Category Archives: Pen Info

Sharpie’s Not On Social Media Anymore

sharpieSo the Sharpie brand seems to have completely abandoned its social media accounts.

Arik Hanson at made that interesting catch recently, writing that he discovered it while doing some research for a client.

When I first saw his article, I thought it might just be a mistake. Surely a huge brand like Sharpie would not just stop interacting with all the people who love using their products.

But after a little poking around, it became clear that he was right. The last updates on Sharpie’s social media accounts were:

These were significant accounts, too. For example, Sharpie had been on Twitter since 2008, had sent nearly 12,000 tweets and had 188,000 followers.

There’s no indication on any of them that Sharpie planned to stop using social media. They just…end. It’s almost a little eerie. Continue reading

Polymer Clay Pens Anyone?

Jana Lehmann, Creative Commons

This is a new one for me, but may be familiar to you if you’re into crafts.

Polymer clay is a decorative clay that can be molded onto ordinary items, then hardened by baking. Apparently, people decorate pens with clay.

But not just any pen.

It has to be one that will survive the heat of the oven. The pen most recommended for turning into a polymer clay pen seems to be the Bic Round Stic. Crafters have oven-tested it and confirmed that it will survive the high heat.

Also, it probably helps that the Bic and some of the others suggested for use – including a few models of Paper Mate – are cheap ballpoints. Covering your nice Zebra or Pentel would be sort of pointless, I think.

It also seems to matter which brand of clay you use, with at least one crafter strongly recommending Premo brand clay for pens.

The results of combing decorative clay and disposable ink pens are pretty amazing. Among some of my favorite polymer clay pens are the lightsaber pen, the chocolate cupcake pen, and the Despicable Me pen seen in this tutorial video.

If you’d like to give this a go, it seems to be a fairly simple process, with plenty of polymer clay pen tutorials like the one above to help you out.

Or, if you’re lazy like me, you can just buy some already made. Etsy has a healthy selection of polymer clay pens for sale. I’ve found some awesome examples, like this steampunk pen that probably won’t be there for long.

Any crafty readers who’ve made some of these pens? Don’t be shy; send us some pics. We’d love to see your work.

One Man And His Platinum Preppy Pens

platinum preppyWe love to hear from the people who use our pens, especially when they’re passionate about a favorite.

And Rob, a physicist and retired civil servant from Hertfordshire, is a real fan of the Platinum Preppy fountain pen.

Seriously. A big fan. He wrote to tell us:

I have collected over the years a huge number of fountain pens (I would be embarrassed to count them) which I use containing many ink types and colours. Most I decided to replace with Platinum Preppys, when I discovered how brilliant and superior they are, and when my non-Preppy’s began to let me down.

So far I have replaced 30 of them with Preppys, and they have never let me down. By my reckoning I still have roughly 50 more inferior and failing pens that I still want to replace (and upgrade) with the vastly superior Platinum Preppys. Or indeed perhaps a few Platinum Plaisirs as well, for good measure and variety, though my preference is for the Preppy because its transparency is an aid to ink management.

…I now regret buying any pen that was not a Preppy, as doing so has been a waste of my money.

Continue reading

A Whole Bunch Of Google Pens

Google maze penAt the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I like Google.

Chrome, Google Earth, Android, those funny little driverless cars. I even liked the movie “The Internship,” even though it was just a two-hour commercial for Google.

They make good stuff.

So when I read a passing mention the other day of Google pens, I got a little excited. After some searching, I tracked them down. Turns out it’s a good news/bad news type of thing. The good: Yes, Google has pens. The bad: They’re mostly just promotional ballpoints.

Still, these are some cool novelty pens. With the Google logo. If you’re into novelty pens and Google, that’s great, right? Continue reading

Rehydrate A Dried Out Sharpie

rubbing alcoholI have exactly one permanent marker, a small keychain-sized one called the Sharpie Mini that works well for marking plastic freezer containers.

