Posts Tagged ‘review’

Review: Pelikan Edelstein Ruby Cartridges

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby tin

I’d been very interested in getting some of the Pelikan Edelstein ink cartridges. They come in a lovely tin and I like having a pack of cartridges at work so that, in a pinch, I can quickly refill a pen without making a big mess.  The tin means I could keep it in my daily kit so I have cartridges handy all the time. I bought the Ruby color from my local pen shop.

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby cartridges

What I didn’t realize is that the Pelikan Edelstein cartridges are European LONG cartridges. Most of my pens, that take standard European cartridges, are not big enough for the long cartridges. I finally found one pen that could accommodate the longer cartridges, my Kaweco Student.

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby ink

Inked and ready to go, I was finally able to test PE Ruby. Its a pinky-red color with some nice shading, even with the extra-fine nib in my Kaweco Student. Its a bit lighter color than I had expected.  A Google image search for “ruby gem” reveals that rubies are a bit pinky in color when light shines through them so the name is appropriate for the color. Just, in my head, I always thought of rubies as a darker red.

Edelstein inks are good quality and flow smoothly and feel lubricated which helps validate the steeper price point.

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby ink writing samples

When compared to other reds in my stash, it does fill a gap. Diamine Wild Strawberry is a bit more orangey, and Noodler’s Mandalay Maroon is darker and probably more what my head thought of as “ruby”.

Six LONG European-style cartridges are available in each tin for $7.95 from Goulet Pens since my local pen shop does not list them on their online shop. If you’re in KC though, stop by The Pen Place in Crown Center and pick them up in person.

Review: DeAtramentis Apple Blossom Ink

DeAtramentis Apple Blossom

DeAtramentis Apple Blossom ($12.95 for a 35ml bottle) is sort of an “in between” color. Its not quite red, pink, burgundy or purple. I would best describe is as a smoky red violet. Its a scented ink, its a slightly sweet, powdery smell that is supposed to be reminiscent of apple blossoms. It was most noticeable when I was filling my pen from the bottle and less so in the pen or on paper. Once dry on the paper, it was unnoticeable.

DeAtramentis Apple Blossom

I tested this ink with my Pilot Prera which has become my go-to pen for ink samples because I can switch on the nib, mid-test and see the ink in a fine nib and a italic nib as well. With the italic stub, there was more evidence of shading but the color didn’t shift dramatically due to the wider nib.

I tried to find a similar color in my collection but I came up with a pinkier-pink (Edelstein Turmaline) and a deeper, more burgundy color (Montegrappa Bourdeaux). So, that makes me feel like the Apple Blossom really is a unique color and does remind me of those pinky centers on white apple blossoms. I like it in the same way that I like the old Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses in that its a subtle, complex color.

Review: Diamine Kelly Green Ink

Diamine Kelly Green

I’ve had this sample bottle of Diamine Kelly Green set aside on my desk for months with plans to be “my next ink review”. Since December. Well, here it is. Finally.

Diamine Kelly Green Ink Writing Sample

Diamine Kelly Green is a vivid, bright green with distinctly yellow undertones. For me, this means that in light strokes or fine nibbed pens, the color is in that “sweet spot” of lime, citrus-y green that I love so much. For someone else, it could mean a bright green that has gone decidedly off.

In my Noodler’s Ahab fountain pen with the flex nib, there was a lot of shading in the writing. Some might think too much shading as the top, lightest part of the strokes is a very light yellow-green while the down strokes are a clover green. It makes readability a bit iffy.

With a regular stiff nib, the ink is much lighter overall. More Kool-Aid Limeade green than a true Kelly green.

Diamine Kelly Green Ink Comparison

I quite like the color that results from using this ink with a fine or medium nib as it goes decidedly lime. However, if you are looking for a bold true green, this will not be the one for you.

Diamine Kelly Green is available by the bottle for $12.95 and samples are $1.25.

 

Review: Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

I confess I did not recognize the name Daniel DeFoe when this bottle of Mont Blanc’s Writers Series Daniel DeFoe ink arrived. All I knew was that it was a shade of green. So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do, I looked up Daniel DeFoe on Wikipedia. Turns out he was the gent who wrote Robinson Crusoe as well as being trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and spy. So, someone I’d like to have had drinks with at some point. Now that I’m past the history lesson, let’s move on to the ink review!

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

The bottle is a pleasing shape. Its classic plus it has Mont Blanc’s distintive logo mark on the cap. I think the label with the author’s signature printed to simulate the ink color is a little vague.

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

As I said before, not knowing who Daniel DeFoe was when the bottle arrived, I only loosely assumed the ink might be green. The vagueness of the packaging did not clear much up so it wasn’t until I dipped my paint brush into the bottle and started making lines that I had any kind of inkling what was to appear.

The color is a deep, woodsy, leafy green. It is supposed to be reminiscent of Crusoe’s island but it also reminds me of the color of military fatigue greens but a little more luminance. It’s dark and bold on the paper but with a brightness.

The more I look at the Defoe ink on paper, the more enamored I become.

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

When looking for comparisons, I found Noodler’s Burma Road Brown and Diamine Salamander but they are both browner, muddier colors than the Daniel DeFoe.

I have to confess that I’ve seen Mont Blanc as a company that concerns itself with making beautiful, but veery expensive things that might not always be practical. This ink, however, is changing my thinking. Its an entirely usable color with good flow and consistency. In my wide 1.1mm nibbed Monteverde Intima pen on Rhodia paper, it took a bit longer to dry than some inks I’ve used lately but dry time was comparable to a lot of the Pilot Iroshizuku inks I’ve used.

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe is a limited edition ink available only for one year. A 35ml bottle sells for $19. I might have to order a spare.


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

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

Review: Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink

Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink Review

I chose my favorite color, Private Reserve Naples Blue, from the August International Shipping Ink Drop collection and decided to go ahead and do a full review. I don’t normally go in for bright blues but this color looked like the bluest oceans. I couldn’t pull my eyes from the swatch so I had to take it out for a spin.

