Welcome to the June issue of Boho Berry Guests! It’s been a little while since I had a guest here on the blog and I’m absolutely thrilled to be bringing this series back this month :)
One thing I love about this “little” community of ours is how diverse we all are. We comprise all ages, genders, and walks of life. While I love sharing my Bullet Journal system with the world, I’ve come to realize that I don’t always have all of the answers for all of you out there.
On that note, I’ve decided to start inviting guest bloggers to come on and share how they are adapting the Bullet Journal system to meet their needs as well as bringing in experts in journaling community.
In this month’s installment of “Boho Berry Guests“, I am over-the-moon excited to welcome Brian Goulet to the blog.
Brian is the co-founder of GouletPens.com, an e-commerce fountain pen retail store, and vlogger. He has been educating the fountain pen community for over 7 years with over 1,000 videos and 1,500 blog posts from his company.
Please join me in giving him a super warm welcome. Take it away, Brian!
Hey there Boho Berry Tribe! Kara asked me to write a guest blog post for you all because you’ve been asking her a lot of questions about starting out with fountain pens for your Bullet Journaling.
I know exactly where you are coming from because I, myself, was once a complete novice when it came to fountain pens. I was wondering things like, “which is better, ink cartridges or bottles?” and “how often do I clean my pen, and how?”.
I hope to be able to walk you through this and get you past the point where fountain pens are scary and into the really enjoyable parts.
The first thing I’ll say is that you don’t need to use fountain pens. They’re not for everyone, and it’s completely and totally okay if they’re just not your thing. That might sound odd coming from a guy who runs a fountain pen e-commerce store, but it’s the truth.
You can enjoy your Bullet Journal with a lot of different writing instruments, and this is just one avenue. There, now that I’ve said that, here are some of the wonderful things about them.
Fountain pens have been around for around 150 years, and the only reason they still exist in today’s digital world is that there’s an experience you get writing with them that’s hard to emulate any other way.
While they’re not a new thing at all, they have certainly been making a comeback in recent years thanks to the rise of the internet and the information being shared about how great they are to write with.
Let me give you 5 great reasons to use fountain pens:
- Less hand fatigue and cramping
- Many options for nib (tip) sizes for a customized look
- SO. MANY. INK. COLORS.
- Economy of using fountain pen ink
- Amazing community of support
LESS HAND FATIGUE AND CRAMPING
Fountain pens use liquid ink, so they flow smoother and require less pressure to write. If you’re journaling for long sessions, you will most likely have fewer issues with hand fatigue and cramping because fountain pens write just by touching the pen to the paper. They write just by the weight of the pen itself, and you don’t have to press down on it to get it to write.
MANY OPTIONS FOR NIB SIZES
Just like you can get rollerball pens in different tip sizes, you can buy fountain pens with the nib, or tip, in varying sizes to suit your style.
When Bullet Journaling, it’s best to go with the finest nib size available so that you can write small. Extra-fine is often the smallest nib you can get with most brands. Fine nibs are the next step up, then medium, then broad.
You can even get specially made nibs called stubs, italic, or calligraphy nibs. These are great for correspondence and fancy-looking handwriting because they vary in line width depending on the direction you write without having to learn any special handwriting techniques.
One of the best things about using fountain pens is that you get hundreds and hundreds of ink color choices. You probably already know how great it is to get to use different colors to brighten up your journal. Well, just imagine being able to choose from any of 600 different colors to fine tune your exact taste in ink.
You can get colors to exactly match what you want; you can get waterproof inks, glow in the dark ones, ones that shimmer! Most of these special inks will only be available in bottle form though, and you’ll be more limited with colors in ink cartridges. Cartridges are convenient though!
When using fountain pen ink, it’s best to start simple.
A good black is indispensable. Noodler’s Black definitely gets the job done, and is waterproof to boot.
Diamine makes a number of attractive ink colors. Some of my favorites include Marine (turquoise) and Majestic Blue (a deep blue with a red shimmer). J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor is a fantastic teal with red and gold shimmer; it’s just amazing.
ECONOMY OF USING FOUNTAIN PEN INK
An advantage of using fountain pens if you write a lot is how far the ink will go. If using a bottle of ink, it will last you likely a year or more of continuous use, for $10-15 cost. That really can add up!
You’ll be investing more on the front end with the cost of the pen, but the ink itself will be much more economical than ballpoint, rollerball, or felt pens.
Granted, there will be some maintenance involved. You will need to flush/clean the pen every few weeks to keep it working at its best, and while it’s not complicated to do this, it takes some getting used to at first.
If you opt to use ink cartridges instead of bottled ink, your life will be a little simpler. You simply pop one cartridge in, use it up, and then put another in when it’s used up.
You’ll still need to clean your pen regularly, though, especially in between switching ink colors. But for writing on the go, cartridges are handy.
The type of cartridge you use will depend on which brand of pen you have, as many are proprietary (much like rollerball pens). Check to see which it takes depending on your brand of pen. The most versatile will be pens that use “standard international” cartridges.
AMAZING COMMUNITY SUPPORT
One of the best things that I’ve felt from the very first day I sought to learn more about fountain pens online is the generous community of fountain pen users.
Because no one has to use them, everyone who does uses them because they want to. There’s a passion that all fountain pen users have, and that gives us all a common bond. It’s exactly like the Bullet Journal community, which is why the two worlds collide so perfectly.
If you love the generous and supporting journaling community and what Kara’s built here with Boho Berry, then you’ll love a lot of what’s going on in the fountain pen community.
Resources like GouletPens (shameless plug, forgive me), SBREBrown on YouTube, The Pen Habit on YouTube, The Pen Addict blog and podcast, and The Fountain Pen Network forum are just a few of the great places you can learn more about fountain pens.
There is a lot to learn about fountain pens, and it can certainly be a deep rabbit hole. The beauty of it is that you are not the first one to be where you are.
There’s a whole Fountain Pen 101 series I created a few years ago to teach you what took me years to discover by scouring the internet and learning from my own hard knocks. Check out the series and maybe pick up a pen and some ink to try for yourself, and you can determine if it’s right for you. It can take your enjoyment of your journaling to a whole new level.