said...

Althouse:
Nibs.com is where you want to go for flexible nabbed fountain pens or to have customized nibs.

I don't use them much anymore but I have a dozen or so high end fountain pens with the biggest being the MontBlanc 149 and the smallest a little Pelican.

MonbBlanc produced a Hemingway about twenty years ago which sold for about $150. They are now trading at $900 Oh, well.

Great Japanese fountain pens are Namiki (Pilot) and Nakaya. See Nibs.com for the latter. Esquisite pens.

PS: Don't use India ink in high end pens. Malo.

dbp said...

I dreamed for a while about getting a nice fountain pen. But the problem was that I had a habit of mislaying pens and pencils and I didn't want that to happen to a $70 pen. So I made a deal with myself: If I could hold on to my $4 Sheaffer pen for a whole school year, I would spring for something nice. I managed to hold on to the pen for my whole junior year and purchased a Pelikan right after finals.

It even got me a job! It was the last day of a post-grad year and I went to see a professor about a Summer lab-tech job. After the interview, he admitted that all the questions were formalities--he was a fan of fountain pens and decided to hire me when he saw the gold clip of the Pelikan at the neck of my t-shirt.

Michael said...

See Nakaya here:
http://www.nibs.com/NakayaMainPage.html

Ann Althouse said...

"As for pens, Sakura Pigma Micron is my new favorite. They're wonderfully smooth."

I've used those. They're very thin and light, so not the grip I want, but also the line is thin and delicate, forcing you to draw within a range that's not what I was doing when I enjoyed it the most.

Comanche Voter said...

I'm thirteen or so further years down the road to perdition (won't we all wind up there) than is our host. And I didn't use a Pelikan fountain pen in law school. That said there in the margins of my law school text books, you'll find black india ink scribbles (my handwriting was and is such that I should have gone to medical school). I used a fine point drafting pen to enter my pearls of perception in the text. If I really got serious--needed more room or case notes, a sheet of onionskin got my thoughts--and then was pasted in the book. Those drafting pens are probably buried deep in some land fill outside Berkeley these days.

But losing a pen you really like (and I've lost a few) is a sad thing. Don't know that I'd try to recreate a particular pen's experience with a purchazse on E Bay, but whatever floats one's boat is fine with me.

Ann Althouse said...

"Nibs.com is where you want to go for flexible nabbed fountain pens or to have customized nibs."

I see the pen I just bought there. We'll see how it turns out. I just want exactly the thing I used to have.

"PS: Don't use India ink in high end pens. Malo."

Well, this is fountain India ink, made for fountain pens, not just regular India ink, but I do think it can mess up the pen. It wrecked my Mont Blanc pen (and I worked a lot on cleaning it). But to say don't use it doesn't make sense for me. I don't want it other than to use it with fountain India. The old Pelikan, the one I just want back, was always used with fountain India (probably Higgins) and it worked great for a long time. If the thing just holds up for 5 years, I will be grateful.

Unknown said...

I also doodled in the margins of my notes throughout school. I'm sure it appeared as if I was taking copious notes.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, the Higgins ink isn't waterproof. The Pelikan ink is.

Nonwaterproof could be useful, if you want to use water on a brush to pull out some wash-like ink.

FullMoon said...

Reading the whole story, thinking how AA can make anything interesting, reminding myself to pick up Tom Wolfe and get off the internet, I reach this :
And yet, today, I was walking along the lake path — my favorite walk — thinking about leaving lawprofessordom — Altexit — and thoughts of the Pelikan returned to my mind.
My heart skipped a beat ! Having lost, and recovered numerous tools, and a few women, I was certain AA had found the lost pen !

What a f;kin disappointment.

Almost bought one a those pens in high school. Used the money for a '56 Bel-Air instead, 265, three speed.

Michael said...

Althouse:

If you want more flexibility those people at Nibs.com are some kind of fountain pen geeks. Big time. They will work themselves to death to please. I can no longer read my own handwriting unless I use a broad italic and then its iffy. Fucking computers.

Ann Althouse said...

"Great Japanese fountain pens are Namiki (Pilot) and Nakaya. See Nibs.com for the latter. Esquisite pens."

Thanks for the recommendation. I might experiment with one of those if the Pelikan isn't the ideal thing I remember.

I'm really stuck on the Pelikan brand, because it had such an important impact on my life. I kept my wits about me in law school with that thing.

Nib.com is kind of a scary-looking website. You've dealt with them?

So weird to send in your expensive pen for some people to grind down.

Ann Althouse said...

"My heart skipped a beat ! Having lost, and recovered numerous tools, and a few women, I was certain AA had found the lost pen !"

Yeah, that's the difference between real life and fiction. In fiction, whatever's most satisfying gets to happen. I called bullshit on fiction long ago.

