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Sometimes A Rollerball Beats A Fountain Pen

01/21/2020

Yes, you read that right. Sometimes a fountain pen isn’t the best choice, especially when a pen might be idle for months at a time. Recently, I became acquainted with the Uni-ball Signo 307, a gel pen that suits such situations admirably.

The 307 was recommended for use with watercolors due to its permanence and saturated black color. Unlike some gel ink, the Signo does not produce globs that dry slowly. It is smooth, archival, and skip-free. According to Uni-ball, the 307 contains “Super Ink™ that protects against water, fade, and fraud.” In addition, rollerball pen tips do not fray or wear down on textured watercolor paper like felt tips do. The combination of permanence and durability makes the 307 a useful addition to my collection of watercolor tools. It is a bonus that it fills my need for a maintenance-free, always read to write pen.

It is comfortable in the hand, extremely light weight, and should tolerate normal use easily. It has been many years since I used a rollerball and it is good to see there has been improvement in the quality of the ink.

My 307 has a medium 0.7 nib that comes with black, red or blue ink. The kicker is that it requires absolutely no pressure to write a consistent line. My hand is very happy with it even if it is an inexpensive plastic pen. My fountain pens aren’t remotely jealous. The little stinkers have no fear of being replaced by a no-class upstart. Have they been raised right or what?

You don’t have to take my word for it. The Pen Addict posted a review in 2015 if you want to learn more from a trusted source.

On Amazon, I bought several to keep in locations where I write only on occasion but don’t always have a fountain pen handy. Note that there is an earlier model 207 that does not seem to have the same ink though it is a smooth writer. It does come in more colors if that is important for your needs.

Inkophile is an Amazon Affiliate. If you buy through these links, I get a tiny commission that will help finance new products to review.

Signo 0.7mm black ink

Signo 0.7mm assorted color set

Signo 0.5mm black ink

Signo 0.5mm assorted color set

Signo 307 Refills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ink, Pens, Paper And A Norbert

01/14/2020

Some good stuff and a dog…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A List Of My Favorite Noodler’s Inks

01/09/2020

Did you know that Noodler’s Ink has a new website? So many colors!

I have used their inks for close to fifteen years starting with Black then moving on to Legal Lapis Blue from Pendemonium. Eventually, someone on Fountain Pen Network talked me into buying Apache Sunset and I was hooked for life.

After perusing the new website, making a list of my favorite Noodler’s inks struck me as a fun exercise especially comparing my choices from a few years ago to what is on my list today. It was a challenge to pare down to twenty but I did. Classified as they are on the Noodler’s site:

Blue

  • 54th Massachusetts
  • Ottoman Azure
  • Eel Turquoise
  • Dostoyevsky

Black

  • Noodler’s Black
  • Lexington Gray

Brown

  • Kiowa Pecan
  • Golden Brown

Green

  • Army Green
  • General of the Armies
  • El Lawrence

Orange

  • Habanero

Pink

  • Ottoman Rose
  • Georgia Peach

Purple

  • Purple Martin
  • Nightshade
  • Eel Cactus Fruit

Red

  • Antietam
  • Cayenne
  • Tiananmen

Which Noodler’s inks would be on your list?

Time for a big thank you to Carol at Luxury Brands who has kept me well supplied during the last few years. My list would have been much shorter if not for her generosity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taking Advantage Of What’s On Hand

01/06/2020

New year, new journal? For writers and artists, a journal is the perfect way to document the journey and keep track of ideas, explorations, adventures, and misadventures. With the huge number of choices, what to use tends to baffle me. For 2020, I have decided to use some unfinished notebooks from the past. Why put good paper to waste?

Two Traveler’s Notebooks were ignored last year and deserved better treatment. Time to put them to work especially the larger one that contains a Traveler’s Notebook (Refill 019) Free Diary made with MD Paper. Weekly calendar on the left with grid paper on the right is a week-at-a-glance format that should work very well for me.

