Back in 1999, I was a young illustrator in NYC doing the routine of working retail during the day and freelancing at night. I’ve always loved artist materials, so I worked at art supply stores to pay the bills and score discounts on art supplies. Along the way, I fell into specializing in fountain pens, and eventually ended up at the Fountain Pen Hospital in downtown NYC (in the shadow of the World Trade Center). I spent my time not only selling pens and supplies to the likes of Bill Cosby and Mayor Rudy Guliani, but also filling up sketchbook pages with pricey pens and whatever I could scrounge up from behind the cash register. The owners of the store smoked cigarettes almost nonstop, which inspired this little drawing. Incidentally, one of my coworkers gave me a gift of a red Lamy Safari fine-point fountain pen to draw with – the same pen used for many of the sketches and drawings on this blog.