Fountain Pen Obsession

Day 21 - The Power Of The Pen Watercolor Lamy Fountain Pen Pacific Blue - #doodlewashMay2018 Doodlewash

So, I realized that a few days ago I sketched a fountain pen for our art challenge prompt of sketchbooks, not remembering that “pen” was actually an upcoming prompt for today. I first thought, oh no, I can’t sketch another pen! And then I realized this was extremely fitting as I have plenty of Lamy pens to sketch. I’ve been collecting them since I started sketching back in 2015. The thing is, you really only need one pen as it’s not possible or recommended to use more than one at a time. But when you fall in love with fountain pens, the idea of “need” flies out the window and is something we no longer talk about in polite company. Yes, I’ll admit, I’ve developed a bit of a fountain pen obsession. Beyond this style, I’ve acquired a few more that I have never even used. And in this particular style, I have one Limited Edition Lamy in Charged Green that I bought in Paris still waiting to be tested. Yeah, it’s the same pen, but it was in the most awesome shade of neon green! Okay, yeah, maybe that’s the first sign of obsession.

This particular pen is the 2017 Limited Edition Lamy Al-Star in Pacific Blue given to me by Philippe last year after I squealed that it’s like the DO icon! This was roughly accurate, but I was equally just grasping for a justification. Something I’ve yet to do for this year’s pink pen, but give me time. I didn’t need another pen. Initially, I started with a standard version in graphite that I received for Christmas the first year I started sketching. After that, I bought a blue one to put my blue ink in, something I tried only a few times with uncommon creatures, and the 2015 Limited Edition Cooper pen to put my sepia ink in. This was actually sensible as it gave me an immediate way to tell which pen contained which color of ink. In the end, sepia has won out so the previous pen that I sketched is still the one I use most. And the other pens, including this one, have simply become part of my impulsive collection. Yet, knowing I have them for that moment I get the urge to switch to a new color is strangely comforting.

Yes, it’s perfectly ridiculous and nobody needs more art supplies than they can actually use. Thankfully, this simply isn’t the reason that we buy them. We buy them for the joy of it and to be inspired by the thought of some amazing thing we might do with them. That sketchbook that was oh so cool, yet is still sitting on the shelf, waiting to be unwrapped, isn’t a waste of money, it’s a trophy of artistic potential. Again, another thing I tell myself, but in so many ways it’s actually true for me. They’re little indulgences that make me feel like I’m truly an artist. Buying things only an artist might purchase. Or, in the case of a fountain pen, something a writer might even love to have. I’ve always wanted to be a writer as well. So, no, I won’t buy art supplies with reckless abandon, but when I see something that inspires me, I will often put it on my wish list. And after 1,053 days of consecutive sketching and painting, those little bits of inspiration are what have kept me going. For all that and more, I’ll happily admit that, well, my name is Charlie, and I have a fountain pen obsession.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 21 - The Power Of The Pen Lamy Fountain Pen Pacific Blue - #doodlewashMay2018 Doodlewash
Recommended9 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

50 Comments
  1. Lisa 5 months ago

    As suggested in a tutorial I watched, get a bottle of ink and a sharpened twig! 😀😀😀 😈😂😂

    I’m all about obsessing over paint colors. The right color will make me a better artist! Right?? 😀

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      hehe! If the right color makes you FEEL like a better artist, then yes! That’s all it takes to eventually come true! 😃💕At least that’s what I always tell myself! lol

  2. June Hadaway 5 months ago

    Wow, does that pen look real.!!! Love the color too.

  3. Pamela Smith 5 months ago

    Wow Charlie,,this looks exactly like one of my lamy pens…excellent job..

  4. Sharon Nolfi 5 months ago

    Yours is a common and fun obsession! Beautiful job on the blue Lamy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yes… and of all the obsessions… this is a super fun one to have! hehe

  5. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    My name is Sandra and I have an sketchbook/journal/watercolorbook obsession. And a paint palette obsession. And a drawing pen obsession and… well, it sounds better if I just say I have an art supply obsession. I do have a collections of fountain pens that is larger than I need, too. Love your painting today, and it’s nice to know I’m in good obsessive company, lol!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Hello, Sandra and welcome!! 😃💕 hehe… the first step is indeed admitting. The second is to go hog wild and enjoy all of those awesome art supplies to their fullest! LOL And yes, you’re in perfect company here… best club to be a part of!

