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.

Review – Sharpie Black Retractable Pen

So you want to ink a drawing you did, but you can’t find Microns, or any other technical pen. You certainly don’t want to use a ballpoint. What do you do? Well, the Sharpie retractable pen may be an answer. The black version, to be precise.

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The pen itself is a shiny black that gets finger prints on it constantly, though it cleans easily. The body of the pen starts out wide and tapers toward the rear of the pen. Near the front is a rubberized grip section with some grippiness to it. Sharpie pen is written on the back near the clip in silver. The pen looks like it can be taken apart in several places, but it can’t.

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The clip is metal, it’s rather stiff and doesn’t easily go into or out of a shirt pocket. The click mechanism in the back for retracting the pen feels solid, but the plunger is loose and feels a little flimsy.

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As for the most important part: the tip. It’s a fine tip, with the standard very black Sharpie color. It puts down a fairly smooth line. I would compare it to a Micron 01 or that range, but it’s really slightly smaller. The tipping material is very stiff and doesn’t like to bend, which leads to less line variation but a longer usable life. It’s not a permanent pen, or at least permanent like the markers. It writes and sticks on most surfaces, but not on all, but it is very black on everything.

Overall is it going to replace a good technical pen? No, but it is very good for inking in a pinch or if you want a less-used line width in your art. It writes well, it looks good. The main problems for me stem from the fatness of the pen and the cheap-feeling mechanisms. Is it for you? Maybe. I’d recommend trying it out and maybe keeping a few around just in case.

Review – Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

So I do a lot of non-drafting type drawing, which I will admit is most of drawing. But in that type of drawing, lines are not the same length, they waver, get thicker and thinner and such. If you need to get a similar effect, Pentel has a pen for you.20121205-010917.jpg

 

The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is quite a nice instrument with a very uninspired name (which is good for tracking it down). The body of the pen is medium length, slick and black. At the bottom of the cap in silver is an asian character that I don’t know the origin of and the word Pentel. They are both slightly engraved and hinder nothing. They are the only adornments on the pen. There is also a clip on the pen that serves its purpose well.

The brush itself is very nice, it is easy to keep at a point and is very responsive to pressure. The pen requires no squeezing or other methods to keep ink flowing so one always gets a nice full line.

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The ink itself is black but thin. It takes multiple coats to create a true black, otherwise one gets streaks, but these are only visible on close inspection and may be what you’re going for. The cartridges are also replaceable and fairly easy to find. The pen comes with two and one can buy packs of four.

In short the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is just that, a pocket brush pen, and a very nice one at that. It does its job well and painlessly. It is one of the finer and cheaper brush pens I have encountered.

Review – Pigma Micron 05 Technical Pen

Ah, another Micron, this one is the 05 (.45mm) black version. Its main difference from other Microns of course being its nib size.

The pen body is slick but doesn’t slip when pressure is applied. Aesthetically it looks old school with its graphic design, but all the necessary info is readable and in intuitive places. The top of the cap is marked with the size, making finding the correct pen for the job from storage much easier. The overall length and weight of the pen is nice and makes it easy to handle.

Of course the main difference between this Micron and other Microns is the nib size. The 05 nib is a medium size, good for main lines and other things that should be noticed but that you don’t want to emphasize as much (assuming you’re using a broad range of pen sizes). The nib also takes considerably longer to wear out then its smaller counterparts, and one will find the ink becoming grey or stopping almost entirely before wear from normal use is noticeable.

The ink is of course the wonderful Pigma ink, which resist fading and running. It does fade after prolonged times, but not entirely and it is hardly noticeable. It also begins to fade as an eraser is rubbed over it, but this is minor and will only happen once or twice.

Overall the pen is nice and a great value. It is more of a writing size pen then the other pens in the Micron range, making it one of the most versatile of the line.

Review – Imagine Plus 110-pound Card Stock

By: Austin Smith

After paper the new thing that one would most likely move on to is card stock, in this case Imagine Plus 110-pound 8.5″x11″ card stock. This stuff is a little more “advanced” and one could actually create “finished” projects on it. “Finished” being a subjective term.

110-pound card stock is obviously much thicker and heavier then paper. It takes pencil and ink well; heavy inking and even light painting also work well. The stock does buckle under water quite easily, though, so over-inking and water-based paints aren’t recommended. And painting on anything lighter than Water-color type paper could lead to buckling.

The stock itself is smooth, with enough friction to not go sliding around. Pencil is taken and erased well. Ink is quickly absorbed. The grain is noticeable at times but rarely affects the work that is on it. Heavy ink shows through, but the likelihood of someone seeing the back is negligible.

The size of the paper being 8.5″x11″ makes it a rarely seen art surface. The size, like that of copy paper, is simply unconventional. It is a good material for people just “graduating” into “finished” artwork.

While the stock is nice and useful, most will quickly pass it up for superior art surfaces.