I tested it with my dueling Pilot Preras, one fitted with a Plumix Penmanship M Italic Stub and one with the standard M nib. I wanted to see if shading was visible in both. The shading range was so diverse in my painted title that I was hopeful to get as wide a range in the pens.

Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink Review

What I noticed is that the ink appears more like a royal blue in dark pools but as it thins out in linework, it becomes more turquoise blue instead. This showed in the shading with the stub italic nib making for some interesting emphasis. I like it. Its a beautiful color.

The ink is a bit drier than other inks so it dried fast which was nice on the slick Rhodia paper, especially with the wider nib. I didn’t have any issues with the ink being too dry with the M nib but a needlepoint nib might run into some drying issues.

Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink Review

In my head, I thought the Naples Blue reminded me of Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku but side-by-side you can see how much greener the Ku-Jaku is. The Naples Blue even gets a slight red/purple cast around the edges of the swab so they are quite different. In the fine writing sample though, the Naples Blue is a lot more turquoise so you can see the possible comparison.

Overall, if you’re looking to hold on to summer a little longer, want to dream of the bluest oceans or just need a vivid blue ink, try Private Reserve Naples Blue. Samples are $1.25 and a full bottle is $11.

Review: Zebra Mildliner Pen in Mild Green

Zebra Mildliner Pen

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.

Zebra Mildliner Mild Green

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)?

Review: Noodler’s Ahab Flexible Nib Fountain Pen

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

I have had the Noodler’s Ahab flexible fountain pen ($20) for a couple months and have tested it with Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs but hadn’t posted about the flex nib. As others have mentioned over the years, trying to use and learning to use a flexible nib pen is very different than how we use modern day pens, be they fountain or otherwise.

Over the years I’ve used a lot of different flexible nib tools. I have a few vintage pens that have some flex and I’ve used a lot of dip nib pens which are the least expensive and most flexible option in modern tools. Dip nibs are a little fiddly to use those because I frequently have to stop and dip and try to pick up my thoughts and my stroke where I left off. So there is a lot of appeal in getting the Noodler’s Ahab to work for me.

I got the Ahab in the Amazon Pearl finish but there are dozens of color options in the Ahab so there is bound to be one you like. The Amazon Pearl finish is a shimmer metallic forest green with some darker green threads in the color. Its really pretty.

The Ahab pen body feels likes plastic but is actually a celluloid derivative. This may explain a slightly acrid smell upon opening the pen. I noticed the smell most when removing the cap but it dissipated quickly.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

The Noodler’s flex nib (found in the Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad models) is split down the middle to give it its flex. By nudging the placement of the nib in the feed, its possible to adjust how much flex. However, the higher you place the nib in the feed (creating more flex) the more likely that the ink flow might become choked causing skipping or inconsistent ink flow.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

In order to get the benefits of the flex nib, I needed to change my writing position from the left-handed overhand method I normally use to position where my hand is below the line I’m writing. Otherwise, the thicks-and-thins of the flexible nib are in the wrong places or non-existent entirely.

Using the piston filler, the Ahab will hold about 2ml of ink which is twice what the Creaper holds. Its possible to eyedropper fill the Ahab for even more ink capacity but I didn’t attempt that. I change my mind about ink color too frequently to want that much ink in one go. The piston filler is not a twist fill mechanism common to cartridge converters but rather a plunger mechanism to pump ink into the reservoir. It’s easy to use but might take a couple tries to get accustomed to the filling technique. This also means you must use bottled inks with this pen. No cartridges can be used.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

While the pen felt light and a little plasticky in my hand, it looks like a more expensive material than some of the clear plastic pens in a similar price range.  Overall, I like what Noodler’s is doing with their line of flex nib pens and, for its small price, the Ahab is a good way to venture into flexible nibs. If you discover that flex nibs are not for you, Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs will fit in the Ahab and can turn the pen into a standard writer.


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

Review: Pocketable Pens from Zebra, Pilot and Pentel

Zebra Mini Ballpoint Pentel Slicci Mini and Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock

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.

Zebra Mini Ballpoint vs. Kaweco Sport

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.

Zebra Mini Ballpoint Pentel Slicci Mini and Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock writing samples

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.

Review: Letts of London Noteletts Notebook

 

Noteletts L6 Ruled cover

While visiting Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee, I picked up a Letts of London Noteletts notebook. The Noteletts line is available three sizes, ruled or blank and in four different cover colors. I got the “L6″,  the medium size, which is 116mm x 172mm (approx. 4.5″x 6.75″) and features lined paper.

Noteletts L6 Ruled

The cover of the book is a black book cloth which collects cat hair and dust easily (pardon my dust!) but feels nice in my hand and gives the cover a bit more flex than other notebooks with  leatherette covers.

 

Noteletts L6 Ruled page spread

Inside the paper is a warm creamy ivory color with fine, light grey lines. There are 192 pages which is comparable to other books of a similar size. The line spacing is 0.25″ (6mm)  and the paper quality is above average. It feels thicker than the average notebook. I’d compare it to the paper weight in Paperblanks notebooks but the Noteletts has a bit more tooth to the paper. That might make it a little more absorbent but it also means those slippery gel inks have something to hold onto.

Noteletts L6 Ruled dated rules

At the top of each page is a place to write the date to keep your notes organized. The Noteletts branding is at the bottom of each page — a bit overkill but not too obtrusive.

Noteletts L6 Ruled Planner Pages

In the back is a 2-page monthly planner  spread. Its not necessarily enough room to be a full-fledged planner but would be a good spot to write key dates or birthdays. In the back of the book, there’s also a map with time zones, calling code info and weights and measures. I find it charmingly anachronistic to include this info in the age of smartphones but I appreciate it nonetheless. It makes me feel worldly and cosmopolitan to have this info at hand.

There is also the requisite expandable pocket in the back cover, vertical elastic closure and a ribbon bookmark with finished end. All welcome and well done.

Noteletts L6 Ruled writing sample

In writing tests, the paper is a bit heavier than the average but I knew it would not be as fountain pen-worthy as Clairfontaine/Rhodia. The paper would probably fare best with fine line pens of any variety but the show through was not terrible with the couple fountain pens I had on me today — both loaded with a blue ink, both fine European nibs.

