Recently I changed up my art supply game. The reason? I needed a travel sized sketchbook as well as a travel fountain pen. Fortunately, I was lucky to find these items at one of my favorite NYC stationery stores. In this post you’ll learn about my (new) favorite art supplies and why I love them so much!

Going back to more regular work this fall (read, lots of subway trips) made me realize that the size and weight of my Moleskine art sketchbook is too cumbersome to carry around in my purse. (Not to mention, of course, that I’d also be devastated if something happened to my vintage Carter’s fountain pen!)

Fortunately, in spite the hardship of the past 18 months, there are still some great art supply stores in New York City that have survived. Recently, I happened to be near Bryant Park where Kinokuniya Books and Stationery is located. On the recommendation of the helpful clerk at Kinokuniya, I left with a Talens Art Creation Sketchbook, a Platinum fountain pen, and a box of refill cartridges.

My (New) Favorite Art Supplies and Why

As an illustrator, I love to keep myself challenged by experimenting with new drawing tools and papers. These days, less is definitely more in my artwork. To that end, sometimes I even flip my vintage fountain pen over so that I can get finer lines using the back side of the nib. The Platinum Preppy pen nib doesn’t flex like the gold nib of my Carter’s fountain pen, but it does produce a range of line variation. As with my Carter’s pen, I can also use the back side of the nib to produce really fine lines. And, so far, the nib also writes very smoothly.

Photo of Talens Creation Travel Sketchbook and Platinum Preppy Pen

After leaving Kinokuniya with my new purchases, I thought I was all set for sketching “on the road.” (Actually, “on the subway” is more apt!) However, when I started to add touches of watercolor to my illustrations, I was dismayed to discover that the ink in the Platinum Preppy pen is NOT waterproof.

As you can see below…

Examples of illustrations drawn with a Platinum Preppy pen (filled with non waterproof ink) and Carter's fountain pen filled with waterproof DeAtramentis Document ink

I drew the illustration on the bottom left with the Platinum Preppy pen. As you can see, there is feathering where I added water to the lines. I drew the illustration of the construction worker with my Carter’s fountain pen (not pictured). The pen was filled with DeAtramentis (waterproof) Document ink. Even though I added ink wash almost immediately to that drawing, there is no feathering or blurring.

Fortunately, my problem was resolved…

When I researched the JetPens website. (JetPens is one of my go-to online art supply companies as well as a wonderful online resource!) On the JetPens website, I discovered that you can actually buy a ink converter for Platinum Preppy pens. With the converter, you can fill the pens with any ink of your choosing.

Yippee to that!

The Platinum Preppy converter allows you to fill the pen with any ink of your choice is DeAtramentis Document ink since it's waterproof yet won't clog a fountain pen.

Because the pens are relatively cheap (around $7 each), I figured I could afford to have TWO of these pens. The original (white) pen, along with the black ink cartridges, will reside on my end table for quick bedtime sketches. I will keep the new pen – filled with DeAtramentis Document ink – in my purse along with my Talens Art Creation sketchbook.

Is cheaper better?

While there is definite merit in creating with the best tools you can afford, there is also something to be said about the benefits of using cheap drawing tools as well. For one, just knowing that you don’t have to be so careful can be freeing. And that sense of freedom might just translate into more spontaneous and lively illustrations!

To be honest, the size of the Talens Art Creation Travel Sketchbook really suits me right now, too.

Smaller size sketchbooks can build confidence since there's less space to fill on each page.

Because there is less space on each page, the pages feel easier to fill. Seeing the page as a whole also gives me a better sense of composition. In effect, with this square sketchbook, it’s almost like I’m creating thumbnail sketches.

I hope you’ve found this post informative and enjoyable! And if you have favorite drawing supplies you think I should know about, please let me know in the comments below.


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