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  • 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

  • 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.

  • Artline 541T Whiteboard Pen Dual Bullet Tip - Review

    Whiteboards are ideal for note taking, making lists or training sessions at home or in the workplace, I suppose they have replaced the chalkboard in many situations.

    Artline 541T Whiteboard Dual Bullet Tip

    You'll need something to write with  & marker pens come with various tip sizes, which brings us on to the Artline 541T whiteboard pen this slim high performance marker has dual bullet nibs, it can also be used on glass & porcelain surfaces, just remember these pens need to be stored horizontally when not in use. At one end is a 0.4mm polyacetal resin tip, the other is a thicker 1.0mm acrylic fibre. These pens have xylene free ink which is low on odour & won't expose you to any of the harmful effects sometimes associated with markers, so no fear of irritation to the eyes or skin or even worse in extreme cases where breathing or the internal organs are affected.

    Artline say they have have been helping things flow better for around 50 years, maybe it was down to me but I couldn't get the fine tip to flow too well at all! I didn't have a whiteboard but tested on a tile, the 1.0mm tip was perfect & could be erased easily with a dry cloth, maybe I'd not replaced the lid properly on the 0.4 end, who knows.

    Whilst browsing the net I came across stickers that turn your laptop into a whiteboard & a portable dry erase board, that's a perfect fit for a laptop bag, the Artline 541T could be a good match as the tips are relatively small compared to some of the chisel tips or wider bullet tipped pens & they are available in 8 different snazzy colours. I'm not sure how many people use these portable boards over a good old fashioned pen & notebook but I guess they save on paper!

  • Artline 7050 Mechanical Pencil 0.5 - Review

    Mechanical pencils date back pre 1800, today they are available in a variety of shapes & sizes with prices to suit all pockets, many comparable to the standard wooden type.

    The Artline 7050 Mechanical Pencil 0.5 is available in 3 barrel colours, mine has a shiny black body with a comfy rubberised triangular ergonomic grip section. The lead can be advanced & retracted with a simple push of the translucent button which also houses an eraser.

    Artline 7050 Mechanical Pencil 0.5

    At risk of showing my age again, when I recall my early school days there wasn't a mechanical pencil to be seen. I can still picture the small queue at Sir's desk (no first name terms used back then) where a row of kids stood waiting to get their pencil into the grips of the old fashioned sharpening machine before turning the handle on the side & going back to carry on with their work.

    Back in the 21st century, take a look on a few forums & you will see a variety of pros & cons of mechanical pencils listed, clearly these change depending on the users preference.

    Here are some of them anyway


    • They don't need sharpening – saving time & energy.
    • They can achieve a finer and more consistent line, often preferred when small writing is required or for technical drawing.
    • The length of a mechanical pencil stays the same, no matter how much you write with it.
    • Refillable pencils are widely available deeming them eco friendly.


    • Although mechanical pencils don't need sharpening they often waste the end of the lead.
    • The leads can be prone to breaking – particularly if you're heavy handed.
    • Generally they don't seem to be favoured for drawing.

    I have to say I found the Artline 7050 a pleasure to write with, the lead didn't break once & I'm prone to being a little heavy handed!

    Whilst many students prefer mechanical pencils it seems not all examination boards feel the same way. Apparently not all scanners can pick up the graphite, something to do with the grade of the lead it seems & some College web sites don't give a reason for the ban, maybe there's concern about cheating but I'll let you work that one out for yourself.

    When it comes to pencils I guess its down to personal choice, horses for courses as they say.

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  • Artline T Shirt Marker 2.0 mm - Review

    Looking for something to do with the kids on a miserable wet day? What about designing a T Shirt.

    Artline T Shirt Marker

    If you reach out and grab an Artline T Shirt Marker you could while away a couple of hours. They have 2mm polyester fibre bullet tips that are tightly covered with a handy air tight cap that can be posted on the end of the barrel when in use.  As you would expect the pigment ink is waterproof & can be washed at 60 degrees C (as long as the ink has been fixed) it's also fade proof.

    Here's an quick guide

    • Get yourself a plain white T Shirt
    • Tape a design to a piece of card – make sure it is dark enough to see through the fabric.
    • Position the card in the T Shirt.
    • Fold the sleeves & sides around the card & secure with tape. Turn over making sure there are no wrinkles.
    • Trace around the outline of your design.
    • Fill in the design, taking care to fill in all white spaces.
    • When you are happy with your art work remove the card. Once dry fix the colour by gently ironing, taking care not to get the ink on your iron or other parts of the T Shirt.

    Of course you don't just have to stick to T Shirts, these markers can also be used to personalise, a variety of cotton fabrics like jeans or sweat shirts.

    Alternatively it seems some creatively minded souls use these markers for a touch of decoupaging, which put simply is the art of decorating by pasting cut outs to objects, covering with paint or ink (markers) & often finished with varnish.

    I've seen some impressive examples from to tables to a chest of drawers, even a pair of shoes!

    These Artline markers are available in a wide range of single colours as well as dual tips. You can choose to buy individually, in packs of 4 or 12.

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  • Artline Garden Marker Review

    As the Chelsea Flower Show gets underway its hard to imagine a summer without it. This year our eyes can feast on the labours of a large number of newbie designers exhibiting for the first time.

    Artline Garden Marker

    I'm no expert in the garden & as I sit in the welcome sunshine searching for inspiration in my tiny plot on the landscape, what better time to write about an Artline Garden Marker.

    Designed especially for use outdoors these markers have black ink that is

    • Quick Drying
    • Fade Resistant
    • Low Odour
    • Xylene Free
    • Alcohol based

    Artline are renowned for their markers, they make high quality products at competitive prices The Garden Marker has a fine bullet tip that will write a 0.8mm line on plastic, wood, glass & metal. It can be used for labelling your fruit & veg pots & containers or anything else you come across in the garden for that matter.

    I pondered over how many seeds I'd need to plant to be able to recreate the scents that fill the Great Pavilion at this popular function hosted by the RHS, well I can dream can't I?

    Held over 5 days in the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital in South West London, this gardeners delight of an event is about to play host to 550 exhibits, over twice the number that entered the first show way back in 1913.

    These pens are free from Xylene so any dizziness or fatigue that you may feel after using this Artline Marker is more likely to be from over exertion with a fork & spade than the fumes from the pen! They also comply with RoHS guidelines so you won't get any nasty surprises from hazardous substances.

    Blog post finished & armed with my marker I think I'll go off & plant a few seeds.

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  • Artline Softline 1700 0.7 Review

    Artline are well known for their huge range of quality pens & markers. They say that things flow better when you use them! I'm going to see if the Artline Softline proves them right.

    Artline Softline 1700

    Created by Shachihata, a Japanese Company that sets the highest standards the Artline Softline 1700 is a gel ink rollerball. It's available in 6 different colours, although only 3 are refillable. A little surprising considering they have been awarded an ISO certification for their environmental management system, but who am I to question? Should you need to do so the refill is easy to change, just turning the nib housing towards you will remove it from the barrel.

    The barrel is pretty unimaginative IMO, the stainless steel tip peeps out from beneath a green nose (happens to be the colour I've chosen to take for a crawl across the page) that houses the 0.7mm tungsten carbide ball, this makes it very durable which is good news if like me you are heavy handed. The majority of the barrel is transparent, it does provide a space to etch the name & logos. There is also a warning to replace the cap after use, or risk the ink drying out.

    The writing experience was fine, I generally like to use gel pens, I find them smoother somehow. If I had a small complaint the grip section could have been a little longer. My fingers did slip into the gap where the grip ends & nib housing begins, leaving me wondering why the gap was there.

    The green text was smudge free & the dye stuff ink is water based & glided across the page with ease, the ink colour matched the housing well too.

    All in all this was a good all round pen that would be well suited for general writing in the home or office.

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  • Artline 204 FaxBlac 0.4mm Review

    Apparently Artline 204 FaxBlac pens are a favourite with illustrators as they write a consistently smooth fine line

    Artline Faxblac Pen

    They are made by Shachihata a company that began life back in 1925 manufacturing stamp pads.  Now well known worldwide as a manufacturer of a variety of environmentally & user friendly writing instruments including pens, markers, highlighters & of course stamp pads. Continue reading

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