Posts Tagged ‘pen’

Pen Review: Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens

Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens close-up

The Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens, available in SB, MB and BB, were something I discovered in a very roundabout way. I was reading Lisa Condon’s blog again and she was talking about more of the tools she liked yo use. I started clicking on links and next thing I knew, voila! I had these in my cart. They are longer than a standard Micron pen, more like a paint brush length and a bit more expensive at $3.90 each but the ink is fade resistant, archival and waterproof and I think the tips are a superior quality to the standard Pigma brush line so I think the upcharge is worth it.

Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen Tips

The tips of the pens are felt/foam/whatever-it-is and it is the springiest version of this material that I’ve ever experienced. Even with pressure, the points and edges spring back into shape quickly and easily. Making them fun to use and they keep their brush point shape. The point retention seems really good too though I’ve only used them for about a week so time will be the real determining factor here but so far, so good.

Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens writing sample

These were so fun to draw with the range of line widths, even with the finest tip size was quite dramatic. The BB was big! If you like to work large or want to do something like calligraphic graffiti, this would be a great pen for it. Such fun. In my waterproof test, I had no issues with water but when I added the Sakura Koi Coloring Brush pens over the watered wet ink, I did get some running of the colors. I don’t know if this was a reaction from the ink in the Coloring Brush pens or the combination of the water, Professional Brush pen and Coloring Brush pens. That said, the Professional Brush pens were not affected by the water at all but did get some color travel with the other markers so you may want to do some experiments before using these pens on artwork just in case there are any other fugitive color reactions. My next experiments will probably be with actual watercolor paints and the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush pens. I think that would look great if the colors don’t bleed.

Overall, I love the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush pens and I look forward to seeing the longevity of the tips. So springy, I hope they last a long time!


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.

Pen Review: Gelly Roll 64-Piece Gel Pen Set

gelly rolls

Hoo, boy! When I decide to go down the path I pretty much take the WHOLE ROAD. In the case of the Sakura Gelly Roll pens, I got the whole kit-and-caboodle! That’s right, I got the Sakura Gelly Roll 64-Color Set Box ($80). I mean, really? How was I supposed to pick just a handful?

The pens came in a translucent plastic box divided into five sections and the wrapper has a color key on the reverse that I could fill in see what each color looks like. Don’t you just want to dig your fingers into each of these compartments and pull out all the pens?!?! The box is a standard plastic art supply tackle box but did not add anything to the cost of the purchase of the all these pens and gave a nice way to keep them all organized. The 64-pen set works out to $1.25 per pen which is cheaper than buying the pens individually so the case is basically free. WIN!

gelly rolls

The 64-color set includes 17 classic/regular pens (in 0.3 mm and 0.4 mm), 14 metallic pens, 10 Moonlight pens, 13 Stardust pens, and 10 Shadow Pens (5 in gold shadow and 5 in silver shadow).

The Classic Gelly pens (0.3 mm and 0.4 mm) glide on in a gloss look and dry to an opaque matte finish. These are available in fine and medium point and include on opaque white which is probably one of the most popular options. The white is a great pen for adding in highlights on drawings, using as a “white out” pen or for writing on dark papers. The Gelly Roll Classics look like matte paint when dry which is part of their appeal.

The Metallic pens (0.4mm)  have a fine mica metallic sheen and are opaque making them great for dark stocks.  The colors included a range of jewel tones, gold, silver and copper plus a black metallic which reminded me of asphalt.

The Moonlight colors (listed as 0.5 mm but its seems much wider) are fluorescent and/or super opaque bright colors but take an age to dry and are a pretty wide point. Despite the slow dry times and wide tips, I find myself reaching for these over and over.

The Stardust pens (listed as 0.5 mm but its seems much wider), particularly the clear which is one of my favorite, are glitter with an archival ink base. The glitter may flake away but the colors will remain true. These also had a bit longer dry time but not as long as the Moonlight or Shadow pens.

The Shadow pens (0.7 mm) are the strangest of the bunch, in my opinion. These pens will halo with either silver or gold with a core of the ink color. They are very thick, viscous color and take some time to dry but would be fun for decorating envelopes or letters. They are definitely a bit too broad from general note-taking.

gelly rolls

I tried to photograph my samples from a couple angles to catch the light and show the tinkly effects of the various pens but I think I’ll end up having to put together a quick video just to show off the full effect at some point.

gelly rolls

gelly rolls

gelly rolls

Strangely, my favorite colors in the set ended up being the Moonlight Fluorescent Vermillion, the Stardust Sky Star, the Metallic Emerald (that was sort of a “duh”), the Stardust Clear glitter, the Classic medium orange, and the fine Classic Royal Blue. I pulled those out and added them to my daily pen case. I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to utilize the Shadow pens but I suspect envelope addressing will be their forte.

If you think you might ever want to go down the Gelly Roll Rabbit Hole, I think you’re going to have to buy the whole 64-pen box. You’re going to want ALL OF THE COLORS. I know I did and I’m glad I did. Yes, $80 is a lot of money but then I think how much I spend on one fountain pen and it all goes back into perspective.


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.

Pen Review: Pilot Multi Ball

Pilot Multiball

I found the Pilot Multi Ball pen in a subscription kit I received this week. Its not a pen I’d ever seen before but it turns out to be one I could easily pick up at JetPens for $1.65. Its a fine tipped rollerball and what I didn’t realize until after I wrote my review is that one of its notable characteristics is its ability to write on slick surfaces though it might take awhile to dry. I just used it as a standard rollerball and compared it to other pens in my stash.

Pilot Multiball

The entire time I was using the Pilot Multi Ball I kept yelling “multipass!” If you’re a fan of the sci-fi film The Fifth Element, you’ll understand the reference. Besides the silly and slightly distracting name, the pen was actually a pleasing experience. I was surprised because I  picked it up on a whim thinking it was going to be a ho-hum extra added into my subscription kit as filler.  I’m also one of those unfortunate left handed writers that choke the life out of rollerball pens so I have a tendency to avoid them most of the time. Killing a pen by touching it is just embarrassing. But I didn’t kill the Multi Ball. In fact, it wrote smoothly for me and created a nice, clean, fine line.

