Review – Papermate Inkjoy Green, Pink, Orange, and Light Blue

In a previous entry I looked at the more standard Papermate Inkjoy colors, now it’s time for the less standard colors, like light blue, pink, orange, and green.

inkjoy tests 2

The light blue is a sky-colored blue. It is the hardest to read of any of the Inkjoy colors, though it is still fairly visible when not cluttered. It has a very natural feel and is very sky-like. It is very neutral anyway. It doesn’t look like a color that takes a stance, if that makes any sense. It’d make a nice color for both drawing and work.

Next pink, which thankfully isn’t a very aggressive pink. It’s definitely not hot, it’s more of a magenta color, but not quite. It is not a very natural color, though, as it doesn’t look like a rock or a flower. Might be good for a personal thing, or some corrections or something similar.

Third is orange, which I must say looks almost exactly like Pilot G-2 Orange, which I have previously reviewed. Subtle, but not very useful, perhaps flowers or the fruit, but it could be work-friendly, if you’re in a less formal office setting.

Finally green, which is a quite deep, more forest color. A very natural and neutral color. Again a fine informal office color, and a nice forest or swamp color. Though very limited in its natural colors. One of the least useful, but most usable, colors in the set.

Overall these four colors are unintrusive and subtle, with various office and home applications, but very little artistic applications save a few specific places.

Advertisements

Review – Monsieur Notebook A5 Blank “Fountain Pen” Paper

One way to make your notebook stand out in this new notebook market is to have high-quality components that are durable and look good. Monsieur Notebook has tried to do that, with their new leather notebook competitor to Moleskine.

20140220-232132.jpg

First a little story. Monsieur Notebook has been available in Europe for a little while now, using production from India, if I’m not mistaken. They recently had an Indiegogo campaign to distribute in the U.S. and get more local production (for them in the U.K.). I pledged (purchased) on Indiegogo for two notebooks and got laser engraving thrown in to review.  My notebooks were however caught up somewhere in the delivery process and ended up taking quite some time to get here. During this process I discovered that the customer service is very nice and expedient for being across an ocean from me. Anyway, some time later I have an extra notebook for my troubles and am getting on the review track. I should note that these books were sent to me directly and not through a distributor, so they did get a bit damaged in the post because they were not in a box, this will not happen if you simply order a book from them.

20140220-232137.jpg

The notebooks are a nice A5 size, a bit wider than a Moleskine. With 100 sheets of “royal executive bond” (100gsm) paper (that’s what the watermark says anyway). The cover is leather, and comes quite dry, so it will need some maintenance to make it more supple. The cover is completely plain (unless laser engraved) save for a tiny logo on the back in the right bottom corner. The cover sticks out from the pages just a bit to provide them some protection. There is an elastic band on the back that is loose when not in use like a Moleskine but tightly closes the book when necessary. The cover is glued to some heavy cardstock and opening the front reveals another logo with a website and a contents page with a place for a name and other information. There are no other features, this includes the conspicuous absence of a back pocket common to these types of books.

20140220-232143.jpg

Now to the paper, which in mine is blank, and meant for fountain pens. The promise of being fountain pen-friendly is a bold one, and one that is almost thoroughly lived up to. The paper is a very stark, almost perfect, white (with a watermark as previously mentioned). It has a bit of a grain to it, so it provides some feedback when writing, but it isn’t unpleasant. It is a bonded paper, so some paper fibers may come up and clog nibs on fountain pens after extended use, but that is only a fountain pen concern. As for writing, it’s smooth, with some feedback. There are very few inconsistant places that would cause hang ups, or strange ink behaviors. Bleed-through for liquid inks is minimal, but it is there, the paper seems to take wide spaces of ink in stride (like calligraphy) and has little to no bleed-through. But a pen that is quite wet with a finer line will make points of bleed-through. A similar phenomenon can be noted with feathering, as finer lines tend to feather more on this paper than broader lines. Which is a strange property indeed. But the overall experience is pleasant. The ink dries friarly fast, with some notable exceptions (Noodler’s red)

20140220-232148.jpg

So a few more things to note. The spine is good leather and doesn’t seem to take structural damage but does easily take cosmetic. The Laser engraving is awesome but it really depends on your image. The elastic strap could cosmetically damage the cover by pulling it. And occasionally the signatures seem to be pulling away from each other, but not the spine.

So overall I think this is a great notebook. It is made of high quality materials, if not high production quality. The materials seem to be good enough to make up for the shoddy construction and make a stable book that will work quite well for an extended amount of time. It is one of the best fountain pen paper notebooks, but not the best. I’d say the paper is worse, but the book itself is better than a Rhodia book. So it all depends on what you want. This book might not look very good, but it should last at least as long if not longer than any other notebook on the market. And it’s the same price as a Moleskine. So If you want a good “beat-up notebook”, try one of these.

Review – Papermate Inkjoy Black, Red, Blue, and Purple

In my tradition (now) of taking a look at the uses of standard office supplies in art, I’ll be looking at the Papermate Inkjoy pens and their different colors. Today will be the standard colors of black, red, blue, and purple.

inkjoy inks 2

Not Entirely Representative

Papermate tends to make standard colors, and their black is no exception. One of the deeper Papermate blacks, the Inkjoy black is nice and constant, though is a bit blue-greyish. Not quite black, but very good for a ballpoint pen.

The red is also fairly standard. It’s light, but not light enough to say it’s pinkish. It is very subdued and pleasant, not as aggressive as most reds, making it a bit more natural.

The blue is very deep, but not very saturated. In low light it still looks blue, but one wouldn’t mistake it for a sky blue. Again, like the red, the low saturation makes it look less aggressive than some other hues. It’s got a very nice, watery feel to it.

And finally the purple, which again is deep but not saturated. It is unmistakably purple but not very aggressive. Unlike the others, though, this leads to a less natural look as most natural purples are deep and aggressive or light and flowery. This one is in between, which means it would be at home on your papers but not in artwork.

Overall, Papermate did a good job with these colors for the workplace. They definitely weren’t designed for art, though they could be worked in. Not superb but good enough. We’ll see what the next four have in store.

Review – Bic Tech Ballpoint and Stylus

Well, sometimes now-a-days art isn’t always done on a physical medium. Tablets, smart phones, and touch-screen devices are becoming more prevalent these days and for artistic purposes your finger isn’t the most precise thing in the world. Fortunately, Bic has a solution for both mediums (maybe) the Bic Tech pen and stylus.

20140206-232018.jpg

The barrel of the pen is a fairly standard Bic barrel with a slightly grippy (grip) section, a hole for the ballpoint and a logo. Halfway up the pen is where things get interesting. The top half of the pen is a chrome-colored plastic which I personally don’t like but doesn’t look terrible. Just above another Bic logo in the center is the click mechanism, which is unique in its side mounting. The lever protrudes out to the side sightly, but not enough to really get caught or accidentally pulled. It has a slight curve to it, making it a great finger place and making for easy disengagement of the fingers or caught objects (again preventing accidental usage). I would say my only problem with it is it gets scratches from fingernails far too easily. The clip is absolutely nothing special, in fact it doesn’t even clip, it more just hangs on a pocket or something so that’s cheap. At the top is the stylus which I’ll talk about in just a second.

20140206-232024.jpg

The pen itself is nothing remarkable. It does appear to be smoother than a normal Bic ballpoint. But it is almost the exact same shade of unimpressive grey-black as every Bic pen.

20140206-232030.jpg

Now on to the stylus, which is the standard stylus end that has been popping up all over the place recently. It works. It is obviously not the most expensive or precise thing but it gets the job done. It is better than a finger, I can tell you that much. I can’t attest to the durability of such things, but I can say that it feels likely to break, though the pen isn’t expensive and by that time you’ve probably gotten your money’s worth out of it.

So what is the Bic Teach pen like overall? Mediocre. It does an alright job at being both a stylus and a pen, but does neither fantastically. But for the money it really shouldn’t. If you’re looking into the prospect of such a device or are on a very slim budget (or possibly don’t care) this might work for you, otherwise I’d suggest looking elsewhere.