Podcast-apalooza: Art Supply Posse #9 & Pen Addict #216


You get a double dose of me this week!

Art Supply Posse gets all wet with watercolor pencils and I kept it to an hour this time. You’re welcome. Heather and I even have our first giveaway thanks to one of our kind listeners. The Art Supply Posse is a real thing!

Then hop on over to Pen Addict Podcast, which I know you already listen to, and Myke, Brad and I gab about the DC Pen Show madness and Nixon Field Notes and Cronky/Crotchety/Crappity/Scribbly Pen-thing. Yeah, its back.

Podcast party time! Queue theme music…

Notebook Review: Story Supply Co. Working Artists’ Series Mike Hawthorne Edition

Story Supply Co. Working Artist Series Mike Hawthorne

Story Supply Co. released their first Working Artist Series Sketchbook — The Mike Hawthorne Edition this month and its notable for a lot of reasons. First, the 2-pack volume is an oversized booklet at 5.25″x 7.5″ inches. Its also filled with thicker 70# Cougar natural smooth paper. Third, the covers are wraparound illustrations by the awesomely talented Marvel Comics artist, Mike Hawthorne and feature two unique storied illustrations on the covers. On one is characters prepared to go into battle and the other, the same characters celebrating symbolic of the phases of creativity. Oh, and the last… its costs just $14 for the pack.

Story Supply Co. Working Artist Series Mike Hawthorne

The covers are printed on a classic 100# kraft stock and Mike signed and dated the covers in white pen as this series is limited to 5000 packs. Sales of each of these packs allows one sketchbook to be donated to a young artist in York, PA with his or her own story to be told.

Story Supply Co. Working Artist Series Mike Hawthorne

On the inside covers, Mike included his tutorials on how to draw a face. I used the steps to draw my own face. Not quite up to Mike’s graceful line quality but the tutorial is a classic that any fledgling artist should try.

Story Supply Co. Working Artist Series Mike Hawthorne

I tested out a lot of different tools on the paper which is super smooth. Brush pens, markers, fineliners and pencils seem best suited to the paper. I definitely treated it like a sketchbook on these tests using materials I’d use for drawing. In other words, I totally forgot to test out my arsenal of fountain pens! But I will put some photos on Instagram later with some fountain pen tests soon.

Story Supply Co. Working Artist Series Mike Hawthorne

I could certainly apply watercolor but the paper was not really designed for it as it did cause the paper to curl quite a bit. I used the Sailor Fude fountain pen to create the pattern along the side and my Platinum Maki-e for the lettering and neither feathered, Both pens dried quickly as well.

Story Supply Co. Working Artist Series Mike Hawthorne

From the reverse, there was a little showthrough but minimal. I do stuff like this to purposely test paper limitations. You can clearly see ho much the watercolor curled the paper so I wouldn’t have wanted to draw on the reverse of this page anyway. My instinct is to recommend using watercolor pencils to add color with a semi-dry waterbrush or using watercolor markers if you want to add color to black line art on this paper. I think the effects would be pretty good with a lot less curl. Plus, colored pencil looks great on this smooth stock.

Story Supply Co. Working Artist Series Mike Hawthorne

I really enjoyed using this paper for mark making. I’ve been playing with patterns and the smoothness of the paper lends itself to a black pen, pencil, colored pencils. Its definitely smoother paper than you’ll find in most commercial sketchbooks so it creates a different experience. The size is perfectly portable and not so large as to be intimidating or overwhelming. Mike’s awesome cover art, however, is a lot to live up to!

Overall, I love this book. I love the size, the heavier weight paper and I love that Story Supply Co. is exploring a working artists series. And as a comic book geek, I love that they are working with Mike Hawthorne. I can’t wait to see who they will work with next. Not to sway Story Supply Co., but I’d love to see them work with a female artist — young girls need heroes too. Keep up the great work!

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

Pencil Review: Blackwing Colors Coloring Pencils 12-Color Set

Blackwing Colors

I know there was a lot of hullaballoo about the Blackwing Volumes release this summer of the #56 Joe DiMaggio release. But then just a week or two later, they very quietly released their Blackwing Colors Coloring Pencils collection (set of 12 in presentation box for $19.95) and I couldn’t click the Buy It Now button fast enough.

Blackwing Colors

The set includes 12 colored pencils, produced in Japan. Each pencil is hexagonal and the barrel is completely painted in the color of the lead color (thank you!). The end cap is metallic silver and the logo name is imprinted in metallic silver on each pencil though the color name is not. This no-color-name isn’t a huge issue in a same 12-color set but in low light it can be a bit hard to tell the brown, purple and black pencils apart. Also, it suggests that there aren’t plans for more colors where it might be helpful to clarify between various tones and hues which is a disappointment. But maybe if there is really good feedback and response, other editions will be produced and more colors will be added with names stamped on the pencils for clarity.

From a purely presentation standpoint, these pencils, like all Blackwing products, are flawless. The finish on the pencils is beautiful and silky. The hex shape feels good in the hand. The cedar wood gives them and almost wood chime-like sound when they clink together in my hand. For looks alone, its worth it to have a set of these pencils. They cost the same as a box of Palomino Blackwing 602s, so what are you waiting for? The rest of the review can wait until you place your order…. go on.

Blackwing Colors Comparison

Okay, now that you’ve ordered some, what can you expect in terms of quality? The Blackwing Colors are SOFT, creamy colored pencils. I put these pencils up next to Derwent Coloursoft and Prismacolor Premiers and in terms of color and softness, they were right on par. One notable thing about the Blackwing Colors set is that rather than include a white pencil as the last color, they chose to include metallic silver instead. While I find this to be a fun add, if you plan to do any blending, you may want to go out and purchase a white, cream or colorless blender from Prismacolor or Coloursoft to add to your set to help with blending and burnishing.

I did contact Palomino to ask if the pencils were wax- or oil-based colored pencils but I did not get a reply back. Based on this side-by-side comparison with two other wax-based colored pencils, I’d guess that the Blackwing Colors are wax-based but its just a guess. If anyone here’s a definitive, please leave a note in the comments.

As with Prismas and Colorsofts, on textured stocks the Blackwing Colors would wear down quickly because the leads are soft. They did sharpen very easily. I used a Staedtler sharpener which gave a fairly sharp point which is not always recommended for soft colored pencils. I got a little crumbling at the tip because the point was so fine, not unlike an over-sharpened Prisma, but the point of the Blackwing Colors did not break.

