Archive for the ‘Pen Reviews’ Category

This month’s carnival has some great posts featuring some of our favorite things. Visit the following blogs for great reviews and more. Art Journaling

Notebooks & Journals

Pens & Markers

Inks & Other Reviews

Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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The pen comes packaged with one carbon ink cartridge refill.

I received a review sample of JetPens‘ Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen several months ago. I didn’t review it immediately because I wanted to let the pen sit for a while with ink inside to see if it would clog over time. Since I tend to rotate my pens and ignore many for long periods of times, my biggest pen problem is clogged, dried out nibs. I was pleasantly surprised that the pen laid down a smooth, consistent line without any clogs or stopping, even after being unused for eight weeks.

The Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen has a sleek, elegant shape, a roll resistant cap and is incredibly light in weight.

The Platinum Carbon Pen In Use
The Carbon Pen feels weightless. It weighs just 0.3 ounces without the cap, 0.4 ounces with the cap. I am used to heavier pens, so it took a while for me to adjust to the feel, but after a while I found it to be quite comfortable.  I did a quick sketch of my cat and found it capable of producing the type of line I like to use for fur, whiskers and hair. I was able to create varied line thicknesses that taper nicely when lifting the pen and the fine nib was capable of minute detail. Since this pen uses an ink cartridge, it was more convenient to use on a long sketch than my refillable, old-school croquill pen. The waterproof ink worked well with my alcohol-based Copic markers and I was able to color on top of the lines without the ink smearing or smudging.

I was able to create tapered lines easily with this nib. The waterproof ink did not smudge or smear when I applied my Copic alcohol-based markers over top.

The ink seems to be compatible with a variety of papers and I was able to write on the thin pages of a Moleskine squared journal without any bleedthrough and minimal feathering. I was able to write quickly without skipping.

The fine nib creates a thin line that dried quickly with minimal feathering.

There was no bleedthrough on the back of the paper, even on the thin paper in the Moleskine squared notebook.

The Details

  • Gold-plated, stainless steel nib
  • Elongated resin body
  • Lightweight, weighs just 0.4 ounces including cap
  • Measures 7 inches or 18 cm long
  • Uses waterproof Platinum Carbon Ink Cartridge
  • Watercolor or alcohol markers compatible without smudging
  • Cap has flat sides to prevent rolling

The Verdict
I would highly recommend this pen for line art and sketching. If you work in pen and ink, you will be surprised by how capable this pen is of fine detail and consistent line work. It is reasonably priced, $13.50 at Jetpens.com.

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This month’s carnival has some great posts featuring some of our favorite things. Visit the following blogs for great reviews and more.

Artsy Stuff

Pens and Ink

Notebooks and Journals

Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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If you are looking for a beautiful pen to compliment your Moleskine notebooks or planners, check these out. Moleskine’s new roller pens are designed specifically for use with Moleskine paper and the design is great, too. The unique clip is designed to be slid onto your notebook cover from the side or top, even when the notebook is closed. The low profile and flat design prevents roll and helps keep it in place.

The unique design of the clip enables you to slide the pen on from both the side and top of the notebook. It stays firmly attached to the pen to keep your pen secure.

I was a bit skeptical about the comfort of these pens when I realized that the shape is rectangular rather than round, but after using one for a while, I can confirm that it is comfortable. The rectangular shape stays put in my hand better than a round barreled pen which keeps my grip relaxed. Round barreled pens tend to creep on me, which encourages me to grip too tightly.

The ink scribes a smooth, even line with no feathering or bleedthrough.

The ink is smooth and dries quickly. So far, I have had great success using it with the paper in my Moleskine journals and even the thinner paper in the planners, no bleedthrough or feathering. The gel ink is nice and black, reminding me a little bit of a rollerball line.

Colorful stickers are included with both pens and can be used to customize your pen or indicate ink color.

The pen clip attaches firmly and can be slid onto your notebook from the top or side. It works best with Moleskine’s hard cover journals since the cover thickness matches the notch in the cap. You can use it with the soft cover notebooks but you will need to clip onto both paper and cover since the soft cover is too thin to hold the pen in place.

The matte-black, abs plastic finish makes for a sleek pen that is very light weight.

There are two finishes to choose from, satin steel and matte-black, abs plastic. The satin steel pen is all metal construction and is substantially heavier than its black sibling. As a premium product, it comes packaged in a Moleskine style gift box and retails for $50. The matte black pen is extremely lightweight and comes packaged in standard hang-tag packaging and retails for $15.

Both pens are refillable using Moleskine gel refills. To refill, just unscrew the bottom of the pen, remove the old refil and replace it.

