The Dream of Pens

In the last several months, a few artists I know have been given license agreements–they now have a line of glue, or paints, or digital grounds with their name on them. It’s very impressive.

It wasn’t surprising when I had a dream last night about licensing. In the dream, I was using Artist A’s paints, when Artist B came into my studio and said, “Why aren’t you using my paints?” I didn’t know what to say to either artist, and a funny dream sequence ensued, in which Artist B’s paints were the only ones that would work in a certain brand of visual journaling book. The paints endorsed by Artist A just drifted off the page. When I noticed this, Artist B gave me a wink and said, “I have a great contract!”

As the dream continued, I got a phone call from a licensing agent, who wanted to sign me up. Knowing that my paints would float off the page, I declined. When he asked what I would like to endorse I said, “Pens. I want to endorse a pen I can believe in. Something I’d use all the time.”

“No one uses pens anymore,” said the agent in my dream.

Rapidograph technical pens have interchangable tips, small reservoirs to make ink color exhange easy, and color-coded barrels for nib size.

“I do. But it has to be a fiber tip pen, write smoothly, have a hefty barrel, be refillable and easy to clean,” my dream-self replied.

“How about a nice roller ball?” The agent asked. He clearly didn’t know me very well.

“No. I don’t like roller balls. Too smeary, too slippy on the page. I’d like to endorse a good fiber tip, a cross between Pitt Pens and Microns and Rapidographs. Something that will last, and is easy to use,” I said, expressing a very real wish for such a pen. “I love my Rapidographs, but the steel tip can catch on Arches Text Wove, and I hate that.”

Each Rapidograph has a color-coded section on the pen that indicates the line width of the nib.

The agent rolled his eyes and said, “In your dreams.” And I woke up. In my dreams, indeed. I don’t think this dream is a glimpse of the future, although I sure wouldn’t mind owning, if not endorsing, my perfect dream pen.

–Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art. She would love to endorse a line of art pens, either in her dreams or in real life. Meanwhile, the book is available from the publisher with free shipping–at least for a while.

The Next Pen

Running into the mall to get to the Apple Store for my iMovie lesson, I dropped my pen. It was a favorite, of course–do I have pens that aren’t my favorite?

This was a Metropolitan Museum of Art pen. The cap was striped in primary colors and had a rotating ring of  that produced secondary colors by turning it. Simple, but fun. The pen itself is a fiber-tip in a case that’s bigger–more comfortable in my hand.

The pen shot out of my hand and bounced on the pavement awkwardly and shot into the lane of parking-lot traffic. I automatically reached for it, and the blast of a car horn stopped me from running to pick it up.

A huge Ford 150 pickup roared past me, the door handle height over my head, the truck so long, I had to pause to wait for all of it to get by. At the speed the driving was traveling, which was at least 40 mph, (he must be on the way home, no one looking for a parking spot drives that fast) I’m glad he honked. I would have left a big dent in his lower bumper, and he, in me.

I heard the pen crack and winced. When the truck passed, I picked up the pen, Interestingly enough, although a Ford 150 weighs more than two tons–4,685 pounds (without anyone in it), only the cap was smashed. To its great credit, the aluminum body of the pen and the fiber-tip were fine.

There is no replacement cap–I asked already. So it looks like I need another fiber tip pen. I have enough fountain pens, and don’t want a roller ball–so what pen do you suggest that replaces the smashed fiber tip art pen?

Pen Review: JetPen Spica and a Giveaway


PEN WINNERS: Congratulations to Marianna of RedDancerStudio; Jamie of MyPurpleDoorStudios, and SimplyTrece for winning the pen giveaway! Winners have been emailed, and I’m waiting for their addresses to send the pens out.

Thanks to everyone who entered–especially those who left clever notes. I’m still working my way through, visiting all your blogs. Amazing work!  Here is how I chose the winners: I used a random number generator ( ) and chose one person from each page of comments. That allowed people who entered early to have the same chance as people who entered later. Again, thanks for entering, and yes, there will be more giveaways!

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Yesterday, I reviewed three white pens from, today’s pens are completely different–they have a sparkle, come in colors, and are transparent.

Copic makes the “atyou Spica glitter” pens. The glitter is micro glass, smooth with a fine, gentle sparkle. The ink is water-soluble pigment and archival. The pens write on coated (slick) or uncoated stock and put down a fine, even line. On coated stock, the liquid does pool slightly, which means that the last place you pick up the tip will leave a slightly darker dot. I did not have the same problem on uncoated stock.

The pens are fiber-tip, for which I have a preference. I tried out the pink, purple, blue and green. They write on a variety of surfaces (see the video), but do not show up on dark stock–they are transparent and can be layered. I tried them on a variety of surfaces–watercolor, acrylic, and they write over it all. They are not meant to write on glass, plastic or metal. Unlike Copic markers, they are water-based pigment. This means they won’t bleed through any of the papers I tried.’s website says the pens write for 360 yards.

Spica pens come in 24 colors, $2.25 each, or in in two, pre-selectetd color sets of 12 for $27.00 from JetPens.

Pen Giveaway: I’m giving away 3 pairs of 2 pens each–one of the white gel pens and one color Spica. I’ll choose  the colors for you. All you have to do is leave a comment below and let me know you want a pair of pens. I’ll pick a winner at random on June 5, so get your comments in.

That also means you have to sign in with your email address (it doesn’t show on the blog, but I can see it) so I can contact you for your mailing address. For this giveaway, I’m going to limit this to U.S. residents only.

Don’t forget to leave your comments! FTC-required disclosure: provided the pens at no cost.