I started listening to a new podcast recently called The Write Gear. The show is wonderful, spending most of its time and episodes dedicated to the gear that writers use in their craft; Moleskines, paper, notebooks, pens and also the more technological stuff like computers and software that help us to do our work. One of these were devoted entirely to discussing what the perfect pen was.
The general consensus was that a pen needed to be ballpoint or gel to be considered (fountain pens being different enough to deserve their own little niche). They had to be cheap, smooth to write without applying tons of pressure, have a very clear distinct line, not feather on the page, be long-lasting, dry quickly when used, and they had to be able to sit in a bag for a few months between uses (because some of us don’t use pens as often as others, but you still need to know its going to work when you crack it open).
My immediate thought to all this was to think happily of my favourite pen and agree entirely with everything they said, at least as far as the requirements went. I don’t know about you, but for me, this essentially describes what I look for. Usually you have to compromise somewhat. If it’s super cheap, then it won’t write smoothly or the ink will remain wet for ages, or it will be cheap, but not smooth to write with and dries up after just a few weeks or something.
The pen the original survey decided on is one that I’ve never had a chance to try, the Uniball Jetstream. It sounds really nice for me, aside from the size. I have always found that with my messy writing, I like thinner ink trails, .3 is my favourite, though I will take a thin little .1 given half a chance. The pen The Write Gear podcast suggested as theirs was the Pentel Ener-Gels, specifically, with a certain type of gel rollerball refill.
Neither of these are mine, though I totally want to give both a try. Mine is a pen that has a slightly uncomfortable base, but everything else about it is incredible. Just known as the Sharpie Pen (size Fine was the thinnest I could find… I’d say it’s a .3-.5 width), this pen writes like a gel, smooth as silk, though it isn't a gel pen. Its an ink pen like a sharpie where you have a tip that fills with ink and so long as you have a tip and ink its writes wonderfully and they last a super long time. It doesn't dry out (I've had these ones for over a year and really have only started using them in the last month or so) and they come out to under $2 a pen (I think I payed$12 for a pack of 10 when I bought these).
My only gripes about them is that the case is super thin and very hard, so it is less on the comfort side of the equation. The other part is that while it doesn't feather a lot, the tip is so full of ink that it will get all over you if you aren't careful (not from smudging; I'm just super bad at holding my pens on or near the paper). It writes so nicely though that I am usually willing to ignore those two minor issues.
I have a picture here done that shows the three colours I used off to the side. I usually draw with pencil and then redraw with pen and then begin adding colour, but I wanted to show what the pens could do. Which reminds me that these are the only three I have left... I'll have to buy another set before When Words Collide later this year.
Anyway, those are my favourites! What are yours? Let me know in the comments below!