Sharpie Stainless Steel Pen

2 02 2014
I think I keep getting lazier and lazier when it comes to the length of these writing samples.

I think I keep getting lazier and lazier when it comes to the length of these writing samples.

If I remember correctly, I got this special Sharpie Pen for $2 at Wal-Mart when it first came out, which is as good as saying I punched a leprechaun in the face and a unicorn rewarded me for the deed with this Sharpie Pen, for all the replicability of getting one of these at $2 again. The real crime is that I didn’t buy more of these when they were that cheap.

I need to utilize more eclectic used books as backgrounds

I need to utilize more eclectic used books as backgrounds

Much to my surprise, I haven’t actually done a full review of a Sharpie Pen yet. So let’s start with the deluxe fancy brushed stainless steel barrel model, why not. The simple metal is attractive, and has held up pretty well so far. The branding has only just started to wear away.

Look at that. Are you dying inside? I'm dying inside a little. The cap. Should snap. Securely. And symmetrically. In place.

Look at that. Are you dying inside? I’m dying inside a little. The cap. Should snap. Securely. And symmetrically. In place.

The only big complaints I have focus around the cap area. The cap is secure—a little too secure. It takes a bit of force, both hands, to get the cap off. Maybe I’ve just got a case of the noodle-arms but this is an unusually tenacious cap, both in terms of taking it off and snapping it back on. But posting? Another matter entirely. The cap doesn’t snap on, it merely presses on, and can very easily end up askew (though it’s not at risk of falling off).

Quite streamlined with the cap on, perilous plastic precipice with the cap off

Quite streamlined with the cap on, perilous plastic precipice with the cap off

Watch out for that hard ridge above the grip. The textured rubber is very secure to hold, but I have to be wary or I end up with that terrible ridge pressing into my thumb. Maybe if you have a normal grip, unlike myself, then it’s no problem.

Felt tip? Marker tip? Tippity tip top tip? Nomenclature is confusing.

Felt tip? Marker tip? Tippity tip top tip? Nomenclature is confusing.

I think my tip has gotten a little bent over time (WOW that sounds like a real medical problem)—luckily the Sharpie Pen is refillable. The whole tip, grip, etc. is part of the refill that gets replaced. The darkness of the black is more of a dark charcoal gray, especially when compared to, say, supersmooth solid black ballpoints (like Jetstream or Vicuña), or the black of a Parker rollerball refill, or any number of black gel pens. But you want some fast drying? Get on this Sharpie Pen. I just did a color sample comparison, Vicuña vs. Sharpie, on the page I wrote this review on, did a little more writing, and bam!—little Vicuña ink spots on my hand, on the page. The Sharpie Pen ink? Gets down, stays down, right where you put it. No problems with smearing, no smudging, no Sharpie ink on my hand, no bleed through. It’s a nice tactile marker-tip-like pen that’s pleasant to write with.

That feeling you're feeling? Probably it is attraction. It is ok. Give in.

That feeling you’re feeling? Probably it is attraction. It is ok. Give in.

This may not be the right Sharpie Pen body for me personally, but it looks great and the writing is dynamite. If you’re looking for a classy Sharpie Pen, here it is.

You can find the Sharpie Stainless Steel Pen in many big-box office supply stores, at my local pen store (Office Supplies and More), and as an Amazon add-on item. JetPens has the matching permanent marker version, so maybe eventually they’ll carry the pen too!





Pilot Symmetry Ballpoint Pen 0.7mm – Mint Green Body

15 01 2014
Pilot Symmetry: coming to absolutely no stores near you. Probably.

Pilot Symmetry: coming to absolutely no stores near you. Probably.

I picked up this pen so long ago that JetPens doesn’t even carry it anymore. Oops.

I don't even think anyone carries them anymore. They were apparently discontinued in 2012

I don’t even think anyone carries them anymore. They were apparently discontinued in 2012

Looking at this pen, its name needs no explanation. The Symmetry is a perfect design execution of a basic principle. It’s like a reflecting pool in pen form. I look at this pen, and I think calm, gentle, peaceful.

The next version should have a decoder ring instead of a simple alphabet, so we can decipher all of Pilot's darkest secrets

The next version should have a decoder ring instead of a simple alphabet, so we can decipher all of Pilot’s darkest secrets

Since a clip would ruin the mirror-image aesthetic, the Symmetry has an “initial ring” around the middle that serves the dual purpose of helping identify the pen as yours (in a world where more than one person in your life has a Symmetry), and keeping the pen from rolling off and away (unless you give it a big push, but why would you do that?).

An anti-lint grip would be an excellent invention. Unfortunately, this is not such an invention.

