Tag Archives: pen reviews

Artline Drawing System Pen 0.5mm

Artline drawing system pens are made by Shachihata, established in 1925 initially producing stamp pads. The company has developed over the years, regularly releasing a variety of markers & writing instruments.

Drawing-System-05mm-Black

Drawing system pens are amongst their best sellers, the Artline Drawing System 0.5mm was launched in 2011 & is ideal for technical drawing, graphic design & illustrating. Despite computer aided design systems becoming common place, drawing boards can still be found in the offices of engineers & architects with some claiming that clients prefer to see hand drawing as it gives a more realistic view, as you’d expect there are still many that think there is a place for both so my guess is this type of pen will be around for some time.

The Artline 0.5mm drawing system pen has a friction proof plastic nib enabling a consistent line to be achieved. The metal collar & sleeve makes these pens well suited to use with stencils & rulers as well as sketching, drawing & writing.

Other features include

  • Water Based Pigment Ink
  • Xylene free
  • Conform to British Standards & RoHS (Restriction of Use of Hazardous Substances)
  • Fade Resistant

When it came to using this pen I was disappointed that I couldn’t post the cap, this made it feel really short & uncomfortable in my hand. I took the opportunity to try my hand at a touch of stencilling….OK a little more practice is needed on my part but this drawing pen did complete the task in hand.

Optimized-IMG_0076

On the positive side the cap was well fitting over the nib, snapping firmly to prevent the nib drying out & it has a sturdy metal pocket clip. The grip was basic consisting of a few rows of narrow lines, but it did prevent my fingers slipping.

Uni-ball Insight UB-211 Rollerball Pen 0.7mm – Review

On a dark grey day picking up a bright pink pen was no great hardship, although putting pen to paper & producing an interesting read to an old friend proved a little more difficult so I decided to write this review instead.

Uni-Ball-Insight-UB-211-Wine

The pen in hand is a Uni-ball Insight UB-211 Rollerball in wine, the 0.7mm tip writes a fine 0.5mm line & its available in 6 colourful shades.

The barrel is colour coded with the ink & has a transparent grip section & window down the full length of the pen which oddly I’ve seen referred to as an inkometer. Whilst useful for keeping an eye on the ink level this pen is refillable so there’s no reason to worry about running out mid sentence. On the subject of the refills, they are pretty much the entire pen, when replacing them all that remains of the original is the cap & sleeve below the (non existent) grip which doesn’t seem very eco friendly, so can’t second guess Uni-ball’s reasoning there. I can’t say the Insight has much of a grip either, all that prevents my fingers slipping is the ledge leading to the tungsten carbide ball. The cap is pink & has a fairly firm pocket clip with black edging.

As for the writing experience it proved to be as smooth as expected with all the benefits of Super ink with its outstanding resistance to light, water & chemicals, you can be sure that anything you sign your name to will remain secure. This rollerball also has the Uni-flow ink system regulating a steady flow of liquid ink which delivered a bright pink line on the page & although it appeared wet it didn’t smudge. There was no blobbing or skipping & it didn’t bleed through the paper.

So to conclude on the positive side the Uni Insight didn’t skip, there was no blobbing & the ink stands out on paper. The downside for me was the lack of grip, which did cause a little strain after a while also the refills replacing almost half of the pen, in fact given the price of this Insight I probably wouldn’t bother.

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Uni-Ball Vision Elite UB-205 – Review

The vision elite range of pens offer a consistent flow of liquid ink for a smooth writing experience. The unique uni-ball super ink is airplane safe, water resistant & of archival quality.

UNI-Ball-UB-205-Black

I have always liked rollerballs, they have been around since the early 60′s having been designed to give the convenience of a ballpoint giving the effect of a fountain pen.

Having reviewed its counterpart the UB-200 some while ago I now have a Uni-Ball Vision Elite UB-205 poised as I prepare to put pen to paper to write an old fashioned letter.

Appearance
This pen has a hard black plastic barrel, matching the ink colour. The transparent textured grip is handy for keeping an eye on the ink level. The well fitted cap has been designed to avoid a child choking & has a colour coded section to identify the ink & snaps on nicely. There are a series of three oval shapes on the metal clip which although sturdy I didn’t find it very flexible making it difficult when I wanted to attach it to my notepad.

