Link Love: More Link Fury Than Ever!

Awesome new Link artwork by Chris Grine, illustrator of the web comic Wicked Crispy.
Awesome new Link artwork by Chris Grine, illustrator of the web comic Wicked Crispy.

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:


Super shoutout this week to Chris Grine for the new Link artwork. I ran into Chris at Planet Comicon and he kindly offered to whip up a new Link for me. If you think Link is awesome, you should check out his web comic Wicked Crispy or his Dark Horse graphic novel series Chickenhare. Thanks, Chris, you totally made my week!

Anderson Pens Ink Comparison Tool

AP-inkcomptool

Have you seen the new Anderson Pens Ink Comparison Tool. The tool will allow for up to five ink color comparisons from their inventory and will allow sorting by brand, color family and will even allow selecting out colors that are unavailable.

I tried it out today and I have to say it wasn’t until I scrolled down to see the tables, that I was blown away by the level of detail it contained. Each table lists the price of the ink per ounce/ml, the country of origin, if its available in cartridges, if its water resistant, shimmery, pigmented, quick-dry and so much more in a quick, easy-to read comparison chart. The ink color comparisons are shown side-by-side so its also easy to see to color differences. I added in a color I already owned as a visual “control” so I could gauge how much bluer or greener the other turquoise colors might appear. And that helped me make a more accurate comparison for myself and figure out how color accurate my computer monitor is. This is a really thorough, easy-to-use tool and its a little TOO easy to buy either a sample or a whole bottle of ink right from the comparison tool. I think I’m going to be spending a lot of money this way.


Full transparency, Anderson Pens is a sponsor of this blog but they did not ask me to mention this new feature nor was I specifically compensated to mention it here.

A Quiet Week…

quiet hallway

FYI, I just wanted to give y’all a “heads up”, I am in the final week of a huge project at work which is requiring a ton of overtime including being in the office on a Sunday in order to finish it up. (Please refer to the somber photo above as proof.) This means its  going to be a little quiet around here this next week. My apologies! I’ll be sure to get Link Love up this week, and there’s going to be a big surprise for that! By Saturday, the project should be released and I can think about pens and ink and paper again so I can get back to the regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

sketchbooks-1

Side note: there’s another project in the works that’s going to be kind of exciting. There will be more information about that sometime next week but its gonna be kind of big. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out the archives, click some old Link Loves and say hello to our lovely sponsors. Next month it will be six years, gang! I’ve  been doing this for six years! Can you believe it?

Is this the definitive modern office?

 No obstacles: Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California Washington Post

No obstacles: Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California Washington Post (via The Independent)

I was listening to Cortex yesterday and Myke and CGP Grey were mentioning the new Menlo Park headquarters for Facebook and the large, open-plan work space. This space is not a trend unique to Facebook. Many companies and office spaces are transitioning to open-plan work spaces for more “open communication” and collaborating. But is this type of space really the solution to that? Do people really collaborate more and do critical thinking in a space like this or do they end up trying to drown out all the distractions with headphones or go hide away in a closet somewhere to get some actual work done?

I find the interior space of the new Facebook office neither aesthetically appealing nor engaging for working or collaborating. It just looks cluttered, messy and noisy. The fact that no one is given any storage space nor are they encouraged to have personal items on their desk seem to only make it more disheartening and cluttered. The overly high, unfinished ceilings with cables descending down are even worse! I think of something Trevor Noah said about not moving into Jon Stewart’s office after he left the Daily Show… he talked about how the whole point of moving up in the worked and getting out of poverty meant he didn’t want to have to live in a space with exposed brick walls again and what was it with white people and exposed brick? I feel the same way about wealthy tech companies and exposed wiring? You can afford to have that sh*t covered up! This whole space gives me a case of the hibby jibbies!

For a more in-depth view of the new Facebook work space, there is a 3+ minute video tour on YouTube.

I really hope that the pendulum of the open floor plan office starts to swing back the other way because I don’t believe that this much openness is genuinely conducive to non-distracted working and thinking. I believe it leads people to seek out other places to work, or they choose to come into work either early or stay late in an attempt to avoid distrations. I think the myth of multi-tacking needs to stop. It makes people sloppy and tired. We can multi-task for a little while but, in the end, I don’t think its effective, efficient or healthy. I don’t think we, as idea workers, can come up with our best ideas when we are constantly distracted by co-workers, bleeps, or other disturbances. Yes, its nice to have a way to bounce ideas off other people, but we need to find a better way to do it other than forcing people to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with headphones on while they madly type into their laptops and mobile devices. That’s not really collaborating, is it?

Thus endedth the tirade.

Fashionable Friday: Planet Comicon 2016

FF-Planet-Comicon16
It’s that time of year again, its time to get my nerd girl on… this weekend is the Kansas City Planet Comicon and while I will not be able to meet the goddess that is Hayley Atwell AKA Agent Peggy Carter who will only be at the event today, I will be cruising around on Saturday picking up comics, toys and nerd wonderment on Saturday. But I did ask friends to give Hayley a kiss for me and a promise not to lick her though, if it were me, I might. But I am still totally bummed that Agent Carter was not renewed for a third season! It’s time for Amazon or Netflix to step in and save the series!!!!

So, in keeping with tradition, this week’s Fashionable Friday is geek themed!

