As the end of the year starts to draw near, I always enjoy looking back at some of the things that happened in the year past. And while there were a bunch of things that moved forward throughout the year (running, career, baby), my fountain pen hobby really took off this year. So, in typical analog fashion, I made a couple of lists.

The Pens

This year, I definitely went further upmarket on my pens. I started the year with a killer deal on my Aurora Optima Burgundy from a Pen Addict Slack-er, and the trend of great pens continued on from there. Someone recently asked what my collecting strategy was for pens, and I replied “well, one of everything.” I’ve got representation from the big three Japanese brands, pens by some of the talented, smaller, American makers, and representation from Italy as well. In December, I finally broke the “one” rule by jumping on the new TWSBI Eco Transparent Green, making the first pen I have a duplicate of.

Nib wise, I’m all over the board. I didn’t purchase any fine nibs this year, but branched out into a few different stubs. My handwriting really lends itself well to stubbed nibs, and there’s a lot to explore in that space.

I also started dabbling in swapping nibs, thanks to the Moonman M2. Having a cheap platform to play around with different nibs and feeds in makes messing around a little less scary.

I did sell a few pens, my Franklin-Christoph 45 with a Medium SIG nib, and my Sailor Pro Gear Slim Yukitsubaki. Both of those were immediately turned into other pens, so I don’t feel like there’s any loss there. Except for that SIG nib, but I do still have one more to console myself with.

The Inks

Inks Used: Kingdom Note Rhinocerous Beetle, Kobe #47, Franklin-Christoph Urushi Red

Writing out this list of inks was a little intimidating. It’s shocking to see everything in one place, and I’ve officially broken the 50 bottles mark on fpc.ink.

As far as trends go, nothing too surprising there. Colorverse really blew up in the market this year, so I’m not surprised to see that I got a few bottles of their ink. I’ve really been enjoying all of the Krishna inks that I’ve picked up this year, and they’re really fun to play around with in bigger blobs or splotches. I’m really intrigued by the new Taccia inks, so I’ll likely be picking up a few more bottles of those in the new year.

I kept up my usual pattern of primarily buying inks in person, either at pen shows or at stores. I’m very lucky to have a few different stores nearby, stocking everything from Kobe inks to Taccia. And then when shows roll around, I fill up on my Robert Osters. After having problems with a few of my Organics Studio inks, I don’t think I’ll be buying any more bottles of those. They have neat colors, but the extra maintenance doesn’t really make it worth it for me.

Looking Ahead

I don’t think I have a specific buying plan for 2019. There’s a chance that I might be able to go to Japan at some point in the new year, which would certainly necessitate a bit of a strategy. It may also be time to look at something in the more “grail pen” category, something like a Nakaya or a nice Omas Paragon. But otherwise, I’m really satisfied with where my collection is at the end of this year, and how it grew in 2018. I hit a couple good pen shows, I made some purchases that I’m really happy with, and I got to spend time playing with some of the things that really make me happy. And isn’t that what it’s all about?