My writing experience was positive, the 0.5 tip writes a fine 0.4mm line & the Super Ink lived up to my expectations having read that the science behind it means it’s

  • Fade resistant – ensures long lasting colour that doesn’t fade over time even in bright sunlight
  • Resists Solvents making it tamper proof & providing security against document fraud
  • Quick drying – due to low viscosity means risk of smudging is reduced
  • Smooth fast, fatigue free writing – as the ink delivery system lubricates the rolling ball as well as putting ink on the page
  • Airplane Safe – no risk of leaks during changes of pressure in-flight

As I came to the end of my rather long letter I didn’t have any of the aches or pains sometimes experience after gripping a pen too tightly, the writing was smooth & relatively tidy for me, although it was written at some speed. This leads me to the decision to leave this particular Uni-ball well within my vision ready & waiting for my next writing session.

 

Sharpie Professional Marker – Review

Since turning their focus to markers 50 years ago Sharpie have produced markers for a range of uses. The Sharpie Professional is a permanent marker that apparently lasts 50% longer than standard Sharpies.

Sharpie-Professional-Marker

I have a Sharpie Professional Marker in black. The grey plastic barrel has yellow rubberised inserts which make for a non slip grip & the oval shaped design of the cap & barrel mean they won’t roll of working surfaces. There are 3 small raised squares positioned either side of the cap. These are in line with the yellow rubber section & make it easy to remove the cap if wearing gloves.

These markers have a versatile chisel tip that writes a 1.5 & 5.3mm line width. Designed for professional use, these Sharpies work on most surfaces & are suited to rough conditions so I’d expect to find them in action in warehouses or on building sites.

Benefits

  • Can be used on wet, oily & non porous surfaces
  • Water & fade resistant
  • Last 50% longer than standard markers
  • Quick drying ink
  • Oval shaped barrel
  • Cap is easy to remove
  • Non Toxic

I usually like to add a written sample in the reviews but found it a bit difficult on this occasion. As I doodled I noticed that the ink did bleed through several pages, but as they’re designed for more heavy duty work I doubt that will be an issue for most users.

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3 Popular Stabilo Colouring Pens

Colouring has always been a popular activity for kids.With the trend for adults using the pastime for therapy we thought we’d feature 3 Stabilo Colouring Pens, suitable for artists & kids alike.

Stabilo Trio Scribbi Felt Pen

trio

With its push resistant thick tip the award winning Stabilo Trio Scribbi is almost indestructible making it ideal for the young budding artist just starting out on their first work of art. With its triangular ergonomic grip & chunky barrel the Scribbi helps children get a tight grip of the pen. They write a 1.5 – 2.0mm line & there are 12 vibrant washable colours to choose from.

Stabilo Pen 68 Fibre Tipped Pen

68

The Stabilo Pen 68 is great for underlining or colouring large areas. The fibre tipped nib writes a 1mm line & the cap can be left off for up to 24 hours before drying out. These pens have a push resistant tip that allows the odourless water based aquarellable pigment ink to flow evenly. Aquarelle is one of oldest forms of painting, this technique can be used to create a transparent washed out blurred look. The Stabilo 68 range is huge with 46 colours to choose from including 6 fluorescent shades.

Stabilo Cappi Colouring Pens – Wallet of 12

cappi

The ergonomic grip on the Cappi Colouring Pens is ideal for little hands & the tube shaped design prevents them from rolling away easily.

These fibre tipped pens write a 1mm line & as well as coming in a handy wallet. The Cappi has a ringed cap making it easy to tie them together, it can also guard against them slipping through small hands. They are a child friendly colouring pen with ventilated caps just in case they are swallowed & the ink can be washed away.

If you you’re looking for some ideas or inspiration for the next colouring project why not take a look at the Win & Fun page.

We hope you found our selection useful, please let us know if there is anything you would like to see in future posts we would love to hear from you.

Pilot Fineliner Pen SW-PPF – Review

Fineliners are generally used for drawing & sketching, some people prefer them for writing & they are also ideal when working with rulers & templates.

Pilot-Fineliner-Black

The Pilot Fineliner Pen SW-PPF is referred to as the original fineliner. It has a relatively slim barrel, the cap has a durable metal pocket clip & white end stopper. The plastic 1.2mm nib writes a 0.4mm line & is reinforced with a metal sleeve. Available in black, blue, red & green with the barrel matching the ink, the only distraction are the words Pilot Fineliner.

