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!

Yoropen Standard Ballpoint Pen

12 01 2012

Looks just like it was done with a normal pen

My fascination with peculiar instruments of Ergonomics continues unabated, the more visually alarming the better.

Alarming, confusing, baffling, what's the difference

I found this Yoropen during my never-ending quest to discover every pen hidden in my local pen shop, and I’ve not been disappointed with the find.

The body is all plastic (they make pricier metal models), and I LOVE the design. It’s weird. The colors are fantastic. I mean, just look at it.

This pen probably has more in common with some species of tropical, exotic bird than it does with other pens

The grip is very firm—more squishy than hard plastic, but not by much. It can be adjusted; there are three flat planes, with a kind of ridge between each one, and these can be adjusted somewhat so that the planes are angled more to your liking. The Yoropen website claims this feature is made to account for left- and right-handedness. Sure, why not.

Am I doing it right??

As to how the pen is meant to be held, if I understand the website diagrams correctly (I probably don’t), it seems like this pen is NOT designed for the “ideal” pliers grip…seems to me like it’s designed for a grip more like my own natural bizarro grip. I’m not complaining. But I’m not sure how normal grip people will take to this pen.

I'm also not sure if they considered what the cap would look like on the other end. Metaphors fail me. Other strange objects yet to come must be invented before any metaphors can be made

Yoropen also claims this design allows you to easily see what you’re writing. I can’t say that this was a problem I had that needed to be addressed, but sure, it is easy to see what I’m writing and what I’ve written when using the Yoropen.

I didn't think pens were capable of undulation; now I know better

It writes very nicely—smooth, fairly dark, no blobbing or skipping. It’s fun and it’s comfortable. I think I could write a while with this pen—it doesn’t take much pressure to write, it’s lightweight, moves easily, and is suited to my grip.

Yoropen writhing in the dulcet sea of a cheap turquoise scarf

My only complaint is that I wish the grip were a little softer. If this grip were made with Uni-ball’s alpha gel—man we would be in SERIOUS business. I’d be selling those pens like hotcakes on a street corner. … Does anyone besides McDonald’s even sell anything called ‘hotcakes’ anymore? I digress. Maybe ergonomic pens are gimmicky, but I really like the Yoropen.

It would not take a great stretch of the imagination to picture this pen crawling toward you like an inchworm

The bad news: I can’t find a good link online to buy this particular model of Yoropen. I’ve found a smattering of options among the very expensive and the very ugly (overbranded, all-pink barrels, anyone? Put your hand down), but no extant models being sold from this particular design line. The best I can tell you is to check the store locator on Yoropen’s website, and hope you might be able to find one in your local shop. Good luck!

Axel Weinbrecht Beta Pen

28 01 2011

Pen? Pencil? Insanity?

A few months ago, whilst trawling (trloling?) the internet for some leftist-handed writing utensils, I saw rumors of that dread beast–a pen ideal for lefties (I presume these are all designed by right-handed individuals who define “ideal” as “for getting ink EVERYWHERE!! HAHA SCREW LEFTIES!”). This pen had a twist: it was inkless. Base madness? Perhaps. But I was drawn in by the allure of writing with smudgeless, non-erasable metal. Sure, it was brazen gimmickry, but the payoff, if it came through, had great potential. Nevermind that I had to order the pen from some company in England, I had to have this inkless wonder.

German efficiency meets even more German efficiency. Look at this thing. You could set a train schedule on it. I mean, literally, right on top of it.

I like the packaging the beta,pen comes in, very architecture-hip. This packaging is also the best way to carry the pen around, for two reasons centered around the fact that this pen has no cap: the metal alloy nib is relatively soft (so says the website I ordered it from), and the metal alloy nib contains trace amounts of lead (don’t worry, it is a minuscule amount, well below regulated guidelines (so says the website that was out of stock of this pen when I wanted to order it). I tend to nibble on my pens, on occasion, and I don’t want to be wondering about ingesting trace amounts of lead (I am probably already ingesting enough minuscule trace amounts of lead from unknown sources, no need to minutely add to the fun), nor do I want to be banging up the tip in the rough-and-tumble world of a pen case. In the foam and plastic it stays, for easy transport.

