Giveaway: Yak Leather Pen Cases from Pen Boutique

Today we have a pen case giveaway for two lucky readers of The Desk.

Pen Boutique generously sent us two pen cases to share with you. The first is the Yak Leather Premium 24-Pen Case, Black (Reg $80.00, Sale $49.99). As the name implies, this black buffalo leather case was designed to hold 24 of your most precious pens.

Yak 24 pen case

The case is divided into two sides, each with 12 pen loops. The loops themselves are interesting; they are double loops with leather loops on top and elastic loops underneath, to hold your pens securely in place.

Yak Leather

Yak 24 pen case

The divider between the sides is removable (it is held in place by velcro) so this case can function either as a travel case or to display your pens. The case closes with a sturdy zipper, and there are even slots where you can lock the case closed with a small travel lock. Closed, the case measures 13″ x 9.25″ (32.5 cm x 23 cm).

Yak 24 pen case

Yak 24 pen case

In general I was impressed by this pen case. It seems sturdy and well made, and the leather is nice and soft. My only complaint is that the soft black velvet inside seems to attract lots of dust and fuzz – it was crazy difficult to photograph without all those little motes showing.

The second case we received from Pen Boutique is the Yak Leather Premium One Pen Pouch, Brown ($20.00).  This is a brown leather case, with a classic look and a flap that folds over. It is perfect for holding a pen in your pocket with style.  When closed the case is approximately 7″ x 1.5″ (17.5 cm x 3.75 cm).

Pen Boutique Single Pen Case

Pen Boutique Single Pen Case

Pen Boutique Single Pen Case

This is a nice case as well and held most of my pens comfortably.  My only complaint about this case is that it is somewhat stiff.  This might be the point of the case (to provide a more rigid case for your pen), though I expect it the leather might break in and soften a bit over time.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment ON THIS POST ON THE BLOG and tell us which pen case you would like to win! Only one of each model is available so in drawing a winner, we will select the first name and they will win the pen case they have chosen. The second name selected will win the pen case they have chosen, assuming it is not the same model selected by winner #1. If they picked the same model, we will select another name until we have selected someone who has chosen a different pen case… and so on, until we have given away both cases. Make sense?

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, April 29, 2018. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday, April 30. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear – just email you if you win. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US residents and APO/FPO only please.

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in giveaway were provided free of charge by Pen Boutique. Please see the About page for more details.

Follow-Up: Make Art Everyday Planner Hack

Review by Tina Koyama

If you read my review of the Make Art Every Day planner, you’ll recall that I really liked almost everything about it – the charming art, the visual variety, the tips and prompts. But for a planner to be useable, especially when drawing or doodling as well as writing, the book must stay open flat on my desk. This planner’s glued, perfect binding was a deal-breaker for me – I had difficulty keeping pages open long enough even to photograph them, and I knew using it would be a problem. It was disappointing.

When Ana read my review, she had a brilliant yet simple idea: Why not have the book rebound with a spiral? I popped myself upside the head, wondering why I didn’t think of it myself, and took it to my neighborhood FedEx Kinko’s. For 6 bucks and change, a 1/8-inch slice of the binding was cut off and replaced with a smooth, round spiral binding.

Now every page spread opens completely and stays open on my desk. If I want to save space, I can also easily flip the side I’m not using to the back.

It was an easy solution to make the book useable. Boo to planner publishers who don’t think of usability, but yay for hacks!

So now the question is: What kinds of media can be used in it? I threw my usual media tests on a page, including some juicy brush pens, paint markers and a Derwent Graphik that had a messy meltdown.

The broader nibs and brushes ghosted a bit, but the only products that bled through (and only slightly) were a Kuretake brush pen filled with Platinum Carbon Black ink, a Zig Painty Fx paint marker and a Krink paint marker. Even the blorps from the Graphik meltdown didn’t bleed.

I also tried watercolor pencils with a light wash, watercolor paint on dry paper and watercolor wet-on-wet. As you might guess, the text-weight paper is not intended for wet media, so the spot where I applied water heavily buckled badly (and stayed that way after drying). A light wash applied on dry paper, though, wasn’t too bad. In my apple sketch made with watercolor pencil, I activated the shadow with a light wash, which didn’t blend well on the unsized paper.

Overall, I think this planner would be best with pens, brush pens, markers and pencils of all types. 

Link Love: Pen Case Still Fits in the Overhead Compartment




Paper & notebooks:

Art Supplies and Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

Ink Review: Robert Oster Soda Pop Blue

Ink Review: Robert Oster Soda Pop Blue

Robert Oster’s blues are pretty notorious but some are more noteworthy than others. Unfortuntately, he often releases so many ink colors at once that some get lost in the shuffle. Last year, in the melée of Fire & Ice and River of Fire and Lake of Fire and all the other fiery ink madness, Soda Pop Blue ($17for 50ml bottle) was released and largely overlooked.

Many people are still skeptical about the plastic bottles that Oster uses. Yes, they are a bit tall and slender but for someone like myself with a large ink collection, they are easy to store in a drawer and easy to identify from the top. The plastic means they don’t break if tipped over and I have been able to fill almost any pen all the way down to the bottom of the bottle because of the wide opening. It’s only the last inch or so that require that the ink be transferred to a different container or be syphoned out with a syringe to fill a converter rather directly through the nib.