  • Diamine Shimmering Red Lustre Ink (50 ml Bottle) $20 (via JetPens)
  • Montegrappa Wonder Woman Fountain Pen $475 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Fortuna fountain pen white and ruthenium €205 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Rhodia 5-3/8 X 8-1/4 Orange/Dot Grid Top Staplebound Dot Pad Notebook $5.50 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Shachihata Artline Blox Mechanical Pencil – 0.5 mm – Type 3 (Orange/Blue) $2.60 (via JetPens)
  • TARDIS Print 13″x19″ $30 (via Bryan Fyffe)
  • Piper V Dark Brown Boots (AKA Rey’s Boots from The Force Awakens) £125 (via Po-Zu)
  • Akkerman Residentie Blauw (60ml Bottle) $29 (via Anderson Pens)
  • BB-8 $149.99 (via Sphero)
  • Pelikan Souveran 805 Vibrant Blue Medium Point Fountain Pen $699.95 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Midori Brass Pencil $16 (via Fresh Stock Japan)

Ink Review: Lamy Dark Lilac

Lamy Dark Lilac Ink

I feel terrible that I keep reviewing inks that are sold out already but what can I do? I buy them as fast as I can but, when they are limited edition, they sell out. But you want to know if they are good, right? So here it is… my take on Lamy Dark Lilac $10.50. Some shops are saying they will get a restock towards the end of May, beginning of June so keep your eyes peeled.

Lamy Dark Lilac Ink Writing Sample

I tested Dark Lilac with my new-to-me Lamy Safari Lime (the 2008 edition, thanks to Susan Wirth for this wonderful pen!) with an EF nib. I’d heard there was not a lot of shading with the Dark Lilac so I didn’t think using a fine nib would be doing the ink a disservice. I did do a few sentences with my Esterbrook 9315F relief stub, just to check, but the color is so dense that it really did not shade much. As a result, Dark Lilac really is a good color for legibility in fine and extra fine nibs and a great alternative to a black or blue-black ink as an everyday use ink. It flowed beautifully in the Safari with an EF nib and I think would be equally effective with a Japanese F or EF nib as well. It might even look a little lighter in an even finer nib and might show off the vividness of the color a bit more.

Lamy Dark Lilac Ink Comparison

In the ink swabs, the Dark Lilac shows a slight gold sheen but its also evident how dense and the vibrant the color is compared to the other inks. Noodler’s Purple Wampum is really the only ink I could find that was close in hue. KWZ Gummiberry Iron Gall was close in color density. I’m not sure if the regular version of Gummiberry is as deep as the iron gall formula but that may be another alternative.

The last few special edition colors of the Lamy Safaris and AL-Stars with matching inks have offered ink colors that have been way too light to be genuinely usable until now.  Dark Lilac is one of the most usable and interesting ink colors from Lamy since their BlueBlack. If you happen upon a bottle (or even some cartridges), grab it while you have the chance. This is definitely one of the better limited edition ink offerings from Lamy.

Link Love: Nibbage of All Types

rp_link-anaPens:

Ink:

Notebooks & Paper:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:

Books for the Desk Set: Calligraphy & Lettering

In Progress by Jessica Hische

In Progress: See Inside a Lettering Artist’s Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector
by Jessica Hische ($9.99 for Kindle, $20.23 for hardcover)

In Progress is one of the most eye-opening books about hand drawn lettering that I have ever seen. Its incredibly refreshing to see both the process and the finished work of such an incredibly talented lettering artist like Jessica Hische and to see how she tweaks and refines things through the various phases of her process. If you have even an inkling of interest in creating hand lettering or calligraphy, this book is worth every penny. Jessica Hische is one of the most talented people in the industry today and for many years to come and she shows her whole process in a very open and honest way.

She shows her favorite tools (Hello, Blackwings!) for sketching and idea generation all the way through to her digital refining process. Even as eye candy, the book is worth the price.

Learn to Draw Calligraphy Animals

Learn to Draw Calligraphy Animals: 30 unique creations
by Andrew Fox ($12.06 for hardcover)

Through twists and turns on Pinterest, I found Andrew Fox’s book Learn to Draw Calligraphy Animals on This Is Colossal. Fox uses the wide flat strokes of calligraphy nibs to create simple, expressive animals in an absolutely captivating way. This book is a perfect addition for the Desk Set bookshelf. Drawing PLUS calligraphy nibs?!?! It’s a total no-brainer.

Fox has also created a book on drawing nature using calligraphy pens which was released in March. Even more fun to be had!

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Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms
by Alex Fowkes ($25.84 for paperback)

Drawing Type features an array of international lettering artists mostly doing decorative hand lettered stylings and not a lot of overly computer-stylized looks. Jon Contino, Mary Kate McDevitt and Linzie Hunter are all featured if that gives you an idea of the aesthetics represented. Towards the back of the book are some exercises to try to develop your own hand lettering style as well as a few specimen pages of some typefaces to use as reference. Overall its a good coffee table book with a good representation of the hand lettering styles popular right now.

71LCE10xWWLLittle Book of Lettering
by Emily Gregory ($15.21 for hardcover)

The Little Book of Lettering lives up to its name as it is a small book, about the size of a CD, and its been out for a few years now, but its a book I find myself referring back to time and again. Its filled with inspiring spreads of lettering art from different illustrators and calligraphers with vastly different styles. The book is actually divided into three sections to represent tightly rendered, loose and casual and 3-dimensional styled lettering. While there is no specific how-to’s in the book, its a great inspiration and covers a range of aesthetics and introduces the reader to a lot of different artists and their work.