My interest in brush pens has been renewed and the Exacompta Sketch Book that was my favorite in the past will now get its due. For watercolor exploration, a Stillman & Birn Beta will be fine while an Epsilon will be my all-purpose companion.

That’s my core group going into 2020.

Add to that five, two additional notebooks for specific uses. Should inspiration strike, a Paper for Fountain Pens bound journal will work for more serious writing. The other is a Strathmore Visual Journal for watercolor exploration. It contains paper that works quite well with Sennelier and similar honey-based paints producing brightly colored swatches. I will continue to look for a 140 lb., 100% cotton paper journal that won’t consume my entire annual paper budget. Perhaps 2020 will be the year for such a find.

Yes, that is a lot of journals but my interests are varied plus I have learned to keep subjects separated. Ink swatches have their own notebooks as do watercolor swatches. It would be confusing to have them mixed together.

A common characteristic is that all of my journals work well with fountain pen ink. The Uni-ball Signo 307 that writes so well over watercolor backgrounds will be another pen option. Luckily, all of the paper can handle a light layer of paint. It wasn’t a requirement, but it certainly is an advantage.

Seven journals won’t leave much need for any of the new products that 2020 will bring. But I promise to make room for whatever comes my way.

Which journal are you going to use this year? Do you keep just one or does it take several to meet your needs?

Shopping links from which Inkophile may earn a small commission should you click through and make a purchase:

Traveler’s Notebook Weekly Diary

Kuretake Brush Pen (Comes with cartridges but will need a Platinum converter to use fountain pen ink.)

Stillman & Birn Beta and Epsilon Sketchbooks

Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal 140#

Uni-ball Signo 307

Lock charm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pen Stuff And Giggles

12/23/2019

Babies are always cute but some have a brightness and charm that is engaging beyond the usual. Nash is one of them. The pen links aren’t bad either.

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Bee Paper Can Be Quirky

12/16/2019

For those of you who play with watercolors, note that Bee Paper can have an issue that is frustrating. My former recommendation now comes with a caveat.

On the plus side, Bee is 100% cotton and 140 lb/300gsm just like any good quality watercolor paper. Cotton brings out the full range and depth of color that paint has to offer and the 140 lb. weight will reduce warping. That’s all to the good.

The best paper will cost more than student grade or pulp content paper, but to be sure, the investment is worth it. Cost-wise, Bee is at the low end for cotton paper. For swatches, brush practice or color exploration, it is perfectly fine. Just don’t be surprised if the paint does not perform as it should.

My issue with Bee paper is how it accepts the paint. Sizing prevents watercolor paper from absorbing too much fluid. Instead, the color remains on top of the surface where it pools, puddles and mingles with its neighbors in intriguing ways. Sizing is an essential component of good paper. When inadequately or improperly applied, paint blotches and flows in ugly, spidery lines like the worst feathering you ever saw from fountain pen ink and then some.

To demonstrate Bee Paper’s quirky behavior, the edge shows an irregular border that should have been smooth and even, just as the paint appears elsewhere.

The back of the paper reveals that paint soaked through. We may tolerate that with fountain pen ink, but it should not happen with watercolor paper especially when the paint is lightly applied. In the center of the same sheet, there is a 6mm by 3mm spot that did not take paint normally and bled through to the back of the paper. All of the problems would have been eliminated by a more consistent application of sizing.

Not every sheet has this issue but who wants to get well into a painting only to find the paper is flawed and the effort ruined. Note that Bee is fine for practice and experimentation, especially with new brushes and paints. My stock won’t go to waste. It will have its uses and eventually get replaced.

In the future, I will stick with Arches and Fabriano Artistico. They are readily available in the U.S. and never disappoint. A number of other companies offer 100% cotton paper and are worthy of consideration as well. Putting aside one brand is no great loss when there is such a variety of others from which to choose. 

Two Trees on Bee Paper

Brush practice with watercolors on Bee Paper scraps. Blue tree is 8.2 x 11cm. Autumn tree is 6.8 x 11.4cm.

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Sunday Reads: Pen And Ink Links

12/15/2019

Just a few for you…

‘Tis the season…

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