Monday, March 6, 2017

Try Out Hand Lettering- Tombow Lettering Essentials Sets REVIEW

Just when you hear that schools are doing away with handwriting programs and offices are going paperless, hand lettering seems to be everywhere. From the chalk menu board at your favorite coffee shop to advertising in magazines to invitations to parties, a huge variety of fonts and scripts are being used in all sorts of creative ways. The hand lettering trend has been around for a couple of years now, and it shows no signs of going anywhere!

This is great news for folks who are interested in trying out this wonderful hobby.  I've written before of the benefits of coloring (find that blog here). Hand lettering is also very cathartic and beneficial! It heightens awareness, concentration, and allows you to live in the moment. Hand lettering isn't just for the naturally talented artistic types. Tombow has created two lettering essential sets- a Beginner and Advanced Lettering set- that includes everything you need to start hand lettering.

The Beginner Lettering Set: The beginner set includes a pencil, eraser, 2 dual tip lettering brushes, a calligraphy pen, and a dual tip permanent marker.

The beginner kit is basic- but good for getting acquainted with the tools before investing a lot of money into a new hobby.  This set will get you started for under $20.  What's included?

  • Two Dual Brush pens in black and gray. They have a flexible brush tip for big, bold letters and a fine bullet tip for details.

  • Fudenosuke Calligraphy pen- a fine tip calligraphy brush pen with an elastomer tip that can create varied line widths by simply changing brush pressure. Developed for delicate Kanji/Chinese characters, this pen is perfect for modern calligraphy and hand lettering.

  • The Mono Twin permanent marker has a bullet tip and a fine point tip. Great for finishing touches and outlining your letters.

  • Mono drawing pencil (4H) for sketching and drawing guidelines.

  • The mono eraser is a smudge-proof eraser for removing pencil lines.

If you think that you'd like a little color for trying out lettering, then The Advanced Lettering Set  includes a few more items.

The "Advanced Set" includes dual brush pens in 3 colors, an extra calligraphy pen, and an instructional pamphlet. For under $30 you get a nice set.

Extra brush pens in 3 more colors-

  • Deep Magenta (685) 
  • Sea Blue (373) 
  • Black (N15)
  • Cherry (815) 
  • Colorless Blender marker (N00). The blending marker allows you to blend colors directly on your paper, or pick up colors using a blending pallet.

The instructional pamphlet and the extra calligraphy pen

  • Extra calligraphy pen. 
Check out this video for using the blending marker:

Click on this link for a pdf version of Tombow's Lettering Practice Worksheet.

Besides the great resources at Tombow, there is also a huge amount of script fonts available with new fonts being released all the time. You can find some here.  Does this make you want to try out hand lettering?  Let us know in the comments!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rhodiarama Soft Cover Notebook Review

Rhodia has long been a favorite brand of fountain pen lovers, with great reason! They use Clairefontaine paper- the smoothest paper in the world. Rhodia really knows how to make a notebook and the softcover doesn't disappoint.

The cover is made from Italian leatherette that has a soft tactile feel to it. The cover has the Rhodia logo on it, embossed into the cover which is thin and flexible. It comes in 15 fabulous colors!

Inside, you'll find ivory colored paper. This feature can be a downside to some that want to see the true color of their ink on paper- the ivory color will cast a warm shade to your ink.

As usual it is very smooth and fountain pen friendly 90 gsm Clairefontaine paper.  You can write on both sides of the paper without feathering or bleed through.  The paper is pH neutral, acid free and PEFC certified.  The paper comes lined or dot.  It's great for bullet journaling.  The lines and dots are light grey- dots are 5 mm spaced and lines are 7 mm apart.

There is an orange ribbon bookmark, and the signature rhodia orange elastic closure.  In the front and back of the journal end-covers are signature Rhodia orange. Inside the back cover is a pocket! This is a great notebook and we highly recommend it here at iPenstore!

Friday, February 17, 2017


Kill Winter with Orange!  This February we chose to go with an orange theme for our popular iPenBox- inspired by our friend @RandomThinks on Instagram to celebrate his annual #KillWinterwithOrange tribute, and we are really getting into the spirit of it!  

When you live in the Midwest, winter really gets old this time of year.  We experience winter conditions here in Michigan starting in October and winter conditions tend to stick around here some years through April.  Needless to say, by February we are feeling DONE with it. We are hardy Michiganders, so we press on, and #KillWinterWithOrange helps to brighten our outlook!

To celebrate #Killwinterwithorange, we picked out some of our favorite ORANGE PRODUCTS here at iPenstore- scroll down and enjoy!

Products featured in this photo:

Pens/ Pencils: 

Our compact Napoleon pocket ballpoint pen also comes in rollerball! When capped the pen is 4-1/2 inches to easily fit in a pocket or purse. Posted the Napoleon is a full sized 5-1/2 inches. 

Rosetta Pencil Extender, Worther 3.15mm lead in orange, Worther Shorty Mechanical Pencil, Kaweco Ice Sport 0.7 mm Pencil

Our Rosetta Pencil Extender comes in a cheerful yellow orange with silver diamond-cut knurled grip.  Need a mechanical pencil? Worther Shorty makes a chunky sketch pencil that holds a 3.15 mm lead in all colors of the rainbow. 

The Kaweco Ice Sport translucent mechanical pencil has an octagonal barrel- its compact size and 1/2 barrel feels just right in your hand. 

Are you looking for a beautiful orange ink that glows like the sunset over the Caribbean Sea?  Look no further than Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-Yake.  Energetic and cheerful, this ink is known for its amazing shading from a dark orange to a bright yellow. 

The Jinhao 159 is a large fountain pen that consistently gets great reviews from users. It's an extremely affordable pen at under $10 and a great choice for a beginner's fountain pen.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Introducing Rosetta Notes- Our Very Own Fountain Pen Friendly Pocket Notebook

We are pleased to introduce our newest addition to the Rosetta brand - Rosetta Notes fountain pen friendly pocket notebooks. Customers regularly tell us they love using pocket notebooks, but the popular brands on the market use paper that is not fountain pen friendly. So, we decided to manufacture our own line of pocket notebooks. We researched and tested hundreds of paper stocks to come up with the ideal paper for fountain pens.

So, we decided to manufacture our own line of pocket notebooks. We researched and tested hundreds of paper stocks to come up with the ideal paper for fountain pens. We chose to go with an old friend of our family business - French Paper in Michigan. French Paper has been made in Michigan since 1871. Our history with French Paper goes back to the 1950s when we purchased duplicator paper for the Chicago public school system. They are one of the last American small independent paper mills.

Rosetta Notes pocket notebooks by Rosetta are made with French Paper 70# Smart White text paper that is perfect for use with fountain pens and 2-sided writing. The covers are made of 100# recycled paper cover stock (260 gsm) in a deep wine color. These journals are perfect for writing and drafting on the go with pencil, ballpoint pen, fountain pen and markers. Pack of 3 staplebound notebooks. 3-1/2" x 5-1/2" (89 mm x 140 mm). Dot grid is 5 mm. Each notebook has 24 sheets (48 pages) of heavy (105 gsm) bright white, pH neutral, acid-free paper for archival quality. Smooth, satin fountain-pen-friendly finish. Rosetta Notes are milled, manufactured, and printed in Michigan, USA. iPenstore exclusive.

This month, we're introducing the Dot Grid version - consistently the most requested version of pocket notebooks. Next month we're introducing the Blank paper version (sneak peek - the February iPenbox will have a sample!) Then, the Lined and Graph versions will be released in March. Pricing is $8.97 per pack of 3.