JetPens, take a pen
May 14, 2008

So, yesterday I wrote about the JetPens site - today I'm going to write about five of the pens that they sent me to review. Let me repeat the disclosure from the first post:
They sent me some pens to play with and to review - and in exchange I'm writing two posts about them. One about the site (today's post), and I'll be writing another one going through each of the pens they sent me. Before I can do that one, I have a project I have to finish - hopefully this week. Oh, and also? If I hadn't already liked the site, I'd have turned this "gig" down. They didn't ask for a favorable review - they put no restrictions on this review and did not even ask to see it before I published it. If you've read my blog long, you know this - I ain't gonna sugar-coat it. Happily, there was no need to do so here as I was already a pretty big fan of the site.

They sent me five "standard writing pens," a chalkboard/markerboard marker, a white gel pen and two Pentel Color Brush pens. I'm limiting today's post to the five "standard" pens. The others will have to wait until I get some projects completed and have a chance to use these pens in action.

Five gel pens sample image - complete with my HIDEOUS handwriting

Can you tell they sent me my favourite colour?

Pilot Hi-Tec C in Apple Green .3
This is literally my new favourite pen. I didn't think I would like Apple Green, but it's very similar to a neon green gel pen I discovered many, many moons ago (and haven't been able to find in ages). First, I prefer "wet ink" pens to the sticky ink in most "regular" ball point pens. So gel inks and rollerball inks have always been my preference. The problem is that even the "fine" point like the Sanford Uniball Micros usually aren't fine enough for me. Or, when they are, the tip of the pen actually scratches (and sometimes tears) the paper.

The Hi-Tec C is a little on the scratchy side in terms of feel, but the ink flow is just beautiful and I haven't yet noticed any scoring or scratching of the paper. I'm more than willing to put up with the tiny bit of scratchy feel to the pen in exchange for such a wonderful line. I noticed next to no clumping or blotting of the ink - very consistent application. And the colour is great!

Pilot FriXion .5
Again, very consistent application of ink. I always worry with gel pens that I'll get a "dip" of ink the middle where the ball actually prevents ink from being laid down, but to either side of the ball, you get trails of ink. This was not a problem with any of the pens I'm reviewing. This just blows my mind. If I go to Staples and buy a package of gel pens, I can guarantee you that at least half of them will leave that "clear" area in the center of each line. WHY can't we get good gel pens easily???

Anyhow, this pen has a much more smooth feel to it than the .3 Hi-Tec C and a darker colour green ink. Very pleasant pen and one I'd be more likely to use on more formal paperwork since the green is so dark.

Pilot Choose .7
Nice feel to the pen, nice ink flow, but as with most wider tipped gel pens, there's a bit of splotchy ink at the ends of lines. It's certainly got a better flow than most gel pens I pick up in the U.S., but it's not quite as smooth as the previous two pens.

Zebra Sarasa Clip .4
Another instant hit along with the Hi-Tec C. Less scratchy feel than the Hi-Tec C and I'm curious to see how the clip aspect works out over time. Any writing pen (as opposed to drawing pens) which does not have a cap for me to lose or chew on is a huge bonus for me. I can see this pen being a workhorse for me quite easily.

Sakura Glaze Grey
This is more of a craft or art pen than the previous four and probably should have been reviewed with the white gel pen and the Pentel Colour Brush pens, but ah well.

This is not a pen for everyday use. It's got a very thick line which makes writing small difficult. It's really meant for accent work and the coolest thing about it is what the package says - Writing you can feel. Yep, let the ink dry (it has a longer drying period than a regular writing pen) and then run your fingers over the words - the ink sits on top of the paper and you can feel your letters. They recommend this pen as a decorative art tool to embellish and emboss in scrapbooking, rubber stamping and cardmaking.

I can also see where I would want to try to use these pens (they come in some really nice colours) as accent or highlight pieces in some of my artwork - there's a good chance I'll be using this on the project I'm working on now - IF there's an appropriate area which doesn't require a fine line. The Glaze pens also come in Clear and I can see using that a LOT just to garner a bit of effect on some area of a drawing.

All-in-all, I was really stunned at the quality of these pens. I am used to my Pentel Hybrid Gel Rollers which skip, don't apply ink evenly at all and scratch. Of course, those Hybrid Gel Rollers are old pens, probably nearly 10 years old now (which explains why I can't find them anymore) and they came out early on in the gel pen fad. It seems that the ink process has matured greatly since then - and I've got a LOT of new pens to become obsessed with!

The post continues:
I wrote a paragraph or two with each pen in my Moleskine, talking about hand writing, handwriting and how the pens were working for me. If you want to attempt to slog through a short introduction to my atrocious handwriting - or just look at how the pens performed in a slightly longer test, then click through:

All 3 Pilot Pens

Zebra and Sakura

Posted by Red Monkey at May 14, 2008 7:56 AM | Sketches | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


dowdyism said:

I love the Hi-Tec-C pens myself, and the Apple Green color is great!

May 15, 2008 8:59 PM
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