Pen calisthenics

Alice was a terrible model today. She changed positions at least five times while I was drawing. Almost as much as this guy on the beach. But the point of drawing today was not to draw Alice. It was to give my new Duke 551 Confucius Fude Nib Fountain Pen a vigorous workout. I already knew from some quick drawings on Friday that the ink flow was great and it made a variety of line widths. But the drawings I did the other day were simpler and I wasn’t trying to convey volume like I was with my drawing of Alice.

Today I worked on a Hahnemuhle 100% cotton sketchbook — I wanted to see how the pen would perform on a surface with a bit of texture. I work on paper like this all the time, both in ink and also with ink and wash, so for a pen to get a good rating from me, it has to keep flowing well even when the paper is not entirely smooth. My ink flow rating for this pen: 5 stars. It flows well with a lot of pressure (the fat lines around Alice’s pillow) and with very fine lines (Alice’s fur). I’m also able to obtain dryish pen lines by angling the nib and applying a lighter pressure (those horizontal lines on the checkerboard floor.) The pen does exactly what I want it to do every time. As for Alice, she’s not quite as accommodating.

24 Comments on “Pen calisthenics”

  1. cdeh69 says:

    Shari, your blog posts are always so informative! Now I’m curious to give my old Sailor Fude a cleaning &try it again. Wasn’t crazy about it when I first got it….


  2. Chris Rusk says:

    Really nice


  3. Donna Skelcy says:

    Shari: I find some inks easily clog the pens; which ink do you use and do you have clogging issues with it?

    —Donna S

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Donna. So nice to hear from you. I am using Platinum Carbon ink in the pen right now. So far, no clogging issues.
      I plan on taking good care of it. I am not usually that good about pen cleaning but I like this one so much that I will try very hard to maintain it. Do you have a bent nib pen?


      • Donna Skelcy says:

        I have a cheaper version made by sailor which I am not happy with and may order the one you have which, on Amazon, looks nice!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. De says:

    That sketch is so impressive! How long do you spend on such detailed sketches?


  5. TonyU says:

    I bet the pen’s cheaper to feed as well …..


  6. Lori Zajic says:


    Lori Bryan Zajic

    All Things Interior Live Beautiful! Sent from my iPhone



  7. Bernadette says:

    Such a beautiful sketch and adorable subject. Your drawing is magnificent. Alice is a sweetie.. I try hard to draw or paint our cat Roscoe. Sometimes even when sound asleep, he seems to be aware that I am drawing….and rouses or continually changes position.such a challenge are our pets!


  8. Oh my god, Alice.
    I got almost frustrated with your model, (I am in really bad mood today), untill the very end when that majestic doggo caught my sight.
    Either way, first timer here and definitely not the last. Not an artist by loves art. You did a great job !!!! That sketch is everything.


  9. I love the range of marks and volume you got in your drawing. I also love this pen, but I limit my time in a day with it to under an hour, or my hand hurts: so it rarely joins me on a marathon day of sketching… that sort of sketching still belongs to my Sailor Fude pen.


    • I know how that Sailor pen is always with you, and you do such beautiful lines with it. It never worked for me.
      We will see how this pen does when I have a longer sketching session. So far so good, even for a detailed drawing like the one I did of Alice. Do you always use a converter or do you ever use cartridges with it?


  10. pamlopez15 says:

    Great sketch, as always, Shari!
    Poor Alice! Maybe she has a few aches and pains today? How old is she? Does she sleep a lot? Our twelve year old Weimaraner is getting there as well. He’s limping a bit today, but we haven’t figured out why.


    • HI Pam, Alice will be 9 this month. She’s still in great shape because she walks for 30 minutes with me each morning, and every afternoon she leads me to the park where I throw tennis balls for her. As for sleeping, she sleeps all the time when she’s in the house. She much prefers to sit on the back deck when it’s warm out so she can watch the squirrels and eat flies. What’s your dog’s name?


      • pamlopez15 says:

        Titan! He is a very large Weimaraner with a very sweet nature. We rescued him about a year ago. He too walks and trots for about an hour every morning, then sleeps all day. He’s twelve, so that’s old for a large dog.


  11. Glad the new pen is working so well for you. Hopefully Alice will cooperate more in the future.


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