Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fountain Pens for Artists: Noodler's Flex

In Cheap Thrills, I went over a handful of fountain pens that I enjoy using for my own art.  For each pen covered, I gave a mini review.  Hopefully in that post, I turned a few of you on to the idea of using fountain pens for your art. 

I realized that if Cheap Thrills did its job, some of you might be interested in a bit more on using fountain pens for your art.  The recommendations for an artist vs an enthusiast differ greatly, and as an artist who has amassed a small collection, I was in the privileged postion of being able to share the best of both worlds with my readers and friends.

Today we're taking a look at the Noodler's Flex- the quick brown fox who jumped over the lazy dog.  Small, flexible, and nimble, this little fountain pen is a great start for any artist looking for the pen to fit their needs.

The Noodler's Flex is a small pen- about five inches long, and approximately the same circumference as a technical pen.  It has the potential to hold a fair amount of ink, and needs no additional accessories save the ink of your choice.  It is piston filled, meaning you turn the screw on the back to raise and depress the plunger, has a removable nib and feed, and is perfect to pop into your pencil case for sketching on the go.



The cap screws on, which may take some getting used to for artists used to caps that snap on and off, and features a pen clip.


The cap posts to the back of the Flex, extending the length of the pen a bit, and may make it more comfortable for those of you with larger hands.


Noodler's sells replacement nibs and feeds through Anderson Pens and Goulet Pens, so if something should happen to your nib (say you drop it) or to your feed, it's a quick and easy replacement.


The Flex is a fairly small writer, with an estimated lineweight between .2mm and .5mm, you could achieve .7mm at the risk of permanently damaging your nib.



As you can see, on the heaviest stroke (requiring the most pressure) the flex began to railroad, as the ink couldn't quite keep up with the flex of the nib.

Pros:
  • Inexpensive
  • Flexible nib
  • Produced by a very small company in the US
  • Easy to find online
  • Fairly easy to maintain
  • Great way to learn about fountain pens

Cons:
  • Strong smell may be repulsive to some
  • Very small pen may cause cramping
  • Difficult to clean all of pigment ink left in pen, as it settles behind piston

Surfaces the Flex can easily write on:

Cellulose based watercolor papers such as Maruman, Holbein, and Fluid
Tracing paper
Sketchbook paper such as Blick Studio and Strathmore
Japanese notebook papers


I love the effect of fountain pen ink on tracing paper.


Inking over graphite with the Flex is easy- with pigment inks, there is no resist effect from the graphite.  The above piece was inked with my Noodler's Flex filled with Platinum Pigment ink in Rose Red, and once the ink had fully dried, the graphite was erased and watercolor was applied.


The Verdict:

While I know the Flex is not for everyone, it's definitely for me.  Not too big, not too small, can run through ink fairly quickly, so I'm not left with a huge barrel full of a color I'm done with.  Loves pigment ink, easy to maintain- a great starter pen for any artist who enjoys the pen and ink arts. 

More on the Flex:

Gourmet Pens
Wonder Pens
PenInkCillin

For more inky goodness, check out my Fountain Pens playlist!



Get Your Own



Today's Sponsor Today's sponsor is Shooting-Stars, a wonderful Photoshop brush resource!  All brushes on Shooting-Stars are free to use, provided you follow the license.


Shooting-Stars is run entirely by the wonderful Kabocha, a fellow comic artist, art supply enthusiast, and friend of mine.  You can check out more of her wonderful work by reading her webcomic, Linked.


Thanks for reading. Check out these products.