What’s my line?

Do you have a favourite pen? One that feels like it was made for your hand, for your way of drawing, for the types of lines you want to make. I don’t. I have given my Lamy Safari (a favourite of many sketchers I know) plenty of chances to perform, but for me the nib on that pen is just not flexible enough. I’ve also used many different weights of Micron pens, especially the 005 but the nibs wear out way too quickly, even before the ink runs out. Sharpies are a little too fat. Pitt pens are too stiff.


Yesterday during a clean up of my studio, I spent a bit of time refilling pens and in the back of a drawer discovered the Tradio Stylo by Pentel, a pen I’ve only used once before. It ended up in my bag, followed me to school today, and made an appearance while I was drawing on a break. I’ve been looking for something that has a line that can go from thick to thin, depending on the pressure, and I think this one fits the bill. I tried it while drawing the girl (on her phone) and the boy (on his phone) and I love the flexibility of the angled nib. As you can see, the ink it comes with is water-soluble and very black, and I can get a more expressive line with it than with the stiffer nib on the Safari.


To fully put it to the test I stopped on my way home from school and did a little drawing of the church and presbytery in Pointe Claire. I was using cheap sketchbook paper but I was able to draw right on top of the wash areas after they dried. For me, this pen is a winner. So what’s your line?


32 Comments on “What’s my line?”

  1. Elaine Archambault says:

    I agree it’s the best!


  2. Tony says:

    Hi Shari. Fascinating read and really pleased you’ve found something you like (even though you had it all along). But wish you’d posted a week earlier … I finally bought a Lamy Safari at the weekend after holding off for a couple of years! Hopefully I’ll like it. Best, Tony


  3. Zoe says:

    It is among my favourites for writing; now i’ll have to use it to draw. 🙂


  4. miatagrrl says:

    Have you tried the Sailor “calligraphy” fountain pen with the crazy ski-jump nib?
    It took a while to get used to, but now it’s the only pen I sketch with! I love the thick and thin lines it makes. Liz Steel likes it, too.


  5. The stylo is a great pen, used one as a travel sketch pen while I was flying to and from Israel. The Lamy Safari is also a great pen, it’s the one I use for my Metro sketches. There’s no flexibility to the nib, but it has great inflow, and the steel nib stands up well and stays attached to the paper when the train is bumping and bounding around.


    • I don’t know how you do it Jason. I tried drawing on the bus one day. It was impossible and it didn’t really matter what pen I used. I was trying to hold on to my bags with one hand and draw with the other. I gave up pretty quickly. That’s why I always find your metro sketches so amazing.


  6. Linda Daily says:

    I am really happy with the Carbon Platinum pen I purchased from Jetpens. It has an extra fine nib,comes with an ink cartridge(permanent ink) and works very well on all kinds of paper.
    This includes watercolor cold press. You can buy refill cartridges and also a converter.
    I am so pleased with the ink and the ease of the cartridges that I have not purchased the converter. AND…it is a bargain in comparison to other pens, approx. $12-14.00. It may not give
    line variety but it is very dependable.


    • I just discovered that Jetpens site Linda. The Carbon Platinum is another pen many people use and love. And that is a good a price. It must be pretty tough if you can use it on cold press paper because not many pens can take that much texture on paper — I always draw on Fabriano hot press only. Thanks!


  7. Ross says:

    Now, can you guess why I would be feeling frustrated about this post? You might think it was because you referred to drawing a boy and a girl, but actually only drew a pile of clothes and something that looked like a spiky shoe-box… but you would be wrong.

    It is because, every time you have recommended some drawing pen in the past, I have blindly accepted your advice… when you praised Lamy pens (“…when you put it to paper it flows beautifully, going curvy and wiggly in all the right places. I think I love it too”), I went out and bought one… when you suggested I was Fred Flintstone because I didn’t have the right Sharpie, I went out and bought one. And now you tell me that they are all no good?



    • Dear frustrated,
      First of all, I have noticed that in my school, students never take off their coats and hats, even in class where it is quite warm. Not sure why that is.
      Secondly, I only change pens so that I can take up your time going through all my old posts to see what I wrote about the previous pens. I’m glad it worked this time.


      • Ross says:

        Students are probably dressing like that trying to hide from “that teacher with the sketchbook who is always putting sketches of us on her blog”. And finding your past posts is not that hard because your blog includes a Search box… you should try it to see your changing commentary on frisket… which reminds me that I now have to retrieve my previously discarded frisket from the waste bin.

        As a postscript, all of those pens that I have bought on your recommendations… sadly, they are still in pristine condition.

        Frustrated (still)


      • Hum, a little bit of projection here Ross? It sounds that you may be frustrated not at me, but at yourself… for not drawing.

        The amateur psychologist


      • Ross says:

        Hmm, a little bit of deflection here Shari? It sounds that if you are accused of frustrating someone, rather than accepting that you created the problem, you try to get someone else to own the problem.

        Another amateur psychologist

        [I suggest that we move on… to another post or subject before this turns into an argument]


      • sandidureice says:

        What did happen to Ross? He was so entertaining : )


  8. croquedessin says:

    Very nice sketching !


  9. george smith says:

    I like microns too. Perhaps a short life expectancy, but very affordalble. Most sketchers, I’m certain, would argue for their favorites. Unfortunately the truth seems to lie in whose hand the pen is in. I could try 50 pens, but their performance would not change my weak skills. Your blogs are fabulous.,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess the Microns are very affordable but it just annoys me to throw them out when they still have ink in them. And not so affordable if you sketch often and throw many of them away. I could have bought a Mont Blanc and ink if I calculate the money wasted on the Microns.


  10. lilotte says:

    Is it a fountain pen or a marker ? My daughter is living in Monbtreal right now and comes home for Xmas : where would she buy it ?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lee Kline says:

    There are two versions of the THIN Sharpie. The one Walgreen’s sells in our area is the super thin one. Two to a pack for about four dollars, U.S.


  12. Nancy says:

    The three tined “music nib” available from Noodler’s is a super flexible fountain pen option.


  13. Beth says:

    I’ve gotten very frustrated with Microns, and I agree with you about the Lamy. I keep trying it because I like being able to use Noodler’s Inks in it, but the nib isn’t flexible enough for me either – in fact it feels very rigid and non-responsive. My favorite is a Sheaffer Levenger “Seas” fountain pen with a gold-plated nib, unfortunately not available anymore though I think their Connoisseur series is similar. It only takes cartridges and the ink isn’t waterproof, but I love the lines it makes. I’ll try your Pentel.


  14. I used a sharpie for years, miss having any variability in my line. Now I have no ‘favorite’ pen: I do however like my bent nib pens, they have lots of flex and also my new Pentel Brush Pen


  15. Do I have a favorite pen? Do I ever! My everyday goto pen is a Bic Triumph 537.R – 05 fine point. The Pilot PreciseV fit’s the bill too. Both are inexpensive and do an the job for quick sketches. They feel good! When get to a final rendering I use a variety of Faber Castell PITT artist pens. Don’t take my pen!


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