Pentel Pocket Brush for Calligraphy

Let’s continue review blitz week with a drawer-dweller I excavated in the name of Spring cleaning.

DSCF7036

When I first though about getting a brush pen, I decided that I wanted one that could be flexy and soft. The reason those were my conditions was because of all the amazing Instagram videos I watched of people using brush pens for their calligraphy. I was drawn to how due to the softness of the bristles, the letters became so much more expressive. They absolutely swelled in width and really gave way to some cool design ideas in my brain. I went straight to JetPens, went to the brush pen section and got the best selling brush pen at the time. I was excited to get started in brush pen calligraphy and then it came.

DSCF7038

From the moment I started writing with, I knew there was no way I could control it. The bristles were way too soft for a beginner like me, and I felt disappointed. I tried countless times to adjust my pressure and use that to form the letters I wanted, but every single time, the bristles just immediately gave out. Frustrated, I put this into my drawer and there it laid ever since. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks back that I got it out for my Rhodia Graph Pad paper review. I wanted to test the paper for feathering and a brush pen seemed like the best tool to do so. I still found it hard to control, but all the calligraphy drills and exercises I’ve been doing have payed off. The light touch that I’ve been trying to develop finally gave some semblance of comfort. However, I still have a long way to go until I can purposefully use this pen for any calligraphy whatsoever.

DSCF7039

The design is simple and elegant. Completely utilitarian and no nonsense. The pen is made up of only 3 pieces. The body the brush section and the cap. On the cap, the only non branded embellishment is a kanji character in silver. On the opposite side, there is the Pentel branding in silver, making it glint off the black pen cap. The clip is functional and slightly springy, allowing for easy removal from a pen case or shirt pocket.

DSCF7042

Now on to the bristles. While I previously mentioned that I had a lot of trouble handling this pen, this is not a bad pen. I would like to clarify that it is due to my lack of skill that I can’t utilize this brush pen to it’s full potential. There are many rave reviews on JetPens, most likely from people who can properly use it and they all feel that it is a good brush pen. All I can say is, if you’re looking for a hard and firm brush then this isn’t the pen for you. If you’re looking for an expressive, responsive and very consistent pen then look no further.

DSCF7043

The pen comes with two standard black Pentel ink cartridges. The ink is very nice and deep black. However, I have noticed that it tends to feather on some papers. Keep in mind that with a bristles this soft, sometimes just the slightest amount of pressure can lay down a huge line. Other than that, it works perfectly with the pen and I can’t wait to experiment running some fountain pen ink through it.

Overall, I would recommend this pen to anyone who wants a soft and expressive brush pen. I would not recommend it to beginners like me looking into getting started with brush pen calligraphy. So I’m going to take the advice of some of my favorite calligraphers and start with something hard and firm and graduate slowly to this one. Thanks for reading and as always, write on, my friends.

Pentel Slicci 0.3mm Review

DSCF3119

I was really looking forward to raving about another Pentel pen, but was a little disappointed. For those who want an Hi-Tec C alternative, many go for the Pentel Slicci. Available in a huge variety of tip sizes and colors, it would look to be a clear rival. However, in my opinion, this pen really fell short of my expectations. Here are the reasons why:

DSCF3117

I’ve said it many times, and I will say it again: The grip can make or break the writing experience of any pen. If I don’t feel comfortable holding it, you can be sure I won’t be comfortable writing with it. So far, all the Pentel pens I’ve used have had magnificent grips which I really enjoyed. The same can’t be said for the Slicci. The grip is part of the plastic, so you can expect a sharp, digging sensation in your fingers when using it. I get that this is not a pen you put a fancy grip on, but it feels like they completely forgot to factor in user comfort in the design process.

DSCF3116

As you can see in the picture, this pen is THIN. So thin, in fact, that it unconsciously makes me grip twice as hard as I usually do, because combined with the lackluster and painful grip, I constantly have a feeling that it’s going to slip. The feeling is very similar to the one I felt when reviewing the Marvy Le Pen marker, that this pen is better suited for those with thinner hands.

DSCF3115

So far I’ve only highlighted the flaws, so let’s talk about what this pen does right. While being a thin tip, it is definitely more consistent than it’s rival, the Hi-Tec C. It immediately started up out of the box, and I have yet to experience even one hard start. The lines are crisp, and smooth, which results in sharp letters. A word of caution, the tip is sharp, so be careful how much pressure you put on the page, as I have accidentally [engraved?] my words onto the following page by mistake a couple of times. Good thing is, no matter the pressure, the pen will faithfully write, so it’s not too big of a problem.The ink is nice and saturated, it’s fast-drying, and it doesn’t feather even on cheap copy paper. It may be a thin tip, but the ink is also an intrinsic part of what makes this pen good.

Overall, I don’t think I’ll be using this pen often, or ever, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad pen. While the flaws I pointed out may be something I personally look for in a pen, it doesn’t mean that everyone else would feel that way. This was just me stating my experience, and I can guarantee it won’t be the same for everyone. I would definitely recommend that you give it a try to see whether it suits your taste.

Pentel Energel Euro Needle-Point Review

Hey guys, well it has been a long while, but I have finally recovered enough to start posting up new reviews and other content.

I feel that I have to properly make up for the wait time, so I’ve decided, I’ll post 2 more reviews this week, for a grand total of 3 reviews! I still have to finish reviewing some miscellaneous stuff from my old JetPens haul, so look forward to that. Without further ado, let’s do this!