Blackwing Colors Comparison Close-Up

I was testing the pencils on Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook paper which has a bit of tooth to it which is why the paper is still showing through on all the color swatches. Later in the day I switched to testing in my current daily notebook (my new Quo Vadis Forum refillable with blank refill, review soon!) which has very smooth paper which is not normally conducive to pencils and the Blackwing Colors worked great. This was a surprising turn of events for me.

Blackwing Colors Drawing



I wanted to include what the pencils looked like with examples of blending and burnishing so I did some real quick examples this morning and shot them with my iPhone. The colors aren’t as clean as the other images but you can at least see the effects that can be achieved. I used the red and blue pencil to blend and create purple. Then used the red, pink and orange to blend a lovely sunrise effect. And finally, I blended the bright grass green and yellow together to create some lime-y hues.  They all blend well, actually better in person than they look in the photo. And they will also blend well with Prismas, Colorsofts, Derwent Artists and other wax-based pencils. The little bit of smudging you see was from me running my hand over the loose particles rather than blowing them off. The pencils don’t actually smduge.


As for burnishing, I applied a heavy burnishing of white Prismacolor over the background of my drawing and it worked beautifully with the Blackwing Colors creating a more impressionistic look and softening the overall pencil marks. So, the Blackwing Colors are burnish-friendly.

I am absolutely thrilled I purchased the Blackwing Colors colored pencils. They are leaps and bounds better than the Palomino Colors. They are currently only available in the set of 12 so if you burn through one particular color like I seem to be doing with the red and blue pencils, you may want to refer to my Coloursoft and Primsacolor comparisons for open stock replacements. They will certainly not be as pretty a pencil but they are comparable on the inside. Hopefully, Blackwing will get the hint and offer open stock soon as well as more color options. I want turquoise, parma violet and some ochres ASAP!

Ask The Desk: (Ball)Pointed Questions


Hayley asks:

I am looking for a pen as a gift for my step-father’s 60th and I wondered if you might have any ideas please. He is a salesman and carries a ballpoint-ish pen in his jacket pocket. I’m happy to buy a good refill – like a Fisher space or a Schmidt or something – but I could use some ideas for the actual pen. He is a pretty glam guy, he’d be the one in the white dinner jacket when everyone else is wearing black, and he likes brightly coloured shirts but on the classy side, rather than garish. I suspect a nock/click would be most practical for him but a good post or twist would be ok too. I could probably get him something brass or gold but I wondered if you knew of anything a bit more eye-catching please? Thank you!


Hi, Hayley! This is a tough question without a specific price point so I’m going to give you a couple options at a couple price options. My first thought for a ballpoint pen that is classic but available in some options that could be colourful or understated is the Parker Jotter. It can be purchased in shiny stainless steel for a classy, upscale look for about $26 or in simple black plastic barrel with stainless steel clip for $7.95.

Cross offer their classic Century line which features both a ballpoint model which is a twist closure. There is also a rollerball model that features their Selectip option which has a traditional posted cap and allows for a ballpoint, rollerball or felt tip refill. A Century line pen can be purchased starting at about $24 for the black chrome plated ballpoint pen and the most expensive models would be the solid18K gold pen and pencil set for $6350. That one might be a little too pricey. The Cross Century line was updated and modernized into the Century II which is a wider barrel version which is available in ballpoint and rollerball versions as well as a fountain pen. The prices for the Century II start at about $90 for the ballpoint model.

I seem to keep coming back to classic Americana designs. The way you describe your father, it seems those might best suit his tailored, stylish looks. The next pen that came to mind was the Sheaffer 500 ballpoint in chrome ($15). Its a bit wider barrel but still a sleek, tailored look. It is also available in a variety of other colors, including a translucent red or blue with a chrome clip or a more sophisticated black with gold tone hardware ($46.50).

I hope these give you some good options and good luck finding just the right pen!

Susan asks:

Is it possible to get fine point ballpoint refills in a variety of coloured inks for the Hexomatic Retro 51?

The Hexomatic takes a standard Parker-style refill so your options are pretty broad. I’d recommend that you consider the Monteverde refills for Parker which are available in orange, green, purple, turquoise, and pink as well as more common colors like blue, blue/black, black, red and brown. These refills are available in both ceramic ballpoint and soft roll, even a gel-style refill. A wide selection of these refills are available from Refill FinderPen Boutique, and Goldspot Pens.

Pat asks:

I was given a very nice promotional pen from an associate. I do not know who manufactured it. I really like it and would like to use it, however the the rollerball ink cartridge writes very poorly. It is a Schmidt 888F. Can you recommend a better smoother writing alternative that could be used instead?

The Schmidt 888F is a standard G2 Euro Rollerball refill so you have a lot of options to choose from. A lot of folks prefer the Schmidt 8126 and 8127 over the 888F. But you can also use the Pilot G2 or anything else in the list on my Refill guide under the G2/Euro section.

I know that’s sort of vague but you have so many options you can probably just start twisting open pens from around your home and office and you’ll probably find a refill that will fit into the pen that you like pretty quickly. Then you’ll know what you like and can then buy refills accordingly.

Charles asks:

Since I want to try other refills than the standard Retro 51/Schmidt rollerball which 2 or 3 would you recommend to try? I don’t want to hack, simple refill only.

Retro 51s will take a Parker style refill with no modifications. If you are looking for a ballpoint refill and prefer a wider tip or a very fine tip, I recommend the Monteverde Soft Roll refills. If you prefer a gel refill, the Monteverde Gel refills are available in broad and fine and a variety of colors. If you prefer a medium gel refill, Parker makes them in red, blue and black.

Link Love: Late But Lovely



Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:

Podcast: Ep. 8 Art Supply Posse “Color Me Pencil”

prisma-goldThis week on Art Supply Posse we talk about a topic near-and-dear to my heart and one that’s truly not to Heather: colored pencils. Listen to me try to woo her over to the not-so-dark side with the rainbow that is colored pencils. I try to entice her with ridiculously expensive Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils. Am I convincing? Decide for yourself.

(This week’s feature image provided by the awesomely talented Dan Bishop of Design Concussion and Karas Kustoms. He’s so rad he’s got a gold box of Prismacolors. Seriously!)

