Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pentel Slicci Metallic 0.8mm Bronze

Since I love the standard Pentel Slicci gel ink pens, I was eager to try out the metallic version.  I did not really expect to be disappointed with it, and I was not.

I picked up the bronze, and at 0.8mm, the metallic Pentel Slicci writes just as well as, if not better than, its finer-tipped cousins.  Ordinarily I would be turned off by the 0.8mm line width, which is a bit wider than I prefer, but a metallic pen is typically not something that I would think of using for everyday writing.  I think the metallic Pentel Slicci would be excellent for signing greeting cards, scrapbooking, art journaling, creating mandalas, etc.

This pen does write on dark paper as well as on light, as shown in the photograph above, yet does not seem ideal for dark paper.  Although the writing was legible, it did not stand out very well on the dark paper (the photograph actually makes it appear better than it really was).  Of course, the type of paper you use will no doubt influence your results.  I used standard cardstock such is commonly used in scrapbooking.  (The white graph paper is, of course, a Rhodia pad.)

Metallic Slicci (top) and standard Slicci (bottom) compared.

There are some slight differences between this pen and the standard Slicci, mainly in the design of the barrel.  The standard Pentel Slicci has a barrel that is the same colour as the ink, while the metallic Slicci has a clear barrel with rows of silver dots on the top and bottom.  Also, the standard Slicci has a silver-coloured clip, while the metallic Slicci has a clip that is the colour of the ink.  I think that I prefer the standard design, but this is really a very minor issue.

Again, I picked up the bronze version, which I really like.  I wanted something that was different from the gold and silver metallic pens that I already own.  The bronze is a pleasant metallic orange-brown.  The metallic nature of the ink is not an in-your-face sort of metallic, but is a bit more subtle.  Overall, this is an excellent pen for people looking for a good metallic pen or simply for something a bit different.

Related reviews: deliberately kp, Lung Sketching Scrolls, The Pen Addict, Mightier Than the Sword

Friday, April 16, 2010

Questions from and to Readers

A recent commenter asked this question:
"Where's a good place to pick up inexpensive quality journals?"
As I am just beginning to discover the world of journals, notebooks, and pens myself, I did not have a good answer for him.  I tend to just happen upon journals here and there in small, out-of-the-way places.

So, to my readers, where do you buy your journals and notebooks?  What places would you recommend to others?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Uni-ball Vision Fine - Green

The Uni-ball Vision is another liquid ink pen that I wanted to try out.  Although I have no complaints about the writing ability of this pen, I was put off by the description of this pen as "fine."  To me, it is not fine at all, and "medium" would be a far better descriptor.

The Uni-ball Vision is a professional, smart-looking pen, if that's important to you, and its medium-wide body makes it fairly comfortable to use (for me, anyway).  The ink is waterproof and fadeproof, and the black, blue, and red versions can be used to prevent check washing.  The green ink of my version has a blue shade to it, which I do not care for (I prefer more yellow greens), but that is only my personal preference.

This pen and the Uni-ball Fusion are very similar, both in their writing ability and basic physical appearance.  At 0.7mm, the Vision writes with a slightly wider line than the Fusion at 0.6mm, and feels slightly smoother.

Vision (bottom) and Fusion (above) compared.

Someone with larger handwriting would probably enjoy this pen, but the line width is simply too wide for me to really like it for writing with.  It can, however, be used to create passable mandalas, and I do rather enjoy using it for doodling and drawing with.

Related review: Pen Swag

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Journal: Telling the Story of My Life, Day by Day

My profile description reads that I am a "keeper of many journals."  This is true, but there is still only one main journal, the journal that gets written in every day, the journal that I turn to early in the mornings before the day has really begun and late at night before I go to bed.  It is the journal that I turn to when I am upset or angry or sad, and I simply must get some words out on the page.  This is that journal:

In appearance, it is plain and simple - a small, black-covered, unlined Quo Vadis Habana notebook.  I never thought that I would be a "little black notebook" kind of person, but here it is.  I write in it mainly with 0.3mm Pentel Slicci gel pens because they allow me to write very small letters.  I use different colours to distinguish the daily entries from each other.

The entries in my journal are short - usually a paragraph, sometimes only a few lines, rarely an entire page.  I mostly write about the weather (yes, my life really is that uneventful).  For example, yesterday's entry began with, "A clear, cold, bright, cloudless morning.  The sky is the palest of hazy blues at the horizon fading to deeper blue at the zenith.  Robins singing."  The entry concluded a few lines later with, "Fairly cool all day, and becoming slightly windy by evening."  Entries may also include notes on how much studying I did (or did not) get done, whether I went grocery shopping or did laundry, whether I wrote any blog posts, etc.

I don't use this journal for stream-of-consciousness rants or poems (I have a different notebook for that), or for sketching (although the occasional sketch will appear in it).  It is not an art journal, or a nature journal, or anything like that.  It is simply a journal, a place to record the day-to-day happenings and thoughts of an ordinary life.

What is your journal like?

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Do Our Pens Tell Us About Ourselves?

A friend of mine uses liquid ink pens and 0.5mm mechanical pencils, which she keeps clipped to the inside of her binder so as not to misplace them.  Another is perpetually searching for pens (mainly Papermate ballpoints) in the depths of her backpack and coming up with a handful of erasers instead.

One young woman I know keeps her pens in a voluminous pencil case, along with a pocket-sized periodic table and a tube of lip balm.  Another mysteriously loses her pens, and must resort to borrowing from friends.  (Always a frightening prospect for the obsessive pen addict like myself - which pen should I lend out, knowing that I may never see it again?)

One of my professors uses Sharpie Pens, another was seen writing with a Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen, while yet another uses a fountain pen which he keeps safely in his breast pocket (and unfortunately I only glimpsed him writing with it once, from a distance, so I do not have the slightest idea what kind it was).

My father uses blunt worn down pencil stubs, my grandmother is constantly on the search for the perfect eraser, and my mother keeps complimentary ballpoint pens from every store in town in a cup on her desk, yet also has a fondness for black Zebra Sarasa gel pens (of which she has a not-so-secret stash in the top drawer of the sideboard).

What do the widely varying attitudes of these people to their pens and writing utensils reveal?  Do you judge people by the pens they use?  What do your pens and pencils reveal about you?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Top Five Pens

These are the top five pens that I am currently using.  This list reflects my own personal preferences and not necessarily the pens that I would recommend to someone else.  This list is subject to change at any moment as I continually discover new pens and change my mind.

The Pentel Slicci has it all: fine point, smooth writing abilities, attractive appearance, and, I must admit, nerd appeal.  Although I enjoy most colours of the Pentel Slicci, blue black is one of my favourite "basic" pen colours, black being too conventional, and blue being simply too...blue.

That said, a basic black, fine, permanent, felt-tipped pen is essential.  The black Sharpie Pen is usually my first choice when making some quick notes or a sketch in my sketchbook journal, especially if I plan to go over it with watercolour later.  The only problem with these types of pens is that the tips do tend to get wider with age (but then, don't we all?).

My basic note-taking pen for school.  I tend to use larger-ruled notebooks and to write larger in these situations, making a 0.7mm line width acceptable.  Overall this is a fine basic gel pen that writes smoothly, is reasonably comfortable to use, and is a bit classier-looking than the similar Pilot G-2.

This pen is a joy to write with; it writes smoothly, has an excellent long grip, and is a delightful shade of deep violet.  Every since I received my new set of Pentel Slicci pens it has been sadly neglected, so this post has been a reminder that I need to put it to use again.

This pen writes with a deep rich shade of blue and is excellent for writing on index cards, because the liquid ink flows smoothly, allowing me to write quickly (I use index cards for study cards, and making them is a dull task, so I like to get it done quickly), and does not bleed through on the heavier paper of index cards as it does on ordinary notepaper.

Sketches of the top five pens, drawn with the pens.  Please ignore the too-small cap of the Sharpie Pen, the bent tip and overly large size of the Signo RT, and the bend in the body of the Hi-Tecpoint.  These characteristics are due to deficiencies in the author's sketching ability and are not present in the actual pens.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I suppose I have Stephanie from Spiritual Evolution of the Bean to thank for my newfound love of drawing mandalas.  Well, maybe it's not that new.  I have loved mandalas for some time; I used to print out mandalas that I found on the Internet and colour them with pencil crayons.  Sometimes I would even draw my own mandalas, which was always a painstaking process, involving compasses, protractors, rulers, and careful colouring within the lines.  I suppose it wasn't really that interesting, because I eventually gave it up.

Now, thanks to the inspiration of Stephanie and others, I am drawing mandalas again, and this time I'm drawing them freehand and without being so careful about colouring within the lines.  It is a wonderfully relaxing activity, a form of meditation for people who aren't comfortable without a pen in their hands.  And (trust me) you do not need to have any former art experience whatsoever.  You could even draw mandalas with a basic ballpoint pen if that was all you had.

This mandala was drawn with a green Sharpie Pen and coloured with Lyra Rembrandt-Aquarell watercolour pencils.  The darker green details were added afterwards with a green Staedtler Triplus Fineliner (because unlike the Sharpie Pen, it is watersoluble).  It is one of my favourite mandalas that I have drawn so far, probably because it uses my favourite colours of green, yellow, orange, and brown.

Here is the page spread in its entirety in the other journal:

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