Both pens are refillable using Moleskine gel refills and are available in .5 and .7 point sizes and Black, Brilliant Blue, Bright Green, Bright Red, Dark Brown, and Deep Violet ink colors.

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Check out this selection of pens with drop-dead, gorgeous style, guaranteed to turn heads. These sexy pens are available at a variety of price points, so everyone can own one of these beauties.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of my personal favorites, based purely on the shape of each pen’s body. If you have a favorite sexy pen that is not listed here, please include it in the comments section along with the name and link of a vendor who offers it. I have arranged the list according to price, with the least expensive first and the most expensive so be sure to read through the end because all of these are truly fabulous pens. Enjoy!

Yoro Pen in Executive Finish.

From $3-$55
Yoropen proves that functional can be sexy. Sleek, brushed aluminum melds with a soft, rubber grip creating a unique design that offers strain-free writing. The beautifully arched neck allows you to see what you’re writing by placing your hand and pen in a position that won’t obstruct your view of the writing page. Finding a comfortable hand position is easy using adjustable, rubber grip, making it ideal for righties and lefties alike.

The top of the line Executive pen retails for about $55, but less expensive versions are available in less luxurious materials starting at $3. Visit Office Depot, SimplyLefty.com, Amazon.com and eBay.

Tombow Zoom 707 and 717 pens may be the world's slimmest pens.

Tombow Zoom 707 and 717
$17- $22
A super-slim shaft enhanced by a soft, rubber grip lies firm in the hand and is more comfortable than you would imagine. The slender, award-winning design fits perfectly into tight spaces such as a checkbook, pocket planner or the spine of a book. Both utilize a twist action to the tail release the ballpoint tip.

The 707 is longer and has a slightly thicker shaft than the 717. The 707 is available in black and charcoal or black and red color combinations. The satin, silver 717 is available with color accents of and orange, pink and blue.

You can find the 707 and 717 at JournalingArts.com, Amazon.com and GoldSpot.com.

The Sculpted Pen from Pat's Pens has a beautiful, undulating shape.

Pat’s Pens, Sculpted #280
$34 as shown
Created from fine, acrylic InLace material in Dyna Blue, Pat’s Sculpted pen shimmers like a deep blue sea. Iridescent, silvery threads are visible through translucent layers of sea blue acrylic. The undulating, outer skin is smooth and glossy and the feel is enhanced by multiple, voluptuous curves.

A gentle twist at the narrow waist extends a ballpoint tip which is surrounded with brilliant platinum plated fittings. The undulating curves line up just right with the shape of my hand giving me a most comfortable fit. The Sculpted pen is refillable using Cross-style refills.

Each Sculpted pen is hand-made and one-of-a-kind. To order, visit PatsPensandTreasures.com.

Pendragon Pen is segmented and can be customized.

Pendragon Sorrend
Not only does this pen have long, alluring lines, this pen is completely customizable and has some surprising electronic abilities.

Each pen has four parts; the Nib, the Central Unit, the End Part, and the Expandable Units. The Nib can be changed to a ballpoint, pen, fountain-pen, mechanical pencil, or digital pen. The Central Unit has an LED light, a music player, charger input, memory card, and battery. The tail or End Part has a headphone connection (via Bluetooth) to access mp3s stored in the Central Unit. If this is not enough, you can expand it by adding a camera, microphone, laser pointer, USB connection, WLAN receiver and more. Designer: Peter Vardai.

Availability is limited and I haven’t been able to find a supplier. For more information about this pen, visit Designeroof.com. If you know where to buy one, please leave a comment at the end of this thread.

Parafernalia's Big Revolution features a pull out fountain pen that can be used with or without the stiles.

Paraphernalia Big Revolution
Designed by Sergio Carpani, this is the big version of the better known Revolution but with a completely different writing body. The slender, central nib shaft slides from the surrounding core and can be used on its own. Or, create a custom fit by sliding the shaft into the triangular body and adjusting the position of the pen to your liking. The small, stainless steel nib has a medium, iridium point that was chosen for aesthetic design purposes. Each Big Revolution includes 4 long and slim cartridges. Available in 3 different finishes, satin chrome, chrome, black and briar wood.

You can find this pen at a variety of vendors including JournalingArts.com and JacZagoory.com.

Free Ride Motorcycle Pen features a bold, racy design.

Free Ride Motocycle Pen
The Free Ride sports a curvaceous, chrome body accented by soft rubber inserts placed at the points your fingers make contact with the body. Whether or not this ergonomic delight is as comfortable as the designer implies, there’s no doubting that this is a pen that’s certain to draw more than its fair share of admiring looks in the office.