Review: Filofax Lockwood Personal Planner & 2017 Illustrated Stripes Insert Set

Filofax Lockwood Personal

The Filofax Lockwood Personal sized planner in aqua ($102.15) might not look like a huge change from my Original in dark aqua but, its not the color that’s the change so much as the overall construction. The Lockwood is the freakin’ MacGyver of planners! Its got pockets and slots galore where the Original is stripped down to the essentials. The Lockwood is a higher quality, more supple leather too where the Original is a thicker leather but much more rigid.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

From the inside views, you can see the narrow slit pockets on the Original and the black elastic band on the Original. The Lockwood could easily be filled with business cards, ID and bank cards and double as a wallet and planner. OR the pockets could be filled with items to color-code, annotate or decorate the planner. I haven’t quite decided what to put in the pockets yet. After years with the mostly useless pockets on the Original, I’m stymied with the options.

The plus for the Original (for me) is that the elastic pen loop is on the left hand side and pretty flexible making it capable of holding a lot of different pens and quick-access for a lefty. A lot of right-handed users found the left-hand loop awkward. The Lockwood puts the pen loop under the clasp. Its still elastic but its a tighter elastic and the placement makes it more difficult to put any but the thinnest pens or pencils in it since they bump right up against the inserts and are restricted by the length of the strap.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

Inside the back cover, the Lockwood features a long secretary pocket and a smaller horizontal slit pocket as well. The Original has the secretary pocket too and a top slit pocket as well as the mysterious lower slit that I never actually found a use for.

The Lockwood has a more finished look on the inside with the stitching on all the pocket edging and the leather facing carried under the ring binder. I feel kind of grown-up with the Lockwood. Its like my “big girl” planner. Even though its mermaid-colored.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

Hey, look! One of my letterpress notepads with the side binding fits perfectly in the secretary pocket. Brilliant!

Filofax Lockwood Personal

On the backside on the cover is yet another pocket, this is a zippered pocket that looks perfect to hold receipts, coins or other small bits. This planner is the total cargo pants of planners, I swear.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

Here’s a top view of the Lockwood planner filled with my regular calendar pages, notes pages, assorted bits, page markers and my notepad in the back. Well stuffed, indeed.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

I tucked my Fisher Space Pen in the pen loop which was one of the few pens that fit comfortably without reeking havoc with my tabs. So, I’d definitely recommend a slim pen or pencil in the pen loop or skipping it altogether sadly. Its the only flaw I’ve found in this planner. Everything else is fabulous.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

The front slit pocket easily holds another notepad, pad of sitcky notes or, as I discovered later, my iPhone. It makes this a great planner for meetings or someone who goes back and forth to a lot of places and needs to be able to juggle a planner and a phone.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

I discovered that the horizontal slit in the back of the planner is perfectly sized for a small pad of stocky notes, if that floats your boat.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

I also thought it would be handy to compare the personal-sized Lockwood to an iPad Mini. Its almost the same dimensions, just a good deal thicker when filled completely. I could certainly carry fewer pages in the planner but I thought I’d stuff it completely as a contrast to my month of austerity. I will probably trim it down a bit but I’m enjoying having ALL THE THINGS at the moment.

Filofax Lockwood Personal

The Lockwood is such a lovely planner. The fact that it has a million pockets and places to squirrel away bits of paper and cards just makes it better. The overall quality is excellent and the color is fabulous. I wish the pen loop was a little more user-friendly but I can stick a pen in any of the other cargo pants pockets on the Lockwood so I really don’t have anything to complain about.

And one more thing….

I also wanted to show the new Filofax 2017 Dated Illustrated Stripes refill set ($19.99). The set is also available for A5-sized planners ($26.99). Its a week-on-two-pages layout with lined pages and tabbed months that include a monthly calendar. The tabs and pages alternate colors in an array of interesting colors including tomato orange, navy, orchid, lime, and biscuit tan. The set also included an assortment of lined and blank note paper.

Filofax stripes inserts 2017

The big news was that the paper was listed as 80gsm which is considerably higher than the standard Filofax refills and better than the Cotton Cream which was always better than the plain white but has gotten worse over the years. So I thought I’d put it through some pen tests to see how it performed…

Pens used to test Filofax insertsFilofax stripes insert writing test

I didn’t hold back. I hit the paper with all my currently inked fountain pens next to this year’s Cotton Cream and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Illustrated Stripes paper held up to the abuse. The lines are usually pretty narrow on the Personal Filofax paper anyway since the books are pretty small so I tend to use fine pens, gel pens or pencils mostly. However, every once in awhile, I end up with a fountain pen in my hand when I have to jot something down so its nice to know that the paper can withstand a few lines without completely withering.

reverse side of Filofax stripes insert writing test

From the back of the paper it looks like the worst show through was the Edison Collier and a lot of red and pink inks are a bit more liquidy anyway. Everything else is completely tolerable. Especially when compared with how poorly the Cotton Cream did.

I’m so excited to start using the Illustrated Stripes Insert set. It looks good, works well with lots of pens and is readymade. As much as I like all the DIY options, I’m happy to just buy a pre-dated planner set-up and go. I’m not much of a planner decorator. I’d rather spend my free time drawing, painting or knitting and less time making my to-do list look fancy so these inserts totally solve a problem for me. They work, they look good and they are easy to acquire. I hope that Filofax will continue to innovate their planner inserts in the coming years so I won’t be forced to make my own.

DISCLAIMER: These items were sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Pencil Review: Uni Arterase Colored Pencils 12-color Set

Uni ArtErase Colored Pencils

The Uni ArtErase 12-color Colored Pencil Set ($33) is considerably more expensive than the Prismacolor Col-Erase set I reviewed a couple weeks ago but when I saw it, I knew I had to try them. Uni Mitsubishi makes such amazingly high-quality graphite pencils and I love their red/blue pencils that it seemed worth considering the possibility that their erasable colored pencils might be worth the investment.

First of all, the ArtErase pencils come in a lovely tin box compared with the paperboard box that the Prismacolor Col-Erase were packaged. Not that I want a lot of fancy packaging, nor am I inclined to keep my pencils in a tin, but from the standpoint of the pencils being protected in transport and, having a useful and potentially reusable box, clearly Uni has the lead here. Uni also included a foam/plastic eraser in a hard plastic sleeve with the set which, while being only a couple dollars additional investment, is also a mark in their favor. And, it actually works. As opposed to the useless pink erasers on the end of the Col-Erase pencils, which are so useless I don’t think I even mentioned them in my review of the Col-Erase at all. I think those pink eraser top erasers are included on the Col-Erase pencils  are for decorative purposes only.