When it comes down to looks this water based fineliner is more stylish than say the Berol Fine Line, just my opinion you understand. If I didn’t know better I’d say that was down to having different markets, when I think of Berol its usually for children’s pens & pencils. However Pilot claim they have many students as customers & that they target “through its sponsorship of student events” & Berol produce a wide variety products that they say are “suitable for both children and adults” so that puts paid to my theory.

Moving on to writing, I usually prefer a medium tip but still found this pen to be a smooth writer that was comfortable to hold. Despite not having a specific grip (just a couple of steps between the tip & centre of the pen) my fingers didn’t slip.

I keep coming across the fact that the fine nib of these pens makes them ideal for writing with carbon copies. These words bring back memories of rows of ladies sitting pounding the keys of their typewriters. It’s hard to imagine life in the office now without computers & photo copiers, but recall them I do & carbon paper was widely used, all very well until you made a mistake! I’d have thought the messy black stuff was now obsolete so was surprised to discover there are still a few companies making it.

Anyway, as I don’t have cause for using carbon paper & the only thing I draw are match stick men whilst doodling I can’t see me making a B-line for the Pilot Fineliner, but horses for courses as they say it could be just what you’re looking for.

Zebra Z Grip Max Gel Pen – Review

Although gel pens are fairly recent as a product of the 80′s, they have become very popular. I usually expect them to make a bold & vibrant statement due to the viscosity of the ink.

Zebra Z-Grip Max Gel Pen

The Zebra Z-Grip Max Gel Pen is retractable with a 0.7mm tip. They are available in 5 colours, for this review I’m using violet. The plastic barrel matches the ink, it is joined to a nice chunky rubberised grip with a shiny chrome coloured ring. The pocket clip & nib housing has the same metal finish.

The Z Grip Max Gel has check safe ink that Zebra claim gives an easy glide performance, it’s of archival quality & acid free. When it came to my writing experience I was initially disappointed. Having previously used a Z grip Flight & Z grip Max pens, although both ballpoints they provided a smooth easy write straight from the off.

As I started my first paragraph with the gel version it proved to be far from consistent, it skipped leaving gaps in almost every word, much to my annoyance. Feeling it should be given a fair crack I persisted & lo & behold this Max Gel rose to the challenge. As the written sample shows, no skipping is evident.

I found this pen very comfortable to use, my preference for chunky barrels & grips could have swayed it a little, but add to that the positive rattle free click when the tip is retracted & the vibrant colour of the ink I’ll certainly be keeping this zebra close to hand.

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Pentel Superb Ballpoint Pen Review

Described by Pentel as the original ballpoint the Pentel Superb is part of a large range of writing instruments brought to market by a company that have been making pens for over 60 years.

Pentel-BK77-B

Appearance
The Pentel Superb Ballpoint Pen BK77 has a slim transparent barrel, the end cap & ball in the cap match the ink colour. The nib is encased in a bright sliver coloured housing. These pens have been designed in such a way that they apparently clean themselves every time the cap is replaced, the purpose of the ball in the lid maybe? There is also a handy pocket clip that hosts the branding.

Performance
I’ve written about my preference for a squishy rubberised grip section in the past. Clearly these would not fit with the design of this ballpoint but they do have three very subtle panels that I can best describe as horizontal rows of lines. These did provide a resting place for my fingers but I didn’t find the pen comfortable to use for long periods as I felt the need to grasp it tightly, resulting in cramp. When it came to the writing the Superb was smooth & the oil based ink certainly left a clean looking line on the page without clogging. The 0.7mm nib writes a fine 0.35mm line & I’d say it would be possible to squeeze a lot of notes into a small space if necessary.

Looking through some of the reviews, quite a few people comment that the Pentel Superb proves to be very economical due to its long lasting ink. When it does eventually give up the ghost the pen can be refilled by simply unscrewing the silver nib housing, removing the refill & replacing with a BKL7.

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Edding 1255 Calligraphy Pen Review

Although Calligraphy has been around for centuries the writing instruments used have come a long way since the quill pen. Modern day calligraphy tools include markers, these are popular as they are a handy instant option.

1255-Calligraphy-2mm-SteelBlue

The Edding 1255 Calligraphy Pen has a square cut fibre tip & contains a water based pigmented ink. This is resistant to water & light, with the added benefit of not smudging or bleeding through the paper.

This disposable marker has a black barrel with silver branding & info, the lid, nib housing & end cap corresponds to the ink colour. Unlike some other calligraphy markers they don’t have a defined grip section this doesn’t make it easy to change the width of the text without adding more pressure. I imagine this could lead to a tired hand after a short period of time.

A 2.0mm tip & steel blue ink was used for the written sample, the edding 1255 is also available with 3.5 & 5.0mm nibs in a choice of 5 colours.

If you want to learn more about this ancient art, edding have a Calligraphy Training course that will take you through your paces with the help of videos, presented by their very own expert Birgit Nass. As well as the basics you will be given instructions on achieving different effects using letter height. There are also ideas on labelling a wine bottle & gift bag along with tips for writing on terracotta, metal & stone.

Whilst computers can replicate many different fonts using desktop publishing there is still a call for the hand made form of this art because of its uniqueness, these edding markers can help you hone the skill.

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Uni Clipturn MSE 800 Multi Functional Pen & Pencil – Review

A Multi-functional pen/pencil is likely to come in handy if you are one of those people that is always on the go yet needs a pen to hand, maybe you need to correct papers in a different colour or make notes that can be erased.

Uni-MSE-800-Clipturn

The Uni Clipturn MSE 800 Multi-function Pen & Pencil has black & red ballpoints & a mechanical pencil. The ballpoints have 0.7mm tips whilst the pencil uses 0.5mm leads, the eraser beneath the end cap is a useful addition. The clip on this multi pen will turn a full 360° enabling it to be fixed at any angle you like. There is also an eyelet should you want to attach a cord. The Clipturn can be refilled with Uni S7-L & standard 0.5mm leads.

How does it work?
This is a pen of the chunky variety, the barrel has a large black rubberised grip with a section in the middle that makes the changes, the rest is a metallic silver colour. It is easy to make your selection, simply twist the middle section whilst holding the silver area above the grip then line up the red notch with the black, red or 0.5mm text. To retract the nib just align with one of the black horizontal lines.

Writing experience
I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively fine line that the Clipturn left on the page, even though I knew it had a 0.7mm tip its appearance gave me the impression it would be wider somehow. This smooth writer was comfortable to use & the large grip meant that it was easy to write for long periods without tiring.

How to refill
Holding the centre of the pen simply twist the barrel clockwise & unscrew. I found I needed to pull the refill harder than expected which made me worry I’d damage the pen. This was probably made worse as I can be heavy handed & had read that some users complained about breakages. I needn’t have worried as I found this multi pen to be pretty durable.

When it came to replacing the refill that was a little fiddly but once I’d located the small holes a firm push was all that was required to secure it in place.

Stabilo Worker Colourful Rollerball Review

When I read that Stabilo had a pen that could improve my writing skills I took note. Despite spending many hours hitting the keyboard I still frequently end up with a pen in hand. The longer I write for the more untidy the text gets, with that in mind I put the Stabilo Worker Colourful Rollerball to the test.

Stabilo Worker Colourful Rollerball Review

I chose to use a green worker, this was in colour only as this Stabilo doesn’t appear to have any green credentials on the environmental front. It was also noted that although I’ve seen the earlier (original) orange model referred to as being ergonomic I couldn’t find a mention of the same for this updated edition. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough as I happened to have an orange version close by & on inspection couldn’t see any difference.

This rollerball has a completely non slip barrel, a bit like a full length grip that means it is very comfortable to work with. The medium ball writes a 0.5mm line & partnered with Stabilo’s progressive liquid ink technology this worker delivers a smooth writing experience all day long.

The cap on these rollerballs is short & stubby with a wider than average sturdy yet stylish metal pocket clip that has pride of place. The colourful barrels have a number of white accents in the form of 3 circles, nib housing, end cap along with a central panel housing the branding.

These pens are available with red, green, black & blue barrels, all have matching ink. The tag line promising that one “brightens up a dull day” is apt, this green worker has earned a space on my desk for sure.

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Pentel Energel BL60 Liquid Gel Ink Pen – Review

Many rollerballs have liquid ink & because this soaks quickly into the paper it can bleed & cause feathering. Due to Pentel’s innovative high performance ink technology the Energel XM has the best of both worlds going for it. Containing a hybrid of liquid & gel ink this pen is a smooth writer with the added benefit of being very quick drying, so good for left handers.

Pentell Energel BL60 Liquid Gel Ink Pen

The Energel XM BL60 Liquid Gel Ink Pen is part of the recycology range & Pentel say its made from a minimum of 50% recycled material. Another bonus for eco friendly fans is that it can be refilled with LR10 refills.

This traditional capped liquid gel ink rollerball has a 1.0mm metal ball that makes an appearance through a smokey grey translucent nib housing. It has a stylish gunmetal grey barrel & positive fitting cap with a sturdy metal pocket clip. I appreciate that the name is a giveaway as far as the intention of use is concerned (as in pocket) but I’m sure I’m not the only one that clips pens to note pads or other papers am I? Well this one wouldn’t stretch to more than a couple of sheets, possible because it is so strong making it less flexible.

I love the rubberised grip section, it has a series of wave like grooves & performs well on the anti slip front. Oh & I forgot to mention its also latex free, making it an option for those with sensitive skin. These particular Energel pens are also available in red & blue, & the barrels match the ink colour.

Despite being a little on the broad side for my liking, preferring a 0.5 or 0.7 nib, this Pentel performed well enough resulting in an easy going write, albeit a little scruffy. This is what seems to happen when I have a 1.0mm tipped pen in my hand for some reason, maybe that’s something for another post.

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Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Pen Review

Some may argue you’ve seen one ballpoint you’ve seen them all but Pilot have tried to ring the changes with the SnapClick.

Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Pen

The body of the Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Pen has a comfy rubberised grip that is met by a transparent section exposing the springed section that operates the retractable nib. This see through window also reveals the ink level, a nice little feature to have if running out of ink will spoil your day. What is less common about this ballpoint is not the protracting nib which operates by pressing the button that is bog standard, the difference comes in to play when you want the nib to retract, by pushing on the top of the pocket clip. The design of the SnapClick is a little unusual, but does it add anything to the pen? I’ll leave that to you to decide.

I do think that it must be difficult for designers sometimes, always having to come up with something new to please appease the good old consumers, but then there are worst things to do for a living & someones gotta do it.

The SnapClick is refillable with Pilots RFGPM refills which are a little longer than average & the medium nib writes a 0.31mm line. The choice of 6 oil based ink colours is also better than the norm offering a nice orange & light blue turquoisey shade. Pilot say that oil based ink usually lasts 3 years as opposed to some other types lasting 2 on average, not that I’ve ever used a pen for more than a few months but there you go, that’s just me. The pocket clip/button also releases the nib when attached to your pocket or notepad & can be clipped on thicker than average pads or clothing. So a few differences there to be fair.

As for the writing experience, its a ballpoint, nothing wrong with that it did what was required & landed a bunch of text on the page. The grip was comfy & non slip but as far as looks go the Pilot Snapclick doesn’t get my vote.

Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Written Review

Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Written Review

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Stabilo pointVisco Gel Rollerball Review

It seems that just lately I’ve seen a fair few pens with hexagonal shaped barrels land on my desk. The most recent being a Stabilo pointVisco so here goes with a review.

Stabilo pointVisco gel rollerball

The Stabilo pointVisco Gel Rollerball is a little different as the shaping is confined to the bottom half of the pen. The fruity two tone tangerine orange barrel has a comfy rubber grip section with 3 hexagonal type shaped panels outlined in white just below it. One section is partly covered by the pocket clip, with the branding & product details stamped in black on either side.

As I start to write I notice the ink oozing from the fine 0.5 tip is smooth & quick drying. Not sure what I make of the claim that it’s formulated so that you can write faster, just how fast is fast? I had visions of a row of people sitting in a line overlooked by a mad professor type standing with a stopwatch.

The pointVisco is available in 10 striking colours, all have orange barrels with the grip section, pocket clip & end caps denoting the shade of the ink. The cap posted well but on a negative note I didn’t find the clip suited to my thick writing pad.

That said the Stabilo pointVisco has clearly impressed having won the iF product design award. iF has been hosting design awards since 1953, dishing out gongs to some 35,000 products & Stabilo have had a fair amount of success.

I found the orange pointVisco easy to write with, the colour was bright & lively & the ink didn’t smudge thanks to its quick drying properties.

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Staedtler Graphite 762 Mechanical Pencil – Review

The way I see it the choice between mechanical or wooden pencil is purely personal. Some may argue that the former is more eco friendly due to its re-usability factor, but its ultimate resting place will be landfill. With regards to the wooden type what about the sacrifice that trees make to their production?

Staedtler Graphite 762 Mechanical Pencil

From one of the oldest pencil companies around is the Staedtler Graphite 762 Mechanical Pencil, as this is not something you can try before you buy here is a list of its features

  • Rubbery grip section – for non slip writing experience
  • PVC & Latex free refillable eraser – stored underneath the cap for safe keeping
  • Push button lead advance – conveniently positioned on the side for ease of use
  • Approximately 15cm long
  • Supplied with B grade 0.5mm lead
  • Available with blue, green or red barrels

I found the lightweight plastic barrel comfortable to hold & the soft grip section kept my fingers securely in place despite it being a particularly hot & sticky day. The fine 0.5mm lead did allow me to pare down my large writing, so would lend itself nicely to use in small spaces or the nooks & crannies of those pocket diaries, should the need arise. I didn’t find the clip particularly sturdy but nevertheless it is fit for purpose. The eraser was excellent removing text in one fell swoop.

There will always be a place for pens & pencils no matter how many computerised systems are invented. There will still be a need for draughtsman (known as drafters in the US) working alongside CAD systems & I can’t see a machine competing with the likes of Monet or Van Gogh, not in my lifetime anyway.

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Zebra F-301 Stainless Steel Ballpoint – Review

I’ve written before that a ballpoint will not be the first pen I reach for but in the interest of equality I’m going to take a look at the Zebra F-301 with black ink.

Zebra-F301 Stainless Steel Ballpoint

We’ve all heard about the importance of making a good first impression whatever the circumstances be it a business meeting, interview even a first date. In my world that first glance at a pen will often prompt a take it or leave it moment, so I wonder what response the F-301 will stir up.

The Zebra F-301 Stainless Steel Ballpoint is a relatively slim retractable ballpoint that gives an initial feeling of being shorter than the average, but at 13cm this is not the case. Predominantly silver, its stainless steel body is separated by a ridged black plastic grip & all finished off with a matt black section housing the clip.

Pros

Attractive stylish design.

Positive, sturdy retractable button.

A smooth writer.

Cons

Some reviews seem to suggest longevity is not one of its best features, although this ballpoint is easily refillable using Zebra F refills.

The button has an annoying rattle with the nib exposed when writing.

Skips on occasion.

I’m not a fan of the grip section, finding it a little too rigid & would prefer something a little softer.

These ballpoints have 1.0mm tips, they are also available in blue ink with colour coded accents.

Despite the fact I’ve highlighted some negative points, this pen is fairly attractive to look at & being a ballpoint you’ll be able to scribble a note on pretty much any paper, it performed perfectly well on a shiny birthday card, post it notes & different quality paper. It’s reasonable price tag means you won’t have to panic if you leave it lying around for fear of it going missing.

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Manuscript Callicreative Italic Metallic Marker – Review

Italic writing has been around for centuries. Used by the Romans & Greeks who have left their mark on ancient buildings & monuments everywhere.

Look around & you will see many Italic pens on the market, one manufacturer is the Manuscript Pen Co. who are celebrating their 25th year, although their association with D. Leonardt & Co, goes way back as far as 1856.

Manuscript Callicreative Italic Metallic Marker

Renowned for top quality products, the Manuscript range includes the Callicreative Italic Metallic Marker, this has a medium 2.4mm nib & is ideal for anything from signing cards, arts & crafts or just splendid writing. These pens are easy to use & have washable pigment ink so if any young crafters want to get inspired & put their skills to the test, they may like to enter a competition or two. Manuscript currently have a couple online, the closing date is 31st July so there’s still time to enter.

The Manuscript Callicreative Italic Metallic Markers are disposable & have an ergonomically shaped grip section, they come in a handy reusable blister pack containing a gold & silver pen, there is also a leaflet with a few guidelines to get you started. These pens have long lasting fibre tips & the design helps the ink to flow easily without any annoying pauses that mean you have to shake the living daylights out of it.

Whether you want to practice your signature, partake in a spot of crafting or hone your calligraphy skills these metallic markers will get the job done far quicker than cutting into stone & I for one will be adding them to my arsenal of writing instruments.

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Sharpie W10 Permanent Marker – Review

Sharpie markers have come a long way since they were introduced back in 1964. American manufacturer Sanford shined the spotlight on an emerging market & the first pen style marker in the form of a Sharpie Fine Point was born.

