Notebook and Pen Review: Rocket Book Everlast Mini

Review by Laura Cameron

I was tickled this year when my mother-in-law tucked a Rocket Book Everlast Mini, an erasable notebook, into my birthday package. I’ve found information about the Everlast Mini from the closed Indiegogo campaign from 2018, and it appears they are purchasable through Amazon ($16.00).

The Everlast Mini is a mini notebook measuring 3.5″ x 5.5″ and includes 48 pages of a polyester blend that feels close to regular paper and has a light grey dot grid. The special feature of this notebook is that the pages are erasable and thus reusable! The kit I got included a black Pilot FriXion ballpoint pen, but the packaging stated that any pens from the Pilot FriXion line would work so we picked up a FriXion 8-pack of 0.6 Fine Liners ($16.15) to test them as well.

I admit I was skeptical. I wondered if the pens would erase cleaning, but they did! They packaging notes that you should write on the pages as normal, and then allow approximately 10-15 seconds for the ink to dry and bond to the synthetic page. Wiping my finger across the writing after that didn’t smear at all.

To erase both the ball point and the fine liners, I simply wet the microcloth included in the package and wiped the page clean. The page did require two passes to be clear of color (the first easily removed the writing, the second removed any bit of color residue left behind). I don’t know how the pages will fare over time if heavily used, or if the ink remains on the page for days (weeks? years?), but they appear to work as advertised.

One other benefit of this notebook is that the pages all have QR codes and can be scanned easily into the app or platform of your choice for easy storage. I’ll be honest – I still haven’t embraced scanning my notes into electronica, but I do appreciate that they suggest you use any number of popular apps (Google Drive, Dropbox, One Note, OneDrive, etc.) rather than developing their own.

Overall this was a fun birthday treat and I suspect this notebook may end up living in my purse for brainstorming and on-the-go notes!

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.

Giveaway Winners: Faber-Castell Grip Fountain Pens

Giveaway Winners: Faber-Castell Grip Fountain Pens

Thanks to everyone who read our review for the Faber-Castell Grip in the new Pearl Mint Green, Turquoise and Rose colors and thanks for entering the giveaway sponsored by Goldspot Pens.

There were many requests for a series of fall inspired colors like bright yellow, orange and deep purple so Faber-Castell, if you’re listening, we have your focus group right here. The people have spoken! There were also many requests for dark graphite, a variety of jewel tones, and if I may suggest it, maybe an actual aluminum barrel version?

Now, on to our winners:

Delightfully, all the winners selected by the random number generator chose different colors so I guess we won’t have to play rock, paper, scissors after all.

Thanks to everyone and stay tuned… we have a big announcement coming up.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the US. It is the day we honor those who served our country and lost their lives in doing so. This year, many are also honoring those who have lost their lives due to the pandemic sweeping the world. The death toll, as a result of COVID-19, has surpassed 100,000 in the US and that’s just a fraction of the number of people who have been impacted by the illness both here and around the world. We are taking today, here at The Desk, to recognize the toll that any loss takes on humanity. If you choose to mark this day honoring ancestors who fought in conflicts or those who may have struggled against an illness, whether it was recent or in years past, know that we, too, are remembering those who have past as well. This is our moment of silence…

Ask The Desk: Digital Drawing Tablets, Typing Paper, & Astrobrights

Ask The Desk: Digital Drawing Tablets,  Typing Paper, & Astrobrights

Joe asks:

I need your advice on the purchase of a drawing table for my 10 year old granddaughter. She really is very good and I wish I could attach one of her drawings for you to see. She draws constantly and learns from books that I and her parents have bought her. She also uses Youtube tutorials. For example, she is presently working on a 100 character challenge, wherein one draws and names 10 characters a week for 10 weeks. I think she is like 4-5 weeks in on this challenge. I taught her a couple of things I learned from Art Supply Posse such as outlining pencil drawings with a fine line alcohol marker of which I sent her an assortment. All of her markers are now double ended alcohol markers. Anyway, she said she would like to have a tablet to use for her artwork and this is where I would appreciate your advice. I remember hearing you discuss Cintiq/Wacom tablets. I think you talked about Apple Ipads as well. What drawing tablet would you recommend for someone who is 10? Thank you for any help you can give.

I talked with my husband at length about your question and what we would do for our niece or nephew who are 10- and 12years-old, respectively. We debated at length about the best options. Not knowing your granddaughter’s current computer access, I’ll run through a few options and describe them as best I can.

There are two categories of drawing tablets: a direct drawing tablet like the iPad and the Wacom CINTIQ (both allow you to draw directly on the screen with a pen tool) and the indirect style — like the Wacom Intuos (imagine a trackpad that only works with a pen tool). There are nuances within each of these: the iPad can also be used for other uses like watching movies, email, chat, playing games, etc.

The advantage of a device like an iPad is that it is a standalone device. It requires no additional hardware other than the pen (which Apple sells separately). Both the iPad device and the pen requires charging but both are wireless so it can be used anywhere in the house, in the car, etc. It does perform better when it has regular access to wifi for updates to software and OS. The recommended software for drawing on the iPad is the beloved ProCreate. It’s $9.99 and worth every single penny and then some.


The advantage of a Wacom CINTIQ (collectively called the Pen Displays) like the Wacom One and Wacom CINTIQ (this is the one I use) is that they are hardware and are plugged into a computer (or even an Android device in the case of the Wacom One). The pen that ships with the CINTIQ is wireless and battery-less which means it always works. Because the CINTIQs are hardware, they tend to have a longer lifespan as long as the drivers are kept up to date by the manufacturer. If you don’t already have a computer, though, it’s a larger investment. And… the benefit of using a CINTIQ is being able to work in professional software from the Adobe CC suite (portal for educational discounts) to animation/3D software like Toon Boom, Lightwave, Maya, etc.

Wacom Intuos

Then the last category, and the least expensive option, is the indirect input, Wacom Intuos tablet. This tablet uses a wireless, battery-less pen tool (often the same pen as the CINTIQ) and a tablet that plugs into a laptop or computer. The Intuo Pro can be used wirelessly with the addition of a battery. I started on a Wacom Intuos tablet and, to this day, still use one as an alternative to a mouse but for drawing I much prefer the CINTIQ or iPad. However, if cost is an issue, the precision available with a Wacom Intuos tablet is far better than a mouse or trackpad. It’s not as intuitive as drawing directly on a screen but makes it much easier to fine tune lines, select vector points and other detail work.iPad 12.9" and 11"

So, after all that exposition, here’s my recommendation. If money is not an issue, go for an iPad Pro 12.9 with Pencil 2. Be sure to add a protective case. The Pencil charges when connected to the iPad but the case will make sure the Pencil doesn’t get lost. I also recommend a surface cover called PaperLike that makes the iPad screen more, well, paper-like and less slick and glossy.

Ipad in case
This is my iPad 10.9″ with the protective case. It’s older so it has the original Pencil in the Kaweco Apple Pencil Sleeve.

The 11” iPad Pro would be a good alternative and a bit cheaper. I use the 10.9” iPad Pro though I’ve always wished I sprung for the larger 12.9” model. I would still recommend the accompanying case and PaperLike screen. And, of course, ProCreate.

If your granddaughter already has a computer, and can get a student discount on the Adobe CC suite, then a Wacom CINTIQ is a great option as well. It’s obviously less mobile but will feel like a “pro move”.

If your granddaughter is interested in illustration in animation, Laura Price gives a peek into the world of a working illustrator at Disney as well as showing some of her tools, tips and techniques.

Best of luck to you and your granddaughter, wherever the journey takes you!

Erika asks:

Hi! I was wondering if you have ever used Smythson paper in a typewriter? If so, what paper did you use and how did it turn out? Thank you for your time!

Different typing paper
I typed on kid’s construction paper, a page ripped out of an old book, learn-how-to-write paper, a decorative sticky label and a dollar bill because why not?

Hi, Erika

I have not specifically put Smythson paper in a typewriter but I have used lots and lots of different kinds of paper in lots and lots of different kinds of typewriters: label stock, card stock, old typing paper, index cards… pretty much anything I can get onto the platen (the rubber roller). If the paper is very thin, I will put a sheet or two of plain copy paper behind it (tip from Tom Hanks to protect the platen from damage). Some slick paper like label stock might cause ink to smear or dry slowly and very thick card stock might crack or get stuck when trying to get it on the platen so proceed with caution.

Lori asks:

Hi Ana, and the ladies of The Desk, I learned of Neenah through Field Notes. Walmart has Astrobrights card stock paper. Do any of you have experience with this card stock paper? I admit I’m drawn to them because of the space themed names for the colors. I figure I would find a way to use them with letters. But who knows until I handle them.

