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  • Penthusiasm!

    Ian at Pens! Paper! Pencils! uncaps the Blank Forces X1 and X2.

    Matthias at Bleistift introduces us to his Lamy Line Friends.

    Austin at Art Supply Critic finds the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen manga set to be incomplete.

    Angela at Paper Lovestory recalls the stationery she used during her first two years of medical school.

    No Pen Intended gets serious with TUL pens.

    Amanda at Pens Paper Ink judges Sheaffer calligraphy pens.

    Lito at Palimpsest calls attention to the pen seller of Beirut.

    Azizah at Gourmet Pens sizes up the clear Gama Jumbo fountain pen.

    Stephanie at Rhodia Drive recounts the reviews of J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor ink.

    Michael at Pensninks explores iterations of the Montblanc Meisterstück fountain pen.

  • Penthusiasm!

    Julie at Peaceable Writer pieces together the problem with her Sailor Brush Pen.

    The Unroyal Warrant gets down to the details of the Montblanc Meisterstück 136 fountain pen.

    Michael at Pensninks offers a little pen porn with his new Kaweco fountain pens and inks from the antique market.

    George at My Supply Closet shows off some pen porn of his own: a rainbow collection of Lamy rollerball pens.

    Angela at Paper Lovestory unboxes the Faber-Castell Aqua Ambition fountain pen.

    Leslie at Comfortable Shoes Studio lists her six pencils for the month of September.

    No Pen Intended reaps the rewards of the successful Pen Rest project on Kickstarter.

    Azizah at Gourmet Pens approves of the TWSBI Eco fountain pen.

    Margana at Inkophile tries some öli ũclips magnetic clips on her journals.

    Tina at Fueled by Clouds & Coffee paper-tests Sailor Nano Kiwa-Guro Ink.

  • Penthusiasm!

    Austin at Art Supply Critic recommends the Sanford Peel-Off Magic Rub eraser.

    Patrick at The Cramped shows off the pen-and-ink artwork that lead to "Mad Max: Fury Road."

    Matthias at Bleistift introduces the Book Block customizable notebook Kickstart project.

    Stephanie at Rhodia Drive makes sure to write down her thoughts as she has them.

    Ian at Pens! Paper! Pencils! reorganizes his Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter organizer.

    Azizah at Gourmet Pens inks up some Paper Oh notebooks.

    The Unroyal Warrant finds a new favorite starter pen in the TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen.

    Leslie at Comfortable Shoes Studio gets intense with the Uniball Air.

    Ed at Ed Jelley sizes up the Ti Scribe Fountain/Ballpoint Pen.

    Mark at Cool Tools pits the Milwaukee Inkzall against the Sharpie Pro.


  • Penthusiasm!

    Patrick at The Cramped takes no pleasure in finding someone else's PaperMate Inkjoy.

    Austin at Art Supply Critic gives a forever home to his new Staedtler AllXwrite pencil.

    Ray at Fountain Pen Quest pairs up the Pilot Custom 823 and Pilot blue-black ink.

    Matthias at Bleistift expresses his disappointment with the Pilot Color Eno.

    Todd from That One Pen tells the story of his trip to the Washington D.C. Pen Show.

    Amanda at Pens Paper Ink breaks the back of the Quo Vadis APB 2.

    Jon at The Leadhead's Pencil Blog shares his adventures with Parker Vacumatic pencils at the D.C. pen show.

    Brian at OfficeSupplyGeek downsizes to try the Black n Red Mini notebook.

    Angela at Paper Lovestory shares her sister's meticulous handwritten university notes.

    George at My Supply Room displays his collection of Pentel desk sets.

  • One Man And His Platinum Preppy Pens

    platinum preppyWe love to hear from the people who use our pens, especially when they're passionate about a favorite.

    And Rob, a physicist and retired civil servant from Hertfordshire, is a real fan of the Platinum Preppy fountain pen.

