Monday, November 14, 2011

Day Ten: Pelikan M250 Demonstrator with "Strawberries in Amber"

For day ten, I chose a beautiful Pelikan M250 demonstrator in amber, with an extra fine nib. I bought this new a few years ago, and have enjoyed using it. Since the pen is amber, I thought that I'd try J. Herbin's Ambre de Birmanie ink in it... In another pen, it had been dark enough to use for writing, and in my whimsy of matching the ink to the pen, I forgot to consider that it would appear lighter coming from an extra fine nib.

After just a few lines, I was satisfied that I would not be able to finish the day's test using that ink. I just could not see it on the page well enough. (It did darken later as it dried, and appears much easier to read in the photo than it did while I was working with it, but I dared not leave myself with several pages of manuscript I could barely read.) Since I didn't want to just throw out the ink, and the nib on the M250 screws out easily, I got out my trusty ink syringe, unscrewed the nib, and squirted in just enough Diamine Wild Strawberry to fill the air pocket that remains in any piston filler after you've filled it once.

I took no measurements, other than the fact I had just filled the pen, written too little to make any real difference in the ink level, and then filled the "air bubble" with the second colour. I chose to call the result "Strawberries in Amber", since I like the result enough that I'm hoping I'll be able to recreate the proportions. (There is a technique where you can advance the piston again - slowly, carefully - until the air bubble is expelled and then draw in more ink, but I hadn't used this as it wouldn't be necessary for a single day's writing.)

The Pelikan is a nice pen to write with. The nib has a tiny bit of feedback, as almost every extra fine nib will, but it is smooth and wet. The pen holds enough ink to avoid any risk of being interrupted in the middle of a thought, and with a demonstrator, you can check the ink level every time you pick it up for an extra level of security. The amber demonstrator is also a very beautiful pen.

Yes, the Pelikan is more expensive than many of the other pens I've tried so far. I still find it worthwhile to have a pen like this on hand. When you spend much of your day holding and using a certain tool, you want to have the option of using a good one. So I would still suggest any writer at least consider getting one of these, although my recent exposure to vintage pens has left me less enthusiastic about any modern pen that isn't a real bargain. Still, I'm fond of this pen, and I doubt I'll ever set it aside entirely. (I actually have a second amber M250 with a fine nib, and an amber M200 as well.)

The original J. Herbin ink (visible in the first few lines of the photo) deserves a few mentions on its own. It is a fairly dry ink, leaving any nib scratchier on the page than it would be with most other inks. The design of the ink bottle also deserves a special "hall of shame" award. The relatively small quantity of ink is so spread out in the shallow design that with most pens, it will be impossible to fill them while more than half the ink remains. That's a shame, because otherwise the bottle is quite attractive. The ink itself is also noteworthy as the most true amber shade I've found so far.

This was my first exposure to Diamine's Wild Strawberry, and two things stood out immediately. First, although I mixed in much less of this, it immediately dominated the result. It is clearly a nice, strong colour on its own. And the result was also much more well lubricated, which has me eager to try the undiluted Wild Strawberry to see how well it behaves. My mixture has an obvious note of strawberry, while hinting at something else beneath, perhaps strawberry lemonade. I really hope I can recreate this later. It was bright and fun to write with, and it might be an interesting choice for markup.

Despite being under such pressure that I forgot to consider how such a potentially difficult ink - since it is so light compared to most colours - might work in an extra fine nib, I managed to write 2,206 words, for a total so far of 21,742 words so far. The story continues to appeal to me, and my greatest concern is the number of inked pens piling up that I have not yet managed to clean.

No comments:

Post a Comment