January Makeup and February Reviews

Hello Everybody,

I wanted to update you all on how things are going. The semester is going great so far. I have been busy with a lot of homework and long-term projects and I just could not find the time to write-up a review in January. Not to mention, there was nothing new for me to review. This was fixed in late January when I had ordered some supplies from JetPens due to running out after my first semester. It arrived early February, so I decided that I would make up the missing reviews for January around mid February.

Little did I know that once midterms neared, the amount of work I had to do would double, causing me to spend many hours in the library studying until 1 and 2 in the morning for several days straight. I had multiple exams this week and I made sure to study hard and do well on all of them. That being said, with such a strenuous studying schedule, I didn’t get to post the reviews last week like I wanted. Now that the mid semester crunch is over, I was able to sit down yesterday and properly put my thoughts together and write a couple of reviews. I’ll be releasing them shortly to make up for the month of January.

With the month transitioning to March this week, I’ll be releasing the reviews for February come this Saturday, March 3. Thank you all for your patience and dedication. My schedule will go back to normal for a while and won’t be as difficult until finals week in May. I’ll make sure to keep you guys updated with the latest news.


Anchit, The Passionate Penman

A Year to Look Forward To

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that at the beginning of every year since 2016, I go and review how well I kept my resolutions. This will be the third time I’m doing this review and I hope that there will be many more to come. So let’s start with our annual tradition of listing out the resolutions and reflecting on how well I did in regards to them.

Start becoming more active on social media

This one is something that I can honestly say I did much better in 2017 than in 2016. I have many more posts in 2017, no matter how mundane they were(usually about the horrible weather in Indiana). I actually chose Instagram as my go-to social media instead of Twitter because I very much prefer photography than to just right out words. Of course, all the statuses were posted to Twitter too, but I found that I got a higher level of engagement with my readers on Instagram than Twitter, so starting this year, I’m gonna take my Instagram game to the next level. Instead of taking photos on my phone, I’ll be importing pictures from my camera and showcasing some of the photographs I got over winter break as well as for reviews. Higher image quality, better composition and the like will be the goal here. Let’s see whether this year I can break through to 500 followers.

One review every two weeks without fail, no excuses

Now this is where I’m a little embarrassed to say that I absolutely wasn’t able to keep this. The hiatus I took in order to dedicate almost all my free time and effort into studying for my classes(which were especially intense last semester) didn’t allow me that much time to really use new stationary. I stuck to what I now find to be my go-to setup for absolutely any school related work. In fact, I refilled my Lamy 2K over 7 times with the same Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. It just works and I felt that it was unnecessary and risky to change inks in the middle without knowing how it would write. If you saw my last post, you know why there was such a huge gap in the reviews. This year, I hope to actually keep this resolution because despite me studying for another semester, I need to refine my time management skills, because I hope to continue this blog for a while and to do that, I’m going to have to develop the ability to schedule time to sit down and write reviews no matter what’s going on. I really love this blog and the experience of trying out new stationary. If you love something, you’ll find time for it and that’s exactly what I’m going to do this year.

Improve my photography which I feature in my reviews

This is a little subjective, but I definitely feel that I grew as a photographer when it came to the things I was trying out in regards to composition and color. I tried to actively deviate from the standard angles that I usually present with my reviews and go for something that presents a different perspective of any ordinary pen or ink. While I did have problems with lighting, I feel that overall, I did well in compensating against the limitations of my background. This year, I want to try to go for something completely different. I want to capture pictures of the pens I review out in the wild. Using the beautiful backdrops provided by nature, I want to mix up the background of my shots to allow the pens to show more of their beauty. In addition, this would also help with the lighting situation and it would allow me to go outside and exercise my photographic capabilities every one in a while.

Work on getting some kind of sponsorship

Another year and this resolution still manages to elude me. I really am struggling with this one because I’m just not sure how to go about accomplishing it. This year, I have made this one of my personal resolutions to accomplish, because as we all know, buying new pens can be very expensive. This is an expensive hobby and while I’m so happy that I’ve been able to review so many different stationary products from all kinds of brands, it is starting to really drain the wallet. So this year, I’m going to endeavor to make this one of my main resolutions alongside the post frequency. Hopefully, I can make this happen so I can keep bringing unique pens to review without making my wallet cry.