Noteletts L6 Ruled reverse of writing

From the reverse, a little show through is visible and I suspect that a medium or broad nibbed fountain pen with black ink with definitely get more show through and probably dots of bleed through. Its not the most fountain pen friendly paper but its far from the worst. Dry time was  quite reasonable so it seems like a fair trade-off.

The price point for the Noteletts (MSRP is $13.50 for this size notebook), from the tony Letts of London, is up there with Moleskine but it carries a slightly different kind of cache. Letts of London has been making paper products since 1812 and focuses on planners (AKA diaries) and hangs its hat on its English-ness, where Moleskine prefers to tap into it Italian European-ness. I am inclined to be more of an Anglophile so if I had to pick one or the other, I’m inclined to choose the English Noteletts in part for its own heritage but also the cloth covers, better paper and lighter lines. I find the lined paper in Moleskine notebooks much too dark.

Our new sponsors Pen Boutique stock the Noteletts line as well as purchasing them directly.

Review: Lamy Accent Fountain Pen

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen & Packaging

Thanks to Fontoplumo for  sending me the Lamy Accent for review recently. I had not seen this Lamy before so it was a treat to get a “first peek” at it. Its an aluminum body with a soft sheen finish and the center grip section in a dark grey stained wood. The pen is so light in the hand that I would assume the wood is bamboo.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen box packaging

I’m not always inclined to talk about the packaging on a pen. There’s an expectation that the more expensive the pen, the better the packaging. As the Lamy Accent is in the lower mid-range fountain pen prices, I think its nice packaging. The box is a soft grey paper board with a window that peeks to a metal embossed logo that acts as the box lock. Once unfolded the pen rests on a flannel grey flocked  paperboard wedge. Its suitable for a gift and makes me feel like Lamy cared enough about the pen and the craftsmanship in making it to send it in in a pleasing package.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen packaging

In the other groove in the package was a standard Lamy blue cartridge which is now installed in the pen for testing purposes. The pen did not include a cartridge converter but one can be purchased for an additional 4,75€ (about $6.50).

When capped, the pen is 5.625″ long. Uncapped and unposted, the pen is 4.875″. The cap screws on to close.

The clip is a shiny silver chrome and is slightly hinged to make it easy to clip to a pocket or notebook. The only branding on the exterior of the pen is on the cap, in line with the clip hinge. It reads “LAMY” in grey-black print. The branding is also etched on the nib but that’s it. It makes for a very elegant and understated look.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen nib & grip section

I received the fine nib and it met all my standards for a Lamy nib. I installed the cartridge included with the pen immediately and started writing with no issues.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen posted

The cap easily posts on the end of the pen thanks to a small black notch on the rear of the pen. This creates a well-balanced tool at a sizable length of about 6.5″ . I found it quite comfortable to use posted which I don’t normally do (not even with Kaweco Sports. Seriously!).

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen writing sample

In writing, the only potential issue is that the wood grip section is not particularly grippy. I prefer Lamy pens without the molded grip area but the added plastic at the nib pushes the grip area back from the nib a bit more than most pens I’ve used. It you tend to grip your tools further from the tip or nib, this might be a great pen to try as its really designed for a higher grip. If you tend to grip lower with your fingers touching the nib, you may need to noodle a bit. I found that I rested my knuckle (at the writer’s bump on my middle finger) and my first finger on the black section above the nib and my thumb on the wood grip. It ended up being surprisigingly comfortable but took a couple tries to find the best way to hold this pen.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen

One oddity was the way in which the pen disassembled. The aluminum section below the wood loosens the nib unit but the pen separates above the wood section. It felt like I was doing something wrong but it seemed to work and reassemble with no issues. It’s just feels a little odd.

Overall, I really like this pen. Its nicely sized and aesthetically beautiful in a modern way. The sort of classic good looks that will age well over time. Which reminds me, I’m really curious to see how this pen ages — if the wood darkens or the aluminum barrel gets any dings or scratches and how that affects its looks. Since I do not tend to swaddle my pens, give me a few months of rough use and I’ll post some photos to see if it changes at all.

The Lamy Accent in Aluminum/ Grey Wood is 65€ (about $86US) and available in EF, F, M, B and Italic 1.1mm. Don’t forget: If you enter the code WAD2014 you get a 10% discount on anything you order from Fontoplumo. This offer is good through the end of 2014.


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

The Overcast Podcast App

Overcast app screenshot

To help me get through my days, staring at pixels on a computer screen, I listen to a lot of podcasts. For the last few weeks, I have been bouncing back and forth between three different podcast apps for my iPhone: Overcast (Free, unlocked all features $4.99), Pocket Casts ($4.99, for iPhone/iPad or Android) and Instacast ($1.99). Why would I have three podcast apps installed at once? I was trying to figure which one I actually prefer.

Each app offers a similar experiences and all are an improvement from Apple’s default Podcast app. After futzing around with all three, I found myself deleting Instacast first as it was the least intuitive feeling to me. It was the first podcast app I purchased after I became annoyed with the Apple Podcast app and the first to fall short for me. I love the looks of Pocket Casts but in the end, despite aesthetic superiority, there were a few things that forced it out of the running.

I’ll cut to the chase and tell you which one I prefer and why.

Overcast is my favorite podcast app at the moment, though I still find myself stumbling around the app a little. Here’s a few reasons why I’ve chosen it over the others.