The last time I went to use it, it was laying in the kitchen drawer with the cap off. Not sure how that happened, but I’m just gonna blame the cat.

The keychain Sharpie was dead. It refused to write.

It wasn’t that old and hadn’t seen a ton of use, and it was the only one I had, so I turned to the collective wisdom of the Internet to fix it.

The general consensus was that when a permanent marker dies, it usually still has ink in the reservoir; the tip has just dried out and lost its absorbency. Continue reading

Uniball Advances With Signo TSI Erasable Ink Pens

signo tsiI’ll admit it, when it comes to erasable ink pens, I never much liked the now 5-year-old Uniball Fanthom.

The ink seemed a little washed out and it never quite erased all the way. Simply put, there were other pens that did it better than Uniball.

Now? Not so much.

Uniball has stepped up its game in a big way with the recent introduction in the UK of the Uniball Signo TSI. It’s an erasable pen that looks better, handles better and erases much, much better than the Fanthom. Continue reading

An Alternative to Ink? WINKpen May Be The Answer

The revelation of the WINKpen could put a whole new slant on the phrase written in blood. Invented by Oregan based designer Jessica Chan this pen can guzzle up a variety of liquids & was made possible by crowd funding on Kickstarter.


The pursuit of creating something that could be re-used & reduce waste from some of the many plastic cases from the disposable alternatives ending up in landfill, took Jess on a journey taking some 18 months of her spare time.

Presented as reusable & long lasting this refillable glass fountain pens name came about from an idea of using wine as ink. Inspired during research for another project Industrial Designer Jess says she learned that “inks used in traditional printers are not 100% biodegradable” this led to her wanting to create a sustainable alternative that we use in everyday life.

The WINKpen is constructed to be flexible & as user friendly as possible with the components fitting together easily making them easy to clean. The glass nib is double sided & can be used for all types of penmanship. Apparently glass eliminates the corrosion sometimes experienced with metal or ballpoint tips used in traditional pens whilst making it an easy to clean option. Now unless your entering into some type of medieval pact with the devil it’s unlikely that you’d want your blood to be used for anything other than running through the veins but as well as wine liquids like tea, juice or anything with a staining property can be put in this pen.

Looking for Pens & Pencils for Achy Hands?

According to NHS stats there are around 10 million people in the UK suffering from arthritis of one form or another, worldwide it’s thought to affect as many as 350 million. That’s a lot of people challenged on a daily basis with everyday tasks that many of us take in our stride. One of these happens to be writing & help is at hand with a number of different ranges of ergonomically designed pens & pencils.

PenAgain is a range of pens & pencils designed with a Y shaped cradle resembling a wishbone. This uses the natural weight of the hand to relieve pressure on the fingers, more details can be found in an earlier post here

Pilot’s Dr Grip brand has ballpoints, mechanical pencils & a multi function pen combining 4 different colour ballpoints & a 0.5mm pencil. These pens & pencils have received one of the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendations having been independently tested by experts & assessed by people with the condition.

The Pilot Dr Grip G-Spec Mechanical Pencil has a 0.5mm lead & is available in a wide range of colours including soft blue, pink & green frost. The grip has a double layer making it secure & comfortable to use.

Dr Grip
For those that prefer something a little more sedate on the colour front the Pilot Dr Grip Full Black Ballpoint Pen fits the bill with a glossy black finish & chrome pocket clip.

EZ Grip is another range designed with an simple to hold grip that requires a minimal amount of pressure.

EZ Grip

There is no right or wrong way to hold these pens, users can hold the side of the thumb or switch positions & use others fingers, we all write differently, the choice is yours.

Yoropen was inspired by inventor Liu Bao Shen’s daughters as he observed problems due to poor grip & posture.


Today the range includes ballpoint pens & pencils, coloured refills are available for the standard & Yoropen Mini Pencils. The tips angled design helps the user to see what they are writing & the offset finger support helps reduce strain, these pens & pencils are suitable for left & right handed writers.

Ergonomic pens & pencils don’t just benefit those with arthritis, they can help people with difficulties arising from conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury or those that just write a lot by reducing stress to the joints, nerves & muscles. As ergonomics vary from one person to another there is probably no one writing instrument that will suit everyone, but hopefully you’ll find something to suit. We’d be happy to hear your views!




That’s No Sharpie, It’s A Survival Tool

pointie tactical markerA 3-week Indiegogo campaign to create a Sharpie look-a-like that serves as a survival tool – but not a marker – more than doubled its funding goal before it ended earlier this month.

The Pointie Tactical Marker looks like a Sharpie knock-off, including using Sharpie-style font for its name, but instead of a marker tip, the point is actually a steel spike. Continue reading

Obama’s Presidential Pens, Part II

president obama cross penFour years ago, when President Obama signed the new healthcare law into effect in the US, we told you about the 22 Cross pens he used to do the job.

Now, his pens are in the news again because of a comment he made about his intentions to veto certain controversial legislation during his second term.

He told National Public Radio in December, “I haven’t used the veto pen very often since I’ve been in office. Now, I suspect, there are going to be some times where I’ve got to pull that pen out.”

And true to his word, President Obama pulled out the veto pen recently on the Keystone XL pipeline bill, bringing attention back to the black Cross pens that he uses for official moments. Continue reading

Colouring with Pencils? Here are 3 Popular Choices

It’s not clear when the first coloured pencils came about, according to Staedtler founder Johann Sebastian Staedtler invented a coloured oil pastel pencil in 1834. The early 20th century saw companies like Faber Castell, Caran D’ache & Berol producing more & more. Today they are being used by artisans everywhere to create their works of art with several different types available suitable for children & adults on whatever level.

Stabilo Woody 3 in 1

The Woody combines a pencil, watercolour & wax crayon. They are ideal for children’s small hands & are very durable as the lead is wrapped up in a wooden barrel making them less susceptible to the breakages often experienced with traditional crayons.

Other Woody benefits

  • High opacity on dark backgrounds
  • 10mm lead is 8 times thicker than a standard pencil
  • Ability to write on a variety of smooth surfaces including, boards,glass & metal
  • Safe to sharpen using Stabilo Woody Pencil Sharpener
  • Environmentally friendly using 100% PEFC certified wood
  • Available in a rainbow of 18 popular colours individually or in packs of 6, 10 & 18.

Bruynzeel Sakura Design 8805

These top quality coloured pencils have a thick core increasing colour production. Popular with artists for their ability to be apply several colours together. These pencils are available individually in a wide range of 50 colours & in assorted boxes of 12, 24 & 48.
Aquarel water colour pencils can be used wet or dry. They shouldn’t however be emerged in water just moistened. This type of pencil is versatile & when wet the colour intensifies although this is more noticeable with stronger colours than say pastels as paler shades have less pigment. If you are looking to brush up on your technique you will find a mine of information on Coloured Pencil Topics

Staedtler Karat Aquarell
These watercolours are available in tins of 12, 24 or 60 pencils. Designed with Staedtler’s characteristic triangular barrel, the 3mm diameter break resistant leads are easy to sharpen & they are made of wood from sustainably managed forests.


Coloured pencil art is practiced around the globe so it’s no surprise that a number of groups exist, in all of which seem to have common aims, to connect & support local artists as well as promote coloured pencils as a fine art medium. One such group is the UKCPS where members have access to a forum, regular magazine & workshops.

So, whether you’re a beginner thinking about taking up a new hobby or want to learn how to perfect existing skills there are plenty of places to look.


Stabilo Is Giving Away Loot This Month!

Stabilo is promoting its Point 88 range in the UK with a television commercial and a giveaway and an epic giveaway that runs through the end of March.