That’s all for the resolutions of the year. I aim make this one of the greatest years for the The Passionate Penman. Thank you for all your love and support, I wish you all a great year ahead and I hope to see you again next week for the upcoming review. Until next time. 🙂

Starting the New Year

Hello Everyone,

First off, I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. It’s been a while since I last updated and many things have happened. This post was initially slated for yesterday, but it took me a while to figure out how to not make it sound like a giant excuse. The hiatus that occurred from the end of July was something that I didn’t intend to happen, but it did anyway. The upcoming semester at the time was crucial for my academic career, so I decided to discard nearly every one of my hobbies including this blog, to try to perform well. I’m happy to report that I performed better than ever before and I broke through what I thought were my limits. In doing so, I have left you, my dear readers devoid of content and reviews and for that, I am truly apologetic. However, now that the previous semester is over, I can say with confidence that I will be able to go back to posting new reviews. I will be detailing the specifics in my next post which should drop the day after tomorrow. I want to thank each and every one of you for your patience and support. I started this blog as a hobby and never expected to get the kind of readership you all have given me. I am honored that there are people in the pen community who put stock into my reviews and enjoy my content. So I feel that the best way to start the new year would be to set expectations and stick to them no matter what. I can’t wait to start posting more content up and I hope we have a great year together.


Anchit, The Passionate Penman

Diamine Grape Review


Purple is not a typical ink color I use due to it being a little out there. However, after a rather amazing experience with Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, I started to see how I could use purple as more of a color for personal stuff. I like to keep a bullet journal going, so I first started to use this ink as a specific color for tracking my tasks for the day. That was almost 2 months ago and I’m still using it to this day. In fact, the 30 mL bottle I had is almost finished and I’m contemplating getting more. I don’t know whether I want to make this a permanent member of the rotation given that Diamine and other brands all have offerings in a similar shade. Personally, by not making something permanent, I can go and get a variety of inks that I’ll be able to review and I might find some other ink that becomes a new favorite. I’m honestly a little stuck regarding this.


However, you guys came here to learn about how this ink handles, so I’ll get back to the review. The ink is on the darker side of purple, which appeals to me a lot as I can see it being something that fits in with all the other inks I have. The shading is really nice but on the medium side due to how dark the ink already is. I found that you can’t see much difference between the second and third passes as it’s too dark to really tell. It can be exaggerated through the use of a folded pen, like I did in the first photo, but its limited. It’s pretty smooth flowing and the performance is up to Diamine standards, so it behaves well in every different pen I’ve tried it with.

One complaint I have with it is that it feels a little dry when in use. Don’t get me wrong, it flows smoothly, but the actual ink itself makes me feel more feedback when writing. I tried it out in the TWSBI ECO, Lamy 2000, Platinum Preppy and others, but the same feeling of dryness persisted. An example of an ink that doesn’t have this problem would be Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, it has a bit of a slick feeling to it, allowing a smoothed nib to glide across the page. With Grape, it lacks that same feeling, but at the price point that Diamine offers it at, it performs pretty well. If you’re looking for a dark purple with subtle shading at an affordable price, this is a great contender.


Diamine Red Dragon Review


A review that I personally have been delaying for a while now. The main reason is that I just hadn’t been able to get a good chance to use it. The way I review inks is by inking up a daily use pen like my Pilot VP or my Lamy 2000. I use these pens specifically because I know how well they perform with my favorite inks like Diamine Asa Blue, Iroshizuku Shin-Kai and Kon-Peki. I have a solid grasp of how well they perform and by inking one of them up I can get the best grasp on how a particular ink performs. I use them for a week and a half minimum before I’m comfortable enough to voice my opinion on them. The biggest issue I had with this ink is the problem of incorporating it into my daily use.


As anyone could probably tell by now, I love blue inks and all the shades they come in. One could even say I’m partial to the color blue. I’m not into red inks for the most part as I find no use for them when taking notes for my classes. My notes are done in different notebooks all with different shades of blue. The only other color I have used other than blue is black for the occasional diagram or note of importance. As one could imagine, suddenly transitioning from blue to red would be a little difficult. However, I chose to do so for my marketing class that I took for 6 weeks over summer. I started using Red Dragon halfway through the course and made sure to finish it by the time I was coming back home.

I can say with confidence that I am definitely happy with the experience. The ink shows consistent performance that one can expect out of a Diamine ink, but also be in such a tasteful color. The biggest gripe I have about colorful inks is that they always feel a bit too garish for my taste, I prefer subdued and subtle colors and that’s exactly what Red Dragon is. The shading is nice and visible at the points the nib is lifted off the paper. Its nice and smooth coming out of the nib, much like my favorite Asa Blue and to top it off, its available at the affordable prices that Diamine sets for their inks. I’m probably going to find some way to use this in my daily note taking for the upcoming Fall semester. If you’re looking for a very nice, subdued red ink that performs well, I cannot recommend Red Dragon enough. After I use up this 30mL bottle, I’m gonna go for the bigger 80mL, becuase that’s just how good this ink is.

Masgrimes Leather Calligraphy Writing Pad

Now this was a review that I initially didn’t anticipate doing. While I did initially start this blog off as only a stationary review blog and nothing else, I have since started to review my oblique pens and other calligraphy tools.