  6. Super rendering of your Lamy pen, Charlie! I’d rather buy art stuff than clothes! Excellent article!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Patricia! 😃💕 I totally agree! If I had to choose between art supplies and clothes I would always choose art supplies. Thankfully I can afford a bit of both or it would be totally awkward. 😊hehe

  7. Yvonne C 5 months ago

    Lol! Oh Charlie, you pressed on a wound now, not mine, but my husband’s! It is beyond his capacity to understand the need for more than one pen and one sketchbook, but needless to say I have a drawer with more fountain pens than I care to admit, and literally a full closet of sketchbooks that should last a lifetime 😉 But I am glad to find out there is a support group for ‘pen addiction’ at least!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      hehe! Awww… yes Yvonne! Doodlewash is indeed the best support group for fountain pen addiction! 😃💕 Tell you husband he needs to visit here often and see all the wonderful things that addiction can create! 😉

  8. Julia Proulx 5 months ago

    Another obsessive collector of art supplies over here. Yes, I bought the new pink Lamy, and no, I haven’t used it yet either. Great doodlewash Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      hehe… thanks, Julia! For the compliment and the permission to go ahead and get that pink Lamy!! LOL 😃💕

  9. Laura (PA Pict) 5 months ago

    Love the pen portrait and the fountain pen obsession. I’m a Lamy nut too. I have an LX for my black ink and then have Al Stars and Safaris to match my colored inks.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Laura! 😃💕 See?? I DO think that having them for colored inks is a smart investment. Or that’s just another thing I tell myself. hehe… but it HAS to be true! It’s just smart!

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 months ago

    You’re addicted, Charlie, and admitting it is the first step to recovery. The pen is beautiful, love the color. I read all the time here about how your work begins with teh Lamy pen, but I’ve never had one nor used any pen with watercolor. May have to try it one day. I collect paint brushes, especially watercolor brushes of all shapes and sizes. Like my other collections, I have more than I need. Oh well – some day the grands will get to use them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… you should totally try the ink approach just to see what happens. If you become addicted, I of course, take no blame. It’s built into those magical pens. But yeah, I’m more of a drawing and sketching guy who likes to color. 😉

  11. marcoguzzini 5 months ago

    I love Lamy pen too. I have 6 pen in this moment …. the best funtain pen for my sketchbook ( I use these with platinum carbon inc). Have a nice week

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      That’s awesome!! Love it! 😃💕 Yeah, I love my Lamy pens. And I only use Platinum Carbon ink… it’s just perfect!!

  12. Rod Fletcher 5 months ago

    And …. a drawing obsession and ….. a writing obsession Your name is Charlie and you’re obsessional sometimes for long periods, and sometimes barely qualifying for fad. But you are productive and generous.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      hehe… thanks so much, Rod! 😃💕 That last bit will be my true legacy… the rest is just crazy fun! 😉

  13. bethnpenn 5 months ago

    At present I have two Cross and three Lamy pens. Is that an obsession. NO DOUBT! But not really until I get a few more I am eyeing. You are not the first person with that obsession. I now know several. It is an excellent obsession in my humble opinion.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Excellent! Thank you my friend! 😃💕 Glad to know there is indeed a support group. I think it’s just a glorious and fun way to inspire us more than ever. So I support this addiction! hehe

  14. Mary Roff 5 months ago

    Know what you mean about fountain pens, sort of like potato chips…can’t have just one. Nice painting of the Lamy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Exactly like potato chips! LOL Having just one seems sad…. having several seems impulsive, sure, but oh so satisfying!

  15. Delores Azary 5 months ago

    I love fountain pens and ink! Love this beautiful Lamy!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Delores!! 😃💕 Yay for pen and ink, with a dash of watercolor, of course! So much fun!

  16. SnehLata Maheshwari 5 months ago

    I remember it was very difficult for me to clean my hand n clothing.your pen is nice.but iam thankful to new peñs , to clean up my self.so that time has gone n u show a beautiful pen.stil having but never use. thanks l u.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Snehlata! 😃💕 You should totally try this pen… hehe… it’s a joy to use. But yeah, while filling it, I’ve had a few mishaps that sacrificed a few shirts. Or made them better… not sure yet… might still wear them again! lol

  17. Sarah 5 months ago

    Love your painting of your Lamy pen, Charlie! I also had one during school – actually I think it´s still around somewhere but it hasn’t been in use since. I think I will look out for it next time I clean my desk! 😀 😉 <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 You should totally look out for that pen and give it a go again when you find it! They’re awesome!

