The Fountain Pentel, and Why I Love Wet Paint

I’ve been using the Fountain Pentel as my pen of choice for many years, and I love them… The Fountain Pentel has a unique plastic nib which bends to draw a different thickness of line depending on how much pressure you apply. They are fun to use, and like no other pen I’ve ever experienced.

I actually bought a gross of them in the 90’s as I was afraid they would stop making them, as they were always a hard to find pen. My supply of this unique pen is dwindling.

Looking recently for replacements, I discovered that, horror of horrors, my premonition was accurate and they are no longer sold in the US… in fact, I couldn’t even find an image of the Fountain Pentels I use online, they are so out of date. Here’s one for you I just scanned:

Fortunately, in St. Paul we have Wet Paint, the world’s greatest art supply store. I contacted Tim Jennen, the marketing manager and buyer for Wet Paint (who also happens to be a member of the Conspiracy) and let him know about my dilemma.

Tim has a passion for hunting down obscure art materials, and he just emailed me some good news shortly after my inquiry:

Hi, Steve—

I’m still hoping to bring in the regular Fountain Pentel at some point, but I have brought in a different version of this pen that I found—the Tradio Fountain Pentel, which is refillable. Here’s some info on it:

Tradio Fountain Pentel TRJ50

Tradio Fountain Pentel

A fountain pen with the perfect combination of style and performance. A flexible plastic nib creates a variety of line widths, from thick to thin, depending on the angle and pressure applied. The innovative, see-thru free-flowing system delivers a consistent ink flow for smooth, effortless writing from the first stroke to the last. The ergonomic barrel design provides added comfort and writing control. Black ink. Uses Pentel’s MLJ20 refill in black.


The pen is $10.00, but on sale during our Make Your Mark sale through the end of April at $8.50. The MLJ20 refill is $3.95.

The next time you’re in the store, check it out!


Tim Jennen, Marketing Manager/Buyer
Wet Paint: Artists’ Materials & Framing

Refillable! This is very exciting news to me, as my major gripe with the (disposable) Fountain Pentels I’ve used is that they fade with age… hopefully the ink in the cartridges is non-fading, or I can figure out a non-fading ink solution for this. I can’t wait to try one… I’m gonna try and make it over to Wet Paint this weekend, and I’ll give you a comparison to the disposable models once I try this out.

So now Wet Paint is apparently the only US supplier for two of the greatest cartooning tools ever created… the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and the Fountain Pentel. I believe they are also the last place left that you can buy supplies for gocco screen printing machines, which are quite wonderful.

If you’re looking for a specific art supply and can’t find it anywhere, contacting Wet Paint is a good bet… they have an online store with their wares as well, so you don’t have to live in the Twin Cities to get a hold of these wonderful tools. Their prices are great too… we’re very lucky to have them in the Twin Cities.

Ezekiel Fishman Versus the Martians Part Two: A Gross Comic Project


The second chapter of my Gross Comic, Ezekiel Fishman Versus the Martians, has been posted… follow the link and go to page 13 for Chapter two, or read from the beginning.

You can read more about the Gross Comic Project here.

You won’t want to miss these wonderful gross comics from Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon:

Zander Cannon’s Heck and Kevin Cannon’s Oceanis

We had 7 cartoonists joining us in this month in the Gross Comic Project AKA The 144 Hour Graphic Novel Challenge, bringing the total participants up to 10 (and we’ve had others express interest in it as well, so there may be more next month). Here are the current participants, all neatly alphebetized for your convenience:

Kevin Cannon
Zander Cannon
Danno aka Dank!
Eric Lappegard
Shad Petosky
Tim Sievert
Curtis Square-Briggs
Steven Stwalley
Brett VonSchlosser

Hopefully some of the new participants will be posting their comics online as well… I’ll keep you posted.

How to Make Mini-Comics: The Mini-Comic

I recently created a How to Make Mini-Comics Mini-Comic with my collaborators in the Minneapolis cell of The International Cartoonist Conspiracy. It is intended to serve as a downloadable textbook for those seeking to learn how to make a mini-comic. You can read more about it, and download the comic, by clicking the image below.

Ezekiel Fishman Versus The Martians Part One: A Gross Comics Project


Inspired by my friend Kevin Cannon‘s work on his 288 hour graphic novel, Far Arden (read more about that project here), I’ve embarked with some of my comrades in the Minneapolis cell of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy in THE GROSS COMIC PROJECT. It isn’t what it sounds like.

Like 24 hour comic day, the goal of the Gross Comic Project is to produce a certain number of pages in a certain amount of time… in this case 144 pages in 144 hours… a gross of pages, get it? 12 hours a month for a year.

Unlike 24 hour comic day, however, the goal of these comics is quality more than speed… if we are going to invest this much time in it, we want to produce something fun, readable and well-drawn,  rather that just quickly produced. To that end, we allow all the planning, drawing, and even working on actual pages outside of the monthly 12 hour sessions that a cartoonist chooses to do. However, the 12 pages should be completed by the end of the 12 hours.

That said, I ran late a few hours on mine… thankfully, this project is self-policed. I repeat… the point is to make the pages, not be a ninny about how much time it takes… just get it done, already, dammit!

Here are the first 12 pages of my new Gross Comic, Ezekiel Fishman Versus the Martians.

Here are the first 12 pages of Kevin Cannon’s Oceanis, and the first 12 pages of Zander Cannon’s Heck.

We have 6 other cartoonists joining us in this undertaking next month… Dank!, Shad Petosky, Tim Sievert, Maxeem, Curtis Square-Briggs and Eric Lappegard.

Some will be playing catch up and doing 12 pages this month, some will be starting next month. Other cartoonists around the world are encouraged to join in as well, and we’ll post links to all the comics on the Cartoonist Conspiracy blog.