Uni Pin cap

Uni Pin Drawing Pen Review

Uni Pin review

The Uni Pin is a drawing pen that’s readily available in the UK, being stocked by many high street chains.

Price: £1.75 (UK)
Tip size options: 005, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 08
Barrel options: just black
Ink type: fade-resistant and waterproof black

The plastic tip is sleeved in steel to help keep it steady. It’s available in a range of thicknesses. The tip on the 02 pen I have is good except for a certain amount of clickiness, common unfortunately in many drawing pens, as you change writing or drawing direction. It doesn’t affect the line but it’s irritating.

Uni Pin tip

The line itself is consistent in width and flow. The ink is a good black, dries quickly and is waterproof. No complaints there at all.

Uni Pin sample

The clip is quite strong. The cap pushes closed and also posts with a nice click. Either posted or closed it’s unlikely to come off.

Uni Pin cap

The design of the barrel is good. It’s a nice matt black with crisp white writing. The tip size is marked clearly on the end of the cap and around the barrel. The window in the side of the cap serves no obvious function but looks good. I don’t like big barcodes on my pens or pencils so it’s a shame there’s one on this.

Uni Pin barcode

This is a good pen except for the clickiness of the tip, which I find very off-putting. It’s not a deal breaker: if this was the only drawing pen I had, I’d happily use it. As it is, there are better drawing pens out there.

Pros

Tasteful design (apart from the barcode)
Good ink (black, quick drying, waterproof)
Cap closes and posts securely

Cons

Clicky tip

TWSBI Diamond Mini logo and clip

TWSBI Diamond Mini Fountain Pen Review

TWSBI Diamond Mini review

With all the attention TWSBI’s Vac Mini is getting it might be easy to forget that TWSBI made a pocket-sized pen before, the piston-filling Diamond Mini.

TWSBI Diamond Mini posted

Price: $50 (USA) £42 (UK)
Nib options: extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1mm stub, 1.5mm stub (all steel)
Barrel options: black, clear, classic (clear barrel, black ends and cap)
Filling system: piston
Size: 11.7cm capped, 10.8cm, 14cm posted; 1.2cm diameter
Weight: 18g

My Diamond Mini is the black version with a fine nib. It has a classic look to it (even though there’s a different version called the classic). The barrel has diamond facets on it, giving the pen its name. The cap has the usual red TWSBI logo. I really love the logo but if you don’t like it, it’s unsubtle and hard to ignore.

TWSBI Diamond Mini logo and clip

The clip my pen has too much side-to-side wobble. This may be age: I’ve had it quite a long time and I bought it second-hand so a new pen might not have this problem. But then a clip is designed to be used and shouldn’t develop problems like this.

TWSBI Diamond Mini uncapped

The cap screws closed and there’s an o-ring between the section and barrel to form a tight seal. Unposted the pen’s just about okay to write a quick note with but, really, you’re going to want to post this pen. Unfortunately you have to screw the cap onto the barrel to post and not only is this a bit of a pain, the clip never lines up with the nib, which irritates me, and because there are two starting points to the threads half the time the clip rests against your hand. This is uncomfortable so you have to unscrew the cap and try it again. This is a mini pen and mini pens, in my mind, are meant to be convenient to carry about so they’re to hand if you need to take a quick note or two. The design of this pen means it’s quite likely taking that note will be uncomfortable either because the clip is pushing into your hand or because the pen’s too short because you didn’t post.

(There are always trade-offs with pens. My pocket pen of choice is the Kaweco Liliput which has a cap you must post because the pen’s so small. This cap also screws on. However, it doesn’t have a clip and the trade-off with this pen is that it’s tiny. The extra effort is worth it because what I get in return is a very small pen that’s hardly noticeable when I’m carrying it in my pocket. The Diamond Mini isn’t small enough to make the extra inconvenience worthwhile.)

TWSBI Diamond Mini and a very big hand

The piston-filling mechanism is neat and works well. It does require a little maintenance, involving removing the piston with the supplied tool and putting a little silicon gel on it. I put this down as a black mark when I reviewed the Eco because I see the Eco as being a beginners pen (although good enough to appeal to anyone). A pen for newbies shouldn’t need that kind of effort (in my opinion). I’ll give the Diamond Mini a pass with this: its target market is, I think, a little different. But do bear in mind that if you don’t remember to grease the piston (which sounds dodgy, for some reason) your pen will one day break.

TWSBI Diamond Mini capped

The nib is lovely. It’s smooth with just enough feedback to remind you you’re writing on paper and has good consistent flow.

TWSBI Diamond Mini nib

The Diamond Mini doesn’t quite do it for me. There’s nothing wrong with how it looks but I can’t get excited about its appearance. It’s not small enough to be a super practical pocket pen but it’s too small to be a great ‘normal’ pen.

Pros

Lovely nib, with lots of options
Piston filler

Cons

Wobbly clip
Middle of nowhere size
Inconvenient posting arrangement

TWSBI Diamond Mini handwritten review

Journaling with Purpose

Journaling with Purpose

I mostly write nonsense in my journal. In fact a lot of the time I use my pens to write to myself about pens. If, in a hundred years, my papers should be discovered by some eager historians, they are going to come to some very strange conclusions about life in the 2010s.

I do, however, have a couple of journaling habits that have some purpose: one old, one new.

The old is my three plus one habit. Mary Collis recently wrote about doing something similar (and this is in fact what prompted me to write this). Each day, currently (like Mary) in my Hobonichi Techo, I write down three good things about my day: just a sentence. Then I spend some time writing about one more good thing in some depth. (I also make a pictorial note about the weather. I’m British.)

No matter how bad the day might have been it’s always possible to find some good in it. In almost three years I’ve never missed a day.

My new habit was prompted by some thoughts about New Year’s resolutions. I’m 45 and I’m pretty sure I’ve never once kept a New Year’s resolution for more than a day. This year I decided that rather than pick more habits to fail to keep I would instead make some resolutions about how I would like to live my life. To keep these in my mind every day in my Traveler’s Notebook I ask myself these three questions:

How was I creative today?

How did I make the world a better place?

How did I show those I love that they are loved?

I’d better be very clear that these are aspirations and I’m far from being the person I’d like to be. Asking myself these questions every day is helping me, slowly, to become that person.

What are your purposeful journaling habits?

Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukushi ink review

Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukushi Ink Review

Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukushi ink review

Tsukushi means horsetail and this ink is indeed very horsey coloured. Not my favourite colour, to be honest, but there’s some hints of sheen to it. It flows well and dries quickly.

Here I am doodling the Inkling.

You can find some more reviews of Tsukushi on Pennaquod.

Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukushi inkling