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Tiger Pens Blog

  • Engineers Fascinated By How Pens Work

    This was a bit surprising: A YouTube video in which an engineering professor explains how a retractable pen works became a bit of a viral hit.

    The simple 4:43 video from Bill Hammack – "engineerguy" on YouTube – had been viewed more than 370K times when I last checked, about a month after it was posted.

    In the video, Hammack uses a Parker Jotter and some 3D modeling graphics to describe the interplay between plunger, cam, and spring that extends and retracts the ink cartridge and produces that distinctive clicking noise. Continue reading

  • Interview: Novelist Zoe Sumra

    Pens are one of the most basic tools that writers can use, so when whole worlds of imagination flow out of them, it seems magical.

    And maybe it is – the story inside a writer's head comes to life when the words hit the page.

    That's why, even with all the technology available to writers today, some still prefer to start their work with nothing but a pen and paper to hand.

    Novelist Zoe Sumra is one of them. The London-based writer recently some time out to answer some questions from the Tiger Pens Blog.

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I decided to become a novelist when I was three - I'd just learnt that the youngest published author was four and a half, and realised I had eighteen months to beat that. I didn't quite manage it: I actually started writing novels when I was twelve. Since then I have written an epic fantasy trilogy - firmly in the trunk - and quite a lot of space opera in what is now a fully developed story universe. When not writing or reading, whether for pleasure or research, I spend most of my spare time fencing, in the gym as an adjunct to fencing, or rehabilitating ankle injuries. My day job is as a print controller in the advertising industry. Continue reading

  • Penthusiasm!

    Rob at Rob's Art Supply reviews learns to control the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

    Margana at Inkophile glides across the page with the Platinum #3776 Century Yamanaka fountain pen.

    Heather at inlovewithjournals swoons over the Franklin-Christoph notebook.

    The Weekly Pencil runs into trouble sharpening his Koh-i-Noor Toison D'or 1900 Series 2B pencil.

    The Passionate Penman turns his attention to the Sakura Pigma Micron 005.

    Lito at Palimpsest takes us back in time for P & J Arnold fountain pen ink.

    Tina at Fueled by Clouds & Coffee charts a bumpy course with the Pilot Waverly Nib.

    Michael at Inkdependence almost likes Noodler's Dostoyevsky fountain pen ink.

    Brian at OfficeSupplyGeek wishes J. Herbin Bleu Azur fountain pen ink were darker.

    Christine at Pentulant dives into the Jinhao 159 fountain pen.

    Rhonda at the Blog of Rhonda Eudaly sweeps up with the Midori Eraser Mini Cleaner II.

  • The World In Pens

    Business 2 Community makes the case that doodling is an effective tool to improve communication, increase productivity and spur creativity in the workplace.

    A Flavorwire article from a couple years ago making its way around social media again shows the hand-drawn/hand-written plot outlines of several famous authors, including J.K. Rowling and Joseph Heller.

    The Providence Journal profiles a doodler who developed his craft into a regular business selling pen-and-ink sketches on the US festival circuit.

    All4Women explains why journaling is good for your mental health in a succinct 12-point list that covers everything from stress management to panic attacks.

    The Sprachen blog explains in depth how to start and organize a language notebook for tracking your progress as you learn multiple languages.

    Seinfeld's "All I said was I liked the pen" holds the No. 1 spot on the Pentel blog's top 10 pop culture references to pens. (On a related note, a few years ago, we rounded up some of the best movie/TV fight scenes that involved a pen.)

    This interview with Swedish poet Emina Gaspar-Vrana on the Memopipwrites blog contains one of the best lines ever about pens and writing: "Who needs a shrink when you have a pen?"

    Kinja asked readers to vote for their five favorite pens and the Pilot G-2 made the top of the list. Maybe their readers just don't know pens.

  • 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

  • Penthusiasm!

    Lito at Palimpsest shares a Kate Chopin letter griping about the tiny invisible hairs on her pen.

    The Passionate Penman block-prints his respect for the Tombow Mono 100.

    Ian at Pens! Paper! Pencils! splashes through some J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey fountain pen ink.

    Patrick at The Cramped gets to the point with the new Field Notes Planner.