An anti-lint grip would be an excellent invention. Unfortunately, this is not such an invention. It only looks clean because I cleaned it pre-picture

The knock end has a flexible rubber that folds down when you deploy the pen. The grip is a nice rubbery sort, excellent at collecting debris on its surface. I do appreciate that the gripping material goes all the way down onto the nose cone—it makes for a more comfortable-holding pen.

It's not a Jetstream

It’s not a Jetstream

The performance of the ballpoint falls squarely in acceptable mediocrity—I’d put it above cheap, substandard ballpoints but below the Dr. Grip (and it’s not even comparable to a supersmooth ballpoint; don’t make me laugh). It’s better for drawing; if I had to do a lot of writing with a ballpoint, this wouldn’t be my first or second choice (but it does the job of writing without complaint when needed).

If you take it apart, don't lose the little plastic letter window. It WILL fall out. Pay attention

If you take it apart, don’t lose the little plastic letter window. It WILL fall out. Pay attention

It’s definitely attractive enough to be worth having around, especially if you’re a fan of Japanese pens, but if you want one now it may be a bit of a grail quest to find one. Good luck!

Pilot Symmetry Ballpoint Pen 0.7mm – Mint Green Body information page, no longer available, at JetPens





Paper Mate InkJoy 300 RT

25 12 2013
INK JOY TO THE WORLD, a decent promotional pen has come. Let earth, receive, semi-decent-but-somewhat-messy writing!

INK JOY TO THE WORLD, a decent promotional pen has come. Let earth, receive, semi-decent-but-somewhat-messy writing!

At last year’s employee safety expo, one table was giving away Sharpie Pens—like hotcakes, they went. I was expecting another good promotional pen presence this year, but the only brand name pen I found was this Paper Mate InkJoy.

It was purple. I couldn't resist.

It was purple. I couldn’t resist.

Simple, colorful design, rubbery grip, and translucent barrel—always a good style choice. And a lot of space for promotional branding.

Warning: this can get messy. Mostly on you, mostly inexplicably and without warning

Warning: this can get messy. Mostly on you, mostly inexplicably and without warning

The negatives: every so often gets messy in ways I don’t understand. I have ballpoint ink on parts of my hand that have no contact with the pen. And the ink isn’t a super-rich black. Looking closely at a line is almost like looking at a fingerprint. But in spite of all that, the InkJoy is enjoyable to write with. It’s pleasantly smooth. It isn’t perfect, but it’s nice.

If you feel that Jetstreams are just too nice, this InkJoy is the perfect blend of decent writing and overall cheapness

If you feel that Jetstreams are just too nice, this InkJoy is the perfect blend of decent writing and overall cheapness

I wasn’t expecting to be impressed by a promotional pen picked up for free to advertise some company, but the InkJoy surprised me with its smooth usability. Available all over the place!





Paper Mate Earth Write Retractable Medium Point Ballpoint Pen

8 06 2013
Handwriting that isn't going to win awards ~ since 2010

Handwriting that isn’t going to win awards ~ since 2010

This is a pen I got secondhand from work when I had to fill out my change of address forms and found the pen I was handed to be to my delight, and its owner offered the pen unto me. It’s not right out of the package clean, but it’ll do!

How does one bathe pens? How many looks does one get when asking the local retailer for their finest pen shampoo?

How does one bathe pens? How many looks does one get when asking the local retailer for their finest pen shampoo?

A little bit of googling later, I was able to identify this pen as the Paper Mate Earth Write ballpoint—a pen made from a corn-based material called Mirel (the line also includes a pencil and the most lovely-looking eraser and lead refill container) that is comprised mostly of biodegradable components (takes about a year, according to Paper Mate, and unlike some bioplastics it can be biodegraded in a home compost or natural soil, instead of having to go to a special composting facility). That’s a nice feature to see, especially in a society that seems so bent on treating pens as disposable products.

The glinting sun of a cleaner future

The glinting sun of a cleaner future

Confession time: I love corn plastic. It’s smooth, it’s supple, and it doesn’t feel cheap. I just want to keep touching this pen.

Thanks, Paper Mate. Now I'm a creeper.

Thanks, Paper Mate. Now I’m a creeper.

The design is subtle but fantastic. I love the slightly canted bell sleeve shape around the plunger, the curve and taper of the clip, the slight bulge of the grip, the muted earthy tones of the corn plastic (might have gone with a dark warm gray for the plunger though, instead of the full force bright black (also no, I will not stop calling it corn plastic)). The grip has traction to it without seeming too prone to gathering debris (though it has, over its life thus far, gotten a little dirty). As far as low-end pens go, it’s got class.