Unfortunately Jean Pierre Lepine’s Free Ride appears to have been discontinued at the time of writing, though it remains available in the meantime (until stocks run out) at PenPlace.com.

Porsche's 3150 Fountain Pen features sleek, steel surfaces and supple calfskin.

Porsche Design P 3150 Fountain Pen
$375 – $600
Polished, stainless steel meets supple calfskin to create a luxurious pen for the few that afford it. The leather grip endures an elaborated tanning process which renders it stable, tough, and at the same time smooth and supple. It is available in black or brown colors.

The fountain pen uses the cartridge/converter refilling system. An 18kt gold nib is rhodium-plated and is available in fine, medium, and broad widths, and fill via cartridge or piston converter. A spring-loaded clip is hand-polished to a high gloss. It rests precisely on a metal pad, ensuring ease of clipping to a breast pocket or lapel, with a spring force that remains constant for a lifetime.
This pen is also available as a Rollerball or ballpoint pen.

You can find this pen at a variety of vendors including JoonPens.com, MelPens.com, PenGallery.com, and eBay.com.

Bugatti Type A pen is made of the finest materials and the design is inspired by the sinuous lines of the Bugatti cars

Buggati Type A
The Bugatti Type A, designed by Ferrari da Varese, is an evocative, limited-edition pen influenced by the never-ending, sinuous lines of the Bugatti cars. The shapely body of this beautiful pen is made using the same grade aluminum as the Veyron’s engine. Coatings of sterling silver, palladium and finally platinum ensuring its beautiful skin does not oxidize.

Three sapphire glass windows in the air intake-shaped body pen provide a view to reveal the ink level held within. The styling of the clip on the pen cap is reminiscent of the Veyron’s sleek door handle. A brilliant 18kt gold nib coated with rhodium and ruby stone in the pen cap for elegance.

The pen has three sapphire glasses similar to those in watches for a royal elegant look, and a brilliant 18kt gold nib coated with rhodium coated 18kt gold and ruby stone for elegance. Limited to just 499 units of fountain pens and 499 units of roller ball pens, the Bugatti Type A pen comes with a superb handcrafted manual.

Check your local Bugatti dealership or Ferrari da Varese for availability.

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Carnival of Pen, Pencil & Paper

November's Carnival is hosted by PenAddict.com

Find out what’s happening in the world of pens, pencils and paper by visiting The Pen Addict for this month’s carnival.

EcoJot journals are reviewed by Kristin at JournalingSaves.com.

Find out if you can use pencils for journaling at PencilRevolution.com.

There are many more great articles to see, so be sure to head on over to ThePenAddict.com to see them all.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of pen, pencil and paper using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Tombow’s Mono 100 Drawing Pencil is a world-class drawing and drafting pencil, which has been the gold standard among artists and animators. When production was discontinued in the US, thousands of letters poured into Tombow begging to bring it back. Well, it’s back, and it has been relabeled as the Tombow Mono Professional pencil. Is the Mono professional pencil as good as its predecessor?

Tombow Mono 100 and Tombow Mono Professional pencils were tested.

Tombow Mono 100 and Tombow Mono Professional pencils were tested using three different leads, F, B and H.

Tombow USA insists that the pencils are the same, but there are those who just don’t believe it. Since I had samples of both pencils, I thought it would be interesting to compare the abilities of each to see if they are the same or different.

I tested the F, B and H leads of both pencils. I compared the sharpness of the lines, the depth of shading, blending and ability to erase. I also noted any difference in the feel of the pencils as I was using them. I sharpened each pencil using the same sharpener to the same thickness of point to start. These were my observations:

  • Overall, the lines and darkness of the leads were equal in appearance, however the Mono Professional pencils produced slightly smoother appearing blends and gradations.
  • I was able to produce smoother finger smudges with the Mono Professional pencils than I could with the Mono 100 pencils.
  • All of the Mono 100 pencils had a softer feel in the hand, the F lead feeling the softest. However, you would not know this by looking at the drawings since the Mono Professional pencils appeared smoother overall.
  • The Mono 100 pencils wore down more quickly than the Mono professional.
  • There was an equal ability to erase the gradations of both pencils, but the lines drawn by the Mono 100 pencils erased easier.
  • Darkness of heavily-colored areas was consistent for both the Mono 100 and Mono Professional.
  • The length of the Mono 100 is a little more than 1/8″ longer than the Mono professional pencil.
  • Lead diameters appear to be the same for each lead.

