Joy and Sorrow


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Today I practiced some italic calligraphy. Truth be told, I struggle with anything that looks flow-y. It feels as unnatural to me as forcing myself to write with my left hand, and I often come out at the end of it feeling frustrated and tired. Not frustrated enough to quit, though. 🙂

The poem Joy and Sorrow is one of my favorite poems. I learned to read at a very young age, and since my mom is a voracious reader, I often putter about her bookshelves looking for things to read. I think I was in third grade when I first came across her collection of Khalil Gibran poems, and this particular one really caught my attention. The lyrical quality of the words and the way they painted a picture in my mind started a lifelong fascination with poetry.

On Joy and Sorrow
by Khalil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Pen: Nemosine Neutrino with 1.1mm nib
Ink: The pen is loaded with Diamine Amber, then I dip the tip of the nib in De Atramentis Thomas Alva Edison for the red variation.

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Blending Inks in Calligraphy


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Since I’ve been playing with inks for my new journal refill, I thought I’d try something I often see many of my calligraphy friends do–blend inks. I admit I’m a bit finicky about this. I like to thoroughly clean my pens before changing inks because I don’t like the inks mixing. Deliberately mixing inks for calligraphy is pretty interesting, though. I put a teeny-tiny drop of ink in a palette, dip the tip of the nib (say that ten times, fast) in the ink and write. For the photo above, the ink in the pen is Kyoiro Soft Snow of Ohara, and I dipped it in Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro. It’s even more fascinating to see the effect in person.

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For this page above, I used a pen loaded with Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro, dipped in De Atramentis Thomas Alva Edison to give it that autumn-y feel. It’s actually quite fun to do, and the resulting calligraphic work looks colorful and vibrant.

My Favorite Pen


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I was thinking of joining Inktober this year (and I will TRY to post as much as I can) and thought I’d try something different. Instead of using watercolors for the little illustrations in my journal entries, I’d use fountain pen ink. This was my practice entry. The pen and wash drawing is made with Rotring pen, Iroshizuku Asagao, and Parker Quink Black. I’m surprised at how vibrant the color was, especially the blue one. Kinda hard to control the flow of water and pigment, but it creates an effect different from what I’m used to with watercolors. I kinda like it.

I wrote about my favorite pen, which is a bit of a difficult question because I really love all my pens. If I really, really had to pick one, though, I think it would be this one–my Parker Vacumatic Debutante in Azure Blue. There are a lot of reasons why I love it. I like that it’s from 1941 and it still works perfectly, and that it’s one of the first azure blue vacs made.

I love that it’s really adorable. It’s a vintage pocket pen that’s only slightly bigger than a Kaweco Sport. It’s light and long enough to be comfortable in the hand. I don’t use the plunger, though, so that I can preserve the mechanism. I use it as an eyedropper, and it holds a lot of ink. It also writes like a dream. The nib is so smooth and springy, and lays down a wet line. But most importantly…it’s adorable! It’s been in my daily carry since I got it back in early 2016. 🙂

Cook Up a Storm


Earlier today we watched this movie called Cook Up a Storm and I wrote a review of it in my journal. It was a fun movie, and I like how the set was designed; a modern city slowly inching out the small neighborhoods. The old and the new buildings struggling for a foothold. Drawing people and buildings don’t come easy for me, but sometimes I manage to wrangle out something that I like enough.

Cook up a Storm

I also tried out the birthday gift my husband gave me, a digital drawing pad. I’ve never had one before, but I’ve always been curious about doing digital art. It really requires a different skill set because you’re not just drawing, you’re also puttering around a software (or two). I figured out how to do pencil drawings, but I haven’t quite figured out how to color yet. It’s so much fun doing digital drawings, once you get over having to look at the screen while you draw.