1.0mm is medium?? IN WHAT CRAZY HIPPIE WORLD IS THAT TRUE, PAPER MATE?

1.0mm is medium?? IN WHAT CRAZY HIPPIE WORLD IS THAT TRUE, PAPER MATE?

Obviously, this isn’t a Jetstream. The writing, as with all ordinary ballpoints, cannot even begin to compare to that delightful class we call the super-smooth ballpoint. But as far as ordinary ballpoints go, it’s pretty good. No blobbing, good to sketch with. Writing lines aren’t perfect, but no streak-outs so bad that I’ve had to retrace any letters. The refill isn’t breaking ground, but the body is fantastic and the refill, though not revolutionary, doesn’t hold the pen back. Though I would suggest, if they haven’t already, Paper Mate ought to get in the super-smooth game, and do so with this body.

You guys I sniffed this pen extensively it did not even smell of corn

You guys I sniffed this pen extensively it did not even smell of corn

This pen really surprised me. Clearly I need to pop my head in the box stores more often to see what’s new in the mass market!

Paper Mate Earth Write Retractable Medium Point Ballpoint Pen (12 pack) at Amazon





Mini Review: Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – Twin Tip – Gray & Black Ink

1 02 2013
This drawing is from 2010!

This drawing is from 2010!

In honor of Hourly Comic Day, I wanted to give a little shout-out to my HCD pen of choice, the Tombow Fudenosuke twin tip brush pen.

What does it say on it?? Probably says BEST HOURLY COMIC DAY PEN YOUR EQUIVALENT OF 4.25 US DOLLARS CAN BUY

What does it say on it?? Probably says BEST HOURLY COMIC DAY PEN YOUR EQUIVALENT OF 4.25 US DOLLARS CAN BUY

It pairs well with my Rhodia Dotpad No. 12 for the perfect quick-sketch experience.

The caps are not the most convenient things to post on each other, but you do what you can. BONUS! This picture is actually of 2 pens. I'm still waiting for the first one I bought in 2010 to die.

The caps are not the most convenient things to post on each other, but you do what you can. BONUS! This picture is actually of 2 pens. I’m still waiting for the first one I bought in 2010 to die.

Though a little dark, the gray is perfect for rough sketching and shading, and the black is sufficiently dark for inking and borders. There is a little give in the brush tips, but not so much as to be unruly or unwieldy for a brush pen novice.

Old tips on the left, new on the right.

Old tips on the left, new on the right.

Though I would prefer a lighter gray, the big winning factor for the Tombow Fudenosuke is convenience. I only need to grab one pen and my Rhodia dotpad, no keeping up with multiple pens. The tips do wear down over time, and as they near the end they get dry, but you more than get your money’s worth before that day comes.

If I draw anything sufficiently neat this year, I’ll add it to this post! Happy Hourly Comic Day!

 
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – Twin Tip – Gray & Black Ink at JetPens
Rhodia DotPad Notepad – Black Cover – 3.25″ X 4.75″ – 80 Sheets – 5 mm Dot Grid at JetPens

 

 





Dong-A Cronix Ballpoint Pen with Hybrid Ink – 1.0 mm – Black Ink

24 10 2012

See that shadow line at the top? That’s from using a Rhodia Dot Grid notebook, writing several reviews in advance while out and about, having to fold back the review to start the next one…so inconvenient.

Any time hybrid ballpoint ink pops up, I’ve got to check it out. Thanks to JetPens for providing this sample!

Your basic clicky ballpoint

The Cronix is a no-nonsense situation: monochrome, with a semi-translucent smoky dark gray barrel and lightly accented gray grip.

There you go, that’s the only decoration you get

It’s simple. It works.

The final word is how it writes, and how it stacks up in the super-smooth pantheon. It’s pretty dark, but not every stroke achieves maximum darkness, with the overall effect being writing that isn’t as dark as the full capability of the ink (such as the darkness achieved on multiple passes, when coloring something in).

I really hope they come out with smaller tip sizes. I am not used to non-microtip pens nowadays.

Smoothness, however, is pretty good. I do sense some rare occasions of a sort of microhesitation, as if at times debris or a smidgen of gunked ink has to pass clear of the movement of the ball, but overall the smoothness is satisfactory. The Cronix isn’t going to unseat such kings as the Jetstream or the Vicuna, but it certainly beats out a regular ballpoint pen.

It’s like the Jetstream’s less-cool little brother or cousin or something. Forever doomed to live in the shadow of a greater pen…

If you’re looking for a down-low understated-looking super-smooth ballpoint pen, and for whatever reason the Jetstream just doesn’t do it for you (maybe you hate Uni-ball or kittens or something, I don’t know), take a look at the Dong-A Cronix.

