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How to be More Sustainable as an Artist: Replacing Your Fineliners

Updated: Apr 2

One of the things I've noticed about art supplies is that not very many of them are sustainable. They are often made out of plastic, often packaged in plastic and often disposable. I've searched for many a long year to find sustainable alternatives, and have actually had to limit the amount of art supplies I have and use, simply because otherwise I would be producing an inordinate amount of waste.

Drawing of a fiddle leaf fig in plant pot
I drew this Fiddle Leaf Fig with the Kaweco Sport Fine Nib pen

However, recently I've started noticing more sustainable supplies creeping in: recycled backing board, natural rubber, errr... rubbers, wooden rulers, recycled paper sketchbooks from Seawhite and a couple of other brands. Jackson's art supplies have started packaging everything sustainably, too, as well as offering their own brand paintbrushes and smaller items in biodegradable plastic, or without packaging at all, if it's not needed.

It's no longer quite such a struggle.

Kaweco Sport Pens (Bottom) and black ink, Cross fountain pen (top yellow) and Cross blue ink

And today, I'd like to talk about replacing your fineliners. Yes, I mean it, replace those plastic, quick-to-run-out, disposable, but oh-so-handy items with reusable ones. Now, I'm not going to say this is the perfect solution. In fact, my way is slightly messier and doesn't offer quite so many options for pen thickness, but, it doesn't, you know, destroy the earth for future generations, so there is that . . .

For me, I've discovered that fountain pens are the answer. I buy a German brand called Kaweco, which I love because their pen nibs are so smooth, allowing for smooth lines and no catching on the paper (like a dip pen does). They also offer 5 different thicknesses of their Kaweco Sport fountain pen (which is tiny, cute, comes in a whole array of rainbow colours, and fits perfectly in a pocket or pencil case for out-and-about drawing): Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Bold and Extra Bold, all of which I'm convinced can replace almost any fineliner out there. (I ordered mine from Cult Pens in the UK, if anyone is interested.) I also bought the mini piston converter exclusively designed for the Kaweco Sport (because they're shorter, they need a shorter converter), which means I now don't need to buy the plastic cartridges, I just refill from a bottle of ink. To see how to use the ink and converter, have a look at the video below.Pen

And voila! I've saved both money and the planet, and brought myself lots of joy choosing pen colours in the process.

Good stuff.

As always, thanks for reading!


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