For the most part, the pencils performed equally. The Mono Professional Pencils had slightly smoother blends and finger smudges than the Mono 100 pencils. The lines created by the Mono 100 pencils were a little easier to erase.

Drawing samples from the F leads show that the lines and dark, solid areas look virtually the same but the shading of the Mono Professional Pencils appears softer.

The B leads look almost the same, but the gradations in the ball are slightly smoother on the Mono Professional pencil drawing. The lines drawn by the Mono 100 look a little heavier and darker.

The shading and smudges on the H leads look nearly identical, but the darkness of the Mono Professional pencil look a little darker throughout the drawings.

Overall, I found very little difference between the pencils. Both performed equally well and the drawings I produced looked the same. The only difference I can point out is that the Mono 100 felt slightly softer and wore down slightly faster, but the fact that it is slightly longer makes me think it will last just as long as the Mono Professional. In conclusion, I believe the Tombow Mono Professional pencils are as good as Tombow Mono 100 pencils and will perform equally well.

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Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper

There are a lot of great articles to browse through in this month’s carnival. I hope you enjoy them all.

Art Journaling

Behind the Pages: A Rough Draft
Discover the process of art journaling at WildThyme.

Decorated Art Journal Cover
Visit the Whatever blog to see an example of a decorative cover inspired by moss.

Journal Page Frame
Learn how to create a frame for a page in your art journal at Quinn Creative.

Art Journaling: What’s It All About
What is the background of art journaling and where can you go for help on your art journaling journey? Find out at CraftCritique.

Notebooks & Journals

Environmentally Writing Tools
Looking for notebooks, pens, notepads, wrapping paper and other eco-friendly stationery? Look no further than Writersbloc for the answers.

The Perfect Little Black Notebook: My Custom Design that Ended the Quest
Is it worth creating your own notebook? Find out at Pocket Blonde.

Rhodia Webnotebook Version 3: Even Better than Before!
Discover what makes the new Webbie the best Webbie yet at For Love and Idleness.

Jottrr – a New Budget Competitor to Moleskine
Check out this notebook at lady dandelion.


Derwent Sketching Pencils – HB,2B,4B, and Dark Wash 8B
Learn more about Derwent pencils manufacturing process and find out what kind of writers they are at Pens’n’Paper


How to Find Pens with Flexible Nibs
Learn More at Leigh Reyes, My Life as a Verb.

Featured Pen – Visconti Rembrandt – followup
Video Demonstration of a Rollerball pen that fills and flushes like a fountain pen at Whatever.

Lamy 1.1 mm Italic – Quality for a Few Bucks
A great little nib without the hefty price is reviewed by lady dandelion.

Retro 51 Harley Davidson Flathead Pen Review
Git yer motor runnin’ with this exciting pen at Goldspot Pens.

Winston Churchill and his Pens. From the Archives
A glimpse into Churchill’s history of pen use at Palimpsest.

Uni-ball Jetstream Color Ballpoint Pen Review
A smooth writer that looks great too. See the details at WritersBloc.

DIY Fountain Pen Ink Tracker
Create a pen and ink journal so you’ll always know which pen is inked with which of your oodles of ink at Miscellaneous Ramblings of a Thirty-Something DIYer.

Sakura Stardust Gelly Roll Magic
Five reasons why the Sakura Stardust Gelly Roll might make you swoon at Journaling Saves.

Pilot Petit1 Review
A cheap, mini fountain pen that packs a punch at RateMeister.


Diamine Raw Sienna Ink
Diamine Raw Sienna Ink – A replacement for discontinued Sailor Brown? Find out at Inkophile.

Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin Ink
See this clear true orange with just the slightest tinge of yellow at Pocketblonde.

Ink Review: Diamine Oxblood
Ever feel like writing with blood? Check out this bloody ink at Seize the Dave.

A big thank you to everyone who submitted a blog post for this month’s carnival of pen, pencil, and paper, and please continue to keep on submitting entries going forward.  Next month, The Pen Addict will be hosting the Carnival, so submit your posts here, and many thanks to Nifty from Notebook Stories for getting this all set up!

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Ecosystem's Sketchbook

Ecosystem's Artist Sketchbook was illustrated using permanent markers and pens.

The first assignment of a journaling class I have been attending was to find a journal to decorate and claim. Since I knew I would be creating an art journal, it was time to break out a bright orange Ecosystem Sketchbook that I received as a review copy from the folks at Ecosystem. I struggled with committing to a topic for this journal, but ultimately decided to create an affirmation journal, which supported my desire for more creativity in my life. Since most of the artwork I do is created by hand, I decided to use the image of a hand on the cover to be the central theme.