  • Overcast has feature to speed up the podcast. It helps to shorten pauses in speech and make a podcast a bit more brisk. Very handy. Audio can also be sped up a lot which sounds like everyone had WAY too much coffee, but not like Mickey Mouse. Overcast also has an EQ voice booster which helps podcasts that may not have the best sound quality.
  • There is a web-based interface which lets me listen to podcasts at my computer rather than on my phone at work. It spares my data plan, phone battery and I only have to subscribe to the podcast once (not have to maintain an additional subscription in iTunes for desktop listening). Playlists don’t carry over to the site but being able to listen to podcasts in my wi-fi-free office without getting throttled by AT&T is excellent.
  • I like that I can adjust the quick forward and quick back buttons. They are clear to understand and easy to use. Some of the other apps have the double arrows  associated with fast forward and rewind which are less clear to me that I’m jumping 15 or 30 seconds in a podcast. I don’t often need to rewind a podcast all the way back to the beginning.
  • Under “Playback” there is a sleep timer and/or play episodes continuously or one-by-one.
  • Overcast is free. I appreciate that Overcast is willing to offer this app for free to entice people to try it and listen to more podcasts. When they find the app useful and easy to use, users can unlock all features for $4.99. I upgraded the app immediately.
  • Overcast uses Twitter to recommend podcasts based on what people you follow are subscribing to. The more people who use Overcast, the more recommendations. It seems a lot of my followers/folks I follow listen to the Pen Addict and Erasable. I’m shocked!
  • In the download queue, there is a switch to toggle between using cellular data for downloads and not. Which is handy that’s it’s not buried in a preferences or settings menu somewhere.
  • My one big gripe is I wish that sliding to the left would provide a “mark all as played” option. I keep deleting podcasts thinking I am deleting an episode.

Overcast recommendation screenshot

The more I use Overcast, the more I like it. If you haven’t tried any podcast app other than the Apple Podcast app, I recommend trying Overcast. If you have your own favorite podcast app, please leave a note in the comments.

Review: Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook

After trying out the Stillman & Birn sampler packet, I went ahead and got two sketchbooks. A 5.5×8.5″ Epsilon series hard cover and an 8.5×11″ Alpha series hard cover. I always think of the 8.5×11″ black hard cover as the quintessential artist’s sketchbook. This was the first sketchbook I ever got when I started art school. Its the book made popular by graffiti artists often just called a “black book” or “piece book”. Many companies produce versions of this book and, to be honest, I’ve always considered the popularity in the Moleskine notebooks attributable to the ubiquity of the “black book” sketchbook.

That said, in recent years, I’ve found the quality of the standard black sketchbook to be so-so. The paper seems thinner than ever and the construction is not nearly as durable as I remember it being. Until, that is, the Stillman & Birn books came into my life.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

Both books feature a heavy 100lb/150gsm weight paper and have a textured, black leatherette over stiff hard cover boards. The interior pages (62 sheets/124 pages in each book) are stitched. There are no additional features to these books: no pockets, ribbon bookmarks or other embellishments. These books mean BUSINESS and they feel super durable.

Once the paper branding bands are removed from the book, the only branding is a blind deboss of the Stillman & Birn logo on the lower portion of the back covers.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook writing sample

The smaller Epsilon sketchbook has a smoother paper texture than the Alpha paper and the label describes it as “plate surface”. The recommended use listed is “…line drawings without feathering or bleeding”. With the smoother surface, the line quality is a little crisper than with the Alpha, especially at smaller sizes. The paper color in the Epsilon books is also a tiny bit whiter than the Alpha which is more of a natural white.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook reverse of writing sample

As you can see from the reverse, the only real show through was the Zebra Permanent marker (similar in formula to a permanent Sharpie marker). In person, I can see a bit more of the ghost of the writing on the previous page but I feel confident that I could use both front and back of each sheet without bleeding issues or obscuring the previous page.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook writing sample

The Alpha Series features a natural white paper with a slight tooth to the paper. The label lists the paper as “vellum surface” and lists the recommended uses as “suitable for all dry media, will accept light washes”.

I tested the Alpha paper with ink and some of my more arty tools since I expected that this, of all paper, would be able to handle it. There’s a tiny bit of show through but no bleeding at all, even with the wet ink that was applied like watercolor. The paper did not buckle with my light ink wash. I’m sure with a wetter application of watercolor, it might buckle a little bit but it seems more than adequate for a range of tools, including wide nib fountain pens, and a little experimentation.

If you are looking for paper able to withstand a lot of water application, try the Beta, Delta or Zeta line. Those are 270gsm paper designed for wet media. If you’re more inclined to do some light washes or mixed media, the Alpha or Epsilon books should be perfectly adequate.

Stillman & Birn Sketchbook reverse of writing sample

From the reverse of the Alpha book, you see there’s very little show through. In person, I can discern a bit more show through than can be seen in the photo but not so much that I wouldn’t be comfortable using both sides of the paper.

Honestly, its hard to have any criticism of these books at all. The paper is beautiful and they handle fountain pen ink without bleeding or feathering. The construction is top-notch and super-durable. Stillman & Birn offer such a great range of products that if these books didn’t satisfy my needs, one of the many other books in their line would. The S&B sketchbooks are priced neatly in between budget-priced black sketchbooks available in art supply stores and the prestige notebooks like Moleskine and Rhodia.

I always like to have a “black book” handy at work for sketches and rough drawings and I think my go-to brand now will be Stillman & Birn. Maybe I’ll even start that sketch journal I’ve been meaning to do?

The best online source for Stillman & Birn is Goulet Pens or ask your local art supply store to start carrying Stillman & Birn.


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

Review: Noodler’s Ahab with Goulet Pens 1.1mm Italic Stub Nib

Noodler's Ahab with Goulet Stub Nib

The Noodler’s Ahab pen is a good plastic fountain pen option for the price point.  And to be honest, though it is light in the hand like a plastic pen, it doesn’t look cheap or plastic-y. The metallic sheen in the color makes it look like a pricier pen. The chrome trim looks good and the construction is clean and well-assembled. Compared with the Dilli pens, this is a much nicer looking pen.

Its has a large-capacity, piston-filled ink reservoir. This gives you lots of opportunities to play with bottled inks.

At just $20, its also a great way to try a flexible nib. There are lots of color choices with the Ahab line but I chose the Amazon Pearl. There were actually several green options available so it was hard to pick just one.