The commercial is short and to the point: You can make studying easier by using the various colors of Point 88 pens to group your notes and help find similar themes more easily.

To go along with the commercial, Stabilo is giving away a ton of awesome loot. There are five available prize packs that made up of the following:

A Stabilo satchel, an I ♥ School t-shirt, a felt iPad case, pencil shaped USB stick, friendship bracelet, bubbles, I ♥ School lanyard, 5 Mini Heroes, 24 Green Colour, Exam Grade pencils, Festival s’move pen, 5 Festival swingcool highlighters, 6 Festival tropikana pens, SMARTball pen, SMARTgraph pen, 8 mini neon highlighters, pen 68 wallet of 30, 4 neon highlighters, 6 pointball pens, 4 worker pens, roller set of point 88 and point 88 colour parade.

The haul looks like this:

Stabilo prize pack

For a chance to win, all you have to do is go to the Stabilo blog, fill in one question (the answer is 30), and provide your contact information. The first 1,000 entrants also will receive a 15-pack of Point 88 colored pens.

The contest is open only to UK residents. There are no age restrictions. Entries will be accepted until March 31.

The drawing will be held April 1 – no foolin’.

We at Tiger Pens are not eligible to enter, so we wish all of you the best of luck in scoring some great Stabilo swag.

Robert Rosenberg Talks About New Esterbrook Pens

I’ve had an interesting conversation with Robert Rosenberg, the man behind the revival of the beloved Esterbrook pen brand.

As pen collectors know, Esterbrook made classic fountain pens in New Jersey for more than 100 years until it was absorbed by a series of other companies in the early 1970s. At its peak, Esterbrook turned out 600,000 pens a day, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Esterbrook logo

Rosenberg picked up the lapsed trademark and announced late last year that he would begin making Esterbrooks again. The new generation of pens are now on sale.

After stumbling upon a newspaper article about the new company, I decided to write a blog post about it. Boy, did that turn out to be way more involved than I thought it would. Continue reading

3 Popular Pencil Sharpeners to Help Make Your Point

Despite living in a world full of gadgets, people still need pencil sharpeners.

The good old pencil sharpener has been around for years, even though Bernard Lassimone was issued a patent in 1828, the Parisian mathematician’s invention didn’t prove to be much faster than using a knife. Some ten years later the “patent pencil pointer” came along. This was given the name Styloxynon & although it was advertised as an ingenious little instrument the fact that it was suggested “When a new pencil is first used, it should be roughly pointed with a knife before employing the Styloxynon” proved there was still room for improvement.

Finally in 1847 along came a device invented by Thierry des Estivaux, a design we still use today.

When it comes to choosing a pencil sharpener you may want to take a few points (if you’ll pardon the pun) from David Rees the author of How to Sharpen Pencils.

Alternatively you could make your choice from a range of basic sharpeners, the type you use over a bin, if you are prepared to spend a little more there are those that come in a canister & collect the shavings until you are ready to empty them.

Staedtler Mars Rotary Pencil Sharpener


This little gadget brings back memories of the classroom with recollections of standing in an orderly queue watching the shavings litter the floor many things have changed since then, not it seems the need for a Rotary Pencil Sharpener.

The Staedtler Mars Rotary pencil sharpener will hone any shape of pencil up to 12mm diameter to a fine point. With a metal rotary blade it has an automatic sharpening stop, a desk clamp & point adjuster that can be set long & sharp or short & blunt ideal for coloured pencils.

Stabilo Woody Pencil Sharpener

stabiloAs well as being used to sharpen Woody Pencils this sharpener is ideal for other pencils with a wider than average diameter. They have a red, blue or green translucent plastic finish.

Faber-Castell Trio Sharpener


These sharpening boxes will allow you to sharpen regular graphite, colour or jumbo pencils to a fine point using the sharp steel blades. Convenient to use on the go as you can empty the shavings when you’re ready.

Popular Brush Pens For Under £5

Brush pens have many uses from calligraphy to lettering & sketching. These flexible versatile pens could be seen as bridging the gap between pens & paint, a fountain pen with a brush tip instead of a metal nib. Some have real hair bristles, others are synthetic, some can be refilled using cartridges, others use ink converters. Brush Pens are available in a wide range of colours.

Sakura Pigma Brush Pen

This is a flexible two in one, it can write like a pen & paint like a brush with ink delivered through the sides & tip. The fine brush nib responds to changes in direction & pressure in an instant making anything possible from doodles to swirls & fine to broad lines. They are a popular choice with Illustrators & Cartoonists & are filled with Sakura’s renowned archival quality pigment ink which is quick drying & waterproof. They are available in 9 different colours.

Some of our satisfied customers tell us that the Sakura Pigma is a “Very good quality brush pen, with an excellent tip” & are “Great pens with a super fine brush tip and really dark ink color”

Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen

This versatile brush pen has a fine tip well suited to drawing consistent lines & use with stencils at one end with a durable soft brush at the other. The brush is ideal for applying colour to large areas.

These Tombow ABT pens are water based, odourless, acid free & non toxic. A single reservoir feeds both ends of the pen ensuring the colour is matched & they are available individually in a huge range of 96 colours as well as assorted packs. The Tombow web site is very informative & you can watch a tutorial here
Note: these pens are not light resistant

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen

This pen is great for a variety of tasks including drawing on canvas, sketching & illustrations. The pen can be rolled sideways to create a thick line & the high quality brush can be used straight & bent without breaking. With a wide range of over 50 colours to choose from light shades are ideal for varnishing techniques while the darker ones are good for covering large areas.

Other qualities include

  • Consistent & even ink flo
  • Lightfast
  • Acid Free
  • Pigment Ink
  • Odourless
  • Water Resistant

You can see some tips & demos from Franz Spohn in this You Tube video

Copic Sketch Markers

This Japanese brand is popular with manga artists, crafters & designers. This dual marker has a flexible brush at one end & chisel tip marker at the other. Both tips can be replaced, they are also refillable using various ink refill bottles. These markers come in a huge range of 358 colours, they have a strong plastic body & colour coded caps.

The Copic website is a mine of information, full workshops & tutorials, they will be releasing their new, original manga — iii Academy. An informational fantasy story filled with colors and comedy! very soon.  You can view it here

It can take some time for a beginner to get to grips with working with a brush pen but there is a lot of info to be found in the form of tutorials & You Tube vids & you know what they say about practice – it makes perfect.

USB Pens Are Luxury Novelties

Call me simple, but I love pens that have more than one function. Doesn’t really matter what they do besides write, as long as it’s something completely different.

That’s why I like USB pens – write with one end, steal top-secret files with the other.

Thing is, I’ve always thought of them essentially as novelties, as in pens that really are more just about fun than practicality. So I was a bit surprised to discover that there are USB pens made by some high-end brands.

Monteverde Invincia USB pen – carbon fiber-and-chrome ballpoint pen that contains a 4GB flash drive. Also has a tiny screwdriver for changing refills. Monteverde’s suggested retail: US$125.

Monteverde Invincia USB pen

Continue reading

3 Popular Fountain Pens Under £20

I’ve just seen yet another prediction signalling the end of the fountain pen. While Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO told ABC News he doesn’t think they will be around in 10 years time, reports suggest that sales of these age old writing instruments is rising, only time will tell the outcome.

Fountain Pens don’t need to be expensive, there are so many on offer to suit the beginner or those that just want something cheap & cheerful for everyday use for fear of losing something high end.

Here at Tiger Pens we stock a wide range of pens, whether you’re looking for something from the highly respected German brand Lamy, Japans oldest pen manufacture Pilot or a disposable fountain pen all budgets are catered for.

