Episode 371 of the CMP, a Creativity Matters Podcast — shopping for pen and ink to use a gift certificate and the power of having something “on” a list versus “off” a list
In this episode of the CMP, the saga, yes, saga, of a recent gift certificate shopping spree. I wanted to make the “perfect” choice for using the “free shop,” but that made it complicated. I couldn’t figure out exactly what would be right. I narrowed in on the color range I wanted to inhabit (a sudden color shift), but there are literally dozens (maybe even hundreds) of shades in that range. Fountain pen inks have all kinds of properties that can make a difference to how the ink flows and works for you with your paper and the kind of pen and nib you use. I spent far too long debating and then, in the final minutes, made a sudden change in my cart, placed the order, and voila…. done. (In the show, I wondered out loud why I didn’t just order “all three” of the black inks I was considering…. simple answer is that, really, if push comes to shove, I’ll buy black ink when I literally run out. But I might not splurge on a bottle of a color just on a whim. There’s real logic to that. I did buy one black – after TONS of research. Sadly, it’s the decision I’m most unhappy about now. That’s actually a real bummer for me and really disappointing. Knowing that though…. I know that maybe I should just buy one of the two inks that are tried-and-true for me instead. So…. lesson learned.) The other inks….. I’ve only filled one pen…. and loving the choice. Loving the pen, too. (I have another TWSBI, and I love it. Thrilled to have a new one. Super thrilled, in fact.)
Last Year’s Color Quandry
About that color that is rogue in my other TWSBI…. still have to confirm if it’s what I ended up with last November. Last year’s color debate was about choosing a red ink to work in for my November gratitude project. At the time, the ink I bought (based on reviews and on fears that the ink I wanted my really be a glaring, eye-sore; it isn’t) was so not right for me…. too dark….. too muddy….. to brown…. I find it hard to believe that’s what is in the pen. It’s coming out so warm and soft and red-orange….. I do have to test and see. (Why do I think that’s what might be in it? Because I have a bottle of it. And the TWSBI would be a bottle fill…. It makes sense that is what I used.)
Lists and Intent
The rest of this show is about lists…. and about how what you put on a list might make a huge difference in how you feel about doing it and in whether or not you ever do it. This is a discussion of intent, goals, creative balance, and accountability.
In addition to talking about a few “festivals” that I considered and then didn’t include in my final “50 Before 50” list, I mention two other examples…. morning journaling and a collage journal. They fall in line as examples, but I wanted to mention that these didn’t end up on the list because, as I really got into the list making, the direction of the list changed. There are some projects, but my focus was on a really solid balance of things that would force me to go out into the world. I also was being careful to not put things on the list that I knew I might not be able to manage in terms of overall mix of time. Morning pages, I know wouldn’t have happened. They were not a good list candidate at all. The collage journal…. if I had really committed to making it part of the “50 Before 50” illustrated journal, I think it would have happened. That journal is not part of the list though. It is just a big overarching project. Some day, I’ll add collage to what I routinely do…. but right now, I’m scrambling day to day to fit things in, as is. It’s okay — it’s just a good example in this list and intention context.
Having a space or a group or a text thread or a messenger chat where each week you are invited and encouraged to share a goal for the week…. it’s a very good thing. If you really don’t have anyone where that happens, I encourage you to write your intention and post it at Instagram or in a small creative group. (You might even inspire others to do it, too.) Or, if nothing else, just email me your goal. It is the saying of it, the stating of intent, that has power….. I really do believe that.
More Inky Details?
You want to know more specifics? I don’t know why I didn’t just talk outright about the reds and oranges and all the descriptions of too red or too orange or too muted or too flat or too muddy. I think the red-orange of it has surprised me, and I’m worried maybe it was just a temporary thing because “rust” is not my thing, and I steer clear of “autumn” colors, and I don’t like Halloween. This isn’t looking good for orange, right? And although orange was nice in my journal last month, I was thinking something redder would hit the “in between” right now.
(Note: My gift certificate was not to Amazon. The links below are to Amazon, for reference, and are affiliate links. I don’t expect anyone will be buying these same inks. There are so many other reds and oranges still out there to consider! But if you have questions about affiliate links, please let me know.)
- Color I eyed last year (and then used in a sample): Diamine Poppy
- Color I ended up buying last year (and might be what’s in my pen now): Diamine Red Dragon
- Color I kept reading reviews of last year that is well-loved but seemed too dark for me: Diamine Oxblood
- Color I used in a sample in January that was similar to Poppy in brightness: Diamine Wild Strawberry
- Additional color I bought last year after I didn’t “love” Red Dragon. I didn’t just buy Poppy. Instead, I bought Skrip Red.
I did consider buying a bottle of Poppy or Wild Strawberry, but I couldn’t figure out which I liked more now. And I slowly started thinking that right now maybe I wanted a warmer red-orange rather than a really shocking red.
Some of the colors I considered:
- Diamine Blood Orange (although descriptions of it as “rust” really put me off…. but it’s a 150th Anniversary ink, which was compelling) [bought]
- Sailor Jentle Ink Irori [bought]
- Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki [bought]
- Robert Oster ….. bunches of colors (like Direct Sun, Orange Zest, Orange Rumble)
- Iroshizuku Momiji
- Monteverde Mandarin Orange Ink
The more I looked, the more confused I got about whether I really wanted an orange, or a red, or an orange-red or a red-orange. (I knew I didn’t want a simple orange — or anything that might be light. Orange can be very hard to get to show up on the page with a fine nib. I have Yu-Yake, and I don’t like it. I’ve tried to like it, and I don’t. I did use Orange Blaze thought last month, and that one showed up more easily. I didn’t consider inks in this range though, like Sailor Apricot, because I really wanted something darker and richer…. but not “brown” or “brownish.”)
Charts I consulted many times (and have studied many times in the past):
- Best Black Fountain Pen Inks (JetPens) …. [but I’m really disappointed in what I bought]
- Best Waterproof Fountain Pen Inks (JetPens)
- Red Fountain Pen Ink Comparison (JetPens)
As for pens…. many of you know I draw routinely with a specific Lamy LX. But when it comes to writing, my favorite is the TWSBI. I have a Diamond, which is heavy. But I have a TWSBI Eco, which is lightweight and beautiful to use. I thought that I might use an EF in this pen to draw with, but when it arrived, I inked it up with the persimmon. It’s too beautiful not to use with a color!
(I have used TWSBI Eco in EF and F. Both are nice!)
Referenced in this Episode:
- The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (John Muir Laws)
- Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You Paperback (Clare Walker Leslie and Charles Roth)
- The Naturalist’s Notebook: An Observation Guide and 5-Year Calendar-Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World around You (Nathaniel T. Wheelwright)
- Drawn to Nature: Through the Journals of Clare Walker Leslie (Clare Walker Leslie)
- Nature Journaling: Learning to Observe and Connect With the World Around You (Charles E. Roth)
- Afoot and Lighthearted: A Journal for Mindful Walking Diary (Bonnie Smith Whitehouse)
- Guitar music: Nicholai Heidlas on SoundCloud
- Creativity Matters Group at Facebook
- Patreon page
- oamyoamy at Instagram
- Try Creative Bug with the Living a More Creative Life: 30 Ways in 30 Days class
- Try Trello