The ArtErase pencils are absolutely beautiful as pencil objects alone. I’ve come to expect this from top-tier Japanese brands but it should be mentioned, especially in contrast to the Col-Erase. The finish on each of the ArtErase pencils is lacquer smooth with perfect foil stamping, gold foil rings and a sparkly metallic, gold-dipped end that gives it a clean, sophisticated finish. The core of each pencil is thicker than the Col-Erase though I do not have a caliper to provide specific measurements. The ArtErase pencils have the look and feel of a Faber-Castell Polychromos rather than a Prismacolor Verithin, if that helps give you a better idea.

Uni ArtErase Colored Pencils

Once applied to paper (in this case, a Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook paper) it becomes clear how rich and creamy the leads on the pencils really are. They are much softer and creamier than Col-Erase pencils of comparable color. It’s most notable with the black pencils. The ArtErase black is considerably darker and inkier in color than the black Col-Erase. Where some Col-Erase pencils can feel scratchy on paper, the ArtErase pencils feel velvety. Even with how smooth and buttery the ArtErase pencils are, the only colors I could smudge with my finger was the black, brown and red. I could smudge the same colors in the Col-Erase plus the blue. The water solubility tests were also pretty comparable though the ArtErase, since the colors were richer, were prone to a bit more color spreading when wet.

Overall, the ArtErase pencils are richer, creamier and more luscious colored pencils when compared to the Col-Erase. They erase a little bit better than the Col-Erase and have softer, thicker leads. They are a bit more water soluble and are about as smudgeable as the Col-Erase. But the ArtErase are considerably more expensive. Presently, I have only found them through JetPens in the 12-color set so should you find that you like a few colors in particular, there are not open stock sources to replenish those. That said, the ArtErase are not at all scratchy like the Col-Erase and generally perform more like traditional artist’s grade colored pencils than the Col-Erase.

If you’re looking for an alternative for base drawings for animation, storyboarding, preliminary artwork or even everyday sketching and artwork, I think these pencils are far more versatile than the Col-Erase even with the more limited color range and the lack of open stock options. But they are more expensive. Buy once, cry once?

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.

Fashionable Friday: Getting My Stitch Fix On


I’ve been working so much over the last few months that I have genuinely not had time to grocery shop, clothes shop or do any other kind of shopping. To the point where I actually started wondering if I could hire someone to shop for me. “Can I get an intern to run errands for me?” When I uttered this, a co-worker asked if I’d tried Stitch Fix. I hadn’t heard of it and she explained that it was an online personal shopping service that will select five items of clothes and accessories based on your surveys, price points and Pinterest boards and ship them to your home. You decide what you want to keep and send back what you don’t want.  Should you not like anything, you are charged a $20 “styling fee”. I was so desperate for someone to bail me out of my clothes rut that I was willing to take a chance. I joined the service, filled out the survey and waited for my first box to arrive.

Now, if you’ve met me, you know I’m not the most ordinary looking human and might be a bit of a challenge to style for. But the stylist assigned to my case did a good job for the first box. Of the five items I was sent, there was really only one item I didn’t like and it was the shape and cut of the blouse, not the color which was a bright vibrant, royal blue that was at issue. There was a black and white cardigan that was lovely but too big that also went back but otherwise, my box was a hit! I got two new fit-and-flare dresses that were wash-and-wear — one in grey and white lattice pattern and one in navy with white polka dots. The last item was a white flared skirt with a graphic black pattern on it that I love. I’ve already worn all three items twice and looking forward to my next box.

My girlfriends use another subsciption service that caters to ladies who wear a broader range of sizes called Dia & Co. and they highly recommend it as well. So, if Stitch Fix doesn’t offer your size, you might want to consider Dia & Co.

If by chance you do decide to give Stitch Fix a try, if you use this referral link, I can get a referral credit. I didn’t decide to do this Fashionable Friday in hopes of referral credits, so don’t feel obliged to do so, but it sure would be nice if you did.

  • Lamy Logo fountain pen Twilight (special edition 2016) €36.90 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Mark’s Tokyo Edge A5 Planner 2017 in Yellow $28 (via JetPens)
  • Diamine Safari Fountain Pen Ink (40ml Bottle) $15 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Filofax Original Monochrome Personal Organizer $94 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • CDT Brush Pen $48 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Star Wax Seal $29.95 AUD (via Kustom Haus)
  • Paperblanks Mini Journal – Ori Ripple, Lined $12.95 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Platinum Balance Fountain Pen with Fine Pen $43.20 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Pilot Namiki Ink Bottle in Black $12 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Caran d’Ache Genius Pencil with Stylus 2-pack $13 (via Goldspot Pens)

Pen Review: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black Fountain Pen

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black and Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love

Once again, my dear friend Kasey was kind enough to loan me a pen. This time, it was his beloved Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black. I laughed when I pulled it out of the box because it is the absolute antithesis of the only other Sailor pen in my life right now. Where the Sailor Imperial Black is matte black finish with ruthenium trim, my Sailor Pink Love Pro Gear Slim is ridiculously vivid pink with metallic sparkles embedded in the material. So, I’ve spent the last few weeks putting Imperial Black and Pink Love next to each other in a strange “opposites attract” sort of way. And to be honest, its totally true.

Fountain Pen WeightsFrom a purely technical standpoint, I was delighted to have an opportunity to try out a full-sized Pro Gear and discover that it is not nearly as large or heavy as I anticipated. Compared with the Slim model, its really only about a half an inch longer and only slightly wider. Weight-wise, the Pro Gear is only 4 grams heavier at 24 gms than the Slim which weighed in at 20 gms, capped and filled with the converter. Compared to a Lamy AL-Star, which is a bit longer than the Pro Gear, the weights and width are quite comparable so really, the Pro Gear is a a fairly light but solid feeling tool. I’d almost describe it as compact. Especially with the Imperial Black since all the design elements are understated making the pen feel very clean and functional but at the same time very classic and elegant.

Within minutes of putting the pen to paper, I started researching how much it was going to cost me to get my own Imperial Black. Seriously. Fo the record, there are not many of these beauties left in the wild. Anderson Pens still has some in stock with a broad nib for $472.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black

Part of the expense of this Imperial Black is that this particular model of Pro Gear came with the 21K nib instead of the more common 14K nib. Wow. This particular pen has the medium nib. And as is common with Sailor pens, the medium nib is actually quite fine and actually a bit crisp so the line has a lot of character. Its not often that I get excited about a medium nib, but this one is quite something. There’s nothing “medium” about it.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black and Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love

When I put it next to the music nib on the Pro Gear Slim Pink Love, the Imperial Black looks slim, delicate and all business. The Pink Love looks a little bulbous. It does show the vast range of nib size differences within the Sailor line though.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black

In writing, the medium nib 21K is absolutely buttery. It was conducive to writing at any angle and as a left-handed writer this is a big deal. I could write over-handed, under-handed, or side-writing with the lightest of touches and the nib glides on the paper. The medium nib handled my small handwriting with no issues, I seldom had the counters of my letters fill in even using 6mm guide sheets.

