Saturday, September 22, 2012

Trouble in Preradise

Like any newbie sketcher (or perhaps some veterans, too!) I cannot resist trying out different art supplies.  Especially pens!  People wrote about sketching with this fountain pen or that, and I was so curious to try different pens.  I started with the Lamy Safari, widely regarded as a "reliable, dependable workhorse", but that has not been my experience at all with it (I've tried two of them!).  I then discovered the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen and I thought my search was done, I loved it!

But then curiosity rose again, and I bought a Noodler's Flex Konrad (what are those flex pens about anyway?).  It was okay, but the line was too thick for my taste.  Then I encountered a blog post from Quebec sketcher Larry Marshall about the Pilot Prera.  I began dreaming about the Prera as a pen that would make up for any deficiencies I perceived in my reigning favorite pen, the Carbon Pen (strange long shape, cap not post-able; I'm aware that I can saw the body shorter but such things are irreversible and what if I don't like the way it handles then?). The Prera looked sturdy, wrote fine, the cap posted, etc.  People seem to like it.  So I bought one (now my most expensive pen!) and I was in Prera-dise.  For awhile...

Now that I've had some experience sketching with the Prera I have found myself growing increasingly frustrated with this pen on the papers I am sketching on these days (Strathmore 400 CP, Aquabee Superdeluxe).  Sometimes the ink just stops flowing and I have to get out a scratch sheet of paper to get it going again, and sometimes even then I would fight the pen.  Yesterday as I used it to draw the Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson, I was fighting with the pen again, and I said to myself, "That's it!  This pen is not working for me!  The Carbon Pen has never failed me so it's time to go back to that!".

But before I purchased a second Carbon Pen (one to keep on my desk, one to keep in my traveling sketch kit), I needed to make sure it was the pen what was the problem and not the ink.  So I flushed my Carbon Pen, installed a Platinum converter that I bought awhile back and never used, and filled the pen with Noodler's Lexington Gray ink, the ink I had been using in my Prera.  It worked wonderfully, as I thought it might.  Nice ink flow, no skipping, even on the relatively rough cold press watercolor paper.  I did a test page on the Strathmore CP watercolor paper and I was convinced the problem was in the Prera, not the Lexington Gray ink.

So made a JetPens order for another Carbon Pen this morning.  That should do me!

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