3 years ago my wife got me a Fountain pen with my name engraved in it for my birthday and it was quite unusual: It was a pen by a Japanese manufacturer called Sailor and they made this pen with a bent tip called "Fude de Mannen". It's a play on word in Japanese and it means "I'm just a Brush". They came up with this name since this pen allows you to create various lines from thick to thin as though writing with a brush.
I immediately took this pen to our 10 day trip to Egypt and ended up just using this pen since it was not only addictive to use but felt perfect for the scenes I was trying to capture. Here are some sample sketches from the trip.
I now have a 2nd Fude de Manenen (with a slightly larger nib) added to my collection that my wife bought for me once again for my next birthday. I love this 2nd pen even more and has been my daily use pen for the past year. I also forgot to mention that both of these pens have been sent back to the Sailor headquarters in Hiroshima to have the nib adjusted to my 'exact' specifications. Every small nuance was communicated and the nib came out completely adjusted by their master nib master to fit my exact sketching style.
My book on the Freedom Trail and Machu Picchu pretty much was all created using this one pen.
Ever since my wife purchased the 1st pen from them 3 years ago, they have been really helpful and kept in contact via email. So when I found out that I was going to Japan for a few weeks last fall, I jumped on this opportunity and contacted the folks at Sailor who made an arrangement for me to be able to try many of their nibs including all of their unusual specialty nibs!
One afternoon I met them at Tokyo Station and headed to a nice little coffee shop near by.
This is when Mr Mabuchi, the Sailor representative pulled out this fabric case from his bag to reveal the 20 Sailor pens!!!
One at a time I was able to test out all their pens to my hearts desire!
It felt like I was in heaven!
The best way to test out a pen is of course by sketching by observation on my paper of choice.
Here I'm sketching Mabuchi san from Sailor on my Stillman and Birn sketchbook.
Various pens with notes on the side.
It's funny how some pens that I thought were going to be perfect for me ended up not fitting me at all. And some very unusual pen tips provided a great smooth feeling.
Here's a great link explaining all the pen nibs and characteristics.
Here's what some of the pens I tested out looks like:
|Naginata Concord w/ Emperor|
|Naginata Fude de Mannen|
I ended up buying a Naginata Concord!
Latest news from December 2, 2015:
Sailor announced (in Japanese only) that they will temporary stop producing all these specialty nibs mentioned in this blog. The reason is that since they are all hand made, they simply cannot keep up with the demand. Since you can't buy these pens outside of Japan through Sailor, it's not big a deal but I still found this news quite shocking..