Tag: pen

Pen Review: Sailor 1911 Standard Ballpoint in Ivory (Say what?!?!?)

Did you know that Sailor makes a ballpoint pen that matches the 1911 fountain pen line?  I’m as surprised as you are! At first, I thought, why would I want a fancy-pants ballpoint pen? I’m not one known for being particularly fond of ballpoint pens in general. I am still in therapy after years of gloopy, smudgy budget-priced excuses for ballpoint pens that left smears on my school term papers and on my hand so it takes a lot of convincing for me to even consider a ballpoint pen. Ron at Pen Chalet promised I would love the refill in the Sailor 1911 Ballpoint ($48) so I was willing to take a chance.

Inside the familiar navy blue, spring-loaded Sailor pen box was the ivory colored (listed as white on the web site) ballpoint pen. The pen is a twist mechanism rather than a click or capped design but otherwise looks very similar to the 1911 fountain pen. The clip is the same, the top end has the same rounded shape and the length is comparable. The barrel at the grip is a little bit narrower since its not capped.

The pen is made from the same lightweight resin plastic that the fountain pens use so its light and comfortable. It features gold tone accents.

I was really surprised at how smooth the ballpoint pen was. The ink didn’t gum up or get gloopy like ballpoint pens in the past. After using the pen for awhile, what I realized is that the refill fits snugly in the housing so there is no shimmy when writing. I know this seems like an odd comment to make but its one of the things that I notice most often using disposable ballpoint pens when signing the receipt at a restaurant — the refill in the pen always shakes around a bit in the pen housing. Its never a perfect fit. With a lot of refillable pens, I end up adding extra springs or tape on the refill to try to stabilize the refill but with the Sailor 1911, its a very precise fit.

According to the Monteverde site, the Sheaffer ballpoint refills they make will fit into Sailor pens. By that rationale, Sheaffer refills from any office supply store would also work. Helpful in a pinch however, the point here is that the SAILOR refill is far and away smoother than any other ballpoint refill I’ve used. Monteverde Softroll in Medium in a 2-pack ($8)  are available from Pen Chalet in a variety of colors. They are pretty good refills and if your penmanship is larger than mine (bigger than mosquito script) than these might be a good option. The Monteverde Softroll refills come in purple, brown, turquoise, red and pink to name the more unique ballpoint color options. Monteverde also offers Capless Gel Refills in fine that fit into the Sailor which might meet my exacting standards. A 2-pack of these refills are $8 and are available in black, blue or blue-black. If these options do not replace the original Sailor ballpoint refill, then Amazon can come to your rescue. I found original Sailor fine ballpoint refills listed there.

What hadn’t occurred to me until I was writing my conclusion is that most of the non-fountain pen reviews here have either been disposable pens or machined pens. Occasionally, we talk about Retro 51s but not everybody is interested in that particular aesthetic. And certainly machined pens aren’t to everyone’s taste. So, I’m really glad to add the Sailor 1911 ballpoint into The Well-Appointed Desk pen vault.

The 1911 ballpoint is a lovely upgrade to the everyday pen. The slim barrel is elegant and easy to hold. The only downsides I see with this particular pen is that the light color resin may stain easily if it comes into contact with ink from another pen but this design is available in several other colors — all with gold trim. The somewhat proprietary refill will make it important to stock-up on refills important.


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

Pen Review: Montegrappa Game of Thrones Ballpoint & Rollerball Pens

Montegrappa has mastered the art of the licensed pen with the Game of Thrones collection. They created four pens to represent major families represented in the series: House Stark, House Lannister, House Targaryen and House Baratheon.  From the packaging to the aesthetics of the pens, Montegrappa managed to do high-end licensed pens right.

I was lucky enough to get to take the House Stark ballpoint and the House Lannister rollerball out for a test drive.

While I am not normally interested in packaging, for a licensed product, I think it shows that care was taken. The box is paperboard-wrapped but iconography representing other houses from Game of Thrones is included on the box and the artwork is very nice.

The artwork even wraps around to the front creating a seamless look. There was time and energy put into making the packaging pleasing. For a fan and a collector who is spending money on something they love, this makes a difference and is appreciated.

Inside, the box is a standard velveteen lining that lifts out to reveal the instruction booklet, refill, etc. The ruby red color of the lining is fine for the House Stark pen but is a little clashy for the House Lannister.