FullMoon said...

Yeah, that's the difference between real life and fiction. In fiction, whatever's most satisfying gets to happen. I called bullshit on fiction long ago.




So, you have spoken with the women I mentioned? I claim poetic license. Finding lost tools part is true, I swear.

Ann Althouse said...

"Those drafting pens are probably buried deep in some land fill outside Berkeley these days."

That's a good question for people of almost all ages: What is the greatest depth within a landfill somewhere that an object you once cared about is buried?

Michael said...

Althouse:

Yes, I have dealt with them satisfactorily. Call them on the phone. They are deep pen. Ultra deep.

If you want a great flexible and relatively inexpensive pen try the Pilot Falcon. They can give it more flex if you need it but the Falcon is a great pen out of the box. You can also buy new nibs for it that screw in so no problem.

Those nib people are like California hot rod people tinkering with custom stuff.

Michael said...

Althouse

Yep. You send them your much loved pen and they, strangers, grind them down. Ha.

Phil 3:14 said...

People who use fountain pens are elites!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Noodler's blue-black ink, Professor.

Amazon Link

It flows super-well in just about every type of pen, it dries very dark, it doesn't gum up/lasts forever in the bottle...it's just about the best all-round ink.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens are decent and cheap enough you can buy a bunch of 'em and leave one in every drawer. The ink is a little light but they're pretty quick-flowing, so they're not bad for notes, etc.

rehajm said...

The whole point of the fountain pen was to transcend friction...

Leftys push and create friction.

David said...

I sense a threat the Blogforce. Our Leader has rekindled an old love. The Commitariat is in danger of reduced sustenance. Danger! Danger!

Bob R said...

@rehajam - I feel your pain.

David said...

"Normally, if you spend that much, you won't lose it . . . "

Wish that were true with me. Long experience teaches otherwise.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

[first poem I can remember learning]

What a wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week
I just don't know how the helican!

Laslo Spatula said...

This makes me think of my old Love/Hate affair with Koh-I-Noor Pens.

Precise on Vellum, skippy on Bristol.

Wanted for the scientific precisely drafted line, then replaced by computer. Now those on computer use it on paper to scan to get the 'almost-perfect' line, that carried a hint of weight when the hand slowed, especially on curves: a miniscule flex of centrifugal force.

Well-placed micro-driblets were KING.

And anyone who borrowed them would inevitably bend the nib, rendering it useless. It wasn't a fucking Bic, people.

Same as those who would borrow your plastic French Curves and cut into the edge with the X-acto rather than the rubylith film, ruining the Curve forever: it ALWAYS remembered that cut Hitch.

When you would use it upon its return your pen/blade would find that exact same cut hitch and precisely replicate the previous mistake: Now your skills were brought down by that previous unskilled asshole. Motherfucker.

Someone older than me told me this shit.

I am Laslo.

The Cracker Unknown said...

"Bob Dole, he's too extreme"

- my boss in '96

Seems incredible today

Laslo Spatula said...

"The return of the Pelikan."

The Taking of Pelikan One-Two-Three.

Walter Matthau.

I feel better now.

I am Laslo.

MadisonMan said...

A man named Mr. Waterman invented a tube.
He was sad because it sprung a little leak.
He said, "Darn it, when I hold my tube on a piece of paper,
The ink leaks out and makes a little streak."
He said, "I've gotta find a way to stop that leak.
I'll start working on my leakproof tube again."
I said, "Waterman, you idiot, don't stop that leak.
You just invented a fountain pen."

Allen Sherman, of course.

Mom had a fountain pen when I was young. Her trademark was the garish turquoise ink she used. Then at some point she switched to more conventional, but I'll never know why.

traditionalguy said...

Fountain pens draw words. I want the quill pen John Hancock drew his signature with.

Pennie Marchetti said...

Re: Taking off your glasses to make Vincent Monet. They say that is why Monet's art was as it was. He had cataracts and could not see clearly.

MadisonMan said...

I do recall that mom's ink came in little plastic tubes that she inserted into her fountain pen.

Maybe the maker of the vivid turquoise ink tubes went out of business.

I had a fountain pen too, for a while, that took those tubes of ink -- I used black (I know, boring!) -- but at some point I switched to conventional pens.

jr565 said...

If you like Pelicans you should check out the Levenger catalog. I was never a pen nerd, but every time I saw the catalog it made me into one. Some of those pens are sexy.

Fritz said...

Oh, the hours I pored over paper with a Pelican pen to make scientific graphs back in the old days.

Michael said...

MadisonMan

Your mom probably had a shaeffer cartridge pen. I remember they used turquoise. I think you can still buy them

MadisonMan said...

Michael, thanks!! (link).

I feel like I should get a fountain pen, some cartridges, and write my siblings and see if they recognize the ink :)

rhhardin said...

