One of the things that has fallen off my radar in the past several years is keeping tabs on what’s happening on retail store shelves, at least for stores in my general area. I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone out of my way to see what Staples has in stock, or what Michael’s is into these days. If I had, I might have seen these EK Tools Journaling Pens (Amazon affiliate link) before now.
The only reason I saw them is because I know a guy that now works as a designer for the brand, and that guy’s name is Chad Doane. Yes, that Chad Doane. Chad sent me a pack to see what I think about them and how they stack up to the competition in the art/drawing pen category.
Short version: Solid, but not spectacular.
These are good art pens, and I’ve enjoyed writing with them. Any plastic tip pen makes my handwriting look awesome, and these are no exception. I especially like the barrel shape, which is tapered from the center of the barrel upward towards each end of the pen. That does two things: Gives the pen a comfortable, flared-out grip area, and a cap that allows you to stand the pen up on its end. Ok, that last point isn’t the most important part of this pen, but it sure is fun to set them up and watch them come cascading down as you bump your desk.
Performance wise, the EK Tools pens are mixed bag. This pack comes with five sizes: 0.2 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.35 mm, 0.45 mm, and 0.65 mm. For journaling, crafting, scrapbooking, etc., that is a good range of sizes. That’s what these are made for after all. For my purposes, which is mostly writing, I enjoyed only two of the sizes: the 0.25 and 0.45. Oddly enough, the middle sized 0.35 felt different than the other four. The tip was softer, and the line wasn’t as clean and sharp. The 0.25 was fantastic to write with (which is what you see in the review), and the 0.45 had the firmness I wanted to see out of the 0.35.
For the price - approximately $1.80 per pen on Amazon as I write this - I reiterate what I said earlier, in similar terms: Good, not great. For my money, I’d pay the $2.50 per pen for the Sakura Pigma Micron, considered the best in class for this type of pen, or my favorite, the Kuretake Zig Mangaka, for $2.00.
Drawing pens are a well-established category in the stationery world, and tough to break into. While I like the EK Tools Journaling Pens, they fall just short of many of the other top-tier options in this group.
(EK Tools provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.
Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!