The Multi Ball pen is a simple, capped, plastic barrel with a rubbery grip section and a plastic clip. Its wider than most low-end, plastic, non-refillable pens. The barrel is closer in diameter to a Sharpie marker than to a Sharpie Pen. It makes it quite comfortable for longer writing sessions. The cap will post but the clip also keeps the cap from rolling off the table so I just left it off while I wrote.

Pilot Multiball

I wanted to compare the Multi Ball to the writing from a couple other pens to show the line weight and ink color. As you can see the black ink is quite dark and dense and, because of the rollerball tip, the Multi Ball is not going to lose its fine point over time the way a felt tip pen will. At the bottom you can see how, within three words, I choke the life out of a regular Uniball rollerball pen.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the Pilot Multi Ball. Its not a pen I would have purchased because of my past experiences with rollerball pens but I’m glad it ended up in my hands. It’s made me reconsider looking at other rollerballs as well.

Pen Review: Sakura Ballsign Neon & Pastel Sets

Sakura Ballsign Neon & Pastel 0.6mm

I tend to get afflicted with pen obsessions and my current passion is all things Sakura Ballsign. Poor pens with the stupid names but good grief are they fabulous to write with! At first, I thought Ballsign the shape was a little odd — sort of an elongated teardrop shape that was a little bulbous at the grip — and visibly unappealing that would make me not want to use them. However, what made them sort of dumpy-looking made them extremely comfortable to hold. The retractable tip also made them easy to use and super portable which made me want to use them even more. Add to that, the fact that the original set I purchased was virtually waterproof and I was hooked. So I had to order more of them.

I placed an order for the pastel ($13.50) and neon ($13.50) sets. These were both available in 5-color sets in 0.6mm sizes only but I was willing to give them a shot. Each 5-piece set came in a poly-plastic box. Its not super durable like the StaedtlerTriplus marker boxes but enough to keep the sets together if you prefer to keep them separated.

The pastel and neon sets at 0.6mm are just a tiny bit wider than what I would normally choose in my gel pens but because the colors are pretty light, the wider lines are probably not a bad thing to help make everything a bit more visible.

Sakura Ballsign Neon Pastel 0.6mm

Upon testing the colors first on white paper, most of the colors showed up pretty nicely on the paper. The neon yellow was a bit light  and the pastel white was, of course, not particularly useful on white. But I had a sneaking suspicion that these pens might also work well on dark or colored paper stocks.

Sakura Ballsign Neon 0.6mm

Sakura Ballsign Pastel 0.6mm

I tested both colors on swatches of black gesso and lo and behold all five colors in both sets are opaque over dark colors! If you have a kraft paper insert for your Midori Traveler’s Notebook or other toned paper stocks, you might find these pens to be very fun and useful. I even like the matte opaque qualities of the pastels on white paper and the vivid neon of the pink, red and orange on white paper as well.

The neon and pastel Ballsign pens are not as water resistant as the standard Ballsign gel pens which is the only drawback I could find and it really is a minor complaint since very few gel pens are actually water resistant anyway.

If you like the idea of adding some more varied colors to your gel pen collection for color coding than the neon and/or pastel Sakura Ballsign sets would make great additions.

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.

Kickstarter: Baron Fig Squire Pen

Baron Fig Squire Kickstarter

After successfully launching their Confidant notebooks, Baron Fig has decided to tackle the pen market now too. Today, they launched their first entry into the pen market, The Squire. The simple design, aluminum pen is available in two finishes: silver and charcoal to match their signature notebooks. The Squire features a twist mechanism to reveal the pen tip and was designed to be small enough to fit in your pocket but long enough to fit comfortably in your hand.

The Squire is etched with the Baron Fig name and a sword, as in “mightier than a… ” All in all the design is clean and simple.

The Baron Fig Squire uses a Parker-style 0.6 mm fine capless rollerball refill so there are lots of options for modifying what type of refills you might use with the  pen.

The project can be backed for as little as $50 and the project has already been funded after being live for just five hours. There’s several other funding options, some of which include a special limited edition Confidant notebook too. You in?

 

Pen Review: Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Nature Colors 6-colors Set

Staedtler nature colors triplus fineliner markers

First, I promise this is the last set of Staedtler Triplus Finerliner markers I will review because I have them all now. I couldn’t resist. That said, the Nature Set of Staedtler Triplus Fineliners ($7.50) are probably my favorite set. It could be because they are the most seasonally appropriate here in the autumnal continental US right now. The set features Green Earth, Warm Sepia, Tuscan Red, Gray, Carmine and Mauve (which looks more like plum to me but I never think anyone names colors properly anyway). The gray in this set is actually a totally usable gray, unlike the silver gray in the Pastel set which is too pale to be usable for writing.

Staedtler nature colors triplus fineliner markers

Actually, I found all the colors in this set usable for writing and there is enough variation in color to create visual interest in note-taking to be interesting without being jarring. Sophisticated palette appropriate for nature sketches or just because.

The Staedtler Triplus Fineliners feature the slim 0.3mm felt tip point, water soluble ink, triangular barrels, and ink designed to be able to be uncapped for long periods of time without drying out. The set comes in the fold-over plastic travel case which is sturdy and easy to use.

Staedtler nature colors triplus fineliner markers

Now, if Staedtler would just make a set of these markers with waterproof ink , I would be the happiest person in the world. But overall, these are wonderful and if you are not trying to combine them with watercolor or other water soluble pens or brushes, I recommend them with my highest praise.


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

Pen Review: Crayola Gel Markers

Crayola Gel Markers

A few weeks ago I saw a post on Instagram where a calligrapher was doing some amazing lettering on black paper and laying off to the side was the distinctive undulating line on the marker of the Crayola wedge marker but the marker was black. Why had I never seen one of these markers before and how was the ink standing up all opaque on black paper?!?!? I must know what this is and I must know now!!!!! Since I have access to the source that the Crayola catalog, I went hunting and discovered that the marker was a Crayola Gel Markers and I toddled myself down to our corporate store ASAP and purchased a package to test them out myself.

Crayola Gel Markers writing sample

There are only eight colors available in the set: a black that looks more dark grey than black, red, pink, yellow, purple, blue (aqua), green and white. While the color range is not super broad, the conical tip provides a range of line variation and they are actually a lot more opaque than I expected. The white is actually clear and dries white so it works best if used slowly so you can keep track of your strokes but all the other pens leave visible lines as you write. Going over the white lines will also create a more opaque white which was nice.