I really was blown away by this pen and am seriously considering purchasing, if not an Imperial Black Pro Gear, than at least a Pro Gear, in the near future. It is a beautiful writing tool and the Sailor medium nib should be renamed something more poetic. Maybe the “majestic” nib. That’s what that “M” really stands for.

Link Love: Deep, Papery Thoughts

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




Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Art Supplies:

Other Interesting Things:

One Book July: Halfway Point

One Book July Halfway

I have to admit that after more than two weeks of One Book July, I’m about to lose my mind. I already fell off the bandwagon by putting a pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook in my purse so that I have a portable-sized notebook for jotting notes on the go.

So my first downside to One Book July is not  always having a book that fits in my bag or pocket.

One Book July Halfway

Then, there’s the issue of the whole Bullet Journaling system… its not been my strong suit. I have been planning several trips that are coming up in August and October. Normally, I’d write all the details down in my Filofax which I keep a whole year in the binder at a time. With a Bullet Journal, there’s the need to write and re-write things in sections like “Forward Planning” and a monthly list and then later in the weekly pages. With my Filofax, I only have to write it down once in the weekly page and maybe on the monthly pages if its an all-day event or something that extends several days. So, that’s the next issue I’ve faced – I miss my Filofax.

I don’t really like keeping my personal notes in the same book with my work notes either. I seldom need my work notes once I’ve gotten home. I do tend to think of things I want to do when I get home or over the weekend while I’m at work so I do tend to carry my personal notebook back and forth with me. So its been weird to try to keep all the notes in one notebook. I’ve ended up cheating and keeping a lot of work notes on 3x5s and sticky notes rather than in my notebook just so I don’t have to keep the notes in my One Book July. So, its another fail for me.

One Book July Halfway

I know I need to continue for another two weeks to be true to the One Book July challenge but I’m not sure I can handle the compromises for two more weeks. I know it sounds ridiculous to need more than one notebook to survive but I’m that OCD.

On the plus side, I really like the the Midori MD notebook ($16) I’ve been using. The paper quality i excellent and has held up to all the pens and pencils I’ve used with it. I purchased the plastic cover ($3.80) for it which has made it feel much more durable and provided pockets to stash loose paper and keep the cream paperboard cover from getting dirty. I will certainly continue to use the Midori MD notebooks in the future. It’s some of the best paper I’ve used yet if you don’t mind the ivory cream stock.

One Book July Halfway

I wonder if I had chosen a Traveler’s Notebook with multiple booklets, if that would have more easily fulfilled my need for work, personal and calendar needs as well as being able to pull out a booklet for portability sake? It’s something to consider for next year.

Ask The Desk: Refills, Reuse, Notebooks & KC Tourism


Mishelle is in search of:

Looked through the list and I didn’t see this cross gel ball point listed. I was wondering if you know if it would be an option for a render k. I currently have a fine liner in there now but I’d like purple something (like) Cross Selectip Gel Rollingball Pen Refill.

I went to the knowledge source of all things refill, Tom at Goldspot Pens (AKA Refill Finder) and here’s what he recommended:
“The great thing about the Render K (especially the G2 version), is that they adapt to be able to use so many types of refills, and even include a spacer you can size down to fit your refill of choice. The Cross Selectip measures at 4.375” in length, which is about the same size as the international rollerball at 4.39″ They do make a rollerball in purple ink.
Cross also offers selectip porous-point refills, which is the same as saying felt tip. However, colors in the felt tip type are limited to blue or black. No purple there! I went through the Schmidt and Monteverde catalog to find a felt-tip that had purple ink, but no luck there either. If purple must absolutely be had, I’d go with the purple G2 or the Cross Selectip Purple.

Sharpie Pen Retractable

Michelle asks:

I have faux-chrome and black push button versions of the Sharpie retractable pen. When they inevitably run out of ink, I am loathe to discard them–especially the nicer ones which are becoming harder for me to find locally. I know they are not refillable, but have you heard of any way to reuse/hack/upcycle the bodies?

It turns out that I lose the retractable Sharpie pens before they ever actually dry out so I’ve never gotten to the point where I could actually test whether I could disassemble them. So, I went out today and bought another 3-pack in  the name of science and short of actual destruction, I couldn’t figure out any way to disassemble the barrel.

Does anyone else have any idea of a way to reuse or recycle the Sharpie retractables?

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook

Gentry asks:

Out of all of the notebooks, what is your favorite to write in. I am on the quest to find the best notebook. I am currently trying out a Piccadilly, Leuchtturm1917, and a Moleskine and am looking into the Baron Fig Confidant currently. Any suggestions on better notebooks would be awesome.

Notebooks are such a personal preference as it comes down to a balance between cost, form, paper, ruling (or not) and any added features (do pockets, elastics, etc make or break a notebook for you) that what I favor may not, in the end, be what you favor.

Of the notebooks you listed, Gentry, for value, I really like the Piccadilly. Its not the most durable but it has reasonably good paper and overall quality for under $10 and that’s hard to beat. However, with regular wear and tear, the binding will often give out, as will the elastic which can make the notebook look as cheap as it is.

So, if you’re looking for a “buy once, cry once” product, the best in category of the ones you’ve listed is definitely the Leuchtturm1917. While the build quality of the Baron Fig is excellent, if you’re inclined to use wet rollerballs or fountain pens, you will not love the paper.

If you like using fountain pens, you may also want to consider the Rhodia Webnotebooks or the QuoVadis Habana which features Clairefontaine paper which is so conducive to fountain pens.

Image via wikipedia
(Image via wikipedia)

Jonathan is coming to Kansas City:

My wife and I will be attending PlannerCon in September and were wanting to know what places we cannot miss in KC while we are there.

First, congratulations on getting tickets to the Midwest PlannerCon. It looks like its shaping up to be a good event. As for places to visit in Kansas City, I assume you are looking for pen-and-paper related stops? So, I recommend Maker Goods in Westpost with a stop at Char Bar if you want to partake in some fine BBQ cuisine in a casual environment. Or grab some bagels from Mesuggah Bagels on 39th St. or donuts from the local institution Lamars Donuts.

