Posts tagged Pens
Long Overdue Experiment 14 Update: APRIL Analog Madness and Giveaway Winner Announcement!

March (...and half of April!) got away from me between a new job, a cross-country trip, and illness! So many things to catch up on, and so much coming down the pike here at Inkpothesis. Before I get ahead of myself, first things first...I'm sure everyone has been waiting with baited breath to find out about the results of the Analog Madness bracket. Even more importantly, the top four contenders will help determine a portion of the first ever Inkpothesis prize package.

Two champions in one post?'s all been worth the wait after all. 


How did the 16 make it to this point you ask?

The Pencil Side (The Side of Chaos) 

Viking 400- The Viking pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament by upsetting the  #1 ranked Swiss Wood pencil. How you ask? Precise execution of aesthetics, consistent performance, and the element of surprise. Plus it doesn't smell like soy sauce, so there's that.

Palomino HBThis pencil so outperforms its 12th seed, it's ridiculous. It wasn't even close- it sailed through the first two rounds.

Aspara AbsoluteThe closest game of the tournament (a triple overtime thriller!) was the match-up between this pencil and the CWPE Blackwood pencil. A rematch of that game on a different day may have ended with an opposite outcome. But after it overcame the Blackwood... it was untouchable. The point is ridiculously strong on the pencil while still being dark and relatively soft... what more could you want? 

Grafwood- Caran d'Ache was bound to get at least one pencil through. Their pencils are just too good, and this one is no exception. It's just slightly heftier than a regular pencil, and for me that makes it nearly perfect in-hand. 

Casemate Premium- This pencil is like the classic Hoosiers underdog of the whole tourney due to its humble place of origin: your local Wal-mart shelves. Turns out, this Indian made 16 seed pencil was more like a 3 or 4 seed in disguise, and it easily overcame a number 1 seed and number 9 seed to push though to the top 16. 

Generals Semi-HexIf it's good enough to get into a Caroline Weaver curated Pencil Box, what else do you need to know?

Palomino Golden BearIt's totally unfair to everyone else that this pencil was an 11 seed. This pencil is exceptional. Good looking, solid performer- this could easily be a desert-island pencil for many.

Made for Retail HexNext time you go to Target- you better make a bee-line to the dollar section and pick up a pack of these for $1. Make sure they are hex shaped and not the wrapped round variety. Seriously you will not be disappointed. The rosy-gold ferrules, variety of color offerings, and fun foil stamped sayings make this pencil hard to beat in my book. Well worth the $0.17, I assure you. Just ask the two pencils it beat out to get here. 

The Pen Side

Zebra Sarasa ClipDecent upset here as well with the #8 seed beating the #1 seed in the second round. The #1 Juice Up is a great pen, and may have taken it all in a different color offering... but in this match-up the features of the Sarasa Clip were just too much to overcome. That clip though. It's so good. 

Hi-Tec-CLuckily for the Hi-Tec-C it had two stellar performances in a row with no stuttering or skipping starts. And as we know, when it's going well for the HI-Tec-C- it's going great. Those fine lines are droll worthy. 

Signo RTThe sleek looks and practical retractable qualities give this pen a killer instinct- especially in the blue-black offering. This one is hard to beat, I'm warning you now.

Ink Joy GelI was late to this party, and apparently so were this pen's opponents. Don't underestimate this big-box available pen. It's a legit contender. 

Copic Multiliner- The #1 seed is well-earned here. It's expensive, but it's also amazing. There's no other writing experience quite like it in my opinion. Sturdy, reliable, refillable, replaceable tips... I'm really not quite sure what else you would want in a pen. 

Signo UM 151This pen is as good as the Pen Addict says it is. Maybe better. It could easily win the whole thing. 

EnergelThe darkness of the ink is ultimately what propelled this widely available pen into the third round.

Papermate FlairDoes this one really need an explanation? It's a classic for a reason. If you've never used this pen for some crazy reason, you better stop reading this and correct that immediately. 


On the Pencil Side: One classic Indian pencil, one classic Danish pencil, one classic American Pencil, and one...Target Pencil??

On the Pen Side: Two fine lined pros vs two-felt tipped pros. Interesting match-ups!


Parity continued on the pencil side of the bracket... with a 14 seed and a 15 seed making it to the final four. The pen side was a little less surprising, with a Signo 6 seed, and a 1 seed filling out the final two slots. 

And the final two? 


So much of the analog tournament result was based on match-ups. I wasn't sure how it would turn out! But interestingly, I have to admit that the the final contenders are writing utensils I reach for repeatedly and carry with me a majority of the time. These are two quality, reliable writing instruments that really out-perform expectations in terms of their cost in my opinion.

What do you think? What's the biggest surprise? Are the finalists worthy of their top-spots?

That brings us to the most contentious match-up of all. Pencil vs. Pen. One year ago, this would have been no contest. But that's before I was introduced to a quality pencil, and before I started expanding my utility of analog writing instruments. For me, it honestly all comes down to context- and I think that might be a post for another day. For now, I'm happy to carry both in my daily arsenal. I don't remember the day that I didn't use at least one pencil and at least one pen. So there you have it. 

