SPONSOR: Pocket Notebooks

Thank you very much to Pocket Notebooks for sponsoring Pens! Paper! Pencils! again this month. They have an excellent range of notebooks available, many of which aren’t easily found anywhere else in the UK. On top of that, they have monthly subscriptions of varying sizes. They’ve also really gone all-in on the wonderful Hobonichi Techo. Read on for more details!

In the age of smartphones, social media and all-things digital, it’s easy to forget the power of good, old-fashioned pen and paper.

Here at Pocket Notebooks we are passionate about stationery and a romantic for traditional, analog writing supplies, it’s part of our makeup, where others are pushing pixels we are scribing in our Field Notes.

We pride ourselves on being a little different at Pocket Notebooks. Where other stationers are happy to branch out and supply a variety of different products we are quite content focusing solely on Pocket Notebooks. Some may say narrow minded, we say focusing on our passion which are Pocket Notebooks whilst doing one thing fantastic, and making sure we enjoy ourselves along the way!

We have grand plans for our journey and will start by being the only supplier that allows you to mix and match your notebooks from different suppliers and collections as well as our exciting monthly subscription service where you will receive a box delivered to your door containing a collection of Pocket Notebooks that will vary month on month.

So put down your smartphone and pull out a Notebook. Write a note about something you would normally take a picture of. Notice what words you use to describe it. Jot down your thoughts hurriedly or meaningfully. Underline certain words really hard. Doodle something.

Over the past 12 months we have been on a great journey with Pocket Notebooks where we have discovered the world that is Hobonichi. Since selling the Techo we have learnt, first hand, of the demand to have access to some of the finest Hobonichi Accessories.

We created Hobonichi Accessories to not only become the go-to marketplace for all your accessory needs but because we are suckers for Japanese stationery and accessories and aim to use this site to feed our own addiction.

We find our inspiration for our products by involving ourselves and engaging with the Stationery and Hobonichi communities that post on Facebook groups, share their photos on Instagram and craft their products on Etsy. This allows us to be at the forefront of providing the latest trends but more importantly to import them from Japan to make sure you save on both shipping and custom charges.

Faber-Castell Pitt cap

Faber-Castell Pitt Drawing Pen Review

Faber-Castell Pitt review

The Faber-Castell Pitt drawing pen is one of the first drawing pens I ever tried. They’re easily found in high street shops here in England and so I suspect they’re the first experience of drawing pens for many people here.

Price: £2.10 (UK)
Tip size options: super-fine, extra-fine, fine, medium
Barrel options: black plastic
Ink type: black, sepia, sanguine – waterproof and lightfast (note there’s a brush tip version that’s available in dozens of colours)

There are only four tip sizes available (plus a brush tip version). Although this seems like a problem, in reality four is probably enough. Actually, almost enough: there ought to be a broad tip too. However, if the tip clicks as you move it around on the paper that’s no good. The ink also takes a little while to dry. Nothing too drastic but it increases the danger of smearing.

The tip was a little clicky and not to my taste. The tips of drawing pens all vary in subtle ways and different people will get on with different pens.

Faber-Castell Pitt tip

The ink is good and black and the flow is quite good as long as you don’t push the pen too hard: then, it can start to dry a little.

The cap pushes on to post and does so securely. The plastic clip is going to break or bend out of shape if you don’t treat it gently.

Faber-Castell Pitt posted

The grip section is lightly textured so it’s not too slippery. The step up to the main part of the barrel is high enough up so it doesn’t get in the way of your fingers. I think all that white writing on the black barrel looks horrible.

The Pitt isn’t a bad drawing pen. It does the essentials well enough but nothing about it is great. Sadly, it’s typical of what you find in the high street: just about good enough to sell . . . but no better.

Faber-Castell Pitt cap


Perfectly acceptable in all respects


Just about acceptable in all respects

Faber-Castell Pitt writing part

Sailor 1911 Brush Pen clip

Sailor 1911 Brush Pen Review

Sailor 1911 Brush Pen capped

A brush pen needs to have good flow and good line variation while maintaining a crisp line and allowing lots of control. How does the Sailor Brush Pen stack up?

This version of this review was originally posted on the Pen Company’s blog. The Pen Company sent me this pen in return for that review. These are my own opinions.

