Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Zebra F402 and F301 Ballpoint Pens

Tucked away in a drawer, I found these Zebra pens and thought I would check them out in two of the journals the Ink Joys did so poorly in.

Fabriano Venezia:

I would prefer a medium point for sketching but these fine points didn't do too badly!

I find the fine points take a bit more pressure to achieve the darker marks I need but I was able to get nice light to dark values similar to those I could get with the PaperMate Stick ballpoint pen (just takes longer and more strokes due to the fine lines).

The transition or blending of light to dark appears smooth.....not choppy and inconsistent like I found with the Ink Joy pens.

There can be slight skipping but not too bad.  At this point I'm not sure if the skipping and extra pressure is to be expected all the time or if because these pens have sat for a very long time possibly contributing to that.  I honestly wouldn't know unless I bought fresh new refills.

As for blobs, they happen but occasionally wiping the points on a paper towel helps keep them at a minimum.  Plus with a finer point, the blobs are smaller.

I would definitely use these for sketching.

UPDATE: after original blog post.  Worked an acorn with the F402 (black) and it definitely compares with the PaperMate Stick pen :-D


I tested these pens in the Handbook before I tried in the Venezia sketchbook.

With this paper, the pens only did OK.  With the fine points and paper texture, there was a bit more skipping and several ink blobs.  However, I did NOT wipe the pen points at any time like I occasionally did when sketching the knots in the Venezia sketchbook.

Even though I had a little trouble on this paper, I can work with these pens for sketching.  However, these would not be my first choice........not in this sketchbook.

Monday, October 15, 2018

PaperMate Ink Joy 500 RT Pens - Part 2

Rather than just testing on one other paper surface, I did so on two as mentioned below.  I really was hoping to find it was just the paper in the Handbook that brought out any flaws these pens might have.  Unfortunately, I found it's not just the Handbook.

This first is using Fabriano Venezia Drawing Journal Book.  The paper is a bit smoother than the Handbook.

Although the pens behaved a little better on this paper surface, I'm still not impressed and would not recommend for sketching on similar paper surfaces.  In fact, I wouldn't want to write with them either on similar papers.

Some of the color inks didn't do well with light to normal pressure.  I had to put more pressure to get my marks and some skipped.  My hand quickly felt fatigued because of the added pressure I had to use just for these simple test marks.

Several colors resulted in pooled ink blobs.  As noted on the page, I wiped the tip/point only once at the very beginning as I wanted to see how bad the ink would pool up (see closeup).

Closeup to problem areas:

This next test is using the PaperBlanks brand journal with unlined writing paper.  The surface is slick.

I found I could make marks with less pressure and no skipping.  Definitely more consistent compared to the other two papers I've tried these on.

Only slight ink blobbing and this time I didn't even wipe the tips/points.

If I used the PaperBlanks journal for sketching, it wouldn't be too frustrating.  The problem is the paper is thin and not meant to take wet media.  If just working pen and ink.........I MIGHT actually sketch with these pens.

Final thoughts...........These pens will probably end up in the bottom of a drawer seldom to never seeing the light of day...........lol

PaperMate Ink Joy 500 RT Pens - Part 1

After the good results I've had with the PaperMate stick pen I have, I purchased a package of Ink Joy 500 RTs in various colors as recommended by another sketcher and other reviews.

My testing was immediately after opening the package and removing the little bead the company puts on the points to keep them fresh.

For Part 1, I am using the Global Arts Handbook, which I've had good luck with the standard stick pen (by same company).

Initial feelings with Ink Joy 500 RT - DISAPPOINTED

1)  I had to scribble on paper now and then just to get the pen to make a mark on paper (even after they had been making marks on paper).  Sometimes I had to go over lines or marks several times before I could even get a mark to show.  This was more of a problem with the other than normal Blues, Blacks, and Reds; but, even my black pen gave me trouble.  (The right page in the heading shows I had trouble with the Black pen.)

Is it pen or paper?  That remains to be seen after I experiment on other paper.  (Part 2).

2)  I could not get a nice even hatching and couldn't transition from light to dark very easily.....not like I can with the stick pen shown above.

Example:   This shows how nicely I was able to hatch and transition from lighter to darker values without much effort..........almost like using a graphite pencil..........using the cheap PaperMate stick pen.  See the wood behind the foreground jug.

I was trying to achieve the same type of marks with the Ink Joys.  There was no way because the ink flow was inconsistent with some of the pens having to use a heavy pressure just to make a mark.

Note:  The Ink Joys AND the stick pen are the same point size......... 1.0 m

3)  These pens end up with a buildup of ink on the point easily and quickly.  I had to wipe the point often, which I find to be a pain.  If a blob ended up on the paper (which it did several times even wiping often), it could smear if not careful.  I only had to do that once in awhile with the stick pen and that was with heavy sketching as I did as shown above.

Close-up of some of the problem areas:

I rely on reviews before I spend money on anything.  I take time to read what people say.....especially the negative reviews.  At the same time, I know that what works for one person may not work for another.  Best to try yourself with the papers you use to see just how something might work.  Only problem.........you have to spend the money to find out :-(   I found the same problem with the Bic Crystal pens everyone raved about and I didn't much care for mainly because of the blobs.  Some ballpoints are worse than others with this issue.

We'll see how I feel when I try other papers.  To be Continued..................


While out walking Miya yesterday, Terry came across this cluster of acorns he knew I would love for sketching purposes.  Normally you find individuals laying on the ground........sometimes with caps on and sometimes not.  Might get lucky to find two and rarely three together still on a piece of limb; but, this cluster is a true find (for us anyways).

First I sketched using Procreate without color......using hatch marks for the shading.  then thought I would create a few layers of color. 

Technical and Fine Tip pen tools were used.

After I finished the sketch on the Ipad, I decided to work a few more in my journal ...... using the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook. 

Sailor Fude fountain pen and cartridge ink that came with it (water soluble) and ballpoint for shading (top two) plus two more with ink wash and watercolor (no ballpoint).  I held the pen so the nib was upside down.  For me I have better control this way.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Still On a Roll Sketching

I figure I'll run out of steam before too long with all the sketching I'm doing; but, in the meantime, I'm going with it until the next slump or "recharge" period hits.

Anytime I'm out near the water, I'm always drawn to cypress knees.  Love when seeing them in large groups as it just looks like people standing around or walking along the base of the trees.  And because there are always large and small grouped together, it reminds me of families.

While sitting at my desk, I decided to sketch a portion of a bookshelf near by.  I set up a small bookshelf to hold my finished journals....separating them from all the "work in progress" journals I have on another shelving unit behind me.  I chose to sketch part of the bottom shelf that only had a few items on it like art DVDs.  I wasn't sure how I would approach the crystal bowl with blue aquarium rocks and as I sketched, decided to just suggest it. 

2018 Inktober - Days 12 - 14

I was in the mood to sketch trees so for two of my days, that is what I worked on.  One with a bit of imagination and one more realistic.

The Cicada was out on our front porch and thought would be great subject to sketch following the trees.

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