I have made two new year’s resolutions: I will eat an exceptionally delicious salad and publish a post once a week. I need to eat more greens but the foodie in me gets so easily bored that I need to feed it with something special more often, and posting makes me happy, so there you go. Now that has been made public it’s time to move on.
It took me months (really) to decide what to get with a gift card I had received as a doctorate gift: I decided to get a fountain pen I had been coveting for ages, a Noodler’s Ahab flex pen from The Goulet Pen Company. It’s not an expensive pen with it’s $20 prize tag but I had been second guessing whether I really needed one or not. All you drawers/crafters/etc. know what I’m talking about. You see an interesting, nice looking tool, and pretty soon that little voice somewhere in the back of your mind steps forward and points out that it’s That Tool that will make you better in your craft. Absolutely. Possibly. It just might, you know. And so you get. If you’re lucky, the voice was right, and the Tool inspires you but more often it doesn’t. I have stuff that I have never even tried out and I was worried this pen might turn out to be one of those purchases. But thanks to my partner’s encouragement (“It’s just $20. I won’t be big loss if it turns out not to be your thing.”) I went and ordered one. And the ink for it. And something extra.
You know how that’s how it goes, don’t you?
Thankfully he was right.
The parcel arrived days before Christmas and it was precision packed with a ton of bubble wrap – and a cherry flavoured lollypop. Talking about a cherry on the cake. I love opening boxes (even when I know they are empty) and unwrapping packages, and so the Goulet parcel was heaven in itself. In fact, there are several videos about unpacking orders from Goulet Pen’s on YouTube.
This is what I got:
The lollipop (yummy!), Noodler’s Ahab flex pen in Cardinal Darkness and Platinum Carbon Ink for it. The bigger bottle is Noodler’s Kung Te-Cheng -ink that I bought just because it’s such a wonderful colour as you can see below:
It has a nice story to it too: it’s a reproduction of the imperial Chinese ink. The trouble is, it’s not waterproof and it can easily clog up a fountain pen. That’s why it comes with a free fountain pen and a brush pen which they have tested at Noodler’s and which should work fine with the ink. It’s really cheap basic converted Platinum Preppy fountain pen. My partner thought it’s a bit wet to write but I like it though it’s true, it can smear it you don’t take care. I really like the colour of the ink. I think I need a pen pal so that I have a reason to write with it.
But back to the main thing: The Ahab:
The Ahab needs to be washed before filling it for the first time. There’s some lubricant residue left from the manufacturing process and that can mess up the ink flow if not taken care off first. I did that first, filling the pen with warm water with some liquid dish washing detergent in it, then rinsed it before taking the pen apart to adjust the flex. Ahab is a flex pen which means it’s nib is flexible in comparison to ordinary nibs. That means that I can vary the line by pressing harder or lighter as I draw and write as the sides of the nib move apart when pressure is applied. The amount of pressure depends on your hand: a light hand needs more flex than a heavy one. The beauty of this pen is that you can rather easily adjust the nib according to your hand.
I reassembled the pen and filled it up with some ink. I didn’t fill it fully so that I don’t make a huge mess if I decide to adjust the nib, which I think I will do. Apparently I have a light hand and don’t get as much line variation as I would like.
The Ahab has a thicker body than most pens, pencils or other drawing utensils and I quite like that. I don’t have long fingers or anything but I find it easier, more comfortable to hold than most pens etc. I haven’t been drawing much with it yet, just some mindless doodles, but already I have found it makes me draw slower as it is more difficult to control the flexion if I move too fast. And that’s great. I often rush with my drawing, thinking and planning too much ahead and consequently worrying too much about the end result. Danny Gregory has often talked about slowing down, about concentrating on the details as you draw them so that you can see them more clearly. Trying to do that often makes me feel anxious as I start to worry about how many details there are still left to draw, how long it will take me, will I get it right and the usual rubbish. Ahab actually demands enough attention that I don’t have time to worry!
There was one little trouble with the Ahab at first: it scratched the paper. I had notices some customers had mentioned this in their feedback so I was aware of the possibility. Luckily this was easily fixed. I took a close look at the nib and noticed one side of the tip was ever so slightly out of line with the other side. That’s where the pair of tweezers in the picture comes in. I took a firm hold of the tip of nib with them, and gently, gently straightened the nib. That did the trick and the pen now writes smoothly. Happy days!
As a disclaimer: I paid for all the materials mentioned above, none of them came to me as an endorsement; I simply like the stuff. As for the company that sold them to me, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Goulet Pen Company. The service was fast and friendly, and their attention to details made me happy. I especially liked the handwritten message at the end of the receipt. A nice, professional and personal touch form a company that sells writing utensils.