There was even an effort made to include Game of Thrones graphics on the Montegrappa Unser Manual cover. Now on to the details of the pens themselves.

My favorite details of the pens were the clips. Each clip is carved to resemble the family’s symbol. In the case of House Lannister, the clip is a lion’s head. The cap is printed in gold with a stylized rose pattern.

The top of the cap is embossed with the motto of the Lannisters, “Hear me roar.” All the details of the pen are in yellow gold over a red lacquered finish.

The House Stark clip is carved into a wolf and the cap features rune designs in palladium over smooth, white lacquer.

The top of the cap is embossed with the wolf again and the motto “Winter is coming.”

Both pens feature the “Game of Thrones™” logo on the cap band. In the case of the ballpoint, its a twist mechanism so its not technically a cap but the placement is the same.

On to the actual functionality of the pens. The rollerball pen is a bit narrower overall at the grip section than the ballpoint as is shown in the photo above (gold House Lannister on the left is rollerball, palladium and white House Stark on the right is ballpoint).

Since the rollerball has a removable cap, the pen is lighter and shorter, or can be. Though the cap can be posted, I was a bit nervous to post the cap. I was worried the cap might chip the finish. I found that posting the cap threw the balance off on the rollerball. It wrote fine and was long enough for me without posting but I am not a cap-poster in general.

The ballpoint’s slightly wider width was just a bit too wide in my hand. I think most people with normal, adult-sized hands wouldn’t notice but in my pixie-sized hands I felt like I was holding a My First Crayon.

As for the actually refills included, the House Lannister appeared to have a standard Euro/G2 rollerball refill which was pleasant enough to use. I didn’t have any to swap in as my supplies are seriously depleted but Monteverde makes a wide range of colors and widths. A red would probably be most appropriate in the House Lannister. The House Stark ballpoint takes a standard Parker-style refill so the pen refill world is your oyster here. Montegrappa shipped it with a black refill but a broad blue might a good option if “Winter is coming.”

  • Montegrappa Game of Thrones Rollerball Pens MSRP: $325
  • Montegrappa Game of Thrones Ballpoint Pens MSRP: $295

There is, of course, a fountain pen version of the pens as well for $350 MSRP that feature a steel nib.

The bottomline is that Montegrappa did a great job on high-end licensed products for a rabid fandom community. If Cross had put as much attention and care into their Star Wars pens, they would have had something worthy of the price tag they were charging. I believe Montegrappa has positioned themselves to be able to approach other brands and get the licenses they want. Hello, Harry Potter? Gryffindor! Hufflepuff! Ravenclaw! Slytherin! Hello, Lord of the Rings? Elves, Hobbits, Rangers, Riders of Rohan, Dwarves… Eye of Sauron enamel on the top of the cap? How about Wizard of Oz? Their DC pens were just okay but with the GoT, Montegrappa has proven that they can extend themselves… so grab that Marvel license. Steal that Star Wars license from Cross and do it right! Then you’ll have Disney on your side and can do Mickey, Minnie, the Incredibles, Monsters, Inc… the list is endless!

Check with your favorite pen boutique (maybe from the sidebar of this website?) to see who is stocking the Game of Thrones pens. And thanks to Kenro for letting me play in the world of Westeros.


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

Pen Review: Copic Multiliners 0.3 4-Pack

I bought the Copic 0.3 Wine refill for my Multiliner SP  to use during  Inktober last October on a whim. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy using a contrasting color for linework. It’s a bit of a challenge to find the refills for the SPs so when I found the Copic Multiliner 0.3 Pen Set ($12.50) with Cobalt, Olive, Sepia, and Wine, I purchased it immediately. I’ve actually been using these for several weeks but haven’t gotten a chance to write the review until now.

The pen barrels are unusually glittery plastic with a solid-colored, rounded bottom end and a matching, solid-colored flat cap. The logos and text on the barrels is printed in white ink and is mostly inoffensive. The clip on the cap is solid-colored plastic, attached to the top flat part. Its not super-sturdy but it does keep the pen from rolling away particularly if you have the pens on your book, lap or the couch.

The transition between the barrel and the traditional felt/fiber metal tip is an almost-smooth conical transition. You’ll either like this or hate this. I found it fairly non-distracting but I like the more stepped design of the Copic Multiliner SP, which is probably the more traditional technical pen design.

