Hello everyone, my name is Laura and I've been working at Pen Boutique for a couple of months. I wrote our Elf on the Shelf Instagram posts during December and I also love doing our Ink Splats on Instagram. Now I'm going to start writing a weekly blog! I was an English major in college and have always loved writing, so I am very excited about my expanded social media role.
We had a snow storm last night here in Maryland, so the store was closed today, and I think the perfect way to spend an unexpected snow day is writing letters. I didn't get to finish all my holiday cards before Christmas because the store was so busy, but that's okay--I am going to finish the rest of them as New Year's cards. Another great reason to write letters and cards this time of year is to send thank you letters for the gifts you received or to thank people for their hospitality over the holidays. Maybe someone baked cookies or bread for you, invited you to a party, allowed you to stay at their home, or helped shovel your driveway... these are all great reasons for a short thank you note to show your gratitude and will really make the recipient feel special! And, of course, as a lover of pens, you can make it fun and memorable by using a special pen, nice paper, and--if it's a fountain pen--a favorite ink.
I have several pens that I especially love to use when I write cards. My Pilot Falcon with a "soft fine" (SF) nib is great for showing off sheening ink or shimmer ink and also gives my writing a very distinctive look because the nib's unique shape allows the tines to be more flexible, which creates line variation when you change your writing pressure. This nib isn't as flexible as a vintage flex nib but it's also more easy to control and performs very consistently once you get used to the feel. It took me a little while to get the hang of writing with the Falcon, but, once I did, I loved it. I recommend a fine nib for this pen because you get the most line variation, without it being too scratchy. Since this is a Japanese nib, fine is quite fine, so, for me, extra fine feels a little too extreme. Medium and broad are smoother, but the difference in line width between when you write with a light touch and when you gently flex the nib won't be as noticeable.
When I bought my Falcon, it only came in black, but now it also comes in a lovely deep red, a gorgeous shade of azure called Marine Blue, and the equally beautiful Plum Purple. The slightly more expensive metal version of the Falcon comes in brown, burgundy, and sapphire as well as black. I highly recommend the resin version of the Falcon when you want to try a pen that will take your writing to the next level but don't want to break the bank. It's light in your hand so it isn't tiring to use, the nib is 14k gold, and the flat cap and intensely polished resin body have a timeless look.
Another pen I love to use for cards is my Pelikan Souveran M400. This pen is pure pleasure to use, and mine has a broad stub nib, so it's perfect when I don't have time to write a very long note but I want my card to have a lot of impact! Again, using this pen gives my writing a very distinctive look and is awesome for showing off special ink. Using a broad nib makes me write larger, so it fills up more space on the card and I can dash off a quick heartfelt message that looks great and makes the recipient feel special. That way, I can write more cards!
My favorite pen for writing longer letters is my medium nib Pilot E95s (also known as the Elite). I love this pen’s inlaid nib and the retro look. It's based on a design that was introduced in 1975, and it writes incredibly smoothly. When a customer comes into the store asking me to show them a very smooth writing pen, I always encourage them to try the E95s in medium. It blows them away! This is another nice lightweight pen, so it doesn't tire my hand when I get inspired and end up hand writing a ten page letter to a friend I haven't talked to in a long time! It comes in both black and the very distinctive bungundy/ivory variation. Both are super elegant.
Of course, it's important to choose the right paper when you're going to be writing a letter, and my favorite is the Clairefontaine Triomphe blank tablet. That's what I used in the writing samples above. Some people prefer paper with lines or with a subtle dot grid to help you write straight, but I like a nice clean blank sheet. The Clairefontaine Triomphe tablet is bound at the top and the sheets tear off cleanly, leaving no residual glue behind. It comes with a lined sheet that you can place underneath the piece of paper you are writing on and use as a guide, as the lines will show through the paper. You can also use your own lined sheet underneath if you prefer a different line width, or just write or draw on it freeform, so this paper is very versatile. It has a nice smooth writing surface to show the shading and sheening qualities off your inks, and a lovely 90 GSM weight. The color is a clear bright white.