Noodler's Ahab with Goulet Stub Nib

If you find that a flexible nib is fun but not something you are inclined to write with everyday, the Ahab is a great way to try out one of the Goulet Pens #6 nibs. I’ve already tested out the Goulet Pens EF nib on my Jinhao X750. I used the 1.1mm italic stub nib from Goulet Pens($15) with my Ahab. The Goulet Pens nibs are chrome nibs with the Goulet ink drop logo and some etched, decorative scrollwork. They are quite pleasing and matched the chrome trim on the Ahab.

Noodler's Ahab with Goulet Stub Nib

The nib worked as soon as I swapped it out and the line quality is pretty crisp thanks to the 1.1mm stub nib. It was super smooth and even left-handed and upside down, I had no trouble getting the pen to lay down a steady flow of ink.

I really like the quality and pricing of the Goulet nibs. I might buy one of the Noodler’s Acrylic Konrad fountain pens in order to have a full-time pen body for Goulet Nibs and keep this Ahab as a dedicated flex pen. (PS: A review of the Noodler’s Flex nib in this pen is coming soon!)

I tested the nib on my Rhodia No. 18 Uni Blank pad with Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku teal-y blue ink.


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

Review: Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook

Do I love lime green? You know I do. (See the matching nail polish for proof.)

Do I like Leuchtturm1917 notebooks? Yup.

Do I really like when the two things come together with all the genius of peanut butter and chocolate? Of course!!

Okay, on to the real review…

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook

The Leuchtturm1917 notebook line was recently updated. They added four neon colors (orange, yellow, lime and pink) in their large and pocket-sized hardcover notebooks. The other notable difference with these neon books is a subtle dot texture in the cover leatherette material. As it catches the light, the dots are visible. Its really kind of a cool effect.

The only exterior branding is a debossed logo, centered across the bottom edge of the back cover. I appreciate when brands recognize that I don’t want their logo front and center of my notebook.

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook

I think it’s been awhile since I’ve used a Leuchtturm1917 but I noticed that the large hardcover notebook was a bit wider than most A5-ish notebooks I’ve used. It’s 5.75″ (14.5cm) wide and 8.25″ (about 21cm) tall. In comparison, my current notebook, the Palomino Blackwing Luxury notebook, is just over 5″ wide.

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook

Inside, the notebooks feature the same 80 gsm ivory paper with light grey lines. The lines run from edge to edge and there is a top margin for the date. These books, like all the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks include the index pages in the front as well as page numbers on each page to help to organize and archive your writings.

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook

Inside the back cover is a gusseted pocket. The vertical elastic and ribbon book mark match the covers. I’m noticing some fraying on the bookmark already so I’ll hit the end with a little white craft glue (fray check will work too) to keep it from falling apart.

Leuchtturm1917 notebooks include a sticker sheet for labeling the cover and spine as well as a thank you note and a short history about the brand.

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook writing sample

For my writing tests, I made sure all my pens color coordinated with the book, at least from the outside. None of the fountain pen inks feathered (not even the super watery J. Herbin) and dry time was pretty reasonable.

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook writing sample reverse side

There’s a little show through on the reverse side of the page but no bleed through. I think the show through is more noticeable in person than in this photo. I would not be inclined to use both sides of the paper with dark inks or a wide nib fountain pen but with gel pens, felt tip, ballpoint and rollerballs, its not too bad.

Overall, I really like the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. The lines are pleasingly light, the index and numbered pages help get me a little more organized than I might otherwise be. And you can’t beat the color choices. The paper is a good upgrade from other similarly-priced notebooks (like Moleskine) but  its not as fountain pen-friendly as Rhodia/Clairfontaine which is a little more expensive, offers fewer cover color options and puts a big honkin’ logo on the cover.

The Leuchtturm1917 large hardcover notebooks sell for $18.95 each through Goulet Pens. And yes, there are several other, more sedate colors to choose from.

Leuchtturm 1917 Neon Green Notebook


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Thanks to Rachel for picking out the PERFECT color for me. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Monteverde Prima F Fountain Pen in Green Swirl

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

The Monteverde Prima is another of the gloriously swirly body designs from the Monteverde line. Like the Intima, the colored resin is beautifully done. While the Intima is lime green blended with white and kelly green, the Prima is blended with black. For some reason the luminous, almost iridescent quality to the resin is more noticeable in the Prima.

Monteverde Prima Green Swirl

The Prima has black accents with small chrome details. The clip and the nib on the Prima are silver toned instead of black. Overall, the Prima has a more traditional fountain pen look even though the colored resin is very contemporary and vivid.

There is a slight transparency to the green resin so I can see the shadow of the internal workings of the pen. I don’t think its noticeable unless you’re looking intensely at the pen. I suspect in darker resin colors, this effect is probably less evident.

The pen is heavier than I expected, it feels solid. The Prima and Intima are my first experiences with resin fountain pens rather then plastic or metal. The material feels sturdy.

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

The nib is super silky. I am continually being surprised by how nice the Monteverde nibs are. I’ve now tried the medium nib, the 1.1mm stub nib and this, the fine nib. It easily writes in almost any position. If I grab it to jot a quick note, there is no needing to find the “sweet spot”. Its also so slick that when combined with good ink and high quality paper, I have to work a little to keep the nib from getting ahead of me. I think this makes this pen a good candidate for a drier ink (or a not-necessarily lubricated ink) and the assorted, everyday papers found in the average office. I tested it on a few copies — the standard 20-24# bond found in most pritners and copiers — and the nib had a bit more “traction” which worked out well. It definitely makes this a good option for an office pen, where you may have less control over exactly what kinds of paper you may have to write on.

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

The nib is labelled “Monteverde Monteverde USA” and feature the jagged mountain range logo across the nib.  Why they need the brand name twice in that wretched Architect font, I do not know? That said, the branding on this pen is also very subtle. It only appears etched in the chrome ring around the base of the cap and on the nib. On the end of the cap is the mountain range branding mark which, while I don’t love it, I can tolerate it.

Monteverde Prima in Green Swirl

Like the Imtima, if lime green isn’t your thing, there are a lot of other colors. I particularly like the turquoise and the tiger’s eye colors. I’m getting lured by the purple though. Who’d a thunk?