I bought this pad as a step up from my normal style of using newspaper to help cultivate a lighter touch. The problem with newspaper was it was really hard to maintain a constant thickness due to all sorts of different reasons. Sometimes, the ones I picked up didn’t suit me and the bright colors on the page distracted me during my drills. I decided that this would be a good investment and boy was I right about that.


David had a limited amount of this particular Italian patterned writing pads available and I was able to jump in and snag one before they went out of stock. I was still in my dorm when the package arrived and it was absolutely beautiful to look at in person. The pad was rolled into a cylinder and a little piece of the leather was used to tie it down, allowing it to keep its shape.


Since it arrived back in February, I’ve been using it all the time. Whenever I sat down to practice, I would always have it ready. It has been a wonderful addition to my burgeoning collection of calligraphy related tools. It has allowed me to cultivate an almost feather-like touch and inhibits the smooth, gliding sensation of my nib every time it touches the paper. If I had one complaint, it would be that I’m not allowed an iron in my dorm to be able to straighten this pad out after traveling with it. Otherwise, it’s an absolutely amazing and affordable tool that will benefit anyone from a calligraphy noob like me to an amazing calligrapher like David.

Hiatus is Over

Hello Everyone,

A lot of things happened since April that made it more and more difficult for me to post. Chiefly, I developed a problem with my laptop that put it out of commission until I could get it fixed once I got home. Immediately after getting home, my family went on a road trip for 8 days and we’ve finally come back and settled down. I would like to apologize as I couldn’t upload anything new having left most of my stationary at home. Now that I’m back, I can start getting back to reviews again. I’ve left it off for longer than I’m comfortable with and can’t wait to get back to posting some new content. The posts I need to make up for are one from April, two from May, two from June and two for July. Seven reviews in total. Starting tomorrow, I will be posting one review per day until I make up for all the ones I’ve missed so far, so look forward to it. It’s great to be back! 🙂


Anchit, The Passionate Penman

Kyokuto Guildford Notebook


Whenever I find myself in need of notebooks, it’s usually mainly for note-taking and assignments. I found my best notebook ages ago when I first got a 5 pack of Maruman Mnemosyne B5 notebooks from JetPens. Writing with those notebooks was a cathartic experience and no other notebook has ever given me the same feeling whenever I write. To me, the Maruman Mnemosyne line has become the bar I set whenever I write paper reviews. With that in mind, I felt that the blog was really lacking some paper reviews and decided that I needed to try out some new products. So as I was shopping for my spring quarter in early 2016, I stumbled upon the Kyokuto Guildford on JetPens. HAving never heard of this notebook before, I was curious and decided to do some research on it. As it turns out, there weren’t too many reviews from the mainstream stationary blogs I follow, so I decided to get it and put out a review myself.


The notebook has a very simple design, yet within that simplicity is the sophistication as seen through the ornately embellished patterns that decorate the index page. The color scheme of the notebook is tasteful and bright.


In regards to the paper, I have to say for such thin paper, I wasn’t expecting it to be so resilient against some pretty wet inks. I used many different inks in this notebook before I wrote this review and the paper withstood all of them, all while providing a smooth writing experience. This particular review was written with a Lamy 2000 M nib inked with Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. The paper simply soaks it up, resulting in quick dry times. This holds true for even inks with longer dry times like Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black. With all the inks, I also noticed that none of them feathered regardless of the nib size of the pen. All of these make the Guildford a solid choice for someone who requires a decent notebook for simple note taking and the like. However, there were some drawbacks that came with these positive aspects. Due to being thin, the paper has a tendency to be affected by the indentations on the opposite side. Ever since picking up pointed pen calligraphy, my writing pressure has gone down significantly, yet it still cause indents on this paper. Along with the indents, come the ghosting and with some inks like J. Herbin emerald of Chivor, it really posed a problem. One reason I simply could not use the Guildford for school more often was the lack of pages and perforation. I usually end up writing about 4-6 pages of notes every day I’m in class. I take a lot of technical courses that require notes to be numerous and comprehensive for future studying. With only 38 sheets, the Guildford would not be able to accommodate the amount of notes I take. Even when I use front and back, with 32 lines of 6mm per page, the notebook would still last less than a month of classes. Also, the lack of perforation means I can never do assignments on this paper and turn it in, as it would both look like and leave a mess.


The binding is sturdy and does a great job of securing the pages within the notebook. This would be the one thing that I would admit that the Mnemosyne line can improve on. When turned all the way, the cover of the Mnemosyne tends to come loose of the binding and it’s a bit of a pain to realign it again every time. This binding has never failed me even once and is very resistant to bending, unlike the plastic ones present on the Mnemosyne notebooks.

With a tasteful color scheme and classy motifs, the Kyokuto Guildford is a functional and stylish notebook that can take on just about anything you throw at it. The thin paper saves on space and allows the notebook to have a compact form, while the durable covers protect them from wear and tear. The binding is strong and resistant to bending ensuring that you notebook will keep its shape and the pages inside will be protected. While it might not be ideal for doing assignments in with its lack of perforation, it still holds its own against other notebooks out there. I recommend everyone give this notebook a try.

