Into the Book

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Tools of the Trade cover

Tools of the Trade

What’s a writer without his tools? In this monthly column, Jasmine Ruigrok looks at common writing tools, such as pens, notebooks, pencils, and markers. It’s an artistic adventure as Jasmine reviews tools by testing them out herself, with beautiful calligraphy. Subscribe to this column via RSS


  1. Copics. I’ve heard the word thrown around so much that I thought it was about time I reviewed these pens, 20160428_105258
    so here goes.

    One of the main things that struck me about Copic’s multiliner pens is how light they are. Whilst I think the Sakura Microns are slightly heavier and feel expensive, Multiliner Copics are light, unassuming, and free of bells and whistles when it comes to the pen body. Lids go on and off easily, attaching to the back with no fuss. They’re still a sturdy pen, and thank heavens: the inner tube doesn’t rattle around! Amazing how much of a difference that makes when you spend a lot of time writing by hand.

    Ink-wise I have nothing really to comment on, perhaps except the ink may be a little lighter in tone to the Microns, however that would be splitting hairs. My biggest beef with the Copics is that the nib didn’t last as long as I had hoped. Like its Micron competition, the nib tip went flat relatively quickly with use, and whilst still perfectly functional on it’s end, it does make it frustrating to use at an angle.

    Untitled-2Impressive though, are the sizes that Copics go to. If you’re an artist looking for fine nibbed pens to do intricate art with, look no further. These pens go beyond tiny, with a microscopic 0.03 size that looks like a hair line. The level of detail this pen could achieve in the right hands I imagine would be stupendous.

    Overall, I was quite pleased with my Copic Multiliner experience. Whilst I personally prefer Microns for bulk writing, I will definitely be using Copics for artwork in the future.

    Jasmine

  2. 2penink

    Every craft has its experts, but one thing we seldom remember is this: every expert started out as an amateur. They all have their secret bloopers and fails early in their career, and unless they are really down-to-earth, you don’t get to hear a lot about them. Never fear! I figured instead of waiting until I became an expert and risk the memories of my blunders fading, I would share with you a couple of mistakes I’ve made and things I’ve learnt about calligraphy (so far) as an amateur! If you want to know what simple (and sometimes utterly stupid) things to avoid, and what tips will help you get a start in the art of pen and ink, this is for you. (more…)

  3. Sharpies! Everyone loves Sharpies. I mistakenly thought that they were only available in America until I saw a whole stand of them in my local mall once. So of course, I had to see what they were like! In all honesty, Sharpies are merely the adult version of kids’ permanent markers (with that trademark permanent ink smell that I’m sure you could get high on if you used them in confined spaces). Of their many kinds, today I am reviewing the bronze metallic Sharpie. (more…)

  4. In my journeys over the interwebs reading articles on hand-lettering and typography, some of the tools of the trade that kept recurring were primarily Sakura’s Pigma Microns. I was desperate to get my hands on a set of these pens since everyone seemed to be raving about them, and – to my sheer delight – managed to get my hands on a set whilst in America last month. So today I get to review a Sakura Pigma Micron 03.

    (more…)

  5. They say a good tradesman doesn’t blame his tools. But it has also been said that such a tradesman is only as good as his tools. Although this in no way implies a writer with a crayon cannot write a good story, it is safe to say that inspiration does flow a sight better with the rolling of a good ballpoint pen, or the scratch of a sharpened pencil. Thus, knowing about such tools and the qualities that add to them being worth their salt makes for a good beginning, and that is exactly what I hope to achieve here. (more…)