Sharpie W10 Permanent Marker

Markers can be used for a number of different tasks & projects, they can be found in a variety of styles, sizes & colours. It wasn’t until 2002 that the Chisel tip made an appearance, the wedge shaped point can produce both fine & broad lines depending on how it is held.

The Sharpie W10 Permanent Marker has

  • A hard wearing bonded chisel tip that lays down a 1.2 – 5mm line
  • Fade & water resistant ink
  • A reflow ink system & can still be used for up to 21 days if left uncapped

This marker is available in black, red, blue & green, the chunky barrel’s have colour coded grips & caps with a good ink capacity.

I like to use chisel markers for labels, storage boxes & the like, they also come in handy if I want to cover personal info before recycling etc. I found the W10 to be a smooth writer that also stood up to a water test following an unintentional spillage on the table.

Markers can be used on mirrors, glass, plastic, metal & fabric, they are also ideal for making the odd poster. Personally I’m not a fan of the art work that you see daubed on buildings but I’m sure the odd marker or two often finds it way into the pockets of the odd budding graffiti artist judging by the tag lines I see on my travels.

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Uni-ball Signo Gel Stick UM-170 – Review

Gel ink pens haven’t been around as long as many of their counterparts but they do have their advantages. They offer a larger range of colours & can provide fluorescent & metallic shades that are visible on darker surfaces.

Uni-ball- Signo Gel Stick UM-170 - Review

The Uni-ball Signo Gel Stick UM-170 contains Uni’s unique Super Ink, this pigment ink is tamper proof & resistant to fading & water, once the ink is dry it can’t be removed.

This simple yet stylish looking gel pen has a 0.7mm tungsten carbide ball that writes a 0.4mm line. Available in 8 different colours, I can personally vouch for the pink, the super ink is as vibrant as the plastic barrel. It is an everyday pen, but makes a refreshing change from using your conventional black or blue ink when you want to add a little colour to the notebook.

I generally like to post the cap on my pen as I write, but in this instance chose to leave it on the desk as clasping this pen brought back memories of standing on the oche at a darts match preparing to aim for the score of my dreams & subconsciously started practising my aim, getting ready to launch at the imaginary dart board to the left of my monitor.

Overall this Uni-ball gel ink pen proved to be a smooth writer that could be equally useful in the home, classroom or workplace, most of the time. Apparently the disadvantage of some gel pens is that they can tend to skip & don’t write so well on shiny surfaces, I found this to be the case on some paper & whilst the ink did stand out on a dark page the colour changed (as can be seen in the written example) so something to think about if you have a particular task in mind.

All in all a positive review, an easy going pen that was comfy to use & would brighten up any page, however dull the content.

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Staedtler Triplus Ball Pen (431M) – Review

Triangular shaped pens are not something that I tend to associate with ergonomic designs. Writing instruments with this label usually fall into 2 categories. A large range are aimed at the younger market for children just learning to write & as they grow helping them achieve the correct grip & posture in order to hone their penmanship skills & avoid future discomfort.

I am familiar with ergonomic pens aimed at prolific writers & those that suffer from arthritis other health issues or grip problems. These come in a variety of different shapes & sizes, the Staedtler Triplus Ball Pen (431M) is part of a range that includes pens, pencils, highlighters & fineliners, they all have a characteristic triangular barrel.

In relation to pens & pencils my understanding of “ergonomic” is that the design should fit nicely in the hand & have a good grip limiting fatigue & stress on the joints. This is a market that has grown as people have become more aware of health issues, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury & the like. Writing strain is a common problem caused by excessive pressure on the fingers, often associated with the hands slipping along the barrel causing us to grip harder initially leading to cramp & often more serious symptoms.

The medium tip on these pens writes a 0.45mm line, they are available individually or in packs of 10 with a choice of black, blue, red & green ink, they can also be refilled.

I found the Staedtler Triplus ball pen relatively comfortable to hold although I missed having a defined grip section, thinking about that it may be psychological as the triangular rubberised barrel did stop my fingers slipping. This pen proved to be a smooth writer but wouldn’t be my first choice if I wanted to take notes in a hurry as I struggled to take the cap off! On a more positive note the waterproof permanent ink did leave me confident that my signature would remain in place should I need to leave my mark on any important documents, it also has the added bonus of being airplane safe.

The medium tip on these pens writes a 0.45mm line, they are available individually or in packs of 10 with a choice of black, blue, red & green ink. Should you decide to they can be refilled.

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