Dong-A Cronix Ballpoint Pen with Hybrid Ink – 1.0 mm – Black Ink at JetPens





Custom Shaw Pen – Gilbert Fountain Pen w/ Steel Nib

5 10 2012

Fun fact: this pen is one of the few I currently have with black ink in it

Picture it: my very first pen show. No idea what I’m even looking for. Lot of cool pens. One of the pen makers asks me if there’s any particular kind of pen I’m looking for, and it hits me: dark purple fountain pen. At the time, I had yet to see any in existence. And it just so happens that this particular pensmith is Alan Shaw. He had done some work recently with dark purple, and he offered to send me a sample.

Pictures fail to do it justice. And that’s why I kept pushing back this review, continually seeking justice…and continually failing.

This is not just purple, my friends, but sparkle-infused depths-of-deep-space-hydrogen-clouds purple. If fountain pens were magic wands, then this would be grade-A wizarding material. Thus I ordered my first custom-made fountain pen.

Seriously. Pictures fail to do it justice. We’ll just have to hang out sometime and maybe you can see it in person.

The finished product did not disappoint. It’s big, heavy, and beautiful. I ordered the Gilbert model with steel nib, which has rare earth magnets in the cap, making the cap easy and secure to close and post. Though, in my experience, posting the cap creates a serious Dolly Parton effect—top heavy, unwieldy, singing country music and spawning theme parks.

Am I writing or falling over? I can’t even tell.

Let’s take a picture moment to appreciate the material of this body. It’s smooth, it’s enchanting—

Like a Disney prince. In fact, this might actually be made out of compressed Disney princes.

It takes standard international cartridges / converter. It’s a decent nib, the kind I’ve seen before on other custom-made body kit-nib pens.

Standard functional steel nib

Mine’s a little on the dry side, very nice for drawing, but I’ll probably work the nib (when I get a little better at that) to be more juicy. Will keep you posted on that.

IS THIS A FAIRYTALE??

The pen is an absolute delight, and Alan was very easy to work with. The pen came in a nice box, with a converter and a bunch of cartridges. First custom fountain pen is a definite success.

Perfect purple pen

Here’s Alan Shaw’s website, and here’s the product detail for the Gilbert model. Thanks Alan!

One more picture. Just because we can.





Zebra Airfit LT Ballpoint Pen with Push Grip – 0.7 mm – Pearl Green Body – Black Ink

4 08 2012

One day I will collect all my best doodling ballpoint pens in one place and draw myself into oblivion

Ten points to Zebra, for making a “feminine” version of an already gender-ambiguous pen, without offending the entire human race. Many thanks to JetPens for providing this sample!

Before I froth and rave about its predecessor, let’s evaluate the Airfit LT on its own merits

It’s a standard-sized, lightweight plastic body, simplicity done well. You’ve got 3 colors, nicely balanced—mostly pearlescent mint green, with main accents translucent-clear, and just the right amount of silver shine.

It sparkles! Like fairy dust magic! …or vampires, apparently. I know when I look at sparkles, the first thing I think of is the blood-sucking undead.

I wasn’t expecting a ballpoint, for whatever reason (the reason being that I didn’t pay enough attention when reading the product description). I’m curious why, if the original Zebra Airfit is a beefed-up version of the Sarasa Push Clip, they wouldn’t outfit the ballpoint version of the Airfit with a Surari refill.

Not pictured: the Surari refill that SHOULD be the standard for the Airfit LT

It makes a difference. While this pen is decent for doodling, for writing I’m not thrilled. Surari smoothness in this pen body would be thrilling, as would having a deluxe version of the Surari (comparable to the Jetstream, which has quite the snazzy deluxe version). It’s a good pen, but it could be better.

AIRFIT BATTLE! Featuring adorable cell phone charm by Chiou!

A quick rundown of their differences: the Airfit LT is obviously thinner, and slightly shorter, with a smaller grip section. The big advantage in the LT’s design: much smoother transition between the grip and the nose cone. Very well done, and undoubtedly superior to the abrupt stop between those elements on the original Airfit. Now, what the LT gets wrong:

Pretty much this entire area here

I’m biased. I’m a HUGE fan of the clip on the Zebra Sarasa Push Clip. Really disappointed it didn’t put in an appearance on a pen of the same size. I’m willing to sacrifice some of the minimalist appeal for a clip that functional. Especially if it has accommodations for an adorable little cell phone charm.

As far as refills go, I have been unable to get the Sarasa Push Clip, Uni Signo & Jetstream multipen refills, and a handful of assorted other refills to fit, though I have not yet had a chance to try the Surari refills I have. Will have to update that later today.

