A New Pen Enters the Arena…

Tuesday Revews-Day

New to me, at least.

This post includes product sent to me for review.

I love pens. Pencils, markers, crayons, and other mark-making instruments, too, for that matter. I adore shopping for new pens and finding ones that are just right for my writing style, my grip–and if it comes in a cool purple ink I’m in heaven.

This summer I stubled upon the InkJoy pens and fell in love with their smooth flow and vibrant ink. But I can be fickle with my pen love, and what was once just right eventually goes a little off at some point, so when Zebra reached out and wanted to send me some of their pens (and pencils) to try, I absolutely said yes and waited with glee for them to arrive.


Inside the box were multi-colored gel pens, multi-colored fine tip pens, a pair of ball point pens, and some mechanical pencils that turned out to be retractable colored pencils. Consider me a happy girl!


The Sarasa line includes both gel pens and the fine points and, between the two, I prefer the fine point pens (similar to ultra-fine Sharpies if you need a frame of reference, but not a solvent ink).There’s certainly nothing wrong with the gel pens (the color variety is very good), but if I had to choose, I’d go for the versatile Fineliners, no question!

The gel pens write very smoothly, though I’ve notice they skip on Post-It notes after they’re about half used up (the InkJoy pens do this too, it must be a gel flow thing is all I can figure). I’ve gone through quite a number of them during the past couple of months at work, and also use them in my planner on a regular basis. Interestingly enough, the gel pens show a higher tendency towards showing through some papers than the Fineliners (another point in the Fineliner’s favor!)

I admit I haven’t used the ballpoint pen included in the review box. For one thing, I seldom use regular ball point pens any more since the effort to write with them (compared to gel pens or markers) makes my hand cramp (tendonitis). The F-301 they sent has a very slim barrel, making it even more problematic for me. But when I have used it for small stints I’ve had no issues with the pen, itself.

Finally, the mechanical pencils have colored leads and are–judging by the packaging–intended for younger users. The triangular barrel means they won’t roll away and they sport a slightly larger barrel than other mechanical pencils. The leads are thick and strong, great for little learners. I had fun with them, too, and would consider them a good travel option for quick sketching.

Thank you, Zebra, for reaching out and sharing your pens and pencils with me!

If you’d like to pick up some Zebra pens of your own, check with any of your larger retailer or head to their website to find a list of local, independent retailers in your area!


Cool Tools

64 Arts

So, what do you use when you draw?

Contrary to some thoughts on the matter, you can create some awesome art with very simple tools. We’re talking crayons and copy paper. For real. And even if you’re not into creating the next Mona Lisa, the point is to loosen up and have some fun while being creative which is why I wholly support the simple joys of a coloring book!

Of course, it wouldn’t quite work for what I’m trying to do with my comics to use crayons (more’s the pity some days) so, for the curious, here’s what I use

  • Strathmore Bristol, Smooth–a very nice sheet of heavy paper with a smooth surface that accepts pencil, ink and brushes with equal ease
  • Mars Technico Pencil Lead holder and Staedler 2H leads–this is a fairly hard lead so it makes fairly light lines on the paper, perfect for inking over and dropping out the pencils in Photoshop without having to spend time erasing (which sometimes rubs off the ink, as well–not good!)
  • Zig Writer Pens in black–yes, the scrapbooking pens! I love the larger barrel compared to those skinny-minny Microns (which, yes, I also use for one of the comics) and the plastic nib puts up with a little more abuse that felt tips or brush tips
  • Occasionally I’ll also use India ink and some small brushes to ink instead.
  • Canson 7×10 spiral-bound sketchbook–nice creamy paper with a good tooth that accepts pencils and pens easily, plus it’s small enough to fit in most of my purses without need to draw micro-small
  • Crayola (yes, really) colored pencils for loose sketching and Prismacolor colored pencils for more detailed work–the latter are a bit of a splurge and I still wonder if I’m putting them to their best use
  • General’s Charcoal pencils–so fun to get big thick lines and shading, if a bit messy
  • Photoshop CS4 for the occasional digital color job (really want to get more proficient here!)

Of course, I write all this and realize that I’ve haven’t played with my coloring books lately. Maybe I’ll be able to fit some in tomorrow now that I’m thinking about them again (and just rearranged the bookcase they are stored on).

Now, looking at this list it seems a bit long–I don’t use every tool every day. Usually it’s just one or two at a time, but they’ve all been used in the last month. The point is, each has it’s own uses and it’s up to me to know when and where to employ each tool. It’s not always about having the best tool for the job (as in most expensive, most popular or most hyped) but having the right tool for each. And it’s not just limited to art supplies 🙂

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Daily Doodles 3.1.2010

Here’s my doodles for Monday, the 1st. I was a busy doodler last night but 2 of the items aren’t really doodles–the Short Ogre Cook (top right) is actually an inked piece getting ready to be digi-colored for a wallpaper design for the cookbook project and the food icons on the bottom right are for the same project, just a different application. Still, they were all worked on tonight so I decided to collage them in with the real doodle.

That, of course, is my tablescape on the left. Now, this is just a quickie sketch I did of what happened to be in front of me. The lampshade was a little skewed and I exaggerated it in the sketch.

Even though this was not a staged still life (the candles are usually on the entry table but were moved to make way for wedding shower door prizes, the same shower with a beach theme that yeilded the shells and sea glass that are clustered on cheesecloth at the base of the lamp) there are some good bones here for a future study. There are 5 elements–odd numbers are always good! It’s asymetrical, another plus, and the lamp leads the eye down to the candles and the cluster at the bottom which adds movement.

Granted, doodles are like brainstorming: no editing allowed! Show me yours!