Archive for the ‘writing tools’ Category

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Lockdown Distractions Plus A Few Links

05/03/2020

To keep the lockdown from being a bore, I’ve spent a good deal of it investigating my under-appreciated and unused writing and watercolor paraphernalia. Exploring several empty journals and an assortment of gel, rollerball and brush pens has provided colorful distraction. My first choice in mechanical pencils, an Autopoint 0.9, has been joined by a Uni Kuru Toga 0.5 and a Pentel Icy 0.7 providing gray-scale variety for sketching as well as writing. My planner has morphed into a diary as well as my log of binge-watching that includes several BBC series, film noir features, Wynonna Earp, Longmire, How the Universe Works with Mike Rowe plus a variety of science programs.

How are you staying busy?

If you want to play along, these are the mechanical pencils I am currently using:

Autopoint 0.9 mm with HB lead

Uni Kuru Toga 0.5 mm with 4B lead

Pentel Icy 0.7 mm with HB lead

Drawn from a photo on Instagram…

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Doodling As An Antidote To Turbulent Times

04/05/2020

Do you have a squiggle, doodle or word that brings relaxation, pleasure, even joy when you write it? For many of us, the repeated making of that mark breaks the incessant clamoring of life and renews the flow of energy that surviving the onslaught demands. Turbulent times be damned!

Make your mark count. Fill a page with it when the lights are low and electronic devices have been put to rest. You may find that you fall asleep more easily. Draw it repeatedly to break a deadlock or switch gears when too much is happening at once. Calm, relaxed, focused are essential states that repetitive mark making can help you achieve.

My doodle of choice lends itself to margins, small areas or even full pages. Any instrument can produce it admirably, even a stick in the sand. I do set some rules including not letting the swirl lines touch each other. That particular limitation keeps me focused and less able to entertain extraneous thoughts. Distraction achieved.

Fountain pens and felt tips are my preferred instrument for line variation but satisfaction isn’t dependent on the tool. It’s the motion and the look of the doodle that matter most. It is a terrific way to use up ink when it’s time to change colors.

The drawing of something so familiar provides a useful basis for comparison when evaluating a new pen or ink. The degree of flow and lubrication are revealed by drawing swooping lines and doodles. Nibs that bite into the paper’s surface are relegated to second class status and thereafter employed only for suitable tasks. In essence, make my doodle properly or you are going to spend your days in the pen drawer.

If you haven’t found your special mark, review old pages of notes for something suitable. Over the years, I have gone through several types of doodles and while I have a favorite, there are others that are good as well. I tend to go for rounded, flowing lines. Cross-hatching comes in second. Words don’t work for me if relaxing is my goal though a page full of random words can break a writer’s block. Calligraphic decorative elements offer a wealth of possibilities. It doesn’t have to be the entire element. Even a small portion of one might do the trick.

Should you fancy a little variety, there are seasonal squiggles that fill a niche like fir trees, pumpkins, hearts and shamrocks. The point is not to limit yourself. If you are playful with it, so much the better. Use up disappointing paper and ink. It really doesn’t matter. Just do it and enjoy it. And isn’t that what pens should be about.

Ten years of my doodles and squiggles reflect little change. Why tinker with what works?

Some of my non-fountain pen doodling favorite tools can be found on Amazon. Should you purchase there, Inkophile may earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brush Pen Ink Test

02/18/2020

Though not crucial for doodles or writing in a journal, permanence is a necessity for use with watercolors. Inspired by Teoh’s pen comparison, I tested some brush pens that contained their original inks.

After allowing the ink to dry for a minute or two, I applied water to the right side of the swatches to see which ones would move. Two were not waterproof. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it can be exploited to make shadows or to add color to objects. Those that are waterproof won’t mix with paint placed next to or over them. That opens up a wealth of possibilities.

The test paper is Bee 100% Cotton Watercolor Paper. Though I use brush pens more often in a sketchbook, watercolor paper provides a better surface to test a pen that will get used with paint.

For drawing, the Kuretake 630-8670 due to its brush-like nib was the best for my purposes. Unfortunately, it seems to have been discontinued.

The Kuretake Cambio is readily available and comes in different nib widths and colors which makes it a bit more interesting for my doodle notebooks. It also has excellent flow and coverage. When I need to purchase another brush pen, the Cambio will be the one.

From top to bottom: Kuretake ZiG Cambio Shu-Boku in vermilion,  Sakura Pigma Sumi Brush XSDK-TA, Sakura Pigma Brush sdk-br#49, Kuretake 630-8670, Pilot S-50FDF-B,  Tombow ABT N15.

A few of the brush pens tested are available at Amazon. Inkophile earns a tiny commission when you use these links to make your purchases.

Kuretake ZIG XO50-10B Cambio Medium Brush Pen, Black

Kuretake Zig XO50F-10B Cambio Fine Brush Pen, Black

Kuretake ZIG XO50-070B Cambio Shu-Boku Medium Brush Pen, Vermillion

Kuretake ZIG XO50-091B Cambio Usuzumi Medium Brush Pen, Gray

Sakura Pigma Black Paint Brush Pen (XSDK-BR-49)

Tombow Dual Brush Pen, N15 – Black, Brush and Fine Tip Marker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Sunday Reads: Pens, Journaling And Animals

01/21/2018

Beautiful images at the first link. Kudos to the photographer. If you aren’t a pencil lover yet, Ana might persuade you…

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Review: Spectrum Noir ArtLiner Pens

10/15/2017

Spectrum Noir sent a generous supply of ArtLiner pens several months ago and they have been good tools for doodles and lettering. However, for a different perspective, my daughter Tessa, the artist in the family, agreed to take them for a spin and write about her experience. Please enjoy her art and comments.

The Spectrum Noir ArtLiner 6 piece set is a nice addition if you do art in ink.

I primarily used the 005 (finest tip) and some of the 01 (second finest) along with the brush pen for the thicker strokes. The strong point of this set is the variation in the size of the tips. I will say that it wasn’t an opaque, true black, but particularly for the finer lines, I don’t mind. It just depends on your preference. The crowning piece was the 005, used all throughout her skin. It was a lot of fun for detail, and is a pen I will definitely use in the future. I did notice some build up of ink, which is noticeable in certain lighting (I believe this is from the brush pen, and can be seen around her eyes), so that was a bit strange, but didn’t bother me. It might even be an asset to some.

I’m curious to use them more, and I do think the pens (even if not all) will make their way into my usual tools. I’m excited to see what else I can do with them.

For the mixed-media piece, I used a combination of the black, finer point ArtLiner pens and the brush pen for the line work. The coloring of the face was done with Prismacolor colored pencils. The hair was done with ArtLiner’s color brush pen set (and the black as above) with a combination of the dark blue, pink and purple. They draw almost like they’re running out of ink when tilted, which could be beneficial to some. I don’t have a background in painting, so it’s not my area of expertise. Regardless, they are fun to use and the colors are really nice.

Images courtesy of Tessa Maurer. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Teoh Yi Chie reviewed these art pens on YouTube. The Art Gear Guide has a video review, too.

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Hey, That Isn’t A Fountain Pen!

09/17/2016

Not every writing tool on my desk uses fountain pen ink, but all write well in Staples Arc notebooks, my paper mates for the next couple of months. Moving pages from one notebook to another is working out very well for my work flow. Staples paper liked every tool tested and the junior size is just right for my small work space.

My main writing instrument remains a fountain pen, but lightweight felt tips and rollerballs have their charms. Do you ever stray from fountain pens? If so, with what?

Links to buy the tools:

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