I ordered the beta,pen in silver, so that there would be no mistaking how METAL this thing was. Rumor has it that the body is made of reconstituted Slayer CDs.

The matte finish metal body has a nice weight to it (probably because…SURPRISE! it is made of metal). It is smooth and physically cool to hold (both temperature-wise and social-wise). Unfortunately, there is nothing on the pen to keep it from rolling away. I suppose such an addition might detract from the aesthetics, but, for a pen whose tip might break off from a hard fall, it would probably be worth the cost.

This end is good for stabbing! Those German designers think of everything.

With such a minimalist design, there isn’t much to comment on. This thing looks sleek. It looks professional. It evokes a lusty, “ooh, what’s that?” as it proceeds to roll madly off the table. It is a mystifying object, the kind that belongs on a very expensive desk just to perplex lesser mortals who know only the sloppy inklife of Bic Stics and G2s. These don’t just belong in space, they belong in space president’s High Confabulated Councilroom, where everything is shiny and largely unlabeled.

Let’s get down to metal-alloy tacks (brass tacks are for the commonfolk), and talk about performance.

Ink? Where we're going, we don't need ink.

I don’t think it’s too crazy to say the smoother the paper the better when you’re using this madcap delight. Regular notebook paper and my Behance Dot Grid produced somewhat light and kind of mediocre performance, by which I mean effort was required in the writing and the handling was slightly unpredictable regarding when writing would be smooth and when it would catch and require more effort. Writing on Moleskine (regular and sketchbook), Leuchtturm 1917, and Rhodia paper allowed for a good balance of smooth writing to darkness of metal. The beta,pen performs best, so far, when writing on the white part of the glossy paper insert that comes in its package.

For sketching, it’s a real treat, again with smoother paper being better. Once you’re free from the rigid directionality of writing and can just make lines any which way you please, it’s much smoother. The range from dark to light is great; I don’t have to have a delicate hand to get light lines. I guess the same thing could be accomplished with a harder pencil, but let’s not forget: this thing writes in metal. Take the page you just made lines all over and hold it at an angle to the light. Everything is silvery and shiny. Sparkle-y, even. Not like a crappy vampire though, like…like pure joy caught on a piece of paper.

Now, in spite of the hype, the beta,pen can be smudged and erased–with effort. You have to put some work in to take the metal off the page. Gotta really want it. Are you hungry for some intense erasing? Are you prepared to smoosh your finger back and forth across the page like you’re trying to scrub someone out of existence? Sometimes, you are not removing the metal so much as you are removing bits of the page, and the metal that’s on top of it (as happened in the waterproof test).  The real smudge question to answer was: how silvery would my hand be after a more extended writing test, compared to the performance of a regular pencil?

After beta,pen and prior to using standard #2

After a wimpy little page on the smeary ole #2

No. Contest. Even if everything else about the beta,pen were nothing but lies and slander, it came through in the most important category: not turning my hand grey. Everything else is icing; this right here is the cake. Even after a short writing test on smaller-than-standard-notebook-sized pieces of paper you can see the difference. How less grey-handed I would have been, had I had a beta,pen on all those abominable timed essays during my schooling days (mostly they were abominable due to the entire awful process of writing in smeared and smudgy pencil. By the end of the essay most of everything in the beginning, “white” space and written words alike, was a near-uniform shade of grey).

If smudging isn’t a problem for you and you aren’t even slightly intrigued about writing in metal, then take a pass on this pen.  Spend your money on something else. For the rest of you, I think this is a fun and functional pen with a slick design, and certainly worthwhile if you like collecting unique writing instruments.
Beta Pen at Grand Illusions (ships from the UK)

Beta Pen at Vat19 (with useful FAQ)

Mini Review: Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen in 6 Colors

26 12 2010

These pens are so much more cooperative on Rhodia paper. By the way, if this brown looks a little purple, then I've probably done a bad job of getting this picture color balanced correctly. Hooray for non-true-to-life monitors.

For the gift-giving holidays, my parents got me five new Pilot Petit1 mini fountain pens with refills. Of course, the only gift-guide I gave them this year was a bookmark to my JetPens wishlist on their main bookmarks toolbar.

No need to review the Pilot Petit1 pen all over again, but having an additional color reference is worthwhile.

