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  • Popular Brush Pens For Under £5

    Brush pens have many uses from calligraphy to lettering & sketching. These flexible versatile pens could be seen as bridging the gap between pens & paint, a fountain pen with a brush tip instead of a metal nib. Some have real hair bristles, others are synthetic, some can be refilled using cartridges, others use ink converters. Brush Pens are available in a wide range of colours.

    Sakura Pigma Brush Pen

    This is a flexible two in one, it can write like a pen & paint like a brush with ink delivered through the sides & tip. The fine brush nib responds to changes in direction & pressure in an instant making anything possible from doodles to swirls & fine to broad lines. They are a popular choice with Illustrators & Cartoonists & are filled with Sakura's renowned archival quality pigment ink which is quick drying & waterproof. They are available in 9 different colours.

    Some of our satisfied customers tell us that the Sakura Pigma is a “Very good quality brush pen, with an excellent tip" & are “Great pens with a super fine brush tip and really dark ink color"

    Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen

    This versatile brush pen has a fine tip well suited to drawing consistent lines & use with stencils at one end with a durable soft brush at the other. The brush is ideal for applying colour to large areas.

    These Tombow ABT pens are water based, odourless, acid free & non toxic. A single reservoir feeds both ends of the pen ensuring the colour is matched & they are available individually in a huge range of 96 colours as well as assorted packs. The Tombow web site is very informative & you can watch a tutorial here
    Note: these pens are not light resistant

    Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen

    This pen is great for a variety of tasks including drawing on canvas, sketching & illustrations. The pen can be rolled sideways to create a thick line & the high quality brush can be used straight & bent without breaking. With a wide range of over 50 colours to choose from light shades are ideal for varnishing techniques while the darker ones are good for covering large areas.

    Other qualities include

    • Consistent & even ink flo
    • Lightfast
    • Acid Free
    • Pigment Ink
    • Odourless
    • Water Resistant

    You can see some tips & demos from Franz Spohn in this You Tube video

    Copic Sketch Markers

    This Japanese brand is popular with manga artists, crafters & designers. This dual marker has a flexible brush at one end & chisel tip marker at the other. Both tips can be replaced, they are also refillable using various ink refill bottles. These markers come in a huge range of 358 colours, they have a strong plastic body & colour coded caps.

    The Copic website is a mine of information, full workshops & tutorials, they will be releasing their new, original manga -- iii Academy. An informational fantasy story filled with colors and comedy! very soon.  You can view it here

    It can take some time for a beginner to get to grips with working with a brush pen but there is a lot of info to be found in the form of tutorials & You Tube vids & you know what they say about practice – it makes perfect.

  • Sculpture Constructed of Pencils has proved to be a big draw

    Crowd funding has become a bit of a buzz word but have you heard of Crowd Art?
    Now it seems artists are inviting others to add to their creations.

    penvolution long

    As part of Penvolution an international project originating in Hanover, the PencilMobileRoom has been constructed with the help of donations from Faber-Castell using around 1 million pencils.


    Designer Kerstin Schultz aims to show the development of communication by posing the question how has communication changed during the shift from analogue to digital? from using pencils to mobile phones.

    The PencilMobileRoom is an eye catching structure, a room containing a desk, chair, sculpture, lamp & telephone, effectively the contents of an office.


    Some 12 years in the making, this spectacular piece of art work can be seen in Bristol, one of the towns twinned with Hanover. The Bristol Central Library is hosting the event until the 18th December. Visitors are invited to attend crowd art sessions free of charge, they can help expand the room & can also upload selfies, send them by email & view them on computer screens almost immediately.

    The exhibition has proved to be popular with many schools to date, children have attended to crowd art sessions & workshops. The library also offers free crowd art sessions & workshops to adults, details can be found here. If you happen to be in the area I'd say it was well worth a visit.


  • Pelikan Take Over Manufacturing Porsche Pens & Pencils From Faber-Castell

    Ever fancied owning a Porsche but haven’t got Porsche money? Well now you can. Well not the car actually but one of the stunning range of pens to which the renowned car manufacturer has brought its long history of stylish, sleek design.


