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.

Maruman Mnemosyne Imagination Notebook Review

(This is a guest post by Nick Folz. You can find more of Nick and his work on his blog, Smallberry Drive, Twitter, and Instagram.)

Hello everyone, my name is Nick and I have a paper problem.

I guess it started in kindergarten. Up until that point in my life I had been doodling on stacks of ragged, ripped out blue lined notebook paper, without a care in the world. What a fool I was. One fateful day my teacher passed out thick stacks of colored construction paper, and my world was turned asunder. "There are other types of paper!?!" My mind whirled. Other children we busy cutting the sheets up with their safety scissors, all making a pleasurable "SKRRRRIIT" sound as they cut, but not me. I was shoving every available piece into my Captain Caveman backpack. I knew that I must save those for later. That was just the beginning.

In high school I experimented, everything from spiral bound sketchbooks with crisp white pages to hard backed notebooks that looked more like novels than journals. It was a phase I would not grow out of.

Things only worsened in college, now I knew where to get the stuff I had only heard about: Stacks of A4 linen, 80 lb Bristol by the pile, Cardstock as far as I could see and Vellum in every tone imaginable. The Art Store was my enabler. It was just too much.

I bottomed out one day when my friends found me facedown in a pile of thick toothed, cold pressed Cresent board with two bulk rolls of newsprint stock paper tubes stuck over on my arms.

These days I try to keep it under control. Sure, I still stock up on Bristol board during holiday sales. It is a nice heavy stock with a good rough tooth, makes me feel safe to have it around.

Temptation still rears its head, though. Just the other day I received a Maruman Mnemosyne Imagination Notebook, A4, blank pages. Someone had done their homework, someone was trying to pull me back in. Then the first bit of doubt creeped in, the paper was light and smooth and I like my paper thick and toothy. Scoffing, I cracked it opened and took at it with a pencil and, well, wow. The paper is so damned SMOOTH, plus it took the graphite very well. That is usually my problem with smooth papers, the lead lays atop the paper like a stiff breeze might blow it away. My pencil glided over the page like an ice skater, leaving smooth black trails.

Impressed, but still not completely sold on this new stranger, I broke out my brushes. No way this thin stock could hold straight ink. I gave it my all. The full business. Ink wash and everything. The notebook continued to surprise as the brush slid across the pages, okay, okay. I was gaining respect for this notebook, but knew that would all fall away once I flipped the page to see the inky mess underneath from the bleed through. I flipped the page, and gave a gasp, the next page was pristine. I still can't believe it.

I had to take stock of the other features, now that paper quality had been put to the test, and passed. Dual rings bind the notebook together, adding strength to the overall appearance. A black plastic cover with minimal text and a matte texture covers the front, a thick woodpulp backing finishes the book. Each page has a micro perforation, along with a light grey area for "Title" and "Date/No." along the top. It is sleek and clean.

And that's not all! They offer it in a variety! I mean, over at JetPens you can get them ruled, graphed, and plain in everything from steno style to weekly calendars. Listen, if you just loan me a little bit I could just order a few, just two or three and I will be good. Just this once, I mean I'm good for it you know, I , I just... Okay... Breathe... Just breathe...

Whew. I'm good. I, I just got caught up. I still have many more black sheets waiting for me in my Mnemosyne, I'm good for now. I just have to remember the mantra: "I don't NEED more paper, I just WANT more paper, and that is okay."

Thanks for letting me share, now I've got some doodling to do.

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

Posted on February 4, 2016 and filed under Maruman, Notebook Reviews.