Uni Pericia Colored Pencil Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

I tend to think of my colored pencils as tools, not luxury items--but the Uni Pericia Colored Pencils are definitely both. Their sophistication stretches far beyond my artistic ability. I think they might be too nice for coloring books, though I can hardly believe I'm saying that. These are intended for artists and I think any artist would be delighted to have them.

The pencils only come in sets--they aren't available as open stock. And the colors offered aren't as extensive as other brands. This is a bit of a bummer, but they blend and layer so smoothly that it almost doesn't matter. The oil-based pigmented wax core can even be used with turpentine like oil paints for even more mixability. The sets come in either 12, 24, or 36 colors priced at $40.50, $74.50, and $108.00, respectively. So they aren't cheap. But the versatility of the core explains that price, I think. These aren't ordinary pencils.

The soft core goes down opaque with barely any pressure, and fades, blends, and layers like butter. It even has excellent coverage on black paper and performs better than any other product I've used on dark paper--even ones designed specifically for the purpose. The colors are lightfast and deeply saturated.

With such a soft core, I'd be a bit worried about breakage, but I haven't experienced any so far. The core is thick and sturdy, and the case is designed to prevent any trauma. The case appears pretty ostentatious at first--I thought it was a bit much--but it serves several useful purposes. The pencils snap into place and are held firmly, so they don't get knocked around. And the cover folds back and props up the tray for handy access while working. The front then folds closed and secures with a tongue-and-loop closure. It is faux leather, but is a pretty decent imitation.

The pencils themselves are designed well. The body is a good diameter--slender enough to be within a standard range for sharpeners and cases, but thick enough to prevent hand fatigue. The colors are clearly written in embossed white paint on the dark brown bodies, and the ends of the pencils are coated in the core color, for easy identification. The cores themselves are so well pigmented that the colors are easily identified from that alone.

Other than wishing I had more colors (and the skills to put them properly to use), there was nothing about using these that I didn't fully enjoy. Go make some awesome art with these, or send them to your favorite artist and watch art happen.

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

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Posted on August 17, 2017 and filed under Uni, Colored Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 270 - I Am A Lefty Over-Hooker

Myke and I covered a backlog of topics this week, including our unpopular fountain pen opinions and how important Made in the USA branding is when considering a purchase. We also discuss what we both have currently inked, which for me is less than I have had in a long time.

Show Notes & Download Links

This episode of The Pen Addict is sponsored by:

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Posted on August 16, 2017 and filed under Podcast.

Inventery Mechanical Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Machined pens have always captured my interest, so I was pretty excited to open up the Mechanical Pen by Inventery. Minimal packaging, minimal pen, and big impact. That was my impression after opening the package, and it hasn't really changed since.

Inventery is a design house located in Los Angeles. I wasn't able to find much about the company, but based on their website, it looks like they design and sell unique lifestyle items to fit their aesthetic vision. Unlike other machined pens we've come to love, it doesn't look like these pens are manufactured in-house. Either way, the end result is a very nice pen.

So, what is the Mechanical Pen? It's machined from a single rod of brass and then coated with another thin layer of metal to achieve different colors. Today, they offer a brass, chrome, brushed chrome, and onyx (black) finish for their pens. While I enjoy a good brass or copper pen, I'm not overly fond of the smell of the metal or the oxidation that inevitably takes over the surface of the metal. Sure, they can be cleaned and polished to original luster, but I don't find much enjoyment in that activity. The model I have is brushed chrome, and I'm a big fan of the color and finish. Since it's brushed, it isn't as shiny as the polished chrome cousin. This dials down the shine factor a bit, making it look very similar to polished aluminum.

Inside, the Mechanical Pen is rocking a Schmidt P8126, aka the refill found in the Retro 51 Tornado. This is a fantastic refill, and another great design decision on the part of Inventery. You probably recognize the click mechanism as well, which is also made by Schmidt and found in many, many other retractable machined pens. It's a smooth, quiet, reliable mechanism, and another solid choice in design.

Being made of brass, this pen has a noticeable heft. After owning and handling many metal pens over the years, this isn't really a surprise anymore. Based on my own tastes, I know before buying a pen that I almost never prefer brass over a lighter metal. For me, brass is just too heavy for comfortable use. The same is true of the Mechanical Pen, but it's small enough to be comfortable for short writing sessions, notes, and scribbles. One thing is for sure — you can tell when this pen is sitting in your pocket, but it always falls to the bottom of a bag/purse due to the weight. The smooth metal finish doesn't have any texture, but it's still easy to handle when writing. My fingers haven't slid while using this pen. It's also a great size for writing, with a slightly larger than normal barrel diameter. It's actually exactly the same length as another favorite of mine: the Karas Kustoms EDK, which also uses the popular Schmidt P8126 refill.

The shape of the pen is simple, but it does feature a nice design detail to keep it from rolling away easily. There's a ~2mm flat edge that runs down the length of the pen barrel that acts as a great stabilizer when this pen is sitting on a flat surface. It's not as sturdy as a clip, but it definitely helps in keeping the pen in place.

Branding is extremely minimal on this pen. There are two markings on the body of the pen, and they are easy to miss if you aren't looking for them. Both markings are on the top of the pen barrel close to the click mechanism, and they are on opposite sides of the barrel from each other. On one side, there's a serial number. The other side features a small Inventery logo, which is an upper-case I in a circle. Like I said, minimal and easy to miss. Compared to other machined pens, this is 100% more branding than usual, but it doesn't stand out.

While I like the Mechanical Pen, there are some things that I wish were different or expanded on. First of all, I really like pens to have pocket clips. I don't always use the clip, but I feel like it should be there. Unfortunately, the Mechanical Pen doesn't have one, and that's a design choice that isn't easy to retrofit. I love the simplistic design, but I miss that clip.

I've also noticed that some of the chrome finish is missing around the tip of the pen where the cone meets the pen barrel, allowing some of the brass to show through. This is really hard to see without magnification (like a camera lens), but it's definitely there. I don't mind it all, but it does make me wonder if more of the chrome finish will wear or chip away over time and with use. This observation probably translates to the regular chrome and onyx finishes as well.

This is more of a "wishlist" item, but it would be nice if there were options outside of brass for this pen. I would love an aluminum version of this pen due to the simple weight reduction. It would also be fun to see a titanium or stainless steel version, as well as other colors and finishes. This would also provide different price points since brass tends to drive cost up compared to cheaper metals. More material (and cost) options would attract more buyers.

Overall, the Mechanical Pen by Inventery is a solid pen. It's minimal, elegant, sturdy, and features a dependable, well-performing refill that will satisfy pen enthusiasts and likely delight buyers who are new to the arena. The Mechanical Pen is $90 and available in chrome, brushed chrome, brass, and onyx finishes.

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

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Posted on August 16, 2017 and filed under Inventery, Pen Reviews.