Standing the Test of Time (2)

I’ve been writing here at Pens! Paper! Pencils! for almost three years now and in that time I’ve reviewed 130 inks, 61 pencils (wooden and mechanical), 116 pens and 47 other items (notebooks, cases, etc).

As I did around this time last year, I thought it would be interesting to look at what I reviewed a year or more ago that I’m still enjoying. It’s easy to be seduced by what’s new but what’s stood the test of time?

The pens and inks I wrote about last year are still favourites: Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same, Pelikan Edelstein Topaz, OHTO Graphic Liners, the Pilot Coleto, the Platinum #3776 Sai, Calepino notebooks and David Leatherworks covers remain in fairly constant use.

Many more items have made it onto the list this time, though, as I’ve learned more about what I like.


There were no pencils at all on last year’s list but over the last year I’ve really been enjoying sketching with the Tombow Mono 100. Since doing the guide to drawing pencils I’m slowly moving over to using the Mitsu-Bishi Hi-Unis instead but that doesn’t make the Mono 100s any less lovely. I’ve just found something even better.

Mitsu-Bishi Hi-Uni blunt end

For writing, I enjoy the Field Notes No. 2 and the Palomino Blackwing Pearl. The former is a good honest no-nonsense wooden pencil and the latter is a fantastic allrounder with lovely smooth graphite.

On the mechanical side of things, the Staedtler 925 25-07 remains a favourite because of it’s great build quality and simple design.

Fountain pens

Kaweco’s metal pens have become firm fixtures in my day-to-day use. The Liliput is always in my pocket and the AC-Sport is often on my desk at work. The Allrounder is a great pen and I’m sad that it looks as if Kaweco are discontinuing it. The Dia 2 is a lovely plastic-bodied pen that gets a lot of use too.

Twiss Marmalade fountain pen review

My Pelikan M215, with a custom broad italic nib, is a wonderful pen that gets a lot of use, along with my beautiful Twiss Marmalade pen and Franklin-Christoph M02. These are gorgeous pens.

Other pens

The Uni Jetstream taught me that ballpoints, hybrid ones at least, can be lovely. The Ti2 TechLiner is a gorgeous pen that’s probably my most used non-fountain pen and the Retro 51 is as good as everyone says it is.

Ti2 TechLiner review

I’m still using my Copic Multiliners for drawing but as I work through a wide selection of drawing pens for a future guide, I’m fairly certain they’re going to be replaced as my drawing pen of choice in the near future.


Kiri-Same and Topaz remain firm favourites but they’ve been joined by a few others: the sadly discontinued Sailor Jentle Apricot remains by far the best orange ink but Noodler’s Apache Sunset isn’t far behind. Pilot Iroshiku Kon-Peki doesn’t have the character of the Topaz but is a fine joyful blue that has grown on me over the past year, as has Iroshizuku Ama-Iro. Little bursts of colour at work during the grey winter.

I also discovered the joy of a great green ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin. An ink that makes feel me a little healthier whenever I use it, it’s so fresh.

Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin ink review


Calepino notebooks remain my favourite pocket notebooks but I absolutely love my Midori Traveler’s Notebook and the lightweight paper refill. It’s delicious.

These are the items that have remained my favourites after the initial excitement of being new. What are yours? What do you keep picking up to use?


  1. I appreciate your “looking back” comments, because it’s true that we are all seduced by the honeymoon of a new product. My all-time fave pen for drawing is the Sailor 1911 Profit with Naginata fude de mannen nib. I’m fickle about inks, but my current faves are Sailor Doyou, Sailor Yama-dori and Iroshizuku Momiji. I am still searching for the perfect, fountain pen friendly pocket notebook.


    1. Ah yes, your Sailor fude pen! I followed your search with interest and am very envious of your pen!! I really enjoy my budget Sailor fude pen so can only imagine how wonderful that one is. I really love Momiji too. I need to explore Sailor inks more! Have you tried Calepino notebooks? They’re as close to perfect as I’ve found but not everyone agrees with me!!

  2. A few things I keep using:

    * MAKR Sketchbooks
    * Swiss Wood pencil
    * Pilot Juice pens (mostly .38)
    * Microns
    * Nock Co cases
    * Levenger index cards
    * Traveler’s Notebook double-sided tape refill
    * J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune
    * Twist Bullet pencil (with a mono 100 in it)
    * Kaweco Liliput
    * Hobonichi Techo
    * Lamy Studio (this is the closet I’ve come to a fountain pen I could use almost everyday)

Leave a Reply