Pentel EnerGel Trio clips

A Review of Three Pentel EnerGel Gel Ink Pens

Pentel EnerGel Trio all together

Pentel were kind enough to send me three of their EnerGel based pens to review. These are all budget pens and are available in many high street shops. The EnerGel 07 is one of my favourite refills (I use daily it in my Ti2 TechLiner) so I was interested in seeing how different models compared.

The Tradio 07, as far as I can tell, uses exactly the same refill as the EnerGel 07. This is a good thing. It puts down a crisp and consistent line that’s good and dark and dries reasonably quickly. The difference is in the barrel, which is a soft white, with a dark translucent grip section. More significantly, unlike the retractable EnerGel it has a cap.

The barrel looks great but is totally ruined by pointless printing on the side.

Pentel EnerGel Trio ugly printing

The cap closes with a click and posts deeply. It’s not too short to use unposted nor too long to use posted. There’s a neat little window in the cap so you can see the tip. Completely without function but I like how it looks. The clip is a flimsy fairly useless thing.

Pentel EnerGel Trio clips

The EnerGel XM Retractable is identical in size and shape to the standard model. However it has metal hardware: knock, tip and clip. The clip is good – firm and strong. It also has a quite stylish blue grip and part of the body is a translucent blue. Why all this blue? Because for each purchase some money goes towards research into prostrate cancer. There is a pink version for research into breast cancer. This is great even though I don’t like this whole blue = boy, pink = girl thing. I’m fighting a losing battle on that one, I know.

Pentel EnerGel Trio tips

The ink is a lovely vibrant blue. Too many blue pens have boring blue ink but this one really sparkles. The only thing I don’t like about this pen is how much it rattles when in use. Rattly knocks – a pet peeve.

Pentel EnerGel Trio blunt ends

Finally, we have a standard EnerGel but with a 1mm tip rather than a 0.7mm one. I don’t like this very much and I don’t think it’s because I’m not such a fan of broad gel ink pens. It just feels as if the ink is flowing a little faster than the pen can manage. It can be a little gloopy on first write, too.

Pentel EnerGel Trio side by side

It’s good to be able to try a few varieties of this pen out. I’d avoid the 1.0 EnerGel. The Tradio is worth considering if you really love the looks of it, don’t mind the terrible printing and would like a pen with a cap. It’s a lot more pocket safe than a retractable pen. The XM is a lovely pen with lovely ink, available with pink or black ink if you don’t like the blue. The XM is the one I would buy if I was going to use the refill in its original body. As it is, I’m only usually after the refill and so go for the cheaper standard EnerGel 07.

Thank you to Pentel for sending me these pens to review and to keep. I haven’t let that influence my views.

Pentel EnerGel Trio handwritten review

ATELEIA Brass Pen Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to all of you who entered this giveaway and said thank you to someone. I loved reading them all.

There were 73 entries. The winner was entry number 32, mentalcontempt, who said:

I’d like to thank my children for teaching me so much about life (unbeknownst to them) and for providing me with much-needed perspective.

Thank you again to Chris Williams for this generous giveaway and for giving his time to do such a great interview.

If you weren’t lucky enough to win then why not head over to Chris’s site now and buy one?

Every Little Thing Gonna Be All Right

Every Little Thing Gonna Be All Right

The quite amazing and very talented David Sandum has for a few years now organised the Twitter Art Exhibit. Anyone can send him an original picture, on a postcard, and these are displayed and sold for $35 each to raise money for a local charity. The event has taken place in various locations around the world.

It’s a wonderful idea and when I learned about it I thought I would like to contribute something. Of course, immediately after sending my postcard I regretted it, having made the mistake of looking at the overall standard. There are so many incredibly talented people in the world! Still, off it had gone, all the way to Norway.

I’d lined this post up for today because at this point the exhibition is over and I thought I might be able to tempt one of you lovely readers into buying it. It’s all for a good cause, after all. (All money raised goes to Home-Start Moss, a nonprofit organization helping families in need.) However I’d failed to consider two important factors: I can’t seem to find where you can buy unsold postcards from, even though I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere; and my postcard sold on the first day of the exhibition.

Staedtler Tradition pencil review

Staedtler Tradition Pencil Review

Staedtler Tradition pencil review

The Staedtler Tradition is a wooden pencil that’s available in HB with an eraser or everything from 6B to 6H without. It costs about 65p in the UK.

This is a very common pencil here in the UK. Along with the slightly cheaper yellow-barrelled Noris, they’re everywhere in schools and can be picked up in most high streets.

Staedtler Tradition pencil full length

The finish is good. The paint is quite thick and the printing crisp. It’s hard to be objective about the design because this is pretty much what a pencil has always looked like, growing up here, but trying to see it with fresh eyes I think it looks pretty great.

I don’t know what the wood is but it sharpens well and is a step above the terrible soft stuff you get in gift shop pencils.

Staedtler Tradition pencil sharpening

The eraser just about does its job. It rubs out but not completely. It’s not the best eraser ever, which is a shame as Staedtler make some of the best erasers ever. But it doesn’t smear, doesn’t wear away too fast and does pick up most of the line.

Staedtler Tradition pencil eraser

The lead is good. It’s smooth – not Blackwing smooth, but smooth enough. It holds a point well.

Staedtler Tradition pencil tip

Perspective is a funny thing. My search for great pencils has taken me to Japan and the USA, where I have found some absolutely fantastic ones. They seem so exotic, too. I mean, the General’s Cedar Pointe, how great is that? (Very great, in fact, and not just because of the name – it’s a fantastic pencil. But I digress.) Yet all the time, here is an excellent pencil that’s available all over the UK. It took these virtual trips to foreign lands for me to be able to see what was right in front of me.

Staedtler Tradition pencil handwritten review

Van Gogh’s Pens

Van Gogh's Pens

According to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Van Gogh is the world’s favourite artist. Mind you, they would say that. He is definitely one of my favourites, though, despite my contrary nature. To me, he paints like a child would paint if that child had the experience of an adult and the results are beautiful and moving. I was lucky enough to visit the aforementioned museum last week and enjoyed every moment of of it. I learned that Van Gogh practised and practised and practised. The paintings that look so much like the artistic representation of a stream of consciousness were carefully planned and considered and the result of years of study. Isn’t this always the case? The amount of effort needed to make something look effortless is always beyond what most of us are prepared to do.

While wandering through the museum I came across this little display, which provides the, I admit rather tenuous, excuse to write about Van Gogh here.

These are some of his dip and reed pens, along with a little sketchbook, an ink pot, some charcoal and a pencil. In the sketchbook you can see some sketches Van Gogh made of his famous sunflowers.

Some further reading: here Stephen Brown shows us how to pronounce Van Gogh properly; and here Maria Popova shows us some more pages from his sketchbooks.