Ink Review: Sailor Studio 150

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 150

Review by Jessica Coles

Ah, purple inks.  If I had to choose only one color of ink to use for the rest of my life, it would be purple.  I love that purple spans from nearly pink or red all the way to dark blurples.  I love how purple inks have experienced a renaissance lately as evidenced by Montblanc’s special edition, Psychedelic Purple and Lamy’s Dark Lilac.  The Pantone color of the year for 2018 was Ultra Violet!  What a great time for purples.

I have found pastel purple inks very difficult to find, however.  Not that they don’t exist, but the exact shade that I crave seems to be hard to find.  Robert Oster has a beautiful variety of purple inks, but nothing quite right.  Sheaffer had a beautiful shade of lavender ink, but it was discontinued in the late 80s or early 90s and the bottles of lavender are coveted by those who can find them.

I was delighted when I found Sailor Studio 150!  This ink is very close to Sheaffer Lavender but is still easily legible in writing.

Studio 150 also has the bonus characteristic of colors that separate slightly, showing unusual shading at times.  The ink also varies in color based on the paper being used.

Sailor Studio is somewhere between Diamine Amazing Amethyst and Toucan Violet (another difficult-to-find ink that has been nearly discontinued) in color but shows the complexity seen in Robert Oster Viola (an ink that can be difficult to read since it is so pale.

Tucan Violet is the ink that I have historically seen as a replacement for Sheaffer Lavender.  Of course, it also has now become quite difficult to find.  It seems I was doomed to be always searching for my perfect lavender until I found 150!



Disclaimer: All items in this review were purchased by me.  For more information, visit our About page.

Link Love: Beards and Bronzer?

Laura and I are back from Little Rock and trying to get caught up on our “real lives” while trying to download all our purchases and fun stuff. Laura is planning a recap of the Arkansas Pen Show and I will try to post a purchase dump soon.

This week we are getting peeks at the release of the not-so-bronze Lamy AL-Star pen and ink and more of the Lamy gemstone inks are washing up on US shores.

There are two reviews of the Fa Vo notebook from the UK and a peek at the new Baron Fig pencil release. Make some ink splatters, getting your fountain pen mojo back, what makes watercolor paper what it is and drawing beard stubble. We’ve got it all!

Letter Writers Alliance have information about writing condolence letters and sending letters of support to Christchurch you might want to check out.

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Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

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Pen Review: Jet Pens Coral Pen Sampler

Review by Laura Cameron

I’ve always wanted to buy a JetPens pen sampler, but I haven’t had a good excuse until this year when JetPens developed a Coral Pen Sampler (10 pens for $20.00)!

The nice thing about JetPens’ samplers is that they include a variety of fine liners, brush pens, gel pens, and others so not only do you get pens in the color of your choice, but you get to try new types of pens!

Of the pens I received, the only one I had tried before was the Marvy Le Pen.

The pens came in a variety of shades of coral; some more red and some more pink, and a few in NEON bright.

I learned I have no idea how to use brush pens!

I think my favorites of the batch were the Pilot Juice and the Pilot Frixion Colors. Both had a pinky red color, but they were smooth and lovely to write with.

The Zebra Bold had an amazing grapefruit color, but again, I am not deft with brushes!

The neons were fun, but I’m not sure how well they’d fit in my day to day uses.

Nonetheless, this was a fun sampler to try and I would totally recommend it if you’re looking for something fun in your favorite colors!


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided to us free of charge  by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Fountain Pen Review: Faber-Castell Grip 2011 EF in Silver

Fountain Pen Review: Faber-Castell Grip 2011 EF in Silver

There are not a lot of new, entry-level pens appearing on the market so its always worth taking a good look. The Faber-Castell Grip 2011 ($20) is definitely a contender. Especially in light of recent price increase on the Pilot Metropolitan (now MSRP $29.99, street price $23.99), there is definitely room for a new entry-level fountain pen.

Enter: the Grip 2011.

Faber-Castell took design cues from their Grip pencil, which has always been one of my favorite pencils. The pen shares the same soft, triangular shape and rubberized dots as the pencil, just a wider version.

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen cap detail

On the end of the cap, is a raised version of the jousting horses. Oh, did I mention it’s a snap cap?

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen clip

Printed on the side of the cap is the Faber-Castell logo and the clip is slim and elegant. Unlike other, lower priced Faber-Castell pens, the cap is a uniform cylinder shape which I really prefer aesthetically.

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen nib

The nib is engraved with dots and Faber-Castell’s signature jousting horses. While I don’t know if the nib is custom made by Faber-Castell or if its a stock nib engraved for Faber-Castell but its good looking and smooth.

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen in profile

The grip section is a subtly molded grip section. Imagine if someone rubbed down the hard edges of a Lamy Safari. As a left-handed writer, I find the Grip 2011 far easier to use and more comfortable than the stricter, sharper edges of the Safari.

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen size comparison

So, how does it stack up against other entry level pens? From left to right: a Kaweco Sport, TWSBI Eco, Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, Kaweco Perkeo and the Faber-Castell Grip 2011  — all capped. The Metro, the Safari, the Perkeo and the Grip 2011 all have snap caps.

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen size comparison posted

The same pens shown in the previous photo, posted. The only pen in this price range that’s metal is the Metropolitan. The Perkeo and the Grip 2011 are the widest and both take standard European cartridges or converters. Generally speaking, I don’t post my pens except for pocket pens like the Kaweco Sport.

pen weight comparison chart

The Grip 2011 is a light pen weighing 15gms capped or or posted and  10gms uncapped. The Safari is a little bit heavier. The Perkeo is probably very close in weight.

Faber-Castell Gripp 2011 Fountain Pen writing sample

The extra fine nib, being a European EF, is not super fine but I still find it really pleasurable to write with. I’ve been using this pen for several months and I really like it. I love that it is easy to use, takes standard European and long cartridges as well as a standard converter. It’s become my office pen, easy to cap and uncap throughout the day and I am using up that stash of mystery cartridges I’ve had for years.

If you need a quick, easy-to-use fountain pen for yourself or you’re trying to convert a friend to the world of fountain pens, I think the Faber-Castell Grip 2011 is a great option. It’s available in a variety of other colors and nib widths so there’s something for everyone.


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DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 162

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 162

By Jessica Coles

Sailor Studio inks. 100 inks that have amazing characteristics including heavy sheening inks, pastel colors, even inks that seem to be several colors and no specific color at the same time.  Today, we are looking at Sailor Studio 162.

According to the numbering scheme used by Sailor, we can tell that this will be the lightest color in this color group (the color group 62). I previously reviewed Sailor Studio 462 which is in the same color group.

A quick first glance at Sailor Studio 162 shows an overall dusky green ink.  But plenty of pinkish-purple shows through along with grey.

In writing, the color shows more as a light bluish green.  With my medium nib (Lamy Safari pen), there was also plenty of shading.

The ink could almost be mistaken for a grey that leaned towards blue, at times.

The paper used here is cream colored.  It seems to be a perfect pairing with Sailor Studio 162, though!

Here is a comparison of Sailor Studio 162 (on the left) and Sailor Studio 462 (on the right) to show how close the two colors are.  462 has fewer distinguishable colors – the lighter colors seem to be hidden when the first number is greater than 3.

Again, another comparison with Sailor Studio 462, this time in studio lighting and on white Col-o-Dex cards. The lighter 162 does show more of the subtle colors.

As for comparisons – this part is always difficult with Sailor Studio inks.  I’ve laid out both green and purplish-grey inks for the lineup.  I think it helps to show the subtle colors.

Kobe #64 is a somewhat close match to Sailor Studio 162, however, once again the Sailor Studio ink shows a depth and color variation that I have yet to find in other inks.

Again, the only place I have been able to purchase Sailor Studio inks in the United States is one eBay seller, linked below.  Please let me know if you find other sellers!  Even with the high price of these inks, I believe it’s worth the expense to add one or two to your collection.



Disclaimer: All items in this review were purchased by me.  For more information, visit our About page.

Link Love: On the Road Again!

Link Love: On the Road Again!

Tomorrow, Laura and I are packing up and driving south to Little Rock for the Arkansas Pen Show. We hope that if you’re within shouting distance, we’ll see you there this weekend. If not, you can follow along with our adventures on Instagram and we’ll post a recap here next week.

Lots of paper-related links this week and recaps from Baltimore and London Pen Shows. Most importantly though, Tools and Toys reviews the best coffeemaker ever built. It’s Desk-tested. Desk-approved.

Late-Breaking News!

Laura discovered yesterday that F+W Media, publisher of dozens of publications including HOW, Print, Interweave Knits, Writer’s Digest and The Artist’s Magazine, filed for bankruptcy. Since many readers here are of a creative pursuit, you may read or have read one of their many publications. Here are a couple links to articles regarding the bankruptcy thus far.

While many publishing companies have continued to tighten their belts, moving to online only or shuttering their business altogether, I believe that niche publications still have a place in the market. I also believe that magazines, in general, are having a resurgence. Publications are curated, collected and, like many of the things we enjoy, offer an analog experience. They provide a chance to read quietly. Even publications full of ads, don’t interrupt your reading experience with a pop-up ad requiring one to click a check box to close it. Ads within a magazine are often curated to the audience of a publication as well. Reading an outdoor magazine? Chance are, the ads are for camping gear, REI and the like.

Magazines also provide time capsules. While we might look back on a publication from five years ago and roll our eyes at the fashion, the font choices or some other aspect of the magazine. When we see a magazine from 50 years ago, there is a fascination with the whole world embodied in the magazine, be it a fishing publication or a knitting one.

Two aspects of a publication (the aesthetic and the individual unit) present the reader with a unique experience in content and context. The design elements like layout, type design, and photography can be experienced in a more comprehensive way, throughout the publication, from masthead to page number. The publication can also be curated editorially from cover to cover in a way that may not be as meaningful when scrolling through a sea of text online.

This complete experience is what continues to make magazines engrossing and artifacts  of our world.

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Ink Review: Diamine 150th Anniversary, Blue Velvet

Review by Laura Cameron

I recently went on a bit of an ink buying spree. Rather than grab the newest, hottest colors, I went back and added a few inks I missed along the way. The first of those is Diamine 150th Blue Velvet (40mL for $16.00).

Blue Velvet is a beautifully rich cornflower blue.

It is bright, clear blue and has so many yummy shades. It has the intensity that I’ve come to admire in many of the Robert Oster blues, and yet this one doesn’t lean teal at all. Just rich, cobalt blue.

As you can see the ink shades beautifully, and in super heavy applications had something of a sheen. I can’t even decide exactly what the sheen is – maybe a black with a tinge of yellow or red? In person it’s super, super dark.

Ok they were blue suede shoes, not blue velvet, so I took some license here, but I think it works! (please forgive the lack of artistic skill.)

Honestly, I had a hard time coming up with a comparison to this blue in my stash of swatches. Almost everything I brought out wasn’t the right shade, even if it matched in intensity. Pilot Iroshizuku Ajisai is sort of close to the lighter shades of Blue Velvet, but it’s still a bit too much on the periwinkle side. Robert Oster Soda Pop Blue was too turquoise, and Deep Sea was too teal. Faber Castell makes a Cobalt Blue but it is nowhere near as brilliant as Blue Velvet and even Pelikan Edelstein looks muted in comparison.

Overall I’m thrilled with this one because it’s not a shade I currently have. My only problem is deciding which pen to fill up first!


DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.