Neenah Astrobrights

I remember using Neenah Astrobrights paper for band flyers when I worked as a copy jockey at Kinko’s when I was in college. For a fledgling graphic designer, it was a cooler job to work in a copy shop than as a waiter. We had access to all the large size copy machines to make weird zines, posters and flyers. So, what I can tell you is that while Astrobrights are tons of fun, those neon colors are not very lightfast. In other words, the colors will fade when exposed to light. As for their fountain pen friendliness, I did not have any on hand but if you are using the cardstock/cover weight, it should be able to handle most gel pens, felt tip and rollerball pens for sure and probably some fine and medium fountain pens. If you are not hoping to archive your creations for ALL OF TIME, I say go for it. It’s just paper. If anything, it can be used to make envelopes, folders and other receptacles for your fountain pen friendly paper. Just don’t sear your retinas!

DISCLAIMER: Some items in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

Fountain Pen Review: Esterbrook Camden Composition (Lime)

Fountain Pen Review: Esterbrook Camden Composition (Lime)

Once again, the new Esterbrook company, in the hands of Kenro Industries, is creating new and innovative pen designs. Esterbrook launched the Camden Classic at the end of 2019 in Graphite, Rose Gold and Brushed Silver with both fountain pen and rollerball models, and now they have released their limited edition Camden Composition (MSRP$195, Street Price $156). This release is limited to just 250 of each design and will be available in classic Back to School Black Composition and Spring Break Fluorescent Green Composition with both fountain pen and rollerball options. There will also be a Fall Leaves Burgundy Composition available as well (in the fall, of course).

Esterbrook Camden Composition Lime

The Esterbrook Camden Composition ships in the tweedy, academic-looking magnetic box. Tres apropos!

The inside of the packaging is the padded pen bed and includes the microfiber cloth, a standard international cartridge and a converter (in the pen at present).

Esterbrook Camden Composition Lime

The pen itself is a lovely with textural, spatter paint-over-metal. It has a simple, slightly cigar shape to it with a simple, tapered, spring-loaded clip.  The simple pen shape lends itself to a busier paint/material. Around the base of the cap, where it meets the body of the pen, is a fine, white line and the Esterbrook logo monogram. On the end cap is the new Esterbrook X logo on the microfiber cloth.

Esterbrook Camden Composition Lime

The grip is a smooth molded plastic. The threads are noticeable if you grip low enough but the grip section seems long enough that it’s unlikely to be an issue. There is a slight step-up between the grip section and the barrel of the pen but it’s been rounded off a bit so it’s not particularly noticeable. The cap seal with a “cushion cap” mechanism that has a bit of a spring seal to it. It reminds me of the snap-and-seal of Platinum and Wancher.

Esterbrook Camden Composition Lime

The nib is a standard #6 Schmidt nib. I tested the medium nib. I seem to like the Schmidt medium nibs. There’s a crispness to them with a little bounce. Maybe I’ve gotten to the point where, depending on the nib manufacturer, I have a specific preference for a nib width but all the Schmidt mediums I’ve tried recently, I like. Usually, I avoid medium nibs like my life depended on it but I’m reconsidering that course of action.

Esterbrook Camden Composition Lime

When asked what color Camden Composition I wanted to review, it had to be the Lime.  Of course it did. I mean, the photo above had to be taken, right? And this photo was just for size comparison. From left to right: Kaweco Sport, Lamy Safari, Esterbrook Camden Composition (5 7/8″ or 150mm), Pilot Metropolitan and Pilot Prera.

Esterbrook Camden Composition Lime

Same pens as the photo above but uncapped which brings me to the only point I haven’t raised yet about the Camden Composition: it does not post. So, in use, the CC is about the same length as a posted Kaweco Sport or Pilot Prera (5 1/8″ or 130mm).

In terms of weight, the Camden Composition weighs about 36gms capped, with a full converter, and about 19gms uncapped.

Esterbrook Camden Composition Lime

In writing, I found the weight of the pen and the bouncy nib to be a joy. It’s a really nice pen. The width of the pen is comfortable and easy to hold. The texture is interesting and different. I am a little curious if the paint will chip over time but I guess time will tell. The lime color is joyous and the Composition spatter coloring is very unique. It’s unlike any other pen that’s come across my desk.


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

Link Love: I Wish I Was a Penguin

Penguins at the Nelson-Atkins

This week, some of the local facilities in Kansas City started opening its doors to visitors including our fine arts museum, the Nelson-Atkins. It opened it’s doors to our local zoo’s population of tuxedo penguins. These photos brought so much glee to me, in a week that was otherwise a little bit of a slump emotionally for me. I’m sure, like everyone else, the pandemic has created an emotional rollercoaster and some weeks it’s been easier to coaster, and some weeks it’s more of a white-knuckled clackety terror “when can I get off this ride?!?!”

So, if you’re needling a little lift, check out the link to see the other photos and video of these penguins give the Caravaggio the snub. Everybody’s a critic!

Link of the Week:




Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things: