Left: The Preppy Pen shown with a Staedtler Pigment Liner for barrel size comparison.
I like to write with a fountain pen. When I was a student in Australia we were required to work with them; some sort of idea of penmanship improvement I guess. I spent my early teen years with ink-stained fingers.
I have several good pens given to me by my father—who always had a fountain pen stand on his home office desk. I don't use the expensive ones much any more because I'm always experimenting with inks and I would hate to lose one while sketching out in a field somewhere (especially since I no longer have a tracking dog to find it for me). I keep less expensive pens around for the experiments. Also, some of the more expensive pens don't fit my hand.
I like small, light pens and I like a little bounce in the nib. It's also great if the pen can take a converter so that I can put any ink in it that I want to use. Sure I can use a syringe to inject empty cartridges with my choice of ink, but there's a greater likelihood of leakage when you reuse the cartridges. I typically don't bother at that point.
I wrote this post with a new very inexpensive fountain pen, the Preppy Pen, sitting at my desk working on a cheap lined pad. This pen is only $4.99 and yet it writes like a dream: smooth, and no skipping. The ink is rich and black. The ink is watersoluble and I have not done a lightfast test with it, but the writing I'm doing is drafts and I won't need to keep them after awhile anyway. I have done a little sketching with it in my journal. I will do a lightfast test, but I just wanted to let you know about this fun pen right away, because I'm having so much fun writing with it.
It does come in a couple other colors. I saw red and green, and I think there is a pink or purple (you would definitely want to do a lightfast test on the last two), but I was only interested in the black ink so I'm sorry I didn't pay that much attention.
There isn't any converter available for it, at least not ones that I have already, and the place I bought it wasn't aware of one that would fit, but you can always experiment with any converters you have lying around. Then of course you can put any ink in it you want to use, such as Noodlers, and it would be a sure bet for archival journaling. (You can also still fill an empty cartridge with a syringe.)
In the meantime it's sure just fun to write with it.
UPDATE MAY 2011: In April 2011, I was able to purchase CONVERTERS for the Preppy Pen at Wet Paint (my local independent art supply store in St. Paul). If you like working with these pens and want to fill them with your favorite ink, such as your favorite color of Noodler's Ink for sketching, then pick up a converter for your favorite pen!