Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils

Palomino Blackwing Original

I bought my first Palomino Blackwing pencils at a Renegade Craft market a few years ago. I wasn’t particularly thinking about how soft the lead was I was more interested in the fact they looked SO GOOD! A reason I have for purchasing a lot of stationery to be honest!

Turned out the Blackwing original and the 602 were as different as Brie is to Parmesan (I may compare all things to different cheeses from now on) The Original has a nice soft lead which I like for drawing and sketching, comparable to a 4B I’ve read. That’s a bit of a surprise as I tend to like a 2B which is more like the hardness of the 602. It’s not about numbers though is it? It’s about feelings.

Palomino Blackwing 602

Later on I purchased a Pearl, out of curiosity, which is niiiice and somewhere between the Original and the 602 in terms of hardness but I was still in love with my trusty black Original for my sketching needs.

Palomino Blackwing Pearl

Most recently I bought a Jade 205 and a Lake Tahoe 73 both from editions known as “Volumes”. Palomino bring these out a few times a year and you can usually only buy them in boxes of 12 but Papersmiths were selling them individually which I was very happy about. I love these special editions as they are themed and honour cultural icons and events.

The number 205 references the molecular weight of Jadeite and celebrates the Silk Road and the belief that Jade protects its owner and encourages creativity and mental agility.

Palomino Blackwing 205 Green Jade

The Lake Tahoe 73 pencil commemorates the creative influence the lake has had on artists, writers and musicians and its signature blue colour. So that explains the colour of the pencil, the raised lines reflect the topography of the lake and the 73 is its most recent Secchi number which indicates the lake’s clarity which affects its colour.

In terms of my thoughts on their hardness I would say the Jade is similar to the Pearl and the Lake Tahoe is softer again. Both are softer than the 602 which is good news for me!

Palomino Blackwing 73 Lake Tahoe

When it comes down to it these are some good looking pencils, but style isn’t the only thing these pencils have going for them. They are a comfortable weight, they have an eraser that actually works and you can refill them (the eraser not the pencil, that would be innovative!).

 They sharpen beautifully and they dont snap and even when you’ve given them the sharpest point known to man it does not break as you draw.

Yes they are more expensive than a Staedtler Noris or a Derwent sketching pencil (each about £1.50) but you will get what you pay for. These will serve you well AND you will enjoy using them.

Pencil caps

To protect those beautifully sharpened points I have these nifty little metal point protectors I bought from CW Pencil Enterprise but if you’re not in the USA go to trusty Cult Pens. They have a slit down the side and come with strips of sticky paper. They’re like labels but I don’t know what you would label, so I think they are to tighten the protector thingys so they fit the pencil better. They’re Japanese so I can’t read the packaging. Anyway, I use Washi tape as it looks nicer and easy to replace.

I would say, go and try a couple, they are such a pleasure to use you won’t regret it.

Review: Brush Pens Pt 2


Welcome to Part Two of my brush pen review. Next up are the last 3 pens from this stash I bought.

Platinum Souhitsu Fude Brush Pen CFSW-300 is the next contender. These guys all have similar names so make sure you follow the links to make life easier! This one is double ended, one black nib and one grey. I love that. Again it is a simple black plastic pen but this one has a sparkly barrel as well as the gold brush script. No pen clip on this one though!

Now I really like this one. It’s another felt tip but it has a really good point on it meaning you can get a lovely fine line, that also means that the difference between the finest line and the thickest line this pen offers is satisfyingly great despite the nib being small and short. Good flow of ink really smooth on the paper. On the right paper (a post about that coming up)

This pen, the Platinum Souhitsu Fude Brush Pen CFS-200 is very similar to the Zebra Fude Pen I mentioned in the first part of this review. It has a felt tip that is quite chunky as you can see from the picture above. It has a reasonable amount of flex but not as much as the double ended pen above so you get less definition between thin and think lines. The ink on this one does flow as smoothly as the Zebra Fude and so it drags a bit like it is drying out which isn’t ideal. If you like this chunky style tip I’d go for the Zebra Fude over this one and the difference in price is only pence.

Last in the pack is the Uni POSCA Marker Pen PCF-350 Brush. I really wanted to be able to do brush lettering on surfaces other than paper, mainly on top of Washi tape so I thought I’d try one of these pens. I’ve had lots of POSCA pens with felt nibs and fine nibs so I know I like the way the ink flows but this pen has a brush nib. Actual bristles, which none of the other pens here have. What that does mean is that it takes some practice to get used to the long brush and the way that moves. You have to take the time to get used to how you apply pressure to get the thick and thin brush strokes because the variety of widths you can get is huge but can be hard to master. It does exactly what I want it to and gives you the option of writing on basically any surface!

And that is it for this brush pen review. I have added links straight to the pens on the Cult Pens website now.

‘Thanks for reading!

