Immediately before last week’s brief blogging break, we saw the sketchbook sample page for my new fountain pen, a TWSBI Eco broad nib. In contrast, here is the page for the second pen I bought in the same order: another TWSBI Eco, this time with an extra fine nib. If you look back at the other sample, you’ll see that this one is much more like a finished drawing, with notes, than the mixed notes-and-scribbles for the first pen. The difference isn’t in the nib size, but in familiarity– this is my second EF Eco and I knew ahead of time what to expect. Or maybe it was more of a hope.
The fine nib scritchy-scratchy pen is one of the basic tools for my work, both in the sketchbook and on the finished page. Not only is a pen with a nib this size essential for inking fine details, particularly in drawings that have been blocked out with a brush, it is also the source of all that tiny lettering. And sometimes it is just delightful to ink an entire drawing, or even an entire comic with just one tool for that engraving effect.
For many years, my go to scritchy-scratchy was the Rotring Art Pen EF. But over the years, changes in the pen body (the Rotrings no longer post, and that is tremendously annoying) and failures in quality control (inconsistent nib size and and wear issues) made me less and less satisfied. And it was getting expensive, buying pen after pen to get one that continued to work well for a reasonable time after being broken in.
That first EF Eco I bought last fall was the first real alternative I found–a stiff, smooth writing and drawing nib of the correct size that broke in easily and is holding its quality, in a much more comfortable body with that vast piston fill ink reservoir. So when I decided to move that pen over to doing finished work this spring, I had high enough hopes for this second one to start drawing with it right away. That TWSBI goodness is strong in this one too.