    Ray at Fountain Pen Quest experiences disappointment with Toucan Bright Green ink.

    Maybelline at On Fountain Pens finishes delving into the meaning of Iroshizuku fountain pen inks.

    Azizah at Gourmet Pens feels no intensity from Diamine Red Lustre fountain pen ink.

    George at My Supply Room finds his match with the Retro 51 cat fountain pen.

    Matthias at Bleistift appeals to his Swedish readers to identify a mystery pencil from television.

    Tina at Fueled by Clouds & Coffee learns new appreciation for her drawing pens.

  • The World in Pens

    Pilot Pen continues its campaign to make pens sexy by returning to New York Fashion Week with gift bags and a dress festooned with pens, reports World Branding Forum.

    Smile Politely introduces Chicago-area artist Katie Funk, who designs unusual mandalas, including one made up of mostly nudes, for her coloring books.

    Moleskine fanboys/girls might be excited by the new Livescribe special edition that includes a Moleskine-branded Livescribe pen, an Evernote premium subscription, a Moleskine notebook and a few other goodies, according to The Next Web.

    A college student offers some tips for personalizing notebooks – like how to use Scotch tape to make your notebook cover a dry-erase board – in the Daily Star of Bangladesh.

    In the most unsurprising news story ever, the Telegraph reports that kids who don't write letters also don't think letter-writing is fashionable.

    The Korea Herald tells the story of an artist whose installation art about handwriting consists of having people walk into an isolated room and transcribe literary works with a pencil.

    Good news from the Atlantic: Artist Jason Polan's project to draw Every Person in New York has been turned into a book with 30,000 of his drawings. (In 2011, Jason told us about the pens he uses.)

    Create great nail art on the cheap with Pilot Choose gel pens, according to BlogHer.

  • Interview: Ruth Stephens, Child Occupational Therapist

    The brilliant thing about pens is that, while they're capable of producing great art, they also provide one of our simplest, most effective means of communication, aside from speech.

    That's why we love to hear from  people who put their pens to that most fundamental task, connecting people through the handwritten word. Especially when they're helping to pass that skill on to the next generation.

    Today, we introduce you to Ruth Stephens, an occupational therapist and pen enthusiast in West Sussex.

    Please tell us a little about you.

    I am a mum of 2, who loves baking, coffee and making a difference in children’s lives

    Tell us a little about your work.

    I work in private practice assessing and providing therapy to children of all ages who have coordination and sensory issues. My areas of expertise are working with children who have handwriting difficulties and children who are adopted (both very different I know). My working life never ever has a dull day!

    Courtesy Ruth Stephens, optimatherapy.net Continue reading

  • 9 Stationery-Inspired Halloween Costumes

    Halloween's always a load of fun and a great excuse to play dress-up, especially if you're going to a costume party.

    So why not take the opportunity to flaunt your stationery geekery?

    There are any number of costumes you can buy or make that will show off your favorite pens, pencils, and paper. We'll show what a few people have done in years past, then we'll toss out a couple of ideas of our own.

    Now fire up your imaginations and let these costumes inspire you.

    Courtesy: Jade Brady, www.jadebradymakeup.blogspot.com Courtesy: Jade Brady

    UK make-up artist Jade Brady put together this simple, but terrifying costumer of the old pencil-up-the-nose joke gone wrong. See more of her SFX work at her blog.

     

    crayola costume

     

    Kid's felt Crayola costume going for £10 on eBay. There are other colors, too, including blue and green. Continue reading

  • Pens-Only Classrooms At University

    laptops in the classroomWith everyone back in school, I thought it might be a good time to revisit a topic that pops up in university classrooms every year: the banning of laptops.

    The Globe and Mail reported in August that it's becoming standard practice in Canadian universities to prohibit laptops from lecture halls. American universities are also getting on board with no-laptop policies, as the campus newspaper of the University of North Carolina explained earlier this year. In the UK and Europe, while banning laptops seems to be less widespread, it isn't entirely uncommon.

    Typically, it's not the universities, but specific professors who tell students at the beginning of the year that laptops are verboten and that classrooms are pens-only. Some even include it in the syllabi.

    Why? Continue reading

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