Here are 3 Popular Fountain Pens Under £20

Pilot V-Pen V4 Disposable Fountain Pen
This disposable pen has a medium nib & is available in 7 different colours including violet, light green & blue. The liquid ink is delivered through a steel nib via a V-System controller ensuring a smooth writing experience.


Lamy Safari Fountain Pen – Yellow
This popular pen has a strong plastic barrel, comfortable triangular shaped grip & metal pocket clip. There is a handy window to view the ink level just below the grip section, supplied with an ink cartridge the Safari can also be filled using a converter. This is one of Lamy’s best sellers & is available in a choice of fine, medium, broad or left handed nibs.

lamy yel

Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen Black
Based on an original 1930′s design this octagonal shaped pocket sized pen is just 10.5cm long when capped. Made from a tough yet lightweight plastic the cap displays branding & Kaweco’s characteristic logo. It has a strong gold plated/iridium nib that is available in 5 sizes. The Classic Sport uses short international cartridges but an optional converter is available. A pocket clip with a gold or chrome finish can be purchased separately. This fountain pen is available in other colours.


A lot of people still prefer writing by hand on paper over using a stylus on a touch screen. While there are folk that love the distinctive writing experience that a fountain pen offers I’ve no doubt there will be pen makers to equip them.

Tracking The History Of Writing Instruments

That pen you’re holding in your hand, probably designed with laser precision in some 21st century facility in Japan, has come a long way in the last 5,000 years or so.

quill penA recent piece on the patent history of ink pens over at IPWatchdog inspired us to round up a collection of timelines that describe the evolution of pens from the crude reeds used to carve clay in ancient Mesopotamia to some of the classics that we prize today.

A good place to start is a paper on the origins of writing instruments by the UK’s Writing Equipment Society. It traces the beginnings all the way back to 30,000 BCE when man was still drawing on cave walls and follows the trail through to the use of quill pens beginning about 1500 years ago. Continue reading

Pilot B2P – Eco Pens From the BegreeN Range

Here at Tiger Pens we aim to play our part in taking care of the environment. As well as a wide range of refills we stock a number of recycled pens including the BegreeN range from Pilot. These pens are made from a minimum of 70% recycled materials (excluding refills & inks).


Part of this range are B2P Bottle to Pens which are shaped to resemble the plastic water bottles that they are made from, they are the first pens to be made from recycled plastic.

All of these pens are retractable there are ballpoints with fine 0.7 & medium 1.0mm tips & pocket clips. They have blue transparent barrels complete with bubbles, the end caps are coded to the ink colours of black, red, blue & green.

The Pilot B2P Gel Ink Rollerball has a barrel designed to look like a mineral water bottle. The grips are suited to both left & right handed users. They are available with 0.5 & 0.7mm tungsten carbide tips, in 4 different colours & being eco friendly are of course refillable.

The latest addition is Pilot B2P Soda Ballpoint Pen with a 1.0mm nib. Pilot say “It’s got everything a bottle of soda has – from the rounded shape to the refreshing colours, right down to the bubbles in the plastic!” Available in Blackcurrant, Strawberry, Lime Green & Ice Blue, they can be refilled with Pilot RFJSGPM refills.

The Pilot web site has links to B2P TV with several fun videos explaining the benefits of recycling as well as a list of other interesting eco friendly facts & a game you can download to your phone or tablet you can check it out here.

Plus-Sized Fat Boy Pens Have The Look

I might be in love.

It’s one of those long-distance things. We haven’t met yet, but we will. Ohhh, we will.

The object of my affection is a pen. A very special-looking pen called the “Fat Boy.”

The Fat Boy is a wide-bodied pen about four inches in length and almost three times the diameter of a standard ballpoint pen. It has rubber grips and comes in an assortment of materials – aluminum, steel, copper, brass – and in unique designs with names like the Comet, the Silencer and the Teslacoil. Continue reading