Nock Co. Sinclair


From its inception in September 2013, Nock Co. has become a household name in the pen case industry. Though there are numerous offerings from well-established pen accessory companies, Nock Co.’s unique and well-designed cases always manage to make them stand out in the crowd. They have since expanded into paper products and have increased the various colors they offer their cases in.


The list of materials that all the Nock Co. cases are made of simply ooze quality. All cases are made from 1000D Nylon with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) Coating. The coating makes the fabric hydrophobic, simply put, it makes water roll right off. A welcome addition as my clumsiness has led to water being spilled on my case many times. The inside material is Nylon Pack Cloth, which protects the surface of your pens and is durable enough to withstand constant friction from taking out and inserting pens into the slots. There are 3 pen slots provided, allowing for storage of up to 3 fountain pens, six non-fountain pens or a mix of the two. As shown in the last picture, I opt for 2 fountain pens, usually one with black ink and blue ink, a standard ballpoint and a pencil for scantron tests and the like. There is also a dedicated slot for a pocket notebook, which I often use to store my Field Notes notebooks, though this can be used with any pocket notebook of that size. I recommend keeping only one in there as it gets rather difficult to store and take out if there’s more than one. The zippers are YKK, which means that they will last a very long time. Overall, a huge win for those who desire a case made from quality materials.


The Sinclair is one of the later additions to the line, as it was developed well after the original Kickstarter campaign. From the moment it was announced, I knew I had to have one. The zippered design and compact form attracted me away from my Hightower which I often had retention problems with the pocket notebook. It managed to slip out numerous times and I had to make a conscious effort to put it in my bag right side up. Now that I have a Sinclair, I can throw it in however and not have to worry about a thing.


A real winner from Nock Co. Ever since I backed the initial Kickstarter, Nock Co. has grown into a well-known brand that is designing some awesome cases and paper products (I have their note cards!). The Sinclair is hands down my current favorite offering from the guys at Nock. However, with the blistering pace they’re setting and the innovative designs their showcasing, this might change in the near future. I highly recommend this case to anyone who likes colorful, well-designed and amazing pen cases. If you’re reading this, keep up the great work guys!

Sailor Souten Review

So sorry for not being active for the last month almost. After Spring Break, the amount of work I had to finish went up drastically and there’s still lots more to come. I just finished my exam week and only have a month to prepare for finals. This weekend is a small respite, as I finally had time to sit down and finish a couple of reviews. This will be number 1 of 3, to make up for the end of February. The second and third will come tomorrow, officially finishing the quota for March. I don’t know if I’ll be able to put any out until after the semester’s over in May, but I’ll try my best to keep you guys updated. Please follow me on social media for quick updates. You can follow me through the buttons on the right for Twitter and Facebook, and my Instagram feed gallery is linked to my profile.

DSCF9034As you all may know after all this time. I love me some blue inks. Any shade, any brand. You name it, I’m willing to give it a try. I’ve had this ink for almost 2 years now. The ink is almost finished, so I knew I needed to get a review in before it ran out.

DSCF9037By the time I got onto the Sailor bandwagon, I found that some of the inks I really wanted to try had officially been discontinued. I could no longer find Grenade, Epinard and Sky Blue. I was immensely disappointed at not getting the chance to review them, but perked up when Sailor announced that they would be revealing a new Four Seasons ink line that would be the future of Sailor inks. Excited, I waited with bated breath for the Los Angeles International Pen Show to get my hands on some. When I reached, I went straight over to the Anderson Pens booth and got this bottle of Sailor Souten (Azure Sky), the touted successor of the Sky High. I have to say, I was not disappointed at all with my purchase.

DSCF9043The performance of Souten is about as expected of any Sailor ink. It behaves well in every pen I ink it up in and shades differently based on the nib size and any special characteristics. While I wrote the review with my Lamy Safari M, I usually used it with my TWSBI 580 Pendleton BLS grind fountain pen. The unique grind on the nib allowed for the shading to really show through.

DSCF9039The ink also has a beautiful red sheen when used in a broad or wide italic nib. The red is concentrated around where the ink typically pools inside the letters. However, if you’re using this ink with a fine or extra fine nib, don’t expect any real shading or sheen to show when writing.

DSCF9046Now for the Sailor performance, you’re going to be paying a rather premium price. This ink typically retails for around $18 at Anderson Pens and other similar retailers, I’ve seen it go for $14.25 on JetPens, which is by far the cheapest I could find it going for. If the price doesn’t bother you, then this is a solid, well-behaved blue that will perform well in any pen you use it in. I recommend this to anyone who likes Sailor inks and wants a nice blue to add to their collection.