The “Preppy Pen”: Another Look

June 1, 2011

See the post for full details.

In October 2008 I wrote about one of my favorite pens, the Preppy Pen. It's an inexpensive fountain pen that writes and sketches really well.

Lately there has been lots of traffic on that post (I don't know where all the hits are coming from but this pen seems to be hot right now and people want to know about it).

That action on the blog reminded me that I needed to update that post. (I did just add an update at the bottom of the original post.) But because most of you either already have a Preppy or don't care about them because you started reading after 2008, well read on for the big news.

My friend Tom Winterstein came to the MCBA Visual Journal Collective with a CONVERTER in his Preppy!!! That's right—no more messing with filling an empty cartridge by eyedropper or syringe. Instead just pop in a converter and suck up the ink of your choice! (Tom had filled his pen with Noodler's Burma Road Brown—a lovely green/brown color.)

I purchased converters for my Preppy pens at Wet Paint in St. Paul. (I'm not attached to them financially, it's just where I shop, and they have the greatest stuff!) You can also search on the internet, but at least you have one source without looking.

And yes, now one of my Preppy Pens is filled with Burma Road Brown! How could I resist. (And I'm not financially linked to Noodler's either—though I think Dick, with his pocketful of 8 pens, each with a different Noodler's should be!)

  1. Reply

    I have been having fun with a Lamy Safari fountain pen and reading reviews of Platinum Carbon inkson Nina Johansson’s blog:
    Hope you don’t mind my posting that here. I hope to go to my favorite japanese book and office supply store to check out what inks they sell. Have fun with your pen and converter.

    • Chris F
    • June 1, 2011

    Two questions-Kate Johnson talks about nib flexibility to get a variation of line. Does this pen have that?
    Does it come with a standard nib or do you purchase a calligraphy nib to get what you want?
    Oh and kate talks about leakage. Any leaks so far?

    • Zoe
    • June 1, 2011

    Good to know, Roz.

    As for the traffic, you and the blog are telegraphed widely at Wetcanvas and elsewhere as the go to person for all things journal.

    I haven’t tried one of these pens; have several of the Lamy Safaris. Are these comparable?

  2. Reply

    Melly, Dick uses Platinum Carbon ink in either one of his Parker’s or his Mont Blanc. I don’t recall which. He loves it.(Wet Paint carries it FYI, if you can find it.)

    I’ve never found a Lamy that feels good in my hands. I’ve had several. There is one on the table in the other room right now, but I’m not a fan.

    I’d love to get one of the Noodler’s Flex nibs Nina is using!

  3. Reply

    Chris, is Kate writing about Preppy Pens or fountain pens in general? I’ve never talked to her about Preppy Pens. If she is talking about them and getting leakage, well I’d be concerned because she’s carrying it around more than I am to be sure. (I typically leave my Preppy at home, except for special trips.)

    That said, I’ve never had one of the 6 or 7 or so that I’ve had, ever leak. But I have only used them with their own cartridges and now with the converter. I have never refilled cartridges. When you do that there are always possible problems with leakage because you’re giving extra stress to the one-time-intended-use cartridge.

    As for flexibility, the nib is more flexible than a lot of fountain pens I’ve used, and certainly more than the Rotring sketch pen. But it is nowhere near as flexible as a dip pen nib, which is my gold standard for flexibility.

    I’ve only seen Preppy Pens with one nib.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Reply

    Zoe, thanks for the heads up about Wetcanvas. That’s fun to know.

    As I wrote to Melly, I’ve never found a Lamy that fit my hand and also I should add, didn’t feel really stiff.

    For me the Preppy which costs about 1/4 what any of my Lamys cost, is a far superior pen in how it fits in my hand, balances, and how smoothly it writes. For around $5 you might want to try one. It could say you buying more expensive pens in the future????

    • Patty
    • June 1, 2011

    This sounds great, Roz. I’m looking for more flex in a nib and the lower cost of the Preppy makes it easy to spring for one to experiment with. I’m always put off by pens that only have cartridges and no converters. So this a very welcome development. Is there a brand name for the converter? I love Wet Paint and have ordered from them in the past, but I’m not anticipating a big order soon (that would justify the shipping cost) so I’d like to see if the converter is available closer to home.

    • Zoe
    • June 1, 2011

    Roz, another FYI.


    are both wait listing folks who want these flex pens.

    Todd at isellpens is taking pre-orders for a possible 6 June delivery from Noodlers and I believe Goulet is also wait listing folks for their shipment.

    Nina made this pen seem like a “must have.”

  5. Reply

    Patty, I’m sorry I don’t know the brand name. It didn’t come in a wrapper and they pulled it from behind the desk. If you are ordering from someone else, just ask for a Preppy Pen Compatible Converter.

  6. Reply

    Zoe, I’ve been on a wait list at goulet pens. Thanks for the other heads up, however.

    As for Nina, she could use a TWIG and make it a “must have.” I love her work.

  7. Reply

    Roz, one of the benefits of the Preppy pens is the ease with which they can convert to “eyedropper pens”, where the entire barrel of the pen essentially becomes the cartridge. You can see a great little video about it that Brian Goulet put together: . They are so simple to do, and then you never have to worry about running out of ink at an inopportune moment!

  8. Reply

    Jamie, thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.

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