When I retired I kept on doing the same thing I'd always been doing, computers being cheap enough to have in your house. They used to fill a large room and cost many allowances.

Ann Althouse said...

"Your mom probably had a shaeffer cartridge pen. I remember they used turquoise. I think you can still buy them."

The cartridges — which I remember well — were called "peacock blue."

Very girly. We loved that color.

I had a teacher -- maybe 4th or 5th grade — who required us all to get Shaeffer cartridge pens and use them for our classwork. She taught us that it was important to learn to use a cartridge pen. A ballpoint was not formal and elegant enough. That was back when we also spent time learning good penmanship.

rhhardin said...

The Pelican Brief, Julia Roberts

rhhardin said...

Ballpoints, until the late 50s, never got the mechanics right for the point to stay out. Everybody had a Papermate collection with failing clickers.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you like Pelicans you should check out the Levenger catalog. I was never a pen nerd, but every time I saw the catalog it made me into one. Some of those pens are sexy."

I used to buy things from that catalog. It makes you think these products will really enhance the experience of reading an writing. I still use a couple tables I bought that are designed to hold a laptop or a book at an angle. And I have a slanted standup writing desk with a lid that opens and with a stand for a book to be held open at the top. I mostly use it for the big dictionaries now.

rhhardin said...

I have three slide rules in my top desk drawer, also.

Chest Rockwell said...

Nice art Ann!

Bill Crawford said...

Okay, I have a soft spot in my heart (and head) for fountain pens. I ordered the ink and some cheap Jinhao pens (through the Althouse Amazon portal). In grade school through high school in the 60's I would use the cheap fountain pens that came with cartridges - I forget the brand - and loved them. Once has a Mont Blanc which got misplaced in one of life's disuptions.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ballpoints, until the late 50s, never got the mechanics right for the point to stay out. Everybody had a Papermate collection with failing clickers."

Yeah, remember those little springs? It seemed as though the retractables with the clickers were so modern. Then came the Bics -- advertised by showing one strapped to an ice skate and then "writes the first time, every time." It got a lot simpler, except that the tops were much more chewable.

Jack Wayne said...

Uni rollerball #10 for a thick line, #7 for the thin line.

Unknown said...

Buy a vintage Parker 51 Aerometric. Absolutely reliable. I love Aurora Black Ink. Noodler's is good, but avoid putting it in anything with an sac. Modern converter-filling pens are fine with it.

Rumpletweezer said...

My brother stole my mother's rose colored Parker fountain pen and took it to school when he was in high school. She found out, he got in trouble, and she got it back. When Mom died three years ago, my brother got the pen once again. Even though we both collect fountain pens, I didn't put up a fight. I've got about a dozen fountain pens: A Monte Blanc, a Monteverde, a Conklin Mark Twain, an Aurora, a Pelikan, and some others. I keep trying to justify getting a Pilot Vanishing Point. I've had good luck with the Levenger inks.

Michael said...

Rxmpletweezer

The Pilot vanishing point has the same problem as the 60s retractable ball points. The spring/clicker.

Simon Kenton said...

I always changed the cartridge on the schaeffers before it was fully exhausted, while writing something long, so that as the pages flowed out, the ink transitioned through all the intermediate colors and density from first cartridge to second. Where you started and ended was determined by your choice, was known, but all that lay between was not to be predicted. Plus a pen that changed color in the course of a letter was a mild mystery to my correspondent.

Freeman Hunt said...

I have young children and cannot, therefore, yet have an expensive pen.

So I use and love these:

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica Gel Ink Pen Black, 0.4 mm

Zach said...

Noodler's is the best ink I've tried. The owner seems to skate a thin line between devotion to his craft and scary obsession with creating the best ink in history, and the results bear him out. The combination of dark lines, quick flow, and unerasability make it a great choice for writing anything that you want to last.

Quaestor said...

I have in my hand my Osmiroid 65 which came with 6 gold nibs and a short introductory pamphlet on calligraphy. I was so enthused by the look of my signature that I made an autodidactic study of Celtic and uncial fonts, using a lovely book I found at a Borders store called Celtic Art: Methods and Construction. Following that exemplary piece of scholarship I was able to duplicate some of the example pages from the Book of Kells. I wish I had kept up with it. I still have my pen but I think it's hopelessly clogged with India ink.

Quaestor said...

You don't go hunting with an Uzi

Depends on what you're hunting, don't it?

ObeliskToucher said...

Vintage Parker 51 Vac-filler user here. I use Noodler's Black Waterproof (Bulletproof) - always remember to "express" all of the ink from the sac after filling it (the collector/feed right behind the nib holds loads of ink).

