Archive for the ‘Paper’ Category

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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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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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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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Two Giveaways And A Few Links

03/30/2014

My talented friends Mia, Gentian and Leigh have been hard at work and it shows…

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I Cheated But Just A Little

03/28/2014

Taking a cue from my Colorful Background post, I sploshed some blue and green watercolors on a page in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook. Unlike the artist who made the video in my post, I didn’t want to write on the painting so I cheated, but just a little.

The trick was to make the words temporary without obscuring the background painting. After a few so-so ideas, I remembered a packet of translucent vellum that disappeared years ago. It took some time to locate, but provided the perfect solution.

With a Pilot Prera/Plumix Italic and Noodler’s Black ink, I wrote the Eurythmics lyric several times on the vellum until it looked suitable. A little paper tearing produced uneven edges that echoed the watercolor. Then I made another written piece using a Uchida Gold Opaque Paint Marker. With a Scotch Wrinkle-Free Glue Stick, I attached the written words to the watercolor. Lastly, a swath of gold dots on the left side and the page was complete.

The Daniel Smith watercolors are from my basic palette and include Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, and Green Gold with a touch of Ultramarine Blue. I may have inadvertently dipped my brush in Sap Green on one pass, so that could be added to the list or not.

Epsilon paper is 150gsm so it can handle a fair amount of liquid, but it still required quick work to keep things fresh and flowing. The Isabey Petit Gris Mop brush from Leigh was perfect for the loose wash. It holds a huge amount of paint and added to the fun of getting the colors to mingle on the paper.

If you aren’t into painting, a similar background effect can be achieved with wide or brush markers. The latter works extremely well when held horizontally, almost parallel to the paper. Another option is to doodle with Sharpies and write with a fountain pen over your design.

If you want to write with a fountain pen more than paint colorful backgrounds, Jet Pens has a fun palette that could be used to create a pale wash of color over which ink will stand out nicely. More about the Yasutomo Niji Pearlescent set next week, but it could make a good starting point paired with a waterbrush. It does take a few drops of water to get the paint thick enough to put down significant color. However, a less saturated look might be just the thing to make your writing stand out on the page.

Whatever way you go, writing over a colorful background adds pizazz to your words. If it inspires you to write, so much the better. Play with it and have fun. That’s what should happen with all artistic endeavors.

Speaking of having fun, I think I’ll add a few more gold dots. One can never have too much gold, right?

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A Colorful Background For Your Journal Musings

03/25/2014

Is your Doodle Journal in need of a splash of color? This video demonstrates how to create a watercolor background on what looks like Moleskine watercolor paper. I’ve done the same technique in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook. The paper needs to be heavy enough to take watercolor well, but once dry will accept any fountain pen ink. Brush pens are great for this application as well.

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