As for the color of Soda Pop Blue, it is a vivid cool blue with a distinct red violet halo/sheen. How that relates to soda pop, I’m not exactly sure but the color is excellent and if sheen appeals to you, this color is excellent.

In writing, the sheen and halo is visible, even with a fine nib pen. The ink is vibrant but not the least nit water resistant. And I realized that the color is the same as Gummi Sharks candy (1lb. bulk bag). I seem to have a thing for sharks of all kinds these days.

There are several inks that are similar in hue but not as vivid. The closest is probably Colorverse Crystal Planet which is considerably more expensive so if you’ve been waiting for it to be restocked at your favorite retailer, Soda Pop Blue may be a good alternative at half the cost. Bookbinders Snake Ink Blue Coral is close but not as vibrant and Lamy Pacific Blue (Turquoise) and Waterman Inspired Blue/Obsession Blue ($9.60 for a 50ml bottle) is a little bit lighter but in the same color spectrum.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided free of charge by Vanness Pen Shop for the purpose of review. Other 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.

Planner Review: Make Art Every Day A Weekly Planner for Creative Thinkers

Review by Tina Koyama

Make Art Every Day: A Weekly Planner for Creative Thinkers–With Art Techniques, Exercises, Reminders, and 500+ Stickers (To Do) is a unique planner and creativity inspiration book. Written by illustrator Katie Vernon, the 127-page book is filled with her colorful, whimsical images that evoke children’s book illustrations.

After the weekly planner pages (enough for a full year), the book includes more than 500 equally colorful stickers designed to be used in the planner. Some stickers are blank symbols that you can enhance yourself.

The book begins with an overview explaining the six categories in which creativity can be incorporated into our everyday lives, no matter how busy we are: Feast Your Eyes (seeking visual inspiration); Make a Creative Connection (reaching out to others); Make an Art Appointment (scheduling time for making art and other creative actions, even if only for five minutes); Try a New Technique (prompts and ideas); Setting and Achieving Goals (large dreams and achievable steps); Take Care of Yourself (nurturing the inner and outer self to be ready for creativity). The symbols used throughout the book and on the included stickers relate to the six categories. This introduction is followed by a few pages of techniques and tips on using simple media.

The bulk of the book is made up of the weekly planner’s 52 page spreads. Every week includes a space for goals. The other divided spaces include creative prompts, ideas or techniques. Some spaces are large enough for small sketches or doodles.

I like the varying page spread formats; the changes give me a small visual shake-up every time I turn the page. Using the book as my general planner for work and personal activities, I can see that the invitations to take small inspiration breaks and space to sketch on each spread would be helpful in reminding me to make time for creativity. Toward the end of the week, if the “Creativity Starter” or “Quick Sketch” spots were still blank, I would feel compelled to fill them.

Some pages include longer techniques with brief instructions.

Final Impressions

Visually, Make Art Every Day is a fun, colorful book with delightful illustrations. The author’s main point is that creativity is not only about making art; it’s also about preparing oneself for a creative life in a well-rounded way. The format encourages developing a daily habit of creative expression.

My only complaint – and it’s a big deal-breaker, unfortunately – is that the darn book doesn’t stay open on a desk, so I find it impossible to use as an actual planner. I had to hold each page open to take most of the photos (the ones that stayed open by themselves long enough to be photographed flipped closed a moment later). I’d like to see this book reprinted with a spiral or, better yet, stitched binding that enables each spread to stay open flat for both sketching and writing. And as long as we’re going to repackage this, why not include a small set of markers or colored pencils? It would make a really nice gift set that way.

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

DISCLAIMER: The item 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.

Ink Review: Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji

Review by Laura Cameron

I love Iroshizuku inks, so when Ana handed me Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji ($9.90 for 15 mL) for review, I couldn’t have been more pleased.

Momiji, or Autumn Leaves, is a wonderful pinkish red that makes me think of my favorite trees in the fall.

Iroshizuku Momiji


On the swatch I couldn’t quite capture all of Momiji’s colors. You can definitely see the red leaning pink.

Iroshizuku Momiji

But somehow that swatch doesn’t convey the depth of the red, or the orangey sheen that I get in heavy applications.

Iroshizuku Momiji

In regular applications, primarily with my Delike dip nib pen, I got varying shades of red and pink.

Iroshizuku Momiji

As with all Iroshizuku inks that I have tried, the ink performs well. It is neither too dry, nor too wet, but just right for my use. The only drawback is that Momiji doesn’t appear to be very water resistant (and I don’t appear to be very smear resistant!).

Iroshizuku Momiji

In terms of color comparisons, Momiji is definitely more red than Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu Gaki, when is much more orange. While I think Momiji tends to a deep pink at times, it also doesn’t have any of that pink or orange of Sailor Jentle Sakura Mori. It’s not quite as red as BBS Watermelon Red, nor is it as pink as Lamy Vibrant Pink.

Iroshizuku Momiji

At least in the swatches I have, Momiji seems to be a color unto itself. And one I need more of!

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

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