I've been wanting to buy a calligraphy pen ever since I saw my friend Andrew using one. The thick and thin strokes look interesting.
Actually, the one I wanted to buy was the Lamy Safari Calligraphy Pen which cost around $30. I've been putting off that purchase because I'm not sure if I would like it as a drawing pen.
Andrew managed to find a cheaper alternative in the form of a Pilot Parallel Pen. It's selling around $10 so I decided to give it a try. In Singapore, the sale of this pen didn't do very well and Pilot pulled all the stocks. The one I had was the bought locally at Pilot's office.
There are different nib sizes to choose from, namely, 1.5, 2.4, 3.8 and 6mm. The 6mm is as thick as some flat brush!
When you first put in the disposable ink cartridge, just squeeze the cartridge slightly to push the ink out. Don't do it too hard or the cartridge will crack. I destroyed one cartridge just like that.
The pen gets its name because the nib is actually two metal plates being held together. Don't go forcing the two plates apart. My friend Andrew destroyed one pen like that. The small cleaning plastic sheet is used to go between those two plates for cleaning, to get rib of stuff like stuck paper.
This is how it looks dismantled. If you want more ink than the cartridge can hold, you can just pour the ink into the pen's lower case. Note that the case and the cap are the screw-type so this pen is incapable of leaking. Very nice.
Every part of the pen is made of plastic except the nib.
How fast it dries would depend on the ink you use and the paper. I find that it glides smoother on smoother paper.
While it's capable of varying strokes, you have to make extra effort to create those strokes especially if you want them to behave in a certain way. Say the nib is horizontal, when drawing a horizontal chin, it will always be thin unless you turn the nib vertical.
This piece was drawn using mainly the edge of the nib for that extra fine stroke. The edge of the nib can create strokes finer than an Extra Fine Lamy fountain pen. When used this way, the stroke is darker than that from a Lamy. However, you can feel the nib's sharp edge scratching the paper.
In the sketch above, lots of finer work would not be possible if I were to use the broad side of the nib. So this pen is not suitable for drawing certain subjects. It takes more effort than other types of pen when used for drawing.
Here are some examples from my friend Drewscape who likes using the pen.
A video by Leigh Reyes:
For drawing, time is required to get used to it. For writing, I think it's a fantastic calligraphy pen that's value for the money.
Pilot Parallel Pen cleaning process: www.donlowillustration.com/blog/?p=2339