At Crown Center, there is the only pen shop in town, The Pen Place, but you can also grab a slice from Spin Pizza while you’re there or a concrete from Sheridan’s Frozen Custard. Its near Union Station and the KC Aquarium which both offer touristy activities should you be looking to entertain yourself for an afternoon.

In the Crossroads, near Crown Center is Hammerpress which creates letterpress cards and also sells an assortment of stationery goods. Its not far from the Up/Down arcade, the Roasterie and Boulevard Brewery which both host tours.

And in the Country Club Plaza area is Paper Source along with lots of standard shopping, eating and drinking fare. Its close to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art which is a diverse museum with a fabulous gift shop. Their courtyard restaurant is also a nice place to hang out as is the  wide front lawn with the epic (and iconic) shuttlecocks.

Friday Favorites: Things That Are Making Me Happy This Week


This week was a particular challenge for me. Work was BRUTAL. So, instead of a Fashionable Friday, I’ve decided to to do a little wrap-up of things that made me happy this week, in spite of long hours at work and some rough projects. Consider it my version of a gratitude list.

I hope you get a kick out them. Some are pen, paper and work-related. And some are definitely not.

  1. Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away… I became a Star Wars nerd. I will always be a Star Wars nerd. This Behind-the-Scenes Rogue One Footage gave me New Hope (via Wired)
  2. Handwritten, A Place in Space for Pen & Paper is a lovely little diversion full of the written word. From grandma’s handwritten recipe cards to grocery lists and scrawled notes.
  3. Polaroid Swing iPhone App is a photo app with one second worth of motion. Far more interesting than Boomerang, IMHO. (via iTunes store, review article via Wired)
  4. Pokemon Go iPhone App. As a recovering Ingress addict, I knew what I was getting into. on the plus side, its a game that gets me off my butt and outside, walking around. Its exercise for nerds. (via iTunes Store, game play tips via Forbes)
  5. First Draft Hardbound and Cloth-covered Notebook with Elastic Band in Brick Red $22, is another in a long line of notebooks to consider. (via First Draft Co.)
  6. Blackwing Volumes – Vol. 56 (12 Pack) $24.95. This might possibly be my favorite Blackwing Edition yet. (via Pencils.com)
  7. Field Notes Byline Edition. I’m warming up to this unusual format and enjoying the lovely paper stock. (via Pen Chalet, Goldspot Pens, Pen Boutique, and more)
  8. Fisher Space Pen 50th Anniversary Black/Gold Bullet Ballpoint Pen $35. While other folks are busy talking about the 50th anniversary of the the Lamy 2000, I am enjoying the 50th anniversary of the Fisher Space Pen. Its understated, classic and affordable. Sign me up! (via Pen Boutique)
  9. Lihit Lab Smart Fit Actact Wide Open Pen Case in Yellow Green (of course but it is available in other colors.) $20.50. As soon as I saw this I bought it and it arrived this week. I’m thrilled with its usefulness and color. Its not as big as I thought it was going to be which is both a blessing and a curse. (via JetPens)
  10. Silver Brush Black Velvet Watercolor Brush Round #6 $11.55 I’m excited to try this synthetic fiber watercolor brush considered to be one of the best options available. It just arrived today so I’ll be experimenting this weekend. (via Wet Paint Art)
  11. My dear friend bequeathed her Momiji Birdie & Bowie Doll set to me which I sat in front of my computer this week and made my long hours a little bit more bearable. Sometimes, its the little things, isn’t it? (via Momiji)

Digital Life: Evernote Alternatives

Evernote Plans

There have been lots of articles floating around the internet this week following the announcement that Evernote was changing its policies regarding how it was handling its accounts. Now, if you want to use the service on more than two devices, you must pay for their premium service to the tune of $34.99/year for their Plus account or $69.99/year for their Premium account though their are offering the Premium account for a year at half price to entice folk over to the paid service.

I’m not exactly a “power-user” of Evernote but I like being able to access notes across multiple devices (iOS, web and home computer) so I think I’ll try to find a different solution sadly. Or maybe a couple different solutions. Sadly, my work computer does not allow me to install any applications so whatever options I choose need to have a web interface.

I have collected some recipes in Evernote over the years but mostly I have various snippets, half-baked ideas, some lists and idea starters and an assortment of links stored in Evernote. I don’t usually use it like a paper notebook, it tends to be things that are copied and pasted from a digital source to a digital source, like URLs or in preparation to be digital content.

Google Keep

I had several folks recommend Google Keep as an option which offers a web based interface as well as an iOS (and Android of course). It has a very “sticky note” aesthetic and allows for checkbox lists, image embeds and categorization labeling. It ends up looking like a tidy wall of sticky notes and has tagging. There is a plug-in for Chrome to automatically add content to Keep from a web site and options to move content from Keep to Google Docs so if you are already entrenched in the Google camp, this might be a good candidate for you.


Microsoft OneNote is another candidate though I cringe at the idea of utilizing another Microsoft product. I’ve already adopted Outlook on my iPhone as a legitimate alternative to Apple’s kludgey Mail app which neither filters junk mail nor handles Gmail with any sort of efficiency so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Microsoft is quietly creeping in with alternatives that might actually be useful. It works across just about every possible platform and looks to be designed to integrate seamlessly with Office products, though for me that’s not as big a selling feature.

Another solution might be to use Apple’s Notes app which is available across the iPhone, iPad and the desktop. Of course, this only works if you’re fully invested in the Apple ecosystem. I am fully invested in the Apple ecosystem but I’m not sure I can take advantage of it at work because I cannot connect the work station to my Apple ID so I can only access it via the iCloud interface via a web browser which does not allow the addition of images as anything other than links. There is minimal formatting options on the web version.


The last option I’m considering is Simple Note. I’ve already been using it to a certain extent in combination with an older version of Notational Velocity (NVAlt) which will sync to Simple Note on my iPhone and the web. Notational Velocity hasn’t been upgraded in years and NVAlt has also been left to languish for some time so the default Simple Note apps and web interface are your safest bet. The biggest downside for Simple Note is the absence of any support for images. SimpleNote does support Markdown and tagging which is nice. But its still a pretty stripped down option in comparison to all the bells-and-whistles with Evernote.

With all of this research, I’ve determined that the bottom line is that I no longer want to have multiple places where my data detritus is saved. Evernote’s ultimatum is forcing me to set aside some time to merge and purge data and files and get them all in one place and then choose one system to use to its fullest extent.

Are you an Evernote user presently? Are you sticking with the service or jumping ship? If you’re leaving Evernote have you chosen a new service yet?

