Friday, April 29, 2011

Made in India : Wality Airmail pens

While in pursuit of fountain pens that I can use for drawing and sketching, I got myself what looked like an ordinary pen in an artstore. My primary (rather only) use of a fountain pen is for sketching and drawing... having used the Rotring Artpen, Lamy safari, etc, this did not look slick. But it had its own old world charm.

The pen is a simple eyedropper clear demonstrator. Meaning.. no cartridges to fill, no piston convertors to use. simply open up the barrel and fill it up by pouring from your bottle :)

When I filled it up with a black ink from Camlin called the Permanent black, and put pen to paper, I was blown away. Its a fine tipped (Japanese-Fine) nib, and was wet. It drew beautiful precise lines. flowed as smooth as silk. The ink though not that dense, came out dense because of the F nib.

This is now my daily sketch pen. I can fill up the huge barel with almost 3 cc (maybe more) of ink, and keep going for ever.

After doing some research I found that this pen is made by a company called the Airmail pen co. in Mumbai and they have been at it for more than 50 years! They have quite a range. The one I had purchased in known as Wality 70 JT and it is Huge! it also has a variant where the barell is covered except for a window to show the ink. Though I love the fully transparent version, where I could see the ink swishing and splashing around likes the waves on the beach.

Now comes the sweet part. This pen cost me Rs. 100 ( $2) and a bottle of black ink that cost me Rs. 12 (30 cents). My best buy in Fountain pens.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen

India Ink is the traditional ink used by illustrators for ages for the purpose of waterproof application. These are pigmented, and/or Shellac based inks that are certainly not suitable for fountain pens.

This would mean we need to resort to the classic dip pen. Using a dip pen is in itself a joy that cannot be equated with any other form of pen. but thats a different story.

Using dip pens means they are not portable, needs maintenance of ink, work space, inkwells, spills etc.

Fountain pens on the other hand are awesome for their maintenance free and portable nature. They are available instantly, all the time and can be used away from the desk. fountain pens have a feed mechanism that controls the flow of ink from the ink container to the nib and on to the paper. This requires certain property of the ink, so that it does not clog the feed system. Most fountain pen inks are washable, non waterproof ink. While this is great for line art, sketching etc. it becomes impossible to apply a watercolor wash on top of this.

Enter the Platinum Carbon Fountain pen, and the Platinum Carbon Ink!
This pen comes from the famous Platinum , one of top three Japanese pen makers. The ink is waterproof India Ink equivalent, contains minute carbon particle that creates the dense black color. The pen, has a larger feed and flow channel that prevents this ink from clogging it. This is an amazing combination that produces waterproof black lines instantly.

One can apply color washes immediately and not a single feathering, or smearing of the ink. In the quick sketch above, I applied color wash immediately and I was surprised not to find a single smear, bleed or feathering !!.

Artists have successfully used this ink in other regular fountain pens as well.. such as the Rotring Artpen, Pilot 78G and the "crowd sourced" TWSBI diamond 530.

The carbon pen comes with a Extra Fine nib, and since this comes from Japan, this should be categorized a Extra-Extra-Fine. But the flow, and fine nib is simply amazing.