The Monteverde Prima is available at both Goulet Pens and Pen Chalet for $56 in the full range of colors and nib sizes.


Thanks so much to Jon who very kindly decided I might want another green fountain pen. He was so right.

Review: Nock Co DotDash 3×5 Notecards

Nock Co Dot Dash notecards

Now that Nock Co has opened the online shop, I can finally rave about their DotDash 3×5 notecards. Using a beautiful, silky smooth, bright white, 80lb stock, NockCo has created a notecard to be reckoned with.

Printed on both sides with NockCo’s signature orange ink is a “dot dash” grid. The ink used for the dot dash grid is light enough not to interfere with the legibility of most writing tools including pencil. Normally, I don’t lean towards grid ruling because the lines are often too dark but the shade of orange Nock Co chose for these cards is fun but not too bright, nor are the lines too bold as to be distracting. The grid is spaced at 4.25 mm. All in all, this is one of my favorite grid rulings.

Nock Co Dot Dash Writing samples

As promised, almost any writing tool I threw at these notecards worked as promised. Neither fountain pens, gel pens, rollerballs, ballpoints or pencils had any issues with bleeding or feathering. Some wet inks may take a couple minutes to dry completely on the stock, just to be on the safe side.

Nock Co. Dot Dash writing reverse

Even from the reverse, no color bleeds through to the back. This means the cards really are two-sided.

Brad made me keep my secret stash of 3×5 notecards secret for ages. They were sitting on my desk at work for “real world testing” when someone grabbed one to write a note and said “I can’t write on this! Its too nice!” I had to insist they try it just to get someone else’s impression but she refused. Instead she took the card back to “keep”. So somewhere, there is a lone NockCo DotDash 3×5 enshrined on someone’s desk. Well, there’s no need to enshrine these cards any longer now that they are available in packs of 50 cards for $6. I recommend ordering at least two packs straight away because you’ll want to share them.

The DotDash is also available in an A4 (8.3″ x 11.7″) staple-bound notebook size.

A 50-card pack of notecards is $6. And now the cards are also available in a dusty blue dot dash.


If it wasn’t clear in the post…
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Nock Co. for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Pelikan M205 Fountain Pen

Pelikan M205 comparison

First, I have to say thanks to Mr. Mike Dudek at The Clicky Post for letting me borrow his Pelikan M205. His review of the M205 suggested that the pen may not live up to its hype so I was pleased to have a chance to try it before I invested in my own. Mike had purchased two different M205s and sent me the one that worked better for him right out the box.

I was so excited to try it. I have to admit, I hoped that maybe Mike wrote with an unusual angle or pressure and that my experience with it would be perfect. I pulled it from the package like Excalibur with a magical thrum and a radiant glow. This pen is so dreamy to look at.

Pelikan M205 pen comparison

The pen itself reminds me of the classic looks of vintage Esterbrooks. The M205 is still just a plastic body fountain with chrome accents and I’d definitely describe it as understated for the over-$100 average retail price. But its a smaller, subdued pen. It doesn’t scream “expensive” or “fancy” and I like that. I love the look of the old Esterbrooks so a modern pen with these classic lines has a lot of appeal for me. The translucent ink window reminds me of some of old fountain pens as well. The simple piston filler is also a holdover from the days before cartridges and converters. It seems like Pelikan has just continued to make the same good-looking pen since the early 20th century. This makes this pen everything that would be a “holy grail” pen for me.

Pelikan M205 nib

Mike sent me the white body with a fine nib which was exactly the one I would have ordered. I inked it up with a good lubricated ink — Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku — and hoped for the best.

The nib has some spring in it which is really quite amazing for a modern steel nib. On the nib, is a beautiful swan emboss and a classic script logo as well as the nib width. How irresistible.

Several folks asked to compare the Pelikan M205 to the Pilot Prera, as well, which has a similar-sized nib and the pen, overall, is a similar size. It’s a fair comparison as they are both plastic bodied, with a small steel nib. There’s a bit more chrome detailing on the Prera and it does take Pilot cartridges or a converter. The price for the Prera is even much less, even after my Plumix modification. The Pilot nibs run much finer and stiffer than the Pelikan though.

Pelikan M205 nib comparison

And then I started writing and the whole experience started to sour.

My first experiences were on miscellaneous office paper, 3x5s and the like. And I was not getting good results. Not a good sign. My experiences, while not exactly the same as Mike’s were definitely less than stellar. The ink seemed choked. I would get flow with some strokes but not with others. I had a feeling that the M205 did not approve of my overhanded lefty writing position.

Pelikan M205 writing sample

When I switched to my “I’m doing calligraphy” below-the-line writing position, the pen behaved much better. But…. I shouldn’t have to do that. There’s shouldn’t be just one sweet spot. None of my other pens, modern or vintage, require that the pen be held in a very specific position. Modern Kawecos? They don’t care what angle I write. Lamy? It will withstand my divergent grip even while digging into my knuckle. Monteverde? Whatever angle is fine and it glides across the paper. So why should a pen made for decades be so fussy? Oh, M205? Why are you trying to ruin my dreams?!?!

I cleaned it out and refilled it hoping maybe a fiber got under the nib or something innocuous but nothing seemed to improve the performance dramatically other than being very very specific about the pen’s position on the paper. So other lefties, be warned.

To quote Mike:

Are your torches lit yet?… Has someone piled up the wood for the fire?…

I know that the Pelikan M205 is often the gateway pen to higher priced modern fountain pens. I just don’t have the capital to spend $100 or more on a pen that only “sort of” writes for me. Sadly, I think I will have to cross the M205 off my grail list and move on to some of the other candidates.


I forgot to mention that Mike purchased the Pelikan M205 from our fine sponsors, Pen Chalet at a deeply discounted price. If you’re ready to give one of these classics a whirl, be sure to use the code “wellappointeddesk” at checkout to get an extra 10% off. And also know that Pelikan/Chartpak has good customer support and will swap out your nib unit should you have an issue like Mike did initially.