Crayola Gel Markers writing sample

As with all Crayola products, the pens are washable (which means they are water-soluble) and non-toxic (they may not taste great but you can lick them if you want to) so you can share these pens with your kids and they are also extremely reasonable priced. I believe I purchased my set for about $5 or $6 but I’m sure you can find them in a big box store for less.

Crayola Gel Markers writing sample

I think these would be great fun to use with coloring books or on construction paper and a fun way to practice calligraphy, address envelopes or generally spice up an already burgeoning pen collection without breaking the bank. Go forth and scribble!


While this post can be qualified as “plugging the firm” I purchased these with my own money and all the opinions expressed here are my own and are no way influenced by my place of employment.

Review: UniBall Signo DX 0.38 Hello Kitty Special Edition Pens

Uniball Signo DX Hello Kitty

I’m clearly catering to my inner 7-year-old this month. I saw the Uniball Signo DX 0.38 Hello Kitty Special Edition gel pens and the next thing I know, the whole color array was in my mail box. There are only five colors available: red, pink, orange, purple, green and blue and each sells for $3 (a $0.50 upcharge than the standard Signo DX 0.38 gel pens but KITTY!). The barrels of the pens are covered with Hello Kitty’s signature bows and feature the Hello Kitty logo and her face. Other than those little details, they are classic Uniball Signo DX gel pens with the rubber grip, metal cone above the tip, plastic clip on the cap and round, plastic barrel.

Uniball Signo DX Hello Kitty

The colors are clean and bright and easy to see. Its actually a great starter set of colors if you’ve never tried Uniball Signo DX pens before. The 0.38 width are my favorites and are great for writing on a wide variety of office papers like copies, planners, index cards and sticky notes.

They write smoothly and cleanly and are actually pretty water resistant. Safe enough for addressing envelopes and could be used in combination with water-based markers without making mud.

Uniball Signo DX Hello Kitty

If you are Kitty-averse, these same colors are available in the standard UniBall Signo DX UM-151 models in the 0.38 size. But c’mon, who doesn’t love Hello Kitty?

Review: Zebra Kirarich Glitter Highlighter and NaKniSweMo

Kirarich glitter highlighter

This may be a strange way to talk about a highlighter or the start of November but stick with me for a minute. The beginning of November for a lot of people means the start of NaNoWriMo. For many knitters, myself included, its the start of NaKniSweMo – National Knit-a-Sweater-in-a-Month. This is my seventh year participating and hopefully my seventh successful completion. I’ve had some fumbles over the years but there are seven well-loved sweaters in my closet thanks to NaKniSweMo so I’m willing to compete myself to the challenge again this year. No, its probably not as hard as writing a whole novel in a month but its good fun and a challenge just the same.

Kirarich glitter highlighter

And for me, it means that I need a good highlighter to notate my pattern and highlight the specific size I’m knitting. That’s where Zebra Kirarich Glitter Highlighter in yellow ($2.05 each) comes into the picture. I ordered it awhile ago and its become my go-to highlighter. Why? It’s glittery!!!! Its not so glittery as to be distracting. But I know its glittery. It will catch the light and sparkle and just sort of brighten my day. My highlighting is all of a sudden kissed by unicorns. Its totally ridiculous and twee but I’ve been having a rough few weeks so if glitter makes me happy, so be it.

The Kirarich Glitter Highlighters are also available in blue, pink, orange, purple and green. There’s a five pack set with all colors for $10 if you need ALL THE GLITTER or a smaller 3-pack with just the yellow, pink and green if you have a little self- control.

 

Kirarich glitter highlighter


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.

Ask The Readers: Broad Nibs for the Vision Impaired

ask the readers header

Mark has a really great question, and I know that you, my readers, will have some great ideas for him:

I’m legally blind, and looking for a broad line. Currently, I use a Uni-ball Signo RT with 1.0mm refill. I’m considering the Ohto Fude Ball 1.5mm, Pilot VP with tuned broad nib, and Lamy 2000 with B or BB nib.

The Lamy BB looks nice and broad, but it has a reputation for QC issues. I’d love to see a line comparison between the Ohto Fude Ball and Vanishing Point in broad.

I tend to favor fine line pens so I’m not the best person to recommend broad nibs but that’s such a good option to help folks with vision issues. I’ve used the Kaweco BB nib and it lays down a THICK line. My instinct is that a European or US fountain pen with a broad nib, like most fountain pens, is going to have a broader nib than a Japanese pen, unless it is modified by a nibmeister.

Of course, the Nib Nook tool on Goulet Pens is a great to get a visible comparison between various B and BB nib options that they stock. Like this:

Nib Nook B and BB

In regards to gel pens, JetPens has a post on Broad Pens for its Penpedia that covers the pens it stocks from 1.0 to 1.6mm. There’s some good options there that will be both  broad and reasonably priced.

Does anyone have other thick line recommendations for Mark? Or some comparison images of some broad lines to share? If you include links in the comments, I’ll add them to the post. Thanks!

Ask The Desk: Tot Staples & MAGIC Erasers & Pens for the Signo 151

rp_askthedesk_hdr211.png

Jan asks:

Is there a replacement for the Tiny Tot staples?
I’ve had a red one most of my life and only have a few bars left. Please help it is the best thing for my small desk.

Oh, I’ve got you covered! I too collect vintage TOT staplers and discovered that JetPens stocks staples from Japan No. 10s that fit perfectly. They even come in colors. You can also do a search on the internet or Amazon for No. 10 staples and find other options.

Kimmar asks:

Are Koh-inoor Magic erasers  available in the US?

Sadly, I’ve not found a source for Koh-i-noor Magic erasers in the US but there are vendors on  Ebay that will sell them from Europe and ship them over. That’s how I acquired my last batch. Andy from Woodclinched placed an order and sent me a few. Maybe you can find a few other pencil/eraser enthusiasts online to go in on an order with you? Maybe through the Pen Addict Slack channel, FPN or other social network?

