You can certainly draw with any pen but fountain pens do offer some advantages over other types of pens. Main advantage is you get to use your own inks and therefore have access to almost unlimited colours, and you can use waterproof inks to create mixed media art. Fountain pen nibs also come with different designs that can produce a variety of lines.
I would broadly categorise fountain pens into three categories:
- Those that produce uniform consistent line widths
- Flex nib pens that can produce lines with varying widths depending on the pressure applied
- Fude nib pens that can produce lines with varying widths depending on how the pen is held
There are actually many other types of fountain pen nibs, eg. stub, music, architecture, calligraphy, and specialty nibs, but I'm not mentioning them because those pens are more difficult to use for drawing.
1. Pen nibs that produce uniform consistent lines
Unless otherwise mentioned, most fountain pen nibs should produce uniform lines with consistent widths. The drawing performance is consistent, predictable. Common nib sizes are EF, F, M and B.
Sketches drawn with consistent line widths may look boring. Keyword being "may" since how good a drawing is will depend on a lot of factors.
The look and feel of a drawing will also depend on the thickness of the lines. Thicker lines will draw more attention, and thinner lines make it easier to draw details.
This sketch was drawn with an EF nib.
The thinner lines allowed me to draw details which would have been impossible or too difficult to draw with thicker lines.
For beginners the pens that I recommend are
- Lamy Safari - Rather affordable and value for money
- TWSBI - More expensive than Lamy but pen design looks better and those with built-in ink convertors are very convenient
- AmazonBasics - cheap
- Platinum Preppy - cheap
- Pilot Metropolitan - cheap
- Any fountain pens from Hero, Duke, Jinhao - cheap
Regardless of which fountain pen you get, make sure there's an ink convertor included, or buy one. The ink convertor allows you to refill your pen and use your own inks.
2. Flex nib pens
Flex nib pens allow you to draw thin and thick lines depending on how much pressure you apply. These are more versatile pens compared to pen nibs that only produce uniform lines.
This sketch was drawn with a flex nib that can go from EF to B.
This sketch was drawn with a mix of thin and thick lines. Foreground elements were drawn with thicker lines, and background elements were drawn with thinner lines
Using a flex nib pen to draw a sketch like this is actually more challenging compared to using a pen nib that can produce uniform lines. Reason being to draw the many elements in the foreground, you would have to press the nib to get the thicker lines, and then drawn the background elements with normal pressure.
The sketch would have been easier to drawn with a normal pen nib. The thinner lines can be drawn with the pen nib upside down/reversed.
Choosing the right pen to create the effect you want is important. Otherwise, you'll just make the drawing process more difficult
Flex nibs are available with EF, F, M and B nibs.
Some of the flex nib pens I recommend are
- Namiki Falcon
- FPR Himalaya V2
- Pilot Falcon nib
- Noodler's Ahab - cheap
- Noodler's Konrad - cheap
- BlueDew - from Singapore
- Noodler's Neponset - broad nib
- Noodler's Tripletail
3. Fude nib pens
Fude nibs are bent nibs created for writing Asian calligraphy.
The thickness of the lines will change depending on how the pen is held or the tilt of the pen.
When writing, the hand position is always changing, so the line width is always changing.
Here's a sketch drawn with the Duke 551 fude nib.
The variety of thin and thick lines help create visual interest.
Some companies that make fude nib fountain pens are:
Fude nib fountain pens can be quite affordable. You can find ones from Duke, Hero and Jinhao easily on eBay.
There's no best fountain pen since the choice of fountain pens is very subjective.
My general advice to getting a fountain pen is to get one that's affordable to get the feel of drawing with one. You can "upgrade" to get other types of pens and nibs in the future.
Check out all the fountain pens that I've reviewed at https://www.parkablogs.com/tags/fountain-pen-reviews