DSCF3095

The Pentel Energel Euro Needle-Point. The moment I saw “Pentel Energel”, I knew I had to try it out. With the amazing experience I had with the last Energel I used, I had high expectation for this one. After four months of everyday, intense usage, I can tell you that this pen passed with flying colors. It had the perfect balance between sharp lines, consistent ink flow, and smooth writing. I wrote up a handwritten review so you guys can see how sharp the lines are.

DSCF3091

As you can see, I was pleasantly surprised by how long this pen has lasted. Like a fine wine, it improved with age. The tip smoothed out after 2 weeks, so I didn’t even bother using any other pen. It performed well on all 4 types of paper I tested it on: Rhodia, Maruman, Doane, and standard copy paper. The ink, while being highly lubricated and dark, didn’t present any signs of bleed-through, but on the Doane pad, and copy paper, it exhibited a decent amount of show-through.

DSCF3099

The grip is something I could talk about all day. While the grip of a pen seems like a small part of what makes it a decent writing instrument, it actually has a huge effect on performance. This grip in particular, has got to be one of the best I have ever tried. It’s the same grip from the Pentel Energel ballpoint I previously reviewed, but just a little bit slimmer. While being slim, it definitely doesn’t under-perform in any way. I can easily use this for hours at a time, and the sweat doesn’t make me falter.

Overall, this pen can give the Pilot Hi-Tec C a run for its money. There’s a lot of similarity in the writing experience, and I feel that anyone who loves the Hi-Tec-C, will also come to appreciate the Energel Euro Needle-Point. Try it out, and see for yourselves!

Pentel Energel-X RT Review

DSCF2169

I got a haul from JetPens a while back before the quarter started. I alternated using the pens for a week and wrote reviews on all of them. This was the first pen I tried out, and I have to say this is arguably one of the best in the entire haul. I have officially been converted into a gel pen user. I was initially reluctant to try this pen as it seemed to bright and plastic-y for my taste. All of that was forgotten the moment the tip touched the paper. The ink quite literally glides off the nib, providing a smooth, consistent line. This allowed my lettering to look more crisp, even on cheap copy paper. Everything about the grip is perfect. The positioning (not too low/high), texture (not too squishy/rough), and the ridges (don’t cut into your fingers, no matter the pressure). This pen has raised the bar for my expectations, and it’s going to be difficult finding a pen that can match this one.

P. S. Stay tuned for a new ink review on Wednesday!

Karas Kustoms Retrakt Review

Specs:

  • Length: 5.625″
  • Weight: 1 ounce
  • Refills: Pilot G2/Parker-compatible refills
  • Stainless Steel Clip and Hardware
  • 6061-T6 aluminum body

These specs were taken from the Retrakt’s product page on Karas Kustoms’ website.

Introduction:

Right around the time I discovered Massdrop, I noticed that the Retrakt was one of the featured drops. I couldn’t resist the price I was getting it at, and convinced myself that I needed this in my collection. After an agonizing wait, it finally appeared in my mailbox. I ripped open that packaging like it was Christmas morning and lo and behold, there it was in all its shiny aluminum glory. Before purchasing the Retrakt I had been adamant that I get at least one Karas Kustoms pen, so I had ordered Pentel Energel black 0.5 mm refills from JetPens in advance, should I ever pull the trigger. They waited in my desk drawer until the glorious afternoon I opened my package up.

Feel:

IMG_2763

When I first laid hands on it, I was surprised at how light it was. I have relatively big hands, so I wasn’t sure whether the pen would be too small, having only looked at other reviews and pictures. When I held it though, all doubts about the size vanished. It was very comfortable to hold, and the brushed aluminum finish helped give a decent amount of grip for someone with really dry hands (I have dropped all my pens at least once, no nib accidents have occurred as of yet).

Setup:

IMG_2766

This is where things get a little tricky. I realized a little late that the Energel refills I had purchased had to be “hacked” (literally) to fit in the pen, as the standard sized refill is too long. I read a guide that simply said measure and cut the excess off. On my first attempt, I cut the refill way too long and conservatively snipped away at the tube till it was at my desired length.

IMG_2770

Messy end from all the snipping

Problem was that when I had properly sized the tube, the knock(clicky mechanism) didn’t fully push the point through the hole properly, so I followed an online guide that told me to insert the black plastic piece in the back and size the refill to accommodate it. After that I was good to go.

For those of you thinking to use the same or a similar combo read this post on refill hacking: Karas Kustoms Retrakt Hack 

Writing Performance:

Doesn't it look pretty big? O.O

Doesn’t it look pretty big? O.O

When I initially loaded up the pen, I had used the spring meant for the Pilot G2 style refills, because I thought that since the Energel refill was so large, it would fit properly.

IMG_2765

Notice the slight gap on the left? It really made a huge difference!

However, I suffered a lot of frustration when the point of the pen had a visible gap when extended and did not fill the hole properly. This may sound like me being extremely picky, but there is a good reason for the complaint. When I was taking notes in class, the tip just started bending and hitting the gap causing a weird feeling that messed up my handwriting. After rereading the guide I linked above, I noticed that it said to use the thinner of the two springs. I immediately switched out the springs and the knock felt more responsive and the tip stopped wobbling around. This improved my experience by a lot, and I find myself using it with increasing frequency.

Overall:

This pen is a very sturdy, well-built pen that can take a lot of punishment (dropped it twice on concrete, didn’t even scratch it). I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a simple, utilitarian pen that can accept a myriad of refills to suit your writing style, while feeling solid and balanced in the hand. I would like to thank Karas Kustoms for making such an elegant writing instrument, and I look forward to many more years of use.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Massdrop, Karas Kustoms, and any other parties mentioned in this post. I am just another happy customer. 🙂