UPDATE: Our good friend Greer Chicago does stock Koh-i-noor Magic erasers but does not have many in stock currently. Grab them quickly or check back and I’m sure they will restock soon.

koh-i-noor magic erasers

Jairo asks:

I was wondering if you know a good pen holder (i.e, retro 51, Karas Kustoms Render K, ti2 tech… etc) for the refill of a uni-ball signo UM-151 0.38?

it does not have to be all metal, but an improvement over the actual body of the pen 😉

The UM-151 sized refill is the same as the Pilot Hi-Tec C so there are some options available for a good pen holder. Should you need to later refill the pen holder, that refill is listed as a  Uni-Ball Signo UMR-1 or UM-151. UM-153 and UM-100 will also fit.

There’s the Eco-Essentials Pen, the Karas Kustoms Render K, the Big I Design Titanium Pen, the Tactile Turn Mover, and the Pen Type-A for starters. The best option is to look for pens that say they will accept the Pilot Hi-Tec C refill for the widest variety.

Preview: Karas Kustoms EDK Exclusively from MassDrop (Plus Giveaway)

Karas Kustoms EDK

Have you heard about the Karas Kustoms EDK yet? The EDK is the latest machined pen from Karas Kustoms. As the name implies, this is pen designed to be your next everyday carry (or would that be “karry”?).

Karas Kustoms EDK comparison

This is Karas Kustoms’ smallest pen to date. It uses the same whisper-quiet retracting mechanism as the RETRAKT. The EDK is just over 5” and the pen is just under 0.5″ wide (not including the clip). When held with the clip up, the pen is quite comfortable in the hand.  The grooves in the body provide extra grip and give the EDK a unique look when compared to other pens in the Karas Kustoms line-up. The most notable difference is the pre-weathered, tumbled finish is the EDK. It looks like its been in your pocket or in the bottom of your bag for years from the minute it arrives.

The EDK will be available in Aluminum, Brass and Copper combinations with prices ranging from $55-$105 depending on materials. The brass and copper models are a smoother finish, the aluminum is the only model that’s tumbled (or if there are aluminum sections in the model you choose).

Karas Kustoms EDK comparison

The EDK compared with (from left): Karas Kustom 2-Tone RETRAKT, Karas Kustom INK, Karas Kustoms Render K, the EDK, Kaweco Sport in aluminum and a Kaweco Liliput

The EDK ships with a Schmidt P8126 refill, a standard Parker-Style refill and capable of taking most G2-style refills if they are trimmed down to fit which gives you a whole slew of refill options.

Karas Kustoms EDK

The EDK will be available through MassDrop on Oct. 26. You can vote now and be notified the moment these become available.

Karas Kustoms EDK

In the meantime, if you’d like a chance to win this EDK, leave a comment below and tell me where the EDK will go with you.


FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, October 25, 2015. 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. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. 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 only.


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

Review: Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pastel Set

Staedtler Fineliner Pastel Set

After my love affair with the large set of Staedtler Triplus Fineliners I decided I needed more! So I decided to grab the Stadetler Triplus Fineliner Pastel 6-color set ($7.50). The set comes in a clear plastic case like the larger sets and are the same triangular shape and 0.3mm tips as all the other Staedtler Fineliners. The colors are water-soluble so plan accordingly.

Staedtler Fineliner Pastel Set

In this set was a Light Carmine (pink), Peach (orange), Lime Green, Delft Blue (blue grey), Lavender (lilac purple), and Silver Gray. The only color that was a duplicate of the previous set was the grey which I was particularly disappointed about since the grey was so light in the original set. To clarify, the grey included in both of my sets was the silver grey not the standard grey pen (which is presently sold out on JetPens). The other colors can also be purchased individually for $1.30 per pen on JetPens if you want to pick and choose your colors.

Staedtler Fineliner Pastel Set

However, the other colors more than made up for my disappointment in the grey. Particularly, the Lavender and Delft Blue colors. The Lavender is a smoky plum orchid color and is just lovely. The Delft Blue is a blue grey color and totally usable for writing or drawing. The Lime is a tiny bit too light for writing but would be fun for coloring in or underlining. The Peach is actually a punchy orange color and the Light Carmine is a soft dusty pink that is quite pleasing and not too My Little Pony pink.

Overall, I’m pleased with the set. The Delft blue and Lavender colors made me giddy because the colors were so unique in the world of colored markers. All the other colors in the set are fun pastels with the exception of the grey as well. I have a feeling I’ll just pull the grey out and replace it with a black Fineliner and then this set will make a great little travel pack.


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: Sharpie Pen Retractable

Sharpie Pen Retractable

Several weeks ago, I put a shout out on the internet asking if Sharpie made a retractable version of their Pen. Within minutes, I got replies back (all kindly withholding the urge to say “Duh, Ana! Of course they do!”). Indeed, there is a retractable version of the Sharpie Pen. So I immediately hustled out to my local big box office supply store and nabbed a pack of two. I only saw the retractable version available in black but do let me know if you’ve seen any of the colors available as well.

Sharpie Pen Retractable

Aesthetically, the most notable difference is that the Sharpie Pen retractable features a much wider barrel. The size in the hand is comparable to a Dr. Grip, multi-pen or biggie crayon as opposed to the capped Sharpie Pen which is just a little wider than a Marvy Le Pen.

This bigger grip is probably to allow room for the mechanism that covers the pen opening to keep the ink from drying out. Unlike a gel or ballpoint pen, felt tips cannot be left exposed to the air indefinitely or they will dry out.

There are a few other design modifications to the retractable model. There is a grippy rubber at the grip section which make the wider pen comfortable to hold. The clip is metal and much more traditional looking than the plastic clip on the capped model.

Finally, the retracting button is one of the longest retracting mechanisms I’ve ever seen. I compared it to the manual clutch on an old Toyota truck. The retracting button is full thumb extension for me like that old truck was full leg extension. Its not a good or bad thing, just unusual. If it lets me retract the tip of a Sharpie pen, I’m willing to suffer thumb hyperextension. It’l probably keep me from nervously clicking the button in meetings for fear of a repetitive stress injury.

Sharpie Pen Retractable writing sample

In terms of overall performance, the Sharpie Pen retractable has all the same features that made me fall in love with the original capped model: waterproof, non-toxic, acid-free ink; fine tip and good black ink color.