When Good Repairs Happen to Good Pens

lady sheaffer gold

I wanted to do a follow-up to what happened to my Parker Duofold in Atlanta. I wanted to share a GOOD repair story that happened at the Chicago Pen Show. I bought a low-priced Lady Sheaffer Skripsert on Thursday night on a vendor’s table only to discover that there was a crack in the nib plastic a couple days later. Now, I didn’t look closely enough when I purchased it to discover the crack so I know this was my fault.

I mentioned the crack to someone at the show on Sunday and was told that Ron Zorn at Main Street Pens was the man to see and that he might have parts to fix a Lady Sheaffer Skripsert. Later, he happened to come by the Vanness table while I was working and I mentioned my broken Lady Sheaffer and he told me to come by he table right then. I followed him into the ballroom and was able to watch him disassemble the complicated assembly of the partially hooded nib from the cracked housing. He had a spare housing and even had new-old-stock nibs and housings so I purchased a spare fine nib as well as having him replace the housing for the original nib.

lady sheaffer gold fine nib

He did the work quickly and talked me through the procedure. He even told me he had a lot of additional  parts for Lady Sheaffers and that if I had any others that needed repairs to let him know.

lady sheaffer gold

I thought it was interesting to see that the dolphin nose angle of the nib is less severe on the X-Fine nib than on the medium nib. They are both 14K nibs and very smooth.

I thought it would be good to share a repair story with a happy ending.

lady sheaffer gold fine nib writing sample

When I got back to Kansas City, I put a turquoise Sheaffer cartridge in it and was actually quite pleased with the color of the ink. I noticed a little bit a a red halo to it which was a pleasant surprise. I plan to use up the ink and then refill the cartridges because finding a converter to fit the Lady Sheaffers is kind of a challenging. The X-Fine writes beautifully and I love it!

the lady sheaffer brigade

The “new” gold Lady Sheaffer Skripsert came with a little carrying case but I thought I’d show the whole collection together — two Lady Sheaffer Skripserts and the Sheaffer Imperial plus the extra nib unit. Now to find some of those exotic Lady Sheaffer beauties in blue and red!

Ink Review: Callifolio Andrinople (and Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love)

Callifolio Andrinople Ink

When Brad Dowdy told me he was looking for a bottle of ink that would match his new Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love that he ordered from Bung Box and had delivered by his darling wife on Sunday to the Atlanta Pen Show, I helped him pick Callifolio Andrinople. In the process of picking the ink, I both fell in love with the Sailor Pink Love and Callifolio Andrinople. So, by the time the Chicago Pen Show rolled around two weeks later, I found someone willing to sell me their Pink Love pen and had Lisa Vanness to hold one of the last foil packs of Andrinople for me to pick up in Chicago. So, thanks to Brad, I developed an instant lust for a pink pen and a pink ink. Who thought I’d ever have to blame him for that?

Callifolio Andrinople Ink Etched Bottle

The great thing about the Callifolio foil pouches is the cost-to-volume value. The pouches hold 50ml for a mere $8. Then I was able to transfer the contents to the custom, laser-etched bottle that Lisa made for me with my logo on an empty KWZ bottle. Pretty spiffy, huh?

Callifolio Andrinople Ink Writing Sample

As for the ink itself, I think its a pretty great match for the Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love pen from Bung Box, without being too girly. Andrinople is a fruit punch pink without being garish and totally legible, particularly in the wide music nib.

Callifolio Andrinople Ink Comparison

I did not have many other inks that were similar in color to Andrinople. Caran d’Ache Divine Pink is very similar in color but at three times the price. And J. Herbin Rouge Opera is similar but a little more pink and maybe slightly more coral. I was going to show Platinum Cyclamen Pink here but it was so far removed in color that it didn’t seem appropriate. Way too fluorescent red.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of Callifolio Andrinople. The color is lovely and a great match for the Sailor Pink Love.

FYI: I looked it up and Andrinople is a reference to a location in Turkey now known as Edirne, historically known as Adrianople, was known for making a type red dye known as “Turkey red” or in France “rouge d’Andrinople“.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Vanness Pen Shop for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Peek: 10th Anniversary Traveler’s Notebook Mini Size

10th Anniversary Traveler's notebook mini

I couldn’t resist doing a little unboxing photo peek of the Traveler’s Notebook 10th Anniversary Mini Size ($38) from Baum-Kuchen because the packaging is so spectacular. Full disclosure: I purchased this from Baum-Kuchen and was not compensated in anyway. I also bought my 5th Anniversary Traveler’s Notebook from them and received such lovely packaging and customer service that I was more than happy to send them my repeat business. And their packaging is even more amazing this time around. The little folded card is their business card and my invoice.

10th Anniversary Traveler's notebook mini

Once unfolded, there is a hand written note and rubber stamps making it extra special. I can’t imagine how long it must take them to put together each package!

10th Anniversary Traveler's notebook mini

Wrapped around the tin was kraft paper sealed with twine and a custom Baum-Kuchen wax seal plus a rubber stamp and my name handwritten. Amazing!

10th Anniversary Traveler's notebook mini

I was able to slide the tin out of the kraft paper without having to cut the twine or damage the seal. I’m such a hoarder I want to save the wrap. And I’m not sure I can bring myself to actually unwrap all the contents inside the tin either.

10th Anniversary Traveler's notebook mini

There is a little tiny wrapped leather cover in kraft paper with a paper label just like a real Traveler’s Notebook and a tiny charm in a cellophane sleeve and cardboard backer. The bottom container is teeny, tiny paper and covers that can be folded and put into the notebook cover. Seriously. That’s the level of detail. Under the molded plastic are a sheet of full-sized stickers as well.

I put my full-sized Traveler’s Notebook next to the box for size comparison. Pretty funny how little the book is!

10th Anniversary Traveler's notebook mini

I had to put the teeny little Traveler’s Notebook packaging in my hand just for scale.

The tins are available in three different colors, each with a different color leather cover contained inside. I got the new camel colored cover in the blue tin but whether I’ll ever unwrap the package is still up for debate. Right now, I’m going to enjoy the delightful little package with all the tiny details.

I’m totally amused at the 10th Anniversary Mini Size but I realize that it is definitely a collector’s item and is not particularly useful for most folks. But if you’re a diehard Traveler’s Notebook fan it might be hard to pass up this little gem. The tin is embossed and is a good place to store Traveler’s Notebook ephemera and the tiny Traveler’s Notebook can be used as a key fob or charm on a notebook.

Fashionable Friday: Metallics

FF-Metallics

Inspired by one of a members of my secret society of enablers, Cyn from Toronto, this week’s Fashionable Friday is all about the metallics. She managed to match her nail polish to her Kaweco Liliput Fireblue ($175.50 via JetPens). The polish, if you’re curious, is Color Club Cash Only ($10).

  • Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen in Brushed Stainless Steel $300 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Fisher Bullet Ballpoint Pen in Titanium Black Nitride $51.95 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Alaïa Studded Laser-Cut Leather Ballet Flats, $722 (via Elle.com)
  • Midori Brass Pencil $16 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Sailor Chalana Barley Fountain Pen in Silver with Black Accents & Extra Fine Nib $180 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Diamine Shimmertastic Night Sky Ink (50ml Bottle) $20 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Filofax Saffiano Compact Gold Organizer $39.60 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Lamy Logo fountain pen Pearl (special edition 2016) € 36,90 (Via Fontoplumo)
  • Render K V2 in silver aluminum starting at $55 (via Karas Kustoms)
  • J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Stormy Grey Ink (50 ml Bottle) $27 (via JetPens)
  • Mercer Satchel #30 in Silver Grain Leather $395 (via Coach)
  • Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo Fountain Pen in Champagne with 18K Gold Medium Nib $133 (via JetPens)
  • Diamine Shimmering Fountain Pen Ink in Golden Sands (50ml bottle) $16 (via Pen Chalet)

Link Love: Ink Love

rp_link-anaPen Shows and Such:

Pens:

Ink:

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Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:

Pen Review: Sailor Fude de Mannen Fountain Pens

Sailor Fude de Mannen fountain pens

A couple of days before I left for the Atlanta Pen Show, the amazing Joey Feldman sent me two Sailor Fude de Mannen fountain pens to try. I had been wanting to try these fountain pens for ages since many artists and calligraphers had raved about them but I had had a hard time finding anyone who had them in stock. Along came Joey with a couple he wasn’t using and voila! I’m flush with the funky nib wunderkinds.

Sailor Fude de Mannen fountain pens

The big deal about the Fude de Mannen fountain pens are the bent angle nibs that look like the nibs are broken but they are purposely bent to allow for brush-like ink flow from a fountain pen nib. This allows from very expressive line quality for calligraphy and drawing depending on the angle at which the nib is aligned with the paper. The more parallel the nib is aligned with the paper, the more ink will be applied to the paper; the steeper the angle, the finer the line.

Sailor Fude de Mannen 40º nib

The first one is the Sailor DE 40º Brush Style Calligraphy Fountain Pen. JetPens lists it for $16.50 and says its navy blue but it is so dark that I thought it was black. The trim is gold toned and it is a particularly long pen. The body is a lightweight plastic though so the length is not particularly noticeable once I started using it though I didn’t post the cap as it requires a bit of force to post it and makes the pen ridiculously long and a little back-heavy. The 40º pen does not have a clip but there is a roll-stop bit of plastic on the cap to keep the pen from rolling away.

Sailor Fude De Mannen 55º nib

The smaller pen is the Sailor Profit 55º Fude de Mannen Fountain Pen. I was only able to find it on Amazon for $21.66. Its a shorter pen, more traditional in length and the cap posts much more easily and the weight is more evenly distributed when the cap is posted. The Profit also writes with a much broader stroke overall which looks much more dramatic. When angled just right, the 55º is pretty much a firehose of ink which can be a lot of fun. Angled at a steeper angel, it cam be used more like a traditional broad nib.

Both pens use the Sailor cartridges or the Sailor converter.

I found the 40º pen to be a little bit scratchier on paper compared to the Profit 55º. I don’t know if it was the angle of the nibs or the specific nibs themselves. It could have just been a fluke of the pen I have but the Profit 55º skated like butter on the paper where there was a little more resistance with the 40º, for whatever reason. I might buy another one just to see if it was this specific pen that was a little rough or a difference between the two product lines. Either way, at around $20 per pen, I can hardly complain about quality control since the overall pen is very well done and the nibs are very unique and almost impossible to get in any other configuration without going into the hundreds-of-dollars price points.

Sailor Fude De Mannen writing drawing samples

I had a lot of fun drawing and trying out different lettering styles with these pens and I will definitely continue to experiment with these. Since the price points on these pens are so reasonable as well, I might even try using some permanent inks so that I can add some watercolor and marker to the drawings as well. Then I really have an excuse to buy another one and just label one “carbon ink” and one “water soluble”. If you like trying out different types of tools and $20 won’t break your bank, I definitely recommend picking one or both of these up. The scale you prefer to work will determine whether the 40º or the 55º will be more to your taste. If you work in sketchbooks smaller than A4, then I would recommend the 40º if you work A4 (US Letter or larger) than the 55º is probably a better option or if you like to work in big, bold shapes and patterns.

Review: Monteverde Soft Roll Refills

Monteverde Soft Roll Refills Retro 51a

Generally speaking, I tend to avoid ballpoint refills because I don’t often have very good luck with ballpoint ink. Being left-handed, it tends to smear more often and hard start more often for me than most people. But when Bert at Bertram’s Inkwell insisted I try the Monteverde Soft Roll refills in my Retro 51s as an alternative to the Schmidt P8126 refills, I decided to give it a shot, if only as scientific research. Bert insisted that the superbroad version was one of his best sellers but I was skeptical, being a proponent of the extrafine refills myself. So we settled on trying both. The Parker-style refills fit perfectly in the Retro 51s, something I had not actually tried before so that was an added bonus and opened up a whole new world of refills to me.

Monteverde Soft Roll Writing Samples

It turns out, that on Rhodia paper, both of the Soft Roll refills actually worked really well. The superbroad refill forced me to write a little bit larger than I normally do so that the letters didn’t close up. The ink was actually quite smooth and didn’t have that oily look a lot of ballpoint ink gets. It also didn’t skip or break up like a lot of ballpoint ink does when I write either. The extrafine wrote so smoothly and precisely I forgot it was ballpoint ink at all and kept thinking it was a gel ink.

Monteverde Soft Roll Refills Retro 51s

I used the extrafine refill all week in my Retro51 Bouquet so it was tested on copier paper, Moleskine paper and various and sundry office papers with satisfactory results. I did a few additional tests with the superbroad on a legal pad and there was a bit more evidence of bloops but that’s probably a result of cheap paper combined with the refill putting down a good deal more ink.

If I’m going to use a ballpoint, I’m going to choose one of these refills because the quality is far superior to the average drugstore stick pen. Go, Monteverde!

Both the superbroad and extrafine refills come in a two-pack for $8.95.


DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Bert at Bertram’s Inkwell for these samples. This item was given to me free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Crescent Rendr No Show Thru Sketchbook

Crescent Rendr No Show Sketchbook

The Crescent Rendr No Show Thru Sketchbook 3.5″x5.5″ ($10) was something I wanted to try in hopes of finding a good multimedia sketchbook. I got the small size to sample at first before investing in a larger version. Crescent also claims that the sketchbook lays flat as show on the wrap included with the book.

The sketchbook has a flexible, soft touch paperboard cover and a perfect binding. In looking closely at the pages, the paper looks like there is a black core in the middle of the white sheet to create the bleed-proof quality.

Crescent Rendr No Show Sketchbook

Was the paper bleed proof? Yes, but any wet media, including watercolor markers, liquid ink applied in any volume, brush pens filled with liquid acrylic or ink, caused the paper to buckle and curl severely. I tried adding water to Winsor & Newton watercolor markers to blend the color and the color wouldn’t move. So there is another aspect to this paper that changes the property of some materials as well. The watercolor marker absorbed into the paper and made it impossible to manipulate those markers with water. I got a little movement with water soluble pencils like a Stabilo ALL but mostly, I found the paper frustrating. Sure, most material didn’t bleed to the reverse but the curl and buckle was so bad I couldn’t really use the other side of the sheet anyway so bleed through didn’t really matter by the time I finished a page anyway. At least for the types of art materials I use.

Crescent Rendr No Show Sketchbook Crescent Rendr No Show Sketchbook

As for the claims about lay-flat, I found in the small 3.5×5.5″ size, the book did not lay flat at all, even after trying to bend the pages and cracking the spine. I ended up having to use a clip or hold the book with my hand. Maybe the larger book lays flat more easily but the small pocket-sized book did not lay flat and then after I used it, it did not close either.

Crescent Rendr No Show Sketchbook

Overall, I found this particular product quite frustrating. I looked online to see if anyone else had reviewed it. Notebook Stories agreed with my findings: bleed proof but curls with wet media. On Amazon, I found reviews that suggested that if you use a lot of alcohol-based markers like Copic Markers, then you might have a better experience with this paper but that fountain pens feather terribly. So, this is definitely not for fountain pen users or watercolorists. If you do a lot of marker illustrations, I would be more inclined to recommend traditional marker paper which is translucent but designed to withstand alcohol markers. If you want to use a wider range of mixed media (from pens to ink to graphite) and wet media (watercolor, markers, etc), I’d recommend Strathmore Mixed Media, Canson XL Mixed Media, Stillman & Birn or one of the artist’s sketchbooks from Seawhite of Brighton. I’ve written reviews about the Seawhite Artist’s Travel Journal and the A5 Starter Sketchbook pack if you’d like more information.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Ranga Modified Fountain Pen

Ranga Nikko G Fountain Pen

The Ranga Acrylic Fountain Pen is a very different kind of pen for me to review and to describe so I apologize in advance if this is a little strange. First of all, this pen came to me pre-modified by the fabulous Leigh Reyes. She has provided detailed instructions on her web site along with a video on how to make this modification for yourself, I was just lucky enough to get a hands-on demonstration and prepared pen.

So, to give you more details, the Ranga acrylic fountain pens come with a standard steel fountain pen nib with an ebonite feed that is friction fit and an eyedropper filling mechanism. The reason this is such a good candidate for modification for a flex dip nib is because of the ebonite feed which will allow better flow and can be manipulated to increase flow.

If you can’t tell yet, this is not a beginner’s fountain pen or project. If you averse to having inky fingers for get annoyed if your pen chokes up on you this is NOT a pen for you. However, if you are tired of dip pen dipping, then this can be your new best friend. Because, with some patience and tweaking, the Ranga can hum along beautifully.

Ranga Nikko G Fountain Pen

I included the above image to show that there was a lot of trials on scratch paper and nib cleaning. I’m serious when I say this is a tweaker’s pen. But look how cool this is! If you do a lot a lettering with flex dip nib, anything that makes writing a few more lines without dipping is a bonus so you know what I’m so excited about.

Ranga Nikko G Fountain Pen

The pen is about 5.5″ long capped. The cap will post making the pen almost 7″ from the tip of the flex nib to the end of the cap. Filled with ink it is pretty light, only 20 gms but the Ranga Acrylic is a little wider at the grip section in the hand than a lot of nib holders which tend to be very narrow which is really nice.

Fountain Pen Weights

Ranga Acrylics are available on Amazon with free shipping which seems to be the best option if you live in the US. If you live in the Phillipines, Pengrafik stocks the Ranga Acrylics. Peyton Street Pens in the US stocks some Ranga pens fitted with vintage nibs that may offer some flex as an alternative to using dip nibs.

I purchased a Desiderata Daedalus pen in Chicago that I will review in the next week or so. It works on a similar principle in that it holds a Zebra G nib but is comes prepared to accept the Zebra G nib without the tinkering required to make the Ranga work with a flex nib but it still requires some preparation.

Finally, here’s a little Instagram video I did (handheld!) and managed to misspell Ranga in the process but you can see the flex in action. I’ve since purchased a tripod so hopefully my videos will improve.

Fashionable Friday: Off To The Races

Fashionable Friday: Off To The Races

I’m back on schedule and just in time to celebrate Derby weekend, Desk-style. So, pull out your race day finery, mix up some mint juleps and place your bets! And don’t worry, I practice what I preach, I bought the Rose Garland dress immediately.

  • Too Much Fun Dress in Rose Garland On Sale $59.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Mint Julep recipe (via Food52)
  • e + m Cedar Wood Pencil in Metallic Copper $1.45 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji (50ml Bottle) $28.50 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Montegrappa Copper Mule Fountain Pen Retail $375, Sale Price when added to cart (via Pen Chalet)
  • Karas Kustoms Copper Retrakt Pen $95 (via JetPens)
  • Filofax Cover Story Primrose Personal Organizer $52 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Cross 2014 Year of Horse Imperial Special Edition Fountain Pen $360 (via Pen Boutique)
  • PH Memo Pad in Green $5 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Midori D-Clips Horse Paper Clips – Box of 30 $7.25 (via JetPens)
  • Bulleit Bourbon available wherever fine liquors are sold
  • Elegance 6-inch Silver Mint Julep Nickel Plated on Brass Cup $21.26 (via Amazon)
  • Kentucky Derby Horse Racing Poster 24×32″ Giclee Print $99.99 (via Art.com)

Link Love: Shows & Trolls & Links Galore

rp_link-anaPost of The Week:

Pen Show-related:

Pens:

Ink:

Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:

Fashionable Friday: Road Trip Edition

FF-RoadTrip

After driving all the way to Chicago and then back to Kansas City, I thought this week’s Fashionable Friday TUESDAY (?) should be inspired by the great American road trip. Open roads, adventure, truck stops and roadside attractions that you might want to capture with pen and paper.

On our road trips, we like to make lists à la Top Four like Desert Island books, most earth-shattering album purchases, movies we’d watch 100 times, etc. Which reminds me, you should probably add Top Four to your podcast list before hitting the road, as inspiration, of course. I also recommend Sporkful, 99% Invisible, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Note To Self and, of course, The Pen Addict and Erasable. Don’t forget to pack lots of great tunes to sing along to as well.

  • Rabbitbrush Sweater pattern by Andi Satterlund (via Stranded Magazine)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-iro Ink (Sky) 50 ml Bottle $28 (via JetPens)
  • Clairefontaine 1951 Staplebound Lined Notebook in Black – 5.875 x 8.25 $4.50 (via Anderson Pens)
  • DeAtramentis Sky Blue Bottled Ink (35ml) $15.95 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Field Notes Chicago Edition 3-Pack $9.95 (via Field Notes)
  • Chuck Taylor All Star Lo-Tops In Lemon Chrome $50 (via Converse)
  • Nomadic PE-09 Flap Type Pencil Case in Red $14 (via JetPens)
  • Nähe General Purpose Wide Case $7 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • China Glaze Pop The Trunk Nail Polish $3.05 (via Amazon)
  • Faber Castell Ondoro Graphite Black Fountain Pen € 110 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Sailor Professional Gear Color Series Fountain Pen in Yellow $248 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Edison Collier Fountain Pen in Blue Steel $149 (via Anderson Pens)

Review: Platinum Maki-E Nylon Bristle Brush Pen

Platinum Maki-E Brush Pen

Platinum Classic Brush Pen with Mt. Fuji and Cherry Blossoms Pattern ($52) is a nylon fiber brush pen with a beautiful slender black body. It features a gold toned clip and gold accents and a painted Mount Fuji and cherry blossoms designs. Its one of the most traditionally Japanese motfi pens I’ve ever owned and I’m surprised how tickled I am with the overall aesthetics of the pen. The overal shape of the pen is a smooth torpedo shape and the cap has a smooth, pill-shaped clip which is simple and understated.