Review: Brush Pens Pt1

Every now and again I buy a pen that surprises me, I wish it happened more often but I’m a fickle being. The greatest thing about buying (most) pens is that they don’t cost the Earth so if they aren’t perfect you aren’t too much out of pocket. I do LOVE stationery shops where you can test them first though. The fabulous CW Enterprise has a drawer full of well used pencils so you can try each one before you buy (more on that in another post).

This little pile of brush pens came from Cult Pens and came to less than £20. They are a bit more per pen than maybe a biro or a fine liner but you would expect that to be honest and you’ll notice several of them are Japanese so I imagine there’s an import cost included.

On to the pens!

First up is the Zebra Fude Brush Pen. A simple black plastic body with some gold script on the barrel.

Zebra Fude Brush Pen

The nib is a felt tip and it feels very much like a felt tip pen that you would use for colouring in. I don’t like the feel of it much. The nib is quite stiff and doesn’t have much give in it and the ink is a little dry. It doesn’t come out very black either. I wasn’t a fan of this one at all.

Platinum Fude Brush Pen

Next is the Platinum Fude Brush Pen. It’s a plastic disposable pen with no real weight to it. The barrel has beautiful gold Cherry Blossom branches on it as well as some Japanese script which does add to it even though it’s just a plastic pen. Also the lid has a clear and gold glitter pen clip. Nice!

The nib is a felt tip, loaded with ink, which I really like. I can’t stand it when the ink is a bit dry and it’s hard work to draw your loops and it drags across the paper. The nib has a good amount of flexibility as you can see from the video and pics but it took a little bit of getting used to in terms of pressure. It’s a nice little pen but the felt tip will wear quickly if you use it on the wrong paper.

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen Soft Nib

Next in line is the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen Soft Nib. This is my second one of these so that’s a good review already! The nib is a short felt tip with a lot of give but because it’s quite short it’s not too difficult to control like a long brush tip can sometimes be. Good flow of ink from this pen and it’s great for small work. I have written many a certificate with this pen.

Stay tuned for Part 2, I had so much to say I’ve split it into two posts.

Papergang August Subscription Box

Papergang Subscription BoxI love a subscription box, I mean who doesn’t love post? Well parcels, not bills.

A good subscription box brings you a collection of goodies you have selected but based on a theme you’re interested in. The fact that you don’t get to choose the contents means you try items you perhaps wouldn’t choose to spend your money on and you discover exciting new things. In this case, paper goods! And man do I love me some paper goods.

Papergang is the creation of Ohh Deer. These awesome guys work with illustrators and collate their work onto a fabulous website where you can buy products by interesting and talented people. Every month the Papergang send out a selection of paper based goods and stationery that you can’t get anywhere at all until they go live on the Ohh Deer website.

This month’s box, and my first, came in a sturdy box with a beautiful marble slip cover. On the back is a template to turn your slip cover into a cardboard stegosaurus!

Inside the goods are wrapped in tissue, to make it feel extra nice and you get a great big notebook, some tape, a greetings card and a calendar card.

Papergang Copper Tape

The tape is a shiny copper coloured paper tape. I actually already have some copper tape that was gifted to me by @intwosandthrees  and is actual metal tape (safety warning: I cut my finger on a squished up piece of it! but maybe that’s just my clumsiness) but this is very much paper tape that is easy to tear and is very shiny! I have been disappointed by non-shiny metallic tapes in the past but this is good quality. 

Kris Tate Card and Envelope

You also get a greetings card with artwork by Kris Tate. It’s got quite a Native American feel to it with the patterns and colours used though those are deer not moose as I mistook them for originally! I love the mixture of photographic elements and bright illustrated patterns in this card and the good thing is it isn’t necessarily for any occasion. I like cards that I can just send to friends for no particular reason. The card is sturdy too so feels good quality, it isn’t cheap and glossy at all!

Kris Tate Card

Here’s a close up of the deer. I love the coloured lines coming out of his mouth and on his fur, they’re fun, bright coloured and add a feel of the handmade, you can tell they have been made by the artist, not computer generated so they look all the same.

Papergang Marble Notebook

The biggy in this box is this hardbound marble notebook. It has a fabric spine which is nice and wide, strong thick covers and a lovely gold inlaid frame on the front so you can personalise it.

Papergang marble notebook

It also has copper edged pages! Copper is a bit of a theme of this month’s box if you hadn’t noticed! This edging definitely adds another touch of luxury to this notebook. It’s so nice I want to save it for something worthwhile.

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The pages are lined, but only on one side which is quite unusual and also continues with the feel of it being for something special. I guess you could use it to sketch on the plain side but you may be able to see the ink on the other side depending on which kind of pen you used. I’m not testing it, this book is staying pristine until I find a good use for it!

All of the items in this month’s box are things I will easily be able to use, especially the copper tape. I’m going to keep my subscription for another month at least to see what I get next time. I have seen images of more paper goods in previous which I’m keen to see. This big notebook was a pretty special item so I’m looking forward to seeing other products like small notebooks and stationery.