Let's wrap things up by selecting our giveaway winner! 

There were 10 unique commenters... and we will let a random number generator select our lucky contestant. 

Comment #5 is the winner! 

Comment #5 is the winner! 

Heidi Bushnell is the first ever giveaway winner at Inkpothesis!

Heidi Bushnell is the first ever giveaway winner at Inkpothesis!

Heidi, be on the lookout for some goodies headed your way! Everyone else, be on the lookout for a Fransisco Stationery Haul post, a Col-o-ring test, and a CW Pencil Exclusive Round-up!

Experiment 14: March Madness- The Pencil/ Pen Edition

Selection Sunday, arguable one of the best days of the year (especially in Indiana), has come and gone. This year, I thought it would be fun to create an analog March Madness bracket as well. The NCAT (National Committee of Analog Tools) has completed the selections, and the pen and pencil matchups are ready to be announced. 

The rules and selection criteria were as follows: 

Sixty-four total pens and pencils are included in the bracket- 16 Dipped/Capped pencils make up the East Region, 16 Eraser-ed pencils make up the West Region, 16 Blue Pens make up the the Midwest Region, and 16 Black Pens make up the South Region. The selections were first made based on availability. Clearly, I needed to own the pencil or pen for it to be able to included. Secondly, I wanted some variety, but also some consistency. For example, I tried to stick with similar grades across pencils, and similar line widths across pens. In terms of seeding, each pen or pencil was seeded based on market expectations (aka price). There is no perfect way to equalize the price for each item, and as with any sports bracket, the seeds are not perfectly fair in all cases (ex. pencil prices based on a pencil set vs. individual pencil price). However, when possible I tried to get a majority of the prices from market leaders and experts: Cw Pencils and Jet Pens. I created an AirTable with a detailed listing of all 64 contestants (drumroll please...):

Follow along here at Inkpothesis to see which pens/pencils make deep runs into April.

And finally most importantly, the matchups are below: 

The East Region: Dipped/ Capped Pencils


The West Region: Eraser-ed Pencils


The Midwest Region: Blue Pens


The South Region: Black Pens


In celebration of the bracket, Inkpothesis is hosting it's very first giveaway. The winner will be selected at random and will receive a selection of the pens/ pencils selected for the bracket (Including the Final Four!) as well as a few other surprises (open to CONUS and international contestants). Contest is open until Saturday April 1st. 

To enter:

1) Comment on the post below with the four pens/ pencils you believe should reach the Final Four!

2) Receive an additional entry for following Inkpothesis on Twitter.

Good luck and Happy March Madness! 

Experiment 6: Organization & Accessibility

Less than a month into trying to incorporate more analog creativity and writing into my day-to-day, I encountered my first major obstacle. 


More precisely, lack of organization.

I had two main problems:

1) Nearly all of the art and craft supplies I had acquired over the years were shoved into my closet in various boxes, drawers, and shelves. While this got them out of the way, they were not easily accessible. Heck, I barely even knew what I had in there. 

2) My newest pens, pencils, and notebooks were scattered and taking over my main workspace. There was no rhyme or reason to where any particular item landed on a given day. I found myself either searching for things or overwhelmed by them.

In my one bedroom apartment, there isn't room for a separate office space. So instead, I have divided things into two desk areas. One lives in the bedroom and is meant to house a majority of the supplies. The other is a very large bar height work space in the living area. Ideally, this minimizes the number of items in my actual work/ creative space. Clearly, the system was failing- as my work space was messy and cluttered and my supplies were almost exclusively hidden away in the closet.

It was time for a reboot.  

I turned on the Art Supply Posse podcast for inspiration, dug to the bottom of my closet, and cleaned more than half of everything out to give away or throw away. Then, once I knew what I had- I prioritized. I knew I wanted my writing tools (gel pens, markers, pencils, colored pencils, fountain pens, etc.) to be most readily available. Going to the internet for inspiration, I repurposed a pegboard I already had and cleared the way for a series of mason jars.

Pegboard Iteration One

Pegboard Iteration One

Pegboard Iteration Two

Pegboard Iteration Two

I was able to neatly organize the remainder of my art supplies in two large, labeled plastic totes. This left my workspace mostly clear with only my fountain pen collection and a small selection of contained notebooks.


Importantly, I also made room for one of my favorite pieces of art by Ella Luna to live on my desk.

Art from Ella Luna

Art from Ella Luna

It's not a perfect system, but by releasing some excess supplies and organizing the rest in a way that is accessible, I eliminated one barrier to implementing and maintaining a creative habit.

And maybe even more importantly, I created spaces that are less likely to overwhelm me and more inclined to inspire me. 

 “It is here, standing at the crossroads of Should and Must, that we feel the enormous reality of our fears, and this is the moment when many of us decide against following our intuition, turning away from that place where nothing is guaranteed, nothing is known, and everything is possible.” ― Elle Luna, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion


Visual inspiration for supply organization:


 Tips for organizing creative spaces:


More from Ella Luna: