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  • Blue Or Black Ink?

    black or blueWe recently posted about teachers using red ink at school, and that put me in mind of another classic color debate: Blue or black ink?

    There are all sorts of opinions on this and, for the most part, it just comes down to preference. That said, there are some very valid reasons for choosing one or the other, particularly in certain circumstances.

    I'll get into details below, but here's what I generally recommend:

    • Black ink for filling out official records.
    • Blue for business signatures and most others.
    • Black for memos and work correspondence.
    • Blue (or red) for notes and most learning purposes.
    • Blue for credit card applications.
    • Blue (or another color) for creative purposes.

     

    Continue reading

  • New Ohto Products June 2015

    New Ohto Pens June 2015

    We have had a shipment in from Ohto this month with a whole host of new goodies including multi-function pens and mechanical pencils. For those of you who may not be aware of Ohto they are a very successful Japanese manufacturer who is renowned for bringing out new and innovative high quality products at very reasonable prices. If you see anything that you like in the list below we would love to hear your comments: Continue reading

  • Artline Stix – Now Available

    If the ideas suggested in this year's Get Creative Campaign are a little advanced for the youngsters in your family you may find a little inspiration to help the kids pass some time creating a masterpiece of their own with Artline Stix.

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    This latest offering is a range of pens, toys & connectors designed to be able to click, stick, spin & bend when joined together with the idea of letting the imagination create an adventure. These pens & markers have a pattern of bumps & hollows which allow them to be snapped together similar to leggo or other construction blocks.

    This range offers

    Colouring Markers – With a rounded 2mm bullet nib they are available in a wide range of colours including a dazzling lime, deep magenta & zesty orange.

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    Brush Markers – Suitable for children over 3 years the soft brush tip is ideal for painting as well as colouring & is capable of painting a line width between 1 & 8mm.

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    Drawing Pens – Ideal for detailed drawing as the fine tip produces a 0.4mm line, there is a wide range of colours to choose from.

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    The ink benefits from being washable & is also non toxic & as well as being available individually these pens can be be bought in multi colour packs.

    The Artline Stix web site has lots ideas there are

    • A whole bunch of templates of animals, monsters & sea creatures that you can download for a colouring session
    • Several ever popular printable dot to dot pictures
    • Instructions for building windmills, planes & puppets to name a few
    • An invitation to join the Artline Stix play club with a chance to receive news, promotions & exclusive giveaways

    Artline promise to to add this list so keep an eye out for new additions.

    The Get Creative Campaign is a celebration of all forms of arts, culture & creativity that is being led by the BBC. There are events being held around the country & it will run until 21st February 2016 with the aim of getting people involved, to share their talents & host debates about the merits of creativity. Once their creativity has been unleashed maybe the budding artist could show of their skills by joining in.

  • Invisible Ink Pens Hard To Find?

    So I was tooling around online and saw this headline. Naturally, it begged for some clarification, like where was this published, was it a joke, and just how invisible are these pens?

    invisible pen headline

     

    Fortunately, it didn't take much digging to get some answers. Turns out that this ran in the Columbus Dispatch in Columbus, Ohio about four years ago, and it wasn't a joke. Shoppers really were having a hard time finding invisible ink pens.

    See, it started out with copper theft. That's a problem in both the UK and US that involves people stealing electrical cables and other items that contain copper so they can sell them to scrap metal dealers.

    In Columbus, it seems, thieves were stealing entire air conditioners because they contained copper.

    City officials responded by recommending that residents mark the insides of their air conditioning units with invisible ink. That way, if someone tried to sell the copper inside to any reputable scrap yard, the scrappers would check for the markings and know that it was stolen property.

    uv inkThe invisible ink pens they recommended use ink that only shows when exposed to ultra-violet light. People weren't sure where to buy the pens, so the newspaper kindly suggested some options.

    Invisible ink pens aren't all that hard to find, it seems (you can find them at Amazon, too). The headline, of course, ended up being more fun than the story.

    But, at least now I know a trick for protecting against copper theft. And, I even learned to make cheap UV ink pens with some hot water and a neon highlighter.

     

  • Little Girls + Sharpie = No

    Had to share this for the parents among you.

    Apparently, a little girl in California named Gabriella got her hands on a Sharpie and started drawing on her face.

    Of course. Because, you know, why not?

    Her mother saw it and, this being 2015, decided to start filming while she scolds the girl.