These pens are both delightful and adorable.

The colors on the caps are pretty close to the colors of the ink, again, a nice feature. The pinks (Wine Red and Cherry Pink) could be a little darker, but they’re still, overall, pleasing colors. The Mandarin Orange is almost the exact same color as the cover of this minuscule Rhodia notebook I’ve got. The Apple Green is pretty close to the color of the light green M&M in the holiday M&Ms? I don’t have anything handy to compare the Blue-black or the Brown to. Alas.

I just realized that 4 of these colors are delightful food-themed. That makes me happy.
Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pens at JetPens

Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen in Blue-Black

1 12 2010

Please just ignore how crappy these doodles are, and click for a bigger image.

Now, hands down, this is probably the most adorable pen I own (or at least it’s in close competition with my Sailor A.S. Manhattaner’s kitty cat pen).

The ink refills come in wee capsules! The pen itself comes in what might only be described as “an orgiastic rainbow of colors.”  This pen, in several other colors, waits in my JetPens wish list (which is bookmarked in the Bookmarks Toolbar on the browsers of my holiday gift-buying loved ones).

So, enough vacuous gushing and hint-dropping. Let’s get to what I actually think of this pen. Is it the best fountain pen that four dollars and fifty cents can buy? Probably not. A Preppy or a Sailor Ink Bar would be better suited for that as far as I’m concerned, especially in the sketching department. This pen does not handle in a way that inspires great sketching from me. Too much ink happening.


at the


However, the pen has been durable so far, surviving over a week in the desolate wastelands of my bookbag, not protected by the delightful shelter of my Nomadic pen case. Still looks good. Haven’t written with it in over a week, and it writes right away. I should have taken a picture of my hand, though, after writing with it for a while, because the dusting of blueness on my hand was visible.  The curse of being left-handed should not extend to pens, in my opinion. You can see if you look at the writing sample zoomed in how some dustings of ink got moved around and redeposited amongst previously unmarred white pages. I don’t know if a nicer paper would take care of that or not; the slight feathering disappears when I use this pen on Rhodia paper.

A pen in the hand is worth two in the JetPens order arriving later this week

With the cap posted, this pen is a comfortable 5″. You can write without the cap posted, but you can also write while licking a set of Quintuple Mach 9000 razor blades; that is, I wouldn’t recommend it. Three and a half inches is just not long enough for a pleasurable writing experience.  I’m going to stop this terrible brush with entendres that’s built up here.

Another plus: the color accents on the pen barrel are pretty much the color that comes out of the pen. It’s always a little off-putting to me when this is not the case.

For writing purposes, it’s a good pen. The act of writing with this pen is enjoyable. The design is great. It’s an ideal pen for carrying around in the pocket. The ink on my hand, and the fact that my handwriting looks pretty awful when using this pen, meh, I feel those things are somewhat negligible.


Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen – Blue Black Ink at JetPens

Uni-ball Jetstream Color Ink Series 0.5mm Ballpoint Pen in Blue-Black

10 11 2010

Please click for increased legibility that trends toward statistical significance.

This is my favorite ballpoint pen; or, at least this series produces what may very well be my favorite ballpoint pen. The first time I tried a Jetstream, it was one of a friend’s pens, and I completely derailed all conversation around me to drool wide-eyed at the writing experience and reverently whisper “WHERE DID YOU GET THIS PEN?”

Look at this pen. It screams "fun", which, aside from all the terrifying screaming is a pretty cool thing.

This particular Jetstream was not handling itself properly for the sketching portion of our show, as you can see sometimes in the doodles, particularly when I was trying to draw hair.

Only time will tell what the deal was with that, whether it was a fluke, this pen, this whole pen line, all Jetstreams ever, etc.

In spite of the sketching drawbacks, this is still a great pen to write with. It’s like liquid butter smoothly packaged in writing utensil form. The phrases “ballpoint pen” and “effortful writing” have found irreconcilable life differences and are currently filing their divorce papers in the Jetstream household. The Jetstream ballpoint pen is currently involved with some shameless hussy known only as “delightfully smooth writing”.