Cook up a storm

The movie was quite fun. It’s a little preachy and cheesy at times, but it’s a nice, feel-good movie with lots of great food shots. I like the values that the  movie tries to highlight. The fact that modern and traditional don’t need to be at odds with each other, and that we can all learn something from one another. That success and fame isn’t all that’s important in life, and how food can be inclusive if we want it to be. That fame can be fickle, but failure can be the path to finding new people, better people, to let in your life. It’s a nice, family-friendly movie. 🙂

Psalm 90:17


Here’s one of my favorite verses in uncial and Baybayin (ancient Philippine script). I think the words of the verse are beautiful. I love writing verses in uncial because I think the style matches the words very well. Also, I can’t write in beautiful, flowy script to save my life. ^_^

Psalm 90:17

Psalm 90:17

Pens and Inks used:

Franklin Christoph Model 02, 1.1mm stub – De Atramentis Thomas Alva Edison
Bexley Corona in Blueberry Cream, 1.1mm stub – Kyo Iro Soft Snow of Ohara

Review: Robert Oster Blue Water Ice


Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

This past few days, I’ve been using Blue Water Ice in my journal entries. Robert Oster certainly makes eye-catching blue inks. This is a vibrant blue with pink sheen. It’s interesting to look at because the base blue color is light enough and the pink sheen is sheen-y enough for the ink to show a halo around the lines. You can see it on the writing sample above, it’s like the letters have a thin outline around them.

I would recommend using wide nib sizes for this ink for you to truly appreciate the ink’s beauty. I tried using it with a fine nib and the ink comes off as a pale blue. Pretty, but not as pretty as if you use a wider nib, like the one I used here (a cursive italic nib). It’s a saturated ink, but it still shows off a lot of beautiful shading. It’s saturated enough for everyday writing, but it’s not a boring, standard blue. It’s a happy shade of blue that is so vibrant, it pops right out of the page.

It flows wet, and dries about 15-20 seconds (on Tomoe River, with a cursive italic medium nib). It’s always fun to use flow-y inks. Here are a few close up photos of the writing sample.

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Check out Everything Calligraphy for Robert Oster Signature Inks.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini


Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

The first Sailor pen that I bought was a clear candy, back in 2014 (if I recall correctly). I got another Sailor, a Sapporo Progear Slim last year, and I’m really happy about how the pens write perfectly out of the box. The nib wasn’t soft, but it wrote really smoothly. So I thought I’d get a Morita as well, because I love the color and I enjoy the Sailor pens that I bought so far.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

I was going to get a progear slim again, but I thought I’d try a progear mini this time, and I’m glad I did. This pen is super cute. It’s a little pocket pen that is just a teeny bit longer than a Kaweco Sport.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

When uncapped and posted, they are almost the same size as well, although the end of Sailor’s barrel has threads on it where you can securely screw the cap on. I’m glad they did it this way because it’s not comfortable to hold unposted, and having a place to thread the cap on means that I don’t need to worry about the cap scratching the barrel when I post it. It’s also pretty secure, your hand won’t push the cap off while you write.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

It is about 1.5 cm shorter than a progear slim, and the girth is the same. When capped, the girth is like that of a medium-sized pen, so it’s easy to hold while writing. The length of the section is a bit short (like the progear slim), but it’s the right proportion to the body. Since I hold my pens near the edge of the section anyway, the threads don’t really bother me a lot.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

I really like the color of this pen. It looks like Tiffany blue for me, but after reading about the pen online, it’s called robin’s egg blue. It was made especially for Mr. Morita, of the Morita Pen Shop in Osaka, Japan. The color is said to be based on the ceiling of a cathedral where Mozart performed. I like the combination of robin’s egg blue and rhodium trims.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

Because of the length of the pen, the proprietary Sailor converter doesn’t fit. It uses cartridges instead. I don’t mind it at all, though this might be a deal breaker for people who don’t have the time to refill empty cartridges using a syringe. Here’s a video of the writing sample:

Like I mentioned earlier, the pen just wrote perfectly out of the box. My Sapporo has a medium nib, though being a Japanese medium, it wrote more like a European fine. I chose a B nib this time because I like thicker lines. The Sailor Morita’s B nib writes like a European medium, which is perfect for me. I love it, it glides on paper and has the slightest feedback. It’s really a pleasure to use.

Here are a few more closeups of the different parts of the pen:  Continue reading