Fountain Pens, Inks, and Journaling

For Christmas 2020 I was gifted a TWISBI 580ALR and Diamine inks. I really took to fountain pens and have been (more or less) maintaining a journal since then. Things I have learned about myself:

  1. I am absolutely a cheap pen guy, but I'd like to start branching out into slightly less cheap pens
  2. I like medium-ish nibs so I can see ink effects (shading)
  3. Shading is my favorite ink effect (SHADING)
  4. I like rotating between a handful of favorite colors, and color coding is an easy way to separate entries
  5. If a pen isn't a demonstrator and its color doesn't roughly match the ink color I will constantly pick up the wrong pen. I put Diamine Amber in a spare green Jinhao for a while. It was hell, I tell you.
  6. Sometimes you just need the right pen for an ink. I hated Diamine Amber in a EF Wing Sung, but when I put that ink in a modified M Jinhao I loved it.


I have long given up on the bullet journal method (see ex1, ex2). The Bujo Index is a great idea, but I don't use my journal for reference so chronological dating is usually enough.

Currently the journal is most useful for brainstorming and basic records of events. I do go through phases where I add lots of decorative doodles and sketches, but sometimes I do a 180 and have nothing but date and a brief project note.

I would like to return to journaling daily, so with the Leuchtturm I'm trying to get back to it. My goal is to record the day's notable events at a minimum, but ideally I'm also using the journal for story brainstorming and other creative tasks.


I currently prefer softcover dot journals with 2 bookmarks and an elastic strap. After thinking people freaking out about paper on r/fountainpens were being silly, I am forced to admit the quality of the paper/notebook definitely matters if you care about ink effects and ink can look radically different on various papers. I currently like white dot paper that doesn't ghost, and I've found I prefer less pages because by the time I get X pages in the thing is beaten to hell and I'm ready for a fresh book. I'm 2/3 through the P&G and it's starting to look janky and soiled (150 pgs, so 50 to go!).


Documenting the great pen journey. Marlin ordered a bunch of cheap pens, half of which I haven't even tried. I tried and failed to get a glass dip pen a while ago for swatches (ordered, but order cancelled). I could remove the feed from one of my other pens in the meantime. I had my eye on a Majohn/Moonman N6 or N10 because it has a glass converter and can be capped.


The inks are what I love. This is the part that brings me joy. Dayspring Pens has a great primer on ink types. We binged on Diamine inks to start, as you can see.

All notes subject to change given experimentation.


All in modified EF nibs (probably "mediums"). My favorites ended up being colors I never would have guessed.


These are fine inks, but I'm not always in the mood for them for whatever reason. Some I wrote with a while simply wanted to switch to something different.


Some inks fell flat for me, though.

Shopping Notes

TaoBao for Moonman

Cult Pens is in the UK, but you can get Diamine bottles for less than a sample in the US.