    Seriously. A big fan. He wrote to tell us:

    I have collected over the years a huge number of fountain pens (I would be embarrassed to count them) which I use containing many ink types and colours. Most I decided to replace with Platinum Preppys, when I discovered how brilliant and superior they are, and when my non-Preppy's began to let me down.

    So far I have replaced 30 of them with Preppys, and they have never let me down. By my reckoning I still have roughly 50 more inferior and failing pens that I still want to replace (and upgrade) with the vastly superior Platinum Preppys. Or indeed perhaps a few Platinum Plaisirs as well, for good measure and variety, though my preference is for the Preppy because its transparency is an aid to ink management.

    ...I now regret buying any pen that was not a Preppy, as doing so has been a waste of my money.

    Continue reading

  • Staedtler Lumocolor 318 Permanent Marker - Review

    Markers have come a long way since New Yorker Sidney Rosenthal's invention in the 50's. With a wide range now available for use on just about anything in the home, office or studio, from something as simple as labelling a few CD's to art & graphic work there's a marker for everyone.

    The Staedtler Lumocolor 318 Permanent Marker is available in a choice of 8 colours including bright yellow, orange & violet along with a black & brown which are lightfast so no need to worry about your favourite sketch fading if left by the window. Should you need a marker for outdoor use the black ink is also weatherproof.


    The Lumocolor has been around for over 60 years & some of its benefits include

    • Suited for use with overhead projectors
    • Smudge-proof
    • Waterproof
    • Quick drying – well suited to left handers
    • Low odour ink which is xylene free
    • Airplane safe
    • Dry safe ink (marker can be left uncapped for days without drying out)

    These markers can easily be refilled by inserting the tip of the marker in the top of a Lumocolor refill station bottle, they will attract ink to a maximum level making it impossible to overfill. Once refilled Staedler say the marker will last for 3 to 4 hours but I've not been able to test this.

    This Lumocolor 318 has a fine tip that writes around a 0.6mm line, I found it comfortable to hold & whilst my use was confined to writing I can confirm it lived up to the smudge-proof & waterproof claims. Other reviewers that have undertaken more artistic pursuits say the marker works well for handmade animation on celluloid & they are transparent enough to project the colour brightly as opposed to opaque alternatives that block light & appear black.


  • Uni-Ball Signo UM-120 Gel Ink Pen 0.7mm - Review

    Since uni-ball engineers designed the first metal tipped rollerball in 1979 they have continued to produce high quality writing instruments to meet all requirements.

    I usually opt for a retractable pen, as much for the clickability factor as convenience, but the Uni-ball Signo UM120 Gel Ink Pen is awaiting a review so I'll see how it fares.


    This stick pen contains uni's renowned Super Ink, well known for its resistance to water, fading & chemicals making it tamper proof so not a popular choice with fraudsters. I found this smooth ink to be quick drying with not a smudge in sight unlike some gels, neither did it bleed through the page.

    The Signo UM120 is available in 8 different colours including a vivid orange, pink & this light blue one I'm putting through its paces. The caps & end stoppers are colour coded with the ink & although the transparent barrel on mine seems to reveal a darker blue the end cap proves an accurate guide.

    Having noted the 0.7 displayed on the cap I expected a medium tip to write a wider line, but wasn't at all disappointed by the writing experience. This Signo was very light & fairly comfortable to hold even though it doesn't have my preferred rubber grip. The slight step between the silver nose & raised area on the top section of the barrel did prevent my fingers slipping, having said that I'm not sure how long it would be before I tired being conscious that I needed to exert more pressure than I would with a more defined grip.

    Continue reading

  • Berol Finewriter Pen - Review

    The Berol Finewriter is as the name suggests a good all round writing pen. It could also be used for sketching or drawing & the long tip would make it ideally suited to use with stencils & templates. This felt pen has a green plastic barrel with silver text displaying the logo, the end cap is colour coded with the ink & fits snugly on the barrel when posted.


    The Berol Finewriter Pen in my hand has blue water based ink, it is also available in black, red & green. It's comfortable to hold & whilst the grip section has very subtle, almost invisible, ridges by way of a grip section, it does stop my fingers slipping past the barrel.

    The 0.4mm tip glides across the page & writes a very smooth line. I would be more than happy for this pen to be close by for everyday use & could as easily write a long letter as jot down a short note or shopping list. The lack of a pocket clip would probably dissuade me from using it away from the desk as I hate having to rummage through a bag of belongings in search of something to write with, preferring my pens to be clipped to a notepad for easy access.

    Berol have a wide range of products including colouring & writing instruments, they offer great value for money making them a favourite with children & adults alike.

  • Staedtler Tradition Pencil Rubber-Tip - Review

    In today’s world, it seems some people think that nothing is worth doing manually, armed with their smart phones & the like that perform with speed, electronic gadgets are their preference. Where creativity & brainstorming are required however there will always be those that turn to a pen or pencil.


    There is also the case for looking after the environment, when it comes to the many gizmos we hold dear that are upgraded at a rate of notts, what about all that plastic that has to be disposed of? This leads some to conclude “a wooden pencil has to be much more eco-friendly” doesn't it?

    An time honoured pencil can always be found on my desk, with its distinctive black & red striped body & hexagonal shape, the Staedtler Tradition Pencil Rubber Tip is ideal for writing, sketching & drawing.

    With roots back as far as 1835 Staedtler are one of Germany's oldest industrial companies, they remain popular through their ability to innovate & develop their products, in their words living up to the description “efficient for ecology.“ The production of the Wopex is a prime example, using their unique extrusion technology the company have created a pencil from a natural fibre containing 70% wood sourced from sustainably managed forests.

    Not withstanding our pursuit of innovation the Tradition Pencil is still sought after, it wears evenly is easy to use & sharpen with the added benefit of a handy eraser on the end. It's made from
    a special lead which is super bonded making it less likely to break.

    I found the Staedtler Tradition to be very comfortable to write with, it was light in the hand, I can vouch for the strength of the lead as it didn't break once (surprisingly as I'm know for being heavy handed with everything) & was probably thanks to it's super bonded formula. The eraser also proved to be super efficient when required.

    For me the Tradition is more appealing to the eye than it's stable-mate the Norris & although its a few pence more expensive I recall rows of them in the stationary cupboard at school & in countless offices in the late 70's & 80's, not sure that would still be the case today, if anyone knows any different please let us know.

    The humble pencil has been in existence in the lives of our ancestors for more than 300 years & with recent stats suggesting over 81% of Germans using them on regular basis & pencil sales increasing in the US looks like they're here to stay.

  • Artline Drawing System Pen 0.5mm

    Artline drawing system pens are made by Shachihata, established in 1925 initially producing stamp pads. The company has developed over the years, regularly releasing a variety of markers & writing instruments.


    Drawing system pens are amongst their best sellers, the Artline Drawing System 0.5mm was launched in 2011 & is ideal for technical drawing, graphic design & illustrating. Despite computer aided design systems becoming common place, drawing boards can still be found in the offices of engineers & architects with some claiming that clients prefer to see hand drawing as it gives a more realistic view, as you'd expect there are still many that think there is a place for both so my guess is this type of pen will be around for some time.

    The Artline 0.5mm drawing system pen has a friction proof plastic nib enabling a consistent line to be achieved. The metal collar & sleeve makes these pens well suited to use with stencils & rulers as well as sketching, drawing & writing.

    Other features include

    • Water Based Pigment Ink
    • Xylene free
    • Conform to British Standards & RoHS (Restriction of Use of Hazardous Substances)
    • Fade Resistant

    When it came to using this pen I was disappointed that I couldn't post the cap, this made it feel really short & uncomfortable in my hand. I took the opportunity to try my hand at a touch of stencilling....OK a little more practice is needed on my part but this drawing pen did complete the task in hand.


    On the positive side the cap was well fitting over the nib, snapping firmly to prevent the nib drying out & it has a sturdy metal pocket clip. The grip was basic consisting of a few rows of narrow lines, but it did prevent my fingers slipping.

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