Filtering by Author: Brad Dowdy

Pen Addict Membership Update

Things have been going well with Pen Addict Memberships so far. Granted, I don’t have a baseline to make a perfect comparison, but I have been happy, and more importantly (as judged by my inbox) members have been happy.

Refill, the Pen Addict members newsletter, hit Issue #5 last week and I think it was the best yet. I was also joined by Dr. Jonathan Deans from Pen Economics in Issue #4 for the launch of “Dowdy And The Doctor”, a monthly mini-podcast (around 15 minutes) where we tackle interesting pen topics with an economic slant.

As a member, you get access to all of the back issues as well as all future newsletters. I’m trying something different with Issue #6, making a Friday travel diary as I head out to the Los Angeles Pen Show. I think I have the format set, but I guess we will all find out together on Saturday!

If you are considering becoming a Pen Addict member and supporting this site, you can find all the details, including a sample newsletter, on the Membership Page.

Thank you to everyone who has joined so far. It is greatly appreciated!

Posted on February 9, 2016 and filed under Members.

Uni Mitsubishi Vermilion and Prussian Blue Pencil Review

Seeing a two-tone pencil, especially one of the red and blue variety, takes me back. They seem like a cool relic of the 1960’s, although I assume they have been around much longer that that. If my memory serves me, I first ran across them in the 1970’s and 1980’s in my grandfathers art studio. It was one of those pencils that you only found on a table or in a desk there, giving them a bit of cachet in my young pen addict’s brain.

I liberated one or two over the years I’m sure, allowing me to double-blade long before Darth Maul made it popular. But they weren’t great pencils. The red was often too orange or too light, and the blue was similarly faint. Plus, I’m sure I would get in trouble turning in a school assignment in red colored pencil.

But red and blue two-tone pencils have an aura about them. If you see them in the wild, you know serious or interesting work goes on where they rest, more so than a desk full of yellow pencils or Bic Clics. Having one on my desk makes me feel like I am in Mad Men about to edit the new Coca-Cola ad copy.

The Uni Mitsubishi Vermilion and Prussian Blue Pencil is the first one I have tried in years, and I’m very happy with the results. Both pencil cores are dark enough, and the red isn’t too orange. The blue is softer than the red, so if you are using them in equal amounts the blue will need to be sharpened sooner. Also, don’t even bother with trying to erase them. That’s not happening.

This leads to another interesting bit about two-tone pencils. As if they weren’t unique enough, they come in different color proportions. This one is a standard 5:5 model, meaning the ratio of red to blue is exactly even. There is a 7:3 model available, with red taking on the lions share of the core. That’s the one my editor would need to use if I actually had an editor. Red would be all over the page.

And that is where the use case for two-tone pencils lies today. If you aren’t using them as a markup tool for editing, engineering, or teaching, you may be using them as a colored pencil for artwork and sketching. Outside of that, they aren’t a great writing pencil. A traditional graphite pencil will outwork them every day of the week. But they are cool. And they are old school. And they add a little bit of brightness and inspiration to any desk they reside on.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on February 8, 2016 and filed under Uni, Pencil Reviews.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 191 - Tahitian Black Lip Oyster

While Myke was off being sick, I was joined by by Azizah Asgarali from Gourmet Pens for her first Pen Addict podcast appearance. It was a wonderful conversation, ranging from her start in blogging, her crazy flex nib skills, and the downside of putting yourself out there on the internet. And yes, we talked about ink tasting!

Show Notes & Download Links

This episode of The Pen Addict is sponsored by:

Squarespace: Build it beautiful. Use code ‘INK’ for 10% off.

Pen Chalet: use the code PENADDICT to save 10% on your order or click the ‘podcast’ link at the top of the website and enter the password ‘penaddict’ for even more savings, as well as your 10% off.

Harry's: An exceptional shave at a fraction of the price. Use code PENADDICT for $5 off your first purchase.

Posted on February 6, 2016 and filed under Podcast.

Uni Kuru Toga Disney Mechanical Pencil

Japanese stationery manufacturers are the best in the world at product tie-ins, and no one does it better than Uni-ball. Their latest collaboration features one of the best mechanical pencils in the world - the Uni Kuru Toga - and one of the world's favorite entertainment companies in Disney.

This latest Kuru Toga drop features three character pencils - Mickey, Minnie, and Donald - plus three mouse ear pattern barrels in black, blue, and pink. There are even matching spare lead holders in black, white, and pink.

I went with a one of each approach, grabbing the Mickey Glove pencil, Blue Mouse Ear pencil, and Disney White lead holder. While they are all wonderfully designed - I expect no less from Uni and Disney - the character pencils are the real standout.

For example, the Mickey Glove pencil features a two tone black and red barrel with white accents to match Mickeys famous look. The black section contains a single image of Mickey's white glove, and the red section a single yellow shoe. It is a simple, clean design that doesn't scream DISNEY PENCIL!!! But is classic and cool. The Minnie and Donald pencils are designed in the same fashion.

The Mouse Ear patterned pencils are excellent in their own right, with small ears and polka dots in a repeating pattern up and down the barrel. The pink and blue barrels have a little extra shine as well. The lead holders are done in a similar fashion with a couple of additional colors mixed in.

The one downside with this - and most - branded merchandise is that you are going to pay a premium. Two dollars more than the standard Kuru Toga (more if you can find basic black at an office supply store), and an equal amount for the lead holders. But Disney fans and stationery fans alike are happy to pay the price to see their favorite characters on one of their favorite writing instruments. I know I was excited to get my hands on these and my kids are excited as well, knowing they get them as soon as this review is done.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on February 5, 2016 and filed under Uni, Kuru Toga, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.