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Journals For An Inkophile

11/22/2022

Recently, Elena asked me about Traveler’s Notebooks and I realized to what extent they have taken over my journal writing. I am on my sixth undated planner (#019), third personal journal (#013) and third collage journal (#003). Also used, if a bit less often, are notebooks for lists and swatches. On occasion, a passport sized notebook hitches a ride in my handbag for notes at events and appointments.

I made the move to Traveler’s when it was Midori and after Moleskine paper failed to meet my standards. I like the customizable format and the variety of handcrafted soft covers that can be found at eBay and Etsy.

I am not in a rut, but am very content to use these with the fude fountain pens, mechanical pencil and gel pen that are always at hand.

None of my current covers are from Traveler’s though I might elect to add one in leather next year. Most of my writing is at my desk so a lightweight cover or even none at all is very workable.

My A5 and A6 notebooks are very jealous of the attention the Traveler’s Notebooks receive though they do get the call to action when removeable paper is needed. At least there is that for the poor things.

What is your favorite notebook? Hobonichi is the one for many writers. Is it yours?

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Wancai Mini Eyedropper With Diamine Aurora Borealis

11/16/2022

Eli on Instagram used a combination of pen and ink that looked very appealing to me so I decided to try the same duo, a Moonman (Majohn) Wancai Mini Eyedropper with Diamine Aurora Borealis It would be my first eyedropper filler and was destined for use in my journal. For $20, it was worth a gamble. Note that the color and swirls called Daydream give the pen a happy vibe that encourages use so that is another plus in its favor.

The body is a little odd in that even posted it is short but the body circumference is greater than the pens I usually use. Finding a balanced, comfortable position for it has been tricky especially since the nib is not the smoothest. It isn’t bad but it isn’t as smooth as the Delike New Moon 2 EF used for comparison. Surprisingly, the Wancai Mini F writes finer than the Delike EF. The latter has slightly more flow so that might account for the line difference. Maybe.

In terms of appearance, the New Moon is colorful if traditional. The Wancai Mini is an eye-catching cutie. From the swirls to the size, it looks like a pen that was meant for fun.

Note that the Mini has no clip so it does tend to wander around the desk but a pen rest will keep it anchored.

 

Moonman Wancai Mini Transparent Pocket-Size Eyedropper Fountain Pen with Fine Steel Nib 0.5mm

Dimensions: Length closed is 87mm and posted is 122mm. The diameter is 14mm. Net weight is 11.9g.

Cap screws on. Eye dropper filler or ink cartridges.

Material : Acrylic Resin.

 

Delike New Moon 2 with Extra-Fine 0.38mm (Rose Red)

Dimensions: Length closed is 132mm and posted is 155 mm. The diameter is 12mm. Net weight is 23g.

Cap screws on. Cartridge or converter filled.

Material: Acrylic Resin.

 

What I learned from experimenting with the Wancai is that eyedropper fillers are easy to use and hold a ton of ink which is perfect for journal writing in my favorite Traveler’s Notebook.

A pen with a cap that needs to be screwed on to give it adequate length for writing is frustrating and awkward. My pattern is to write a few sentences, pause, then write a few more. Unscrewing the cap from the back then screwing it on the front then screwing it on the back again just to write another sentence or two was too disruptive. A standard twist cap is interruptive enough. However, an eyedropper would be useful. Attractive as it is, the Mini is headed for the pen drawer though on occasion it might get a peak at daylight just for fun.

Diamine Aurora Borealis is good just like all Diamine inks are though it will have to find another mate. Perhaps one of my Platinum #3776 pens with a clear barrel would be happy to show off an aqua mate. Except when testing ink, I do not fill multiple pens with the same color so the Plat will have to wait until the Wancai Mini is empty. That is taking forever thanks to the bottomless eyedropper. I think the pen fairy must be refilling it when I am not looking. Sigh.

 

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Highlighters and Color Gel Pens from Faber-Castell

11/09/2022

Faber-Castell sent two packages of Textliner 38 highlighters and a package of RX Gel pens along with the Fast Gel Z reviewed last month. Never has my desk had so much color on it!

The highlighters are divided into fluorescent and pastel sets. They perform as expected and did not cause the Fast Gel Z to smear. They have firm nibs that should last well with typical use. The pastel set is more to my liking, but that is a personal choice. A family member has uses for the fluorescent set and called dibs on that one.

