pen reviews

NS1 Pen: A Love Story

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.

That’s all for now.

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

Ciao, Jen


Yellow Ballpoints Found at Last!

Hi there. How are you?

I've been collecting ballpoint pens for years now, but I could never track down a yellow. I literally had every other color in the rainbow, in many shades, but no yellow. I needed yellow! 

* HEADS UP: As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase the pens I've listed here with Amazon links. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

I've found 3 different yellow pens! Click for purchasing info.

I've found 3 different yellow pens! Click for purchasing info.

The search was long and arduous. 

I googled, I went to every art supply and office supply store I came across, and I checked out the websites of the top pen manufacturers. Still, no yellow! Well, at least not that I could get my hands on in the States. 

Then a breakthrough! 

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had!

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had!

A Yellow Perfecto

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had! (Thanks Natasja!)

The yellow is has a nice bright hue and the ink goes on almost like a gel pen. There's just a little more moisture in the ink than a traditional ballpoint, but it still works well. 

I used my yellow Perfecto pen in this sketchbook drawing. The ink is nice and bright.

One is never enough

I was thrilled to find this yellow, but I knew I'd need more than one solitary yellow pen. I was going to run that sucker out of ink in no time! Again, I hunted all over the internet for Perfecto ballpoint pens but they were nowhere to be found. 

The hunt Continued....

This Yoobi ballpoint pen has yellow and 7 other fab ink colors. Click to purchase one for yourself!

This Yoobi ballpoint pen has yellow and 7 other fab ink colors. Click to purchase one for yourself!

The Yoobi 8-in-1

I was taking a stroll through the pen aisle at Target one day and came across Yoobi product display. Amidst all of the colorful, well designed Yoobi merch was this rad 8-in-1 ballpoint pen with YELLOW! 

All of the inks in the Yoobi are nice and smooth and despite its larger barrel size, it is pretty darn easy to use. The yellow ink has more of a golden hue than the Perfecto, which is great, as now I've got a range of yellows to choose from! 

I finally found a Bic yellow ballpoint pen. The ink is incredible! Click to purchase.

I finally found a Bic yellow ballpoint pen. The ink is incredible! Click to purchase.

The Bic 4 Color Fluo

As I'm never really satisfied with the pens I have, I decided to search Amazon one more time for yellow ballpoints. This time, there was a hit! And it was a Bic! (My all-time favorite ballpoint brand.) 

This 4-in-1 Bic pen features a fluorescent yellow ink that slightly wider than the other 1 mm coloured ballpoints. I paid a pretty penny for it and had to have it shipped from the UK, but man was it worth it! This pen is a dream. 

The yellow ink in the Bic pen is fluorescent and smooth as silk. Click to purchase.

The yellow ink in the Bic pen is fluorescent and smooth as silk. Click to purchase.

Bic is the BEST!

The Bic is by far the best yellow pen I've found. The fluorescent ink is smooth as silk and is oh so bright! I'll certainly be ordering more of these soon and maybe, just maybe, Bic will decide to stock these stateside sometime. 

The yellow in the Paperchase 8-in-1 pen is warm and golden.

The yellow in the Paperchase 8-in-1 pen is warm and golden.

The Paperchase 8-in-1

I didn't really need another yellow pen, but when I spotted this cutie at the Paperchase store at Victoria Station in London, I had to have it! The colors are all a little different from my 8 color Yoobi, so I've got an even wider selection of colors and values to work with. The yellow has a lovely golden tone to it and feels very "Indian Summer." 

When I came back from London about a month ago, I was able to find this pen for sale on the Paperchase USA website. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be available any longer. Boo! If you're lucky enough to live near a Paperchase store, I suspect you can pick one up there. 

Have you found any other Yellow ballpoints I've missed?

Do tell so I can try 'em out and add them to this list! 

That's all for now. Ciao! 


A Few of My Favorite Things

Hi there. How are you? 

I was recently invited to become an Amazon Influencer.  As an influencer, I have my own page on Amazon.com where I can recommend my favorite products and earn money on qualifying purchases made through the page.  I don't expect to make millions, but it is nice to have a place to share all my faves while making a little pocket change. 

As I'm often asked about the supplies I use to make my ballpoint drawings,  I thought I'd start by curating a list of favorite drawing supplies, all of which can be found on Amazon. 

These are my go-to supplies for ballpoint drawing. Click through for the details and more of my faves.

These are my go-to supplies for ballpoint drawing. Click through for the details and more of my faves.

1. BIC CRISTAL X-TRA BOLD BALLPOINTS:

If you're just going to buy just one set of pens, go for these! They're inexpensive, smooth and have great color.

2. PENTEL RSVP RT BALLPOINTS:

(RT stands for retractible.) I like the Pentel retractibles better than the capped Pentels as the ink tends to flow better in the retractibles. Overall, Pentel pens have a finer ballpoint, which can make it more difficult to achieve smooth values, but are good for making sharp edges. 

3. PAPERMATE PROFILE BALLPOINTS:

Papermate Profiles come in a huge range of colors, but are more difficult to find and are more expensive than the Bics. The ink doesn't flow quite as well as the Bics, but they're my runner ups. 

4. SMOOTH BRISTOL BOARD:

There are many different brands of Bristol board out there and there are also different finishes available. Look for smooth Bristol board when purchasing. Don't want to spring for Bristol board? Any smooth paper will work (including copy paper!)

5. MOLESKINE SKETCHBOOK AND TOOL BELT

Moleskine sketchbooks have been my go-to for years. Right now I'm partial to the 5" x 8.25" size. The paper is thick but smooth and the pages lay flat. The only downfall with Moleskines is that the paper has a slight yellow hue to it.  Add a Moleskine tool belt to it and you've got a fabulously portable drawing kit.

All of these are supplies I actually like and use. 

I only add items to my Amazon Influencer list that I can vouch for! 

I've finally found a yellow ballpoint pen! Meet the 8 color Yoobi. Click through to purchase.

I've finally found a yellow ballpoint pen! Meet the 8 color Yoobi. Click through to purchase.

And my newest fave.....

I've been on a hunt for yellow ballpoints for over a year now. Up until recently, I couldn't find them for purchase anywhere in the States. Until now.

Meet the 8-color Yoobi pen, with yellow! Isn't it cute? All of the colors are nice and bright and the ink goes on smoothly.  With a whole range of colors in one, this is going to be a great pen for my trip abroad this summer. 

I made an entire post about my quest to find yellow ballpoints. Find it HERE.

What are your Amazon faves?

Do tell. I'll try them out and if I like, I'll add to my list. 

Well, that's all for now. Thank you for supporting my artistic endeavors by shopping my Amazon list. I'll be back soon with some of my favorite motivational books for creatives. 

Ciao, Jen