Review: Rhodia Ice Notepad

Rhodia Ice covers

I finally got a chance to see what all the hullabaloo surrounding the new Rhodia Ice pads is all about. In honor of its 80th anniversary, Rhodia has released a white covered version of its classic notepads. I got the No. 16 (6 x 8.25″) which is a good desktop sized, comparable to an A5 or Steno pad. The logo is metallic silver on the warm white, matte-coated cover. Inside, the paper is white with a light grey grid.

The Ice notepads are available in lined or graph, both with the same light grey ink for the lines. The Ice notepads all feature the same high-quality paper that the original Rhodia notepads use.

Rhodia Ice writing sample

Since my Rhodia pads tend to have the cover folded back from the moment they are unwrapped, the color of the cover isn’t all that big of a deal. But I’ve avoided anything but the blank Rhodia notepads because I find the purple lines to be too dark and distracting for me. The grey lines in the Ice notepads is such an improvement! The Ice notepad is a lot more usable to me than the standard lined or graph in the orange or black notepads.

I much prefer the grey lines to the standard pads. I might have to stock up on the Ice pads in case they discontinue them.

Prices for the Rhodia Ice pads range from $2-$9, depending on size, on Goulet Pens.

Tested with my Kaweco Skyline Mint with Kaweco blue ink. Seemed like a good icy companion.


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

Review: Zebra Sharbo-X Multi-Pen in Mint

Sharbo X minty green 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.

Sharbo X outer packagin Sharbo X presentation box Sharbo X revealed

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.

Sharbo X rubber end

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.

Sharbo X writing sample

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!!!).

Sharbo X eraser

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.

Sharbo X meets Kaweco Skyline Mint

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.

Review: Perfetto Pencil

Perfetto Pencil box lid

When I first saw the Perfetto Pencils, I was smitten. The whole project was designed by well-known designer Louise Fili. I’ve been familiar with her design work for years so I would, of course, be interested in any pencil project she might create. The box alone is a work of art. The packaging is beautiful and sturdy and vintage-inspired.

Perfetto Pencil Box

Inside the box is a dozen, beautiful two-colored pencils. It’s graphite on one end and red colored lead on the other. The pencils come pre-sharpened with a decent point, usable for those too impatient to sharpen it properly.

Perfetto Pencil

The pencils inside are just as stunning. The pencils are round and the paint is glossy and even. The silver foil is stamped perfectly and centered evenly.

Perfetto Pencil writing sample

The best news is that they write really well. The graphite is smooth and dark. I’d almost compare it to a Palomino Blackwing. And the red lead is soft like a good quality, artist’s grade colored pencil.

The first pencil I pulled out must have been dropped because the red lead kept breaking. The graphite was fine though. I pulled out another pencil and the red lead sharpened fine so the first must have been a fluke. I used a good quality Staedtler two-hole hand sharpener and got a good, sharp point on both ends. With the soft colored lead, I recommend sharpening with a hand sharpener rather than a desktop or electric sharpener because they’ll just eat through the pencils.

When erasing, the red lead leaves visible ghosting which is good if you want to use the pencil for grading or other indelible uses. The graphite erases cleanly with a the Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, the Cadillac of erasers.

Perfetto Pencil box notes

The whole package was produced by the Princeton Architectural Press and boxes come marked with a $13.95 retail price. According to the box, the pencils are made in Taiwan. I purchased mine through Amazon for about $11.50.

 

Review: Pen & Ink Pocket Sketchbook

Pen & Ink Sketchbook cover I picked up the Art Alternatives Pen & Ink Sketch with medium weight paper in the pocket (3.5×5.5″) size. I chose the blank version though it is also available in graph and lined plus a heavyweight paper version. In the images on Jet Pens, the lines on the lined and graph looked much too dark for my liking. I’d rather use a blank book with a guide sheet. It’s described as medium weight (80gsm) paper, but it feels like the same weight, maybe a tiny bit heavier, than Moleskine’s standard paper.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook Pocket

From the outside, its pretty indistinguishable from a Moleskine pocket hardcover. It has a stiff leatherette cover, elastic closure and a ribbon bookmark. Upon opening the book, the paper is a soft white and there is a gusseted pocket in the back. If you like Moleskines but wish for a cheaper alternative, at first glance, this would make a great option at a mere $8.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook writing sample

Pen & Ink Sketchbook  reverse of writing sample

Comparing Moleskine to Pen & Ink Sketchbook

There’s a few things that actually make the Pen & Ink Sketchbook a better value than a standard Moleskine. First, the bookmark is sealed on the end so it shouldn’t fray. Also, the paper is slightly better quality than the Moleskine paper. Not epically better but, in a side-by-side comparison, there is less feathering and splining with the Pen & Ink paper than Moleskine (shown on the left). With everyday writing tools like rollerball, ballpoint, gel, pencil and fine-nibbed fountain pens, I found the paper totally acceptable. Yes there is a little showthrough but nothing that wouldn’t be expected at the paper weight and price point. The elastic closure also feels more durable. We’ll see how it performs overall but it feels like it will survive longer than a Moleskine elastic.

This is an everyday pocket notebook at a very reasonable price. It has 96 pages (192 sheets) which is comparable to three Field Notes for about the same price. So, if you prefer a hardcover pocket notebook with the classic good looks associated with a Moleskine, this is a good alternative. If you’re hoping for more substantial paper, you might consider the heavy weight paper version (145gsm) instead.


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.