But it shares me with a Vacumatic, a Mont Blanc Le Grand, some Parker 75s, a pair of Parker T-1s, and miscellaneous riffraff. :-)

Bob said...

I note that Pelikan is one of the pen makers that sells an italic nib (sometimes referred to as a "calligraphy" nib), you might wish to pick up one of those to experiment with.

Roughcoat said...

And yet, today, I was walking along the lake path — my favorite walk — thinking about leaving lawprofessordom....

If you're thinking about leaving, you're already half way out the door. Maybe more than half way. You just don't know it yet. Or do you?

Scott McGeechan said...

I like Pelikan Edelstein - in several colours. The black is quite solid and it flows beautifully.

Curious George said...

Don't go back in time, Althouse. future!

rehajm said...

Pencils!

Big Mike said...

And yet, today, I was walking along the lake path — my favorite walk — thinking about leaving lawprofessordom — Altexit ...

Two good reasons not to leave.

First, if law school applicants drop off in Wisconsin, as they have elsewhere, there is a finite nonzero chance that Wisconsin will offer buyouts to faculty.

Second, if you go who will teach the law students to respect judicial opinions from conservative jurists?

CStanley said...

""Maybe I wouldn't have scored so highly" OT question for grammar mavens: should it be "highly" or "high"? Since "high" doesn't really modify the verb but instead refers to an outcome of the action, perhaps it could do without the "ly.""

I agree.

I'm going to change it.


It's the Trump effect: you got very good marks. You scored bigly.

tim in vermont said...

I have three slide rules in my top desk drawer, also

I wish I had kept mine, but after blowing a weeks pay on a calculator, I just ditched them. Don't even remember throwing them away. But it's like buying a car for your brain and discarding your bicycle, kind of stupid, long run.

Ron said...

Stanley Kubrick found out that a British firm was quitting making brown -- not black or blue -- ink. Kubrick bought all their remaining stocks and used it respond to correspondence. If you got a letter in brown ink....

Mike said...

Altexit. Nice.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

Ann said "...it adds up to $300 pretty quickly. The key is not to lose it. Normally, if you spend that much, you won't lose it, but I've lost 2 of these things, so..."

Apply this to sunglasses and you know now why I have cheap clip-ons that last for years but cannot hang onto the prescription sunglasses I pay dearly for. Objects we love and yet leave behind somewhere.

Freeman Hunt said...

If there is an Altexit, how will the students find out that there is reasoning on both sides of political arguments?

Robert Cook said...

Sakura Micron Pens:

The good--the ink is permanent.

The bad--they are fiber tips and they glide over the paper...and their lines are dead: uniform width.

One wants a pen nib--either dip pen or fountain pen--for the feel of the pen point inscribing itself (however subtlely) into the paper--rather than "gliding over"--and for the expressiveness of the variable line widths.

jimbino said...

I took all my law school notes in calligraphy (italic) using India ink as well.

Mom2Es said...

I don't draw, but I am picky about my writing pens. I prefer fine-tipped pens that don't have a large diameter because my natural handwriting script is small and therefore having to grip a large-barreled pen or compensate for a medium point on the pen makes my handwriting look sloppier.

My favorite pen I bought, I believe, in the Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport. I wanted to write some postcards on the plane and found myself without a writing utensil. I picked up a Uniball Vision Elite pen in one of the gift shops, selecting it because it had a fine point and blue-black ink, which tends to be my favorite regular writing ink color. Plus, the sign said it was guaranteed not to leak on planes, and I was about to get on a plane. The flight had a long delay (after we'd boarded, of course), and I got all my postcard-writing done before we even took off. I loved that pen until the day I lost it. A few years later, I found the pen and used it until it ran out of ink. Now I can't find a replacement for it. Oh, sure, I can find that style of pen, but I've only found that particular combination of .5 mm AND blue-black ink in large multi-packs that I don't need.

My favorite place to shop for new pens to try is Tokyo Pen Shop. They stock my second-favorite writing pen, the Uniball Signo. Also an interesting selection of highlighters.

In a pinch, I'll also reach for a Papermate Inkjoy 550.

inkophile said...

Ann, a Pelikan of that time period could have had some give to it. John Mottishaw, owner of nibs.com and one of the best nibsmiths around, can modify your new Pelikan so that it will suit your needs exactly. Even a stock Pilot/Namiki Falcon Soft Fine will produce lovely line variation. One modified by Mottishaw would be even more flexible and a dream for someone who knows how to wield it.

As for black ink, Pelikan will be excellent in your new pen and should help keep your piston filler in good working order. Noodler's Black is at the top of my favorite inks list for many reasons, but the Pel ink you ordered won't let you down.

Do get fountain pen friendly paper for best results. Stillman & Birn make some excellent notebooks for drawing. They are sturdy and can take the rigors of travel in stride.

Enjoy!