Pilot’s New MR Animal Collection

Pilot has come out with a new line of pens.  The only Pilot pens I knew so far were the disposable Varsity Pens and the parallel calligraphy pens–both of which I like to use.

The new pens come in five interesting colors, each with an animal print band. The pens, called Metropolitan, or MR, depending on the location (international or U.S.)  come as fountain pens, roller balls and ballpoint pens.

pen2The one I’m reviewing is the fountain pen–matte gold with a lizard-print band. The shape is elegant and the color stylish. My favorite part is that the cap is removable without unscrewing it–it snaps on and off, which means that I can use it with one hand, always a plus.

The pen comes in fine and medium nibs. Mine has a medium, which writes like a fine.

pen1I was amazed at the smooth feel of the steel nib. It doesn’t have the stiff feel of a Lamy  Safari, or the slightly scratchy feel of the Pelikan student pens, both of which I also like and use.

This one came with a cartridge and a converter. I filled it with Pelikan blue ink and grabbed my favorite journal. The writing is smooth, effortless and easy. I”m an admitted fountain pen geek, and this one is a real find.

The fountain pen (as well as the roller ball and ballpoint) comes in five different colors and styles: Crocodile (black), leopard (dark purple),  python (silver),  white tiger (white), and lizard (matte gold).

The fountain pen does not bleed through regular paper. And there is no show-through either, even on the fairly thin paper. Those are two more big pluses for me.

The biggest plus is the price–about $15. For that price, it’s easy to put it on the holiday list for a lot of people. I had to dig around for the price, and it surprised me.

Now if only it came in a pressurized cartridge that didn’t leak on an airplane it would be amazing.

Note: I received the pen for free because I am an Amazon Vine reviewer.

—Quinn McDonald loves fountain pens. She favors demonstrator fountain pens and won’t write with a pen she doesn’t like.

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?

The Pencil is Mightier than the Disk

I love pencils. Cheap, available, usable. I have a pencil on my nightstand next to some index cards–in case I wake up and need to remember something but don’t want to turn

Yellow pencil. Colored pencil, ink. © Q. McDonald

Yellow pencil. Colored pencil, ink. © Q. McDonald

on the light. A pencil always works. In the dark, without looking, the pencil will work. Ballpoints and fountain pens, which I also love, sneakily need to be warmed up and I don’t know when they’ve started working.

The other night, I wanted to remind myself to take the white board to a workshop. I used a ballpoint pen (the cat had absconded with the pencil to blissfully chew the eraser to bits) and the next morning I read “uh tc bca d”because missing halves of letters looked like different letters–half of a W turned into a U, the O into a C.

When I got to the journaling workshop, I was asked the most popular question I get–why not just blog? Why not keep a journal on your computer? I love tech toys. But I also have a shoebox full of diskettes in various sizes that no one can open and read. Some are in word-processing programs that pre-date MS Word or Wordperfect. Anyone remember Multi-Mate? Of course not. Some are on formats for which there are no matching slots in computers. The big 5.5-inch floppies. Punch cards. Those computers are long gone.

Lascaux cave drawing

Lascaux cave drawing

It’s true that I lost a pile of journals to a flood in the basement, and to another to a fire in the attic. (Ah, the Old-Testament years.) But in each case, the journals I found were still readable. For that matter, so are the drawings in the Caves at Lascaux, which are about 30,000 years old and made with charcoal, an early pencil-substitute.

My son’s first drawings, love notes I scribbled, my parents notes to each other (my father favored light poetry directions and directives to my mother), in fact, my father’s sketches from when he was 6 years old–over a hundred years ago–are all still intact because they are in this simple medium. Pencil on paper. Timeless.

Quinn McDonad is a writer, trainer, life- and creativity coach. She teaches what she knows–how to write, give a presentation and keep a journal.