News: Blackwing Volumes No. 56 Joe DiMaggio


Just in time for the All-Star Game is the Blackwing Editions No. 56 Joe DiMaggio edition. In white lacquer and classic blue pin stripes and topped with a blue eraser, the No. 56 pays tribute to the “Yankee Clipper,” the baseball legend who hit safely in 56 consecutive games in 1941.

This edition of the Blackwing features a firm core and the classic extendable eraser in blue. I received my shipping notification yesterday so they should arrive in my hot little hands by this weekend. While I’m not a diehard baseball fan, I love the nostalgia and classic good looks of this edition and I’m quite looking forward to it. Subscribe to get your own Volumes or buy this edition here.

Link Love: Shiver Me Carobs?




Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Art Supplies:

Other Interesting Things:

Ink Review: Waterproof, Permanent Inks

Waterproof Inks

During an episode of Art Supply Posse, Heather mentioned that she didn’t realize that most fountain pen inks were water soluble. I held my tongue because I already had a pile of waterproof fountain pen inks in my arsenal and I was ready to test and share them with folks but I didn’t want to derail our conversation at the time. I’ve collected a few waterproof, permanent fountain pen ink options currently available. These are a little bit more finicky to use since they can dry out in a pen and become difficult to remove so I would not recommend putting them in fancy “grail pen”. However, if you have an assortment of lower-priced fountain pens in your collection and are looking for a permanent ink for addressing envelopes, using with watercolors, or for signing documents, then one of these inks might be a great option to add to your collection.

I’d recommend using them with a pen like a Lamy Safari, a Platinum Carbon Desk Pen, a Pilot Metropolitan or maybe refilling a Preppy. You can also use these inks with dip nibs. Just remember to clean out the inks every couple of weeks to make sure that they do not dry out in the pen.

Waterproof Inks

The Platinum Carbon Black is an excellent ink. I find it incredibly well-behaved. I’ve been using it in my Platinum Carbon Desk Pen for almost a year and I have yet to clean it out thoroughly. I occasionally dip the tip in water and wipe it with a rag to clean off a bit of the built up carbon build-up but it is one of my go-to pens. It’s refilled three times with both cartridge and bottled Carbon Black and performs beautifully. I also put some Carbon Black in an old Platinum Preppy and it works fine too.

That said, I was willing to try some of Platinum’s Pigment inks — the Sepia ($16 for 60ml bottle) and Rose Red ($1.25 for a 3ml sample) specifically. I went ahead and purchased a full bottle of the the Sepia knowing that a good permanent sepia brown is something I needed to have in my collection and I’ve been using it in my Lamy Joy. I’ve refilled it several times already and been quite pleased with the performance of the Sepia so I went ahead and got a sample of the Rose Red as well. I wasn’t sure if I’d need want a whole bottle of rose red ink but, upon using it, I really quite like it. It wasn’t as pink as I expected it to be. It’s more of a warm red. I liked using it to draw. Though I’m still on the fence as to whether I’d use a whole bottle of it.

Waterproof Inks

I also purchased samples of an assortment of De Atramentis Document Inks in Yellow, Fuchsia, Dark Blue, Blue, Green, and Turquoise.  Easch sample is 3ml and costs $1.75. Full bottles are $18.50. The most interesting aspect of the Documents inks, beyond the permanence, is their mixability. I purchased what was essentially the building blocks of printer’s inks — cyan, magenta and yellow to mix with my carbon black in an effort to make some of my own colors in the future. I was inspired by some of the ink color experiments that Liz Steel has done for her field sketching.

The one issue I found was that the turquoise color was a bit runnier than the other colors. I imagine mixing it with one of the other colors might help a bit but I was disappointed with the runnyness. The yellow was also too light to use without mixing with another color but is nice and bright so it would be fun to mix to brighten a darker color.

Waterproof Inks

All-in-all the permanent colors are definitely more experimental. I am fairly confident recommending the Platinum Carbon Black and the Platinum Pigment Sepia though as I’ve been a pretty disrespectful pen owner and they have both worked flawlessly in both my Platinum Carbon Desk Pen ($9.60) and in the Lamy Joy ($28) with an EF nib ($13) so you should feel confident using those and Liz Steel praises the performance of De Atramentis Document inks so I think those should work pretty well long term as well. But I’d still proceed with caution and be prepared to tweak as needed for performance and color.

Thanks to Pen Chalet and Anderson Pens. Both are sponsors of this blog but I purchased all the pen, inks and samples shown here with my own money.

Art Supply Review: Pfeiffer Art Supply Handcrafted Watercolor Paints

Pfeiffer Watercolor Pan Paints

I was really excited to be able to purchase the handmade watercolor pans from Pfeiffer Art Supply. They are listed as non-toxic and come in either half- or full-pans. Half pans are currently $6 each and full pans are $12 which is a very good price. There are currently 14 colors available in their line-up, each named after a bird. I purchased eleven out of the 14 colors as a few were sold out and I decided to skip the Crane White as I don’t often use white when I watercolor. Otherwise, I purchased almost the full range and I’m really glad I did.

Pfeiffer Watercolor Pan Paints

The pans came filled to the top and can have a strong magnet included on the bottom if you add a note in your order. Pfeiffer uses small disc magnets that are a bit thicker than the flexible sheet magnets I normally use on my watercolor pans but are much stronger magnets. It did make the Pfeiffer pans uneven in my watercolor kit with my other pans as a result though. If you plan on using this set independently it wouldn’t make a difference but since I ended up adding the Pfeiffer pans to my everyday watercolor set, the Pfeiffer pans ended up sitting a little higher than the others which I found a little distracting. In the future, I think I will have Pfeiffer send me pans without the magnets and I’ll use my own sheet magnets so all the pans sit at the same height.

Pfeiffer Watercolor Pan Paints

Now, let’s talk about the colors. The colors were actually quite bright and vivid. While the pans were dry, they wet easily and the colors mixed well. I was able to use just two colors in the palette to produce several additional colors I was concerned were missing from the pan like a more warm yellow, an aqua and a more indigo blue very easily while I was swatching colors.

The colors on this smooth paper had some light granulation. I have since used the paint on some more textured paper and its just as nice.

Pfeiffer Watercolor Pan Paints

In painting, the paint also re-wets easily making it easy to rework areas. I love the Heron grey. I don’t normally like black watercolor paint but this light neutral helps with soften and mute the brilliance of the colors to create more subtle tones. The Heron grey is great for doing a simple tonal sketch too.