    The company has been in the news recently when it was announced that Pelikan has taken over the production and sale of writing instruments as the new licensee for the Porsche Design Group.  Porsche has ended a long relationship with Faber-Castell and under a new agreement their writing tools will be produced in Germany, where Pelikan’s high quality writing tools have been made by hand for 37 years. To me this is a marriage made in heaven combining the fantastic design of Porsche to one of the world’s great pen manufacturers.

    Within the terms of the license, concentration will be upon a range of 7 products and to mark the start of the partnership. Pelikan have produced the new P3105 Pure range comprising two exclusive writing tools. The P'3105 Pure Black fountain pen and the P'3105 Pure Titanium, limited to 200 pieces worldwide, are now available worldwide.


    Porsche P3105 Pure Black Fountain Pen

    For the Black pen, a dense PVD coating is the reason for the unbelievably dense black colour and the effect is set off by a sold steel clip. The pen is supplied with a paperweight, also with the matching PVD coating, in the shape of a Porsche 911.

    If your tastes are a little more expensive, then the Pure Titanium version retailing at approximately £2500 and in a limited range of 200 is the one for you. The barrel of this pen is milled from a solid block of titanium a metal know for it corrosion resistance and the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. Both pens have a completely rhodium-plated 18ct gold nib. The caps of both fountain pens have an insert which guarantees that the pens will be ready to write immediately, while protecting them from drying out. These are also supplied with an innovative filling system. The integral converter can be replaced by either two standard ink cartridges or one large capacity cartridge.


    Porsche P3140 Shake Pen Ballpoint Pen

    Equally good looking and more in my price range, about £60, is the P'3140 Shake Pen ballpoint pen.A really stylish little number, the pen has an innovative mechanism where with a quick flick of the wrist or a shake, the tip will move in and out. I also like how compact it is being only 103mm long and the fact that the barrel is grooved rubber means it is great to handle, just like the cars!

  • What to do when your pencils are too small to hold comfortably?

    Stubby Pencils

    For many years I have been a fan of the standard No. 2 (or HB in the UK) pencil as they always felt comfortable to hold and when you need a few moments contemplation, spend some time with a sharpener. I have love quality pencils like Faber-Castell and Rhodia but I am equally at home with the office version from Staples.

    They also appeal to my trying to be more eco-friendly because apart from the lead or more correctly the graphite centre, this is one writing instrument that is fully recyclable. There is however, one problem. However hard you try, you will always end up with a stubby piece of pencil that is too uncomfortable to use but still has many pages of use left in it. I then have the dilemma to either carry on using the pencil until its hurt my hand or recycle what would otherwise be a perfectly useable pencil

    I then remembered that many years ago when doing a summer job, there was a guy who used to put his stubs into narrow metal tubes in order that he could continue using the pencil. A search online then revealed the answer to the dilemma – the pencil extender!

    Pencil Extenders

    These handy tools were originally used by artists who wanted to get the maximum use from their expensive pastel or watercolour pencils but are now widely available for all pencil aficionados. Simply insert your pencil into one of these handy tools and its then it is possible to continue using the pencil down to the last 2-3 cms. The open end of each extender has a metal ring that ensures that the pencil is held securely.

    Generally retailing at around £2, not only are they functional, they can be quite elegant too. I purchase two, one with a marble effect and the other with a smooth wood effect. Now I do not have any qualms when I recycle the stub as I know that the pencil is beyond use.

  • Faber-Castell Pencil Tycoon Proves his Point

    There was an excellent story recently in the Sunday Times which highlights the development and history of Faber Castell. Who will be celebrating their 250th anniversary next year!

    Count Anton – Wolfgang Lother Andreas von Faber Castell had a point to make. He planned to make it by throwing bundles of the pencils produced by his family since 1761 from the top of the Eiffel Tower, to prove not a single pencil would break. To read the full article a copy can be found here.

    Faber Castell Pencil Tycoon

    Faber-Castell is the world’s largest pencil manufacturer producing a staggering 2,000 million wooden-cased pencils a year. They employ over 7000 people and sell their products in over 100 counties.

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