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Markings Journals Meet Fountain Pen Ink

04/22/2014

Three C.R. Gibson Markings journals have been on a shelf waiting review for more than a year. To be sure they are attractive which could be the reason they never got properly filled. My used journals are destined for the recycle bin and Markings are just too nice for that fate. But since you guys like paper so much, putting them to the test made a good project for this month.

The first is a Markings sketchbook (MASA-2) with a Monet Waterlily Pond cover. It contains 130 pages lightly ruled on one side and blank on the reverse. The paper is 6.8″ x 8.9″ and held together with large double rings. Line spacing is 7.5 mm and pale blue so it doesn’t interfere with writing. The paper is soft white and has no tooth but does have a somewhat velvety texture. It’s a comfortable surface for fountain pen nibs and good with other writing instruments as well.

Ink did not show through or bleed through so double-sided use is assured. This is a very nice notebook I will enjoy filling.

The two bound Markings journals are the same style though sporting different covers, one leather (MJ5A-1) and the other embossed metallic (MJ5A-3). Each has 240 pages, a storage pocket, elastic band closure, ribbon marker and lays remarkably flat. Both journals look great and are well made for the price though the 6 mm line spacing might prove too narrow for wide nibs.

The paper color is slightly more yellow than Moleskine though the lines are identical in spacing and color. The weight is similar to Moleskine, but the paper seems to be lightly coated which causes fountain pen ink to suffer inconsistent coverage. Some inks feathered significantly and all of those tested bled through except Noodler’s Black. A Sharpie Pen in black performed well, so other writing instruments ought to get along fine with these journals.

These Markings journals are readily available, attractive and well-made, but unreliable for fountain pen use. Since the feathering and bleed-through are evidence of ink incompatibility, a narrow nib won’t improve performance enough to get a recommendation. However, the right ink will write well enough even with a o.7 mm nib.

What’s the takeaway from these pen tests? Don’t expect uniform paper performance from a manufacturer. Frustrating? You bet. Waste of money? Yep. Add to that the variability of ink performance and it’s hard to recommend any brand without reservation though there are exceptions.

Not for the first time this year only Noodler’s Black performed well. It’s reassuring that there is at least one pen on my desk that should write on most anything. However, it is not fun when my other pens are loaded with pretty inks that won’t work with the journal at hand. Better to stick with what has earned the approval of my inks and pens. That makes me more productive and my pens much happier. Go team!

 

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Links To Enliven A Quiet Day

04/19/2014

Just in case you have some free time today…

 

You write the caption…

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Jenga For Giants

04/16/2014

No words are necessary…

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The Greatest Watercolour Show in the World

04/15/2014

Even if you aren’t a painter, watching what these three artists can do together is an amazing demonstration of teamwork. Their enthusiasm is inspiring and the camaraderie and humor a reminder of what it takes to make life worthwhile. Gorgeous art is just a byproduct.

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Sailor Peach Pink Ink And A Maruman Croquis Notebook

04/13/2014

Jet Pens sent a bottle of Sailor Peach Pink ink and a Maruman Croquis notebook in the same box. Naturally they got paired for product tests, following a quick go on a Staples pad, and became fast friends immediately.

Sailor inks have a deservedly good reputation and an expanding catalog of lovely colors. The characteristics are well-matched to smooth Sailor nibs. Not that other inks don’t work well in Sailor fountain pens, but the flow and degree of lubrication seem especially well-suited at least to the Sapporo and the 1911 in my collection.

 

The photos don’t reflect the color well, but Peach Pink is a slightly warm pink that goes well with aqua and turquoise. It is pretty on cream paper and suits the Maruman Croquis very well.

It’s a good ink for a wide nib and showed some shading with a cursive italic nib, a dry-writing straight-cut affair. The ink isn’t very lubricating and would be a good match for a free-flowing pen that could use a bit of taming.

The Maruman Croquis S163, 4.2″ X 6″, notebook makes a useful sketchbook, but since it works beautifully with all of the pens I tested, it would make a good journal, too.

Of course Sharpies bled through, but they do that on most paper.

Watercolor sketching with a typical amount of water did cause the 45# paper to buckle. Using a dry brush lessened that effect.

Paint straight from the tube did not buckle at all.

The cardboard cover is strong enough to make the Croquis suitable for use in the field though the size is at my limit for a width I can hold without strain.

Colored pencils would be a very good match for the paper as would graphite. Ink produced some show-through, but it is at a tolerable level for a writing journal. For artistic purposes, one-sided use would be better so that nothing interferes with the appearance of the drawing or painting.

A pale painting could be a good backdrop for a haiku poem or an inspirational quote.

The performance was good enough to make the Maruman Croquis a multi-purpose journal in a very convenient size and Sailor Peach Pink makes a very good mate for the pale cream paper.  Neither will go to waste around here. Not at all.

Want a bottle of Sailor ink, but can’t decide which one? Let me make it harder for you.

Oh, and a big thanks to Jet Pens for the ink and paper. I am always a sucker for both.

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Yasutomo Niji Pearlescent Watercolor Set

04/10/2014

On occasion a company sends a truly fun product to explore. Jet Pens did so this time with the Yasutomo Niji Pearlescent Watercolor set. It is a kick to use and a very cheap thrill at $5.25.

The colors are a challenge to photograph since the pearlescent effect is light-dependent. But at just the right angle, some of the reflective properties show very well. The darker colors can be used alone while the paler ones work better over another color like black paper, marker or paint.

Excellent for a background if your journal is friendly to water. Fountain pen inks write just fine over Niji Watercolor even when the ink is applied thickly. Other writing tools are good as well. Layering colors proved intriguing and worth exploration.

It takes some pre-wetting to get a good load of color on a brush. If you don’t have a watercolor brush, a waterbrush is an easy to use tool. Just squeeze a drop or two into the dry paint and give it a minute to saturate the surface. Then swish the brush around to create a creamy consistency. A spray bottle is another way to wet the paint and works great with a standard paint brush.

A thin layer of paint can be used for glazing. Many of  the colors are very transparent and will shine on dark paper. Combine with a white or metallic rollerball pen for some very unique pages.

The paper used in the tests is Canson Mix Media, 98 lb, which is suitable for pen, pencil, watercolor, and acrylics. Paper weight is what counts, but most sketchbooks should work especially if you don’t overdo the water to paint ratio. Once fully dry, add words. My Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook is getting a number of pages decorated for future use. When the perfect words come along, the page will be ready for them. If the muse doesn’t strike, the colorful pages have their own appeal and can be filled with doodles or famous or perhaps infamous quotes.

Add something extra to a handmade greeting card or decorate stationery with a metallic  swash or doodle. Use a template if freehand won’t do. Just let each color dry thoroughly before adding another so they don’t mix on the paper unless that is the effect you want. Even a stamp dipped in paint could pick up enough pigment to leave a colorful impression.

The Yasutomo Niji Pearlescent Watercolor kit is an inexpensive way to dress up your journal or add a flourish to your correspondence or a crafts project. At the price point, the set is an easy addition to add to an order of a bottle or two of fountain pen ink. Not that you couldn’t meet the minimum order for free shipping with other goodies. Just sayin’…

See also Ardith’s Art Journal Review.
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Betcha Can’t Click Just One

04/06/2014

A little something for most everyone…

Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-117 AD): “Formerly we suffered from crimes; now we suffer from laws.”

 

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