Original Vintage Posters keeps a fabulous assortment of vintage posters including vintage typewriter images and other vintage pens. Does your office need some art on the wall?
Posts Tagged ‘pen’
I can’t believe its taken me so long to warm up to the Sharpie Pen. As a Marvy Le Pen loyalist, I just couldn’t see what the big deal was about the Sharpie Pen. It’s similar in overall design; a fiber-tip pen with a slightly wider barrel than Le Pen and not available in nearly the array of colors. However, what Sharpie brings to the table with the Sharpie Pen in that’s its fairly water resistant and widely available for purchase. If what you want is a good quality fiber-tipped pen in black, you can’t really go wrong with the Sharpie Pen.
The tip is generically labeled as “fine” and I was able to compare it to an assortment of other fiber-tipped pens. I would say the Sharpie Pen is comparable to the Le Pen which is also unlabelled and an 03 Sakura Pigma Micron. Like most fiber-tipped pens, the point will blunt over time so I’ve had to make a “best guess” since all my pens are in various states of use.
The simple shape of the pen and the clean graphics are all plusses for me. I’d prefer a nicer clip than the molded plastic provided but overall, its a good pen for the price and can be purchased at any drugstore, stationery shop or big box store. Other ink colors are available and the Sharpie Pen is non-toxic, archival and fade resistant as well. All-in-all, definitely one of my go-to tools.
For the most part, rollerballs and I do not get along. Ink takes too long to dry or they skip or just don’t write at all. So, when I found my first Pilot Precise V5, it was true love. I hoarded them whenever I could find them. Now, they are readily available at every big box store, office supply shop or even your corner drugstore.
When I discovered fountain pens and Japanese gel pens, I sort of forgot about the Precise V5. I think its time to re-embrace the Precise V5.
Its a simple cylindrical body pen with a silver clip on the lid. There’s no fancy silicone grip and no retractability. Just above the tip are some fins that remind me of fountain pen breather fins. The Precise V5 has a large ink reservoir and a clear window on the body of the pen to see how much ink is left.
On cheaper paper, the needle tip point tends to snag paper fibers and cause the tip to get a little gunky. A quick wipe on a piece of scrap paper or paper towel will clear up a gunky tip.
The Precise V5 is one of my Top 5 easily accessible pens. If you’re lucky, you might find the multi-pack that includes the pink, purple and turquoise ink versions. I love those!
Over the last four years of writing The Well-Appointed Desk, I’ve mentioned my propensity for Mary Le Pens but I realized I’ve never actually published a review. I initially discovered Le Pen in my pre-teens and it may be THE PEN that lead me to where I am today. Before finding LePens, I had only known black, blue or red ballpoints and the occasional rollerballs. Le Pens opened my eyes to good quality “felt tip” pens in a wide array of colors at a price I could afford on a teenager’s allowance. By the time I graduated from college, I found it harder to find Le Pens and I assumed they had faded from the world like so many other things. Then a couple years ago, I stumbled across them in my local art supply store and I bought just about every color that was available.
Ergonomically, they isn’t much to recommend them. Encased in a slim, straight, plastic cylinder with a snap cap and a simple silver clip that can easily be bent out of shape, and a nylon/fiber tip point that wears down over time, they are not in the same league as many pens I’ve reviewed over the years. But with a retail price of $1.15, these 0.3mm, acid-free, smudge-proof markers are some of my favorite pens. There are more than a dozen colors available and my favorites are the deeper, more complex colors like the gray, orchid, olive and teal. A full set of all 18 colors is available on Jet Pens.
Giveaway: To share my love and devotion for LePens, I’d like to give one lucky reader a full set of 18 Le Pens, compliments of Jet Pens. Just leave a note in the comments and tell me which color is (or could be) your favorite Le Pen to be officially entered.
FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, September 28, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. 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 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. US readers only this time, thanks!
I have a Retro Hex-o-matic and looking for a refill with a fine point. Looking for something like the Schimdt easyflow 9000 but in fine point. What would you recommend?
Since the Retro 51 Hex-o-Matic ballpoint takes a standard sized Parker-style refill, you have a lot of options. According to the Epic Refill Guide, there are lots of options but since you are specifically looking for a fine point refill, let’s see what I can find…
Fisher Space Ballpoint Refills are available in a fine point. Monteverde makes a soft-roll needle point refill and a “capless” fine point gel refill. Schmidt makes the P900 fine point ballpoint refill. Visconti offers a gel refill in fine as well.
I’m sure I overlooked a gem or two from the Epic Refill Guide but these should get you started. Check you local big box office supply store as they may carry Monteverde as well as other possible options or search Amazon.
For a review of the Hex-O-Matic ballpoint, check out The Clicky Post.
(Image from Pen Boutique)
Some days, I want to highlight text without blinding myself. This is only a problem that a connoisseur of pens would suffer. Who could solve this dilemma for me? The Japanese of course with the Zebra Mildliner brand of highlghters. Or would you call them lowlighters?
I added a “mild green” Mildliner ($1.50 each) in my cart with my last purchase to try it out but there 15 colors to choose from including a grey which seems perpetually sold out.
Anyway, the Zebra Mildliners combine all the functionality of a standard highlighter like dual tip and the ability to highlight or underline printed text from books or printouts as well as over handwritten notes in a variety of different tools. The only issues I found highlighting over handwritten text was with my fountain pens. All those standard school tools like a Sakura Pigma Micron, Sharpie Pen or pencil did not smudge at all. Compared with a standard highlighter grabbed at random out of the nearest pen cup, the Mildliner had noticeably less smudging over handwritten notes. This would probably be equally beneficial with ink jet copies as well.
The simple logo and overall look of this pen is also a win for me. Its a nice looking highlighter. Just because a pen highlights does not mean it needs to look like a highway safety cone from the outside, no?
