What Is It?
An alternative to other calligraphy pens. Rather than having a wide nib with a slit down the middle for ink to flow down, a parallel pen has two metal plates with a narrow gap between them that the ink flows through. You can get a very narrow line by holding the plates edge-on to the paper, or a wide line by holding them flat along the paper.
The ink flow is nice and constant, even when moving fairly quickly. When turned sideways, the edge of the nib gives a very fine line, even with the thickest nibs. Used sideways, though, the nib feels rather scratchy, and isn’t as pleasant to use as a ‘normal’ fountain pen. If you want narrow lines most of the time, you’re probably better off with a narrow nibbed pen, like Michael Nobbs’ favourite Rotring Art Pen.
I was a bit disappointed with the finish – it looks like a cheap copy of the Rotring Art Pen, and really does have a ”cheap” feel to it. It feels like all the money went on the nib, and maybe if they’d charged just a fraction more for the pens, they’d have been able to put a nicer plastic casing around it.
The inks are labelled as ‘Mixable’. They’re supplied in cartriges though, which made me wonder how you were supposed to mix them. The trick is that you load one pen with each of the two colours you want to mix, then hold one above the other and touch the nibs together. The ink will flow from the top pen to the bottom one. The bottom pen will now write briefly in the colour of the top pen. As the ink you passed between the two runs out, the colour will fade gradually back to the colour that pen is loaded with.
This makes for some amazing effects. The only problem is that to really make much use of it, you’d need a pen loaded with each of the colours you want to mix, and you’d have to label them all with the colours they’re loaded with. It’s also a bit difficult to predict what colour will come out for how long.
Although we’ve not tried it yet, the lady in the shop where we bought these told us she uses them with watercolour – mixes the paint, dips the brush, then holds the pen upside down and touches the nib with the brush to put watercolour into the pen – and that works pretty well.
Use with Bottled Ink
The set was supplied with one converter, usually for using a fountain pen with bottled inks, but in the leaflet supplied, the converter is only said to be for sucking water through the nibs to clean the pens. I’ve tried using it for bottled ink, though, and it does seem to work ok. Filling was a bit more awkward than with other pens I’ve tried, but it worked ok in the end.
Of course. Clicky piccies to see bigger sizes in Flickr with any notes and comments…
Close-up on the nib…
The nib of the same pen, sideways on…
You can see how thin and flat the nib is. Used on its edge like this, it will produce a 0.5mm line.
We bought these pens as a set of three, with refills…
The lining of the box can be turned around, and used to store four of the pens with their caps on…
12-pack of different coloured inks…