Philip Ashforth Coppola has spent the last 38 years illustrating the details of New York City’s subway stations. Many of the illustrations are done with ballpoint pen and are exquisitely detailed. New York Bound Books has published small editions of bound volumes of some of the sketches. This video is from the Great Big Story series.
I listened to the episode this morning and it went into more detail about the making of pencils and that no one person or country can actually make a pencil nowadays… or maybe ever… and less about handwriting. So, I really couldn’t get too riled up about this episode.
Here is a video version of the I, Pencil essay that they talk about in the podcast which is quite interesting.
In the end, I don’t think that Freakonomics came to any clear conclusion in the first episode about the importance of handwriting (or necessarily took a strong stance on the other side of the argument either). I have listened to the first episode three times now and have decided that it is decidedly rabblerousing, neither making a case for or against handwriting but rather just stirring the argumentative pot. I still feel that the act of writing helps develop cognitive skills and fine motor skills. But I also realize that typing can increase overall speed, editing and collaboration. As an artist and designer, many things start on paper and then are finished digitally and have been done that way for well over 30 years. Since visual creatives work this way so frequently, combining analog and digital tools seems like an obvious pairing. Maybe to others it needs to be an either/or proposition.
In the end, like so many other things in our modern world, I think you need to learn to use both analog and digital tools as a child and then choose the best tool for the job along the way. And sometimes BOTH is the correct answer.
It’s happening again! Brad and Myke are getting the gang back together for a live recording of The Pen Addict podcast in Atlanta at the pen show in April and they are letting me tag along again. Help support our efforts to be the nerdiest of all pen nerds and get a cool notebook, and an opportunity to pause the video while we make ridiculous faces (over and over) by backing the Kickstarter, RelayCon Atlanta 2016. The gift that keeps on gif-ing!
Back the project for just $10 to get the video, $15 to get the notebook (and spare yourself the silly video), $25 for both. Go crazy and back at $50 and get 3 sets of notebooks and the video.
And if you’ll be in Atlanta this year for the show, come be a part of our live studio audience! How weird is it to say that?
I found a great collection of pen-and-pencil-centric How Its Made videos. Some you may seen but I thought this would make for great lunchtime viewing. Enjoy!
This next video is how Aurora Fountain Pens are made:
This is the manufacturing process of Caran d’Ache colored pencils:
This next video is in Japanese subtitles with no spoken dialogue but its how Pilot makes its fountain pens so I thought it would be fun to watch even without narration. The first eight minutes is all about how the nibs are constructed which is a little slow to watch but fascinating!
David Rees of Artisanal Pencil Sharpening sharpens Blackwing Pencils using an array of tools including a box knife, a Classroom Friendly Sharpener and the El Casco. Is it ridiculous? A little bit, but in his ostentatiousness he gets to the heart of it: anyone can use a pencil and sharpen it with little more than a knife or pocket sharpener.
In preparation for National Handwriting Day, here’s a little advice from Donovan B. from the Letter Writers Alliance on the best way to improve your handwriting. Thursday is Handwriting Day so get your pens, pencils, brushes and crayon at the ready!
My husband stumbled across this video of staplers found in Japan by this colorful Brit from The Grand Illusions web site, a site that sells toys, illusions and other novelty items.
I dug through his videos in search of other tidbits that might be interesting to readers and also found his glass pen demo. He comments that washing the tip with a little soapy water helps to make the ink adhere much better. Good tip!
The cast of FPGeeks video podcast got together with Brian from the Edison Pen Company to discuss and demonstrate methods for tuning pen nibs. After watching this, I am feeling brave enough to tackle a few troublesome pens in my collection.
Its a pretty long video but worth watching. Brian is super knowledgeable and gives great instruction.
Feeling kind of Hobbitsy? Moleskine is re-releasing the Hobbit line of products in time for the release of the second film in the Hobbit series. So I guess its not so limited anymore, is it?
The covers are accented with debossed designs and metallic foils. Four versions are available in pocket sized including a Bordeaux Red cover and two black with red foil accents and black debossed designs and one black cover with red foil and gold foil. They are pretty but its still filled with mediocre paper stock. Sigh.
After writing my reviews of the hybrid ballpoints, I found an ad for the Pilot Acroball that sort of horrified my senses. So then I had to look further to see if Pentel, Uni Ball or Zebra stooped to similar stereotypes. So I’ve collected them all for you here.
Seriously? This is another Bic For Her travesty (read the reviews for entertainment). Shame on you, Pilot.
This Uni Jetstream video just sells the pens and stops trying to stereotype all women as shopaholics with a penchant for matching their pen to their outfits.
Both Surari and Vicuna features ice skating as a metaphor for the pens’ smoothness. Points to Surari for weirdness of the ice skating zebra.
Judged entirely based on the promotional videos, I give the lead to Zebra Surari. Runner-up is Uni Jetstream but they lost first place because of the goofy music.
How would you rate these? Are you more or less compelled to buy any of these pens?
I’m not at all as enthusiastic about ballpoints as the announcer in this video but it is interesting to see how much work is put into making the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen.The beginning of the video paints fountain pens in a very poor light indeed.