    Continue reading

  • Pens Matter For Voting

    ballotHere's a thought: Pens and pencils just may form the very foundation of democracy. But only certain kinds.

    You see, the act of voting itself often relies on ordinary pen and paper in both the UK and the US, and the type of writing instrument used can be the difference between a ballot that's counted and one that's discarded.

    (Paper ballots dominate voting in the United Kingdom, and account for an estimated 70 percent of elections in the United States.) Continue reading

  • Red Ink In The Classroom?

    Everyone of a certain generation knows what red ink on a school paper means.

    Wrong answers.

    But kids in the future might not recognize red ink as a teacher's way of drawing attention to mistakes.

    red ink

    Continue reading

  • The Spincil – All in one pencil & spinning top

    If you've ever had writers block then a little distraction may be just the thing to get the creative juices flowing. The Spincil is a 2b graphite lead pencil made from natural beechwood with a spinning top at the end, which is a novel change from an eraser I suppose! It's been created by Ortiedesign a French design studio who say they like to embellish everyday life by using everyday materials & healthy paints. I was pleased to read that they care about the environment too so use wood from sustainable forests & don't create unnecessary packaging.

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    The concept of a spinning top takes me back to the family home & conjures up memories of cold winter evenings lying in front of the fire whiling away the time with a few rounds of battling tops with the family. This game was popular in the late 60's & 70's & ours is no longer around but it seems there are still some vintage examples for sale if you too are feeling nostalgic.

     

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    There's nothing new about the idea of amalgamating a spinning top with a pencil, a quick search of the internet will show varying levels of design. From home made paper & cardboard circles (I even found some “how to” instructions) to a Victorian antique in the form of a telescopic pencil. What is different about the Spincil is that its hand made vertically all in one piece, which apparently made it complicated to produce & means it can't be put on a production line & mass produced.

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    So, if you feel like taking your pencil for a spin during your next drawing project try a Spincil, the more you sharpen the more the top rotates.

  • Penthusiasm!

    Brad at the Pen Addict reviews some hard to come by ink samples including the Sailor Bung Box 4B

    Nifty at Notebook Stories reviews the Conceptum notebook

    Heather at A Penchant for Paper gives her take on the Pilot Feed GP4

    Matthias over at Bleistift checks out the The Lyra Temagraph & Eisen 480 pencil and a sharpener/eraser combo

    Margana at Inkophile tries out the substantial Diamine range of browns

    Miriam at Jet Pens gives us a comprehensive guide to choosing a highlighter pen

    Brian from Office Supply Geek shares his favourite things about the Kaweco Sport Rollerball

    Becca over at Nattosoup has a show down on Copic Sketch vs Shinhan Twin Touch art markers

    Note Booker Esq. urges us to write that letter – no matter how long its been

  • How Far Will A Ballpoint Pen Write?

    This is awesome: Researchers at the University of Reading are studying a wide assortment of ballpoint pens available in the UK to determine how they perform and why.

    The style of a ball point pen varies from the utilitarian to a fashion or style statement with an accompanying large variation in price. In this work we look beyond the external shape and style to the key elements of the pen. We want to know how these components relate to the writing life of a pen and how they influence the use of a ball point pen.

    Some preliminary results of the study, being conducted by the Centre for Advanced Microscopy and partially funded by Bic, have been posted to the university's website.

    One of the most interesting bits is that the average writing length of a ballpoint pen is 900 meters (the longest was 2,000).

    For some brands the contour length was almost half this length whilst for others the contour length was 50% more than the average. The consistency of contour length was quite varied for some brands and very consistent for others.

    To determine the writing lengths of the pens, researchers used machines that approximated the writing strokes, speed and downward pressure of an average person and wrote until the pens were exhausted.

    The researchers also measured the length of some common writing tasks to help put those numbers in perspective. According to them, a 900 meter ballpoint pen would write:

    • 6207 signatures
    • 5114 phone numbers
    • 971 Christmas cards
    • 169 letters

    Now, what we don't have yet is the specific brands involved in the testing and how long each specific pen lasted, although we have to assume that at least some were Bics. It would be interesting to know because Bic claims its ballpoint pens will write for 2 to 3 kilometers. But others have made even bigger claims, including one from India's Flair Pens that its ballpoint is good for a whopping 10K meters.

    Don't worry, we've contacted the university to see what more we can find out.

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