The “Preppy Pen”

October 26, 2008



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!

    • joan
    • October 26, 2008

    Hi Roz!
    I love your work and so appreciate your posts to the EDM listserv. I was wondering where you found your Preppy Pen. I, too, love writing with a “fountain pen.” Was it an art supply store, office supply, etc? Ah! just noticed the link — probably Wet Paint!

    • Roz
    • October 26, 2008

    Joan, you’re right, if you click on the link you’ll get to the Wet Paint website. I got my Preppy Pen from them. They do mail order if you want to get one from them.


    • Jan
    • March 19, 2011

    Here is a post that describes how to convert the Preppy into a pen that you can load with any ink you want:

    It involves a trip to Home Depot while wearing baggy trousers, but what the heck. It seems worth the trouble!


  1. Reply

    Jan, baggy trousers are the only type I wear so I’m good to go! Thanks for the heads up about this link. I’ll check it out.

  2. Reply

    Roz: carries them for just $3 in both 0.5 & 0.3 nib sizes. Here’s the link:

    Also, they show how to convert to a dropper fill:

    It’s ery easy and since the body of the pen is cavernous the ink supply lasts forever. (I currently have Noodler’s Whaler’s Brown ink in mine.)

    I’ve purchased about six of these pens and have them filled with lots of bulletproof ink from Noodlers. They are work flawlessly. Love them and the price is right.


  3. Reply

    Dave, I really should REVISE this post. There are actually CONVERTERS for these pens now. I picked up two for mine at Wet Paint a couple weeks ago (April 2010).

    I think they are great pens to have, but I really like the ease of the converter! I have Noodlers Burma Road Brown in one of mine (because a friend was using it and I just loved the dark brown/green ink and had to try it).

  4. Reply


    Wow, that color looks wonderful. I need to try it.


    You must try Noodlers Manjiro Nakahama Whaleman’s Sepia. It’s gorgeous.

    (If you buy it and don’t like it, I’ll buy it from you. I’m THAT convinced you’ll love it.)

    It’s got a very slight deep royal purple hue to the brown. Here’s the link:

    According to the site it “replicates whaler’s logbook ink in color and shading.” It even smells like the sea. (My imagination?) It does have a slight scent to it if you get very close to the nib. No animal products are used in the ink.

    (Disclaimer: I derive no income from Jetpens nor Noodlers.)

    Happy sketching.


  5. Reply

    Sorry Roz, just realized that they are out of stock on this item.

    One thing I should add is you can’t use this ink on a fine nib. It tends to dry and skip. On the 0.5 Preppy it’s flawless.


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