A little late posting it to the blog, I know.
For the curious, I used a Lumix DMC-LX7 to shoot, iMovie to edit.
The Piccolo is possibly Nakaya's best-known canvas for its unique aesthetic. It has been made to look like stone, lacquered to evoke ancient tea ware, covered in sumi and carved with dragons. There are Piccolos with skulls, Piccolos engraved with twining vines and flowers, light pink Piccolos, demon-studded Piccolos, Piccolos sprinkled with iridescent butterflies.
Machining a Piccolo out of solid titanium? Who woulda thunk it?
Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I thought I’d have fun with pairs.
A heavy metal pair.
A hardworking pair.
A sentimental pair.
A your-pen-is-nothing-without-us pair.
A who-cares-if-there’s-no-ink pair.
A separated-at-birth pair.
A pair of seasoned travelers.
A sunshine pair.
A pair fit to be tied.
My favorite pair.
Cotton swabs let you see how an ink spreads itself on paper, and also thins out the color so you can better see hue and tone. If you’re testing colors, you might as well have fun. These swabs are round on one end and pointy on the other — twice the fun potential!
Many friends are celebrating the coming of the Chinese New Year, so I thought that would make a good theme.
J. Herbin Rouge Hematite, Platinum Mix Free in golden yellow, and De Atramentis’ Petrol came out of the ink drawer. To make an ink swab snake, make a swooshy S with the cotton swab side down to the paper. Add yellow dots with the pointy end. Dark green dots for eyes and a tongue in red complete the snake.
Make inky fireworks using a spray bottle with water and a loaded ink swab.
Experiment with the distance from the spray to the swab, and from the swab to the paper.
You can add a greeting while the paper is still a little wet.
Children love receiving ang pao, or red envelopes with money gifts, during Chinese New Year. You can jazz up a simple brown envelope with an ink swab doodle.
Or try a card!
If one swab is fun, why not use two at the same time?
The colors blend on paper as you draw, leaving parts of the stroke orange and parts distinctly red and yellow.
Writing with cotton swabs is not easy. Use a light touch. I should have used new swabs per line for more consistent color, but I like the gradual fade of this too. Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!
This was easy to dismiss as a cutesy pen until I wrote and drew with it.
Verdict? Not bad. Kalina, who tweets as @geminica, found it unpredictable in a review over at Pen Addict— that’s probably why I like it. I’ve yet to try the Tombow Fudenosuke.
The Cocoiro is a little adventure packed into a cute, curvy, soft body.
Drawing with it is a pleasant diversion from fountain pens. Not better, just different.
Have you played with the Cocoiro yet?
It can’t be denied
that many have tried
but there’s no pen like a Big Red.
That ball-ended clip
was certainly hip
on a pen that was both Big and Red.
It was truly a prize,
a nib of that size;
it could only be a Big Red.
A Christmas tree feed
is just what you need
when you write with a pen called Big Red.
The Parker Duofold
is sought after, I’m told.
So hold on to your awesome Big Red.
To answer this question from Todd (who tweets as togotooner), I drew as fast as I could with different nibs.
The Platinum music nib was the easiest to draw quickly with. It was also the one that had the least line variation. The 1.5 mm Pilot Parallel pen was easier to draw with than the 2.4 mm. I found myself fiddling with the Sailor Fude, so that took more time. The edges of the cursive italic nib would sometimes catch on the paper, so I had to be more careful. The Waterman flex nib produced the most line variation. While not speedy, it wasn’t as painstakingly slow as I thought it would be.
For flat nibs (the spectrum of stub to music to crisp italic), rounded edges and generous ink flow aid nimbleness and a looser, more expressive drawing line. In general, the sharper the nib, the more difficult it is to draw with. With practice, though, the hand should get used to the “drag,” and compensate accordingly.
The tools you have dictate the solution. If you don’t have a bucket for water, you use your hands. If you have a pencil, you shade with the pencil on its side. If you have a 0.05 Pigma Micron, you crosshatch to make shadows. If you have a fine flexible nib, you bear down hard for a thick line where the shadow goes. If you have a Pilot Parallel Pen, you rotate the nib so its entire surface touches the paper.
I prefer fine flexible nibs for drawing quickly. Next in line would be Pilot Parallel Pens. Each kind of nib has its own lovely result, so learning how to use them can improve anyone’s library of drawing styles.
(Adding another comparison shot for Khaled.)
I am an Evernote junkie. There is nothing like starting a paragraph in the cab and finishing it on my desktop in the time it takes me to get from the lobby elevator to the office. My thoughts might be scattered, but my process gives me the illusion of seamlessness.
No matter how much I love Evernote, though, I will never give up pen and paper.
For those of us who indulge in both analog and digital comforts, there’s the Evernote Moleskine. I was pleased to see it in stock over the holidays. The Evernote-green elastic and placeholder is a good design touch. The embossing on the cover echoes the graphic on the Evernote iOS startup screen. It’s available in two sizes, and in lined and quadrille.
The Evernote Moleskine is meant to work with Evernote’s Page Camera, which is only on iOS. This made me stomp my foot, as I now find the iPhone screen too small. Page Camera fires the flash and processes the image to make your handwriting stand out versus the paper.
Each Evernote Moleskine comes with a free three-month Evernote Premium membership and sheets of bright and happy stickers. Evernote can sense the stickers and automatically tag entries based on them.
Here’s a sticker in action. Note the “approved” tag on the upper right. That was triggered by the sticker.
Evernote has an OCR function, so handwritten notes become searchable. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Here, I entered “sequins” in the search bar on the upper right.
This is how the search result looks in Evernote for Android.
Of course Evernote will OCR even if you don’t use the Evernote Moleskine. Even Page Camera will work as it should. It won’t be as matching-shoes-and-bags fun, though.
Exotic nibs don’t have to break the bank. Sailor’s Fude pens aren’t your everyday fine, medium or broad nib. The length is already a clue. It’s closer to a brush rather than a pen, as fude nibs are meant to mimic brush strokes, and thus be held closer to vertical.
The fude nibs come in two angles and colors: 40° is blue, and 55º is green.
The 40° fude adds a dash of character to daily notes. The angle means less of the nib slit is in contact with the paper, making for finer lines.
The 55º fude is bold and demands more attention to achieve graceful strokes.
A fude nib is like a zoom nib on training wheels. The principle is the same. Held at a lower angle to the paper, the pen delivers broad swathes of ink; held almost perpendicular, it becomes fine.
An old favorite pen, the King Crown 555-1, has an overfeed and a longer nib compared to the 2 Sailor Fude pens. I’d give the Sailors a more generous feed if I could. I like brushstrokes that go on sopping wet.
I have no kanji in me, so I can’t exploit all the goodness of these nibs. However, if you like doodling and drawing, they are unique enough to deserve to be added to your pen case.
This Parker inkwell came to me over Christmas by way of Butch and Beng.
It’s an inkwell of stories.
She screamed, “I’ll get to the bottom of this even if it kills me!” She did. It did.
The painter promised the devil his soul for the perfect brush. Unfortunately, he forgot to ask for paint.
“Sorry dude, no one’s buying a graphic novel pitch about The Perforator.”
It was at moments like this the truck driver knew, absolutely knew, that he was wrong not to have made the pee stop at the gas station 5 miles earlier.
He dreaded sweeping up after the dragon every night. But he dreaded his neighbors even more.