I will definitely be collecting more of these Mildliners. Maybe I should just purchase one of the 5-pack sets, like the Cool & Refined ($8.25)?
I was in the market for a few small pens to tuck into my wallet, purse, bag, etc. So I used the need as an opportunity to compare several different mini pen options from Jet Pens. The purpose of these pens is to be able to have a pen handy at all times. These are not necessarily the tools I would choose for long letter-writing sessions or for taking notes in a long meeting. I suspect they’ll be used to jot down a quick note, a pone number or email address, a grocery list or an ah-ha moment. Even for those “I just need to jot something down moments” I still want a pen that writes well and hopefully is appealing to use and look at.
I purchased three different mini pens: Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock 0.4 in blue black ($3.30), Pentel Slicci Techo Mini Gel Ink Pen 0.3 mm black ink with lime green brushed aluminum body ($8.25) and Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen 0.7 mm black ink with a “mint green” body (I put “mint green” in quotes because the color is much more turquoise edging to teal then mint) ($5).
The smallest is the Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint at 3.25″ when closed. To use, the cap section pulls away from the tip and grip to extend the pen to 4.25″ (about the same length as a Kaweco Sport with the cap on) like a telescope. This pen feels sturdy and solid like it could withstand tumbling around in the bottom of a bag or a pocket. The Zebra Mini Ballpoint was the only true ballpoint I purchased but it takes a standard D1 refill so I can swap out the ballpoint ink with a Sharbo X gel ink refill. I meant to order one when I placed my order but I accidentally ordered the wrong refill so its being reviewed as is but assume it will be rockin’ the same Sharbo gel refills I reviewed in my Sharbo X. There are eight different body colors to choose from and, since it takes a standard D1 refill, there are lots of options for the ink in both color and point size.
Next up in size is the Pentel Slicci Techo at 4.5″. It uses a traditional retractable mechanism and features an aluminum barrel with a brushed finish. Generally speaking, I like the Slicci refills. They have a little more grip on the paper than Hi-Tec C ink and tend to need less priming if they’ve been unused for awhile. This particular model is only available in 0.3mm black ink but there are six body colors available.
The largest mini pen I purchased was the Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock at 4.75″. It also features a rubberized grip area and felt like the widest barrel diameter of the three. This was the least expensive option and is available in both 0.3mm (only $3) and 0.4mm tip sizes ($3.30) and a large array of ink colors. Unfortunately, if you hope to refill this model, the only refills available are in red, blue or black.
Despite being the cheapest of the three, the Hi-Tec C Slim Knock is not my favorite pen in this review. Its not the smallest or most pocketable by far. And, for the same price (or cheaper), I could purchase a full-sized Hi-Tec C or Maica. It is the only option for a retractable Hi-Tec C.
The Pentel Slicci Techo has a durable aluminum barrel but its the priciest and very limited in refill options. But its lime green so it will definitely get a lot of use for me. The orange and navy body are also really appealing.
By far, the most flexible is the Zebra SL-F1. The D1 refills make it easy to refill anywhere, the color options for the body are broad enough to suit just about anyone and it has simple classic good looks. Not to mention a minimal $5 price tag.
If you’re looking for a small, pocketable fountain pen, check out my Kaweco Liliput review, the Monteverde Poquito or any of the Kaweco Sport reviews in my Fountain Pen Reviews page.
Ian from Pens! Paper! Pencils! has built a site called Pennaquod specifically designed to seek out and find posts on pen-related blogs. It features a custom search tool that just searches from within the pen community. So, if you’re looking for genuine pen blogger reviews, this will streamline your search results. This is particularly handy if you know you recently read a review for “Pelikan M205″ but cannot remember which site it was on. This will just search from the pen bloggers listed and bring back the results. Easy peasy.
Ian has set this site up as a tool for the community and is not making any profit from it. Thanks for the efforts, Ian! This is going to end up being my go-to search engine since all I ever search for is pen-related.
The list of sites used to compile the results is also super handy as it may lead you to new pen blogs.
If you’d like to have your site added to Pennaquod, use the contact form on the site to submit it for consideration.
Think maybe pencil pals can be added too?
I had been hesitant to invest in the Zebra Sharbo-X because its a pricey multi-pen at $49.50 for the body only. But its one of the few brand name multi-pens that has an aluminum body rather than plastic. So, when I saw that quantities of the minty green model were getting limited at Jet Pens, I bit the bullet and bought one. This particular model the F-Line is considered a slim “lady” model. Its the same diameter around as a Pilot Precise V5, so its not wispy but I think its probably a little slimmer than the more commonly reviewed LT3.
I don’t know that I recall anyone mentioning it before but, the packaging for the Sharbo-X is top notch. The pen came in a clear presentation case which is shipped in a protective glossy black paperboard box. I don’t tend to care much about packaging but, at this price point, its nice that the pen wasn’t delivered in a clear polybag or a blisterpack.
The minty green is gorgeous. It has a slightly metallic sheen to it. The eraser is hidden under the end cap which has a color-coordinated rubber bumper on the end. Why? I don’t know. The rubber end is not conductive so it can’t be used with touch screens nor is it an eraser. Curious little detail.
I filled it with the 0.5 mm mechanical pencil module and two 0.4 mm gel refills: one blue-black and one in emerald green. I also added an extra pack of erasers.
I was worried about the writing performance of the gel inks but they perform admirably. They wrote smoothly and I had no issues with flow or consistency. I have not determined how long my refills will last but comments indicate that these mirco-sized gel refills run out quickly so its best to have a few extra standing by. Zebra even makes a little carrying box for extras which I kind of like (PEN NERD!!!).
The mechanical pencil works as expected. Pushing the end of the pen body advances the lead. Despite the petite size of the pencil component, a full-sized lead refill will fit into the pen body. Holding the click down allowed me to push the lead back into the pen body as well.
I was tickled to discover that the Sharbo-X in minty green is just a slightly darker version of the mint color of the Kaweco Skyline so its needless to say that these two pens have become my pocket’s new best friends. With these two, I have a fountain pen, two gel inks AND a pencil. I think this may be my go to everyday carry for awhile.
I’m very happy with my purchase and I think that, in the end, the Sharbo-X is worth the sticker shock. Its stylish, functional and great quality. If you’ve got some money burning a hole in your pocket, this might be a good investment.
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
Lots of pens available these days accept either a “Parker-Style” G2 refills, a Pilot G2 refill (adds to the confusion for sure) and the Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills. I thought I’d try to come up with a list of refills that fit into these categories. This is by no means a definitive list but should provide you with lots of options for your favorite non-fountain pens.
There are so many potential options for a “Parker-style” refill (which annoyingly enough is also referred to as a G2 though it is not necessarily compatible with a PILOT G2 style pen). The G2 refill is 98mm long and approx 5.8mm diameter on the main barrel.
Here’s a list of most (but probably not all) of the Parker-style refills:
- Diplomat EasyFLOW Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Faber-Castell Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Faber-Castell Scribero Gel Ink Roller Refill
- Fisher Space Pen Refill, PR Series- Colors (Bold, Medium, Fine)
- Fisher Space Pen – Universal Ballpoint Refill
- Foray (Office Depot) Ballpoint Refill for Parker (Medium)
- Kaweco Soul G2 Refill 1.0mm
- Kaweco Sport Roller Ball Pen Refill
- Moleskine Ballpoint Refill
- Moleskine Gel Refill (0.5 and 0.7 mm)
- Moleskine Roller Gel Fluorescent Refills
- Monteverde Ceramic Gel Refill (Broad)
- Monteverde Needle Point Refill (Fine)
- Monteverde Soft Roll- Colored inks (Medium)
- Monteverde Soft Roll- (Superbroad, Medium, Ultrafine)
- OHTO Needlepoint Ballpoint Pen Refill PS-807NP
- OHTO PS-205NP Extra-Fine 0.5mm Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Parafernalia Ballpoint Pen Refill NO LOGO
- Parker Ballpoint Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
- Parker GEL Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium)
- Parker Quinkflow Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium, Fine)
- Pelikan Giant Ballpoint Pen Refill 337 (Broad, Fine, Medium)
- Pentel KFLT8 Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Platignum Standard Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Retro 51 Tornado Roller Ball Refills (REF5P) (Made by Schmidt)
- Schmidt 9000M EasyFlow Pen Refill
- Schmidt P8900 Super Bowl Refill (Fine)
- Schmidt P900 B Ballpoint Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
- Schmidt P950M Megaline Pressurized Ballpoint Pen Refill (Medium)
- Schneider Express 735 Pen Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
- Schneider Slider 755 Pen Refill (Extra-Broad, Medium)
- STABILO EASYgel Refill
- Stabilo Ballpoint Refill
- Tombow BR-ZLM Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Visconti Ballpoint Pen Refill AA49 1.4 (Broad)
- Visconti Gel Refill (Broad, Medium, Fine)
Mike Rohde of Sketchnoting fame hacked a Pentel Energel refill (normally a Pilot G-2 sized refill) to fit into his Retro 51 by trimming the end of the refill to be the right size. If you’re willing to experiment, other refills might also survive this sort of hack. I’ve hacked the end off a few refills in my time to make them fit as well. Just grab a craft or utility knife or a sturdy pair of scissors, line up the old refill and the new refill and snip. Voila.
If you love a particular sort of pen refill, you can also lengthen a refill that’s too short by adding a bit of plastic tubing to the end of the barrel. The fine folks at Karas Kustoms provide a length of plastic tubing with their Render K, RETRAKT and BOLT pens that could be used with other brands as well or you could snip off a section of an empty plastic refill to length a new refill to fit.
The best source I found for ALL the Parker-style refills was Cult Pens in the UK. They stock over 30 different styles of Parker-style refills. Another option is Refill Finder.
The Pilot G2 style refill, also described as the Schmidt/Euro Rollerball refill size are about 110mm long:
- Caran d’Ache Fibre Tip Refill
- Caran d’Ache Rollerball Refill
- Faber-Castell Rollerball Pen Refill
- Faber-Castell Fineliner Pen Refill
- FORAY (Office Depot) Pen Refill For Schmidt Rollerball
- Hi-Tec-C Cavalier refill
- Monteverde Fineliner Refill G52
- Monteverde Ceramic Rollerball Refill W22
- Monteverde Spring-Loaded Tip Fineliner Refill G62
- OHTO Ceramic Rollerball Pen Refill
- OHTO F-300 Fude Refill Black
- Pentel LR7 Energel
- Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel
- Pilot Juice (removed from plastic retractable pen)
- Pilot G2
- Pilot LP2RF Gel Refill (Juice refill code)
- Schmidt Capless Rollerball 8126 and 8127 (shorter models can work with an extension hack)
- Schmidt FineLiner refill
- Schmidt Safety Rollingball Ceramic refill
- Schmidt Safety Rolling Tube refill
- Schmidt RollingSupersteel refill
- Schmidt RollingBall refill
- Schneider Topball 850 Pen Refill
- Schneider Topliner 970 Pen Refill
- Sheaffer Fineliner Refill
- Visconti Rollerball Pen Refill AA40 0.7
- Zebra JT refill
- Zebra Sarasa Clip refill (removed from plastic retractable pen)
Using a spring around the tip of the refill will help to stabilize these. Use either the spring provided by your pen manufacturer or steal one from a retractable plastic pen body to get the perfect fit.
Cult Pens has a great selection of these refills in their “Euro Refills” section.
The Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills list doesn’t look as extensive as the other refill styles but the Hi-Tec C line has a huge assortment of color options and tip widths to provide quite a variety. The Pilot Hi-Tec C refills can be purchased individually or liberated from any Pilot Hi-Tec C pen including the Maica line.
- Pilot Hi-Tec C (available in 0.25, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5)
- Pilot G-Tec C (same as the Hi-Tec C but renamed for the American/European market)
- Uni-ball Signo UM-100 Gel
- Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 Gel
- Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel
I’ve found that the Uni-Ball Signo refills may need to be trimmed slightly to fit but they work great. Just use scissors, a craft knife or blade to shorten the length to match the original length. I liberate Signo refills from plastic pens found around my office as well as occasionally purchasing proper refills.
Then there’s the D1 sized refills. These are the super slender and used in multi-pens and mini pens. The Sharbo-X is a great example as is the Retro 51 Tornado Touch.
The D-1 mini refills are about 66-67mm long and there are quite a few refill styles to fit into these pens:
- Acme Black 4FP Four-Function Pen Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Acme Highlighter 4FP Four-Function Pen Multi Functional Pen Refill
- Aurora Mini Medium Point Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Caran D’ache Ecridor XS Mini Refill
- Cross Matrix Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Cross Micro Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Kaweco D1 Soul Ballpoint Refill
- Monteverde Soft Roll Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 (628)
- Ohto R-4C7NP Needle-Point Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Parker Mini Ballpoint Refills
- Parker Vector 3-in-1 Ballpoint Refills
- Pelikan 38 Ballpoint Refills
- Pilot BRF-8M Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Platinum BSP-60 Series
- Platinum BSP-100
- Retro 1951 D-1 Ballpoint Refill
- Rotring Tikky 3-in-1 2-Color Ballpoint Refills
- Tombow VS Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1
- Uni SXR-200 Jetstream Ballpoint Multi Pen Refill (0.5 and 0.7mm)
- Zebra 4C-0.7 Ballpoint Pen Refill
- Zebra Sharbo X Ballpoint Multi Pen Refill Component – D1
- Zebra Sharbo X Gel Ink Multi Pen Refill Component – D1
Big thank you to Dan at Karas Kustoms for giving me his list as a starting point. Thanks to The Pen Place in Kansas City for letting me try out lots of refills. The rest of my info came from Jet Pens, Cult Pens and Refill Finder.
Monteverde is modifying some of their refills to fit pens with more proprietary sizes like Lamy. Lamy is the most finicky of all the pens. If you have good alternatives for refills for Lamy rollerball and ballpoint pens, let me know.
Don’t forget to check your local office supply or pen store (even those big box shops) and play around with the pens and refills you have. You’d be surprised what might work.
I’m working on a handy printable pocket guide of all these pen refill options but I want to make sure I haven’t left anything out or gotten anything wrong. So let me know which of these refills work for you and which don’t.
Note: I have not tried EVERY refill with every pen so your results might vary. Please leave notes in the comments about your favorite pen and refill combination for other readers. Thanks!
Last week, I reviewed the Kuretake Fudegokochi Extra Fine Brush Pen which is a fun, little, budget brush pen. Then, I had my world rocked by its slightly beefier cousin, the Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen this week.
Aesthetically, its a plain barreled cylinder brush pen with a plain metal clip. If I had to find it in the bottom of my bag by feel, I might mistake it for a Pilot Precise V5. But its what’s inside that makes it something special. Its features the same tiny felt tip as the extra fine version, just more of it. Its a firm, springy tip which yields good line quality, quickly and easily. The black is a good dark black which makes scanning it awesome.
You all know I draw a lot of letters for my day job and the Kuretake Fudegokochi Regular Brush Pen has, in less than a week, surpassed all my other pens to become my go-to brush pen for lettering. I started out using it on tracing paper, just to get a rough sketch and the Fudegokochi Regular Brush pen dried almost immediately without bleeding. That never happens! Then I transferred my lettering onto my regular “work” stock, Bienfang Graphics 360 Marker Paper and the ink dried almost immediately and no bleed!
I addressed a bunch of birthday cards on standard envelope stock and the ink also dried without smearing. Are you impressed yet?
Then, in my final test, I used my Rhodia pad and the ink still dried almost immediately and, of course, no smearing or feathering.
Even after a week of pretty heavy use, the felt tip has kept its point and its only a little bit drier than when I started using it. The Fuegokochi pens are not waterproof which is the only downer for me.
Did you notice how great it makes my handwriting look? This brush pen gets my top rating for that reason alone. Add this little $3.50 gem to your next order. You’ll thank me.
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
House Industries makes some of the most amazing fonts, typography and design. Thankfully, you can now use the same tools as the staff at House Industries uses. Sketch like Andy Cruz with a 6-pack of House Industries branded pencils in a House Industries mini journal. Use an official “House Industries Letter Sharpie” like Ken Barber. And post it all up on the wall with House Industries Carnival masking tape.
(This announcement written with tongue firmly in cheek. But I do love the guys at House Industries and who wouldn’t want one of their fabulous pencils? Or a cycling jersey?)
Is anyone the least bit surprised that I’m reviewing a lime green pen? Today its the Pilot G-2 0.7mm in Lime Green. I’m a relative latecomer to the joys of the G-2 line of gel pens. Most of my previous experiences have been with the versions sold in big box office supply stores that are 0.7mm and 1mm tips in the standard black and blue. Usually, pens this wide are a recipe for disaster for me so I was inclined to avoid them entirely in favor of my razor point Japanese market gels like the Pilot Hi-Tec C, Zebra Sarasa Clip and Uni Signo DX models.
But times are changing, or maybe its just as I learn more about pens and paper, I can see the appeal of different pens.
The other thing that kept me from embracing the G-2 line is that the retractable pens are just ugly. I don’t like the bulbous, curvy clip at all and the bold, brash logo-ing on them. Part of what I appreciate about a lot of Japanese pens is the absence or removeability of a lot of the branding. I like when I have to squint at a pen to see the teeny tiny word “uni” or the like as opposed to the HUGE “Pilot G-2 07″ emblazoned on the clip.
That said, there is a reason people like the G-2 ink and keep using these ugly plastic pens. They write well. They write smoothly. The ink dries quickly on most papers. They aren’t expensive (this one set me back a whopping $1.50).
Even though the 0.7mm tip is a bit wider than I am normally accustomed to, I did not have any issues with ink smudging or dry time and the slightly larger size did not create too many letters to fill in. Everything seemed fairly legible and the tip created a smooth writing experience. This pen had the same springy feedback as my previous experience. I think it has to do with the retractable button moving slightly as I lifted the pen, creating a vibration inside the pen down to the spring holding the refill in place. This may be one of the reasons I tend to favor capped pens over retractable because I don’t like this feedback. In the end though, the vibration was no better or worse than in other G-2 retractable pens. I may hack the refill out of this and put it into one a G-2 compatible pen body with a cap (i.e. the Render K G-2 model or one of the pens listed here).
How do I feel about the color? Good, really good. In my never-ending hunt for the perfect lime green pen, this is edging up the list. If it was available in a 0.5mm version, it might just be my favorite. Its a good lime popsicle green, perfect for summer ramblings.
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
I realized there were green gel pens I did not yet own, so I immediately popped over to Jet Pens to remedy the situation. This time, it was both the Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.3 in Veridian Green and the Pilot G-2 0.38 in Green. When they arrived I noticed how remarkably similar these two pens were to one another. The shape, the color and even the point size. So I decided to put them head-to-head to see which one was better.
Aesthetically, these two pens are almost identical. Both feature rubberized grip sections though the Sarasa Clip grip is more of a silicone material while the G-2 is a harder plasticky rubber (one for Sarasa!). Both have large capacity clips but the Sarasa has the hinged clip making it the easiest gel pen to clip on a binder or notebook cover (upper cut for Sarasa!).
Colorwise, the Sarasa veridian green is a bit woodiser and, for lack of a more descriptive term, seems a little drier. The Pilot G-2 green is more of a vivid Kelly green, a bit brighter and juicier (its tough to call but I think this punch goes to Pilot!).
Overall, they both have good color, good ink flow and reasonable prices ($1.80 for the G-2 and $2.20 for the Sarasa). The score was 2:1 for Sarasa but if you’re looking for a bright green, you may favor the G-2.
Pens were tested on Rhodia Pad No. 18 Uni-blank using the Well-Appointed Desk paper guides to keep my lines straight.
Brad challenged me to try the Kuretake Fudegokochi Super Fine Brush Pen last week on The Pen Addict Podcast so I went ahead and ordered it. I’ve been on a brush pen kick lately so I saw no reason not to give this pen a try. He described it as being fine enough for writing so I was definitely intrigued.
The Kuretake Fudegokochi Extra Fine Brush Pen (try saying that five times fast!) is a relatively nondescript-looking pen. It has a smooth, ivory-colored barrel and a simple, metal clip on the cap. The grip area is a smooth clear plastic that lets the ink capillary fins to be visible. The tip is a very small felt/fiber tip which is quite firm. Aesthetically, it reminds me of the Pilot Precise V5 pens with slightly rounded ends.
Writing with the Kuretake Fudegokochi Extra Fine Brush Pen was an unusual experience. I tend to use a different grip and writing technique with brush pens than writing tools but this was so fine that I ended up using it like I would a regular felt tip pen or marker. It gave my writing some thicks and thins which was kind of fun. I wondered if the pen’s purpose was as a signature/sign pen for documents so I tested the waterproofiness. It ended up being a little water resistant but not waterproof so I think it would probably work for signing most things. It certainly made writing my grocery list a little more fun than the usual assortment of reject pens I normally leave in the kitchen. The gray wash that resulted from the waterproof test might be appealing to artists for loose pen sketching too.
The Kuretake Fudegokochi Extra Fine Brush Pen is $3.50 per pen. There is a wider regular version available as well as a gray version.
Its not Christmas but I couldn’t wait to share this. What do the guys over at Tested love to write with? Karas Kustoms pens and Field Notes, of course!
(Link via Field Notes)
In my endless quest to own all the green pens in the world, I stumbled across the Pilot Super Gel 0.5mm. At a whopping $1.35 I couldn’t resist picking it up. But I had to wonder…. “What’s makes it so super?”
It turns out that instead of being a slender refill inside a plastic pen body like the Pilot G-2 and other similar gel pens, the whole pen body is full of ink. Think of it as the eye dropper version of a plastic gel pen. Then there’s a roller ball tip in the end of it and a cap on the back. That’s it.
The overall design is basically no design. Its a capped, clear plastic pen. The body is a rounded hexagonal shape until you get to the grip area which is round with smooth plastic ridges to create a grippable area. There’s no silicone or rubber added for comfort and the width of the pen is similar to a round pencil.
There are both up sides and down sides to this pen. On the up side, there’s a lot more ink in this pen than a Pilot Hi-Tec C or the G-2. As well as the considerably discounted price.
On the down side, there’s the potential to break the plastic pen and have ink seeping out everywhere, think of high school and exploding ballpoint pens. The other down side is the Super Gel is a totally disposable pen. Once the ink is used, there is no way to refill it.
In the plus column, I found that it wrote well, especially at such a bargain price. It has a little more friction than some of the higher priced gel pens but not so much as to be unpleasant. In fact, if you generally find that gel pens are too slippery for your taste, this little budget pen might be appealing to you.
Finally, if you are likely to have a jar full of communal pens in your work space or home that have a tendency to walk away, this may be a great option. Its not so stylish that someone would be inclined to walk away with it while not being an unpleasant experience to use.
I know that Brad reviewed this pen several years ago and panned it but I hope that this will convince you try it and let me know what you think.
The Pilot Super Gel is also available in more traditional blue, black and red in the 0.5mm size and if you hunt around, other widths and colors may be available.
The Eco-Essential Pen and Pencil set is a beautifully packaged product. I don’t usually swoon about packaging because I mostly want to throw it away but the Eco-Essential set came in a black, paperboard box with a white paper sleeve wrap. Simple, elegant and perfect for a gift. And because the packaging is all paperboard, it can easily be recycled.
Inside the swank packaging is not only the matching pen and pencil set but two pen refills (Pilot Hi Tec C 0.5mm in black and red), an array of colored aluminum rings to personalize your pen and pencil set and end caps to swap out with the touch-sensitive tips that come pre-installed on both tools. (The felt wrap shown in the photo is not included.)
I love that I was able to decide which tool, if any, had the touch sensitive tip. When swapped out, there is a stylized embossed “U” on the end. There are four ring colors to choose from: green, orange, blue and red, plus the simple black that come installed.
The Eco-Essential Pen Set started its life as Kickstarter project but it is now available directly from the Now N Then shop.
Both the pen and the pencil are aluminum cap, hardware and shell with a bamboo outer casing. It makes for a very lightweight but durable tool. The pencil is a tiny bit longer than the pen due to the click mechanism at the end. Otherwise they are virtually identical so I could see using the colored rings to make it easy to recognize one from the other.
Once I found the rings and cap in the box, I immediately customized my set to have matching lime green rings and flat caps. I love how the bamboo looks with the green and silver. I love the looks of these! And the bamboo feels warm in the hand. Its finished to a smooth lacquered finish but not shiny. I can feel the undulation of the wood but no burrs or roughness. I just like spinning these in my hands.
A nice touch is the threads on the end of the tools to attach the caps. It makes for a fairly light, long tool. I don’t think even the largest hands would find this awkward. The lightness makes it easy for longer writing sessions. The only issue is that the threaded cap hides the click mechanism on the pencil. To advance the lead, you will need to remove the cap.
Alternately, when not in use, the delicate tip of the pencil mechanism is protected by the cap so it will not poke out of bag or pocket.
Since both the leads (0.5mm) and the pen refill can be replaced with your favorite color, width or grade, the writing tests were mostly to get a feel for the weight and balance. I found it comfortable overall.
I did notice the absence of a clip which comes in handy for me more in keeping my pens from rolling away than actually clipping to a pocket. But its such a nice feel to have a perfectly smooth, cylindrical barrel that I can see why the design was not sullied with the addition of a clip.
The pen is available in a Pilot G2-compatible size as well as the Pilot Hi-Tec C size I received. There is also a dark finish called Incognito. A pen unit with rings, flat cap, stylus and a refill is $55 in either finish or refill size. The pencil includes the rings, flat cap and stylus tip and is preloaded with leads for $50 for either finish. A pen & pencil gift set includes two sets of rings, styli, flat caps and refills for $95. I like these so much I think I’ll be ordering the G2 model as well for more refill options*. Shipping rates are super reasonable, and quick too. I got my set in less than two weeks.
Overall, I am hugely impressed with this set. I like how flexible the options are and how well thought out the development was. I know I will noodle around with the rings and caps until the end of days because I can.
(*I’m working on a giant list of Pilot Hi-Tec C- and Pilot G2-compatible refills that I should have ready soon.)
When recently asked “What pen do you reach for most often?” my less-than-pen-nerdy husband answered, “Whatever is at hand.” Oh, my aching pen geek heart! I succinctly told him that using “any old pen” when you’re married to a pen nerd is akin to me getting business cards printed at Kinko’s. No offense to Kinko’s but my husband is a premium letterpress printer and I would never dare to tarnish his reputation or sensibility by carrying a less-than-fabulous card. That said, I’m on the hunt for pens that are not “fancy-pants” fountain pens but not a disposable plastic pen either. The catch is that he genuinely likes the writing quality of the Uni-Ball Vision and similar gel/rollerball pens.
This conversation synced with thoughts I have been having about the upscale (non-fountain) pen. Like most pen geeks, I have a deep-seeded respect for the writing quality of the gel/hybrid rollerball pens but I just don’t want to carry around a plastic pen. One of the things I like best about the fountain pens I use is that they are aesthetically appealing and endlessly refillable.
In looking for a suitable pen for Bob (and continue my own search for a good non-fountain pen), I went to the most successful Kickstarter pens. Most of these are well-designed pen body that utilizes the most favored refills (either the Pilot G2-sized refills or the Pilot Hi-Tec C-style refills).
I immediately went back to my well-loved Karas Kustoms Render K which tends to be my go-to pen at work. It is loaded with a Pilot Hi-Tec C refill (in green, of course). It looks professional but will write on any surface I might be faced with in the average meeting (photocopies, 3×5 notecards, post-it notes or my own notebook). I’m considering adding a Render K that accepts the G2-style cartridges to the mix as well to expand my refill options.
Another pen up for consideration is the Ishuja’s Eco-Essential Pen ($55) which is a bamboo outer casing with aluminum interior and hardware. I really like the look of this pen. Its a clean, simple design and is available for either the Hi-Tec C-sized refills or for the G2-sized refills. The mix of silver metal and warm bamboo wood is gorgeous.
The Big Idea Design’s Solid Aluminum Pen + Stylus ($59) is also a possibility. It has an all-aluminum body with a titanium clip and is the less expensive sibling to the solid titanium version that was originally a Kickstarter project. This pen also includes a touch-sensitive tip for digital devices on the end. This can be swapped out with a flat screw for a cleaner look that ships with the pen. The pen accepts the G2-style refills too, of which there are lots of refills to choose from.
As a temporary solution to my husband’s lack of appropriate pen, I gave him my Karas Kustoms RETRAKT in brass ($65) with a standard G2 black refill in 0.5mm. Hopefully, he’ll resist the urge to just use “any old pen”, especially in front of clients.
He has a Fisher Space pen, a Sherpa and an Acme pen, all of which he’s misplaced. Maybe I shouldn’t have given him the RETRAKT after all?
Do you have a favorite pen that accepts standard rollerball/gel refills? Let me know in the comments!
Once again, I attended the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event here in KC this weekend. Its a convention of fantasy and science fiction artists working in comics, fiction, storyboarding, sculpture and more. There are Q&A sessions and artists doing live demos of painting, sculpting and digital techniques. Its an amazing show with A-list artists from all over the world.
A couple years ago, a few artists were kind enough to show me the tools they use to sketch and draw. This year, I was able to talk to a few more artists about their favorite tools.
Tom Kelly showed off his favorite tools to my husband. And was enthusiastic about his Uni Ball Signo Broad opaque white gel pen, the Kuretake No. 13 brush pen, and the Pentel Presto! Correction Pen as a drawing tool. He also kept an arsenal of Sakura Pigma Microns, Sharpie markers and a Pentel Graphgear 0.5 mm drafting pencil.
And he makes stuff like this:
I met Hector Casanova who is not only an illustrator and comic book artist but also an illustration professor at KCAI. We bonded over our unending love for the Sanford NoBlot pencil. I just write and doodle with my NoBlots but Hector sketches and draws with his hoarded collection. Then he adds water to create a washy blue effect on his drawings like these figure sketches he did at an event at Spectrum this year ( may be NSFW).
Aren’t they amazing?
Hector also uses a full army of Japanese brush pens. I recognize the Pentel Pocket Brush pen and the Pilot Futayaku Double-Sided Brush Pens.
And with these tools are the start of artwork like this:
Pretty amazing, huh?
Have you seen this Kickstarter project? This is a multi-functional tool made from black anodized aluminum that includes a pen, a ruler and an optional strap or touch stylus. The whole object is a teardrop wedge shape that can be used as a bookmark. The pen closes with a magnet and can accept any refill comparable to the Mitsubishi UNI like Pilot, Lamy, Uni-ball, Signo, Pentel, EnerGel and more. Backing options to receive a HMM Rule One start at $45. There’s only two weeks left to back this project and they have not reached their goal yet.
UPDATE: I tried to embed the video here but it didn’t work so I’ve added a photo instead. Sorry!)
There’s been several new Top Five pen lists pop-up on the web in the past few weeks so I thought I’d share them here.
Alt.Haven’s Top 5 Pens. The list is fountain pens but its a great assortment. Brad’s collected Top 5 Pens list includes his top five fountain pens, micro gels, plastic-tipped, inks and more. These lists will keep you busy for awhile. The Pen Habit made a video of his favorite pens for his first year of using fountain pens. While we’re talking about videos, Goulet Pens did a Top Five Graduation Pens video.
And of course, Mr. Dowdy’s Worst Pens list. I was surprised by some of the pens that made his list. I got an Ohto Dude and did not have any problems with it. I found it to be a decent low-priced fountain pen but, in general, I think fountain pens in the $25 range tend to be hit-or-miss in terms of quality control. I concur with Brad’s opinions about the TUL ballpoint but I have also had major issues with the dry time on the TUL gel and rollerball pens. If you’re left-handed or prefer quick-drying inks, I’d give the whole TUL line a miss. As for the Sliccie Multi-pens, I haven’t had any of the issues that Brad had. I’ve used the Pilot Hi-Tec C, the Pentel Sliccie, the Uni Style Fit and the Zebra Prefill and all have worked well for me. They all orbit my desk at work and get used on-and-off for meetings. I’ve not had any issues with any of them. I have even had to replace cartridges in all of them. (I did notice that I have not written a review for the Sliccie singles or multi-pen so I’ll remedy that soon.) The other pens Brad mentioned, the Bic A1 Gel and the Caran D’Ache ballpoint I have not tried because I just can’t use 0.7mm or wider gel pens without making a smeary mess and ballpoints and I do not get along.
Should I do a Top Five list? Do you have a Top Five list of your own?
My friend Madeline of Tag Team Tompkins introduced me to the Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pens and within minutes, I had to order a bunch of my own. What makes these so awesome, you ask? Well, for starters, these brush pens have real bristles at the tips so they will behave more like a real brush than any of the brush pens with felt tip or polyester points.
Then, there are the amazingly awesome colors! There are complex colors like the yellow ochre, pale-almost-there colors like the pale orange and vivid brights like the vermillion orange and lime green. Individual colors are $3.50 each but sets are also available in seasonally-inspired sets of five ($17.50 each) or a 20-color set ($70).
These pens are water soluble which means you can thin the colors with water to make lighter wash or blend two colors together. I used a water brush to blend through and only lightly brushed the color with water to make the color all washy here.
If you’re not falling over in your chair with the urge to buy one or a whole set of these wait until I tell you a few more things.
What if I told you there is also a permanent outline brushpen ($5.25) that can be used to create permanent lines like the leaf I drew in the top writing sample and then applied the water soluble colors over it? Now are you excited?
When I flipped this writing sample over… there was no bleed through, or even any show through. Seriously. Keeping in mind this writing sample was done on good quality Rhodia paper stock but still… that’s pretty cool for thick, juicy markers to not show through at all. Or maybe that just speaks very highly of the Rhodia paper?
Okay, one more thing and then I think my case should be made. There is a special assortment of extra fine line pens called ThinLine ($4.95 each or a set of all five for $24.75) that come in a few select colors of deep rich hues that are also waterproof when dry and perfect for outlining. With colors like Greenish Indigo and Sumi Black, how can you resist the temptation?
Are you suitably enticed?
First, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!
Now, on to the links:
- Leuchtturm 1917 soft cover notebook review (via Pen Addict)
- “Stone” Paper (Da Vinci Notebook) (via That One Pen)
- An Obsessive’s Guide to Field Notes COLORS Editions (via Field Notes)
- PaperForFountainPens.com Tomoe River Products (via The Pen Habit)
- Brügge Notebooks Review (via Notebook Stories)
- Rhodia Webnotebook (A5, lined) notebook review (via Pens@ Paper! Pencils!)
- Monsieur Dot Grid Notebook (via Informal Scribble)
- JAWNS No. 1 Notebook Review (via The Pen Addict)
- Comparison of D1 Refills (Part one) (via Pens! Paper! Pencils!)
- Visconti Rembrandt Fountain Pen Review (via Write To Me Often)
- Karas Kustoms Copper Bolt (via No Pen Intended)
- Esterbrook #2442 Fine Stub (via Fountain Pen Quest)
- Uni-ball Signo UM-151 Revisiting an Old Favorite (via Office Supply Geek)
- How Do You Clip Your Pens (via A Penchant For Paper)
- Pelikan M205 and Levenger Shiraz Ink (via From The Pen Cup)
- Muji Hexagonal Gel Pen – Orange, 0.4mm Review (via Ed Jelley)
- The Curious Case of the Moldy Sheaffer (via No Pen Intended)
- Retro 51 Tornado Lincoln Copper Fountain Pen Review (via The Unroyal Warrant)
- Lamy Dialog 3 Fountain Pen – Fine Nib – Black Body (via No Pen Intended)
- Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Black Body (via No Pen Intended)
- Caran d’Ache Ballpoint with Rolex Branding (via Economy Pens)
- Montblanc Jonathan Swift Seaweed Green (via Fountain Pen Quest)
- Rohrer & Klingner Salix Ink Review (via Ed Jelley)
- Currently Inked (via Write To Me Often)
- Diamine Prussian Blue Ink Review (via Ink Of Me Fondly)
- Graf von Faber-Castell Moss Green (via Fountain Pen Quest)
- Kaweco Royal Blue ink (via A Fool With a Pen)
- Caran d’Ache Chromatics Vibrant Green (via The Pen Habit)
- Akkerman Trêves-Turquoise (via A Fool With A Pen)
- Palomino Golden Bear #2 Wood Cased Pencil (via The Clicky Post)
- Palomino Blackwing Pearl (via My Pencil Draws Worlds)
- New Palomino Pencil Finish (via Pencil Revolution)
- The Koh-I-Noor Triograph: The Sharpie of pencils (via Woodclinched)
- Faber-Castell Blackwing 602 (via My Pencil Draws Worlds)
- Dudek Modern Goods Custom “Groove” Review (via The Writing Arsenal)
- Quirky Align Stapler (via Office Supply geek)
I’ve had a fascination lately with brush pens. There are so many variables with brush pens; tip size and tip material being the biggest factors.
I’ve collected all the brush pens I currently have for a little show-and-tell. I certainly wouldn’t say one of these is better than another but they are all different and you might enjoy a specific aspect of one or more of these pens.
Some of the pens have foam-like tips, some have more like felt-tip points, some have actual filament brush tips.
From top to bottom:
- Staedtler Mars Duo 3000 (purchased my single black marker at a local art supply store, set of 10 different colors available for $29.62)
- Copic CIAO Superbrush (part of a set of 6 markers for $23)
- Copic Multiliner Brush (mine is a disposable version but a refillable version is available for $9.20)
- Kuretake No. 8 Fountain Brush Pen ($13.50)
- Pentel Art Brush ($8.25)
- Pilot Pocket Brush – Hard ($5.00)
- Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – Hard ($2.50)
As you can see, the pens have a wide range of widths and softnesses that will affect how wide a line you can create and how variable your line widths will be. Most of the brush pens are water soluble, non-waterproof.
My favorite pens are the Staedtler Mars 3000 Duo and the Copic Ciao Superbrush. The foam/polyester brush tips are stiff enough to create a wide range of line weights while putting down a rich black ink. Both are available in a lot of other colors and are water-soluble, blendable inks. The points seem to stand up to all the abuse I throw at them too.
The softest brush pens are the ones with real filament brush tips like the Pentel Color Brush and the Kuretake Fountain Brush Pen.They take a bit more practice to get the hang of using them. The Kuretake came out a little light because it uses a fountain pen style cartridge and I had cleaned it out so there was still a little water in the bristles and feed when I put the new cartridge in it. The Pentel Color Brush has a flexible pen body so that you can squeeze it to force more ink out. Often, when I run out of ink in the Pentel Color Brush Pens, I’ll just dip it into a bottle of black ink and keep going. The bristles will soak up a good deal of ink.
The Tombow Fudenosuke is the finest making the thinnest lines. I tend to use it as my everyday marker for labelling file folders, addressing envelopes and the like. It adds more character to my writing than a Sharpie marker. The Pilot Pocket Brush is similar but with more variation in line weight and a bit more bold.
The felt-tip brush pens like the Copic Multiliner Brush tend to fray out at the tips quickly. Luckily, replacement tips are available and the Copic Multiliner is the one pen that’s waterproof.
I’ve barely scratched the surface at the wide array of brush pens available. Some are refillable, some are cartridge-based, some are not. There are more sizes and ink colors to choose from too. Have you tried any brush pens?
Pens were tested on the Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank Pad.
DISCLAIMER: Some of the items shown here were sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
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