#worldwatercolormonth day 5 peach iced tea @pfeifferartsupply #schmincke #handbookjournal

A photo posted by ana reinert (@wellapptdesk) on

I painted this sketch using a combination of Pfeiffer watercolors and Schminkes and used the Heron grey for the shadows. This was painted on Global Art Materials Travelogue Watercolor paper which is a cold press watercolour paper so you can see a bit more of the granulation and pooling of the colors.

Pfeiffer watercolors also mixed nicely with my other watercolors so its easy to add one or two colors to an existing palette if you don’t want to invest in a full array of colors. I’d recommend trying a few, maybe even whole pans since the prices are so reasonable. I really like the Macaw Blue, Cardinal Red, Goldfinch Yellow Ochre and Motmot Green as well as the Heron Grey if you’re looking for colors to start with.

There’s still lots of time in World Watercolor Month so what are you waiting for?

Fashionable Friday: Opulence & Glamour


Somedays, I am struck by the glamour and opulence of high fashion couture. The Spring Dolce & Gabbana Spring Collection came to my attention this week and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. The velvets, furs, over-the-top embroidery, operatic details and lush details had me imagining all sorts of occasions to wear such finery. It also immediately reminded me of the release of the J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre shimmering brown and golden ink so I knew I had the makings of a Fashionable Friday.

Unfortunately, technology slowed me down a little this week so it took even longer than usual to get this post up. I think it may be time to consider a new laptop soon. Ugh. In the meantime, I’m going to fantasize swooshing around in the burgundy tulle gown with intricate gold embroidered bodice while writing with the fabulously ornate Visconti Davina Royale fountain pen in a luscious Paperblanks notebook and not standing in front of a snot-nosed Apple “genius” telling me how happy I should be spending my precious shoe money on a new laptop.

  • Dolce & Gabana Gowns from the Alta Moda Haute Couture Spring 2016 collection (via Vogue)
  • Sailor Jentle Four Season Fountain Pen Ink in Tokiwa-matsu Ink (Pine) (50 ml Bottle) $20 (via JetPens)
  • J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Caroube de Chypre Bottled Fountain Pen Ink $26 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Wax Seal Stamp Symbol in Fleur de Lis $29.95 AUD (via Kustom Haus)
  • Paperblanks Lined Midi Journal in William Morris Iris Pattern $16.95 (via Anderson Pens)
  • J. Herbin Brass Seal Script “W” $11 and Wood Handle $14.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Graf von Faber-Castell Heritage Alexander fountain pen in green lacquer guilloche €1480 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Visconti Davina Royale Fountain Pen in Peau D’Ange $695 $417 (via Pen Chalet)
  • J. Herbin Kings’ Sealing Wax with Wick in Forest Green, Pack of 5 for $30 (via JetPens)
  • Waterman Hemisphere Privee Rose Cuivre CT Fine Point Fountain Pen $107.95 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Diamine Tyrain Purple Fountain Pen Ink (80ml bottle) $15 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Barstock Fountain K with Phenolic body and Brass Cap As configured $110 (via Karas Kustoms)
  • Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue Fountain Pen Ink (75ml Bottle) $30 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Super Gold High Class Rubber Eraser $9 (C.W. Pencil Enterprise)

The Great Eraser Rub-Off Challenge

Eraser Off

After appearing on the Eraser episode of the Erasable podcast, I decided to fully test all the erasers (and then some) that were in the awesome CW Pencil Enterprise eraser pack as well as some of the erasers that were mentioned on the episode. Some were long time favorites of mine and others were new-to-me goodies so I thought it was time to do a side-by-side comparison.

The challengers:

The tools:

The papers:

Eraser Off

The first phase of this experiment was to test each eraser on the smooth, everyday paper. I chose Leuchtturm1917 which is a warm white, smooth paper. I wanted to test three “everyday pencils” as well as three colored pencils that might be used by people who might want to add color, sketches or more creative elements to their notes or everyday notes.

Eraser Off

For regular graphite, most of the erasers were acceptable. The Koh-i-noor Thermoplastic Hexagonal “throwing star” and the Kohi-noor Pebbles were the least effective on the Leuchtturm1917 but for daily writing, they were acceptable. The Staedtler Mars Plastic, the Tombow, the Sakura and Pilot Foam and the Campus Plastic all performed above expectations for graphite erasing.

Eraser Off

What was most surprising to me was that the Foam erasers by Sakura and Pilot usurped by beloved Staedtler for the best eraser when erasing the colored pencil markings from the smooth Leuchtturm paper. And the unusual and rare-as-a-coelacanth pink Campus Plastic Eraser also did a better-than-average job of erasing both graphite and colored pencil too. Not that I’m biased against pink erasers but it was pink and scented or at least swee-smelling so I wasn’t expecting it to be a top-performer too. The Koh-i-noor Pebbles did a good job of erasing the Col-Erase on the Leuchtturm which was a bit of a surprise.

Eraser Off

In an effort to be completely thorough, I also decided to test the erasers on the toothier Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook paper which allowed some erasers to really shine where others had a lot more challenges. The Pebbles struggled on the textured surfaces but the Tombow Mono, Campus Plastic and Staedtler Mars Plastic all did well. The Sakura Foam and Pilot Foam erasers did quite well too.

Eraser-off eraser challenge on #stillmanandbirn alpha sketchbook paper.

A video posted by ana reinert (@wellapptdesk) on

The Pebbles struggled on the textured surfaces but the Tombow Mono, Campus Plastic and Staedtler Mars Plastic all did well. The Sakura Foam and Pilot Foam erasers did quite well too.


Eraser Off

The finalists: Tombow Mono and Pilot Foam.

Runners-up: For toothy paper, Staedtler Mars Plastic. For smooth paper, Koh-i-noor Pebbles.

Most likely to smell good: Campus Plastic Eraser (could not decide if it was scented or not but it smelled sort of sweet).

Still coolest looking: Koh-i-noor Thermoplastic

DISCLAIMER: Some items were sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Other items I purchased myself. Please see the About page for more details.

Podcast: Episode 6 of Art Supply Posse: Cats-up & Bullying

Art Supply Posse Ep.6This week on Art Supply Posse, Heather and I discuss surviving bullying, being brave, making art, Sketchbook Skool and a backlog of follow-up. And we still didn’t get to it all!

This week’s artwork was created by my lovely co-host, Heather Rivard using her new Schmincke watercolors. Pop over to the web site to listen to the whole episode, get the iTunes subscription link and leave feedback about the episode. Thanks!


Link Love: Summer Lull

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




Notebooks & Paper:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things: