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January 27, 2010

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen Gradation Function

We love the Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen and its ability to produce gradated lettering! For those of you unfamiliar with this function we are providing a simple explanation along with some samples.

We found this definition of "gradated" on thefreedictionary.com: "(Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) to change or cause to change imperceptibly, as from one colour, tone, or degree to another." In other words, as you are writing with the Pilot Parallel Pen you can make your lettering gradually change from one color to another.

To do this, you will need 2 Parallel Pens filled with different ink colors. Suppose you are writing with a Parallel Pen filled with violet ink and you would like to create lettering that slowly changes in color from green back to violet again. Hold your Parallel pen filled with violet ink so that the nib is pointing up. Hold another Parallel pen filled with green ink so that the nib is pointing down. Touch the nib of the green pen to the nib of the violet pen and hold the nibs together for several seconds. Some of the green ink will have transferred to the nib of the pen with the violet ink. 

When you resume writing with your Parallel pen filled with violet ink, you will find that the lettering begins as a green color and as you continue to write your letters will gradually become violet again. This technique produces beautiful gradated lettering that can add an extra special touch to your calligraphy creations. Have fun and email us your results! We'd love to see your designs and feature some of them on our blog.

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens are available with 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8mm and 6.0mm nibs and at Writer's Bloc you can also get them in a set of four. If you're planning to give the gradated lettering a try, there is a convenient box of 12 ink cartridges in assorted colors. (Just a note: Pilot recommends using only Pilot Mixable Color IC-P3 ink cartridges with this pen.)

January 20, 2010

Clairefontaine and Kawaiko

While shopping in Paris I discovered that Clairefontaine has partnered with Kawaiko to create a line of cute notebooks and more that combine Japanese and French fashion. The result is a flowery, funky mix featuring four very different but very fashionable girls who are students in a school of design - Kima, Miio, Elea and Lina.

I brought home a large notebook with Clairefontaine graph paper and a picture of Lina wearing a Kimono on the front cover. You can even purchase matching Kawaiko/Clairefontaine computer bags, makeup bags, backpacks, tote bags, pencil sharpeners, waste paper baskets, agendas, notepads and more. Wouldn't it be nice to see some of these things in the USA!

If you're wondering what Harajuku inspired French fashion looks like take a look at the Kawaiko store website.

Even though most of us can only drool over the enormous variety of Clairefontaine products in France, in the USA we can still enjoy a wide selection of Clairefontaine products with the famous super smooth paper writers love.

January 13, 2010

Platinum President Fountain Pen Review

I've been mostly using Pelikan fountain pens with forgiving, rounded, left-handed nibs lately, and decided it was time for a change. Platinum Pens is known for making high-quality nibs, and I felt a good place to start would be their flagship fountain pen, the President, with an attractive 18K gold fine nib.

Platinum Pens is a Japanese pen maker, so their fine nib size is more like an extra fine in a LAMY or Pelikan nib. I normally have medium-size handwriting and I wanted to see how small, but still legible, I could write. This nib is amazing for small handwriting and narrow rule paper! I think it even made my handwriting look better than usual. And to think for years I was stuck in the rut of writing only with medium ballpoint pens because the fine ballpoints tended to poke through the bad quality of paper I used (or wouldn't write at all) and I had given up finding other pens that I wouldn't smear.

The President fountain pen took me a little while to get used to since the nib is so much finer than the nibs I've been using lately and the grip is smooth, without the "training wheels" of the ergonomic grip that some pens have. However, once I figured out the best way to hold it we became fast friends and I'm not sure if it is my imagination but the pen seemed to write smoother and smoother as I went along.

Even though the fine nib is very fine, the Platinum President fountain pen puts down a lot of ink. I went through ink more quickly than I first I thought I would. I did have to make an adjustment in the paper I used once I switched to a Noodler's ink that dried slowly. Instead of 90g Clairefontaine paper, the 80g Exacompta Basics paper seemed to absorb the ink a tiny bit and allowed it to dry more quickly so I was able to avoid smearing. It would have been nice if this pen had been designed with a piston filling system so that it could hold more ink than the converter does. Regular Platinum cartridges do seem to hold more ink than their converter, but I tend to like ink in unusual colors.

Another nice thing about the President fountain pen is that it takes a very light touch to write with it. I am sure it will take me years to un-train myself from using the ballpoint pen "death grip", but it will be worth it! Definitely less writing fatigue. I have small hands and like writing with light-weight pens, so I prefer writing with the cap off of the President. The President I used for this review is a demonstrator, and the material it is made of seems like it would be very durable.

Overall I found the Platinum President fountain pen was a pleasure to use! Members of popular pen forums speak highly of the smoothness of Platinum nibs. Do any of you use Platinum Pens? What has been your experience with Platinum fountain pens?

January 06, 2010

Calligraphy Pens

Calligraphy is an art form that almost anyone can enjoy. If you've said "I don't have a artistic bone in my body", you may be surprised that with the right pen in hand, you could have a hidden artistic flare you never knew you had. Recently here at Writer's Bloc I was able to "play" with some great Calligraphy Pens.  
 
The Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen 3.8mm has a wide nib that makes crisp, large letters. This pen, as well as the 6.0mm nib Parallel Pen, work well for projects that call for large lettering. Great for personalizing blank cards or to make signs that need to be easy to read. For smaller lettering, the Parallel Pen is also available in 2.4mm and 1.5mm nib sizes. This pen has a special gradation function which allows you to change your writing gradually from one color to another color.

The Pelikan Script Calligraphy Pen with the 1.5mm nib was my favorite because the nib size made what I thought was the just right stroke width for calligraphy writing in my personal letters and cards. The angle and nib are given to making clean calligraphy letters. A must have for the calligraphy writers among us. You can get the Pelikan Script Calligraphy Pen with 1.0mm and 2.0mm nibs as well.
 
The LAMY Joy Calligraphy Pen with the 1.1mm nib makes a finer line that is very appealing to those of us who write a little smaller. A great Pen!! It glides smoothly across the paper, almost making writing effortless. The LAMY Joy Calligraphy Pen makes beautiful writing fun. This pen also comes in 1.5mm and 1.9mm nib sizes.
 
All three of these Calligraphy Pens are well made fountain pens. They feel great in the hand and flow smoothly and evenly. They truly make for unique and stylish lettering that gives individuality to any writing endeavor.  
 
Discover the artist in you and have fun doing it!!
 
 
Lorraine at Writer's Bloc


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