Price: £21.50
Barrel options: black with gold trim
Ink type: black brush pen ink (permanent and waterproof) but takes a Sailor converter and so can be used with any ink

Sailor 1911 Brush Pen with picture

The Sailor 1911 Brush Pen has the same barrel design as Sailor’s 1911 fountain pens. It’s quite a wide barrel by drawing pen standards and it’s very comfortable in the hand. The finish and the quality of the plastic befits the price of the pen: far from luxurious but plenty good enough. Although the design is the same as the 1911 fountain pens, the quality of the materials is not the same (and nor is the price).

The cap screws on to close and pushes on to post (which it does securely). The folded metal clip is fairly strong and clippy.

Sailor 1911 Brush Pen clip

Sailor make cartridges specifically for the brush pen and this ink is a true black. It’s waterproof and permanent. If you use to do something different you can put a Sailor converter in there and use any ink you want.

Sailor 1911 Brush Pen taken apart

The brush is synthetic and is replaceable should you wear it out. It gives a very strong and crisp line. The ink flows very well and keeps up no matter how hard you’re pushing the pen. In fact it flows perhaps a little too well: although it’s possible to get a lot of line variation, it takes a lot of control to draw a very fine line. Every line in this picture was made with the Brush Pen.

Sailor 1911 Brush Pen brush tip

This is a great pen.


Can use any ink
Excellent flow
Great line variation
Comfortable size


Tricky to get a very fine line

Marrakech doorway

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian cap

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian Fountain Pen Review

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian review

I try to keep things at the more affordable end of the price spectrum here on Pens! Paper! Pencils! Although I know that what’s affordable varies dramatically from person to person, I think I’m on pretty safe ground when I say that the Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian does not fall in that category. It’s from a different world and to be honest I’ve not used any other pen that I can fairly compare it with. What I can do instead is tell you all about this pen and how it made me feel to hold and to use it.

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian with ink

I cannot thank Yard-O-Led enough for lending me this pen so I could write this review. These are my own honest opinions, despite the fact it might read as if I was paid a fortune to write them. (If I had been paid a fortune, I would have used it to buy this pen.)

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian cap

Price: £675 (a little under $1000) (My first four cars, combined, cost less than this.)
Nib options: fine, medium or broad; silver plated 18k gold
Barrel options: there are other finishes and other (smaller) sizes available
Filling system: cartridge/converter (included)
Size: 14.8cm long, 1.4cm diameter
Weight: 65g

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian posted

Yard-O-Led have a history going back almost 200 years, for much of that time specialising in mechanical pencils. It’s hard to go into an antiques shop in the UK without coming across a silver Yard-O-Led pencil. Fountain pens are a more recent venture, building on those decades (centuries, even) of silversmith experience.

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian uncapped

The Grand Viceroy part of this pen’s name refers to the size and shape and Victorian refers to the design on the barrel. This is Yard-O-Led’s flagship pen. It’s a big pen and a weighty one but it’s very well balanced and so sits comfortably in the hand. It has presence.

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian in hand

It’s made from hallmarked solid sterling silver and it’s gorgeous. The Victorian pattern on the barrel is applied by hand and is lovely. It gives the pen a historical feel (more of which later) and it also prevents the barrel of the pen from being too much of a fingerprint magnet. The same can’t be said of the section, which is very shiny and will need frequent polishing to remain so.

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian hallmark

The silver plated 18k gold nib looks fantastic and is a dream to write with. It’s smooth and juicy and, with the spot-on balance of the pen itself, makes for a fantastic writing experience.

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian nib

The pen uses a converter and given the materials it’s made from that’s perhaps the best option. I personally have no problem with converters as a filling system but I know some people think expensive pens should use more sophisticated methods.

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian in pieces

A pen costing this much ought to get everything right and this one does. What made this one special to me, what makes me really really really want one of my own, is the way Yard-O-Led have been able to give this pen a sense of history. The Victorian pattern on the barrel contributes to that of course, as does the company’s own history. Somehow though what I feel when I’m using this pen is that it’s going to create its own history. It’s going to write millions of words, it’s going to create it’s own story, it’s going to write trivial nonsense (as it did while it was with me) and it’s going to write some words that will be very important in some people’s lives. This is a pen that takes 200 years of history and prepares for 200 more.

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian capped and resting


A large pen with presence
Wonderful balance
Gorgeous nib
Beautiful design


I can’t afford it

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian clip

Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy Victorian handwritten review