[Disclaimer: I’m in no way affiliated to the Lamy Company, so please be aware that the information given on this site might not be accurate or up to date.]
When it comes to sketching with fountain pens, I do prefer my Lamy pens, since their abillity to write in almost each position is legendary.
Recently I noticed that more and more people seem to be interested in them, but only few know the facts, so I decided to write this little tutorial. I really hope that it will be of help to some of you and if you still have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask me, chances that I might know the answer aren’t that bad :).
A little bit of background information on Lamy. Lamy is a German company (located in Heidelberg btw) that produces high quality writing instruments and accessories, mainly fountain pens. In Germany kids at school write only with fountain pens (and non waterproof, erasable ink) and Lamy has probably been the most popular brand among them for many years now.
To meet the demands of all of their customers, the company regularly produces pens in new colors, styles, materials, etc. The insides of these pens and the nibs stay very much the same, it’s only colors and materials that vary. Oh, and yes, the prices, of course ;).
Here’s just a little part of my private Lamy collection:
What I consider more important than the outward style of the pen, is the nib:
Nibs can be bought separately (every nib will suit every pen – they are all built in the same way!) and they come in different sizes. There is also a special nib for the left-handed, its size being medium (nice for writing, but perhaps a little bit large for sketching?), although AFAIK most left-handed people won’t face any trouble using the regular nibs.
You can get your pen with these nibs:
- EF (extra fine)
- F (fine)
- M (medium)
- MK (medium kursive)
- B (bold)
- LH (left-handed, medium)
- Calligraphy-nibs (1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm)
For sketching you should try the EF nib or F, depending on what you like better. Nibs are made either of steel (black or silver) or of gold (F,M,B only). I’ve never observed any differences between the black steel nibs and the silvery steel nibs, but there is a big difference between the steel nibs and the gold nibs, the latter being much more elastic and thus more pleasant to write with. Unfortunately the gold nibs do not come in EF, they would be gorgeous for sketching :).
[Further information on the Lamy nibs, 2010 April]
How to change nibs.
Get your pen and a nib. Since changing nibs is a little bit messy, you might also want to wear some disposable gloves and get a piece of scratch paper to work upon.
Turn your pen upside down:
The pale pink circle indicates the spot where you should place the cap…
…push the cap gently down with one of your hands while pulling the pen with your other hand…
…this should remove the nib from the pen. Clean the removed nib with warm water (never use soap or anything else for cleaning, just warm water) and carefully dry it with the help of a paper towel.
Now get your pen and gently slide-in the new nib…
… until it has reached its final position.
Congrats, you’re done :)!
Please note: this method will not work for the calligraphy nibs. If you want to get rid of a calligraphy nib, you’ll have the messy task to use your fingers instead of the pen’s cap or you can use the tape method.
How to fill your pen with ink.
Lamy ink is sold in bottles and ink cartridges (packs of five)…
…and it is available in the following colors:
The blue ink is erasable with common ink erasers. None of those inks are water-resistant.
(I have been asked occasionally what ink erasers are and how they are used, so I made this little blog entry about those nifty little tools.)
It’s beneficial to clean your pen regularly, but you do have to clean it, whenever you want to change the color of the ink used. Otherwise you will end up with a pretty ugly mud color in your pen. I’m sure you don’t want to.
All you need for cleaning your pen is a cup with warm water (tap water will do, destilled water would be even better) and an empty converter.
Fill up and empty the converter over and over again and change the water whenever it has become too dirty. Repeat this procedure until the water remains clear. Now your pen is cleaned and ready to be charged with a new ink cartridge.
Now, if you are going to sketch and draw with your pen, you surely will like to have a waterproof ink and since the ink that is supplied with your Lamy isn’t waterproof at all, it’s time to replace it with a water-resistant ink like Noodler’s.
There are two possibilities for doing this.
The safe method would be, to get a converter, to fill it with ink and use it in your pen. It isn’t difficult to handle, the only thing I do object about the converter is that it tends to suck up too much air and too little ink and it’s an annoying procedure to fill and refill this thingie until it’s filled to an acceptable degree.
The second method is to use a disposable syringe to refill your ink cartridge. Well, I assume that you are all old enough to know that you should be very careful while working with a syringe. Always reclose it immediately after using. And don’t let your children/pets/whatever play with them. The advantages of this technique is that it is much cheaper and that you will have more ink in your pen. (Check the photo for size comparison between ink cartridge and converter.)
Perhaps you are drawing with your pen using a F nib …
and you would like to have a finer tip for sketching details. Instead of changing to an EF nib, just turn your pen! :)
This might feel a little scratchy first, but it works!
To be continued, but until then, you may want to check out the Pen & Ink page that will lead you to all the blog entries about pen and ink on this blog.
Enjoy your pen!