Mid last year, I reached out to Yoshi Nakama of 18111 Pens about commissioning a custom pen. As the DC Pen Show was only a few weeks away, we agreed to discuss it at the show. At the time, I hoped to get a pen themed to my Exalted Bloodlines series.
I eagerly sought him out at the show. However, when I showed him the ideas I had in mind, he warned me it may not be doable.
The proposed roll stopper design, the blood drop I wanted scattered across the pen, and the moon and star I wanted on the top of the cap all have “sharp corners.” Apparently, 3D printing and laser engraving can’t produce sharp corners at that size.
However, I hoped we could reach a compromise with a modified design that I liked and could be executed. I agreed to modify the design before sending Mr. Nakama the files. He warned me that his waiting list was about 3 months long. Granted, considering the year+ waiting lists many pen makers have right now, 3 months is hardly an issue.
So I went home and modified the designs, rounding all of the corners. When I finished, I was fairly confident I’d come to a good compromise, even if it wasn’t the “perfect” design.
The more I thought about my pen and the edited design, the less satisfied I became with the idea of it. And really, there is no point in commissioning a custom pen you aren’t 100% happy with in the planning stages.
One day, it just popped into my head that as I have a “Poison Ivy” pen (the green ivies pen), it would be great to have a Harley Quinn pen as well. And so, a new idea was born.
In mid-October, I reached out to Mr. Nakama about changing the design, sending him an image of the well-known Harley Quinn triple diamonds for the rollstopper design. I asked if he could create a black pen with red diamond shapes scattered around it. I wanted the diamonds in two colors, making it look as though there were two “layers” of diamonds.
Thankfully, he was open to the changes (perhaps even relieved that this new design was simpler). He informed me that it would make far more sense to have a single roll stopper, meaning the diamonds would need to be joined in some way. And he warned me that he’d fallen behind a bit and wouldn’t be staring my pen until January.
I thanked him for his amiability and confirmed that a single stopper was fine. To be honest, I’d been expecting that.
Then came the hardest part: waiting. Toward the end of January, I received an email that increased my excitement. Mr. Nakama sent me a mock up of the pen and two roll stopper options.
The swirling design in the mock up captivated me. The roll stopper options were surprisingly different in appearance despite being so similar in design. I chose option 1, as option 2 looked a little odd in my eyes.
Shortly after, Mr. Nakama tagged me in a post on Instagram showing the finished 3D model of the roll stopper. I quite literally squeed.
The next wait was a little longer. Though, thankfully, I had vacation and the Baltimore Pen Show to distract me.
Then, hooray! Mr. Nakama tagged me again. This time in a post showing the finished pen.
Even slightly out of focus, it’s beautiful. I promptly paid the PayPal invoice, wanting to avoid any potential delays.
Mr. Nakama ships his pens priority, so it showed up a couple of days later.
My New Pen
I couldn’t be happier with my new pen. The craftsmanship is fabulous. I love the slight pearlescence in the diamonds and how they contrast with the solid black background. The roll stopper is perfect, although that’s no surprise. 3D printing is rather exact.
I honestly have no complaints about the pen or the process. Mr. Nakama is a delight to work with, and his pens are fabulous works of art. If you have the ability to pick up an 18111 pen, I highly suggest you do so.
For those interested, I inked my new pen with J. Herbin Rouge Grenat, because if any pen should be inked with blood red, it’s this one.