Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Obligatory Sharpie Pen Review

Everyone (in the pen world, that is) seems to be talking about the Sharpie Pen these days. Here's my thoughts on it:

First of all, the overall pen design has a smooth, modern appearance. The problem I have with it is that the only indicator of the pen colour is a narrow band near the base of the pen and four fine curved lines running along the length of the pen. I keep my Sharpie Pens in a case with several other pens, and I find it difficult to quickly locate the colour I want as the colour indicators are quite small and not very obvious.

I have heard many complaints about the uncomfortable grip section on the Sharpie Pen, and yes, that sharp edge cuts into my finger as well. However, this problem has supposedly been solved with the new retractable version of the Sharpie Pen.

The line width of the Sharpie Pen is a bit wider than I would prefer, despite the fact that the pen is labelled "fine." The ink is waterproof, which is nice if I want to use the pen with watercolours. I would show you the water test I did but there isn't much to look at as the ink was completely unaffected by the water. The Sharpie Pen ink does not bleed through the paper, but there is a fair bit of show-through on some papers.

I'm not overly thrilled with the colours. They are light and bright, but the green has too much of a bluish cast to it (this really showed up when I did a comparison of the green pens that I own) and overall the colours remind me of the markers that I used in elementary school. The only one that I regularly use in my journal is the black version. (The Sharpie Pen is apparently also available in purple and orange, but I haven't tried those.)

Overall, the Sharpie Pen is a decent pen that writes well and is available in several colours, but it is probably not going to become one of my favourites.

Related reviews: Pen and Design, The Pen Addict, OfficeSupplyGeek, Does This Pen Write?, Dose of Salt

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Does the Way You Write Affect Your Writing Style?

In seventh grade, we were required to write all of our assignments in cursive, using a pen. We had to underline the titles using a red pen and a ruler and we had to write our name and the date in the top right-hand corner of every page. The next year I went to high school, where there were no such rules (or at least not as many). I went back to writing with a pencil rather than a pen (especially as I took more math and science courses) and I stopped writing in cursive. I didn't really think much about it, until recently.

Last year, I came across a suggestion in The Decorated Journal by Gwen Diehn to try changing the way in which you write to loosen your writing and make the words flow more easily. At that time, when I wanted to write something (like a blog post), I would begin composing it on the computer. This method didn't work very well. I don't like computers much anyway, so staring at a computer screen was not the best way for me to get my creativity flowing.

So I grabbed an old ballpoint pen and some scrap paper and began writing - in cursive. I hardly remembered how to do it! But it worked. The words began to flow and I found myself enjoying the process of writing much more.

Now, this is the way I have to write - on scrap paper, with a ballpoint pen (which I otherwise don't like very much), in cursive. I don't know what it is - the smooth, flowing, rapid nature of the writing (I can write faster than I can type), or the throwaway nature of the paper and pen that allows me to write whatever comes into my mind, as well as to scribble, cross things out, and doodle in the margins.

How do you prefer to write - with a pen, a pencil, typed on a typewriter or computer, or etched in stone?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pen in My Pocket: Staples Gel Mini

Maybe I just have small pockets, but I have found that many pens and notebooks that people call "pocket-sized" are not, at least for me.

One item that is pocket-sized is a 1 1/2" x 2" pad of Post-it notes, perfect for jotting down a few words or sentences. All I needed was a pocket-sized pen to go with it. I had my eye on the Pilot G-2 Mini at JetPens, but then I saw a 12-pack of Staples brand mini gel pens for only $1.99. For that price, I thought I might as well give them a try.

I was not disappointed because the Staples Gel Mini is a very decent gel pen. The size is printed on the package as 0.8mm, which is larger than what I prefer (which is 0.5mm or smaller) but on paper, the black line width doesn't look much wider than that of my 0.5mm Pilot G-2. The pens write fairly smoothly, with the darker colours seeming to be the smoothest. I did experience some skipping with the light green, light blue, and light purple, with the light purple being the worst. The line width of the light purple also seems to be wider than that of the others.

The length of the pen with the cap on is 9.5cm (3.7in), and with the cap posted on the back it is 11cm (4.3in). Without the cap, the pen is slightly over 8cm (3.1in) long. Despite the short size, the Staples Gel Mini is surprisingly comfortable to write with, although I wouldn't want to write with one for a long time. Your own experience would probably depend on the way you hold your pens and on the size of your hands.

If you are looking for an inexpensive gel pen that you can easily keep in a pocket or just about anywhere else and which is also available in a multitude of colours, you could probably do worse than the Staples Gel Mini.

Related reviews: Shared Reviews, All This

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Green Pens

Ever since I can remember my favourite colour has been green so it is not surprising that I would have more pens in that colour than in any other.

From left to right:
And here are writing sample of these and a couple of others:
One thing I notice about this is how much bluer the green Sharpie Pen is than other green pens. It certainly stands out from the others.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Many Notebooks and Pens

Here's a photo of all of the notebooks and journals that I have used in the past or that I am currently using. I can't guarantee that all of the notebooks I own are in this pile; I wouldn't be surprised is there is one or two that I missed. This pile also does not include notebooks I have used for school, which usually get recycled at the end of the year. If it did, the pile would be much larger!

And here's a photo of most of my pens, mechanical pencils, and highlighters (and I think two markers got in there as well). The bottom row contains highlighters, markers, and mechanical pencils; the middle row gel pens and a case of Staedtler triplus fineliners; and the top row is miscellaneous.

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