Guest Post: Idle Emma’s Planner Pen Preferences

Hello fellow penthusiasts! Atticus Rice here, the publisher and creator of The Pensive Penner. It’s time to shake things up (but not your sensitive pens, please not your sensitive pens) with something a little out of the ordinary for The Pensive Penner. The following post is a review of Staedtler pens, both the Triplus Fineliner and Pigment Liner, by Idle Emma of Puddle Side Musings.

Her blog focuses on her wonderful planners, crafts, and snail mail adventures. She also offers some free printables for all to use! For those of you unfamiliar with the ins and outs of sending snail mail in today’s world, Idle Emma offers a great “Where to Start” that everyone should check out. If you’d like to get in touch with Idle Emma check out the Contact Me page over on her site or go follow her on Instagram where she can be found at @IdleEmma.


Idle Emma says:

I was asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post for the Pensive Penner about the pens I use in my planners and I jumped at the opportunity. It’s not something I’ve looked at before; I’ve written about many craft, planner and snail mail topics over on my blog, Puddle Side Musings, but while all those topics have a good pen in common, I’ve never taken the time to consider my trusty utensil. Well, I’ll give it a go now!

Something to note about me and pens: I’m a fineliner girl. I have three reasons for this. First up, I have a peculiar habit when using ballpoint pens of gripping them really tightly when writing, especially when writing something small, which causes my hand to hurt so I only use them as a last resort. Secondly, my natural writing, as a lot of people comment on, can be tiny (I actually find it hard to write big), and fineliner pens help make tiny writing stay legible. Finally, though with similar issues of legibility, I studied Japanese when I was at university and I found that I just could not write kanji with a ballpoint pen, I had to use a fineliner.

So, those are my reasons for type but what am I actually using?

Well, I play it safe with my pens. I don’t tend to try new ones out often and stick to my favourite brands, my favourite in this case being…Staedtler, and I like using two different types of Staedtler pens in my planners: Triplus Fineliners and Pigment Liners.

Staedtler Pigment Liners.
Staedtler Pigment Liners.

With the huge popularity of colouring books these days, I think everyone is familiar with Triplus Fineliners as the two seem to always go together (and for good reason because they are good pens for colouring in all those tiny spots on detailed pictures). One of the most attractive things about these fineliners? The colour range of course! I think the Triplus Fineliners have one of the best colour ranges out there for pens. I treated myself to the 36 pack of pens (which were very reasonably priced) and have never been wanting for a colour. Hell, there’s even a selection of highlighter colours in the pack!

Now, I love using these pens to add a bit of colour to my planners and they are really useful for colour coding the calendar views I have. It makes a big difference being able to glance at a page and know that there’s something to do with a birthday going on if I see a box coloured in green or something related to my master’s degree if I see yellow, for example. The pens have a slightly softer nib on them which makes them nice to colour in things with but they’re also quite nice pens to write with, be it big or small (though based on my sample writing in the picture, you might question my idea of big writing!).

 

Staedtler Pigment Liners.
Staedtler Pigment Liners.

While I do like writing with the Triplus Fineliners and use them often for header sections in my planner, they’re not my first to reach for writing pens. No, be it for filling in my planner and organising my life, penning long letters to friends, writing pages of course notes, jotting down ideas for crafts or sketching art, Staedtler Pigment Liners are my go to pen. I just absolutely love these pens.

Like with many ranges of liner pens, there’s a good selection of nib thicknesses and with these, because the nibs are firmer, I feel at least, than the Triplus Fineliners, it’s easier and neater to write small – a must have for me! I have a selection of sizes including the 0.5, 0.2, 0.1 and 0.05 nibs. I think my favourite for using in my personal planner is the 0.1 because it’s a good size for writing (my idea of) large and small. Oddly enough though, the 0.05 is my favourite for using in my A5 planner and I often use the 0.5 in my pocket planner. Yes, the bigger the planner, the small the pen!

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner.
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner.

I do use these pens an awful lot, especially the 0.1 nib one and as a result, the nib on it does seem to have gotten a little smaller because of the pressure I put on one side when I write so it actually seems to be getting closer to the 0.05 size but it’s still a perfectly good, usable pen and like I said, it’s because I write a lot probably putting too much pressure on the pen.

But a good thing about these pens? They last for ages! They really do, even with the amount of letters and college notes I write, they just seem to keep going. Another nifty feature (yes, I said nifty) is that you can leave the cap off for supposedly 18 hours and they’re still perfectly good to write with, they won’t dry out. It’s a nice feature for forgetful people or if you’re like me and hate having to recap pens for fear that they’ll dry out after five minutes!

My, looking back, it appears I have been somewhat wordy with my considerations. I really didn’t think I’d written that much. Well, I guess I’ve rambled on quite long enough about my pen habits, Staedler love and planner quirks so I’ll leave it here!

I hope you enjoyed reading,
Idle Emma of Puddle Side Musings

*Updated* Solutions for Leaking Sakura Pigma Micron Pens and Other Damage

Editor’s Note: This post is an updated version of the post titled “Solutions for Leaking Sakura Micron Pens and Other Damage” that was published on The Pensive Penner on September 20, 2016. This version addresses a number of updates recommended by the advisor for this project including a clearer preview of the direction the post is headed in and more imagery to help understand the issues with some of the pens.


If you’re reading this, you’re probably like me and you love your pens. If you like your pens, there’s a good chance that you use them a fair amount, and that use might not always be on par with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Manufacturer’s recommendations you might ask? That’s right, some pen companies specify how exactly you should be using their products.

One of my favorite brands, Sakura, the company behind Pigma Micron pens, says, “Microns are designed to be used at a 90 degree angle,” because they are a cheap, disposable alternative to more expensive high-end pens. While they do retail for around $3.00, that small price can add up, especially when they’re not used in accordance with the exact recommendations.

This post will examine what exactly goes wrong with Sakura’s Pigma Micron pens when the recommendations aren’t explicitly followed, some alternative pen solutions, and a nifty way to use Pigma Micron pens while following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

img_4200I first ran into a problem with my Pigma Micron pens when I brought them across the country with me in early 2016. Upon my arrival, I found that several of my pens were leaking ink everywhere, making them nearly impossible to use. Wiping up the ink was only a temporary solution as the flow continued no matter what I tried.

Investigations on many other pen review websites, as well as Sakura’s, revealed that leaking Pigma Micron pens is an existing issue for many consumers. The Sakura website says the following in response to the question “Why is my Pigma Micron pen leaking?”

“Based on photos we’ve seen and descriptions we’ve heard regarding a leaking Pigma Micron pen, the source is the air vent collar located just below the silver tip of the pen. Under normal use, the air flows into the barrel through the vent area. The equalized pressure allows the ink to flow through the microscopic nib structure via capillary action. However, when the pen is unconsciously waved, tapped or spun in your hand while capped, the centrifugal force can cause the ink to come out of the air vent, which is the path of least resistance. Most people are unaware that they have used the pen as an outlet for nervous energy. We’ve seen people use their pen as a drum stick, wave it in their hand or use it as a pointer while talking, tap the pen on their desk while on the phone, unconsciously spin it in their hand, and swing it in their purses and backpacks. Centrifugal force can also be applied to the pen during shipping…” (more here).

If the above was a little too much text, it says that any excessive force can cause a leak in the pen coming from the air vent. This force can be from something as simple as rolling the pen in your fingers as you use it to waving it as a drumstick to the shipping of the pens (excuse me?).

leakingmicron1
Image courtesy of Sakura of America.

The solution that Sakura gives is to wipe the ink clean from both the pen and the cap, upon which the pen should continue to work fine. Of my many Pigma Micron pens that have leaked, wiping them clean has done nothing, so I took things into my own hands.

Back in June I sent an email to Sakura customer service and they told me that I could “carefully ship” my defective pens to them and they would inspect them and award replacements. They even promised to throw in a few extras to cover my shipping expenses (wow!). Being the lazy penthusiast (credits to a friend) that I am, I still haven’t gotten around to taking Sakura up on their offer.