The fluorescent colors were most uncooperative about being photographed so keep that in mind if you try to assess the colors from the image. The pastels are more accurate except Vanilla which is more pale than in the image. It is unobtrusive and handy for certain uses.

The RX Gel pens have a 0.7mm nib width that lays down a strong line. The colors are bright and the selection a bit out of the ordinary including blue, green, purple, pink and gold. No sparkle or iridescence to any of them, but on white Exacompta paper, they really stand out. Considering the amount of color, the ink dries quickly.

Thank you Faber-Castell for sending so many products to review. Family and friends are now outfitted with gel pens and highlighters with positive responses from all.

Available from Amazon: Pastel Highlighters, Fluorescent Highlighters, RX Gel Pens.

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Which Ink Would You Suggest?

11/07/2022

Some time ago, I purchased a Majohn (Moonman) S5 Eyedropper fountain pen. The EF nib would not loosen so I could not install one of the alternate nibs that came with the pen. As a resident of the pen drawer it passed from memory. Rupertarzeian reminded me of the S5 in a recent post. Yesterday, I gave it another try and with a bit more muscle, the nib came loose and what appears to be a right or reverse oblique got installed. Well, sort of. The nib and feed will not align correctly so I am skeptical but a proper test it shall have.

Now for the really hard part. What ink would be best for a pen that will hold enough of it to last months. Red, yellow and orange are not colors I would use page after page but that leaves half a rainbow of other options. What ink would you suggest? Well-behaved is the only essential characteristic though shading would be a nice touch. The transparent barrel will show off the color so that is to be considered, too. Which ink would you put in the S5?

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Fountain Pen Day 2022

11/04/2022

Happy Fountain Pen Day! On my desk to mark the occasion are Delike New Moon 2 pens with Diamine Ink. Two have fude (bent) nibs while the third has a fine nib. The variety of line widths will cover all of my writing needs. The inks aren’t showy but suited to general writing tasks, and of course Diamine is always reliable. Funny how I picked the colors and then realized they were all from Diamine. We are very old friends to be sure.

What’s on your desk today?

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Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z Is My New Fave

10/31/2022

Faber-Castell, a venerable name in the art world, sent a number of pens to review, but the standout is the Fast Gel Z.

This pen easily beats the Uni-ball Signo that I have used for years. The ink flows better, is more black than the Signo, and dries faster. The nib is slightly smoother and has less feedback. The Fast Gel Z is 5mm longer but otherwise the dimensions are virtually identical. The Z’s clicker is larger and more easily depressed, both advantages for me. The balance on the Z is dead center but slightly closer to the nib on the Signo.

I tried to get the ink to smear but was unsuccessful. Such a fast drying ink isn’t a requirement for me but it does have its advantages. I asked a leftie to try it out and she liked it. Then I passed out a few more to good results.

Under running water on the back of a cheap envelope, the Fast Gel Z lost a tiny amount of ink which the Signo 307 did not. However, the latter decided to migrate through to the back of the paper so it produced an unacceptable result.

Often I just want to write a few words and only have one hand free to do it. Uncapping a fountain pen doesn’t fit that work flow so a mechanical pencil has filled the gap. However, the Fast Gel Z is the better choice when ink is preferable to lead.

Am I a convert? Yep. If you like gel pens, get your hands on a Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z. You won’t be disappointed. It comes in 0.5 and 0.7 line widths with black, red or blue ink. I like the 0.5 black for general writing especially in my 5mm lined notebook. The pens aren’t available everywhere yet, but Amazon does carry them so I’ve included links to the current offerings.

Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z 0.5 Black

Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z 0.5 Blue

Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z 0.5 Red

Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z 0.7 Black

Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z 0.7 Blue

Faber-Castell Fast Gel Z 0.7 Red

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Esterbrook Fountain Pens and Journaling

10/27/2022

The esterbrook_official account on Instagram has posted some videos of fountain pens used in journals that have been embellished with ephemera. Also known as scrapbooking, this method of decorating a journal employs colors and shapes to make appealing designs using stickers, stamps and seals.

Fountain pen writing is not required when creating a layout. Here are two of mine that didn’t need words.

Although I used a Traveler’s Notebook, any journal will do including those that did not take well to fountain pen ink. You don’t have notebooks with less than stellar paper do you? Ha!

For years my planner has been divided into sections defined by washi tape and often stickers. Full-page layouts are a natural extension of that and are very satisfying to make. If there is interest, I will write a post about a few techniques, tools and products.

Very highly recommended activity if you need/want/crave another hobby.

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