The pen came in a simple black paperboard box with gold foil lettering and graphics on the exterior and red velveteen paperboard on the inside with a simple ribbon band to hold the pen in place. The packaging was elegant without being extravagant, if that makes sense.

Platinum Maki-E Brush Pen

Platinum Maki-E Brush Pen

But the real feature of the pen is the brush tip rather than a fountain pen or rollerball under the cap. The brush tip is made up of nylon fibers like a paintbrush but inside the aesthetics of a fountain pen. The pen works with a cartridge or a regular Platinum converter.

Platinum Maki-E Brush Pen Close-up

The bristles on the nylon tip come to a crisp point and the nylon fibers spring back quickly with a nice bounce. I decided to test the pen on both my usual Rhodia paper as well as some Strathmore Mixed Media drawin paper which is a toothier stock and found both the pen and the stock ink cartridge to perform quite well. The toothier Strathmore paper made it a little bit easier to control the brush pen versus the silky smooth Rhodia paper making me feel a little more confident in my mark-making.

Platinum Maki-E Brush Pen Writing Sample

The pen comes with a black cartridge with Platinum Black ink and the  Platinum converter ($7.50) will fit as well which will allow a range of inks to be used. The Platinum Black ink is not waterproof but its definitely water resistant. I’m inclined to keep only black ink in this pen for the duration as I expect it would be difficult to ever get all this black out of the bristles and feed. I’d also be cautious about leaving this pen sit too long without using it in case the ink dried in the brush. It might be difficult to get it cleaned completely if the ink were to dry. Altenately, the Platinum Black is a rich, dense black that looks fantastic so it appears to be worth the trouble it might cause if you like a good solid black line for drawing or calligraphy.

Overall, I really like this pen. As its one of my first brush pens over $10 (by a long shot) I don’t have a huge basis for comparison. However, the quality of the brush tip itself is a big upgrade from the budget-priced nylon bristle brush pens I’ve purchased in the past. Add to that, the overall feel of the pen and the beautiful Maki-E painting and I feel like I have a real treasure on my hands.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Pen Boutique for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Winner: Notemaker World Stationery Day Voucher Giveaway

NoteMaker Promo

Big thanks to Notemaker for helping us make World Stationery Day (and World Stationery Week) a big deal here at The Well-Appointed Desk. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Now, a drumroll for our winner…..

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Congrats, Nicholynn! I hope you find your flexible nib pen. I will be contacting you via email to arrange everything! Thanks to everyone!

Cognitive Surplus Wax Seal Kits

Cognitive Surplus Wax Seals

Cognitive Surplus asked me if I’d like to try out their awesome array of Wax Seals. I had such a hard time choosing a design, they kindly sent me two because I could not make up my mind. I got the Erlenmeyer Flask and the Moon. The Erlenmeyer Flask came with a deep red wax stick and the Moon Seal came with a metallic silver wax stick.

If you love space and science themes, then their selection of of wax seals will be right up your alley too. Each kit comes with a brass seal mounted to a wooden handle and a coordinating wax stick in a small box with a lovely label. Each kit sells for $26.

Cognitive Surplus Wax Seals

Cognitive Surplus Wax Seals

The detail on the moon seal is excellent. This is so cool!

Cognitive Surplus Wax Seals

And the Erlenmeyer flask is also nerd cool!

Cognitive Surplus Wax Seals

I did my best to light the wax stick and pool the wax onto my envelope and then press the seal into it. I waited for for a few seconds for the wax to cool and the slowly wiggled the seal loose as the wax cooled and voila! the seal looks pretty good for my first try!

Cognitive Surplus Wax Seals

I had equally good luck with the moon seal and on my first try too. It looks so amazing! But I think my husband will steal it and take it to Skylab Letterpress. So if you want a letter sealed with moon wax, you better write a letter to Skylab.

Special Deal for Desk Readers: Receive 20% off your purchase when you use the coupon code WellAppointedDesk. Offer is good through May 15, 2016.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Cognitive Surplus for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Franklin-Christoph Emerald Midnight

Franklin-Christoph Midnight Emerald Ink

Please don’t shoot me for reviewing another teal blue ink so soon after Pelikan Edelstein AquamarineFranklin-Christoph Midnight Emerald ($12.50 for 2oz.) is a much deeper blue-teal color than Aquamarine. It’s in that space between teal and blue-black that you didn’t know you needed an ink. Did you?

