Manuscript Master Italic nib

Manuscript Master Italic Calligraphy Fountain Pen Review

Manuscript Master Italic review

The Manuscript Master Italic Calligraphy Pen is a fountain pen that comes with a 1.1mm steel italic nib. It was sent to me to review by Cult Pens and is available from them for £14.99.

Manuscript Master Italic closed

The pen is made from soft touch kind of plastic which is comfortable to hold and a nice change from hard plastic. The look and feel of this material places the pen firmly in its correct price range: not at all cheap and nasty but far from luxury.

Manuscript Master Italic clip

Likewise the overall look is the classic cigar shape, with subtle branding, a plain (not very exciting) matt black colour and a cheap looking but effective clip.

Manuscript Master Italic uncapped

The metal section is great, though, with a gentle grip and a clear collar around the nib that fill with ink and looks lovely.

Manuscript Master Italic deconstructed

The pen uses standard international cartridges. Manuscript make their own convertor, which I’ve not tried, but the pen will take some but not all other makes of standard-sized convertors. I used a Waterman one, which I’ve found is one that will fit most pens.

Manuscript Master Italic nib

The Manuscript Master Italic Calligraphy Pen is by definition a pen meant for calligraphy. I am not that great at calligraphy and so will restrict my comments to the performance of the nib in general writing. It’s a very sharp italic and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the very definition of an italic nib. It does mean you need to be careful with it – I’ve dug it into the paper on a couple of occasions – but I won’t criticise an italic nib for being an italic nib.

What I will criticise it for though is that with a dry-ish ink (such as almost every J. Herbin ink) it puts down an occasionally inconsistent line. Some of the blame does need to lie with the ink but I do think a calligraphy pen ought to be quite wet and put down a good amount of ink, whatever it is.

Manuscript Master Italic posted

Reviewing a pen that is either wonderful or terrible is easy. Reviewing a pen that is somewhere in the middle is harder. The Manuscript Master Italic Calligraphy Pen is perfectly fine. The nib is okay but not spectacular. The look is very safe, nothing too terrible, nothing to get your heart racing. It should never be anyone’s first pen, an italic nib is likely to put a new fountain pen user off, but it’s worth considering if you want to dip your toes into something different. I’d have a good look at the Pilot Plumix first though: the nib is a little better but the rather more eccentric style may not be for everyone.

Manuscript Master Italic handwritten review

Thank you to Cult Pens for sending me this pen to review. These are my own views and were not influenced in any way by Cult Pens.

Midori Travelers Notebook fully loaded

Midori Traveler’s Notebook Part Three: Making It Your Own (and a Giveaway)

Midori Travelers Notebook fully loaded

That the Midori Traveler’s Notebook has such a loyal following is due to: high quality products; clever branding; and the infinite variety of ways to make it your own.

In fact the notebook becomes uniquely yours very quickly as the cover picks up scuffs and scratches and rapidly develops personality. I can only think the cover’s been made especially to age like this and to do so with style.

This is only the beginning. The Traveler’s Notebook is its very own rabbit hole. I have so far only dipped my toe into it, if it’s possible to dip your toe into a rabbit hole. (I suppose it is.) I swapped the black elastic band for the included orange band. Adventurous, heh? (The black notebook comes with a red rather than orange band. This will be relevant later.)

I’ve spent more time thinking about how to configure the refills. I have: a plain refill for sketching in (I have a sketch paper refill ready for when I use this one up), a lightweight paper refill for journalling and a grid refill for jotting down ideas and working on projects. These are bunched together around one band. I wrote about all these in part two. Around the second band I have a Kraft paper refill for very sporadic scrapbooking and a plastic wallet refill for whenever it might be useful (not often, so far, I’ve found).

Midori Travelers Notebook Refill zipped plastic wallet

Here are some of the other Midori-made refills you can choose from: lined paper; a Kraft file; a card file (credit cards, business cards); just about every diary configuration you can imagine; and a page of sticky notes.

Here are some of the Midori-made accessories you can spend your money on: various charms to attach the the elastic band; stickers (mostly travel orientated); pocket stickers of all shapes and sizes (to stick to covers or pages so you have pockets to stuff things into); lettering sets; masking tape; pen holders (various sizes); beads to put on the bands; various colours of bands; and stiff plastic inserts. I’ve got one of these inserts, I bought it really because I didn’t know what it was. It turns out it’s a very useful piece of stiff plastic that you can slip behind the page you’re writing on, making it all a lot easier if you’re squashed into a corner on the train from Waterloo.

Midori plastic insert

These are just the official accessories. Boy oh boy are they just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not the person to advise you about this, I like plain and simple objects on the whole (as my taste in pens may have told you) but fortunately I can point you towards some amazing resources instead:

Midori zip pocket

A few months ago The Journal Shop sent me a starter kit so I could get to know the Traveler’s Notebook and share my experiences with it. I’ve fallen in love with the notebook because of it’s simplicity, beauty and quality.

If you missed them, be sure to check out parts one and two.

So … would you like one of your own? For free? You would? That’s fantastic because I have a black notebook (cover, plain refill, spare red elastic band, cloth cover) to give away, courtesy of The Journal Shop. This giveaway is open world wide (but I won’t be held liable for customs charges or dodgy postal services) (I also won’t be held liable for all the time and money you will spend on it all once you’ve got it).

All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post, saying thank you to someone. Thank anyone you like as long as it’s an actual living person. You can only enter once. The giveaway ends at 9am GMT Sunday 8th March.

Good luck!

This is what you can win.

Standing the Test of Time

I’ve been writing here at Pens! Paper! Pencils! for getting on for a couple of years now and have in that time reviewed 76 pens, 29 pencils, 85 inks and 28 other items (notebooks, cases, etc).

Over all this time, many pens and inks have entered and then left my affections but some have remained. I thought it might be interesting to see which items have managed to cling on for at least one year since I first wrote about them here.

My fondness for inks is most fickle. There are just so many beautiful inks out the temptation to fall in love with a new one is just too great. It’s perhaps unsurprising only one has remained a constant favourite: Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same which I have always in my pocket pen, for quick notes and sketching. (It is beautiful to sketch with.) I’ll give a quick mention to Pelikan Edelstein Topaz, which is I use very often at work, and which I wrote about almost a year ago.

Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same ink review Inkling doodle

A few pens have managed to remain in constant rotation (or even constant use) despite a lot of competition. The OHTO Graphic Liner was one of the first pens I wrote about (it would be pushing it a little too far to call this a review) and I use them almost every day at work. The Pilot Coleto too gets almost daily use. (It’s a top pen for marking students’ work.)

Lots of graphic liners

My favourite fountain pen remains the Platinum #3776 Sai which I reviewed almost exactly one year ago. There are several pens I like almost as much but despite leaning towards much broader nibs than the (very) fine on this pen, I still think it’s the pen that combines beautiful looks with a beautiful writing experience better than anything else I have. There one other pen that I love although not quite in the form I originally wrote about it: the Kaweco Sport. I first wrote about the Classic Sport but since then I’ve gone all posh and use, frequently, an AC-Sport.

Platinum 3776 Sai review

I’ve tried several different pocket books but Calepino notebooks are still, by far, my favourite. Trying other brands has only served to reaffirm their fabulousness. The paper absorbs ink so it dries quickly but doesn’t feather or bleed with the majority of fountain pens. It’s good with pencil too. The cardboard covers are stiff and I’ve never had a notebook fall apart on me despite them living in my back pocket every single day. They continue to be kept in the same Davis Leatherworks cover they always have.

Davis cover and Kaweco Classic Sport inside

That’s it! In most cases, it’s not so much that items I liked over a year ago have revealed themselves to be poor, it’s more that I’ve spent the last year trying out and discovering a whole truckload of new pens, pencils and notebooks and there is just so much good stuff out there. I’m very lucky to have been able to try so many things out and what I write here justifies it all!

Diamine Red Dragon ink review

Diamine Red Dragon Ink Review

Diamine Red Dragon ink review

Not so long ago I realised, shockingly, that I didn’t have very many red inks. I asked on Twitter for suggestions and the cleverest Fool With a Pen there is very kindly sent me a handful of samples.

This is my favourite of the lot, a rich and sophisticated red that I absolutely love. Great name, too. Reminds me of my youth, playing Dungeons and Dragons. Once a geek, always a geek.

Here I am doodling the Inkling:

You can find some more reviews of Diamine Red Dragon on Pennaquod.

Diamine Red Dragon Inkling doodle