While it’s a good pen, I still prefer the original Zebra Airfit (which fits Sarasa Push Clip refills and Jetstream RT refills). But I’m a sucker for that clip. If you hate the Push Clip’s clip, and want that neato airfit grip without the oversized barrel, then this is probably the pen you’ve been looking for!

Zebra Airfit LT Ballpoint Pen with Push Grip – 0.7 mm – Pearl Green Body – Black Ink at JetPens





Ohto Pieni Wooden Body Mini Needle-Point Ballpoint Pen – 0.5 mm – Yellow Body

26 07 2012

New drawing buddy??

Micro-tip ballpoint in a nigh-irresistible range of colors? Why thank you, and thanks to JetPens for providing this sample.

Looks like wood, smells like wood, probably tastes like wood—but I’ll leave that for you to verify.

Love the look—simple, bright colors with a 1950s-esque font.

Let’s eat an apple pie and worry about communists.

But practically speaking we’ve got some problems.

Why would I want a clean pen, huh? WHY WOULD I WANT TO HAVE NICE THINGS?

The blobs stay off the page, but inexplicably show up all over my hand and the body of the pen, and do not seem at all interested in being cleaned off. And though I like the appearance of the wooden faux-pencil body (elementary chic), it’s a bit thin, and not particularly comfortable to hold.

All it needs is a few teeth marks and it’ll be a true grade-school throwback.

Until I started using the Palomino Blackwing and now the Ohto Pieni, I had forgotten how sensitive wood is. It picks up dings and scratches like it’s some kind of civic duty. I haven’t had this pen long, and already it’s looking beat up.

It’s a needle! It’s a ball! No, it’s a needle-tip ballpoint!!!

Gold stars to the max for the drawing performance of the Ohto Pieni. Absolutely love it for sketching. For writing though, it’s not going to be my go to—even on smooth paper it doesn’t feel quite smooth and fast enough—it’s good, but I have unrealistically high standards for ballpoint pens (thanks a lot, Jetstream). The performance is good, but it isn’t superior. And sometimes the plunger rattles ever so slightly when you write. Just so you know.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I don’t regret acquiring this pen, but unless I find it in some uncontrollably irresistible color, I doubt I’ll get another. Thanks again to JetPens for the sample!

Ohto Pieni Wooden Body Mini Needle-Point Ballpoint Pen – 0.5 mm – Yellow Body at JetPens





Stabilo Bionic Worker Roller Ball Pen – 0.3 mm – Black Ink

14 07 2012

It is theoretically possible that one day, I will find a rollerball I like as much as I like the Jetstream ballpoint that I’ll go around championing. But today is not that day.

One of these days, maybe I’ll learn to stop trying rollerball pens. We just don’t work well together, me and rollerball pens, but resisting such a brightly colored new arrival proved impossible (thanks to JetPens for providing this sample!).

Good for Halloween, and for public safety cone emergency replacements

I’m all over this design. Bright minimal-industrialist, the curves, the dots—and it looks great next to a Rhodia notebook.

Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation talking, but zoom in on this picture—doesn’t it look like there’s a black bird standing on the S, dropping a dot on the T? Maybe it’s just the sleep deprivation.

It’s got the little touches that are nice to see on an industrial pen, like the unobtrusive little bump there to keep the pen from rolling off when uncapped, metal clip, and a cap that posts and secures nicely. The rubberized body, though it has a mild propensity to gather a few cat hairs, has nice traction (because I assume all industrialized environments more or less involve working in three feet of oil).

Labeling can sometimes be used to great design effect. EXCEPT WHEN IT’S COVERED IN LIES

I know that a European fine is thicker than a Japanese fine, but there is nowhere on this planet where a 0.3mm tip pen should make a line this thick and be called a “fine.” This is not fine. This is very unfine. You should be fined for making something so unrefined, Stabilo.

shhhh the sleep deprivation is talking

Maybe German workers have no need for fine things. Maybe other people like pens that don’t write consistently clean, crisp lines. I don’t know. All I know is I have a cool looking pen here that I’m not particularly drawn to write with.

Fuzzy writing on majority of papers is a pretty constant problem for me and rollerballs though, so don’t blame Stabilo too badly for that.

I might try to see if I can hack the Stabilo ink insert out and put something else in, and if it works I’ll report back. Otherwise, unless you really need something to match a Rhodia Notebook, or you collect all the rollerball pens, or you have better luck than me with these mercurial liquid ink sticks, I’d pass on this pen.

Stabilo Bionic Worker Roller Ball Pen – 0.3 mm – Black Ink at JetPens








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