FC- Midnight Emerald writing sample

I tested the ink in my Franklin-Christoph Pocket Ice 66 eyedropper with a Fine nib and the ink still shaded quite nicely. The ink dried pretty quickly in the fine nib and I didn’t have any smearing issues even with my left-handedness. The painted lettering took a little bit longer to dry on the Rhodia paper so I suspect a wider nib would also take a bit longer to dry. Not a scientific analysis but this ink dried faster than a lot of inks I test.

The color strikes a nice balance between being a teal and a blue-black. Professional enough for everyday work but unique enough to be fun to use.

The ink is not waterproof so it means clean-up is pretty easy despite the depth of color.

Franklin-Christoph Midnight Emerald Ink comparisons

Midnight Emerald is very similar in color to Akkerman #24 Zuiderpark Blauw-Green but Midnight Emerald is a tiny bit more blue than Zuiderpark. The price for Midnight Emerald is considerably lower. Diamine Twilight is  more blue black and Callifolio Olifants is more indigo blue so Midnight Emerald really does seem to hit an unusual niche.

Overall, Midnight Emerald is a really lovely color and I’m grateful to have it in my arsenal.


Erin Marie A lovely fan in Atlanta gave me this bottle of ink because she knew how much I loved teal colors but I forgot to write down her name so, if you’re out there, please leave a message in the comments so I can give you a proper thank you and shout out for this lovely gift which I will cherish. We had such a lovely conversation but I have a brain like a sieve sometimes and trying to remember Slack handles, real names, email addresses and Rav names often leaves me not remembering any name at all! So sorry!

Vintage Fountain Pens: Lady Sheaffer Skripsert and Sheaffer Imperial

Sheaffer Lady Skripsert & Imperial

One of the pens I was hoping to find at the Atlanta Pen Show was a vintage Lady Sheaffer Skripsert. A friend of mine showed me hers and I fell in love with it so I knew it was definitely a pen style I wanted to keep my eye out for.

The story behind the Lady Sheaffer Skripserts were that they were pens (and pencils) designed specifically for ladies in decorative patterns and posh finishes as fashion accessories from the late 50s into the 70s. They were available with either steel or gold nibs and some of the designs included raised, jeweled bands around the middle of the pen for an even more glamorous look.

 photo skripserts_penworld-1.jpg

This ad for the Lady Sheaffer, lovingly known to collectors as “the shopping list” was published in Pen World magazine in 1994 and posted to the Fountain Pen Network Forum in a thread titled “Ladies in Tulle!” back in 2008.

Sheaffer Lady Skripsert & Imperial

Well,I totally lucked out because I found a vendor who had several different models to choose from including a very rare Christmas patterned one with holly berries on the cap (not to my taste but in retrospect, its incredibly rare!). I had a hard time picking just one of the many designs and he made me a deal on two different models, both with 14K nibs.

From what I understand, the later the Lady Sheaffer was produced, the more likely the ends are to be flat instead of rounded. So my guess is that the two I purchased are probably late 60s or early 70s.

Sheaffer Lady Skripsert & Imperial Nibs

Once I got home and could start doing more detailed research, I was able to determine that the black pen with gold “tulle” is definitely a Lady Sheaffer. The nib is referred to as a Stylpoint nib as it partially hooded. There’s also a bit of a flip up at the end of the nib which if you didn’t know that was how the nibs were designed might make you think the nib had been sprung. But its not. They were designed that way.

Upon further study, the gold pen with black diamond pattern is actually a Sheaffer Imperial Sovereign rather than a Lady Sheaffer Skripsert. The inlay nib should have been the givaway but I did not know enough about the long history of the Skripsert line to know all the nib variation so I took a chance because it was beautiful. I ended up with a great pen regardless.

Sheaffer Lady Skripsert Sticker

The Lady Sheaffer Skripsert was NOS (new old stock), complete with its original sticker, so really how could I pass it up?

Sheaffer Imperial Band

And the Sheaffer Imperial was hallmarked on the barrel with a crown and “14K G.F. Sheaffer U.S.A.” So I think the barrel and cap are gold plated as well as the nib. Swank!

Sheaffer Lady Skripsert & Imperial widths

What should have also been the give away that Imperial was a different beast is that the barrel is a bit wider than the Lady Sheaffer. They are the same length but the Lady Sheaffer is a little bit more tapered overall for a slightly more diminutive silhouette. Its not good or bad but it shows that doing your homework prior to a show is important. I ended up with a happy surprise and learning more about vintage Sheaffers in general but more research would have made me better informed overall.

Sheaffer Lady Skripsert & Imperial Writing Samples

Both the Lady Sheaffer and the Imperial wrote beautifully. The Lady Sheaffer had a medium nib which wrote pretty wet and its flip up angle took a bit of getting used to. I had heard the flip was designed to enable writing at more angles but could not find any information on the internet to corroborate that so I’m not sure. If you know why the Stylpoint nibs were designed with a flip, please leave a note in the comments. I theorize that it is a bit like the Fude de Mannen Japanese nibs that allow for a wider range of stroke widths at a wider range of angle but again, I don’t have any proof nor have I used the pen long enough to prove my theory.

The Imperial has a fine nib that is perfect! It writes beautifully and as soon as I get cartridges or converters for these two pens, I have a feeling that they will end up in regular rotation. They are both comfortable in my hand, lovely to look and and beautiful writers. How can you beat that?

In the end, I’m pleased with my vintage Sheaffer purchases but I would have been happier with myself if I’d been better informed before I got to the show. But knowledge comes with time and asking the right questions.

For more information about Lady Sheaffer Skripserts: