Review – Zig Millennium 005 Technical Pen

There are a lot of technical pens out there, and I’ve only looked at a few. Today I’m going to try and remedy that a little bit by doing a review of the Zig Millennium technical pen, specifically the black 005 version.

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The pen body is a bit odd. The bottom is a small, rounded piece of plastic. The barrel is silver and covered in writing. All necessary information is printed in several languages. The cap is nothing really special either: the top is flat with the tip size on what looks like a black plastic cutaway; the clip is simple, with a rounded end similar to a Pilot Precise or Uni-ball Vision. Interestingly enough, it says to keep the pen horizontal, but gives one a pocket clip. It’s the section of the pen that’s strange: it’s very small and nubby, it rounds off quite quickly and the ridges used to keep the cap in place are quite noticeable. It terminates rather abruptly into a metal end that leads to the tip. I’m not sure if one is supposed to hold the slightly uncomfortable section when writing or move back on the pen and place the fingers over the written portions of the pen, which I can feel the ink is raised up on, and will likely rub off quickly.

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On to the tip. It produces a very thin line, around the same width, but perhaps a bit wider than other brands of the same size, though that may just be the paper being used. The ink is archival quality (haven’t tested) and waterproof (have tested, is quite!) though that is to be expected from a pigmented ink. The black is quite black, and a cool black, which is nice, as many blacks tend to be warm. Writing is smooth and there are no skips or bumps with a good tip, though it will wear out after some time.

Overall it’s a good little pen, and quite comparable to the other technical pens in terms of both quality and price. I can’t speak for whether or not the rest of the line is wider than its counterparts from other brands, but that might be something to consider when purchasing. Otherwise, I’d say it’s almost entirely an æsthetic and comfort choice for the user.

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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 – Micron Orange, Yellow, and Fresh Green Colors

It’s that time again, the time I review Micron colors. The three I have this time are the bright colors: orange, yellow, and fresh green.

Starting with the orange: It’s a very bright color, brighter than the fruit of the same name. It’s also a little bit on the light side, looking a bit washed out on the paper. It’s less pleasant than most of the other Micron colors. The pigment does apply evenly and there is no doubt it is orange, though.

On to the yellow, which is super saturated. It’s almost illegible on white paper, on off-white it’s not much better, even though it is still rather subdued and looks quite like the yellows presented in nature. In large patches it loses its illegibility and actually looks quite pleasant. It’s probably the closest to a natural yellow you’ll find in a pen.

Now the fresh green. This one looks like lime green. It is also super bright, and comes the closest to hurting my eyes of the bunch. The pigment tends to pool, creating some shading when drawing. This can be both advantageous and disadvantageous depending on the effect you’re going for. It is the most likely to bleed of any of the colors, but with this selection that isn’t too bad. I would also say this is the least realistic and useful of the bunch.

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Overall, these three bright colors have some issues, but are fairly good. They write well and are entirely servicable, but finding jobs for them seems difficult to me. I’m not sure if they are the must-haves of the other Microns, but they are quite good.

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 – Micron Rose, Brown, and Sepia Colors

So now we get to the final group of the Micron colors that came in the 8 pack of Micron colors. These are the weird or non-standard colors, in my opinion.

The first is Rose, which is a pink: they just call it Rose to make it fancy. It’s a very deep, pleasant, pink color, not like the very vibrant, in-your-face pinks that dominate what is considered pink these days. It doesn’t really approach purple, but it is darker than most roses I’ve ever seen. It’s surprisingly nature-y for a pink, though. It does have some problems with bleed-through on thin paper, but not a lot.

Next we have Brown, which I would call light brown. I would say it’s sort of a fertile, soft, earth color. Again, for a light color it’s fairly subdued, not like a Crayola pencil or anything. Again, it’s surprisingly real looking. It has no problems with bleed-through at all really, and goes well in a landscape.

Finally we have Sepia, which I call dark brown. It’s very mud-like. Another deep, saturated color. It can get very saturated though, and end up looking like black in the final product, so it does take careful application. It also tends to pool, resulting in spots of darker color. Some skill is required to get it to look right. Surprisingly, though, it has very little bleed-through even on thin paper.

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These ‘non-standard’ colors are very nice overall. If one is looking to do nature sketches, landscapes, etc. these are quite nice. They are very subdued and blend in nicely. I find them much more pleasant than the bright reds and blues of the other Microns. If you just want standard colors for organizing or technical things, these are not the pens you need.  However, if you’re drawing a lot of the outside, or in cool colors, these are fantastic.

Review – Micron Red, Blue, Purple, and Green colors

I have reviewed several Micron pens in the past. But in case you were wondering if they could add a little more color to your life, here are some Micron Colors in .05.

It is an eight-pen set of colors from Micron that I’m looking at. It includes black so that’s out. The first four colors I will look at are what I call the ‘standard’ colors. They are red, blue, green, and purple.

I have already talked about the blue and the red so I’ll cover those quickly first. These pens are larger than the ones I reviewed previously so the ink is a bit more saturated. They aren’t as glaringly red and blue as before, but they are still some of the brightest and most vibrant of their colors on the market, aside from the awful nano-liner. Getting this large also makes them more prone to bleed-through, of which there is a slight hint in the blue.

Next we have the purple, which, in the Micron style, is a very aggressive purple. It is very deep, and in low lighting could be mistaken for black. It is very highly saturated, and changes little to none when applying pressure for some time to just tapping it on the paper. Amazingly at this darkness it isn’t very prone to bleed-through.

Finally the green. This is, surprisingly, a fairly sedate green, falling in the middle of forest and lime. It is unmistakably green, but rather unremarkable. It doesn’t jump like the other inks in this set. It just sits there, making it rather like greens in real life which you have to look closely to appreciate. Again, surprisingly enough this color is the most prone to bleed-through in the entire set, even writing fairly fast it leaves dots on the other side of fairly thin paper.

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So overall the ‘standard’ colors in this Micron package are great. They’re not really the best for sketches of nature or the outside world, but for labeling and organizing they are great. For example, different color parts in a schematic. It’s nice to have colored pens around and these hold up the Micron standard. I can definitely find a use for them.