If you previously found the standard Sharpie Pen to be too narrow in the barrel or prefer retractable pens, the Sharpie Pen retractable is going to be the perfect upgrade. A 2-pack is $6.25 from JetPens. The price for the retractable is a bit higher than it is for the standard capped Pen but its worth it if you find yourself capping and upcapping your pen all day. Click, click! Done!

Pen Review: Sakura Ballsign 0.4 Gel Pens

Sakura Ballsign 0.4 pen header

I know, I know… I need more gel pens like I need a hole in my head but I decided I just had to try the whole rainbow of colors of the new-to-me Sakura Ballsign 0.4mm gel pens. These pens are Sakura’s entry into the already-heavily-fortified gel pen category with heavyweights like Uni Signo, Pilot Hi-Tec-C, Zebra Sarasa and many others. So, the question is what does Sakura bring to the category that the others don’t?

First thing to note is that the Ballsign pens are very slender with a bulbous grip section that has a grippy, elastomer material. Despite being odd looking, the shape is smooth and fits comfortably in the hand and the unusual grippy material is not as sticky and dust-collecting as silicone but still manages to feel good in the hand and counteract any slipping that might be caused by a tight or sweaty grip.

The Ballsign gel pens come in an array of colors. I purchased every color available in the small 0.4mm size which is the smallest tip available. There are neons, metallics and glitter options at 0.6mm and 0.8mm sizes. I will probably give some of those a spin based on my initial impressions of the 0.4mm gel pens.

The Ballgin gel pens are spring-loaded retractables and I quite like the mechanism. The tips are held in place pretty firmly with very little wiggle and the spring mechanism is easy to use. The clear barrels let you see not only the click mechanism and spring but there’s also a small transparent window to see how much ink is left. The top half of the barrel is painted in solid color to make it easy to find the pen you want.

Sakura Ballsign 0.4 pen set

The ten-pack set ($27) included: aqua blue (I labelled this Lt. Blue), black, blue, brown black, green, orange, pink, red, violet (I mislabelled this purple) and yellow. I also bought additional colors separately ($2.70 each) so that I’d have the full color range. The extra colors are: rose pink, cherry pink,  lime green, red orange, and blue. I mixed up all the pink colors immediately so I’m not sure which pink is labelled which way. Reviewing the samples on JetPens, I noticed more color differences between the pink and the cherry pink. The rose pink is the one I labelled “fuchsia”.

(Sidenote: I didn’t put the pens back correctly in the package because, like a kid, I dumped them all out and organized them in rainbow order and started doodling and writing. I do not have good impulse control when it comes to new office products.)

So now that I’ve cleared up all the naming inconsistencies, let’s discuss the performance.

Sakura Ballsign 0.4 pen color sample

The ten-pack set ($27) included: aqua blue (I labelled this Lt. Blue), black, blue, brown black, green, orange, pink, red, violet (I mislabelled this purple) and yellow. I bought the additional colors separately ($2.70 each): rose pink, cherry pink,  lime green, red orange, and blue. I mixed up all the pink colors immediately so I’m not sure which pink is labelled which way. Reviewing the samples on JetPens, I noticed more color differences between the pink and the cherry pink. The rose pink is the one I labelled “fuchsia”. So, now that I’ve cleared up all the naming inconsistencies, let’s discuss the performance.

The yellow is a bit too light to use for writing but all the other colors are very appealing. The lime green is also a little too light but its a bright, clean color so I’ll still probably use it. I love that they included the blue-black as a standard color in the 10-color set rather than the blue even though I like the blue color a lot. If I were to redo this order, I would still have bought the 10-color set but I would have only supplemented the basic colors with the red-orange and blue. The lime green is not the best and the pinks are all pretty similar. I’m not girly enough to need three shades of pink. But feel free to disagree.

Sakura Ballsign 0.4 pen writing sample

Each pen had the little globs of blue rubber on the tip to protect them from maybe drying out that I had to flick off. Once removed, these wrote super smooth and started immediately. I ended up finding the grip, despite looking sort of bulbous, are very comfortable to hold. I love the knock retractable feature.

I know folks love the Zebra Sarasa Clip clips but I’m kind of okay with the teeny tiny Ballsign clips. They keep the pens from rolling off my desk and since I don’t keep my pens in my shirt pocket, I don’t really need a big clip.

Sakura Ballsign waterproof test

At the last second, I realized I hadn’t done a waterproof test. Most gel pens are not particularly waterproof so I was going to skip it completely but I decided to test it anyway. I put a few Ballsign gel pens up against a few Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica pens I had sitting on my desk. And the grand differentiating feature was revealed! The Sakura Ballsign pens are pretty darn waterproof. After I took this picture I scavenged around and found a couple Pilot Juice and Uni Signo refills and tested those as well, for comparison sake. The Pilot Juice inks smeared with water like the Hi-Tec C. The Uni Signo refills bled a little, depending on color. The red more than the blue black I had, for example. But the Ballsign gel pens definitely stand out for water resistance in the gel pen category.

So, if you’re in the market for a wide variety of colored gel ink pens and don’t mind the comewhat unorthodox shape of the Ballsigns, I highly recommend them. Even if you do think they are a little wonky looking, add one or two to your next JetPens order and let me know what you think. I think you’ll agree with me… a little odd but a comfy, good little pen!

Review: Bic Intensity Marker Pen (Set of 7)

Bic Intensity Felt Tip Pens

When I spotted these Bic Intensity Marker Pens in a set of seven colors at my local big box office supply store, I couldn’t resist trying them out. Its not often that I spy something in the big box store that I can’t resist. I could tell form the moment I picked up the blister pack that this was Bic’s best efforts to compete against the Sharpie Pen so I needed to see for myself if it could hold its own against such a reliable tool.

Bic Intensity Felt Tip Pens

The Bic Intensity Marker Pens are listed on the packaging as smudgeproof and permanent. The package also lists the tip size as “fine” — equally vague sizing to the Sharpie Pen. The pack I bought included a black, blue, purple, orange, red, pink and green pen. The overall look of the pens is “shiny”. The black barrels are covered with zoom-y metallic silver graphics and the caps include a sturdy, metal clip. The clip is arched away from the pen cap which leaves space to attach the pen to a notebook or binder but it does make for a strange profile. The caps are also slightly metallic which wasn’t as noticeable in the vacform packaging. The ink colors are indicated by the colored plastic cap and the end cap on the pens. The colors of the plastic are not particularly true to the actual ink colors but they are in the ball park.

I don’t understand why American mass production, disposable pens have to be quite so “high tech” looking with lots of silver graphics and shimmery nonsense. Its a plastic marker pen, people… not the Space Shuttle. That said, this is not the worst looking big box pen I’ve ever seen.

Bic Intensity Felt Tip Pens

So, let’s get into the true functionality of these pens. I was a little thrown by the pen cap colors hoping that the colors of the ink would match the complexity of the cap colors. But alas, no.

Thankfully, the black ink is a pleasingly, dark black and a total competitor for the Sharpie Pen. The red is a bright, true red. The blue was not a traditional blue pen blue but rather a lighter sky blue. The green is a bluish, emerald green color. The orange is a nice, juicy orange and the pink is actually a bit muted and not as raspberry as the cap eluded it might be. And finally, the purple is a muted, lavender color. I actually really like this color after I got over the initial shock of the purple not being a true violet color. All in all, the color range is okay. Some colors I quite like but for a standard array of six colors plus black, I was expecting more “intensity,” as the brand name implies. In actuality, some of the colors are quite light or muted.

Bic Intensity Felt Tip Pens

Above you can see the wet, water test. No blurring or smudging at all which vastly improves these pens in my eyes.  Their waterproofiness means they can be combined with other art tools like watercolor, inks, pencils and the like and not blur. It also means they would be great for addressing envelopes or for anyone who might end up exposed to the elements. Big PLUS!

Bic Intensity Felt Tip Pens

And finally, a quick visual comparison of the tip size of the Bic Intensity to the Sharpie Pen and a Sakura Pigma Micron (0.3, I think). Despite my slightly fuzzy photo, you can see that the tip size is very comparable.

So, why would you choose the Bic Intensity pens over the Sharpie Pen or a Sakura Pigma Micron? First, availability. If your local discount store or big box office supplier stocks these locally, grab a pack. Second, price. The Bic Intensity is competitive to the Sharpie Pens and a little cheaper than Microns. If cost is a big deciding factor for you, than the Intensity pens maybe a little less expensive or on sale at your local shop. In terms of overall performance, you’ll be just as satisfied with these as Sharpie Pens. Finally, the more robust clip on the Intensity might be to your liking if you have ever snapped the clip off a Sharpie pen.

Let me know if you try these out. I’d love to hear what you like (or didn’t like about them).

From The Archives: Papermate Flair

from-the-archivesAfter attending Mike Rohde’s Sketchnotes Workshop, I rekindled my love for the PaperMate Flair. When we arrived for the workshop, each student was given a notebook and a PaperMate Flair. I hadn’t looked at or used one of these pens in a decade at least.

The PaperMate Flair is a simple, medium felt tip pen with a conical felt tip. The body of the pen is 100% old school. It has a softly tapered shape — wider at the center of the pen and tapering to narrow flat end at the cap. It doesn’t taper as much toward the end of the pen but the plastic has a matte look and feel. The cap has a slim metal clip.

This design probably hasn’t changed in 50 years. Actually, according to PaperMate’s web site, its only been 49 years! So its really a classic look and I’m so glad it hasn’t been changed.

PaperMate Flair Pen

While I have maintained an on-going love for felt tip pens, I have used mostly fine tip models like Sharpie Pen, Sakura Pigma Micron and Marvy LePen for the last few years. Uncapping the Flair is a trip down memory lane. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed using it after so much time. Its not the most elegant writing tool with its wide soft tip but it writes with a rich black line that makes labelling tags, file folders and other cases where a wider tip might come in handy. The Flair differ from the Sharpie marker in that they are not alcohol-based so the Flair do not bleed as much making them good for day-to-day office/school use.

The soft, felt tip will wear down over time especially on rougher surfaces. However, the Flair pens are reasonably priced. I bought a box of a dozen for about $10. So the shorter life span of these pens are too devastating.

I expect I’ll keep one tucked into each case and bag for writing notes and the occasionally doodle. They are just so classic and offer a writing quality that’s not available in many other pens.

The PaperMate Flair is also available in an array of colors (16, to be exact) and in an ultra fine tip which I’d be curious to find and try.

PaperMate Flair Pen

When left to dry for 10 minutes or so, the ink is fairly water resistant. But I do think it needs a little time to cure.


From the Archives is a series where I dig up old favorites, old classics and long forgotten tools and give them another look. Are they as good as I remember?

Review: Sharpie Gel Highlighters

Sharpie Gel Highlighters

In my recent wanderings in the local big box office supply store, I came across the Sharpie Gel Highlighters. I’d been meaning to try these out for some time so I grabbed a three-pack with one each of yellow, orange and pink highlighter.

Sharpie Gel Highlighters

The Sharpie Gel highlighters have an unusual oval shaped barrel that is actually quite comfortable in the hand and keeps them from rolling off the table. There’s a clip on the stubby little cap that is part of the molded plastic cap. The clip would probably accommodate a notebook cover or pocket but not much else as its not very substantial and might end up snapping off if forced too hard.

Once uncapped, I discovered that the GEL wasn’t the same as gel ink (like you’d find in a Pilot G2 pen or a Hi-Tec C) but rather a a solid stick of a gel-like material. I can’t even think of a good comparison — maybe something between a crayon and a solid antiperspirant? Anyway I try to describe it, its quite unique. Since its a semi-solid material, the more its used, it will wear down so the bottom end of the pens has a twist mechanism to advance the Gel to the end like a twist mechanical pencil.

Sharpie Gel Highlighters

Did I mention that the highlighters smell like gummi bears?!?!? I haven’t wanted to sniff a marker since those grade school “smells like blueberries” markers as I do with these Sharpie Highlighters. That said, theses highlighters really do what they claim which is that they do not smear when applied over ink. Not fountain pen (your results might vary here as I did not test every fountain pen ink available), not felt top or gel pens. Not even pencil. And once the Gel Highlighters are applied to paper, they didn’t smear either.

I really like that Sharpie has attempted to rethink the highlighter, especially in light of how often gel pens are used these days and how easily some inks are to smear with traditional highlighters. These are definitely worth seeking out next time you’re near an office supply store.

Did I mention they smell like gummi bears?

Review: Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 20-color Felt Tip Marker Set (& Giveaway)

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Review

I was recently let loose in Target during back-to-school shopping without any adult supervision. In my melee of shopping enthusiasm, I couldn’t resist buying the largest set of Staedtler Triplus Fineliner felt tip markers they had.

The set included an array of standard colors and six neon colors as well. The set came in a sturdy plastic case with a flip top lid that would create an easel stand. It reminded me so much of those wonderful 64-color boxes of Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener that I was helpless to resist. To an adult, fresh markers are just like a brand new box of crayons.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Writing Sample

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Writing Sample 2

The Staedtler Triplus series is notable for being quite long pens with a rounded triangular shape that makes them comfortable to hold.

I was surprised with how sophisticated the color palette was for this set including colors like a yellow ochre and rich reds and blues. These were certainly not watery kids’ markers in regards to the colors. The neons are lots of fun but the neon yellow is not dark enough for writing — maybe underlining or filling in shapes. Also, the grey marker was too light for writing but might be nice for drawing or coloring.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Review

The whole time I was using the Triplus markers I found myself comparing them to the Stabilo Point 88 markers I purchased not too long ago. There are a lot of similarities in regards to price as well. The Staedtler set cost me about $24 at Target while the mini sized Stabilo 18-color set was $15 from Jet Pens. Stabilo does make full-sized versions of the Point 88 markers which is entirely comparable in size, price and selection to the Staedtler Triplus markers.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner vs. Stabilo Point 88 0,4

The tips on the Stabilos and the Staedtlers are basically identical despite the numeric coding suggesting that the Stabilos are wider. I could not actually discern any difference in the writing samples I did. Colorwise, the two sets differed with the Stabilos having a wider range of traditional colors and the Staedtler having the wild neons instead. If you compare the Staedtler 20-color set listed on Jet Pens to the Stabilo 25-color set, the colors are very similar. The two sets are competitively priced ($25 and $22) but the Stabilo set offers five extra colors where the Staedtler set offers a more durable carrying case.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner vs. Stabilo Point 88 0,4

Sorry this photo is a little blurry. (too much caffeine!) But you get the gist.

While I really enjoy the neon colors in the set I purchased, I wish I had seen the 20-color set available on JetPens that does include a wider array of grey shades plus yellow, orange, and aqua which I miss in the reduced set I purchased.

Would you like to win a set of 20-color Staedtler Triplus Fineliner markers or a 25-color set of Stabilo Point 88 markers from JetPens? I’m giving one set of markers away to a lucky reader. Leave a message in the comments and tell me which set you’d prefer and what you hope to use them for to be entered to win.


FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Thursday, Spetember 17, 2015. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Wednesday. 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. Shipping via USPS first class. US residents only please.


Finally, for an awesome chart comparing several type and brands of colored marker sets, check out JetPens’ Guide to Choosing a Felt Tip Marker.

News: Creative Types on Their Favorite Tools

Illustration by Kulapat Yantrasast

Illustration by Kulapat Yantrasast

There’s a great article on the NYTimes about Creative Types From Manolo Blahnik to Milton Glaser on Their Favorite Writing and Drawing Instruments. Thanks to Milton Glaser, I really want my own Koh-I-Noor multi-colored Magic Pencil.

While we’re on the topic of the NYTimes and its love of articles about pens and pencils, here’s a couple others to check out:

Video: How It’s Made: Space Pens, Colored Pencils, Fountain Pens & More

I found a great collection of pen-and-pencil-centric How Its Made videos. Some you may seen but I thought this would make for great lunchtime viewing. Enjoy!

This next video is how Aurora Fountain Pens are made:

This is the manufacturing process of Caran d’Ache colored pencils:

This next video is in Japanese subtitles with no spoken dialogue but its how Pilot makes its fountain pens so I thought it would be fun to watch even without narration. The first eight minutes is all about how the nibs are constructed which is a little slow to watch but fascinating!

Review: J. Herbin CreaPen Pinceau Brush Pen

J. Herbin Creapen Brush Pen

J. Herbin has gotten into the refillable brush pen arena with the CreaPen Pinceau Refillable Brush Pen ($20). It features a long narrow barrel design like traditional Japanese calligraphy brushes. The entire barrel is plastic and has minimal branding printed in gold. The cap is a simple faceted shape with no clip.The overall design of the pen is plain and simple. It does not offend visually but its pretty average looking overall.

What was intriguing to me was the synthetic bristle brush. The Akashiya Sai watercolor brushes are one of my favorite brush pens and they also use the synthetic bristles so I was hoping the CreaPen bristles would be similar.

J. Herbin Creapen Brush Pen

The tip holds a nice crisp point and is very springy making it fun for brush lettering and drawing. The ink flow is dark and black and dries pretty quickly. There were no smudges on my writing sample which is pretty impressive considering how much ink I laid down on a hot, humid day on a large Rhodia Uni-Blank #18 pad.

J. Herbin Creapen Brush Pen

For me, the biggest surprise is that the ink is completely waterproof when dry. This makes the CreaPen and accompanying ink prefect for outlining work mixed with watercolors or other wet media.

The pen ships with three black ink cartridges that appear to be slightly non-standard in shape and feature a metal ball bearing in the cartridge. Packs of four cartridge refills ($8 per pack) are available in black as well as four other colors Since the black ink is waterproof, I suspect that the cartridge could be refilled with Platinum Carbon Ink rather than using the J. Herbin cartridges but I’m curious if the non-black colors are also waterproof. I’d also like to see if a standard cartridge or converter would work with the CreaPen as a way to use non-waterproof inks. If anyone has tried this, please leave a comment to let me know if it works.


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.

The Downside of Teaching Your Spouse to Love Pens

@goldspotpens @retro1951 we have ignition! #liftoff

A video posted by ana reinert (@wellapptdesk) on

I don’t know where on the spectrum your significant other, spouse or children are on the “pen love” chart but I officially converted my husband to the joys of good pens about a year ago. As a result, certain items come into my house that I never, ever, ever see again. While I’m flattered that my pen-and-paper snobbery has rubbed off on him, I get jealous of the items he absconds with.

