Down the Fountain Pen Rabbit Hole

Over the last year or so, my friend Cayden has been collecting fancy fountain pens, and teaching himself calligraphy.  It inspired me to dig my few pens out – I have 4 Parker pens that I’ve accumulated over the years, but I got out of the habit of using them.

And then, for my birthday, my friend Hannah got me one of these…


It’s not a fountain pen, it’s a dip pen.  Otherwise known as a nib holder – the nibs are removable and interchangeable.

Cayden set up my interest, and Hannah pushed me right over the edge.  Since then I’ve watched a whole bunch of YouTube channels, and spent a whole bunch of money on pens and ink samples, and special paper.  Even paraphernalia like ink syringes, and a bulb syringe to help cleaning, and sample bottles for when I get around to mixing inks and things.  I’ve become a little obsessed, but this is nothing new.  This is how I approach any new hobby.

Here is my collection as it stands today…


I have the four Parker pens I started with on the left, followed by the four pens from the Manuscript Calligraphy Compendium that Cayden gave me, followed by two Jinhao pens that I bought myself off eBay and then my nib holder.

I also have two bottles of ink – the ink that came with the set from Hannah, decanted into a glass tub, and a glass tub of Parker Quink Black, along with four samples of very pretty inks.


And then I have cartridges and converters too.  The Parker pens use proprietary cartridges so they’re in a separate bag.  My other pens all take the international standard.


I have records too, of course.  I have a notebook with sample writings and some durability tests of the different inks.  I have pages comparing all the inks of the same colour.  I have a folder of worksheets I’ve collected from the internet.

I may be a little obsessed.  But I’m having fun.  As ever, the collecting and the organising is as much a hobby for me as the craft itself is.  And I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the calligraphy and the lettering.  I’ve already been practicing.

These pieces were done using watercolour paint and the dip pen that Hannah got me.  The gradient takes a bit of work to get used to, but I’m really happy with the results.  Keep an eye out for more lettering pieces soon.

Author: Colette Horsburgh

A 30-something creator/baker/writer/doodler/crafter living with several (but not enough) scatty animals.

3 thoughts on “Down the Fountain Pen Rabbit Hole”

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