Studio Calico Planner Kit Review

Studio Calico Pool Party Review

I finally gave in to my nagging inner voice and signed up to the Studio Calico Planner Kit a few months ago. I had been receiving the A Beautiful Mess  Messy Box for a year at that point and looked at Studio Calico because they distribute the Messy Box so I knew the products would be good quality.  I really like the idea of subscription boxes, they introduce you to new items and brands or fresh ways to use the products and are good value when you add up what you get.

I went for the Planner Kit because I am a bit of a control freak and find being organised stops me worrying about things as I feel more in control when it’s all laid out in front of me. I get a lot of patterned papers and cards in the Messy Box and the planner kit seemed to focus on stickers, inserts and embellishments that you can use to help organise yourself and your life!

This is what is in my latest planner kit for July, titled Pool Party. It takes about 11 days for it to get from the USA to the UK with economy shipping so it’s a little while before I get mine, but it’s worth the wait.

In this kit was:

  • Patterned Transparency
  • Color Theory Monthly Tab Stickers
  • 2 Rolls of Masking Tape
  • 2 Patterned Fold Over Clips
  • 2 x Attacher Stickers
  • 2 x Tab Stickers
  • 2 x Label Stickers
  • 2 x Phrase Stickers
  • 2 x Puffy Summer Icon Stickers

These fold over clips are great for marking pages, or holding them open when you’re trying to photograph them!

Studio Calico Pool Party Planner Kit

The Color Theory monthly tabs are bright and draw attention to the pages for each month in my Midori free diary making it easy to track back through the weeks.

The masking tape is great to “underline” an event or highlight a day that’s important.

Studio Calico Pool Party Planner Kit

I’ve used the Puffy icon stickers to embellish days and add an extra touch and when I’m recording occasions or days to remember in my notebook insert.

PoolPartyEdited - 3

I’ve used the Tab stickers to mark things I want to remember like jobs to do, ideas or things I found that I want, like a wish list! This is sometimes a dangerous activity as it means you remember the things you like rather than just forgetting about them and saving your money!

Sadly sometimes I get things in my kit that are designed for a planner with ring binders and the Patterned transparency is one of these items, but I’m sure I can use it for something else and using items for new purposes is always interesting.

I haven’t made a big dent on this kit yet but I know a lot of the stickers are going to be really useful when my diary gets really busy in the academic year.

I hope this gives you an idea of what you get in a Studio Calico planner kit. Their next one is now live so go check that out on their website and i’ll review that one when it turns up! Next time I’ll show you the different Midori inserts I use in my Traveler’s Notebook.

 

 

Review – Zig Brush H20 Waterbrushes

I regularly mention my favourite pens and products on this blog and you’ve probably noticed the same things popping up over and over again in my pics. But so far I haven’t actually reviewed something and since I am using these Zig Brush H20 Waterbrushes  so much at the moment I thought I’d share with you why I like them.

IMG_8877  Zig BrusH20 WaterbrushI use these Zig Brush H20 Waterbrushes mainly for brush lettering, or brush script, call it what you will. I’d seen a couple of students at work using them but I’ll be honest I didn’t really buy into them, I was being a snob really and didn’t like that they were made of plastic and I thought they looked a bit cheap.

Then I got one in a Scrawlrbox and gave it a go. How wrong I had been! I should have known I would like the brush because I prefer synthetic bristles. I just find them much smoother than natural ones and I am all about the smooooooth, and that easy motion across the paper is just what you need when doing brush lettering.

Zig BrusH20 Waterbrush

So for a start, the bristles are great, they do get stained from the paint but they’re really easy to clean so it is just a stain rather than the bristles retaining colour and being tricky to clean up. They also don’t seem to degrade much, I’ve been using the green medium brush for months and haven’t noticed any obvious wear and tear.

Zig BrusH20 Waterbrush
Speaking of easy to clean, this is where these Zig Brush H20 waterbrushes come in to their own in terms of being super handy and the feature that gives them their name! You can fill the barrel with clean water and then you don’t need to keep a jam jar of water close to hand to rinse it off when changing colours. You just give it a squeeze and it drips water straight onto your palette. It also means you can clean it by just squeezing water out and rubbing the brush on a tissue or piece of kitchen towel.

IMG_8879

To fill these little chaps up you just unscrew the barrel, dip it in water and squeeze to fill it up. Screw the brush end back on and away you go! These are great for working on the go, if you enjoy working at any given moment or if you’re a scrapbooker, you keep a journal or planner or you’re at school. college or uni.

I have the Zig Brush H20 Waterbrushes  in the Detailer, Medium and Large sizes. They also do a Broad version which I don’t have. All of them are great and I would recommend getting a variety of sizes if you can. I like choice and if you’ve seen the pictures of my pen collection you’ll know that already!

You can get them at KuretakeCult Pens, Tiger Pens, Jackson’s and a variety of other places, I’ve purchased things from all these places and would recommend them all so take your pick!