Link Love: Another Year, Another Pelikan Hub

Link Love: Another Year, Another Pelikan Hub

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to sign up for the annual Pelikan Hub! The link to the article on Pelikan’s Perch is below and will include all the links to sign up. The window to sign up is pretty short so be sure to pop over and register today so you don’t miss your spot. Rally your local friends if you have not had a local hub in the past. Maybe sign up to be considered as a Hubmaster this year? This community is great and if you are an excellent party organizer, your local Pelikan Hub could use your help!

If you’re in the Kansa City area, I hope to see you at this year’s hub!

Link of the Week:




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Art & Creativity:

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Limited Edition Esterbrook x Bungubox Kachofugetsu Flower Fountain Pen Now Available

Limited Edition Esterbrook x Bungubox Kachofugetsu Flower Fountain Pen Now Available

Today, Esterbrook unveiled its newest Estie: a collaboration with Bungubox to create a beautiful, translucent pen called Kachofugetsu Flower Fountain Pen ($195, available in EF, F, M, B, BB, 1.1). This pen is limited edition and are only available through the Esterbrook website in the US. If you live in Japan, some units will be available for purchase directly in the store from Bungubox.

This is Esterbrook’s first collaboration with the legendary Japanese stationery shop, Bungubox which means this limited edition design is going to sell out fast.

The literal translation of “Kachofugetsu” is “flower, bird, wind, moon” but the meaning is more akin to “the beauty of nature”.

Shown here on top of the Rickshaw 2-pen sleeve in their limited edition Cherry Blossom pattern from earlier this year.

Details about the Pen

The pen ships is a specially printed slide-up tray box with custom graphics. Besides the custom converter, the pen ships with a cartridge, just in case.

The design of the pen was inspired by the Someiyoshino cherry tree in full bloom. The translucent color and crystalline, cracked pink acrylic reminiscent of the delicate cherry blooms.

The converter, which can be seen through the clear material, is printed with cherry blossom petals. It looks great when filled with a bright, cherrful ink.

The gold-tone #6 JOWO nib is etched with the Japanese character for “flower”. The pen I received features the standard F nib which is smooth with just a little bounce.

We have reviewed Estie fountain pens in the past so if you need more details about overall size, performance and nibs, check out these reviews:

Matching Inks and Pen Tests

I went through my ink collection searching for a color to match or coordinate with the Kochofugetsu Estie. I found a few possible options:

I decided to go with the iPaper Pleione Formosa. It’s a little brighter but with the fine nib i think the hint of purple in the color is the best match to the pen.

I think the Pleione Formosa ink color ended up being a good match. With the theme of “the beauty of nature” any color you think is inspired by nature would work as well, I just love matching my inks to my pens.

My Final Comments

This is one of the most interesting material I’ve seen used on an Estie to date and the collaboration with Bungubox is basically printing money because Kaoru and Bungubox are the absolute arbiters of taste in the pen community. This pen is probably not going to last through the end of the day which I am sue will make some folks happy and others very sad.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Esterbrook/Kenro Industries for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day

In the US today, we are celebrating the start of summer with our annual Memorial Day celebration. It’s also a time to remember those who have passed, particularly those lost in military conflicts. I hope you get to spend the day celebrating life with family, food, friends and fun.

We’ll be back to our regular content tomorrow after we recover from our picnic hangover.

Fine Point Pen Comparison: Uni Pin, Pitt Artist, Jetstream

Review by Tina Koyama

Last winter when the weather was too yucky for urban sketching, I entertained myself by drawing pet portraits. I started by surprising friends with sketches of their pets using photos that they had posted on social media. Then it turned into a fundraiser for Dog Gone Seattle, a local rescue and adoption organization. In all, I made more than 70 portraits of mostly dogs and cats, but also one horse, one bearded dragon and one chameleon (you can see them all here). 

Many of the portraits were made on the covers of Field Notes Brand Birch Bark notebooks, which have a wonderful cover stock that I found especially delightful to work on with pencil, pen and even watercolor. The portraits were tiny, though, with lots of fine whiskers and hairs – which meant that sometimes I needed finer point pens than I would typically use for drawing or even writing (my big handwriting isn’t attractive with a fine point). I bought several for my needs, and I thought it would be fun to compare some by drawing a few kitties. (Although they have different names, I’m skeptical: I think the owner has only one cat and is pretending she has many – they look identical!)

The three pens I’m comparing are the Uni Pin Pen 003 (0.03mm, pigment ink, $1.75), the Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen XS  (0.1mm, India ink, $3.70), and the Uni Jetstream standard ballpoint (0.38mm, oil-based ballpoint, $2.50). These aren’t quite apples to apples – the point sizes differ, as do the ink types – but since I rarely use pens this fine except for special applications like whiskers, I considered the selection a “sampler.” 

First, I compared the three for writing and scribbling on basic Field Notes paper, which is smooth. The Jetstream ballpoint was by far the smoothest writing experience. At larger point sizes, Uni’s “hybrid” ballpoint ink is one of my favorites for basic writing – smooth, reliable, blob-free.

Both the Uni Pin and PITT felt scratchy, which surprised me on this smooth paper (granted, I’m more accustomed to larger points in all types of pens). For shading, the PITT was my least favorite: It has the type of nib that must be held vertically to get a consistent line, so when I held it at a natural angle to shade, it felt even scratchier, and the ink application was inconsistent. The Uni Pin, which has a similar “needle point” as the PITT, was more forgiving and could be held at a slight angle and still produce consistent lines (hmmm, too bad I lose my ability to spell when I get into scribbling mode). It also felt smoother.

For the sketch tests, I deliberately chose paper I thought might be challenging. I was recently given a pack of Crescent Artist Trading Cards containing colored, double-sided boards appropriate for mixed media and collage. The paper has a strong tooth that I knew might be too rough for these fine points, but what the hey – I knew the portraits would be small and not very time-consuming.

First I drew Zoey with the Uni Pin. Despite the tooth, the Uni was pleasant to use, and the ink was beautiful for fine hatching. (Other materials used for all portraits: white Prismacolor Premier and white Sakura Gelly Roll 1.0mm.) 

Next up was CJ with the PITT. Oof – that one was hard to get through: Toothy paper with scratchy pen equals ARRGH. Although the result came out OK, the ink coverage is a bit inconsistent because I kept wanting to hold the point at an angle. I really like PITT Artist Pens in larger point sizes and use lots of them, especially the brush tip, but this XS size is definitely not a favorite.

The final sketch test was Cooper with the Jetstream. I felt the expected feedback, but not unpleasantly, and the ink coverage was excellent. When I get in the mood to draw with ballpoint, I typically reach for a classic Bic, but the Jetstream is now a close second.

That concludes the kitty test, which may or may not be helpful to you in choosing a fine point pen, but it sure was fun for me!

OK, so we’ve all seen photos of Ana’s multiple cats, but do we believe they are all different cats? Or PhotoShop trickery posed by one tabby? 

Tina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

Sticky Note Day: Mofusand Sticky Notes Stand – Cat / Shark Dance

Sticky Note Day: Mofusand Sticky Notes Stand – Cat / Shark Dance

Did I once say “no kawaii” products? I lied.

I found the Mofusand characters a couple years back and scored a plush cat-in-a-costume critter from Enigma Stationery at a pen show last year so when I found the Dancing Shark sticky note pad ($9.99), I couldn’t resist. First, the Mofusand cat characters are a charming cross between Grumpy Cat and Sanrio with a dash of the ridiculous. This particular pad features a cat ina. shark costume doing a can-can dance. I mean, really! How can I resist?

The Mofusand Sticky Notes Stand (Cat/ Shark Dance $9.99) has a top flap cover to protect the paper inside. The cover also locks into the back slot to make it a stand-up table top pad and there is an additional diecut that can be folded up to show off can-can shark cat at the top.

As for the paper?… miraculously fountain pen friendly.

Yes, there’s a bit of bleed and show through on the back of the sheet using fountain pens but who really uses the back of a sticky note anyway? I seldom do. Overall though, there was no beading or ink resistance on the front of the paper stock which is a great sign.  Not to mention, can-can shark cats!

Don’t make Mofusand grumpier, grab a notepad and spread the love for fountain pen friendly sticky notes!

Link Love: Visiting the Supply Closet

Link Love: Visiting the Supply Closet

My pal and fellow stationery lover, Felicia Koloc, held the Grand Opening celebration of her itty bitty stationery shop, Supply Closet, on Saturday. Its in Kansas City, KS, just across the state line in a small residential neighborhood and tucked into a literal closet inside the Garden House Cafe. The shop is lovely and the opportunity to grab a delicious coffee surrounded by plants make the trip 100% worth it. The Supply Closet is open anytime the Garden House Cafe is open.

If you’re in the Kansas City area or passing through, its worth a trip to the shop. Don’t forget to grab a delicious coffee while you’re there.

The exterior of The Garden House Cafe
My pal Madeline agreed to be a model for scale. The shop really is a closet!
Beautifully organized and curated, The Supply Closet is a feast for the eyes and a ding to the wallet!
Owner Felicia ringing up a happy customer!




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Let’s talk guides!

If you’re a fan of blank notebooks, or beautiful unlined stationery, then you may be familiar with guide sheets or mats. These are sheets, typically printed with bold lines, grids or dots that you can place under the sheet upon which you’re writing, to allow you to write in straight lines or draw figures without needing a ruler.

Guide sheets or mats come in many forms and sizes. They can be as simple as a piece of graph paper (with darker lines) or can be printed on cardstock or plastic to be more durable. What led me to write this post today is that I purchased a Kyoei Orions Kiwami Shitajiki Writing Mat in A5 size from JetPens ($9.50).

I was intrigued by this particular mat because it was in black with white gridlines in both 10mm and 5mm measurements. The mat itself is decently thick and it weighs a bit (2.8oz/79g) and I thought it might be a sturdy companion to the few blank books I own (I confess I’m a sucker for dot grid and almost never order blank).

Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a few guide sheets. I got one when I bought my Musubi notebook, I’ve got one that is unbranded (don’t know where that came from) and I’ve got several from Ana who even makes a few of them free for you to print!

So how did this mat compare? I have to say that I liked the solid surface of the mat far better than the paper or cardstock models I already have. It gave me a firm, smooth writing surface so that I felt like my writing was even over the paper. On the vintage typewriter stock the grid showed through like a charm!

However I had a bit more trouble when I moved to a slightly denser notebook. I LOVE the Haiku notebook I reviewed years ago for it’s gorgeous gradient paper. However that dark pink just doesn’t want to play nicely with the black mat. You can see the lines faintly through the white section, but not otherwise. Whereas that plain no-name lined sheet actually showed up fairly well.

As it is so often in the stationery world, I think it comes down to preference. I like the feel of the mat and will likely use it when it works out, but I’m not tossing those cardstock ones yet. And you can’t beat Ana’s free ones either!

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purposes of review. Please see the About page for more details.