It’s the middle of the week and it’s January and it’s ludicrously cold in New York, so I need to comfort myself with a new pen or three. Know the feeling?
I am an unapologetic LAMY enthusiast. I have several different Safaris and I recommend them highly for anyone who wants an inexpensive fountain pen with a nice springy nib. I have a couple of charcoal ones, a blue one, even one in hot pink all outfitted with converters so I can use my own ink, ideally waterproof. They’re the bomb. Now it’s time to try out some other family members.
This is a LAMY Balloon. My first love in pens was the Uniball Vision which is also a rollerball like the Balloon, though a lot more utilitarian in appearance. The Uniball is a little scratchy and dresses in drab grey whereas the Balloon wears a transparent lime sheath that feels child-like and has a cartoony pocket clip. It makes a slightly thicker line than the Uni but there’s variability; I can pull back on it to make a lighter and narrower line or bear down for a thick and somehow softer mark. It’s not a ballpoint feeling but much smoother and glidier. I am using a blue refill in mine and the color is at the green end of blue. At this point, I doubt I’ll use the Ballon for serious drawing. It feels more of a pen for writing (it’s lovely for jotting notes) or for doodling — the gliding line makes me just want to fill my margins with monsters — but it’s not either controlled enough or interesting enough to make me inspired to draw.
This is a LAMY nexx M. It is a lovely, modern looking fountain pen. It’s available in five different nib types, from extra-fine to broad and there’s a left-handed nib too. My nib is fine — which is fine. A tad scratchy but flexible enough to take me from a delicate line almost to a medium. The pen is light (pseudo metal with a stainless steel nib) and quite thick-barreled but the best feature is the soft, non-slip rubber grip so you can keep going and going — without getting that dreaded fountain pen claw cramp that narrower, harder pens can cause. It is intelligently designed so you can easily know which way is up. (Nothing worse than a fountain pen that somehow resolves so the nib is upside down when you bear down and it jitters across the page). The Safari has a similar contour design but I like the rubber cover of the nexx M. It’s not as functional- and tough-looking as the Safari, a bit more junior executive, but a good pen for about $25 and fun to draw with.
This is the Lamy Joy. It’s my favorite of the new recruits. First off, it’s a calligraphy pen which may seem a weird choice for drawing but I like the expressive quality italic nibs make. Pull down and they’re broad, slide and they’re thin. And curved lines swoop from fat to thin and everything in between. My Joy came in a sleek metal box with three different nibs (1.1.,1.5 and 1.9) in it so there’s lot of room for experimentation. I also love its shape. The end of the pen is long and narrow, almost like a dip pen. I had a Rotring Art Pen that had a similar shaft — but the cap would just fall off the narrow end so I was always losing it. The Joy has a tough clip just like the Safari and the cap snaps tightly right on the end of the pen. It was made by designers who really think about how people use pens. It might even improve my handwriting. Oh, joy.
Did you see the LAMY pen giveaway on the Sketchbook Skool blog? Check it out.