As for the actual colors, I loved getting a way to try out all four of the deep tone colors available for the Copic Multiliners in one convenient package. The wine color still remains my favorite but the cobalt and olive are also great options for other linework possibilities. I burn through felt tip points so fast, I still much prefer to use the SP line and replace just the tips as needed, even though I realize the cost to replace the tip is on par with replacing the whole pen. Somehow, it just feels more environmentally more sound to only throw away the tip, not a whole pen.

If you have never tried colored waterproof, COPIC-proof (fancy term for alcohol-marker proof) fineline, felt/fiber markers before, this set is a great way to try them without investing in a whole system.

If you already know you like felt/fiber tip markers, I recommend investing in the Multiliner SP pens. You can pretty much buy any size pen body (despite what the number says on the tube). Once you own one, you can put any tip and any ink refill into it and ignore the number on the barrel. Just be sure you use the right refill for the tip (smaller tips need the A refill, bigger tips need the B refill). If you want the colored ink refills, head over to MarkerPop, they are the best source I know to get all the SP colored ink refills for SPs.

From my Inktober 2016 Challenge: I drew the “Knitters Alphabet” using Copic SP 0.3mm in Wine and Copic Sketch markers and the ArtSnacks Inktober Sketchbook

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

Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Pink 1.1mm Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set

Monteverde Prima Fountain Pen and Rollerball

Do not adjust your monitor… the Monteverde Neon Pink Intima Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set (Special Sale Price $52) are really this bright! I have previously reviewed the Neon Green version of the fountain pen and it was priced so that this deal is basically like getting the ballpoint for free. Also, while the neon green was bright, it was not nearly as eye-popping as the pink. Just saying. This color is definitely brighting my dreary February days!

Monteverde Prima Nib and tip

Fountain Pen tech specs:
Length: capped is 5.25″
Posted: 6.375″
Unposted: 4.675″

The fountain pen comes with a converter which is excellent for the inky-inclined but the pen does take standard European cartridges if you prefer. I forgot to weigh the pen but its plastic with metal hardware so it is pretty lightweight but well-balanced.

This was my first experience with the ballpoint design. Its a twist mechanism to reveal the pen tip. While I found the clip to be placed a bit low if I didn’t get the pen placed in my hand “just so” it would poke in my hand, I did find myself grabbing for it often to quickly dash off a quick note, add an item to a list or add a to-do on my calendar. Despite my little fuss about the clip, the slightly bulbous shape was pleasing in the hand and the color is cheerful and fun.

Monteverde Prima Size Comparison

I’ve included a visual size comparison of the Intima fountain pen with some commonly used pens above that you might be more familiar with to help place the Intima in your fountain pen cannon. Lengthwise, its about the same as the Pilot Metropolitan but widthwise, its more similar to a Lamy Safari or AL-Star. From a price standpoint, its definitely a step up from the pens shown but is not a +$100 fountain pen. It certainly looks a bit “fancier” than the other pens here though.

The material is shimmery and it will catch the light to show some interesting sparkly details. I tried to photograph it to show some of the details in my particular model below. The white is where it is catching the light.

Monteverde Prima Pink Shimmer close-up

Monteverde Prima Writing Sample

Ignore my written header! This is the Monteverde Intima Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set.

The 1.1mm nib on the fountain pen performed fairly similarly to my previous experience with the neon green Intima but it wasn’t until I started using it that I remembered I’d had one in the past. My almost-8-years of pen reviewing is starting to affect my memory! I knew I have an Prima with a fine nib… anyway… clearly, my nib preferences remain consistent. I tend to like either razor fine or 1.1mm and get similar results. I did notice that the Monteverde nib was a little dry. It may be this particular nib or the nib/ink combination as I haven’t had a chance to try a different ink with this pen. I did test the pen in my right hand, to see if angling it differently would have better results. It did seem to flow a bit better so there may be a slight misalignment to the tines that 75%-90% of the world would not have noticed. It hasn’t affected the overall performance, its just not as wet as some other 1.1mm nib I’ve used. Alternately, you’ll notice I did NOT manage to smear any ink this time so I should probably not be complaining.

I swapped out the ballpoint refill with a Monteverde Ceramic Rollerball refill ($8 for two refills) that fits into pen since it accepts any standard Parker-style refills. Oh, that pink color! I did discover that the ballpoint had a little feedback in the refill — it jiggled around a little bit. So, I added an extra spring to the refill. I swiped one out of a retractable pen I had laying around and stacked it on top of the one that was in the pen. The two-spring stack added stability to the refill in the pen barrel so that it didn’t shimmy around anymore and gave me a much better writing experience. Voila!

I used one of the new Monteverde inks: Purple Mist which comes in a 30ml bottle ($8). I like the size of the bottle — its one of those nice in-between sizes, not so big that I feel like I’ll never use it all up but not so small that I feel like I bought another itty bitty precious sample. And at $8, its not a break-the-bank purchase either. Anyway, about the color… its a bit lighter wet than I had expected but it dries darker. So, if you decide to try it, definitely give it time to dry before making your final decision. The color is more of a reddish purple when wet and, as it dries, the violet blue becomes more apparent. Which is interesting. It shades and I feel like I noticed some sheen as I used it but maybe I was willing it to sheen. The jury is still out there. At $8 per bottle, it might be worth adding a bottle of the Purple Mist, or your favorite color on to your next order to try out one of Monteverde’s new colors. Let me know what you think.

Monteverde Purple Mist Ink

My conclusion is that if you are looking for a chance to get a little fancier than a Kaweco Sport or Lamy Safari but are not quite ready to go into the over-$100 fountain pens just yet, this Monteverde Set might be a nice gateway. If you love pink, it doesn’t get pinker than this either.

The good news is that Pen Boutique wants to spread the Valentine’s Day Neon Pink Monteverde Love to one lucky reader.

The Giveaway:

The winner of the giveaway will receive Monteverde Prima Neon Pink fountain pen and ballpoint set and can select one (1) bottle of the new 30ml Monteverde inks, compliments of Pen Boutique.

To enter:

Please leave one (1) message in the comment sending some love out into the world. Are you taking your mom out for Valentine’s Day? Doing something nice for your significant other? Serving food to Meal on Wheels? Leave your love in the comments to be entered to win. No love, no entry. Those are the rules. I can disqualify anyone who does not play by the rules.

The Fine Print:

All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Saturday, February 11, 2017. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Sunday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your 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. If winner does not respond within 10 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping is at the discretion of Pen Boutique. US residents only.


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

My Cross Century Secret Stash (and a Cross Spire for good measure)

cross century assortment

Last summer, after answering an Ask The Desk post about finding a classic ballpoint pen, I developed a fascination with Cross Century pens. At the DC Pen Show, I acquired my first, an engraved Cross Century II in matte blue metallic and have since acquired three more: two classic Cross Centuries and a Cross Century II Starlight from NOS this December. You may be asking yourself, what’s the fascination?

First, the original Cross Century is similar to the Parker Jotter in that the design has been around for decades. Its classic, streamlined and elegant. Originally created in 1946 and still in production today, the Cross Century is a sleek, elegant design and, like the Jotter, worthy of being in any pen collector’s collection, whether you acquire your grandfather’s or purchase a new one. Or both.

cross-century II twilight grey

The Cross Century II is an updated version of the Century modified to accommodate rollerball refills, a more ergonomic grip section and the larger pens preferred by modern pen consumers. This also allowed for some innovations in their refills as well which Cross refers to as the “Selectip” refills which appealed to me because one of the options is a felt tip. Of all the major pen manufacturers, Cross is the only one I know of that offers felt tip as a refill option.

(This is the point at which I am NOT going to talk about the Star Wars Cross designs. Like they never even happened. Nevermind, those are the  “Townsend” line — they are still awful. I can gripe about the Marvel Century IIs. Those are bad too. Giant logos do not make for good licensed products. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled happy review.)

And then there’s the “Switch-It” mechanical pencil option that can be dropped into the ballpoint pen to turn it into a pencil. I love a pen manufacturer who considers giving their customers range and options! Of course, the actual implementation of the “Switch-It” refill is a little janky and it is only available as a 0.7mm mechanical pencil which steam a lot of people since the older Cross mechanical pencils were 0.5mm or 0.9mm so the fact that the Switch-It insert only has one width option is kind of lame. Anyway, actually using the Switch-It insert took a little practice since it doesn’t work like any other mechanical pencil I’ve ever used.

cross century plaid

While it took me awhile to figure out how to work the Cross “Switch It” Pencil refill on my own. I came to the same operating action as demonstrated in the video shown here:

 

cross-century pens open

And, of course, because I can’t leave well enough alone, I modified the Cross Spire pictured at the top of the photo to accept a Uni Signo 0.38mm D1 refill by jamming a bit of plastic in the end of the barrel to make up the space disparity in the length. It’s now one of my favorite everyday pens.

My engraved “The Well-Appointed Desk” Cross Century II Royal Blue Selectip Rollerball Pen $29.95 (plus engraving charges) is filled with the fine tip porous point black ink and the Cross Century II Starlight Rollerball in Grey has a fine tip porous point with blue ink. The Starlight was purchased NOS  and is no longer available but Anderson Pens still has some of the ballpoint pen models available.

cross-century writing

Cross refills are considerably more limited than Parker. Cross makes proprietary refill sizes and offer a limited range of tip sizes and colors, where PArker style refills became the industry-standard size. As a result, Cross pens are not nearly as popular unless you like plain black and blue ink and medium width ballpoint or rollerball refills. However,  if you are willing to do a little tweaking, there’s some opportunities to make these beauties work for you. And, in some ways, it looks like Cross is trying their best to help too like the Switch-It pencil refill.

Now, if they can build on that…

cross-century-3

The models shown above but not mentioned are:

Review: BigiDesign Ti Arto The Ultimate Refill Friendly Pen

BigiDesign TiArto

The BigiDesign Ti Arto Pen is touted as the most refill friendly pen and when it was announced on Kickstarter last year, I was all in from the moment they said go. As the queen of refill hacking, the idea of having a pen capable of accepting 200+ refills without having to do any manipulation, adding spacers or doing any other kind of hoodoo is my idea of the perfect pen. BigiDesign built the Ti Arto out of titanium and uses a clamping mechanism reminiscent of the locking chuck on your favorite power drill to clamp down and hold your refills in place. Freakin’ brilliant, if you ask me. The rear of the pen has a step down which allows the cap to be posted and seated lower on the pen, making it comfortable and well-balanced.

TiArto Posted

Everything else about the pen is simple and understated. The clip is smooth with the “Ti” etched into it. There are subtle rubber rings in key spots to help the cap seat and stay locked tight. It doesn’t look all that dissimilar to their Ti Post design but that’s okay. It’s the inner workings of this pen that are what I was excited about. And the clean lines of the design are good so there was no reason to mess with that anyway. I do prefer how the pen looks when its posted over when its capped however.

TiArto Cap

TiArto Refills

But the true test of this pen was could I really fit all the endless refills I had in my stash into the pen? I took a handful of the refills from my copious collection to represent the various sizes and configurations and put the pen through its paces. The nice thing about the locking mechanism is that if you prefer your refill to sit in a certain position, you can adjust it just “so” by  tilting the pen and refill at a downward angle while twisting the chuck closed with the refill extended to your preferred length until the  chuck is tight. If you want it to extend a little more or a little less, just loosen the chuck and shimmy the refill in or out to your preference and re-tighten until you are satisfied.

It might take a few tries to get your your technique down but after you do it a couple times and try writing, you’ll find your sweet spot and you’ll be off.

tiarto-1

As you can see, I tested gel, ballpoint, rollerball and fineliners of varying widths and colors all in the span of an afternoon.

tiarto-2

I even went to wide ballpoints and needlepoint tips. I went so far as to put a Cross mechanical pencil insert in, just to prove a point, though advancing the pencil leads would prove to be a bit cumbersome. However, if you found a pencil with a knock mechanism… could be kind of fun!

TiArto Writing Samples

Here are all the writing samples from the pen refills shown above. Obviously, this is not 200+ but it certainly shows the range and potential of the Ti Arto. I’m curious if all the refills I tested are actually on the BigiDesign list? The simple news is that ANY refill on my Epic Refill Guide will fit in this pen… and then some. So… that’s good news, right?


I bought this pen with my own money and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Marvy LePlume II Brush Markers

Guest review by Tina Koyama

Before I got heavily into colored pencils, watercolor brush pens were my coloring medium of choice. It’s hard to resist the huge range of intense, saturated colors many of them come in. Tombow Dual-Brush Pens were my gateway drug, and I managed to acquire quite a few of the line’s 96 colors before I discovered Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens. I decided that the “real” brush tips on the Kuretake pens were more variable and expressive, and they were my favorite for a long time (and yes, I acquired quite a few of those, too).