 

Field Notes Colors Edition “Arts & Sciences”

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition

I finally got around to opening my Field Notes Color Edition “Arts & Sciences” notebooks.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition size comparison

The Arts & Sciences edition really do feel like a Hagrid-sized version of the classic Field Notes. At 4.75″x7.5″ they are substantially bigger than the standard Field Notes’ 3.5″x5.5″ size but not as large as a standard A5 (6×8.25″) notebook. They live in a happy, in-between place.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition

This Colors Edition, due to the larger size and slightly increased page count (64 pages compared to the regular 48-pages in a standard pocket Field Notes), came with two books instead of the standard three-pack. Everything about this edition seems to similar BUT different! And I like that.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Inside Pages

Inside, the pages are printed on the right hand sheets. The Sciences edition is printed with quadrille graph lines and the Arts edition is printed with lines. Both are printed in a pale “Academy” grey.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Back covers

Both the covers have embossed logos with metallic silver ink and a coordinating icon on the back. The red book is the Arts edition and features palette, paintbrush, ink, tape, pencil and more on the icon. The Sciences edition in the dark grey color with an icon with a DNA chain, beaker, celestial bodies, and amoeba and more. How long before someone gets one or both of these as a tattoo?

All in all, I love that Field Notes continues to experiment with each version of their Colors Editions. Now that they’ve added size as a variable, it seems like the possibilities are endless.

Remember, the Colors Editions are limited so order a set or two today ($9.95 per 2-pack). Or subscribe and receive the Arts & Sciences edition and future editions as soon as they are available.


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

Review: Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

Someone recently asked me if I had a recommendation for a really good green ink. That’s such a loaded question for me. Are you in search of a jewel-toned kelly green? A green-black? A green ever-so-slightly hinted with blue? Maybe something woodsy? There are just too many variations when it comes to green to pick just one and say “THIS is THE green”. Until now.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink writing sample

Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green is, for lack of a better description, officially my signature green. It is a bright, vivid green with just a hint of yellow to keep it citrus-y. I’m pretty sure Delicate Green matches my masthead and I wouldn’t describe it as delicate. Its punchy, cheery, “spring grass” green. I had to sniff it to make sure it didn’t smell like grass clippings (sadly, it doesn’t).

The only comparable shade I could find in my stash was Diamine Kelly Green ($12.95) or Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-rin ($28). But the Kelly Green is obviously more kelly and the Chiku-rin leans more of a mustard seed yellow-green.

Often times, green inks in this yellow-green category are often a bit too light for everyday use and get relegated to “highlighter” inks or used just for play. But Delicate Green is bright and vivid enough to be legible and usable.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

This is by no means a budget priced ink. But the inks come is a sturdy hexagonal box that hides the funky angle the bottle sits on when its removed. The bottle is a thick sturdy hexagonal glass with a solid silver metal cap. At $32 per bottle, the Caran D’ache Chromatics line is definitely a “special occasion” purchase but there are nice details in not just the ink but the packaging and presentation as well. Trust me, you’ll be glad you splurged.

To see more images of this ink in action, check out last weeks review for the Monteverde Intima.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

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

Review: Plumb Goods Notebooks (& Giveaway)

Plumb Notebooks from Knock Knock

The folks at Knock Knock recently launched a new line of paper products called Plumb Goods. These are a collection of notebooks designed by artists to help inspire creativity. Every book in the collection includes a full-color card with information on the artist.

The products were each so different that this is a super image-heavy post. Every book deserved a full view so this is really a review of FIVE notebooks, not just one.

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Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm Stub Fountain Pen

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

You may be asking yourself “Why didn’t she own this pen already?” Trust me, I’ve been asking myself the same question since it arrived. The Monteverde Intima ($52) is a stunningly swirly mix of lime and kelly green colors with a white opalescent sheen embedded in the resin. All the hardware is black including the nib. I just hold it in my hand and admire the swirls.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The pen arrived in a cardboard slip case (which I sort of destroyed trying to get it open) which protected this epic presentation box. Its a deep forest green shimmery clamshell box with silver metallic edging and logo. Its a box that one would expect to find a much more expensive pen inside. And probably a little more dignified than my Willy Wonka green swirl, St. Patty’s Day-is-everyday pen. But that’s beside the point. The box looks impressive.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Inside is a white faux velvet lining. The bottom section with the band lifts out to reveal the box of cartridges (only two were in the box) and instructions for using the included converter which was in the pen. The box could definitely get a second life as a storage box for pens and accessories. Its durable.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

This is only the second Monteverde pen I’ve used and with each experience, I’m becoming more impressed with the quality and diversity of the Monteverde product line. I was initially skeptical  of the black anodized nib but as I used the Intima, I grew to appreciate the understated-ness of the nib and hardware next to the brilliant showiness of the neon green swirls. Its a really beautiful combination.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The weight of the pen is heavier than I initially anticipated. Somehow I thought the pen would be light like a plastic Kaweco but the resin is weightier than plastic. It feels good in the hand. The nib is astoundingly smooth. I am thrilled with how well this wrote right out of the box.

The cap can be posted which makes the pen a sizeable 6.375″ long but I found the weight of the pen unposted to be most comfortable in my hand and plenty long enough (4.675″). The length of the pen capped is 5.25″.

This has immediately become my go-to pen. It writes beautifully, its perfectly weighted for my hand and its the PERFECT color.

My biggest gripes with Monteverde is a dislike for their logo. The branding on the Intima is so subtle that it is barely noticable. The black anodized nib disguises the cheeseball “architect” logotype and the pen name is silkscreened in white in a miniscule font on the reverse side from the clip on the black edge of the cap. Its completely ignorable which is a delight to a design snob like me.

Monteverde Intima Neon Green 1.1mm stub italic

The Intima comes with a converter but will accept standard European cartridges. I immediately inked mine up with a coordinating green ink, Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green ($32) and it is the perfect combination. Both are bright and vibrant and make me insanely happy. (A review of the Delicate Green ink will be posted soon.)

I tested this on the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 16. Its the smaller version of the Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18.

The Monteverde Intima fountain pen in neon green is a thing to behold, at least for someone like me with an uncompromising love of the color green. But don’t be frightened away, the Intima is also available in more dignified colors like Glacier Blue and Volcano Grey, both of which I like too.

The Intima is available in a variety of nib sizes and other colors if green is not your thing for $52 each at Goulet Pens. The Intima takes a #6 nib and replacement nibs are also available for $24 each in black anodized or silver. Or try out one of Goulet Pens signature nibs with the Intima. The Goulet branded nibs are available in six different nib widths for $15 each in silver or gold toned.

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

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