the Perfect Pen

For the longest time, visiting an art supply store or a stationary shop was always a dangerous game for me. I would often just tell myself I was going to take a peek and then I would be hypnotized by all the sketchbooks and pens and would end up spending hours testing pens and paper (and often buying too many of these things.) There’s something about these kinds of stores; so much potential. It’s hypnotizing to think of all the great things you could draw if only you had the perfect pen…

Well, the search is over. I found the perfect pen. Let me rhapsodize about the Carbon Desk Fountain Pen. I will need no other pen now. Its waterproof, has a fine line, the ink flows perfectly, and it only explodes and gets ink all over my fingers every once in a while.

Highly reccommended:

I pair this with one of those refillable brush pens which I fill with a really watered down inkwash:

Now these are what I use when I go out sketching. Of course, it takes more than the perfect pen to make the Perfect Drawing. But at least its a start?

Just thought I’d share the news that the Carbon Desk Fountain Pen is the king of pens.




  1. Richard Jordan:

    Mar 30, 2012


    That pen looks pretty. How black is the ink? Can you use Indian ink with it?

  2. Trillian:

    Apr 1, 2012


    I really need to rig up one of those ink wash brush pens. Thank you for sharing!

  3. smbhax:

    Apr 2, 2012


    I recently got one of these too! A nice smooth ultra-fine line. 🙂

  4. Jostein:

    Apr 9, 2012


    I can totally relate to the feeling that art stores and art supplies hold large amounts of potential. There’s a fine line between just taking a peek and buying a lot more than I really need.

    Thanks for the recommendation! Waterproof and fine line sounds exactly like what I want. I’ll have to test it out sometime (for now, it’s been added to my wish list on JetPens).

  5. […] like this. The pen is a Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen, recommended as “the perfect pen” in this blogpost by Sarah Glidden. In short, the selling point for me was the waterproof ink. It should work great for watercolor […]

  6. […] desk fountain pen” that cartoonist Sarah Glidden had recently purchased. Her review is here on her blog. Her portable set-up is pretty much the same as mine–Penel Aquapen for sepia wash over ink […]

  7. Alex:

    May 31, 2012


    Ah Jetpens … <3 … trop loin de la réalité angoumoisine malheureusement.

  8. harvey:

    Jun 12, 2012


    Sweet i just found your blog! i was a fan of pizza island ! How does the watered down refillable inkwash pen work exactly? i’m still trying to figure out how to use brush pens. lots of love from a fan in japan!

    • sarahglidden:

      Jun 12, 2012


      The waterbrush pen is one of these which I just fill with water and then add a few drops of china ink to to get a greywash. I know people who fill them with liquid watercolors too. I’ve also started using one of these waterbrush pens with just water inside, and then you can use it with a travel set of watercolors for painting on the go.

  9. karen ann chalupnik:

    Sep 14, 2012


    i am ordering one today. i have been hooked on the pelikan jr. series for a great nib and great price, but have wished for something waterproof. thanks for the tip! i just now finished reading how to understand israel in 60 days or less, and having lived there for 5 months when I was 19 (in the arab part of town, on salahadin street which you actually drew on your jerusalem map!) and loved your book. I wanted to draw everything i experienced but was so overwhelmed… it was 1986 and it felt like a war zone and everyone was so stressed and jumpy all the time. I left my falafel sandwhich on a park bench and 5 minutes later when i remembered and returned to retrieve it, of course it was as of the entire military had come to defend its citizens against my lunch. that was before the robots! i am glad you put your experience into pictures. i felt like you actually fulfilled a vision i had of recreating my experiences but maybe it was jerusalem syndrome… my brain couldn’t make anything coherent out of it! it kind of still can’t even after all these years. anyways, thanks again for the pen tip (yeah, ha ha) and for your fantastic book.

    • sarahglidden:

      Sep 23, 2012


      Thanks so much, Karen! I’m glad you liked the book and I hope the pen lives up to the hype as well!

  10. Z:

    Oct 12, 2013


    Nice review of the pen! I just wanted to know if you notice it being scratchy or “too fine” at times at all? I’m heavily considering purchasing one, but I don’t know if it would be a bit too fine.

    Also, do you know if putting solid ink into a waterbrush would work well as an ink brush and lay solid color like the pen, or would it be washed out and kind of a mid-dark grey color? Just wanted to know your thoughts on this, and if you may have tried that.

    Thanks! 🙂

    • sarahglidden:

      Oct 25, 2013


      Hmm you know, I think the line is pretty fine, but its not scratchy at all. It doesnt have the flexibility that a nib pen which you dip into an ink bottle would have, but I kind of like that.

      As for ink in a waterbrush, that would probably work, although theres a chance it could clog up depending on the ink. Waterbrush pens arent very expensive, so I guess I would suggest giving it a try!

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