(Everyone say hello to Sarah, the latest addition to the Pen Addict writing crew! 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.)
My first impression of the Paper Mate Flair felt tip pens didn’t leave me with very high expectations. The packaging is a flimsy vinyl pouch in a cardboard sleeve and the pens themselves are very light plastic. They feel and look cheap, and they are, in fact, fairly inexpensive. They pretty much shattered this impression once I started to play, though.
These pens are fun little workhorses. The colors are bright and vibrant in acid-free water-based ink. The ultra fine tips are very precise. They performed well with doodling, coloring in, and plain writing, offering smooth feedback and no skipping. They remain well-balanced when posted, which they do very securely.
With such teeny tiny felt tips, I expected some dry-out after longer periods of being uncapped, but I had no issues, even when I felt like I was surely pushing the limits. I used this set to create an elaborate, color-coded chore chart for my family. With the UF tips, I was able to fit tyrannically long lists of chores into each square, and even then I could not stymie the pens. When I made the chart, I outlined it first with pencil, then retraced my lines with the Flairs. When I erased the pencil lines, there was no smudging of the ink at all. There was also no show-through on the Rhodia paper I used.
Next I tried coloring. So many of the new coloring books coming out have itty bitty spaces to fill in, so I thought I’d take these teeny tips for a spin on my art deco coloring postcards. The Flair’s UF tips definitely performed well for teeny coloring, though the cardstock I was working on isn’t the best paper for this sort of ink. There was a bit of feathering, and there are some over-saturated areas where too much ink soaked in. And here is also where the lighter weight became an advantage. I don’t know what your particular coloring practices are, but when I sit down to color, I’m planning on being there a while. The light pens never caused my hands to fatigue or cramp the way my beloved colored pencils sometimes do. Even when filling in the itty bittiest of teeny tiny spaces. As a disclaimer, the grip section is quite narrow. It suits my small hands very well, but may un-zen the zentangles for those with larger hands.
I think I’ll be getting a lot of use out of these pens. They’re perfect for doodles or zentangles, great for color coding planners and charts, and super useful for tiny coloring. I think they’d even be great for class notes. In the end, I have no real criticisms on their functionality. I think I’ll even be picking up a few more colors. And if the cheap-feeling plastic is what keeps these worker bees affordable enough for me to have lots of them, well maybe that’s more of a pro than a con, too.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)