Instead of mailing my pens in for replacement, I began searching for new options. While I still stand by Sakura and the Pigma Micron pen (especially with their excellent customer service), below are a few options for those of you looking for a new pen.

The Graphik Line Maker is an excellent and cheap alternative to Pigma Microns from the Derwent Pencil Company, retailing at about $3.00 a pen. While only available in three shades (black, grey, and sepia), the Line Maker is a sophisticated technical pen with nibs very similar to those of Pigma Micron pens.

A slightly less affordable yet higher quality pen is the Copic Multiliner SPwhich retails at about $10 a pen. The ink cartridges are replaceable for only a few dollars, making the light, metal casing of the pen a valuable accessory. The Multiliner SP writes a little more smoothly than the Pigma Micron and has excellent ink flow.

A third option can be found in the Superior Micro-Line pen which retails at under $3.00. While available in fewer nib sizes than the other pens mentioned, it offers excellent control and strong quality.

Each of the three solution pens mentioned above all share on distinct feature that Pigma Micron pens lack, no air filter. Sakura admits that the air filter is the cause of their leaking pens, something that becomes a non-issue with the other three options, as seen below.

img_4199

Despite finding suitable alternatives, I was determined to make my Pigma Micron pens work. With the advice from the FAQ section on the Sakura website, I decided that the only way to use their pens was to keep them at the aforementioned 90 degree angle and to not apply more force than the pen does on its own to the paper (a tip also mentioned in the FAQ section). Doing this was a challenge, but I eventually found a foolproof solution that only takes a little effort on the user’s end.

First, I obtained a clothespin and vigorously taped it to the edge of a table. Next, I inserted my desired Pigma Micron pen into the opening with the cap off and nib facing down. As seen in the picture at right, the setup is fairly simple and very doable.

Once setup, the application of the new clothespin/pen combo, the “clothespen,” is all that is left. To use the clothespen, I simply took my notebook in both hands, held it against the downward-facing nib of the pen, and applied enough pressure to the nib from the paper to produce writing. See the below GIF if you need any additional clarification.

Clothespen

If you have any questions about my recommendations of Pigma Micron pen replacements, or how to properly use the clothespen, please feel free to comment here, or reach out to me on Twitter, @pensivepenner, or Instagram, @thepensivepenner. My Pinterest board can also be found under ThePensivePenner.

Solutions for Leaking Sakura Pigma Micron Pens and Other Damage

If you’re reading this, you’re probably like me and you love your pens. If you like your pens, there’s a good chance that you use them a fair amount, and that use might not always be on par with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Manufacturer’s recommendations you might ask? That’s right, pen companies specify how exactly you should be using their products. Sakura, the company behind Pigma Micron pens, says, “Microns are designed to be used at a 90 degree angle,” because they are a cheap, disposable alternative to more expensive high-end pens. While they do retail for around $3.00, that small price can add up, especially when they’re not used in accordance with the exact recommendations.

This post will examine what exactly goes wrong with Sakura’s Pigma Micron pens, some alternative pen solutions, and a nifty way to use Pigma Micron pens while following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

img_4200I first ran into a problem with my Pigma Micron pens when I brought them across the country with me in early 2016. Upon my arrival, I found that several of my pens were leaking ink everywhere, making them nearly impossible to use. Wiping up the ink was only a temporary solution as the flow continued no matter what I tried.

Investigations on many other pen review websites, as well as Sakura’s, revealed that leaking Pigma Micron pens is an existing issue for many consumers. The Sakura website says the following in response to the question “Why is my Pigma Micron pen leaking?”

“Based on photos we’ve seen and descriptions we’ve heard regarding a leaking Pigma Micron pen, the source is the air vent collar located just below the silver tip of the pen. Under normal use, the air flows into the barrel through the vent area. The equalized pressure allows the ink to flow through the microscopic nib structure via capillary action. However, when the pen is unconsciously waved, tapped or spun in your hand while capped, the centrifugal force can cause the ink to come out of the air vent, which is the path of least resistance. Most people are unaware that they have used the pen as an outlet for nervous energy. We’ve seen people use their pen as a drum stick, wave it in their hand or use it as a pointer while talking, tap the pen on their desk while on the phone, unconsciously spin it in their hand, and swing it in their purses and backpacks. Centrifugal force can also be applied to the pen during shipping…” (more here).

