Review – Faber-Castell Grip 2020 Ballpoint

Sometimes the basic problems of a cheap ballpoint pen can just get to you. Many ballpoints have a round or hexagonal design that can lead to hand cramping or slipping while trying to write with thick, uncooperative ink. You see additions like silicone rubber grips occasionally as a remedy in the US, but apparently in places like Peru they have attempted to remedy these problems directly in the design of the pen. The Faber-Castell Grip 2020 boasts an ergonomic triangular design, with as studded grip and “smooth writing” ink. But how well does that improve performance?

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The body is a simple, translucent, subtly triangular-ized cylinder with 150 small rounded “studs” for grip evenly positioned on the faces. The cap is round, with an integrated clip, and it has the relatively unique feature of sliding “under” the barrel rather than over it with the required step down being about the last quarter of the cap. Underneath the lip holding the cap in place there is a slightly tapered cone, friction fit over the ink tube; this cone can be removed, allowing the ink tube to be replaced. At the back there’s a stopper that steps down near the end, forming a space between it and the body where the cap can be posted. Over this stopper, on two sides of the triangle, there is written material: stamped in silver lettering is “Faber-Castell” and printed on a label is the barcode, model number, ink (and pen) color, and “Made in Peru”. I’m a bit disappointed by that, since, even though it’s on the back, labels on writing instruments have a tendency to get damaged and if that happened you wouldn’t know the model to get a replacement.

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Functionality is quite good. The cap both caps and posts securely while maintaining the “lines” of the pen (the pen flares out ever so slightly in the back so it doesn’t match up as well there, leaving a step down instead of a {relatively} smooth transition). The clip is fine but isn’t very tight and it slips on thin material (its attachment point and the plastic it’s made of are surprisingly rock-solid, though). The ink is smooth as promised, coming out of a very medium tip (broader than I like, to be honest). For all intents and purposes it is the same as the other Faber-Castell made-in-Peru pens, maybe a little bit darker, and with blobbing being present, but not nearly as frequent as the other models I’ve looked at (counter-intuitively {usually wider tips on ballpoints leads to more blobbing}).

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It’s a very nice little pen. For my personal daily use I prefer something shorter and with a finer tip, but this pen is comfortable, easy to hold, smooth writing, and doesn’t slip. I also really like the cap and how it doesn’t expand the circumference of the pen (save for the clip) and is probably less prone to crushing or cracking. If they managed to make the clip a little better, and offered the top in a fine I would seriously be looking to import some to use all the time. So if you’re looking for a simple, relatively inexpensive, comfortable, and durable (the plastic is very solid feeling) pen, and don’t mind importing, I’d certainly give this one a try.

Review – Paper:Mate Write Bros Medium Ballpoint Pen

Pens, they’re important. Not a lot of them are very useful for the inking process, but they can be useful for simply starting an image, or many other art-things. This one is the Paper:mate Write Bros. medium ballpoint pen.

Ballpoint pens are one of the aforementioned types:  not particularly useful for finished works, especially smaller ones, but good for seeing what things look like in ink, and making sketches or notes that you don’t want to be erased. A fun exercise is always to draw with a cheap pen on scratch paper, preventing erasing, forcing one to improve their ability to create an image on the first try.

Ballpoints make a fairly fine line but they have rough edges, as there is some bleeding. A medium point is good for writing and most other uses, but as mentioned before is not good at detail. The ink is good, it does bleed with water, but is fairly sturdy as far as that goes. It is a deep black that does require a little drying time, but usually no more then a couple seconds. It takes to paper well. I’ve had no problems with the amount of ink in the pen either, I believe it lasts longer then most other ballpoint pens I’ve used, but I haven’t taken detailed records either so take that with a grain of salt.

The pen itself is easy to hold, if a bit slippery and shows all the necessary info (although that does rub off after continued use). It obviously has a cap and clips to a notebook or shirt pocket, which is always handy.

Overall if you are looking for a cheap pen that can be used for a myriad of things around your workspace, this in one I would consider. However I would recommend buying a couple of packages of different types of pens to figure out which one works for you. But it is at least a nice house or office pen, which is what it was designed for.