2018 Cheers and Tears



Ink collage

If you are an ink fan, 2018 was the year for you. Colorverse, 3Oysters, Color Charm, Pen BBS, Krishna, Ferris Wheel Press, and so much more. While not all these inks were new on the market this year, many of these washed up onto the shores of the US and Europe this year.

There was also new limited edition inks from Diamine, the new Nick Stewart inks, and lots of new colors from Robert Oster. Sailor introduced their Sailor 100 line and Lamy created their new line of Crystal inks. So many inks in a full rainbow of colors. Thank you, 2018, for the ink watershed.


Jim Rouse:

Jim Rouse

The sudden loss of our great friend and pen community luminary, Jim Rouse, hit us all hard. He was knowledgeable, patient, and playful and I miss seeing him decked out in his Sunday “best”. Wherever you are now, Jim, I hope you have all the Coca-Cola you can drink and a good seat to watch over your grandkids. Godspeed.

Aurora Optima Flex Series:

Aurora Optima Flex Pens
Aurora Optima Flex Pens

The pens are beautiful and I give a lot of credit to Aurora for attempting such an ambitious pen release cycle. However, not everyone wants a flex nib pen and $615 retail is a lot to ask people to plunk down for a nib that may or may not meet their expectations. If I had been in the design and marketing meetings, I would have recommended releasing the rainbow of Optima pens with standard nib options or the flex nib and I would have have recommended pricing the standard nib options at about $350 and the flex at about $100 more. The Optima has always felt like the entry tier for Aurora and a solid resin material does not seem to warrant as high a price as some of the swirled materials. But what do I know? Only that most retailers who have the Optima Flex pens in stock are slashing the prices to try to move them. So clearly, Aurora was overvaluing the pens and over-saturated the market.

Cross x Star Wars Millennium Falcon
Cross x Star Wars Stormtrooper

Cross x Star Wars:

Just stop. These are a visual abomination. I thought the Townsend Chewbacca was the lowest of the low but no, Cross could go lower. The Cross x Star Wars Darth Vader, Stormtrooper and Millennium Falcon look like pens that would be sold in the back-to-school aisle for $3 but Cross is trying to sell them for $85. I am one of the biggest Star Wars nerds around. I have a pet AT-AT, for inks’ sake, and I would gladly plop down cold hard cash for a GOOD Star Wars licensed pen. Get with the program, Cross or, Disney, sell the licensing rights to someone else.

So, there were probably tons of other moments in our pen community both great and small that are worthy of being noted but my brain is mush and this is all I can think of at the moment.

What were your tears and cheers for 2018?

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