Review – Prismacolor Premiere 4 Pen Black Set

Some people don’t like Microns, or they just can’t get them. There are alternative technical pens for those, fortunately. There is a set that is even sold in WalMart: The Prismacolor Premier 4 pen set.

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The body of the pens aren’t particularly nice. They are black with an abundance of text. The cap is short with a thin metal clip. The cap is hard to grip and kind of ugly, as it fits on tightly but is hard to remove. The cap can be posted, but is also hard to remove there as well. The section of the barrel that is covered by the cap is short and hard to grip but not uncomfortable. It is slick.

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This set has 005, 05, chisel, and brush tips. They lay down a nice black line. They are archival quality, so they are fade-resistant and acid free. The ink flows smoothly, with the occasional hiccup that happens in all technical pens. The 005 and 05 have a similar size and tip feel to Microns. The chisel is a nice tip, but it is a bit weak and seems like it won’t take much abuse. The brush seems more like a long marker than a brush, and it is not very flexible. It does have quite a bit of line variation, though, when you really push it hard. It’s just more difficult to use.

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Overall this set is a nice one, and it’s cheaper than most other technical pens. They are a bit uncomfortable, and the ink is a bit worse than some of the competitors, though they are quite nice. For the price of a little bit less, they offer just a little bit less. They work great and will serve admirably at their purpose. They just aren’t the best on the market.

 

Review – Le Pen 003 Technical Pen Black

How thin do you need your lines to be? Do you need them consistent as well? Are the conventional technical pens just not thin enough for you? Then you may want to try out the Le Pen technical pen in a mind-bogglingly small 003 tip.

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The body of the pen is white. All necessary information is printed in several languages on the side in black, it is raised which makes me thing it will rub off with a lot of use, but this hasn’t happened yet. It also has the size on top for easy reference during storage. The clip is a very flexible plastic covered with a metal strip, making it durable and flexible at the same time, though it is quite strange and bulky. The cap lines up flush with the body and almost flush with the end when it is posted. The body proper is flat, and slightly tapered to the front, with some grip from the raised writing. It is a bit fat which makes it uncomfortable for smaller hands or for long periods of time. The grip and point though are almost identical in size to the Micron.

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The nib however is very small, it feels entirely destroyable every time it is placed on paper. The ink is as resilient as micron ink. And I would say as black but the size of the nib makes it seem much grayer so I can’t tell. I almost think I’m writing with a pencil sometimes. Though because of it’s size the line isn’t the most consistent in the world, but it is the most consistent at this size. It does write incredibly smooth and remarkably comfortable for a short period of time.

So overall this is a great pen. It writes smooth, puts down ink well, and is one of the few pens you can get in this size. It is slightly less comfortable than a Micron in my opinion, and I would be tempted to say the ink is not as good. But it’s still a great value and a handy pen for some of those more detailed lines.

Review – Rhodia Web Notebook Pocket

Well, it’s that time again, time to talk about a little black book. This one’s particularly good for fountain pens. It’s the Rhodia Web-notebook pocket black version.

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The dimensions are almost exactly the same as the Moleskine, with the exception of it being slightly thicker. The cover is a strange, and easily warped, faux-leather. It is quite pleasant to hold, and the spine sustains much less damage than with stiffer cover books. Not to say the cover is flexible, it is definitely hard, though the Moleskine still holds the record for notebook most like a rock, the Rhodia does have a little give in it. Also on the front cover is a stamped Rhodia logo and an elastic band holds it all together. The standard pocket in the back tops it all off.

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Inside there are the same number of pages as the Moleskine. The pages are thicker though, the first page is unusable and gives you their specks. They are slightly off white with a bit of an orangish tint. This version has them lines with thin grey lines and a slight margin on top. The paper is insanely smooth, as in the smoothest paper I’ve ever written on, right there with Clairefontaine, being made by the same company that makes sense though. It takes ink well, and it even dries relatively fast on there, though there are some problems with bleed through on broader nibs or wetter inks. It should be noted that the paper is different from the larger notebook paper.

So overall, if you have a fountain pen and need a notebook, this is a better choice for you than almost any other notebook on the market. Though if you’re drawing with flex pens or thick brushes be aware that you’ll still only be able to use half the pages in the book. Though bleeding onto the next sheet is something I haven’t seen. Are these the best pocket notebooks? It depends on what type of pen you’re using, and how much you care about the feel of your notebook, because this one does feel quite different.

Review – Black Papermate Flair Medium

Okay, so you want to ink a drawing, or maybe just sketch with a nice bold line, but you don’t have a technical pen. Either you can’t afford them or they aren’t available in the shops you have. Well, maybe you could try the Papermate Flair. The one I’ll be reviewing is the black, medium version.

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The body of the pen is a simple matte black. Sometimes this wears off and reveals a smooth body underneath. The ends are tapered, with a bulge in the middle. The name and size of the pen are printed in fairly high quality on the side. The clip is metal, works fine, but a bit tight, and has two hearts as decoration. On the top of the cap there’s a white breather hole. Removing the cap reveals a slick, tapered grip section. Despite this it is pleasant to hold because it flares out at the end, giving your fingers a place to rest.

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The tip is a nice felt tip. The medium is a fair bit wide, but is almost uncomfortable far from the grip. It writes well but sometimes has so much feedback that it seems to drag on the paper. Its ink is a nice black, though sometimes it can fade to a deep grey. It applies easily and consistently, having very little line variation, which is good if you’re inking something. The nib does feel like it can get bent out of shape fairly easily though, so be careful.

So really, if you want an impromptu inking pen, or something to sketch or make technical drawings with, but don’t have a technical pen, this is a fairly nice replacement. It isn’t as high a quality so it won’t last as long, but it it still a superb writing instrument and a very cheap alternative, even if it doesn’t have all the same quality features.