Tag Archives: pen

Review: Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen

I have been coveting a pocket brush pen for awhile. I have a brush pen but it has a incredibly long handle and is a pain because of that. I was comp shopping Michael’s when I came upon this pen. Imagine my horror when I got to the counter and found I’d left my 40% off coupon at home… I put the pen back and came back later. With my 40% off coupon I snagged this pen for a measly $10.83, which is less than I could find it online.

 

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It’s sold on a blister pack like most other markers and pens are at Michael’s. Once out of the packaging its a nice looking shiny black pen. It’s comparable in size to most pens on the market. It’s very light weight even with the cartridge plugged into the pen. After wielding a TWSBI 540 for an extended writing session earlier in the day, this is like writing with a cloud. The pen is all black except for a Kanji character on the cap near the clip and the pentel name on the opposite side of the cap.

 

 

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After installing the cartridge the ink descends into the brush rather quickly, the brush was fully loaded with 60 seconds of installing the cart. The tip is soft, flexible but springs to a point immediately after pressing it down fully. It is capable of giving a hair thin line or a swath of ink 5mm wide. The ink flow is generous and kept up with some very quick line work. The line variation is quite nice and relatively easy to control.

 

 

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The ink in the cartridges is reported to be in water resistant. Something that I found interesting is that the back proclaims that the “fittings” are leak proof. This tells me that with some silicone grease this pen could EASILY be converted to eye dropper fill. For me, this is a VERY VERY interesting thing. In my testing I found that the ink is water resistant once dry on paper and when wet gives a very nice wash effect with a nice even gray tone. In effect you could take just this and a water brush sketching and you could do the sketch, allow it to dry, add more ink, add water and get a nice gray tone for your shadows. The ink is not water resistant on acrylic paint until it is FULLY dry. It writes without issue on acrylic, no skipping or beading up. It does take quite some time to dry on acrylic paint- to get to the fully dry point it needs a few minutes.

 

 

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This pen is a very good price when 40% off but at full price at Michael’s I’m not sure. I’d rather put together a $25 order with Jetpens.

I'll probably do an update to this review once I run through the 2 carts that came with the pen and convert it to eyedropper style. (See update on eyedropper fill here.)

Reg $16.99 at Michael’s $14 at JetPens

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Review: FlexiSketch Sketchbook

I picked up this sketchbook on sale at Artist & Craftman. It was super affordable, more so than usual. It usually runs in the $10 to $15 range. The 8.5×11 inch sketchbook feels weighty in hand and looks nice. The green color is a soothing soft mossy green they call "Fern." I’m annoyed that the 25% more FREE stick is stuck to the cover and doesn’t peel off easily. I’ll be hacking at it with a knife to get it off. After opening up the package I notice it’s Smythe Sewn like a moleskine so it will open flat and flatter the more I use it. The binding is nice and flexible but the wrap around cover on the spine is less so.

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The paper is bright white, thick and sturdy feeling, 75lb/110gsm. There are 300 pages or 150 sheets. It has a soft texture and is nice with pencils. Wider nibbed pens glide over it’s surface but narrow nibs sink into it’s surface a little. The paper is absorbent with ink and watercolor. I didn’t notice any feathering with ink but most pens looked to be about a size larger than on other paper. I noticed some ink soaking through as I sketched and wrote. Nothing major since I didn’t plan on using both sides of the paper anyway. This isn’t a deal breaker if you use dry media like pencil or charcoal. The fact that the paper soaks ink up like a paper towel is annoying, and if I were using expensive ink, would annoy me.

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The cover is thick cardstock with a glossy finish. It scuffs easily, but I don’t mind that. If you are the sort who would like to decorate your art journal you’ll need to sand the surface to get gesso to stick. I managed to pop the glue that holds the back cover to the block off. Rather annoying but it also let me see the spine and that it’s glued sturdily and will survive a lot of abuse. This also makes me think I could cover this journal with little work

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Overall my verdict on this is that this sketchbook is a great value. The paper isn’t optimum for ink but it’s thick and sturdy enough to withstand pretty much anything an art journaler can throw at it. The paper has a nice surface for a variety of media. While pen does soak through in some spots it looks fantastic on this paper. I’d buy it again.

 

Review: Jinhao 602 Fountain Pen

Every now and then I get a surprise in the mail. Today I got a Jinhao 602 fountain pen, a gift from Christie. She suggest I review it, so I'm being dutiful and doing so.

Pulling the pen out of the envelope I found it in a black flocked case. It felt rather heavy for it's size. The black paint is smooth, the gold colored trim is nice, even if it's gold (I prefer silver.) the grip section is oddly trimmed in brushed steel. It doesn't match the rest of the pen, even if it is comfortable. The pen is very slim measuring about 3/8th of an inch in diameter. It looks good.

 

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The nib is steel but colored gold. It is hooded so only part of it can be seen. The nib is stiff, with no flex or bounce. It produces an even fine to medium line with good ink flow. It would be great for sketching. The nib offers a little feedback but it's not scratchy

 

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The downside is that the cap does not post well, as this is a small pen it would be more comfortable if it were posted.

Overall this would be a very good pen for sketching, priced a little more than $5 you won't be heartbroken if it dies or you lose it. I was surprised at how well the pen wrote, it was remarkably smooth for $5. (Not as smooth as the Serwex Special I reviewed earlier.) Not a bad deal, head over to eB@y and search for one.

Unposted length: 4.5 inches

Posted: 6 inches Capped 5.5 inches 

Less than 1/2 inch in diameter.

Cost: About $5.50 shipping included on eBay.

A good value for the money if you like thin pens with fine nibs.

Unlike the Serwex Special I reviewed a few weeks back, this is not a candidate for abusing with India inks. The hooded nib means getting the feed out of the grip for cleaning is nearly impossible. India ink will gunk up this pen and render it unusable in short order. 

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Some Observations: On Paper and Frisket

Iv'e been working on a variety of papers, settling on Canson's XL Watercolor paper, for a variety of reasons- it works well with the watercolors I'm using, it's cost is nice and it has a relatively smooth surface that my pens rather like. It's also got 2 sides, a right and a wrong, ot a front and a back; which ever way you prefer to call it, but I like the judgemental aspect of right and wrong… In this case. Any how.

One side has a little more tooth an grab to it than the other, this is the right side. The reverse side AKA WRONG is smoother. It also has less sizing… This affects a number of things- how ink and paint react with the surface. Less size means it's more absorbent.

This is good and bad.

It's bad when you use a mask. I applied a liquid frisket rather heavily to the surface of one of my paintings and the frisket grabbed to the paper so strongly it ripped when I removed it. Quite badly. It was crazy frustrating.

I went ahead with the mixed media piece anyway, knowing my paint would adhere the ripped pieces down and it would be okay, but I had to change my plans for color and other ideas for the image, and I know that the torn piece could come back to haunt me.

Additionally in my frisket/mask adventure I've found that the frisket REALLY doesn't like the spray inks. If the frisket is too thin the spray ink "leaks" through it. A total pain in the ass. So I've learned to put on one thin coat and then a heavier coat to seal it all up.

Technique Tuesday: Ink Wash

Ink Wash is an incredibly old skool technique that I learned in High School. It was taught to us in Art 1 as a way to learn about value and tone, as well as their relationship. We used film canisters (retro) and India ink, which is waterproof once dried. The idea behind it is that you start with 3 to 5 levels of light to dark watered down ink. You apply it with a brush to capture the value of the image you are trying to capture. You add additional layers of watered down ink to achieve your dark darks. At the end you'd use a crow quill pen to add in details, or if you were "that good" you'd get a liner brush and use a light hand to add those final details.

In college I had a friend who did the most amazing ink washes in blue higgens waterproof ink. Amazing stuff. Since then I've sketched in black, red, blue, blue-black and a variety of other colors. Traditional is with black so that's what I've shown in my video.

I use Noodler's Black ink for this, but you can use any ink brand you want.  The vials I use are from GouletPens.com. I used my syringe that I referenced in my last post about fountain pens to measure the ink.

Anyway, watch the video, try ink wash, it's an easy and fun technique.

 

Drawing-a-Day: I Need that Color!

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This is the 4-1-11 drawing titled “I Need that Color!” It measures A5 or 5.75×7.5 inches. I did a quick sketch with pencil and then used a Lamy Safari with a B nib filled with Noodler’s Black ink for the paint tubes and added the shading with a TWSBI M Nib and Private Reserve Electric DC Blue ink.

Cost is $25 USD, shipping to CONUS included.

 

Drawing-a-Day: Introduction

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a drawing/ painting-a-day blog for a while now. I’m still debating doing it for a year. Traci Bunkers (click her name for a great blog link) tweeted that I should try it for 30 days. And well, duh! I’ve been reading her blog with her 30 day experiments for awhile now and think that she’s right 30 days is a good start for my commitment phobia to gravitate.

So for the next 30 days you’ll find a post of a drawing done the night before. I think I’ll working my Graf It pad and my Rhodia Dot Pad, both are A5 or 5.75×7.5 inches in size, acid free and archival. I’ll be working in pen and ink, perhaps with spot watercolor. There will be a paypal button so you can purchase the original work, pricing on these will be $25 shipped via USPS to CONUS in a clear archival baggie with a certificate of authenticity. Should it go well I might extend the project.

Drawing-a-day posts will go up on here at noon EST and will feature work from the day before.

 

Review: Rhodia Webnotebook aka Webbie

Stephanie of RhodiaDrive hooked me up with Karen of Exaclair, the American importer of several very fine French made stationary products so I could do some reviews. I received a box in the mail and I felt like a kid at Christmas. There is nothing quite like opening up a box of sketchbooks to get my heart racing, well pen products would be a close second. Anyway, one of the products contained in that wonderful box was a Rhodia Webnotebook. It’s the larger size, 5.5×8.25 inches (I14x21cm) with blank cream colored pages. There are 96 sheets or 192 pages.

When I first opened the covers the color reminded me of oak tag; creamy, warm and lovely. The paper is 90g (roughly 24lb) which seems kind of thin when you’ve been working on 140lb watercolor paper for the last few months. When I ran my hand over it felt glassy smooth. Clairfontaine paper is known for this feature and is sought after by people who use fountain pens.

The cover is black with the Rhodia logo inset into the center of the front cover. Like all notebooks of this style there is an elastic to hold the whole thing shut. The plastic/vinyl of the cover is soft, like fine leather. I have a journal made of deer hide and the feel of this pleather rivals its softness and feel. I handed the journal to someone to check out and she actually said “Ooohhh, that feels nice that feels really nice, what is it?” Like, leather the cover does show greasy fingerprints, unlike leather those greasy fingerprints wipe off with a damp rag. Yes, I tested this by eating French fries at my desk and picking up the journal and having to wipe it clean.

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