Manuscript | Lettering Pencil Set

I'm a fan of pencils, so when the option to review the Manuscript Lettering Pencil set arose, my little paw was in the air.

So, this is what it looks like: a plastic pack with a lead-holder, a sharpener and five colours of 'core' to slot into the holder. 

Way to go me, I cut the top off the actual lead holder in the photo *sigh*

Inside the kit you get an instruction sheet on how to use the sharpener (like emery board) and two different kinds of lead core - for each colour, a round one like you'd find in any pencil and two squared off ones.  Except for the graphite where you get an extra round core actually in the little lead holder when delivered.

The lead holder with rounded core in graphite inserted
To change the leads out is very easy, just press that metal button on the end and the front of the pencil opens up like the front of a space ship!

Spaceship opening - or just a vivid imagination? 
And you slide out the old lead and slot in the new one.

Turquoise.  Purty.

I have had a rotten cold for a week *coughs pathetically, looking for sympathy* and so took myself out to the shed with a coffee and a couple of bits of paper and set the pencils to work.

I used two different types of paper - one a very smooth piece and the other, the rough side of a piece of water colour paper.

Oh reader, please believe me when I say that I wanted to love this very much!

The graphite worked quite well; it's soft enough to get light and dark as well as thin and thick from the round core.  However, when I switched to the red square core, I had to lean quite heavily to get the marks made on the paper and within a moment or two I snapped the lead (probably my fault for having too much lead exposed, I think).  Note:  even my little snapped off piece of lead slotted into the lead-holder, so no wastage, even if you snap!

The turquoise (on the far left of the terrible photo above) was too pale to be seen properly and the pale green and the gold were actually very similar.  I tried laying down the gold and putting the green on top, which resulted in a sort of bluey green, but the colour mixing wasn't too successful for me.  Besides, who's going to be colour mixing when doing calligraphy? 

I like calligraphy because of the clean lines and flourishes that can be achieved with a lightness of touch.  Here the pencil marks are attractive, but not very polished looking.  In the hands of a pro calligrapher, I think you could get a nice and unusual effect.

Another point to make is that one of the advantages of working with pencil is that you can rub out your mistakes, which you can't do with a pen (well, you can.  Some of them.  I digress).  I tried rubbing out some of the red lettering and it left a distinct trace.

The little sharpener works a treat, but sharpen over a bin as suddenly getting graphite fingers from coaxing shavings into the bin as an afterthought makes for messy calligraphy.

So, who would enjoy this?

I think that, as with most writing tools, a good calligrapher will be able to get a good turn out of this product to get an unusual shaded effect.  I also think that children would enjoy using it too because it's FUN.

The colours were very pale when on the paper, but that might just be down to my ineptitude with the tool.  And I guess that in making a lead hard, to slot into the handset, the amount of pigment must be offset by whatever makes the lead hard? 

I very much look forward to seeing it in the hands of an expert pen-wielder! 

Blackwing Pearl Pencil | A Review | A Convert!

OK - let's get the elephant in the corner out of the way first - I know this is a pencil and not a fountain pen, but I do love pencils and after buying a clutch from Nero's Notes, my friend Scribble sent me a beautiful Palomino Blackwing Pearl.

Pure Pens | Castell Coch

Any business who supports charity deserves a shout out and Pure Pens has stepped up to the plate with their Castell Coch ink.

It's pink!

And 10% of proceeds will go to Breast Cancer Care. 

This, coupled with Diamine's Hope Pink means that I've got two ink companies that are supporting cancer charities - are there any more?

Now, all I need to do is schmooze a sample from somewhere ... :D

How to open a book

Opening books is something that we have been doing since we were children and seems about as obvious as finding your nose.

However, lots of books, especially brick-thick paperbacks (I'm looking at you, J R R Tolkien) suffer cruelly at the hands of their careless readers.

You've seen victims of this bibliocrime - spines carelessly snapped and pages left clinging desperately to the bindings, or SELLOTAPED in place *crosses self*.  Others, whose backs are stronger, have their pages curled and twisted so that by the time you read the last pages in your massive book, it's like trying to read a beach ball.

Bumper Post | Pens! Inks!

I've been working like a dog writing Press Releases and scribbling hundreds of notes and the downside of all that is that sometimes the last thing you want to look at when you are chillaxing with a lager shandy in the Lady Cave is another pen.

BUT - today I took my writing ennui and gave it a good slap and threw myself into looking at a couple of new pens, new inks and a glorious pen roll.

Let's start with the pen roll - it was made for me by my newest fountain pen friend, Emmy Gregory.  Who is as funny as she is talented.  She asked me whether I like cactus or roses and I went for cactus - because who doesn't like cactus?

I'd very much like one of these please if anyone has got some spare cash.

Cartier Cactus Ring.  I wants it BAD.
Then this lovely confection of greyhounds, cactii and roses arrived in the post and I luff it sick.

Nero (the black, overly hot-dog pictured) approves

Greyhounds and Cacti on the outside

Greyhounds and roses on the inside.
Where does she find this material because I WOULD WEAR THIS EVERY DAY IF IT WAS CLOTHING.

I digress - it's a fantastic little pen-holder and I shall treasure it for always.

So I bought myself a Deacon's Doodle with a Cursive Nib from Mr Pens.  Today was Try Out Day.

I also had a Jinhao 159 kicking around that I hadn't tried, so it got roped into today's mega bumper post too.

The inks tried out were:

Krishna Black Rose
Krishna Jungle Volcano
Organics Walden Pond (sample from Emmy - thank you!)

What a lovely grown up colour of ink.  The sort of thing a love-sick vampire might use to write his poetry with.

Quietly pleased with the cursive nib from Mr Pens too - I will need to spend more time with it when I am more interested in making the pen work beautifully than I am in watching the colour unfold beneath my nib!

Next up is Krishna Inks Jungle Inferno.  I confess that as I started writing I thought 'very red brown.  I don't like it.'  Then as it started to dry, wowzers! Did I change my tune, look at this!

God in heaven - it's such a lot of fun! Not only does it change colour, but the green shading has the loveliest SHEEN to it!

The Jinhao 159 was wheeled out for this one as a dipping pen and it's perfect for this ink - good-sized nib and nice and wet writer.  Perfect combination!

Sheen!! Look at the sheen!

I'll level with you, I was looking at the Walden Pond and thinking that it was going to be such an anticlimax after the Jungle Volcano .....

Extra large photo to show off the sheen.

I used the Jinhao again and had a quick dip into the sample phial.  It laid down as a beautiful blue green. So far so pretty.  But then, around the edges of the letters I started to see a tiny pink red outline.  What alchemy is THIS?!

I continued to scribble, but the genie had left the bottle.  Or rather, the genie was sitting inside the phial begging me to shake it properly.  Which I did.  And LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE.  You can definitely see the pink sheen on this ink now! 

What a day! I am no longer ennuied! I am revitalised and firing on all cylinders to be using these pens and inks.

Have you tried any of these? What do you think of them?! 

Elrohir Leather | Journal Cover

Elrohir Leather Journal Cover
So, this is what all the fuss is about! Elrohir Leather journal covers are chanted like a sacred mantra in the bullet journalling world and now that I've held, smelled and used one of their journal covers, I'm utterly smitten!

Let me tell you a little bit about Elrohir Leather. 

Faber Castell | E-motion | Fountain Pen

There's been quite a lot of writing getting done here at Her Nibs Towers this week so it was a perfect opportunity to unfurl the Faber Castell and put her through her paces.

First of all, there's an outer cardboard slip and then the presentation box, which is very smart.  A little pull ribbon loop helps the pen tray slide out - very civilised.  I hate trying to prise my way into boxes that results in a shredded box and a worse shredded temper.

All the presentation doofers

The pen is substantial, weighing in at 50g (with a little ink in it at this point).  The split between pen and cap surprised me - the pen is 28g and the cap is 22g.  The cap feels heavier to me!

It's a pretty cigar-shaped pen:

The cap is chrome with a pleasant sprung clip that helps keep it snug and secure in your pocket - you don't want your £100 pen dropping into your coffee ... or worse!  the words 'Faber Castell since 1761' and their two tiny jousting knights logo are engraved on the cap. 

It's a screw cap - nice smooth motion.  However, when you post the cap, it doesn't pop into place.  I confess to preferring pens whose lids post securely - I'm the sort of person who can lose a pen cap in 20 seconds from uncapping.

If you persevere and post the cap, it does make the pen feel top-heavy.  So, I am assuming that the cap is not really designed to be posted to the pen.

The pen itself is a smart blend of polished chrome and a black resin barrel in a sophisticated herringbone pattern.  I have noticed that the chrome cap does cause slight scoring on the resin. But I use a jeweller's loupe to examine pens very closely and you can barely discern the scoring without one.  So not too much to worry about.

Unscrewing the section from the barrel is as smooth as silk - the resin barrel has a chrome threaded insert.  Inside you can use cartridges or a convertor (the pen comes with a branded Faber Castell convertor if you like your ink to be wild!)  Note: Standard sized and giant cartridges are available.

The nib is medium, stainless steel - again with the two little jousting knights and an M clearly etched.  But there are other options available when buying - Extra Fine through to Broad.

The crucial question - how does it write?

juicy nibbage!

I had a lot of writing to do this week and unfortunately much of it I can't actually show you, but I did do some scribbly test writing:

oooh nice shading too!

I found the nib smooth and the flow to be good and a little wet.  It has been very hot in Scotland this week and there were, if I'm honest, a couple of times when the ink sputtered to a standstill, but started back up within a few seconds.  I'm attributing that to the heat and the speed with which I was having to record quite a lot of information.

Nib - still cannot master close up pix!

This is a quality pen that is lovely to write with, but for me the lid not posting securely is an issue and the scratching of the barrel might become more noticeable over time.