Pros: Nice fine line, lovely bluish dove grey ink. "Extra Fine" really is EF. I
imagine it works great for writing characters with many detailed strokes.
Cons: These pens (well, refills, but I use them just as pens) tend to get blobs
of ink on the tip while capped, no matter how they're stored. On some papers,
they take an extremely long time to dry completely. I seem to be using up the
ink very quickly, sketching rather than writing.
YMMV: The pen holders look weird with the refill sticking out the back. I'm not
sure whether the blobbing problem has to do with something like the
heat/pressure from using the refills without a holder. If I were more motivated
to test them, I'd experiment, but I don't care for the holders and I like a
narrow pen, and this is working well enough.
Overall: I love this soft grey for sketching and for fine, small writing, and it
hasn't blobbed yet. It's functional enough to get a middle-of-the-road, 3-star
OK little doodling pen. It's cheap and it has a moderately fine line--after a
page of drawing it settled down from that fresh-out-of-the-cap fineness.
Supposedly it will survive for days on the desert of my desk when I forget to
put the cap back on, so, THAT's its main selling point for me. It simply puts
down a line, to frills, no thrills, and ok also for note taking. The slate grey
ink is nice to work with, the triangular shape is easy on the fingers (YMMV: I
like a narrower body on a pen...maybe it helps me focus on the line...). At this
price, I won't worry about losing it or using it up (or knocking the cap off) if
I toss it in my bag for random sketches.
For me, there's no such thing as too fine a line. This is another super-fine pen
to love. A little scratchy, a little dry, and the tip feels a little
delicate--but no more than to be expected. The Kuretake Tegami Letter Pen
super-fine refill edges this one out because it's smoother and less dry with
easier line variation, even using rapid strokes (I don't have the Tegami nearby
to compare, so I'm going from memory on this). But I like this one enough to
pick up the black and the grey too. I'm enjoying it for intricate doodles and
warmups, detailed crosshatching and small lettering. The sepia has maybe a
little more grey in it than some variations on the colour.
I didn't purchase the holder (I think the way the refill pokes out the back is
unattractive, except maybe for the "starry night with glitter" black holder,
since it matches the glittery black ink reservoir), but I have no trouble using
the refill alone as a pen. Larger hands may want the holder for convenience, and
it does come in nifty colours.
Mine got leaky after I took it on an international flight, but I had no
complaints beforehand. I like its flexibility from super-fine to a thicker brush
stroke, and enjoy it enormously for comic drawing. I also own it in black
ink--and use them both just as pens, not as refills. On their own, they are a
bit slender and require a delicate hand.
I picked this up for lettering work, but, except for larger lettering, I think
I'll prefer this for drawing. I usually like a more fine and precise line and a
drier pen, but pair this pen with a smooth paper (like Rhodia) and it's great
fun for fast doodles. The variation in line width from moderately fine to rather
thick gives a lot of dynamism with a light tough. After minimal drying time, it
handles erasing of underlying pencil lines well (if you don't go overboard
scrubbing at it with the eraser). I don't necessarily find this ink to be
blacker than any other similar pen. I haven't used it long enough to know how
it'll hold up in the long run, so I can't give it a 5 out of 5. But for a loose,
free style of drawing, I recommend this one a lot.
In spite of the previous bad review, I had heard so many good things about this
ink being "bold and black," I had to try it for myself. It's an incredibly
smooth-writing ink. After using the same nib awhile, I could write about four
lines of rapid cursive on a single good dip. And it has an oddly floral scent.
But it's not an "intense" black in any sense of the word, on either a smooth or
a toothy paper, and even a very wet line is no darker than charcoal grey. I'm
almost tempted to buy a bottle from another source to see if it's any blacker.
I'll be interested to see if this ink darkens over time the way Diamine
Registrar's ink goes from blue-black to black. I'll try to remember to amend my
review if, in a week or two, I have a page of rich black writing instead of the
dark grey it is now. It gets extra points in my rating for its history and
reputation for being long lasting, because I like that sort of thing.
What can be a negative for some users I find a positive with this pen, so it
comes down to what you prefer. The ink is not a rich black--not really grey, but
veering in that direction. I suppose you could say charcoal. On both the smooth
paper (Clairefontaine) and slightly rough paper (Kokuyo Campus Word Cards) I've
tried it on so far, it has a pencil-like scratchiness, with a lot of tactile
feedback that I really enjoy. Handled lightly, you can get both a wet line and
and lighter, rough-pencil line, and I'm enjoying it a lot for drawing. At a very
quick test, the ink seems waterproof after drying.
I haven't used it enough yet to encounter any issues with drying out, but I'm
usually pretty fanatical about putting caps back on even if I'm only pausing for
a little while. If the ink supply lasts through a reasonable amount of use, I
could see stocking up on a few more of these and keeping them around for when
I'm in the mood for sketching. I don't see this as a pen for writing, but for
having such an interesting feel while drawing, I'll bump it up from 3 stars to
I bought this for testing fountain pen ink samples. There's a knack to learning
how to angle and rotate this pen and load it with ink, but if you're having
trouble with ink flow, or with getting more than a sentence out of it, it might
not be the fault of the pen or how you're using it--it might be the ink. I'm
finding that some inks just will not work at all with this type of pen. Not
surprisingly, since it's a J. Herbin pen, the J. Herbin Perle Noire ink writes
smoothly and for a full paragraph from a single thorough dip. So far, Diamine
Poppy Red ink flows well with it too (but not Registrar's Blue-Black, which
won't even start). The Noodler's inks vary: Widowmaker was not completely
hopeless, some of the others would give me a few words, but the V-Mail inks
would not play with this pen at all. The Noodler's inks left particles in this
pens' spiralling grooves.
Other than that, it's slender and a little short, but has a solid, comfortable
weight. Mine is more pale orange than deep amber, but it's such an attractive
pen, I don't mind. With the right ink, it's inspiring to write with something
this lovely. Makes me feel classy, ya'know?