I chose this sketchbook for a couple of different reasons. I was enamored with the unusual texture and bright color of the cover and I have been wanting try some different mediums on the bright white sketch paper.

For this review, I am focused on using different pens and markers on the sketchbook’s cover, which has a matte finish that feels similar to the texture of an eggshell. By touch, I suspected it would be a good receptor for permanent markers.

Hand illustration

I did the original illustration on translucent paper and then transferred it to the sketchbook's cover using charcoal on the backside of the image.

I drew the illustration on translucent layout paper so I could transfer the image to the cover rather than drawing directly on the cover. This gave me more freedom to create and enabled me to throw the paper away if I didn’t like it. It also gave  me a chance to experiment with the design. Once I had an illustration I was happy with, I turned it over and rubbed charcoal on the back of the image where I could see the lines. The charcoal became the transfer medium I used to get the illustration to the cover. By placing the illustration on the cover and drawing over the lines of the original drawing, the charcoal was pressed into the cover and the image was transferred.

Ecosystem sketchbook illustration

The finished hand illustration after it was transferred to the cover.

I started by inking in the black lines over the charcoal lines. I did this to preserve the image because I was concerned that I might smear the lines as I added color. I experimented with different markers, but ultimately ended up using the Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen because of the rich, black lines. I used a piece of paper between my hand and the cover to minimize any smearing.

Inking the lines on the hand illustration.

I used a Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen to ink the lines because of the rich, black color. By using a slip-sheet between my hand and the cover, I was able to minimize smearing and keep my hand clean.

Next, came the fun part, adding color with pens and markers. I used several different markers and pens on the cover and had different results with each. All of the pens had permanent ink and longer drying times than you would experience when using a porous paper. Using  water-based markers on the cover resulted in beading ink, poor coverage and smearing, so I did not include these in the test results.

Prismacolor markers on the cover of an Ecosystem Artist Sketchbook

The Prismacolor markers were my favorites because of the crisp, clean lines and smooth color in large areas.

Sharpie Fine Point Markers – The lines laid down nicely, but as they dried, the lines looked thinner and less saturated than when wet. I found as I added more color with the Sharpies, the wet line would remove any color below. This made it difficult to get a smooth area of color, but this may be due to the tiny size of the nib rather than a problem with the ink.

Berol Prismacolor Permanent Markers – These were my favorite markers on the Ecosystem cover. The color went down saturated and stayed saturated once the ink dried, even when using the fine nib. The lines created by the fine nib were crisp and clean . The larger nib laid down saturated color and I was able to create smooth areas of color. I used this marker for the colored areas on the illustration.

Pilot Precise Grip – This pen created lines that were crisp and clean and I used it to go over the black lines I originally drew with the Sharpie. They still weren’t as black as I would have preferred, so I decided to go over them with my Tombow Ultra pen.

Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen – Once the illustration had been outlined and the color filled in, I went over all f the black lines again with the Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen to clean things up. The ink is permanent, although it is not a marker like the others. The Tombow produced very saturated lines that were a bit thicker than the fine point markers, and I loved how black the ink was. The ink did take longer to dry than the markers, so if you use this pen, you will need to give it lots of time to dry or you will end up with smears.

Overall I was quite happy with how the permanent markers performed on the cover of the Ecosystem sketchbook. I would imagine that most permanent markers will work well and would be interested in trying Copic markers in the future.

Ecosystem Artsit Sketchbook Cover art

The final illustration. I left room for a title once the journal is complete.

I will be doing more reviews of the paper in this journal with different mediums in the future, so stay tuned. For more detailed information on Ecosystems sketchbooks and their complete line of environmentally friendly journals, please visit their site at: ecosystemlife.com.

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Head on over to Pocket Blonde blog for The Eighth Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper. This month there lots of great posts encompassing pens, pencils, inks, notebooks, and…other entertainments. Enjoy the reading, and please do invite your friends to drop ’round by posting a link to this website.

Be sure to check out the review by Margana at Inkophile as she takes a look at Clairfontaine’s French-Ruled notebooks and gives her Namiki Falcon a workout on that wonderful paper. “Clairefontaine paper is outstanding for fountain pens, dip pens and everything in between,” she notes. Quite true – a flex nib + Clairfontaine paper= fun!

Mark Dykeman of Broadcasting Brain submitted this great post on the insanity of paper notebooks, adding “Some musings about how we use paper notebooks – great comments section.”

The 9th Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper is scheduled for May 4, 2010, and will hosted by Julie (Okami) of Whatever blog. You can submit entries (either your own posts or nominations of other posts) using the Carnival submission form.

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