Eventually colored pencils suited my urban sketching needs better than markers, so except for black brush pens, I haven’t been using markers as much. Recently, though, I discovered Marvy LePlume II Double-Sided Watercolor Markers – and good golly, they come in an unbelievable 109 colors! Even more than the Tombows! Resistance was futile. I did, however, manage to resist getting all 109. In fact, my general tendency is to pick out all the brightest, most garish colors in any set, but I wanted to limit myself to about a dozen, so I showed some restraint and chose a relatively cohesive, subdued (for me) palette. I also got a blender pen.

1-marvy-leplume-ii-markers

Scribble and Wash Test

My initial scribbles were done on Canson 98-pound mixed media paper, which is sized for wet media. On the right I used the blender pen to test the wash properties and found the marks to be a bit scratchy looking – the blender brush pen’s strokes are apparent. On the left I used a Kuretake waterbrush and prefer the more watercolor-like effect of its wetter brush.

2-scribble-and-wash-test-on-canson-98-lb-mixed-media-paper

I have to say that I didn’t use the fine end of the two-sided Marvy LePlume pens except to write the color names and numbers on the left side of the page. The fine end is a firm tip suitable for writing and drawing, but not for coloring. When I’m coloring, I prefer the softer brush tip of the larger end, which is made of a compressed, slightly flexy material (not hairs). Like all brush pens, you can adjust the size of the mark the brush makes by changing the angle relative to the paper. I found it easy to color in larger areas quickly by using the broad side of the brush tip held at a sharp angle to the page.

3-two-sizes-of-marvy-leplume-ii-2-sided-marker-tips

Stillman & Birn Zeta Test

The next test was more fun. I’ve seen many adult coloring books lately with beautiful abstract patterns. To test out the markers’ blending properties, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: I made my own coloring book page. I did the line work first with a waterproof Sakura Pigma Micron pen in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook.

I’ve successfully used 180-pound S&B Zeta paper with traditional watercolors, so I assume the surface is sized for wet media. I tried to make gradient effects with single colors as well as with two or three shades, but they didn’t blend as well as I thought they would. On the Zeta paper, I found the blending effect to be better with the blender pen than the waterbrush, but when I scrubbed more to increase the blending, the Zeta’s surface started to pill a bit.

4-coloring-book-page-in-stillman-birn-zeta

Canson Mixed Media Test

I did a third test using Canson 98-pound mixed media paper (the same kind used for the scribble/wash test). This time I thought the Marvy LePlumes blended much more easily and with less scrubbing whether I was using water or the blender pen. The blender pen still shows brush strokes more than the waterbrush, but they are not necessarily objectionable – just a slightly different effect. It’s a matter of personal preference, but I like the look of these markers and their blending qualities better on the toothy Canson paper than the smooth Zeta paper. I’m not sure whether it’s the texture or sizing or both, but as usual, the particular paper used with a pen makes a big difference in the effect.

I know that brush markers are popular among coloring book enthusiasts, and I’ve sometimes wondered whether the types of paper coloring books are published on are suitable for wet markers like these (let alone blending their colors with a waterbrush). If you’re planning to use them in coloring books, I’d buy just a few pens and test them out before investing in all 109 colors (which is the kind of crazy thing I’d be likely to do without testing first).

One thing to be aware of is that some Marvy LePlume colors are much juicier than others, and when I pulled the caps off, they actually spattered ink on the page (I circled the spatters on the S&B Zeta page).

5a-marvy-leplume-ii-with-blender-pen-on-canson-98-lb 5b-marvy-leplume-ii-with-water-on-canson-98-lb-mixed-media-paper

Tombow Comparison

I didn’t intend this to be a head-to-head comparison review, but since I just happen to have a good supply of the afore-mentioned Tombow Dual Brush Pens, I decided to do a mini-test of their blending qualities on Canson paper, just for kicks. The Tombows are comparable in that they also have a broad brush end and a fine, hard-tip end. With a waterbrush, Tombow ink makes an almost seamless wash that looks very much like watercolor. With the Tombow blender, blending gradient colors was a bit easier to do and showed fewer brush strokes.

6-tombow-dual-brush-pens-on-canson-98-lb

Final Thoughts

While I found no fault with the Marvy LePlumes, they didn’t distinguish themselves much from other similar markers I’ve used, and I think I prefer the Tombows when color blending. (What a relief – now I won’t have to run out and get the rest of the LePlume colors!) They did remind me, though, of how much fun it is to use watercolor brush markers, and I’m going to get them out more often again.

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 items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.