Thursday, October 29, 2009

Notebooks, Journals, Sketches

Check out this giveaway at Notebook Stories for a chance to win a black PSN sketchbook.  It looks like a fairly decent notebook; there is also an excellent review of the PSN notebooks so you can decide whether you would like to win one or not.

In other news, I finally returned to my long-neglected journal last night, with some simple sketches:

I am still hoping to write a book review of Keeping a Nature Journal (whenever I do not have to study for an exam), as well as some reviews of pens and other supplies that I have around.  (I am trying to resist going to the campus bookstore to stock up on more stuff for a while.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Uni-ball Fusion

The Uni-ball Fusion has a 0.6mm line width (not 0.8mm, as I mistakenly wrote in my writing samples), and is available in blue, pink, purple, and grey.  I picked up a 2-pack with the pink and grey versions.  The Uni-ball Fusion has an eye-catching appearance, with its white colour and floral design on the barrel.  Some people may find it too "girly" but I think the floral pattern is fairly unobtrusive.  Overall I find it an attractive pen.

The grip is completely smooth - no ridges or anything - and it does feel a bit slippery and uncomfortable when writing.  Maybe it's just me, but the lid on the Uni-ball Fusion seems unusually long and it also does not click into place when posted on the back.  Probably I'm just being fussy here.

The Uni-ball Fusion writes smoothly, but I did notice that the colour of the ink when laid down on the page is not uniform.  I don't know if you can see this in the pictures or not, but some parts of the letters are darker than the others.  This was most noticeable in the grey and reminded me of how ballpoint pens sometimes form globs of ink at the tip.  I don't know if a similar thing was happening here.  The grey ink had a bluish or purplish tone to it (I would have preferred a more neutral grey) but the pink ink was a nice bright shade (although I have to admit I'm not a pink person).

The most unusual thing about this pen is the ink itself.  The "ink" in the barrel is a clear, somewhat milky fluid.  Obviously, somewhere between the barrel and the tip of the pen the colour must be added.  The package reads "ink starts out clear and flows to color" but I could not find any more information about this on the Uni-ball website.

If you want an attractive pen with some unique features, then Uni-ball Fusion could be the pen for you.

Note: These writing samples were written in my new Rhodia #11 pad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The margins of my school notes are filled with abstract geometric doodles.  Occasionally, I'll take a theme I particularly like and develop it further in my sketch book or I'll do some more extended doodles while trying out a new pen.

Left: Colours and boxes.  Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell watercolour pencils.  All doodles are in my Heinz Jordan 5"x8" Permanent Sketch Book.

I find that doodling while I'm in class actually helps me to concentrate on what the instructor is saying.  I also seem to be incapable of having a pen and a piece of paper in front of me and not be writing or drawing.  I just have to keep my hand busy.

Below left: Mandala with black and red overlapping scales.  Sharpie Pen.
Below right: Detail of a page of overlapping circles.  Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

Below: 3x3 coloured squares.  Staples Gel Mini.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm Lime Green

I'm sure many of you already know about the Uni-ball Signo DX, but I'm still discovering these pens so I thought I would share my thoughts on it with you.

First of all, I absolutely love this pen!

The fine line width (o.38mm) is great as it allows me to write very finely and neatly. The Uni-ball Signo DX is also available in 0.28mm, which I would also like to try. This pen writes very smoothly - I have never experienced any skipping or scratchiness with it - and it requires very little pressure when writing, which is good for me as I tend to grip my pens very firmly and press down quite firmly onto the page.

I love the lime green colour, which is light and bright without being too light to read easily (the writing sample does not do it justice). I definitely prefer this shade of green to the basic "ballpoint green" which is dull and uninspiring.

The physical appearance of the Uni-ball Signo DX is not particularly exciting. It is basic and functional but not as eye-catching and smart-looking as the similar Pentel Slicci. The grip of the Uni-ball Signo DX does not seem to come down far enough towards the tip but that may just be due to the way in which I hold my pen.

Overall, however, I absolutely love the Uni-ball Signo DX!

(I have also just figured out how to create triptychs using Photoshop, hence the pen photo at the beginning of the post.)

Related reviews: A Penchant for Paper (green black version), Pocket Blonde, No Pen Intended, Tools & Toys, Gourmet Pens, The Pen Addict (red), Kataish, The Pen Addict (bordeaux black), The Pen Addict (pink), The Pen Addict

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Traumatic Event

In my last post I mentioned my Ph.D. Multi, which I have had for years.  I am sad to report that I lost this pen today in biology class.  Somehow it slipped out of my pencil case (which I had carelessly forgotten to close).  I went back afterwards but my pen was gone.  It was not the greatest pen in the world and had become very worn and tattered, but I had become quite sentimentally attached to it because of the many years I had owned it.  I will probably not try to replace it because I have so many other pens but I will need to find a new mechanical pencil.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Essential School Supplies I Would Be Lost Without

  1. A pencil case. I would probably lose or break all of my pens and pencils without a case to put them in. My pencil case has one see-through compartment with pen loops (of course I have way more pens than loops) and a second compartment that I use for miscellaneous items such as a small ruler and a cloth for cleaning my glasses.
  2. Basic pen, pencil, and eraser. I carry many pens around, but these are the ones that I reach for most frequently when I'm at school. At home I use a greater variety. My basic pen is a ballpoint, which is cheap and dependable. I can lend it to other people without worrying about not getting it back and it is good for notes that will probably end up getting recycled anyway in a few years. A pencil is good for tests, calculations, and any other times when you might need to erase and redo your work. I've had my Papermate Ph.D. Multi for years. I has black and red ballpoints and a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. My eraser is a Sanford Speederase.
  3. "Planner." My "planner" is a small ruled notebook. I use it for my to-do list and reminders of appointments, things I need to buy, etc. The current notebook I'm using for this is a recycled Mead Fat Lil' Notebook that already had some notes in it. (This book will get thrown out when it is filled up so I didn't want anything fancy.) Complementing this is a small 2-year monthly calendar.
  4. Plastic folders. I bought 2 of these at Staples ages ago. They are made by Oxford but I know nothing else about them. They consist of five coloured plastic folders that fit into a single translucent white plastic case. I have five classes and these folders are essential in organizing the papers and notes that I need to take to class every day.
  5. Index cards. The only way I can effectively study is with index cards - I write key words on the front and the definitions on the back and use them as flash cards. I usually use the 3"x5" size; I have tried the 4"x6" cards but the smaller size is more portable and more easily held in the hand.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Still Here

I must apologize for the lack of posts. I am, if you did not know, a natural resource science student, which means that in September and early October, I go on field trips just about every weekend. I have also had many quizzes that I have had to study for. Needless to say, I have been fairly busy in the last few weeks and it feels like ages since I have tried any new office or school supplies.

And it has just begun to sink in that if I want to have two blogs and write regularly for both, that means I have to write twice as much. Right.

But don't go away! I have several posts planned for the future: perhaps some reviews of some of the pens I have laying around right now, a look at some of the most important supplies I use for school, and a book review of one of my favourite books on journaling, Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth. I would also like to drop by the campus bookstore and pick up one of the Rhodia notebooks I spotted there and perhaps a pen or two as well...
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