Posts filed under Geminica

Review: Kuretake Pocket Double-Sided Brush Pen

This review is by Kalina Wilson, who can also be found at

DSCI0046 The brushes on the Kuretake Disposable Pocket Double-Sided Brush Pen are felt tips that are designed to give a variable width line.  These brushes are in the same neighborhood as Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens (of which I am a great fan) in terms of line width, shape, and responsiveness.

The two tips are described as "fine" and "medium", but with a light touch, they can both achieve quite a fine line.

Neither of this pen's tips are intended for fast, lush sketching. Ink flow is quite thin.  You get a lot of control but not a lot of ink.  I'd say this is a good pen for cartoonists that are inking carefully over pencil sketches - not so good for loose sketching since you'll run out of ink if you move too fast.  The ink appears to be totally waterproof.



This pen would be a solid competitor to the Tombow Fudenosuke... if the "medium" brush were a little more reliable.  Mine hasn't been used much but it's already a little flakey, and its skimpier ink flow really becomes obvious if you try to fill an area - see the bottom of sketch on the right. 



Because this pen is double-sided, affordable, waterproof, and has at least one good fine brush tip on it that can achieve very good detail (that Spock drawing is quite small), it's a very decent pen to experiment with - but I would recommend giving the excellent Tombow Fudenosuke a try as well.  



Posted on July 29, 2011 and filed under Brush Pen, Geminica, Guest Post, Kuretake, Pen Reviews.

Review: Pelikano Fountain Pen - 2010 Edition

This review is by Kalina Wilson, who can also be found at

Pelikano7 The Pelikano Fountain Pen has been around for 50 years as a sturdy, easy-to-use fountain pen aimed at school kids. Pelikan has redesigned the pen several times over the years; this version is new for 2010.  

The Pelikano writes smooth and wet, gliding easily across the paper with ink flow that doesn't let up at any speed. Probably due to this abundant ink flow, the line width seems to depend largely on the surface. 


On absorbent papers the width of the "fine" nib is similar to a Lamy Safari EF, but on non-absorbent papers (or sketching over watercolors, as shown above) the line gets quite broad.

Pelikano5 As with previous designs, the Pelikano 2010 is available in a few nib sizes, colors, and customized for left-handed and right-handed writers.  It currently retails for $18.40 at JetPens.

Like our friend the Pen Addict, I favor a fine line or else a variable line that is quite fine at its minimum width so this one is a bit broad for me. That said, the ease with which it lays down a whole lot of ink is quite alluring. I have no other fountain pen that will effortlessly fill an area with ink like this one will. The sketch to the right was made on a relatively absorbent paper, but it was still easy to get a thick, rich ink fill.


Pelikano6 The grip on the pen feels very comfortable. Fingers naturally end up where they are intended to be.  The body is lightweight and unobtrusive. The cap is not as unobtrusive;  it doesn't feel like it is intended to be posted, and wobbles around on the end of the pen. I notice it a little, but it's not so bad that it stays on my mind while drawing.

The bright side of the cap is that it snaps closed very snugly over the nib. Between the cap and the design of the nib housing, this pen feels... safe.  My fingers don't come into contact with the ink at all.  There has been no ink leakage at all.  Any time you have a large amount of ink in any pen in your bag, there is at least some small chance of disaster - but this pen feels quite secure.

Pelikano2 The Pelikano takes international standard ink cartridges as well as a special long cartridge that appears to hold twice as much ink.  I don't really like the way these cartridges connect to the pen - it takes a little pushing to get the cartridge to connect, and it's hard to be certain when it is all the way on.  However, it is nice to know I could travel with this pen and have no problem finding extra cartridges.  Between the easy-to-find cartridges, clean nib, and affordable price point as far as fountain pens go ($18.40), this would be a good choice for on-the-road sketching.



I do wish there weren't two holes in the bottom of the body because otherwise this would be a great choice for an eyedropper conversion.  You can use a silicone sealant to close up those holes but personally I would never be able to trust the pen enough to travel with it after that.   If you want to use your own inks, the other option is the cartridge converter ($5.50).


Pelikano4 This pen was a pleasant surprise, despite the broad line.  I'll probably fill it with black ink and use it in combination with a finer-tipped fountain pen to achieve two different line weights.

 If you like a broader line or tend to have flow issues due to writing or drawing quickly, this pen could be a great match for you!



Posted on July 27, 2011 and filed under Fountain Pens, Geminica, Guest Post, Pelikan, Pen Reviews.

Review: The Noodler's Flex Pen, Revisited

This review is by Kalina Wilson, who can also be found at

Not long ago I reviewed the Noodler's flex pen with mixed results.  I wanted to love it, but my pen just couldn't keep up a steady flow of ink. Thinking it was just a matter of proper adjustment I spent hours trying every bit of advice online, even carving into the ebonite feed, but the pen got no more usable. Instead of giving me a graceful, sweeping line I was ending up with awful chicken scratch because so much labor was involved in making the pen flow.

Img102 It must be concluded that at least some of these pens aren't very good straight out of the box. That's not too surprising - it's often the case with affordable fountain pens, and  the Noodler's is very affordable at $14.  At least the Noodler's Flex is made to be easily worked on, with easy disassembly and a workable feed. It's a great intention, design, and pricepoint, you can't knock that. Still, I was disappointed that I was spending more time fiddling with my flex pen than actually drawing with it.

Now to the GOOD NEWS.

In June, a few online suppliers received new shipments of the flex pens, and I picked one up in 'Vulcan Coral' from Goulet Pens.  

This one flows like a dream.  Straight out of the box! No struggle required, though I did wash the nib in soap and water as always.  I love sketching with this thing, and am already angling to grab another one next time they're on the market (that June batch is already long gone, but online retailers can put you on a list to be alerted when they're coming back). Flex nibs have a learning curve attached for those of us that aren't used to them, but now that I'm spending more of my time learning instead of cursing, I'm making some progress. 

Img103 Does this mean the new Noodler's flex pens are better?  Or is it a game of chance, since each ebonite feed is slightly different than the next?  Did I irrevocably destroy my first pen during my efforts to salvage it? Is my new flex pen made out of magic?

Who knows.  But I can tell you this - a functioning Noodler's flex pen is a thing of beauty, and a great sketching tool for artists.  It's a gamble but the payoff might be the pen of your dreams.


Posted on July 25, 2011 and filed under Calligraphy Pens, Fountain Pens, Geminica, Noodler's Ink.