For example, the above video was the one and only time I saw the new Retro 51 Lift-Off pen. He showed me the rocket flare red cap and then it went in his pocket. To be fair, I totally bought the Lift-Off for Bob. I was able to garner from my quick peeks that the pen graphics are designed to read corerctly with the pen on its flat end, just like a rocket. Its apparent from the photos but until it was in Bob’s hand, I didn’t make the connection. And the bright red end cap does look like ignition burn red.

Bob also ran away with the Retro 51 Pinball edition. Which I was flattered he liked so much that he wanted it for himself.

He even checks out auction sites for NASA-specific Fisher Space Pens. I’ve yet to capture a good photo of it but he scored a mission-specific Shuttle launch commemorative pen with a space shuttle charm soldered to the pen cap. He loves this pen! See? He does not share his treasures! I’ve taught him too well.

(All I got for you is the Field Notes “stock photo”. You know as much as I do.)

Also, the new Field Notes Colors Edition Workshop Edition got as far as my kitchen table before Bob slid them to his side covetously. I wasn’t even allowed to open the cellophane. So, I need to order another set for myself. I cannot describe any aspect of the Workshop Edition other than it came in a cardboard box with a lovely postal label on it. I think I spied a magnet in a plastic bag as well. Otherwise, I’ve got no details. I can’t tell you how luscious the upscale paper is or which of the six editions I’m most likely to use first.

So, my advice, train your family and friends cautiously. They might run off with the new stuff before you even get a peek!

Pre-Order: Retro 51 Popper Lift-Off

Okay, now that I have already pre-ordered my Retro 51 Limited Edition Popper Lift-Off, its safe to tell you’all about it.

While other people get excited about the sports-themed Retro 51s, the nerds at Chez Desk get grabby hands for anything NASA or space-themed. Having just finished reading The Martian, I’m particularly excited about this limited-to-500 edition of the Retro 51, in all its Saturn V-inspired rocket glory.

Pre-order yours at Goldspot Pens for $35 and remember to tell them you heard about it fro The Well-Appointed Desk!

Review: New TUL Serious Ink Pens from Office Depot/Max

TUL Chest

The folks over at Office Max/Office Depot kindly sent me a new sample pack of the new and improved TUL Serious Ink products to try out. When they contacted me, I was expecting some blister packs of pens in a padded envelope. Instead I received this industrial-tough lunchbox with lock and key. Clearly, they are serious about this launch.

Pens in the TUL chest

Inside the aluminum box, in foam cutaways, were four sample tools (TULs?), one for each of the product types: a rollerball, a gel pen, a ballpoint and a mechanical pencil. They also sent along some rub-on tattoos that I forgot to photograph. It was quite the package!

The rollerball is the only capped pen that was included in the kit. The gel and ballpoint pens are both retractable and the mechanical pencil can retract not only the lead but the lead tube as well making it easier to transport and protect the lead tube from damage.

All the pens feature simple, clean design. The overall color schemes are black, silver and clear plastics. The barrels of the pens are plastic, painted with metallic silver and black paint. The cones that hold the pen tips and the mechanical pencil are metal expect in the rollerball.

The logos and graphics are minimal and minimal branding is really quite an appealing feature to me in pens. I find a lot of modern “big box store” pens have way too much text, graphics and branding on them. The TUL series is a nice antidote to this.

All the TULs feature silicone grips, or in the case of the mechanical pencil, the whole body is a soft matte rubber.  The rubber make all the TULs comfortable to hold but prone to collecting dust particles and pocket lint.

TUL Serious Ink writing samples

In writing tests, I was pleasantly surprised with all the TULs. Usually rollerballs choke on me and stop writing a few words into writing but I had no trouble using the TUL rollerball in medium (0.7). The black ink was dark and dried pretty quickly. The gel pen in medium (0.7) was also dark black and quick drying but a little bolder line than the rollerball. Both of these are also available in fine point (0.5) which I would probably love as both the gel and rollerball in medium were a little bold for my daily writing style. But otherwise, they are good “big box” pen options.

The medium (1.0) ballpoint was notably slippery on the Rhodia paper. On standard office stock, this feature would probably be a bonus but on super smooth paper, it felt like the pen moved faster than my brain. It didn’t skip as much as a standard office ballpoints which is a plus. I suspect the ink is closer to a hybrid ink than the traditional oily ballpoint ink. If you favor ballpoints, this would be a good option. A fine (0.7) tip version is also available.

The mechanical pencil writes comfortably with its fully rubberized body and features a retractable eraser on the end. I was curious as to exactly how long the eraser was and untwisted the whole thing. There’s a good inch or more of eraser that is twisted inside the pencil barrel. Very clever design! Spare erasers can be purchased online too. To be honest, the mechanical pencil was my favorite TUL. I even liked the thicker 0.7mm leads though I am inclined to try the thinner 0.5mm lead version as well, just to see. Pencils rock. Pencils with long retractable erasers rock even harder.

I forgot to photograph the water tests! The ballpoint is waterproof. The pencil showed no ill effects from the water but a softer lead might show a little blurring. The rollerball pen is considerably less water resistant than the gel pen. It surprised me a bit that the gel pen is more water resistant since gel ink is not often very water resistant but a wipe with a wet paint brush left a light grey halo but the lines I drew are still visible. The rollerball lines survived my wet paintburush but a lot more of the ink reactivated creating a much darker grey halo.  So if wet conditions are an issue for you, stick to the gel, ballpoint or pencil.

TUL Serious Ink Pens

I’m quite pleased with the overall quality of the TUL line. The writing quality and build quality was much better than I anticipated. Each of the TULs seems to be a house brand competitor to a brand name and I feel like I should probably do a  side-by-side comparison of the TUL version against the name brand versions, particularly the gel pen.  I suspect its supposed to directly compete with the Pilot G2 and the Pentel Energel. I think the TUL version is comparable but without doing a true side-by-side I can’t say for certain if the performance is exactly the same.  As for the rollerball, ballpoint and mechanical pencil, the TUL brand versions are on par with other products in the same category. I think the mechanical pencils is particularly appealing with its retractable, extra-long eraser and rubberized barrel.

I will say that, aesthetically, I prefer the TUL pens and the prices are comparable to similar products. If I were stocking my company supply cabinet, I might purchase the TULs over name brands just for the minimal branding and visual simplicity.


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

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