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!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!