Review – Sharpie Mean Streak White

I have a pretty liberal definition of what an art supply is. Not quite as liberal as those who say everything is an art supply because (almost) everything you do is art of some kind. But I do think more qualifies as art supplies than the average person does. For instance I would say that everything meant to make a mark is an art supply. And that assumption will be tested here where I take a look at the Sharpie Mean Streak “permanent marking stick”, and see if it has any real art applications.

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The body is quite large, being about half an inch in diameter. It’s got a good amount of information on the side, but it gets a bit cluttered-looking. The back is a twist knob, like a glue stick. The cap has a slight taper with several ridges for grip. Inside is a pointy cone that can shape or dent the “marking stick” if you put it in slightly wrong. Inside around the “marking stick” (grease, wax, or whatever it is) is a sizable ridge that is quite uncommon on writing implements. There is also no grip section area.

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There are two ways I can describe this, either as a permanent (wetter) crayon, or a more slick grease pencil. Neither of those descriptions really tell you exactly what these things are. The inside substance comes in a pointy cone that is pretty useless. It’s very putty- or grease-like and when used the point becomes very flat very fast. It writes similarly to a crayon, in that it isn’t easy to control or sharpen. When the tip is flattened beyond a certain point, the base can be twisted to extend the point, but it can’t be retracted, so remember to not twist it too far out (that shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re an impatient reviewer like I am). The feeling it has is very slippery, and quite a bit of material comes off for not a lot of writing, but there seems to be quite a bit of it in the barrel, so running out should not be a major problem.

Performance is a bit disappointing. The white color doesn’t cover very well at all, meaning use in art as either correction or even to mix with other colors is very limited or would require re-application. It can be used as a covering to make things “hazy” but the coating is quite unpredictable. It likes to clump up in certain areas and barely cover others at all, meaning detail work also shouldn’t be done with it. As far a permanence goes, it is, but not wholly. I did testing (not just normal use) on metal and paper. Both were reasonably water-proof, on metal flame did nothing to it and on paper it did resist the flame but once the paper burned it did too (not that anything else would have happened). Then on the metal piece it stood up to WD-40, which has a knack for removing regular Sharpie, but was easily wiped away by isopropyl alcohol. I also suspect it could fairly easily be scraped off or crack easily on pliable surfaces. It does go on whether the surface is wet or dry as advertised and does dry in a fairly short amount of time for how tacky it is to begin with.

I would still consider this an art supply, and it can work well in mixed media, but really it is much more at home in the garage or the toolbox. The tip and lack of sharpening or controlling method means it works quite a bit better when marking large surfaces. It is “permanent” in that it’s hard to purposefully get off, but it doesn’t penetrate and won’t wear terribly well. It’s an interesting item, but certainly not a general use-one.

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Review – Expo Ultra Fine Pink, Purple, Orange, and Brown

I’ve looked at the 4 most common Expo marker colors (specifically in the Ultra-Fine tip) in the last few weeks, and this week I’ll look at 4 of the lesser-seen colors: pink, purple, orange, and brown.

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Pink- to start with, the pink is a nice, dark pink that looks much more pleasant than the common pinks found in writing utensils. It’s rosy, and very consistent; the line width is medium, though.

Purple- next, the purple is a very bold writer, it goes on smoothly and with a lot of ink, but there is more variance in the color when dry. It is a nice, dark purple, and unmistakably so. It might be confused with black from far away, but is generally distinguishable.

Orange- the orange is very thin, both in line and in color. It’s sometimes hard to tell it’s there at all, and there is a wide color variance within it. I’m not a particularly big fan of it.

Brown- and finally the brown, which is another wide-writer. It writes smoothly, with the only color variance being in the tips. It’s a dark enough brown to be easily read, and still distinguishable from the other dark colors.

Overall, these 4 are a nice addition, though they aren’t my favorites, either in performance or in looks. I like them, but if I were just getting these for a class I would skip them. For organization, note-taking, and art, these colors have a better purpose, but those aren’t the main purpose of dry-erase markers.

Review – Pentel Handy-Line S Permanent Marker

I personally don’t have much use for permanent markers, but quite a few people do, especially for the “fine” tipped ones like Sharpies. But regular permanent markers are kinda boring. Today I won’t be looking at one of those, but at a more interesting Pentel Handy Line S.

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The pen body is kinda ugly. It’s a very straight-cut tube in black, with lots of logos and text on it (though I have seen worse text on many items). The overall design is boxy. Up near the top is a very positive clicking mechanism that feels quite robust. The click it gives off is super satisfying, as well. The clip is nothing really special. It is a bit sharp and might tear cloth, but it won’t break. Interestingly enough, there is a mechanism underneath the clip that will disengage the clicking mechanism when the clip is moved away from the barrel, meaning that if you do put it in a pocket it will automatically retract, which would hopefully save one from some of the mess that would cause. The rest of the barrel is straight and black, with some writing. There is a slight curve before the retractable point, which has a nice cover that blends in with the pen to keep the marker tip from drying out.

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The writing is quite black: I’d say slightly warm but not to noticeably so. The pen is a bit dry when it is just beginning to write, but that is quickly worked through. I will admit that I haven’t given it the most rigorous testing possible, but the ink is suitably permanent. It doesn’t smear or feather when exposed to water, and writes on many different surfaces. The ink also has a very peculiar smell that is like no other marker I’ve used, though I probably shouldn’t sniff it regularly. The body of the pen says it’s refillable as well, though I can’t for the life of me figure out how that would work, but it’s cheap enough to replace.

Overall, for a retractable permanent marker, I’d say this one hits the nail on the head. It works well in all places and has no glaring flaws. It isn’t that expensive and can be used for all sorts of things. Whether or not the features make it worth tracking one down is up to you.

Review – Black Sharpie Fine Point

Do you ever want to stop drafting and just draw? Did you ever want to be bold with your marks? Did you ever want to be part of a marketing campaign doing those things? Yep, I’m talking about sharpies, black, fine point ones to be exact. Everyone knows what a sharpie or other brand of permanent marker is, so I’ll be brief.

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Sharpies are slick and fat, and unlike some other slick utensils do at times slip out of ones’ hand. They do bulge up the pockets they are stuck in, but most markers do. The body and cap are made out a surprisingly durable plastic, with a nearly useless clip attached. They are all clearly marked and it takes some time to wear off said markings.

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But on to the marker itself. “Fine point” is a bit of an exaggeration, while it is fine for a marker the tip of a sharpie is by no means “fine”. It makes a mark, I mean it really makes a mark. These things make a mark that will bleed through any type of paper and some types of cardboard (with the exception of thick water color paper). The writing is smooth and satisfying, but the point is felt and wears easily. They mark on almost anything and once a mark is made it is nearly impossible to remove, it is one of the best permanent markers in existence.

So if you want to be bold and never have that boldness forgotten or destroyed (with the exception of catastrophic flooding) The sharpie is for you.