art supply reviews

NS1 Pen: A Love Story & Giveaway!

Hi there. How are you?

I recently purchased a NS1 ballpoint pen. Designed by Nicolas Sanchez, an incredibly talented ballpoint artist, it has 3 different size points in one pen. As it was designed for artists by an artist, I had high hopes for this one.

The NS1 pen was designed by the incredibly talented Nicholas V Sanchez. Click to purchase!

The NS1 pen was designed by the incredibly talented Nicholas V Sanchez. Click to purchase!

Ballpoint pen self portrait by Nicolas V Sanchez. Yes, it’s ballpoint!

Ballpoint pen self portrait by Nicolas V Sanchez. Yes, it’s ballpoint!

Can you even believe this is a BALLPOINT drawing?

Sanchez is a crazy talented artist! Not only is a he a master at rendering the human face, but those skin tones!?! How does he even do that??? I’m in awe.

When Nicholas announced on his Instagram that he has designed a pen, I knew I had to have it! And when I read that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the NS1 pen goes to art education, I was even more psyched to buy.

My drawing with the 1MM point of the NS1 Pen in my trusty Moleskine sketchbook.

My drawing with the 1MM point of the NS1 Pen in my trusty Moleskine sketchbook.

My NS1 Pen - Love at First Sight

As soon as my NS1 pen arrived, I started drawing and experimenting. Having 3 different nib sizes in one pen is a brilliant idea. With one easy click you can change from the big 1.0 mm tip to the 0.7 mm and finally the tiny 0.5 mm. The soft rubber grip makes this pen super comfy to use. Now I wish all my pens had this this soft grip. Do they still make those foam pencil grips? (Must google this!)

I did the drawing above with the 1.0 mm. I’m pleased to report that the NS1 doesn’t seem to “throw up” ink blobs as readily as many other pens do and the ink flows smoothly. My only complaint was that the nib sometimes rocks around in the barrel when you’re drawing. Other than that, I was smitten with this pen, and maybe even ready to make a serious commitment to this pen.

Drawing made with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

Drawing made with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

The Second Date

I decided to give the 0.7 mm point a go, and started another drawing in my pocket sized Moleskine sketchbook. Things looked promising at first, but then NS1 started to get on my nerves.

After using the 0.7mm for a time, the nib started to seize up and the ink would stop flowing. I’d have to stop and scribble on my scratch paper to get the ink flowing again. It was pretty frustrating.

Was NS1 trying to drive me away?

It sure seemed like it.

An up close and personal look at my drawing with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

An up close and personal look at my drawing with the 0.7 mm point of the NS1 pen.

You can see my struggles in this close-up.

It’s a little jagged in places where I was battling with the pen to get the ink flowing.

I wondered if I’d already run the pen out of ink, but that seemed doubtful as I’d only done two small Moleskine drawings with the pen. I switched back to the 1.0 mm and then the 0.5 mm points and started having the same problems with those as well. What the what? I could always get the ink flowing again, but I was pretty disappointed. My wonder pen wasn’t all that wonderful after all.

I worried we might be breaking up.

I’m going to give this drawing away to someone on my mailing list. Are you on the list?

I’m going to give this drawing away to someone on my mailing list. Are you on the list?

I Gave it One More Shot

When I was cleaning up my studio the other day, I found some lovely drawing paper that I’d forgotten I had. It’s smooth with just a tiny hint off a tooth to it.

I decided to give the NS1 a second chance.

I’m so glad I did. The NS1 worked beautifully on this paper. The seizing up issues were gone. The ink flowed beautifully. Our relationship was saved!

But, why did NS1 try to give me the brush off earlier?

I suspect it was the paper in my Moleskine sketchbooks. That’s weird though. Nicolas Sanchez (NS1 designer) draws in Moleksines all the time.

All I know is that the NS1 pen is a keeper.

It’s not going to be exclusive between us, I still have love for my Bics and my Papermates, but NS1 has earned a place in my pen repertoire.

I’m giving away this original ballpoint drawing to one lucky mailing list member.

I’m giving away this original ballpoint drawing to one lucky mailing list member.

And Now for the Fun Part…..

I’m giving this drawing away to a member of my mailing list!

If you’re on the list, you’re in! It’s that easy.

Bonus for joining the mailing list:

You'll get access to a hyperlapse video of my drawing process. Expect emails from me about once a month with more behind the scenes content.  You'll also be first to know about about new work and exclusive sales. It's a party. Trust me!

That’s all for now.

Is there a pen you’d like me to review? Give me a shout!

Ciao, Jen

Meet my New Friends the Pentels

Hi there. How are you?

I'm a sucker for a good pen and when I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. For years I've had a serious relationship with Bic ballpoints and black Pilot pens.

When I made the decision to draw in color,  I stuck with what I knew and bought Bics. (Read more about that HERE.) I like those Bics, but I knew there was more out there for me.  I was feeling stifled by the limited color range that Bic had to offer.

So, I went looking for new friends.

I experimented with Staedlter and PaperMate InkJoy ballpoints, but was disappointed with both.

I experimented with Staedlter and PaperMate InkJoy ballpoints, but was disappointed with both.

First I Met Staedtler and InkJoy.

I met Staedlter and PaperMate InkJoy at the big box office supply store.  I was charmed by Staedtler's ten color set and reputation as a quality art supply brand. InkJoy's branding and their claim to be ultra smooth got me interested.  Both had a chance to be my new bestie, but the spark faded quickly.

I didn't like the way the Staedtler pens felt going on the paper. It took a lot of muscle to get a dark, saturated color. Next, I hung out with the InkJoys. The colors were vibrant and for a time the the ink flowed just as smoothly as advertised.  After just one drawing (seen above) the orange seemed to seize up and I had to apply a lot more pressure to get it to flow. Could I really have used up a whole pen with one drawing?

Maybe I was wrong to stray from Bics?

Meet my new friends, the Pentel RSVP ballpoints. Their smooth, vibrant ink is fab for drawing.

Meet my new friends, the Pentel RSVP ballpoints. Their smooth, vibrant ink is fab for drawing.

Then, I had a chance encounter with Pentel.

While checking out the stationery section at Big Lots one day, I came across a set of 4 Pentel R.S.V.P pens. I don't think I've ever bought a Pentel pen before. They seemed lowbrow to me. (I'm an art supply snob.) But, at less than $1.00 a pen, they were a cheap date, so I decided to give them a shot. So glad I did!

Pentel RSVP and Bic Cristal pens were used in this abstract sketchbook spread.

Pentel RSVP and Bic Cristal pens were used in this abstract sketchbook spread.

The Pentels have a nice, vibrant color, go on smooth, and are less apt to "throw up" as the Bics will sometimes do. (You know those little mini explosions of ink that ballpoints have a tendency to make? That's what I'm talking about.)

I also appreciate that they're retractable.......I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to cap a pen and gotten ink all over the place.

I used Pentel RSVP ballpoint pens in this 3-color sketchbook spread.

I used Pentel RSVP ballpoint pens in this 3-color sketchbook spread.

I've got a wider circle of friends.

I'm pleased with this new friendship and I'm excited to pursue it further. (I'm going to order more Pentels in additional colors today.)

Just because I've got a new friend, doesn't mean I'm giving up on my Bic besties. They produce the darkest darks and are more opaque than Pentels. I like to think that I've just expanded my circle of friends, which will hopefully result in more colorful, more successful drawings!

Wanna stay in touch? Join my email list.