Sadly, this particular version of the Jetstream is not available from the corporate website my workplace orders our office supplies from. But regular Jetstream pens are! Guess what I’ve put on the office wishlist. I’ll give you a hint: it comes in a dozen and is not farm-fresh.

Here, have a dramatic picture of a pen before you go


Uni-ball Jetstream Color Ink Series Ballpoint Pen – 0.5 mm – Blue Black Ink at JetPens


Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 0.38mm Gel Pen in Brown-Black & Bordeaux-Black

30 10 2010
Two colors at once!

These doodles aren't quite as inspired as the last ones, but we'll get over it and click this thing for a larger image anyway.

This pen is far from being a candidate for perfect pen. This wasn’t what I’d concluded from use of this pen before I decided to use it in a review, so why don’t I share those sentiments first.

Two pens!

I have no idea why the bordeaux-black doesn't have "DX" on it

Prior to writing this review, I had many a time enjoyed jotting down my inane brain crap into an extra-small Moleskine volant with the brown-black pictured here. It had the power to make my horrific left-handed scribble look somewhat more neat-looking with its needle-fine tip.

So fine!

You could stab a man with those. Maybe.

I also didn’t have bleed-through problems on the Moleskine paper, which I feel is something of a rarity. You could see the ink through the paper some, yes, but that was because it was so deliciously dark. And the pen didn’t feel like the typically slender, fragile, dainty sort of pen I’ve had with some needle-point types. This pen always made the cut to be thrown into my everyday pen-carry pouch. But the course of this review brought out an unfortunate revelation.


It didn’t always happen. But when it did, these nightmare ink blobs would collect on the tip of the pen. I got a huge blob to form while taking pictures of the pens today (I’d done a little writing too). Then I did what is easily the stupidest thing I’ve done all week.

oops, too close

That would be a blob of ink on the camera lens.

My first attempts at a close-up went a little too far. At least the ink came off the lens. Then a blob didn’t want to form for documentary evidence, as if to try to convince the world I was some kind of pen-liar. Little did the pens know.






Look what it did to this innocent paper

Anyway. This is otherwise a good gel pen. I don’t know how frequent this blob-propensity is, but the fact that I got two pens ordered at two different times to exhibit this same phenomena seems to indicate that this might not just be my pens. Perhaps we need a bigger sample size. Or I just need to put my pen down when I need to think. Either way, I’d be willing to buy more of these pens. They have a fantastic range of colors, decent price, it’s a smooth writer, and in spite of my caps lockery the blob thing isn’t that big of a deal. I had never had it happen before yesterday. But in light of this development, I have to, for now, deem this Not a Candidate for Perfect Pen (gah, it was so close though before I did this review…)

Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 0.38mm Gel Pens at JetPens

(also available in 0.5mm and 0.28mm)

Sailor Ink-Bar Disposable Fountain Pen

27 10 2010
Sailor Ink-Bar Disposable Fountain Pen

Watch as I expend ink! Also, click for larger.

This paper may not be the best for displaying how smooth this pen usually writes (Moleskine paper, Leuchtturm 1917 paper, printer paper, legal pad paper, crappy $6 journal paper all do well with this pen). Or, the discrepancy might have something to do with switching to a new Ink-Bar.

I swear the beat-up pen isn't actually bent-looking in real life

First Ink-Bar, looking a little beat up, with a fresh and new one

Even though it’s a cheap, allegedly disposable pen (we will see what can be done about that when the first one eventually runs out), I always enjoy writing and drawing with it. The ink flow is smooth, but never overwhelming, and I have an easy time of varying the line thickness when doodling.

The nib is nothing fancy, just a folded-over metal tip. Maybe some fountain pen fanatics might scoff at such a nib? But I don’t care what they say; I still love this pen. When I saw the discontinuation announcement on JetPens I felt like I’d lost the opportunity for true love, as I only had one of this pen at the time and they listed the pen as sold out. The minute it was back in stock I ordered 10 more pens, so now I hopefully won’t have to worry about losing a pen or two.

Delicious pens!


I wish I’d had the opportunity to try out more colors in this line, but as it is, I’m just happy to have this pen. Maybe I should write a letter to the manufacturer expressing my unending sorrow at their decision to discontinue this pen?

Sailor Ink-Bar Disposable Fountain Pen at JetPens