  18. mlaiuppa 5 months ago

    I have a palette obsession. Okay, I have more than one fountain pen too. Like you I like to color code them for the inks I use. But it’s the palettes that have taken over the house. I have decided I must pass some of them on. Now I just have to decide what to keep and what I can bear to part with. But the pens I’m keeping.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      hehe! Good choice! 😃💕 Yeah, those pens are just too cool to give up! I have a bit of a palette overload as well, but still end up using the same one each day, so I’m sticking with that!

  19. Bekki Page 5 months ago

    I’ve resisted Lamy so far (I love and use the Platinum desk pen 99% of the time), but this blue may just pull me over! Love the story and the doodlewash 😍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      hehe… thanks, Bekki! 😃💕 Glad I could tempt you! Yes, I used the Platinum desk pen to start. I have a little Lamy holder for 3 pens, even though I only grab for one each time. But I love it! The desk pen was longer than my travel brushes so for some strange reason, everything seems right-sized now. hehe

  20. Thank you, Charlie, for introducing me to the concept of the ‘trophy of artistic potential’. At last, all that stuff in my spare room has a name and a purpose!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Brilliant! So thrilled I could help, Michael! 😃💕 hehe… you can now rest easy knowing that knowing is ever for naught. 😉

  21. Jill Gustavis 5 months ago

    But have you seen the All Black Matte Special edition? So beautiful. I am resisting. I have a Vista EF demonstrator which I started with last year, and just recently binged on a TWISBI Precision which I LOOOOOVE, so I told myself I can’t have more than one of any one kind of pen (I spend enough on art supplies instead). I do want to get a flex nib at some point though. And maybe the Pilot Vanishing point… and maybe a few others down the line if they’re gray, I just can’t help myself. hehe

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Yes!! I’ve seen the all-black Matte edition and have to overt my gaze! lol 😃💕 And yay to lovely addiction! I say, just enjoy! It’s such a thrill to get a new pen that even when I don’t use it, I still sketch better that day. So, yeah, it’s totally worth it! lol

  22. smzang 5 months ago

    I love those closing lines!! (all of it, actually, and the fountain pen too.)
    Happy collecting, my writer/painter friend.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 hehe.. for that little encouragement and permission to indulge in my obsession! lol I adore these pens. It’s always a wonderful thing when your instrument is part of the joy in making art.

  23. Stephanie Reitmajer 5 months ago

    Cute post. It really gave me a chuckle. Especially because it is so true. So far, I’ve been obsessed with palettes. However, as I read this I am traveling in Italy. I bought my first Lamy just two days ago in Florence, and in hot pink. I had just finished seeing works from Botticelli and was certain that hot pink pen would help me create a masterpiece as well. I did the prudent thing and bought two nibs so I could switch them out….but then I thought why didn’t I just buy two pens? I can see the rest of my future before me, predicted by Charlie. What color should the second pen with the extra fine nib be? Anyway, I can think of worse obsessions than pens or palettes. Here’s to all the future Botticelli’s among us.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Stephanie! 😃💕 Brilliant! You’re off to a perfect start! LOL Yes.. you can get two nibs, but a second nib is there only to justify another shiny lovely pen. 😉 hehe… and you betcha we’ll be the next Botticelli when we acquire it!

  24. Nancy Wait 5 months ago

    Having referred to myself as a pen-freak these many years, and having read your post, and having done a pen-and-ink (with watercolor) this very day… a new thought came to me as I was working with no less than THREE different ball point pens. It’s this. Being artists, we work with a certain type of energy. Those of us who feel impelled to draw or paint regularly have an abundance of this energy. Call it the creative flow or passion or whatever—it’s an energy we seek to harness and milk for all it’s worth. But why so many pens? Because the energy is not static. I feel it constantly moving through me as I seek to capture and manifest and refine my perception of the subject onto the page. Sometimes one pen is enough, sometimes it’s not. I never know which pen will feel right on a particular day on a particular paper, and I like having a wide selection to choose from. Because each pen corresponds to a particular surface and subject, and they all do different things and bring me a different result. That’s my excuse. 🙂 <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      That’s not an excuse, Nancy, it’s a wonderful depiction of an artist! Love it! 😃💕It’s SO true! Our tools are an extension of us and our art and some days, just grabbing that other tool makes all the difference. It’s impossible to justify and yet so perfectly justifiable. 😉

  25. Richard 5 months ago

    Charlie,
    Sharing an appreciation for Lamy pens I came across this YouTube film of the Lamy headquarters and how it’s made.

    https://youtu.be/2jf3lbhQR6I

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Richard! That video is SO cool! 😃💕I’d not seen that before. Thanks so much for sharing!

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