Tag Archives: pen

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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Thursday Review: Pelikan Pelikano Fountain Pen

I like to draw with fountain pens. Now that I’ve discovered the joys of Noodler’s inks (a full post on those coming up soon) I have felt the need to buy a few more pens. I own now a mix of around a dozen pens, of which I keep 6 inked at all times. It’s a bit much. When I’m sketching I find I reach for one pen over and over again. That pen is my Pelikan Pelikano medium point in blue. I keep it inked with a blue or a blue black ink at all times.  There is nothing special about this pen. It’s an inexpensive school pen that lays a nice medium line and a lot of ink. It’s comfortable and easy to clean.  I’m not worried about breaking it or tossing it around because it was pretty cheap.

The important parts about this pen for you to know is that it has a medium point steel nib, it is what is referred to as a “wet” writer, in that when it puts down a line of ink it’s generous in the amount of ink in that line. This means my blacks are truly black and I can blend those lines with a wet brush.  The steel nib is stiff and doesn’t have much line variation but can be abused. I’m not gentle with this pen. I tend to have a heavy hand and it takes that abuse and keeps on writing.

The body of the pen is translucent frosted blue plastic. It’s not gorgeous and it’s not ugly, like most school pens it’s functional. You don’t want to have a pen your classmates will steal, they won’t steal this one. The cap is brushed steel or aluminum with a plastic clip. The pen isn’t going to win any design awards but it works. This pen is a cartridge or converter pen. I hate cartridges and I’m not overly fond of converters, each holding 1ml of ink, sometimes less. That’s not a whole lot of drawing for me. I converted this one to what is called an eyedropper pen by using outdoor grade silicone caulking to plug the 2 vent holes in the end of the body. The body now holds 3ml of ink, which is a whole lot of sketching and drawing.  While not a difficult job it was a tad fiddly to do but has held up for several months of sketching and drawing. Alternately someone could refill the cartridges with a syringe.

I’ll tell you about a couple of other go to pens I use for drawing soon.

Here is a picture I drew using this pen and a few others as well as a brush pen.


Another wine bottle in inks

Review: Noodler’s Flex Pen December 25th Edition

The pen I’m reviewing today is something I bought on a lark used off the Fountain Pen Network’s for sale page. I have to say that the Noodler’s Flexible Nib pens have been well marketed and sought after by many pen enthusiasts. Especially those like me, who are interested in pens on the lower end of the spectrum of price. This pen fits that bill. Its suggested retail price is $14. Noodler’s has come out with several special edition pens; the flex nib that I purchased is the December 25th red and green edition. I purchased mine used for $10, shipping included. It’s a piston filled pen that hold 1ml of bottled ink.


It’s a nice cheery red color with marbling throughout. The marbling is supposed to be green but I notice little if any green in the marbling. The nib is steel and an unusual design. It does not have a vent hole, instead it’s got a very deep channel cut into the feed that allows a lot of ink to flow. It’s labeled as a flexible but most users report that it’s a semi-flex given the amount of pressure needed to flex the tines. The nib reminds me of a crow quill dip nib. It starts as an extreme hairline point that I’d label as a double extra fine. Flexed fully I’d call it a double broad.  With normal writing or sketching pressure I’d say it writes a fine line.

While I was writing I found that my traditional cursive, learned way back in 3rd and 4th grade adapted itself well to the flexed down stroke with this pen. It made it look old fashioned and could be useful for meditative and mindful journaling. There are a lot of tutorials out there for scripts that use a flexible nib. Writing with this nib is NOT the easiest thing ever. In fact I’d say my forearm got quite a workout. I’ve decided that to better learn how to use this pen I’m going to start filling out all the forms at work with the pen, in script. I figure that using it across the day will make life more interesting, give my forearm a break and exercise throughout the day. I’ll also get a lot of practice in USING the pen.

For the artist the place where this pen really starts to sing is in sketching. Flexed it’s not going to keep up with a rapid pace, but the hairline is great for putting down a few delicate lines and then regular pressure gives you a nice fine line. When flexed it gives a nice solid line that is great for shading. I tested it out on a variety of papers. This pen lays down a HEAVY line of ink, especially when flexed frankly you’ll need to find a sketch paper that can handle the flow. Papers that worked well: watercolor paper, better quality drawing paper, Bristol, and heavier sketchbook paper.  Using this nib on gesso’ed paper is going to cause issues. Gesso is gritty and gritty surfaces grind down nibs. Writing on gesso will ruin this nib (and most) fast.

Some images of the various papers:



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Here’s my verdict for a $14 pen it’s a lot of fun and worth the money. I have pretty strong forearms and hands and I found using this pen tiring for writing. If you have a light hand this pen will be very difficult for writing use. For drawing this pen really shines in its flexible line width. It does take some practice to use but it’s enjoyable and creates a really dynamic look. It’s comparable to a crow quill dip pen in line variety and it less likely to shatter with heavy handed pressure. It does take a heavy hand for writing to get the full flex out of it. It’s a very adaptable little pen as you can adjust the ink flow pretty easily. (Goulet pens is planning on doing a how to video on this and I’ll link it up when it hit.)

I found the slower pace forced by this pen great for meditative thoughtful writing. It took some practice to get something decent, well that’s something we can argue, but passable.

The major con of this pen is how slim it is. I might try fitting the nib into a pelikan body and see if it’s more comfortable. The flex forces a less relaxed grip and less comfortable writing style that I’m accustomed to, but then again, you aren’t really meant to write for 3 hours with this thing. The second con of this pen is that it holds only 1ml of ink, which is the same amount as a cartridge, and yes I did measure it. I’ve gone through 2 fills of Private Reserve Sonic Blue ink.


Custom Portrait Commissions

By  now you are all well aware that I enjoy creating portraits. I’ve worked really hard to have my own style but retain a sense of realism. I’m excited to now be able to work on commissioned portraits. If you are interested in having me create you a portrait please email me.

More information:
I work in a style that is very me, so be sure you have browsed the gallery of my art  to be sure you like my style. I work in black ink and create sensitive cross hatching to create areas of shadow. The background of the portrait will be painted in one or two colors, which you may leave up to me or specify. If you have me working on a portrait of your daughter and her favorite color is violet I’ll mix a shade of violet and have you okay it.

As the work progresses  I’ll email you progress shots and include you in the process as much as possible. If I’m able to do so I’ll record the process and create a video. When you see the finished piece you won’t be surprised but simply overjoyed.

I like to keep my pricing reasonable. The prices are based on size and materials used.
Pen and ink with single color watercolor background on acid free archival paper, single portrait:

  • Trading Card: $20
  • 3×5: $35
  • 5×7: $55
  • 8×10: $80

All sizes except the trading card size are matted and bagged in a KrystalSeal bag. The trading card size will arrive in a standard trading card sleeve. All pieces will come with a certificate of authenticity.

Email me here.


I also create unique one of a kind portraits in mixed media. The background is a combination of collage and acrylic paint with sketching and writing within the layers. In the area I would like to create the face I scrape an ultra thin layer of white paint, on which I draw the portrait. The portrait is drawn in a variety of colors. You can request that I work bright and I’ll use a bright color to start the portrait instead of gray. The image is built up of layers of gray, white and black. Around the portrait I’ll layer more stencils and more layers of bright acrylic paint. I may add a variety of other media to the portrait if I feel it needs more texture or particular pops of color. These portraits are 11×14 in size, come with a 16×20 mat and ready to be framed in a standard size frame. Each will also arrive with a certificate of authenticity. These portraits are $75+shipping.