If the above was a little too much text, it says that any excessive force can cause a leak in the pen coming from the air vent. This force can be from something as simple as rolling the pen in your fingers as you use it to waving it as a drumstick to the shipping of the pens (excuse me?).

The solution that Sakura gives is to wipe the ink clean from both the pen and the cap, upon which the pen should continue to work fine. Of my many Pigma Micron pens that have leaked, wiping them clean has done nothing, so I took things into my own hands.

Back in June I sent an email to Sakura customer service and they told me that I could “carefully ship” my defective pens to them and they would inspect them and award replacements. They even promised to throw in a few extras to cover my shipping expenses (wow!). Being the lazy penthusiast (credits to a friend) that I am, I still haven’t gotten around to taking Sakura up on their offer.

Instead of mailing my pens in for replacement, I began searching for new options. While I still stand by Sakura and the Pigma Micron pen (especially with their excellent customer service), below are a few options for those of you looking for a new pen.

The Graphik Line Maker is an excellent and cheap alternative to Pigma Microns from the Derwent Pencil Company, retailing at about $3.00 a pen. While only available in three shades (black, grey, and sepia), the Line Maker is a sophisticated technical pen with nibs very similar to those of Pigma Micron pens.

A slightly less affordable yet higher quality pen is the Copic Multiliner SP which retails at about $10 a pen. The ink cartridges are replaceable for only a few dollars, making the light, metal casing of the pen a valuable accessory. The Multiliner SP writes a little more smoothly than the Pigma Micron and has excellent ink flow.

A third option can be found in the Superior Micro-Line pen which retails at under $3.00. While available in fewer nib sizes than the other pens mentioned, it offers excellent control and strong quality.

Each of the three solution pens mentioned above all share on distinct feature that Pigma Micron pens lack, no air filter. Sakura admits that the air filter is the cause of their leaking pens, something that becomes a non-issue with the other three options, as seen below.

img_4199

Despite finding suitable alternatives, I was determined to make my Pigma Micron pens work. With the advice from the FAQ section on the Sakura website, I decided that the only way to use their pens was to keep them at the aforementioned 90 degree angle and to not apply more force than the pen does on its own to the paper (a tip also mentioned in the FAQ section). Doing this was a challenge, but I eventually found a foolproof solution that only takes a little effort on the user’s end.

First, I obtained a clothespin and vigorously taped it to the edge of a table. Next, I inserted my desired Pigma Micron pen into the opening with the cap off and nib facing down. As seen in the picture at right, the setup is fairly simple and very doable.

Once setup, the application of the new clothespin/pen combo, the “clothespen,” is all that is left. To use the clothespen, I simply took my notebook in both hands, held it against the downward-facing nib of the pen, and applied enough pressure to the nib from the paper to produce writing. See the below GIF if you need any additional clarification.

Clothespen

If you have any questions about my recommendations of Pigma Micron pen replacements, or how to properly use the clothespen, please feel free to comment here, or reach out to me on Twitter, @pensivepenner, or Instagram, @thepensivepenner. My Pinterest board can also be found under ThePensivePenner.

Welcome to The Pensive Penner

Hello All! Welcome to The Pensive Penner blog! My name is Atticus Rice. I’m a sophomore at McDaniel College, a small liberal arts school in Carroll County, Maryland studying towards majors in Communication and Political Science and a minor in Journalism and New Media.

As described in detail on the About page, this blog, The Pensive Penner, is for a writing project in my New Media Writing class for the Fall 2016 semester. Over the course of the next few months I will be using this as a platform to review pens of many kinds. These reviews will include how well the pen writes, what it’s key features are, and any other pertinent information. Each review will also detail what non-writing uses the pen may be good for such as cutting zip-ties, unlocking doors, stabbing open plastic containers, and any other uses I come across.

The Penroll page hosts a list of pens I have reviewed, plan to review, or I recommend. If you have any recommendations, ideas, or questions, please use the Contact page or message me on Twitter using the handle @pensivepenner.